Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Short Break

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I’m taking a short break for Christmas ~ and I’m sure you all are too! I’ll be back in January, but hope you all have a WONDERFUL Christmas and New Year!!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Pirate Queen ~ Book Giveaway & Review

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Saphora had planned to just quietly slip out of her home and life without anyone stopping her…or even caring that she had left, especially her husband. Her bags were packed and moments before she was ready to leave, her husband came home and dropped a bombshell.

Cancer.

In that moment, everything changed as he wanted to retreat to the very place she had hoped to escape and hide. Saphora struggles between knowing she needs to help her husband, but their marriage has been anything but stable. Surrounded by family, she observes changes in her husband that trigger changes in her ~ in their relationship with each other and with God.

My Thoughts

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman was not quite what I expected ~ but in a good way. There are so many sub-stories within the book itself that it would be almost complicated to explain it all, except to say that Hickman did a great job tying everything together, without glossing over messy issues and the impact that they can have on individuals and families as a whole. 

The Giveaway

Would you like to win a copy of The Pirate Queen? I have one copy to mail to one of my readers! Leave a comment on this post ~ be sure there is a way for me to contact you. The giveaway will be open until Tuesday, December 28th at 8pm.

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This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Press. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall into Reading 2010 ~ My Wrap-up!

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fall into reading

Overall, I am SO happy with my results for the Fall into Reading 2010 challenge. While I didn’t finish all of the books on my original reading list, I did add several books onto the fiction list and two onto my non-fiction list {still working on one of the non-fiction books}.

My final complete tally is 15 fiction books and 2 non-fiction and I also finished up the Bible. I really tried to stick to my list as much as I could, but there were a few books that came across my path over the last few months that I added to my stack {pushing other books aside ~ ahem}.

Katrina had a few questions for we could choose to answer…

Did you discover a new author or genre this fall? Did you love them? Not love them?

I originally chose to review the book The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg for my husband. To be honest, I wanted HIM to read it and pass along the info.

That didn’t happen.

I was very surprised to find out that I really enjoyed the book ~ not typically a genre that I would pick up to read or necessarily choose to read. Finding out that it’s part of a new series…sigh. I have a love/hate relationship with series, mainly because I’m too impatient and don’t want to wait to find out what happens! I want to know now {grins}.

I also have really enjoyed the book Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh. It was one that I added onto my list just a few weeks ago, but is something that I really needed to read right now. Simple and straightforward ideas and an easy read too ~ really liked it.

Here’s a look at the books that I read or am still in process of reading:

Completed Fiction

~ Love’s First Bloom by Delia Parr

~ Surrender the Heart by MaryLu Tyndall

~ Masquerade by Nancy Moser

~ The Vigilante’s Bride by Yvonne Harris

~ Take Three and Take Four by Karen Kingsbury

~ Eighth Shepherd & Ninth Witness by Bodie and Brock Thoene

~ A Rush of Wings & The Still of Night by Kristen Heitzmann

~ The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg

~ The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

~ Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

~ The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

~ Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

 

Completed Non-Fiction

~ The Bible ~ finished up my Bible in 90 days at the end of October!!

~ Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

~ Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh

 

Still Working On…

~ Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God by Mary DeMuth

 

Books I Didn’t Start….or Finish

~ Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

~ Tenth Stone by Bodie and Brock Thoene

 

Fall Into Reading 2010 has been hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. Starting Tuesday, December 21st, others will be sharing their reading updates. Katrina will be hosting the Spring Reading Thing 2011 starting this March, so stay tuned for that!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Hair Jello

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Kaleb walked into the house the other day after playing outside in the snow for quite awhile. He pulled his hat off and caught his reflection in the door of a cabinet.

“OH! Mom, my hair is sticking up! I need to put some water and jello in it to fix it!”

Thankfully, he meant gel, but I just had to laugh out loud at that one!

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!! And yes, I know that it’s not Tuesday yet, but I’m still posting it for that {grins}.
 
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Cream Cheese Ginger Bread

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  cream cheese gingerbread Download a 4x6 recipe card for your recipe file here.

