Thursday, October 31, 2013

Easy Handprint Fish

Okay, I'll admit it. You all know I'm a sucker for inexpensive, cute crafts I can do with the kids to keep them from getting bored or getting on each other's nerves!

I saw this craft a long time ago on Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and just now was able to try it out with the kids. It's a winner, and incredibly easy.

What you need:
Any color paints the kids pick out
Paint brushes
White paper
Black marker

To make the fish paint the bottom of the palm nearest the wrist in one color. This will be the face. Then, paint the remainder of the palm in another color. Finally, paint the fingers in alternating colors.

Or basically, do what you want with the paint.

Make the handprint and allow it to dry.

Once it has dried, add the eye and the mouth to make the face.

We also dipped our fingers in blue paint to make air bubbles.

The kids love to do things like this and they turned out so cute!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Homemade Silly Putty

From: Frugal Fun 4 Boys

I've been wanting to try this activity for about two years and my kids are finally at the perfect age for it! I grew up loving Silly Putty, did you? I put that stuff on everything to make cool designs. Well, it turns out you can make it in your kitchen!

What You'll Need:

  • 1/2 tsp Borax
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2-3 oz school glue
  • Food coloring (optional)

Dissolve the Borax in the warm water.

Mix together the borax/water mixture with the cornstarch and glue, and food coloring if desired. Mix it all together. It starts out pretty gooey but the longer you mix the more it will become putty-like.

I noticed mine was pretty moist and squishing out water so I added a bit extra cornstarch as I was kneading it, just like I would do when making bread. 

Also, the more playing the kids did, the more it became the consistency that I remembered as a kid. The food coloring didn't really add anything to it, so it's definitely optional.

We started out with the obvious choice to run over the putty - a tractor. The pictures aren't great but you get the idea.

 A pony pranced through Brianna's silly putty:

Now this is the consistency I remember growing up. Cool!

And this stuff is strong! Brianna strapped it onto a big truck and pulled the truck around with the putty.

If you want to save it and play with it again later, dip it in water and place it in an airtight container.

Thumbs up to this fun project! We'll be doing this again!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fire Department Tour

Today, we were super fortunate to be invited along to a fire safety event at one of our local fire stations! I'm always looking for fun/educational/free reasons to get the kids out of the house for a few hours! It was really awesome and I would recommend this to anyone with young children. They had lots of videos and simple discussions for the kids, and let them climb all over a fire truck at the end of the presentation. Thank you to Whispering Pines Fire Department for a very fun and informative event!

The Golden Years Review

I recently read a great book by Christopher Bogosh called "The Golden Years: Healthy Aging and the Older Adult". Now you might be wondering why I wanted to read this book, considering I am years away from being considered part of the "golden years" age group. But I am so glad I read this book. This is the second book I have read by Bogosh and he is so intelligent and really knows what he is talking about.

The book covers so many bases. In the section on aging, he talks about each system of the body and how it is affected by the aging process. In the healthy living section, he talks of vaccines, exercise, sleep, dental care, and many other facets of being healthy. He has a whole section on preventive healthcare which talks a lot about the Affordable Care Act, so it is very relevant. He even has an entire section on healthcare management which speaks a lot about the end of life and the decisions that individuals and families both have to make. And he ties in every single aspect to scripture.

There are so many things to think about with the aging process. Many of these were things that had never crossed my mind because of my age. But I do have grandparents in this stage of life, and in a couple more decades my parents will be in this stage of life. It is better to know what to expect than to be surprised.

I highly, highly recommend for people to read this book.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Good Samaritan Books for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Boot Camp Review

When I got the opportunity to review "Boot Camp: Equipping Men With Integrity for Spiritual Warfare" by Jason Hardin, I jumped at the chance. The day it came in the mail I handed it to my husband instead of reading it right away. My husband loves the idea of battling when it comes to spiritual warfare because it makes him feel more prepared and stronger to fight. He loves the visual of that.

Hardin's book did not disappoint. He uses plenty of examples from the Bible to show us men who struggled with spiritual warfare and how it made them grow spiritually. He goes through topics such as selfishness, jealousy, hypocrisy, and fighting temptation. And of course there is a whole section on how we can be strong in the Lord's power.

