Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols

You should never judge a book by it's cover. 

I got three new books to review in the mail a while ago and this book was among them. I put this one to the bottom of the pile - it just didn't strike me as something I really wanted to read. Just because of the cover.

Well - I am so glad I made it past the cover. This was one to the best books I have read in a long time!

The story follows Mary Bridget Washburn who is struggling to escape her life of crime. She leaves her "friends" and runs away to make a fresh start in a new town with a new name. Still her past always haunts her. Eventually, she ends up trying to help a family who is torn apart and struggling to hold on to their faith - but how can someone who has forgotten their faith help someone else with theirs? God has not forgotten any of them and it is amazing to read how He works to heal and restore the broken.

I loved reading every part of this book. The characters are wonderfully deep and I love how Nichols opens windows into their thoughts, even changing the wording of her narrative to match how her characters think. It deals with great themes of grace and mercy and giving your past to God so he can give you a future. Make sure you have a box of Kleenex beside you - I was crying and happy and sad parts!

Thank you so much to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy of this book to review!

Book Review: Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins

My 3 year old Eóin LOVES to learn! Because he has such an interest in learning, especially reading, I have been thinking a lot about schooling for him - it's really not that far away. I was excited when I saw the title of this book because I really don't see myself as a "homeschool mom." I am not super organized and scheduled and always have my ducks in a row which seems to me you would need to homeschool your child. This book seemed to be about how to make homeschooling work in real life - you know for us not so perfect parents :-)

I would have to say that although the book was somewhat helpful, I found some of her ideas to be a bit weird. She devoted a good chunk of the book to answering skeptics and questions about homeschooling. She made some good points about how to kindly deal with family, and honestly evaluate criticism. I really liked her checklists for comparing different types of education and seeing which really is suited best to your family's needs.

There are a lot of examples or different schedules and ways to make learning fit into your life. I thought some of her ideas on what qualified as education were a bit far fetched. I don't really think that mowing the lawn should count at physical education, and cleaning your room as "life skills." Unless you purposefully set out to have a lesson about cleaning/hygiene, I think you need to be honest about how your time is spent.

I am not sure I would class this as a necessary book for a homeschool family, but it would certainly be worth a skim.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tyndale Contest

I just thought I would post about an opportunity to win some cool stuff through Tyndale House Publishers! Take a look at the details below!

The New Living Translation Break Through to Clarity Bible Contest and Giveaway
Visit and click on the tab that says “Sweepstakes”
Fill out a simple form, take a quick Bible clarity survey, invite your friends to join and you’ll be entered to win one of our exciting prizes.
With each fan number milestone a new prize will be given away.
Grand Prize
Apple iPad 64G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fifth milestone
Retail Value: $829.00
2nd Prize  - Already awarded
32G iPod Touch and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the fourth milestone
Retail Value: $300.00
3rd Prize – Will be awarded when fan count hits: 3500
Kindle DX and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the third milestone
Retail Value: $489.00
4th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
Apple iPad 16G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the New Living Translation Fan Page hits the second milestone
Retail Value: $499.00
5th Prize Will be awarded when fan count hits: TBD
Apple iPad 32G and a Life Application Study Bible
Awarded when the NLT Fan Page hits the first milestone
Retail Value: $599.00

Prize Eligibility – Recently updated to include more countries
Sweepstakes participants and winner(s) can be U.S. residents of the 50 United States, or residents of any country that is NOT embargoed by the United States, but cannot be residents of Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India.  In addition, participants and winner(s) must be at least 18 years old, as determined by the Company. 

Sweepstakes Starts
March 17, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)

Sweepstakes Ends
April 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am (PDT)

Wait, there’s more!
Visit for a chance to win a trip for two to Hawaii!
Here are the details:
Choose one of six passages of Scripture from the New Living Translation and consider:
How do these verses encourage you to know God better?
What is God teaching you in this passage?
How does this passage apply to your life?
Submit your answer and you’ll be entered to win.
Just for signing up: Everybody Wins! Win a Free .mp3 download from the NLT’s new Red Letters Project. It’s the dynamic, new presentation of the sung and narrated words of the Gospel of Matthew. You win the download just for entering! Or choose to download the NLT Philippians Bible Study, complete with the Book of Philippians in the NLT.
Every day, one person will win the best-selling Life Application Study Bible!
The grand prize: One person will win a fantastic trip for two to the crystal clear waters of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore in beautiful Hawaii.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feed Me Books Friday!/ Book Review

This week, I am combining one of my book reviews for Thomas Nelson with my link up to Feed me Books Friday because the book fit the theme perfectly.

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan - perfect for Easter!

This is such a beautiful story of a girl named Katie, who along with her family, shows the love of Christ to her neighbor, Papa Jack. Everyone in the neighborhood knows him as Mean Old Jack but Katie's family keep showing kindness to him until finally he agrees to visit church with Katie on Easter Sunday. Katie shares with him the story of Easter and Papa Jack sees how much God loves him through this little girl. Together they place flowers on a wooden cross at church to show their thankfulness to Jesus.

Besides the lovely story line, this book also has little discussion topics and verses that parents can share with their child as they read. The back also includes instructions for making your own flowering cross. Such a great tool to have in teaching your child what Easter is really all about!

My son is three years old and it kept his attention the whole time. There is so much to talk about in the story though that I think it is great for a whole range of ages. The discussion guides for parents can help you adapt it to your own child and his understanding level. 

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for reveiwing purposes.

This review is also linked up to feed me books friday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blog Award

At the beginning of the month I received a The Prolific Blogger Award from Christina Banks on her blog "With Pen in Hand". I am so excited that someone likes to read my ramblings :-)

The award is for keeping an active blog with enjoyable content. 