When we were reading the book Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, I pulled this together one morning for breakfast with the kids by combining a few recipes and making due with what I had on hand. It is one that we’ll make again during the holidays and fills the house with a definite ‘holiday’ cheer. The kids loved it as our breakfast.

 

Cream Cheese Ginger Bread

Ingredients:

{for filling}
~ 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

~ 1 cup sugar

~ 1/3 cup flour

~ 1 egg

 

{for batter}

~ 3 cups flour

~ 3/4 cup sugar

~ 1 1/2 tsp baking soda & salt

~ 1 tsp. ginger

~ 2 eggs

~ 3/4 cup milk and oil

~ 1/3 cup molasses

~ 1 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions:

1. Mix ingredients for filling together well and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients. Sift together well. In a separate bowl, beat together egg, milk, oil, and molasses. Stir into dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in nuts.
3. Pour 1/3 - 1/2 of batter into a well-greased bundt pan. Spoon filling mixture over top of the batter. Cover filling with remaining batter.

4. Bake at 350 for 45 - 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes and invert on a cooling rack.

5. Dust with powdered sugar.

Note: I used whole wheat flour and coconut oil in my baking and loved the results! Recipe card here.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

That’s My Son!

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If you are ever worried that your kid will be ‘that kid’ in a Christmas program, you just need to make sure that they are in the same program as MY kids. Then you can rest easy and sleep well the nights before the program.

Case in point: Christmas program #1. In the first picture Zachary has decided to help everyone line up CORRECTLY before the program begins {he’s the one front row with the red outfit and blue hat}.

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He also ENTHUSIASTICALLY participated with all the movements {notice the tip toes??}. We stopped him just in time a few minutes later from goofing off in the microphone that you can see right in front of him.

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Case in point: Christmas Program #2.  Before the program even started and the kids were lining up on stage, I heard snickers all around me along with “Yo ~ LOOK!” Guess who? :)

This picture shows the start of Zachary’s ‘wardrobe adjustment’. I was on the other side of the church, so a friend was nice enough to send me shots from her side {he’s the one in the white t-shirt}.

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The adjusting continues…

zachary back to manger 2

Ahhh…that’s better!!

zachary back to manger 3

To his credit, he was given a microphone in this play and did REMARKABLE!!! :)

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I only wish we had video to show him dancing…too much fun! :)

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flag Page Game ~ Review & Giveaway

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imageSeveral months ago I heard about the Kids Flag Page Game from Family Matters from another blogger. The game intrigued me, because it was put together by the author of a book that I have wanted to sit and read for a long time ~ Dr. Tim Kimmel.

This phrase in particular from the game caught my attention:

The Kids Flag Page Game is a fun way for moms and dads to interact with their kids and truly discover the heart of each child—who God created them to be.

Being able to play a game with my kids and discover more about their hearts and desires ~ THAT is something that I definitely wanted to do.

About Kids Flag Page

Overall, the game is easy to play and the concept great ~ you determine your child’s personality type ‘country’ through a series of 36 motivation cards. Your child can belong to one of four countries: Control, Fun, Perfect, and Peace.

Your child sorts through the 36 motivation cards and sorts them to describe herself as Always, Sometimes, or Never. Each card has a short description on the card to help your child understand what it means ~ and your child is to sort the card without parental input {gasp!}. Once the cards are sorted, your child picks out the top six favorite cards. Parents then work out numerical scores to determine a Home Country for their child as well as an Adopted Country {the country that is their next dominant personality trait}.

Once you have determined your child’s personality type, you can learn more about it in the book included with the game. The book provides tips and strategies for parenting a child with that personality type, along with pitfalls that can accompany that personality ~ giving you a ‘heads up’ for things to look out for and boundaries that you can establish for certain personalities.

Playing the Game

I sat down one afternoon with our three oldest to play Kids Flag Page Game with them and try to gain a little more insight into their personalities. Laurianna’s results came out pretty much as I expected them to…and she even further solidified her Home Country {completely unaware} when she illustrated her score card. :)

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I then played the game with McKenna and Zachary. That would be about the point that I thought I had somehow managed to break the game.  Both of their ‘home countries’ came up as Peace.

