Friday, January 27, 2017


Based on Maja Säfström's delightful book The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts, this collection of 50 collectible postcards is the perfect way for animal lovers and art lovers to share and collect Maja's charming illustrations.

Housed in a keepsake box and arranged, much like a recipe box or card catalog, in tabbed sections (air, forest, sea, etc) this posctard box lets the user share all the curious knowledge and amazing artwork that makes Maja's book so special. From the Otters (they hold hands when they sleep in the water so they don't float away from each other!) to the elephant (mother elephant pregnanices last two years!) each postcard presents a unique look at the animal kingdom that will delight and astound. 50 postcards; 25 designs repeating, printed on toothy uncoated stock, with the animal's biological classifcation on the back.

My Review:
These were so cute.  The facts were a bit simple, but great for a short and sweet postcard.  The pictures are wonderful.  You can definitely color them in, but they are great alone also.  I love that there are two of each because I might not want to send them if there was only one.  I can't wait for my kids to pick out which ones to send to family members.  Definitely love and definitely recommend!

I received these postcards for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review: Accidental Saints


New York Times Bestseller | One of NPR's Best Books of 2015


What if that person you've been trying to avoid is your best shot at grace today?

And what if that's the point?

In Accidental Saints, New York Times best-selling au­thor Nadia Bolz-Weber invites readers into a surprising encounter with what she calls “a religious but not-so-spiritual life.” Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. But God keeps showing up in the least likely of people—a church-loving agnostic, a drag queen, a felonious Bishop and a gun-toting member of the NRA. 

As she lives and worships alongside these “ac­cidental saints,” Nadia is swept into first-hand en­counters with grace—a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are trans­formed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own. 

In a time when many have rightly become dis­illusioned with Christianity, Accidental Saints dem­onstrates what happens when ordinary people share bread and wine, struggle with scripture together, and tell each other the truth about their real lives. This unforgettable account of their faltering steps toward wholeness will ring true for believer and skeptic alike. 

Told in Nadia’s trademark confessional style, Accidental Saints is the stunning next work from one of today’s most important religious voices.


My Review:
I was really intrigued  by this book and the author but I was not as impressed with this book as I thought I would be.  It is a very easy, enjoyable read and the author sounds like a lot of fun.  I enjoyed everything in the book except that the stories were... just not doing it for me-I'm not sure why.  The stories are about ordinary, imperfect people who influence us and "show" us a bit of God.  The stories were touching but so much of the story was spent on the author continuing to tell about her imperfections.  I appreciate reading that so much, but only so much, I guess.  I am excited to gift this book to someone who I think will easily relate to the author.  

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Game Review: Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers



From the daughter-father duo that created Brooklyn's beloved live pun competition comes Punderdome, the "Punderful card game [that] will replace Cards Against Humanity at your next party" (Mashable.com).

One part game, one part conversation starter, you don't need to be a pun master to master Punderdome: the goal is to make bad jokes and have fun along the way.

A player (the prompter for that round) draws two prompt cards from the deck, and then reads the prompts to the rest of the group, who have 90 seconds to create a single, groan-worthy pun that combines the two prompts.     

When time is up, pun makers share their puns with the prompter, who awards the prompt cards to the player whose pun he or she likes best. The winner then draws the next pair of prompt cards and the process repeats. Players win by obtaining 10 pairs of cards.

Every Game Set Comes With:
·         200 double-sided cards (100 White and 100 Green)
·         2 Mystery Envelopes with fill-in prize slips
·         2 80-page pads for drafting puns
·         1 instruction card and 1 pun example card
·         A stu-PUN-dous time for 3 or more players

My Review:
This game sounded like lots of fun.  It definitely is if you are clever.  I am the person who thinks of great come backs days later.  I am not a clever person in that way.  The game was fun to watch, since I am much better at observing this game than playing.  I am planning to gift this game to some people in my family who are all pretty "pun"tastic.  It would be a great game to play at a party!!  It may be just what your holiday party needs!

I received this game for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: The More of Less


Don’t Settle for More
 
Most of us know we own too much stuff. We feel the weight and burden of our clutter, and we tire of cleaning and managing and organizing. 
 