Here are the rules for receiving the award:

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!

2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.

3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to 
This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.

4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners. (
Click here for the Mr. Linky page.)

Here is my list of blogs that I enjoy reading!

Penni's Blog - The Litwillers 
Janna's blog - The Adventure of Motherhood 
Rachel's Blog - Insanitopia
Heather's Blog - Duly Noted
Casey's Blog -  Stertz Family
Nicole's Blog - Harms Family News 
Sarah's Blog - actually she has two - this one and this one.

Look them up and have a read :-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Feed Me Books Friday!

Is it Friday again already? Wow this week flew by!

This week I am going to post my current favorite book to read with Eóin.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic

We're going on a bear hunt
We're going to catch a big one!
What a beautiful day
We're not scared!

This brave dad and his kids go on such a fun adventure as they go bear hunting together. Together they encounter all sorts of obstacles such as long grass, deep rivers and even snowstorms!

They Can't go over them
They can't go around them
Oh no! they've got to go through them!

These phrases are repeated throughout the book and it's fun to have Eóin say them with me. Then there are great sound effects to make for each of the things they come across: Grass goes "swishy swashy", Water goes "splash splosh" and mud goes "squelch squerch"

So much fun!!! My favorite part is the ending - but I won't spoil it for you - Will they find what they are looking for? You'll have to find out for yourself ;-)

You can get the book here at! We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic

This post is linked to Feed Me Books Friday over at The adventure of Motherhood.


Congratulations to Marina who won the two What's in the Bible DVDs. You can also check out her blog over at here.
Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Belly Laughs :-)

Just a cute video of the boys playing yesterday. Aidan thinks Eóin is hilarious :-)

Monday, March 08, 2010

What's In The Bible - Review

I am SO excited to be reviewing this new series of DVD's for children from the maker of Veggie Tales, Phil Vischer. I received the first two DVD's in the series and they were so wonderful.

The characters are cute and clever, the songs are so catchy and funny while still teaching truths! It teaches deep important truths in a light and fun way.

But before I go on, here is a preview video so you can get a glimpse of what I am talking about:

The first DVD covers basics about the Bible itself and the first half of Genesis. It answers some tough questions about the Bible and covers some big words - inspiration, the Septuagint, Apocrypha - there is no dumbing down of important information - just making it fun and easy to understand. After all, no one knows church history like a pirate!
It then covers creation through Joseph. I really like that instead of just telling individual stories, it shows how they are connected to tell the whole story of the Bible. I would suggest sitting down with your children to explain what you believe about some of the issues he deals with - such as was the world created in 7 literal days or "God days". Vischer presents both views so I think it's important and you watch it along with your child.

The second DVD covers the second half of Genesis and the whole book of Exodus. LOVED this one even more than the first. At the beginning it also covers how the Canon of Scripture was chosen. Well explained - I think some adults would benefit from this as much as the kids! I really loved how they explained and illustrated the words "salvation" and "redemption." I also love the explanation of idols and how we have them today - just not made of metal cows (more like plastic cards!). It also paves the way the whole time for the story of Jesus - God's ultimate rescue plan. I am so excited to get to that part - but as Sunday School Lady says - "we're not there yet."

I watched it with my 3 year old and though much of it was over his head at this age, he still enjoyed watching it - LOVED the songs and even got some of the jokes. Because the characters are basically telling the story and explaining the truths behind them there is a LOT of talking. For an older kid though I think it moves quickly enough to keep their attention. The only other thing that I didn't really like was how one character - Michael - talks to his mom. It's meant to be funny but I think it borders a little on disrespect in one part. He is only the introduction to the dvd's though so it could be easily skipped and you wouldn't miss anything.

NOW ON TO THE BEST NEWS!!! Tyndale is giving away a copy of the first two DVD's to one of my readers! To enter, just leave a comment with your name and an e-mail address where I can reach you if you win. The winner will be picked by random drawing at the end of the week (Friday). I will then mail you a certificate for you to take to your local Christian Bookstore to redeem your DVDs.

Visit the What's In the Bible Website or Tyndale Publishers for more information.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Feed Me Books Friday: Jigsaw Jungle


This week's theme at feed me books friday is puzzle books and we have one that we really like called "Jigsaw Jungle." I bought this book for Eóin when he was about 15 months to keep him busy on our long trip to Ireland. It has a few things about it that I really like:

1 - The pictures are fuzzy - so for a little one, you don't even have to use it as a jigsaw book - they would be happy to look at and feel the animals

2 - It has words too - sometimes we don't do the puzzles - just read the cute rhymes.

3 - The puzzles have two pieces. Each page has an animal that pops out in two pieces. It was pretty challenging when we first bought it and I had to help each time but it didn't take long for him to learn how to put them together. Then we made it more difficult and took ALL the pieces out of the book and had Eóin find the right pieces for each page. It's a good introduction to big kid puzzles :-) He still plays with it so I definitely think we got our money's worth out of this one!

4 - It's pretty cheap :-)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Aidan - 9 Months

Yesterday, Aidan turned 9 months old! Time is just flying by with this kiddo! He is such a fun kid and really lives up to his name which means "little fire." When he is happy, he is really happy. When he is grumpy - WATCH OUT!  He weighs 19lbs 6oz (He was 20lbs but lost weight while he was sick poor kiddo - anyway that is the 30%), is 28 inches (60%) and his head is in the 92% (big brain). He is really persistent and loves to figure things out. He will sit and keep trying until he has solved his little problems :-)
He and Eóin and usually either bestest buds or worst enemies these days (depending on Aidan's proximity to Eóin's trains usually). Here are a few pics of the boys playing/wrestling :-)