Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Review: Love & War

I received the book Love & War by John and Stasi Eldredge for review from Water Brook Publishing for review. I had heard a lot about this book prior to getting this book. We actually read the devotional before reading the actual book. I encourage all couples to read Love & War first, and then read the devotional together. It's amazing what you can learn about your own marriage by reading about this couple's real life marriage. I love how honest and open they are with their readers. It points out the reality of how difficult marriage is and how to make it work. All couples thinking about marriage should take the time to read this and the devotional. They include humor, Biblical truth, and personal experiences in this book to give you the hope and encouragement one make you want to fight for your marriage!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Book Review: A Woman's Guide to Fasting

I received the book A Woman's Guide to Fasting from Bethany House Publishing for review. I absolutely loved the book! I wish I had read it prior to trying to do a 21 day Daniel Fast. Lisa Nelson does a great describing her experiences with various types of faster, from 1 day to 40 day fasts. She describes no food, liquids only, Daniel fast, and other modifications she has incorporated. Fasting isn't just about the food, or lack there of, but also the spiritual aspect of fasting as well. I really enjoyed Lisa Nelson's voice and practical advice. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interesting in learning more about how to fast. I will definitely try again in the future using the tips provided in this book.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: December 1941

I received December 1941 by Craig Shirley for review from I requested this book specifically because I knew my father would love this book! Being a huge history buff and the fact that I live 20 minutes from Pearl Harbor... this is the perfect Christmas gift for him. Each chapter covers a day for the whole month of December and recalls all the events, both political and social events that occurred each day. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys history books!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipe: Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding Dessert

Last week, I went to a bbq and we had this amazing dessert... and I just had to make it for my husband!

I found it on yummly!

20 chocolate sandwich cookies (cream filled, divided)
2 tbsps butter (margarine melted)
8 ozs cream cheese (softened)
12 cup peanut butter cups
1 12 cups powdered sugar (divided)
16 ozs cool whip (carton cool whip thawed and divided)
15 miniature peanut butter cups (chopped)
1 cup milk (cold)
4 ozs instant pudding mix (chocolate fudge)
1Put 16 cookies in a heavy duty zip-lock bag and crush (I use a rolling pin).
2Pour crumbs into a bowl; add butter and toss to coat.
3Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch square dish.
4In a bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and 1 cup powdered sugar until smooth.
5Fold in half of the Cool Whip.
6Spread over crust.
7Sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups.
8In another bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining powdered sugar on low for 2 minutes.
9Fold in the rest of the Cool whip.
10Spread over the peanut butter cups.
11Crush the remaining cookies and sprinkle over the top.
12Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

The only changes I made was I skipped the 3/4 cup of powdered sugar in the chocolate pudding mixture. I also sprinkled half of the pb cups on top along with the crushed oreos! It was perfect! I also served this frozen. Turned out just like ice cream cake! This is a definite keeper!!

I did choose to use all fat free/reduced fat items... so it was a bit healthier! :) Enjoy!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review: The Jesus Experience

I received the book The Jesus Experiment by Bill Perkins from Tyndale Publishing for review. Bill Perkins is a very open about the struggles he faced, and still faces when it comes to living a life like Jesus. This book is a 12-week "experiment" to see how you can transform your own life to be more like Jesus. The book covers the main concepts: What Jesus Did in Private, What Jesus Did in Public, and What Jesus did with People. The book is broken down to 1 chapter a week. I really liked Bill Perkins' set of questions he asks in all situations:

1. How would Jesus feel in this situation?
2. What would Jesus think in this situation?
3. What would Jesus say in this situation?
4. What would Jesus do in this situation?
5. How do I feel in this situation?
6. What am I thinking in this situation?
7. What am I saying in this situation?
8. What am I doing in this situation?

I really liked the examples he gave of both his own experiences and within the Bible. He also includes a set of questions at the end of each chapter. I would recommend this book as a study tool for small groups. It would be a lot more fun to have people to discuss these concepts with, instead of doing the experiment alone. :)

Book Review: This Little Prayer of Mine

I received the book This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano from Blogging For Books for review. This book is a prayer from a child's perspective, asking God to help him be brave, forgive him for being bad, to help him make good choices, for his future, and giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings. The book covers many areas that we need to teach our children to pray about, but I must admit, I personally don't think the prayer/poem flows very well. I will still use this book to teach my little ones to pray...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

I received the ebook version of Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo from I have to admit, I was not a fan of the ebook... I would much rather have the actual paper copy of any book! That being said, this was still a very charming book. Colton was 4 years old when he "died" and went to heaven during an operation. This is his dad's recollection of the events leading up to and afterwards. It's interesting how long it takes the parents to really get the whole story from Colton... Colton's age at the time of the event may attribute to the slow progression. That being said though, the book definitely makes you think about what heaven is like. Todd Burpo did do a great job putting scriptural references to Colton's memories of heaven. I liked reading about Colton's "preschooler moments". I wasn't really that big of a fan of all the lead up to the incident of Colton's experience... I felt like it was almost a biography of Colton's dad's bad luck prior to all this.