While excess consumption leads to bigger houses, faster cars, fancier technology, and cluttered homes, it never brings happiness. Rather, it results in a desire for more. It redirects our greatest passions to things that can never fulfill. And it distracts us from the very life we wish we were living.
 
Live a better life with less.
 
In The More of Less, Joshua Becker, helps you….
 
•          recognize the life-giving benefits of owning less
•          realize how all the stuff you own is keeping you from pursuing your dreams
•          craft a personal, practical approach to decluttering your home and life
•          experience the joys of generosity
•          learn why the best part of minimalism isn’t a clean house, it’s a full life
 
The beauty of minimalism isn’t in what it takes away. It’s in what it gives. 
 
Make Room in Your Life for What You Really Want
 
“Maybe you don’t need to own all this stuff.” After a casual conversation with his neighbor on Memorial Day 2008, Joshua Becker realized he needed a change. He was spending far too much time organizing possessions, cleaning up messes, and looking for more to buy.
 
So Joshua and his wife decided to remove the nonessential possessions from their home and life. Eventually, they sold, donated, or discarded over 60 percent of what they owned. In exchange, they found a life of more freedom, more contentment, more generosity, and more opportunity to pursue the things that mattered most.
 
The More of Less delivers an empowering plan for living more by owning less. With practical suggestions and encouragement to personalize your own minimalist style, Joshua Becker shows you why minimizing possessions is the best way to maximize life.
 
Are you ready for less cleaning, less anxiety, and less stress in your life? Simplicity isn’t as complicated as you think.

My Review:
This book couldn't have been suggested at a more perfect time for me and my family as we just left a 2100 sq foot house to move into less than 400 sq feet in an RV.  This book starts out with the father postponing his play time with his child because he has too much to do.  The too much was all based on stuff...on things they had accumulated.  Living with more is a very American way of living and one that causes us many issues that often don't even seem related.
This book can help you start release the ties and see what good could come.  I highly recommend it.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: The Mexican Slowcooker



A collection of 55 fix it and forget it recipes for Mexican favorites from an award-winning Mexican cooking authority, in a stylish, engaging package.

When acclaimed chef and cookbook author Deborah Schneider discovered that using her trusty slow cooker to make authentic Mexican recipes actually enhanced their flavor while dramatically reducing active cooking time, it was a revelation. Packed with Schneider’s favorite south-of-the-border recipes such as Tortilla Soup, Zesty Shredded Beef (Barbacoa), famed Mole Negro, the best tamales she has ever made, and more, The Mexican Slow Cooker delivers sophisticated meals and complex flavors, all with the ease and convenience that have made slow cookers enormously popular.

My Review:
I adore Mexican food. I love it.  I also adore my slow cooker.  I also love it.  Big time.  Who doesn't love sticking some food into a pot and having it cook itself in a few hours.  You can leave and come home to a house full of delicious smelling, awesome tasting food or you can be there all day and smell the goodness.  
This book is beautiful.  It is filled with colorful pages and great recipes.  It is the exact kind of cookbook that I love.  There are hardly any Mexican recipes to make in a slow cooker so I was very excited to see this book.  I really love it and now treasure it as a part of my collection.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Book Review: Andi Under Pressure


Book Description

Twelve-year-old Andora ‘Andi’ Boggs and her new best friend Colin Carter couldn’t be more excited to attend the prestigious science camp at the local university in Killdeer, Ohio. Unfortunately, Discovery Camp’s curriculum appears to include much more than just chemistry and biology. From day one, the university is plagued by a series of pranks—missing markers, loose crickets, and stolen scales. Campus security blames the mysterious janitor Polk, but even though Andi agrees he’s acting suspicious, she can’t believe the gentle old man would do anything illegal. Then one prank goes too far and their chemistry professor is injured by an explosion in the lab, upping the stakes of the investigation. Andi and Colin must unravel the secrets behind the chemistry department and Polk’s dark past before danger closes the camp for good.