This book is a great read. It is interesting and will capture your attention. It has things to say which I believe are very important, particularly for men as the leaders of households. I highly recommend reading this, or doing it as a book study with others.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and DeWard Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Memoirs of the Way Home Review

"Memoirs of the Way Home" by Gerald M. Bilkes is one of the most helpful commentaries I have read in a long time. It focuses on the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Bible, and I think (personally, at least) these are two books in the Bible that can easily get lost in the shuffle.

I actually just read another great book that went along with Nehemiah, so I was more familiar with that book of the Bible than Ezra. I've read both of these books a couple of times in my life but didn't really comprehend them. Bilkes does a fantastic job of going through each chapter of these books and making the information easy to understand but not overwhelming. Both of these books of the Bible relate to our lives if we take the time to understand them.

I'll be reading this book again in the future, to make sure I got everything possible with it. I read it alone the first time but the second time I'll read the scripture with it and go a little slower. I do recommend this book.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Reformation Heritage Books for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Glory of Heaven Review

Well, I have to admit I am always a little skeptical when I come across a book written by someone who has had a near-death experience. You never know what you are going to get when you read a book like this. "The Glory of Heaven" by Betty Malz was unlike any other book in this genre I have read before. Apparently Malz tells her whole story in another book, so the topics in this book focused more on, as the title says, the glory of heaven.

The book itself is an easy read and contains lots of true stories that will keep you interested. It is very uplifting, as well.

I did have a couple of small problems while reading the book. I felt that a lot of the book focused on reassuring us about the glory of heaven. I think Malz is accurate in feeling that many of us as humans need some type of reassurance about our life in heaven, but at times I felt that she reduced (unintentionally) the glory of heaven.

After all, isn't the glory of heaven all about God? She answers common questions in this book. One question is, what will we eat in heaven? Malz jokes about children eating candy in heaven and Italians wanting lasagna. Another question was, what kind of work will we do? And Malz talks about teachers instructing new arrivals to heaven, and mechanics working on the mansions in heaven. She talks about animals in heaven, and possibly even being with our spouses for all eternity (although she does say there is no marriage).

I'm no theologian - far from it - but pardon me, isn't the glory of heaven the fact that we will be in God's presence? I cannot imagine stepping into God's presence and thinking about what my job is going to be, or looking for my old cat who was hit by a car 20 years ago.

I'm not trying to be rude to Betty Malz. And until we get to heaven (and stay there) these questions won't be answered. So I'm not saying she is wrong. I'm just not sure about some of the statements in the book.

I do think this book has a different feel from any other "near-death experience" book I've read. So with that, I'll leave it up to you whether or not you'll pull this book off the shelf.

Thank you to Chosen Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Forever Friday Review

I recently read a book called "Forever Friday" by Timothy Lewis. This is a sweet love story that isn't too sappy or cheesy, which I appreciate. The book itself is well-written and will keep your attention easily.

I actually thought the premise of the book was pretty far-fetched... until I found out that the author based it off the true story of his great-aunt and uncle! The premise of the book is that these two people meet and fall in love, they are married within a week (after she breaks her engagement to another fellow) and every Friday for 60ish years, the husband sends his wife a romantic postcard declaring his love for her.

At first I didn't like how the time frame changes frequently. You see Gabe and Huck in the 1920's, then you're thrown to the present, then you're taken back just a couple of years, and then the cycle goes around again. At first it kept me on my toes trying to keep the timeline straight. But I got used to it after a while and just enjoyed the story.

If you like romance novels with a bit of suspense and humor you will definitely enjoy this one by Timothy Lewis.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 18, 2013

To Know You Review

Every so often I read a book that makes me lose sleep. I read past my bedtime. I read until my eyes start to feel scratchy. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I pick up the book to read a couple more pages. I read while I'm cooking. I read while I'm brushing my teeth. All in an attempt just to find out what is going to happen next.

"To Know You" by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel was this kind of book for me. I absolutely did not want to put this book down. There were times that my children were asking for dinner and I was gazing longingly at this book!