However, I still enjoyed hearing Colton's recollection of his experience in heaven and meeting Jesus. There is a picture of the image of Jesus that Colton recalls in the back of the book. I think this is definitely a book that people who have never thought about eternity should read.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Review: When God Created My Toes

I received When God Created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall for review from I am so glad I selected this book! It is such a sweet little book to read with preschool age children. Great book to discuss how we're all created beautifully and wonderfully by God. Cute illustrations and quick read for those with short attention spans! I would recommend this book for preschoolers and beginning readers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book Review: The Christmas Singing

I received The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall from Blogging For Books for review. I have read many of Cindy Woodsmall and always enjoy them, but I especially love this book because of the characters! Mattie, an Amish cake baker/decorator in Ohio, loses her cake shop in a fire. When she returns to her parents' home in Pennsylvania for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays, she is forced to face her past relationship with her childhood sweetheart, Gideon.

I absolutely loved the character development and plot. This is a wonderful, heart warming story to read during the holiday season! Cindy Woodsmall even included a couple cake recipes at the end of the book!!! This is a very QUICK and EASY read!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Review: Forever Faithful

I received Forever Faithful by Karen Kingsbury for review from This is the complete trilogy: Waiting for Morning, A Moment of Weakness, and Halfway to Forever.

Karen Kingsbury is a great writer and really does a great job conveying faith and hope throughout all of her books. She also did a great job developing her characters so that you can relate to each and everyone of them in some way... even if you are not going through the exact same tragedy. I found the stories heart breaking and at the same time providing a lot of hope. I liked how there is a message from Karen for the readers at the end of each book.

Even though it is great to have all 3 books in one, I would have preferred them to actually be separately bound. This trilogy is a bit bulky to carry around. I would recommend purchasing each book separately instead.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: Hermie A Common Caterpillar

I received the book Hermine A Common Caterpillar by Max Lucado from Tommy Nelson publishing! This is a beautifully illustrated book for level two readers. Hermie is a caterpillar without any spots or stripes, and feels so common compared to strong ants, beautiful butterflies, black spotted lady bugs, and very large snails. He prays throughout the book to God about why God had made him so common. Throughout the book, God answers with "I love you just the way you are. But I'm not finished with you yet!" The story is very sweet and has great lessons on praying and God making everyone special. I would recommend this book for children of all ages, whether they can read for themselves, or have it read to them as a bed time story!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: The Power of a Praying Wife

I was able to get a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife from church during our last Work Day. I had heard only great things about the book, so I decided to give it a try... and now I know why!! This book is wonderful! It is broken down to 30 small chapters that can be read in 10 minutes each covering a variety of topics. Each chapter includes a prayer and couple verses that relate to the topic. Stormie does a great job explaining why we need to pray for our husband in these areas, but also in a way which causes you to see the flaws in your own life and areas where you need to pray for yourself as well! She is very open and has some amazing testimonies of how prayer has changed not only her and her husband's lives and marriage, but lives and marriages of other couples who were struggling with difficult life and marriage issues!

I HIGHLY recommend this book for EVERY wife and wife to be! Whether getting married in a month, just married or married for 20 years! This is a great way to spiritually support your marriage. With society the way it is... we can use every tool in our tool belt!

I look forward to reading some of Stormie's other books:
- The Power of a Praying Parent
- The Power of a Praying Woman
- The Power of a Praying Husband (I want my husband to read that one! :)

If I could give this book 10 starts out of 5, I would! There should be a copy of this book in every household!!! I hope this book will bless you and your marriage as much as it did for us!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Review: Awakening

I received Awakening by Stovall Weems for free for review from Water Brook Multnomah for free. This is a 21 day devotional focused helping you becoming more passionate about your relationship with God. The book is broken into 3 parts. The first part talks about what awakening is. Part two focuses on prayer, fasting (not from food, but from a worldly mindset), and coming to agreement with God's will. Each chapter has an "Awakening Story" to inspire the reader. Part three is a 21 day devotional. It has references to scripture, Bible reading plan, prayer focus, and a section for journaling. The devotional also has a reading plan for the first 2 parts of the book if a reader chooses to follow that plan to read the first 2 parts. There are also small group questions in the back.

The author is slightly wordy throughout the chapters, but has great content and strong scriptural support. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in growing a deeper relationship with God.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review: 100 Read & Sing Devotions

As a preschool teacher, I loved using the 100 Read & Sing Devotions. This book and CD combo is perfect for little ones with short attention spans. The devotions are quick and to the point. They include Bible stories, value-based lessons, and songs to go along with each theme! A whole lesson plan in one! The songs are easy ways for the kids to learn the lessons. The illustrations are great.