Book Review:
I am always looking for new books for my 12 year old daughter to read and enjoy.  I gave her this one hoping she would.  She loves mysteries and spy stuff.  She really did enjoy the book and read it quite quickly.  She loved that it was a series and we are definitely going to order more from Andi's adventures.  The book is clean and not full of stuff that I don't want my daughter reading or dwelling on.  It is similar to the Nancy Drew series in my opinion.  I definitely recommend this book and the entire series for your young daughter.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Book Review: Born to be Awkward

From the folks who brought us the bestselling Awkward Family Photos series comes a tribute to those awkward early years of life.
Our first few years are the most photographed time of our lives. Our parents document every milestone and then feel compelled to share these photos with the world. The only problem is, we haven't developed our motor skills and can't control our faces, or any other parts of our body for that matter. This, of course, leads to some of the most hilarious and unexpected family pictures. From our first post-delivery scowl, to our first throw-up, and yes, even to our first bikini--Born to Be Awkward is a celebration of what is literally the most uncomfortable stage of life.


My Review:
Oh my goodness!!  Awkward family photos are my favorite!  I just cannot stop laughing when I see them.  There are several that have lasting impressions in my memory and I can easily recall ones that crack me up.  
This book has added several to my memory!  It is filled with hilarious photos of families and babies being completely.... awkward!  The end of the book has captions with empty spots for your family photos to join the awkward book.  I love that idea!  
If you need a great laugh, you should definitely check out this book!  

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Book Review: Another Way Home

Another Way Home
Another Way Home (Abingdon Press, October 2015)
Sometimes God’s ways are not at all what we expect . . . and exactly what we need.
Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have been trying for years with no baby in sight.
Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.

Deborah Raney
Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

My Review: 
Who doesn't want to live where the cover shows?  This is the third book in the series and I did not read the other books.  I think that it would have helped, but it was not necessary by any means.  I might go back to read the previous 2 now that I have read and enjoyed this one.  The story line is one that many people can relate to in one way or another.  I found it very easy to see myself in the story and it was completely captivating.  I wanted to keep reading to see how God would work things out in the story.  If you are looking for a great, easy to pick up read I definitely recommend this book.
I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: Against the Grain (cookbook)



Revolutionary all-natural recipes for gluten-free cooking--from the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet.

Nancy Cain came to gluten-free cooking simply enough: Her teenage son was diagnosed with celiac disease. After trying ready-made baking mixes and finding the results rubbery and tasteless, she pioneered gluten-free foods made entirely from natural ingredients--no xanthan or guar gums or other mystery chemical additives allowed. That led her to adapt many of her family's favorite recipes, including their beloved pizzas, pastas, and more, to this real food technique. In Against the Grain,Nancy finally shares 200 groundbreaking recipes for achieving airy, crisp breads, delicious baked goods, and gluten-free main dishes.
     For any of these cookies, cakes, pies, sandwiches, and casseroles, you use only natural ingredients such as buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Whether you're making Potato Rosemary Bread, iced Red Velvet Cupcakes, Lemon-Thyme-Summer Squash Ravioli, or Rainbow Chard and Kalamata Olive Pizza, you'll be able to use ingredients already in your pantry or easily found at your local supermarket.
     With ample information for gluten-free beginners and 100 colorful photographs, this book is a game changer for gluten-free households everywhere.

My Review:

I have a gluten intolerance so when I saw this book as one to choose to review I jumped on it.  Although my family seems to handle gluten just fine, it is easier to make everything similar and it is also an opportunity to take out unnecessary gluten (and usually unhealthy) filled foods at the same time.  This book is beautiful, which I really appreciate in a cookbook.  The recipes have been about 70% able to be duplicated.  Cooking or really more baking gluten free is not the easiest thing to transition to.  Overall, I am very happy having this resource in my home and love the ideas I get from it.  

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Book Review: The Ology

The_Ology_cover final - PK
Help your kids understand who God is in The Ology by Marty Machowski, a beginners’ theology book great for kids of all ages. In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.

