Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book review: God Gave Us Christmas

This is an adorable book.  My husband, 2 year old daughter, and I have been reading it each day as a part of Advent activities.  My daughter loves it, and asks to hear the story repeatedly.  The pictures are cute.  The story has a great message about why we celebrate Christmas. I wish the author had used the term "gift" instead of "present" in regards to Jesus, since "present" Implies a requirement vs. a gift being from the heart.  Though this is a minor detail, not really a true problem.  I do have a little trouble reading the black text on some of the pages.  At the end of the book, white text was used on a colorful background and was much easier to read. Overall, this is a great story to share with young children.

Coloring page
Author's website
More info
Author bio

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review: The Nutcracker

I requested this book so that I could read it to my daughter.  Since she is only two it was a slower process.  I was unexpectedly intrigued by the story, so I ended up reading ahead on my own.  I had seen the Nutcracker ballet, but the book provided many more details than the ballet.  I am excited to watch the ballet again after having read the true story.  The illustrations by Maurice Sendak  are absolutely beautiful. I look forward to reading this book over and over to my children through the coming years.  I highly recommend this book as a keepsake.

More info
Author bio

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Book Review for A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall

When I acquired this book, I was a little worried that it would be another typical "Christian romance" book.  I was pleasantly surprised that the book had more of a focus on other life aspects including business and family tragedy.  The book did contain the typical winding love stories, but seemed almost more of side stories to the other story lines.  It was interesting to learn, if their is any truth to the story, that some Amish people explore life outside of the Amish beliefs.  It was a nice touch that the author included some recipes and a glossary of terms. Overall this is a good book.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Book Review: Coming Apart by Charles Murray

Coming Apart by Charles Murray is an interesting collection of statistical data about Caucasian people in America from 1960 through 2010.  The author covered many topics from religion, to jobs, and income.   He also created two fictional towns based on statistics to demonstrate the changes in lower and middle class white families in America during the designated time frame.  I found the statistics and information to be quite informative.  With 2/3rds of the book being a collection of data, the authors intent in writing the book was unclear.  The third section of the book did examine the authors purpose by explains all of the reasons that the data supports his view that America should return to the same values of the founding fathers with a limited government.  One especially interesting section discussed the values of the founding fathers, revealing that the founding fathers were not as dedicated to God, as the modern Christian "right" believes.  The book overall is a nice collection of information and support for why America is declining, but lacks real and applicable solutions.

More info

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Book Review: To Heaven and Back

book by Mary C. Neal, MD

This was the first book that I have read about a personal account of dying and coming back to life.  I was not sure what to expect. The first chapter begins with a Bible verse quote that I believe to be taken out of Biblical context, but chose to focus the authors story rather than on her attempt to weave Bible verses throughout her story (as though the verses add credibility to her story).  The first several chapters were dry, including the minimal amount of background details necessary for the story.  Once the author reached the chapters involving the story of her death and resurrection and recovery the story became much more vivid and real.  The author included a number of chapters detailing tragic events for which she believes her time on Earth was not over (so she could support and prevent). I did find it amusing that the author believes herself to live an ordinary life. From my perspective the author and her family have an extraordinary life full of travel and adventure.  The book has caused me to reevaluate how I pursue (or don't) pursue God on a daily basis.  I appreciate the challenge that the author presented in writing down coincidences that occur in life to look for God's fingerprints. Overall an interesting account. I will be interested to read other similar accounts in the future.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall

The first three chapters of this book felt cheesy and forced.  It was very difficult to read in light of this and took me many weeks to work up the motivation to finish the book.  Once I did pick the book up again, I was pleased to discover that the next chapters fell into rhythm and were more realistic.  The author chose the interesting topic of Amish versus Mennonite lifestyles.  I enjoyed reading about the romance of Aden and Annie as it developed. I appreciated that the book stayed pure and innocent in the blossoming relationship and did not seek to explore a physical relationship between the characters.  I also enjoyed reading about the various tensions that their relationship was causing on family members and their struggle to decide whether or not their love is worth pursuing in in light that their respective religious communities view them as unequally yoked, despite both having faith in God.  Although I enjoyed the middle of the book, I was greatly disappointed by the final chapter in which Aden and Annie were given permission to pursue their relationship. The author had spent the entire book mentioning all of the potential problems that the Amish and Mennonite communities would have with Aden and Annie's relationship, however, she chose to not discuss what actually happened, but simply gave an abbreviated recap that the communities would indeed have issues with the relationship, but they would resolve in time (a description that did not match the hype played up throughout the book).  Overall this is a clean book that would be appropriate for single teenagers to read.

Here is a link for an excerpt and videos.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yearly Expense Sinking fund

I have recently opened an ING direct account (They are still doing a $50 bonus if you sign up). I have decided to use this account as a sinking fund for yearly expenses. This was after trying to track the fund on paper within other accounts. This did not go so well, especially when there were unexpected expenses...

How do you keep track of your yearly expenses?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: God Gave Us Love

This is an adorable book!  I had a great time reading it to my 15 month old daughter. She has already wanted to read it over and over. I appreciate the great lesson about God loving us and that is why we love others. The book also dabbled a little bit in the different types of love. My daughter may not understand now, but as she gets older and we continue to read this book, I'm sure it will create many conversations about love. The pictures are also well done and very cute. Although very cute, I would have liked the characters to be human. Putting that aside it is still a well done book. I will look forward to reading other books by this author,

Here is a link for more information about the book.

 “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Monday, February 06, 2012

Book Review: How We Love Our Kids

By Milan and Kay Yerkovich

When I received this book, I was expecting it to be a remake of the 5 love languages type books.  I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong! This book was a quality breakdown of the many aspects of attachment theory.  I enjoyed reading about each of the styles, and how they are played out in both parents and children.  The book was balanced with research and personal examples. Many tools are provided in simple format which make immediate implementation of the ideas very easy. My favorite tool is the soul words. When I showed the soul words to my husband, he even immediately implemented their use in his classroom! This is a well written, valuable book, that is in alignment with many other books and research.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


Thursday, January 05, 2012

New Book Coming out by Crystal Paine

Crystal Paine of The Money Saving Mom is having a book released soon.  She always has valuable information on her blog, I'm sure the book will also be full of great information.  Her book may be viewed and/or preordered at the following link.

The Money Saving Mom's Budget