Each devotion includes a "Word Watch" (Biblical reference), a prayer for the day, and also a commentary. The book is written is simple language and great for beginning readers.

The CDs includes songs such as "Jesus Loves Me", "Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man", "The B-I-B-L-E" and many more children's favorites!! I highly recommend this book for all families with little ones!

I received this book for review for free from Thomas Nelson Publishers!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Recipe: Shoyu Chicken

I combined a couple recipes I was given by my neighbor for shoyu chicken! This what was the result...

5 lbs skinless chicken thighs (on bone)
2 TBS Oil
1 cup shoyu
1 cup brown sugar
2 anise (whole)
6 cloves of garlic (sliced in half)
6 slices of fresh ginger

1. In a pot, heat oil on high heat and brown chicken thighs.
2. Add shoyu and brown sugar.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients.
4. Boil for 40 minutes on medium heat uncovered (1 hour if not placing in crockpot).
Crock pot option: since I was making this for a party, I placed it in the crock pot at that point for 1 hour on low, and then turned it to keep warm.

It was so tender and the flavor was amazing!! The meat fell right off the bones! SUPER EASY to make!!!

For those of you who don't know what anise is... it is a spice that has a very similar flavor as licorice. It adds a beautiful blend of flavors to the shoyu chicken!
This can be found in your oriental stores (not sure if regular grocery stores carry it too).

This recipe was a hit at the potluck!

Recipe: Ranch Pretzels

I find regular pretzels so boring that I wanted to kick it up! I found a Ranch Pretzel recipe on and compared it to the one my co-worker gave me... they were very similar but the proportions were a bit different.
I modified it because I didn't have 20 oz of pretzels...


  • 1 pound of pretzels
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoons dill weed
  • 1 teaspoons garlic powder


  • Break pretzels into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over pretzels. Stir to coat.
  • Pour into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 200° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Yield: 12 cups.

This was soooo easy and these pretzels came out delicious! This would be a great party appetizer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Book Review: Thunder Dog

I received the book Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory for review from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the book! Michael Hingson and his dog Roselle survived the 9-11 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center Towers. They were on the 78th floor. This story is even more extraordinary due to the fact that Michael Hingson is completely blind since he was an infant! They had to walk down 78 flights of stairs!!!

Even though their survival of the bombing was a miracle... the real miracle is Michael Hingson himself. This book will open your eyes to the world of a man who never let his blindness hold him back. You will laugh and cry as you read about his struggles and his successes of living blind in a sight based world. I am extra impressed not only is he able to do everything I do (ride a bike... drive a car... yes really...) but he does things I probably will NEVER even get a chance to do... like fly a plane (true story) or get a Master's in PHYSICS!!!!!

I highly recommend this book for EVERYONE... but especially those who are blind or have family members who are blind. This will give you encouragement you need to support your loved one. To give you the courage to let them try and go so far above their dreams!! Michael Hingson does a great job educating you about all the technology available to assist the blind as well. I also love the insight this book provides on the relationship between Michael and his dog Roselle. If I could rate this book 10 stars out of 5, I would!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Plugged-In Parenting

I received the book Plugged-In Parenty: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids with Love, Not War by Bob Waliszewski from Tyndale Publishing for review. This is a great book for parents who are wondering what went wrong with their teenagers that are acting up. If you don't believe that media has an influence on little ones, then you need to read this book.

This book talks about the many ways that the media influences us and our children. It really made me think about my current choices as an adult on the types of movies I watch, music I listen to, and television I watch. If these sources can influence adults, what more of an influence do they have on young children!? Not only is the content staggering, but the amount of hours that is spent texting, tv, movies, games, etc is staggering!

This book will sober you with the reality of media's influence, and how parents can fight against it by setting family standard on all media. Even if parents don't apply every suggestion to their family, this is still a great read to understand what you are fighting. Highly recommended for all parents.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Making Pound Cake from a Yellow Cake Mix

2/3 cup of water or milk
½ stick (or ¼ cup) of melted butter
2 eggs
1 yellow cake mix

Whip all ingredients together and pour into greased and floured pans.
Bake at 350 degree for about 45 minutes for two 8'' round pans.
Baking time will vary based on size of pans. Bake until golden brown.