{MORE ABOUT THE OLOGY}

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New (New Growth Press, October 2015)
A page-turning storybook of theology for kids
In the cellar of the old stone cathedral, Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure, a carefully wrapped ancient book known as The Ology. What adults might describe as a beautifully illustrated storybook of systematic theology, the kids discover to be a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.
Truth is for kids, not just for adults! So The Ology gives kids of all ages a beginner’s theology book to help them understand who God is and how we, as his children, relate to him. Arranged within a traditional systematic theological framework, each truth in The Ology is also connected to the larger redemptive story of Scripture. The doctrine of God, for example, is presented in the larger framework of creation, where the attributes of God are more clearly on display. The Ology takes abstract theological concepts and makes them easier to understand with the use of creative examples, illustrations, and analogies. The goal is not to say everything that could be said about a theological topic, but rather to share the key thoughts behind a theological concept. The Ology is a starting point to learning theology and aims to create a hunger and desire in children to learn more as they grow older.
Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations for use with younger or older children, so that entire families can enjoy it together. Read The Ology to preschoolers, read it with grade-school kids, and let older kids discover the “hidden” truths by reading the corresponding Scripture passages for each section. However you read it, The Ology will give your children a gift that will last a lifetime—a solid foundation of life-changing biblical truth that will point them to the God who loves them and gave himself for them.
A companion The Ology CD from Bob Kauflin and Sovereign Music is also available.
Marty Machowski

{MORE ABOUT MARTY MACHOWSKI}

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over twenty years. He is the author of the Gospel Story for Kids series, which includes “The Gospel Story Bible,” “Long Story Short,” “Old Story New,” and the “Gospel Story Curriculum,” as well as the Advent devotional and curriculum “Prepare Him Room.” He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Find out more about Marty at http://martymachowski.com.



My Review:
This book is beautiful!  This book is designed for children six through preteens and I cannot wait to read it with my littlest one when she gets a bit older.  The beginning is written in story form with the intent to rope a child into the book.  The rest of the book is written mostly in Bible study form, but at a level that is enjoyable for children in that age range.  It is such a treasure to have in our house now and can definitely be used a resource to refer back to when needed or desired, not only as a great story book!

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Book Review: Get Your Story Straight (teen/young adult devotional)


Get Your Story Straight

Get Your Story Straight (New Growth Press, October 2015)
What’s your story?
We all tell stories to each other–stories about what happened when we were kids, stories about last night, and stories where we dream about the future. Some stories are funny, some are amazing, others are sad, but they all have something in common–each of us is the hero of our own story. Our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams take center stage. But when it’s all about you, it’s also all up to you. You have to make life work, find meaning, and hope for the best even when you mess up or things go badly wrong.
But what if we were made for something different? What if the main character in our life story isn’t us, but it is the God who became like us and is now with us? What if being fully human means knowing him and growing to be like him? What if the way to be fully alive is to be caught up in Jesus’s story?
This 52-week devotional book and small group resource is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story–the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live. No matter your age, where you live, who your family is, or what your past, God wants you to experience the freedom that comes in being secure in his love.
Divided into three parts, starting with creation, each section progressively explores the idea that the whole Bible is the unfolding story of Jesus. Through this grid, who Jesus is and why we need him will shape your understanding of freedom and grace and how you grow to be like him. This yearlong study for teenagers and young adults is designed for individual devotional times, but a small group discussion guided by a mentor would help participants to absorb and live out the truths of each week’s teaching.
Kristen Hatton
Kristen Hatton is a native Texan now putting roots down in Edmond, OK with her church-planter/pastor husband and their three children. With a public relations background from Southern Methodist University, Kristen has a wide array of professional experiences, none of which she counts as important as the job of being a “present” mom. Through leading a small group Bible study of teenagers, she has discovered her passion for teaching and writing about God’s grace.

My Review:
First of all, the layout of this book is wonderful!  I love how it is broken down into three parts and then broken down further into small sections.  It would be a tremendous devotional or Bible study for teens and young adults.  I plan to have my daughter go through it in a couple years when she will be old enough to really grasp the concepts and teachings.  It is very well written, enjoyable and extremely engaging.  I love that the principle of the book (in my opinion) is that your life was created and is designed for God.  It is yours to live, but the purpose is to glorify Him and live a life that shares His story with others no matter what you do.  It would make a wonderful Christmas present for the teen or young adult in your life!!

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.