There are tons of twists and turns in this book, but the authors somehow keep it together and the book makes complete sense. It is easy to read and captures your attention from the very beginning.

Julia and Matt Whittaker have a son who needs a living liver transplant if he is going to live. Julia happens to have two daughters from two previous relationships who were adopted and don't have any contact with Julia. She goes on a journey to find them to see if their blood type matches Dillon's, and if they are willing to consider the transplant. The journey ends up being crazy, as each daughter is dealing with her own stuff by the time Julia comes into the picture.

What an incredible story of grace and forgiveness. The book isn't preachy. They all struggle in their walk of faith and they are completely honest about it. Yes, the story has a happy ending, but you are rooting so much for the characters. It's not cheesy or sappy.

And now I see in the back of the book that there is a second in the series coming out in July 2014? Oh yes, I will be reading that for sure! Great, great book. I highly recommend it.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Enter Today | 11/1 - 11/19
Shannon Ethridge's TO KNOW YOU

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Financial Wisdom - Relating Finances and Spirituality

I was going through some old notebooks and found this. I think it is from one time when I spoke at a ladies retreat at church, although there is no date on it. I think this is something we need to be reminded of in regards to finances, so I wanted to share it here.

As humans, we tend to relate money to wealth, along with possessions like houses, cars, clothes, etc.

Wealth is actually an extension of your personality. It can be used creatively - spreading the gospel or building up churches... it can be wasted on frivolous activities. It can be corruptive and it can be destructive. But ultimately wealth is entrusted to us by God. God gave us wealth not only for us to advance His kingdom, but for our enjoyment as well.

Proverbs 10:22 - The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Blessings from God are not burdens. Many times when someone receives a financial blessing they may not credit it to God. Then, it is easy to let the world dictate how to use that money because it is seen as coming from the world.

We know that ultimately when we die everything will be left behind. Why do so many people struggle to accumulate possessions to the point of obsession??

God is not interested in our ability to accumulate material possessions. Particularly if they become idols. He will provide.

Matthew 6:19-20 -  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Proverbs 11:28 - He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

God is concerned only with our attitude. God doesn't care how much money we have or don't have, and our amount of money in the bank doesn't affect our relationship with Him. But our attitude can affect our relationship with Him.

We as Christians are supposed to trust God in every aspect and I think money is one area we are always a little terrified to hand over control.

One thing to remember - it is not wealth or money itself that is moral or immoral. There are plenty of dishonest poor people and plenty of dishonest rich people!

1 Timothy 6:17 - Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

Proverbs 11:4 - Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Does God condemn the wealthy? No:

Psalm 8:6 - Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.

What attitude should we have?

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

How does God define the real danger of money?

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Matthew 19:23 - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

A Hope Deferred Review

"A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God" by J. Stephen Yuille is an awesome read. How often have we as Christians talked about the fact that we are adopted children of God? This makes us incredibly special and in my opinion, shows us how much God loves us. He chose us. He desires to have a relationship with us so has given us a way to be adopted into His family.

This book is an interesting take on the subject, though, because Yuille has a journey that he wants to share in this book. A journey over two decades that finally ended with him and his wife getting the adopted child they so desperately wanted.

So half of the book is a journey through our adoption in Christ. The other half is Yuille's story and what he gleaned from it spiritually. The two halves intertwine perfectly to create an amazing book that will leave you feel warm, fuzzy, and loved by God. Yuille does a great job examining this topic and I think it's important for all Christians to read.

I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Daybreak Review

Nathan Ward has written a great book called "Daybreak: A Guide to Overcoming Temptation". I went into this book wondering how yet another book was going to talk about temptation. I was pleasantly surprised and I really enjoyed the format of this book as well as the content.

Ward breaks the book up into three sections about temptation: The Call (holiness, self-denial, and new life), The Enemy (Satan and self), and Temptation (before the battle, in the fray and after the fight). He doesn't have just the same old writing and same old scripture about fighting temptation. And the scripture applies to all kinds of temptation. Ward talks about every single aspect you can think of for fighting temptation. He encourages us to be better Christians. He urges us that we can fight against ourselves to live more for God. He asks the tough questions, such as - Do we really want to give up sin? How much do we really want to grow into God's image? How bad is that desire in us?