This was a delicious way to make quick pound cake if you don't have a pound cake mix but have a yellow cake mix. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: God Gave Us Two

I received God Gave Us Two by Lisa Tawn Bergen for review from Water Brook Press. This is such a beautifully illustrated book with such a great story! This is perfect for your child when you are preparing to have a second child. Little Cub is worried about having another baby, common questions are addressed that most kids ask when a new sibling is on his or her way: returning the baby if they don't like him or her, will the first child be remembered, will they look like the first child, and many more. This is such a sweet book. I would definitely recommend it any expecting mother with children.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Review: God's Love Letters to You

I received God's Love Letters to You by Dr. Larry Crabb for review from This is a very small paperback book. I like the texture of the cover and the design of the pages. This is a 40 day devotional, each day covering a theme pulled from 1 book of the Bible. The devotional only quotes a couple verses from each book, and the actual devotional is written as though God is speaking to the reader directly. Each day includes a "Take a moment to reflect" section some questions to think about and a "Take a moment to pray" section that provides suggestions on what to pray about.

Reading a devotional written as though God is speaking can be very moving, but I would caution readers to use the Bible to judge for themselves on what God's promises to us truly are. This is Dr. Crabb's interpretation of God... only the Bible and the Holy Spirit can truly reveal God's love for us. The actual devotional takes less than 5 minutes to read. Quick daily reads. I would be cautious about giving this devotional to new Christians but would be good for long time Christians who have some Biblical knowledge and interested in reading a different perspective.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: PrayerWalk

I received Janet McHenry's PrayerWalk from Water Brook Multnomah Publishing. McHenry discusses the physical and spiritual benefits of prayer walking, suggestions on time management/prioritization, the importance of proper footwear, and her prayer life.

I really enjoyed McHenry's honesty and openness about her own struggles in life and the healing God brought into her life through her prayer walks, both physical and psychological healing. She reveals the power of prayer for not only her life but also testimonies of others who participate in prayer walks. McHenry is very encouraging but not pushy at all. She provides only suggestions, from shoes to topics of prayers. Her excitement about the power of prayer walk is contagious.

McHenry includes a questionnaire reviewing each chapter and a 30 day challenge at the end of the book. Each challenge includes a prayer focus, fitness challenge, and a notes section which includes some questions. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to shape up and improve their prayer life. It will encourage and challenge you.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: The Dragons of Chiril

I received the book The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K. Paul from Water Brook Multnomah for review. I really enjoyed this fiction novel. The book is about a young girl, Tipper, who's father has been missing for years. To support her and her mother, she sells her father's art. One night, her father returns with some interesting characters, a wizard and a librarian. They are looking for 3 pieces of art that were created from a special stone, a part of the foundation that would be the key to sharing the news of Wulder. Tipper must help the 3 men to find the 3 missing sculptures to save her world.

This book is definitely captivating. I enjoyed the fact that they use Wulder as a representation of God and bringing the good news to people who may not be ready to receive the message. I found the characters to all be very interesting. Dragons, giant talking parrots, crazy wizards, they all keep the book very fun and interesting. I recommend this book to young adults who enjoy fantasy novels.

Book Review: We Shall See God

I received the book We Shall See God by Randy Alcorn from Tyndale publishing. This is a 50 day devotional book on heaven. The book is actually a collection of sermons by Charles Spurgeon on the topic of heaven. Each day is broken down into when and where the sermon was given, the overview of the sermon, the actual sermon given by Spurgeon, and also a commentary by Alcorn.

I had a really difficult time staying interested in the book, especially the sermons part. Alcorn does a good job explaining the sermon and providing scriptural references, but the topic was not my favorite. This could be a great book for someone who is struggling with the loss of a loved one or just seeking to find out more about heaven.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Plain Wisdom

I received the book Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Cindy is the author of the Amish themed novels such as the Sisters of the Quilt series and the Ada's House series. Miriam is an Old Order Amish woman. This book is the story of how these two women met and shared their lives. It is an insight to the Amish world. Cindy goes and spends time with Miriam and through those visits, she experiences of the culture first hand. Miriam also shares her culture and her perspective on many topics.

The book is broken down into chapters, but each chapter is very short. It includes scripture, and a section by Cindy and a section by Miriam. This can be used as a daily reading for encouragement, or just read it straight through. I found the book insightful, moving, and funny. The book even includes some Amish recipes!

Moms will definitely be able to relate to the two authors! A great mother's day gift idea!

This book makes me want to be Amish!!! :o)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: Beyond Talent

I received the book Beyond Talent by John Maxwell from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I absolutely loved the book! Maxwell is a very to the point writer and has great stories as examples! The book is focuses on what is need to succeed beyond just having talent. He discusses the importance of faith, passion, initiative, focus, preparation, practice and many more! Each chapter covers one of the topics. It discusses what these things can do to improve your talent and the chapters also cover how to use those topics to improve your talent.

My favorite aspect of the book is the application questions at the end of each chapter. It really helps you understand yourself better, focus you to determine what needs to be done to proceed, and how to apply what you just read into your own life to become the successful person you can become!

This is a very encouraging book for anyone who has thought about career changes, life changes, and more. I recommend this book for all students. Whether they are looking for a job, or deciding on a major, making this tough decisions early on can really influence their success in a future career.

Maxwell is a great writer and keep your interested throughout the book. This would be a great gift for high school and college graduates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: The Canary List

I received The Canary List by  Sigmund Brouwer for review from Water Book Multnomah Publishing. A warning to the reader, this book is very dark. Characters are involved in devil worshiping and sacrificing. Accusations of inappropriate behavior between teacher/student are made, and the plot also involves conspiracies involving the Vatican.

Jaimie is a 12 year old girl who goes to her teacher’s house seeking a “safe” place for the night. This starts the whirlwind of events that causes her teacher, Crockett, to be accused of inappropriate relations with the student. Having spent some time in jail, being beat up, and then finding out his lawyer to get him out on bail was completely paid for, he seeks to figure out why someone is trying so hard to stop him from protecting her.

This is definitely a very good book, but as warned previously, it is very dark. This book is definitely for an adult audience. Even though the book is dark, Brouwer is a great writer and will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: The Part-Time Vegan

I received the Part-Time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni from, first of many I hope!!

I love the layout of this book. Cherise does a great job introducing the benefits of being vegan without trying to convert anyone. I was shocked in the first chapter in her use of the word "hell". The recipes are split into different categories of dips and appetizers, breakfasts, salad dressings, salads, soups, rice, pasta, and more. Each recipe is broken into 4 different categories: protein, fiber, quick and flex. It includes the number of servings, the recipe, a description of the dish. Recipes include tips for making the dish and the most helpful part as a non-vegan was "the skinny on" various foods!!! This section describes the ingredient, what it tastes like and what it can be used for.

There are 11 dinner meal plans, including appetizer and dessert! These recipes are easy and delicious!! Even the desserts are very easy to make!

I was a little disappointed though by 2 factors, there are no pictures and there are no nutritional facts for the recipes!!! All in all though, this is a great little cookbook for anyone who is interested in trying to eat healthier and cut out some meat in your diet. :o)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recipe: Amish Friendship Sourdough Bread

I had an extra cup of Amish Friendship batter frozen that I needed to use up. I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it, so I did some research to see if I could find a recipe that didn't require too many ingredients... and I ran across this recipe:

Amish Sourdough Bread

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
1 - 1/2 cups warm water
1 cup Amish batter
6 cups bread flour

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Oil bottom & sides of large bowl & put bread dough in. Let stand overnight at room temperature. In morning, punch dough down 4-5 times and divide into 3 equal balls. Kneed each ball 8-10 times and put into 3 greased and floured loaf pans. Brush tops with oil and cover with oiled foil. Let stand 4-5 hours or all day. (If dough has not risen well, put small pan of water on bottom rack in oven, heat to 200 degrees, turn off oven. Put dough on top rack for 1-2 hours.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (Cover with foil after lightly browned.)

I didn't have bread flour, so I used regular flour. I found the dough super sticky so I added an extra cup of flour... which helped it from sticking so much, but I wonder if that was the reason why it didn't rise as much as I thought it would... Like the instructions suggested, my dough didn't rise overnight, so I put it in the warmed oven for a couple hours and then baked it at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. The bread turned out absolutely delicious! It is on the sweeter side. I think it would be a great dough for cinnamon raisin bread.

I also wonder if it didn't rise as much because I had frozen the dough... but I want to say it wouldn't have mattered because it had some bubbles once it had thawed out. I will just have to experiment with it more later. More to come!

Either way, the bread still turned out very yummy!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: No He Can't

I received No He Can't by Kevin McCullough from for review. Kevin McCullough expresses his concerns for the decisions that Obama has made during his presidency and the various affects they have on our society, from the spending of $1.3 TRILLION on "stimulus" to the "Cash for clunkers" program that ran out of money within 6 days!!

I really enjoyed reading this book. Kevin McCullough is very passionate and captivating. This book was enlightening and honest. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in current events and politics but, as you can imagine from just the title alone, this book focuses on the bad decisions Obama has made during his presidency and how it has really hurt our economy. The book is very one-sided, but even still, this is still a great read.

Book Review: Max on Life

Max On Life by Max Lucado is a collections of 172 questions various people have asked Max in his years of ministry. The questions are broken into 7 different themed chapters (Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-nots, and Hereafter). The book also includes a topical index reference for the questions in the back as well as a Biblical reference. The Biblical references are broken down by Bible Book, the chapter and verse, and then shows which questions address those verses.

The answers to these deep questions range anywhere from one a half a page to a page and a half. This would be a great book for daily readings. Max, as always, does a great job using scripture to answer questions with a touch of his humor! Even while answering serious questions, I love the way he adds some humor.

I would recommend this book to any new Christian. It is a solid book of questions both new and old Christians could benefit from. Anyhow who enjoy's Max's writing will enjoy his book!