The foundation of the book is that we have to give up our "self". Interesting because I just heard a fantastic sermon about this yesterday. We have to die to ourselves and give our lives over to God. It's not easy. Sometimes it's not fun. But it's extremely rewarding. And Nathan Ward is giving us some great tips and encouragement on how to live this life, and open ourselves up - to Daybreak.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and DeWard Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God's Wisdom

I found this great section on God's wisdom in a book I am reading right now. The book is "A Hope Deferred: Adoption and the Fatherhood of God" by Stephen Yuille. The section on wisdom is actually from another man, Stephen Charnock, who was a Puritan clergyman in the 1600's.

1. God is wise necessarily.
Job 12:13 - "With him (God) is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding."
God is wise simply because he is God and it is inherent to his nature.

2. God is wise originally.
Isaiah 40:14 - "With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?"
He isn't dependent upon anything outside of himself for wisdom.

3. God is wise perfectly.
Job 4:18 - "Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly."
Everyone is foolish in comparison to God.

4. God is wise universally.
Ephesians 1:11 - "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
 His wisdom extends to all things. There's nothing that falls outside the parameters of his wisdom.

5. God is wise perpetually.
Psalm 33:11 - "The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations."
His wisdom isn't subject to change.

6. God is wise incomprehensibly.
Job 11:7 - "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?"
His wisdom exceeds our grasp.

7. God is wise infallibly.
Proverbs 21:30 - "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord."
God never errs in his wisdom.

I hope this encourages you today. Although we don't always understand situations in our lives or around the world, we have to remember that God is in control. And that control is perfect, because God's wisdom is perfect.

Behind the Shades Review

Although I don't know much about Ray Charles, I was interested to read his daughter's story. In "Behind the Shades: Hope Beyond the Darkness", Sheila Raye Charles tells her story and her mother's story.

Her mother's relationship with the famous Ray Charles was dicey, to say the least, and Sheila's relationship with her father was basically non-existent for many years. Sheila's story was of her personal experiences - filled with drugs, sexual molestations and struggles, feelings of abandonment from her father, and dealing with consequences - primarily that of her experiences in prison. Her mother Sandra's story revolves primarily around her relationship with Ray Charles.

Sadly, I was disappointed in this book. I have heard that people who hear Sheila speak are touched in tremendous ways by her story. I felt that none of that came across in this book. I felt confused between the parts that Sandra wrote, and the past and present parts of Sheila's story. I spent a good amount of time just trying to figure out the timeline of the story. I also felt that a lot of details were included which did not need to be included. I also felt like a lot of the book read like a gossip magazine.

It's true that Ray Charles made bad choices in his life. You can search him on the website and find that he had many affairs with many women and problems with drugs. I don't feel that there is any reason to exploit these mistakes of his, especially since he passed away almost ten years ago.

I would like to hear Sheila's story spoken. I didn't enjoy how the book was written and it didn't seem very professional to me. I think she has a great story but it doesn't really come across like that in this book.

Thank you to Cross Focused Reviews and Vox Dei Publishers for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Greater Review

I was very excited to review Steven Furtick's book Greater for a few reasons. I had a friend who attended his church in Charlotte for quite a while, and she raved about him. Then I heard him speak in Charlotte last year and I loved him. Then I started seeing all these comments on Facebook when the book first came out. Awesome quotes and people obviously highlighting like crazy in their books and on their Kindles. So I am really happy that I was able to receive a copy to read.

I love Furtick's writing. It is easy to read and down to earth. He is honest and open and you can relate to him. And while he is being honest and open, he is making you want to become a better person. This is the first book I have read by Furtick but I would love to read some of his other books. I believe many Christians are wasting their lives. Maybe we don't know what to do. Maybe we don't feel like doing anything. But I do believe we are capable of doing greater things for our families, our churches, and for the cause of Christ.

I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multonah for the opportunity to honestly review this book in exchange for a copy of the book.