I received this book for review from!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Recipe: Lentil Soup

I decided to try to make Lentil Soup this afternoon with the help of my awesome husband.

I started by sauteing 7 strips of bacon (cut into small pieces) in a big pot until slightly cooked. Added 6 cups of water, 1 beef bullion cube, and 1 package of lentils. Once it started boiling, I added 2 tsp of thyme, 1/8 tsp of nutmeg, a couple dashes of black pepper and plenty of garlic powder (didn't have any fresh garlic). I chopped up a whole onion and added 1.5 cups of chopped carrots. Brought it to a boil and then simmered it.

My husband added some dashes of paprika, chili powder, Cajun seasoning, basil, oregano, and garlic salt. This is all to taste.

I simmered it for a good 40 minutes, and then another 20 minutes before serving.

This came out AMAZING!!! So delicious! It was a great science experiment, and look forward to experimenting more in the future!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

McClelland's Critters Zoo

Lions, Tigers, and Bears... OH MY! We visited the McClelland's Critter Zoo in Banks, AL yesterday!!! One of the COOLEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE! I got to hold a grizzly bear cub while my husband held a  12 pound snake! (Eww)

One of the coolest things... they had 2 ligers! Male lion bred with a female tiger! Beautiful tiger stripes (very light) and a fluffy lion head! 

They had both black bears and grizzly bears! Mr. Mike, the zoo founder/tour guide all the animals during our tour... for the black and grizzly bears, he fed them marshmallows from his mouth!

He hand fed the tigers, lions, ligers, cougars chicken!!!

The liger can do tricks for chicken! He catches it in his mouth!!

Did you know that tigers, lions, ligers, all use their paws as hands to help them get the food into their mouths? It was a sight to see!

As you can see, we had an incredible experience! A MUST DO FOR EVERYONE WHO VISITS THE LOWER ALABAMA AREA!!! I would rate this zoo a 4 star zoo... mostly because you can't get this up close and personal with these animals anywhere else! I have been to many zoos, the Detroit Zoo, Washington DC Zoo, Syracuse Zoo (NY), and none of them compared to this! Check it out for yourself!

For more info, please visit:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Book Review: Love at Last Sight

Love at Last Sight by Kerry and Chris Shook is a book to be read in 30 days, to help readers create better relationships. Each day consists of 2 quotes from famous people, 5-6 pages of messages, and a "Love at Last Sight Challenge" section. The challenge section includes a few questions for readers to reflect and journal about.

The first question asks readers to think of 3 relationships that they would like to improve. Throughout the challenges, the reader reflects on external relationships and introspective/thought-provoking questions about how they interact with others.

The book includes some Biblical references, but not too preachy. The authors use examples that are interesting and definitely challenges you to rethink your approach to developing better and deeper relationships. I think this is a great book for women. It is in touch with women's feelings.  

Book Review: Desert Gift

I received Desert Gift from Tyndale House Publishers for free for review. Jillian Galloway is a Christian marriage writer, and her whole world gets turned upside down when her husband Jack drops a bomb on her stating he wants to get a divorce just before they were supposed to leave for a business trip/vacation celebrating their 25th anniversary! Each chapter is written is a view of one of the characters. 

Even though the book was a bit difficult to get into initially, mostly due to the way Jack dropped the bomb on Jill about divorce, the book did open my eyes to there are no guarantees in life, but in all things, God works for the good to drawl His people closer to Him in the time of hurt. I think women in all phases of marriages (separated, married, and divorced) can relate the various characters in the book. It definitely made me realize what communication really means. Just talking about every topic does not entail true communication. I felt challenged by the different characters in each of their own. 

I would recommend this book to women. I really enjoyed going through the emotional trials of each character throughout the book! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Review: Time with God for Fathers

I received the Time with God for Fathers devotional by Jack Countryman from Thomas Nelson Publishing!! This is a beautiful book. The hard maroon cover on the outside and cream colored pages on the inside gives the book a beautiful antique look.
The devotional is not date specific and covers an array of topics. Each devotional consists of a passage of Scripture and a message from the author. They are quick reads and each cover important aspects of being a father. This devotional provides the encouragement many fathers need daily. The focus of this book isn’t to teach a man how to be a father, but to bring him closer to God so that he may become a better father by following the example God sets for us. The book also includes a list of Biblical references for topics in the back of the book, as well as a section for notes at the back of the book.
This is a great gift for Father’s Day! I highly recommend this book for all dads, whether you are a new dad, or already have grandchildren… spending time with God will only make you a better dad, a better example to your children and grandchildren God’s true love for us!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: Breath of Angel

I received my free copy of Breath of Angel from Waterbook Press last week. This is the first book of The Angeleon Circle. When I first started reading this book, I was a bit lost about what was really happening. Nothing really started making sense until about chapter 6 (about 50 pages into the book).

Once I got further into the book, I couldn't put down the book! Melaia was an orphan child that was taken in by the High Priestess in Navia. Her world as a harp chantress gets turned upside down when she witnesses a gruesome murder of an angel. Prior to that evening, she didn't even know that angels still roamed the earth!

Going into more detail about the book would give too much away... but, if you enjoy fantasy books, this is definitely a great book! The author does use a lot of not so common language which younger readers may find a bit difficult, but still a great read! I would highly recommend this book for young teens and teens. A great gift!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book Review: The Story of THE BIBLE

I received my copy of The Story of The Bible from! I was surprised at the size of this beautiful hardcover book (9.5 inches x12 inches)!!! This book reminded me of a high school social studies book, with lots of pictures, references, and side notes. There are multiple wax-like paper folders throughout the book that holding various loose leaf pages of life-size images of other documents. For example, there is a copy of the Great Isaiah Scroll with contains Isaiah 52:13-57:2. The documents include details of where the documents were found, what they contain, and descriptions of the type of paper, etc. This book also includes a timeline on the inside front and back covers of the major events from 2100 BC to 2010.

This book does a great job covering both the changes and translations to the text and describing the actual historical context in which it took place. This is a great reference book for people who are interested in the historical creation of what we know today as the Holy Bible. I would highly recommend this book for any history buff. This is a beautifully created book!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: Little Star

I received Little Star by Anthony DeStefano from Water Book Multnomah Publishing for review. I absolutely loved this book. This is a great way to share the birth of Jesus. The story is a little outcast star that realizes that Jesus is born as a humble poor human baby, and that He humbled himself because He wanted to show everyone His love. Little star burns himself out shinning for Jesus. As a result, we honor the star by placing a star at the top of our Christmas trees every year.

The illustrations are very beautiful. The story is short enough and simple enough to read to a group of 3 year old kids, and also great for beginning readers. I would use this as a gift for youngsters during the Christmas season!

I highly recommend this book for all preschoolers - second graders.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review: God's Promises Devotional Journal

One of my main reasons for requesting God's Promises Devotional Journal is because I have been struggling to find ways to journal during my quiet time. First of all, I love the design of this journal! The writing is in green ink, and the pages of a very relaxing leaf design.

The book is a 365 day devotional/journal, starting on January 1st. I am a bit torn about having the dates actually written in the devotional, but it does provide an accountability to do a devotional everyday. Each page includes the date, a scripture, a devotional passage, and a question and a response section. Examples of questions:
April 27 - "When were some times God's protection has delivered you from trouble?"
July 9 - "Can you recall some times in your life that God came through for you, even if you gave up hope in Him?"

Great questions to think about!

This book incorporates scripture of all the wonderful promises from God and devotionals written by many leading Christian authors. I really enjoy the diversity in writing styles and topics. I would highly recommend this journal as a gift for new believers or anyone who is struggling to make time for quiet times. This should not completely replace quiet times, but definitely a great supplement!

I received this book from!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Review: The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari is about two friends that camp out in the woods. As the boys camp out in the dark, they hear various animals, which they imagine to be safari animals. As they try to rest, they hear a lost "leopard" crying. They decide to rescue the "leopard", even though they are afraid of the night. As they try to search for the "leopard", their flashlight burns out. The dragon accidentally blows fire, which he never knew he could! Using the light from the dragon's fire, they were able to rescue the "leopard" aka a kitten.

I was not very impressed with this book. The whole book was dialog between the two friends. The moral of the story of "do not be afraid" was not portrayed very well. I also did not like the title of the book... the grammar throughout the book seemed a little awkward. The language used by the two characters seem too old for preschoolers to really understand.

The illustrations were beautiful, but the story itself could have used some more work. The best part of the book was the camp fire story at the very end of the book.

I received this book from

Book Review: Regret Free Parenting

It seems odd for a woman without kids, or any plans for kids yet, to request a parenting book... but after reading this book, I realized that more people should read parenting books before they even begin parenting!! That way, they are equipped and ready to approach this problem called parenting! Too many times, people become parents unequipped and then don't have the time to read parenting books when they really need it! That will not be me! 

I started the equipping process by reading Regret Free Parenting by Catherine Hickem. This book is witty and insightful. Unlike many other parenting books that focus on how to change behaviors of children, what teenagers might be thinking... this book turns the tables and focuses on the mother! What can a mother do to impact her children? This book focuses on the confidence mothers need, the impact of your attitude on your children, the importance of "intentional time" with your children, the importance of connecting to your children emotionally, and much more.

This book definitely got me thinking about my parents' parenting influenced the way I responded in different situation. This book addressed many of the issues I must resolve before becoming a parent myself. I encourage all moms and moms to be to read this book so that they may heal from childhood wounds before attempting parenting. 

I really enjoyed this book. It is a very quick read and I actually plan on reading this book again once I become a mom! This would be a great gift for expecting moms! I received this book from!

Friday, February 4, 2011

God Loves Me More That That is a beautifully written and illustrated book that truly looks at all aspects of HOW much God truly loves us! Is is visually captivating. This book talks about how high, how deep, how wide, how much it weighs, how loud, how soft God's love is for us. This is a great way to teach young children descriptive words. 

This is a great book for beginner readers. I will definitely use this book as a gift for young children, and use it in my preschool class to teach little ones of HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US! 

I received this beautiful book from WaterBrook Press!  

Friday, January 28, 2011

I got this book so that I could use it for my preschool class. The winter curriculum covers polar bears and snow... and this book includes both! :o) 

This is a great book to read to little ones. It is about a little Polar bear who asks his mother questions about other bears. The mother takes the bear to a zoo where they learn about different bears around the world! I absolutely love the illustrations!! It is a beautiful book! 

The book really focuses on God as the creator, a very creative creator!! They discus the different types of bears, where they live, and what they eat. Like every child, the little bear responds with more questions of why... The book also discusses how we must take care of the gift God has given us, our Earth. 

I definitely would give this book as a gift to young children. It's also a very simple book to read, great for beginning readers! I will definitely read this book to my preschool class and my kids!

I received this book from Waterbooks Press!! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: Stories about Jesus

I selected this book because I teach preschool for 3 year old kids. I was surprised when I received this book, and the WHOLE book was "hard covered"! This book is perfect for the 3 year olds. It will definitely stand the test of a classroom of 3 year olds! The pages are glossy so you won't have to worry about sticky fingers! Just simply wipe it off!

As for the stories, this book includes the story of Jesus' Birth, Jesus' baptism, healing the sick boy, bringing a girl back to life, walking on water, loving children, Zacchaeus, healing the blind man, calming the storm, story of the lost sheep, Peter and the fish/coin, the man healed of leprosy saying thanks, and the resurrection.

The actual stories are not very well written, but easy for 3 year old to understand. The font is large so beginner readers can read it easily. The stories include the reference of the passage where the stories are from the Bible. The illustrations are pretty. I will use this book to teach Sunday school and my preschool class, but I would definitely include other children's books to get a more in-depth explanation of the stories.

I received this book for free from!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: Couples Who Pray

I have to admit... the reason why I was drawn to this book is because of my current prayer life right now... The book mentioned that many couples only pray together during meals... well, that's pretty much the extent of my personal prayer life.

After reading this book, I realized the importance of prayer not just in my personal life, but in my marriage as well!! The book isn't a step-by-step guide on what to pray for during your 40 Day Prayer challenge, but more of an encouragement on why you want to do it!

The authors point out the significance of 40 days, referencing the story of Noah, Moses, David and Goliath, Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, and the time Jesus spent with his disciples after the resurrection! All those major events took 40 days of prayer!

The authors also provide tips for your prayer challenge. Some easier than others! For example... praying in every day language is an easy tip to follow, but praying out loud with your spouse might be more difficult for others. There are only 10 tips, and hopefully couples will be able to use these tips to make their prayer life better!

Common prayer topics are addressed in the book, such as finances, tithing, and forgiveness. The book is a really easy read and the topics broken down to seem so simple! Application on the other hand can be a bit more tricky! They use examples of other couples who have seen the power of their power life! The stories are moving and encouraging. I highly recommend couples to read this book together, and do the prayer challenge together as well. This book includes a survey for both spouses to take (Appendix 1 and 2) and information about online resources as well to help support couples during the prayer challenge.    

We will be starting our 40 day prayer challenge today! We will see where God takes us through the power of prayer!

Note: I received this copy of the book from!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: The Power Based Life

Like most people in the world... I always ask myself... "What do I want to be when I grow up?"

This book will NOT answer that question, but it can help set you up to discover how you can come to answer that question, searching to find purpose in your life. Mike Flynt does a fantastic job discussing what it takes to succeed in life... not how to make the most money, or find your perfect job, but building the foundation to find purpose and fulfillment in life... the most important foundation being Jesus Christ! He also discusses the importance of our attitude and what we focus on, who we surround ourselves with and who else is "on our team", and encouraging words from the Bible on overcoming adversity.

He does a great job combining scripture, funny stories of his experiences, other people's experiences, and what they had to do and endure to get to the places in their lives where they found success, purpose, and fulfillment.

Mike Flynt uses scripture and Biblical stories as examples and support of his arguments, but it never felt as though he was trying to convert the reader.

This is a good read for almost anyone who is still searching for something more from their life. Like I mentioned... it won't answer the question what you should be when you grow up, but it will open your eyes to see how other people go there and may even open your eyes to see how you could get there!