If you have met either McKenna or Zachary, you know full well that something was wrong with those descriptions.

After talking to some ladies from Family Matters, I was encouraged to sit down with both of them and try again. While I didn’t push them in any direction, I did give them a little more insight into each of the motivation cards and what they meant. The results were MUCH better the second time around.

What I most appreciate about the game is the follow-through that the go-along book provides for the different personality types. I’ve learned much more about things that I can do as a parent for each of my children to encourage their hearts and also things that I need to be careful about so that I don’t crush their spirit and their hearts.

Find Out More

Kids Flag Page Game can be purchased directly from Family Matters. It is designed for children ages 6-11 to do together with a parent. There is an online Flag Page that children 12 and older can use {or adults}.

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The Kids Flag Page includes:

  • Game Board
  • Instruction Booklet
  • 36 Trait Game Cards
  • 4 Countries of the World Chart
  • Kids Flag Page Book by Dr. Tim Kimmel
  • Supplies for 3 Kids Flag Pages
    • Score Cards
    • Stickers


WIN IT!!!

Family Matters has offered to give away a complimentary Kids Flag Page Game to one of my readers!!  To enter to win, leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite parenting resources. I will use Random.org to select the winner on Tuesday, December 21, 2010. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kids Keep You Humble {at least mine do}

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The kids were talking about who had the bigger head in the family and Laurianna finally piped in that she thought I had the biggest head.

McKenna looked up at me and said, “Phew! I’m glad she didn’t say you had a big butt. Even though you do kinda have one.”

If anything, God gave me kids to keep me humble. Heaven forbid I should get a big head. Apparently it’s all behind me instead…

 
 
Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!
 

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Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Get to China from Japan

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According to Google Maps, this is the way to get from China to Japan.

 

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While the map itself looks fine, it’s the written directions that might get a little tricky for you.

At first things look pretty normal:

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But around number 41, things get interesting:

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Not sure what you’re supposed to do with your car at that point, but I’m guessing you’ll have fun walking once you hit the coast of Japan.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

What is Hanukkah? {and a Giveaway!!}

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Today, I’m excited to share video 8 of 12 in the What's in the Bible? 12 Questions of Christmas Blog Tour. Check out www.whatsinthebible.com each day to find the location of the next video in the series. Clive and Ian are answering questions each day and today they explain a little more about what Hanukkah is. Tune in below to hear what they have to say!

What is Hanukkah?

 

What's in the Bible? is the new 13-DVD series from VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer designed to walk kids and families through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. DVDs 1-4 (Genesis - Ruth) are available now. Check out www.whatsinthebible.com to learn more.

We are big fans of the What’s in the Bible? DVDs at our house. They’ve traveled on vacation with us and as a mom, I love that adults can even enjoy them {if not learn a little something from them! Only Phil Visher can make the books of Numbers and Leviticus FUN for kids and have them walk away learning something they will remember.

I’ve listed a few additional resources below, but be sure to check out the rest of the videos in the What's in the Bible? 12 Questions of Christmas Blog Tour! Our kids are crowding around me every day to see them!

~ My review of What’s in the Bible 1 & 2

~ My review of What’s in the Bible 3

~ Visit the What’s in the Bible blog

~ What’s in the Bible Facebook fan page

Giveaway: What’s in the Bible? DVD #1 “In the Beginning”

The folks from What’s in the Bible? have offered FOUR copies of “In the Beginning” DVD to give away to four of my readers! To enter to win, leave a comment below telling me your favorite part of Christmas.

I will use Random.org to select the four winners on Friday, December 17, 2010. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Favorite Prescription

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Who wouldn’t mind taking a prescription like this to help relieve any malady?

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“Dr. Dawn” showed up at my house the other day with my prescription for a Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake already filled and in-hand. Attached to my ‘prescription’ was the following:

Instructions: Consume 1 Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake bid, prn, until kidney stone passes. Then prn just because I said so.

Active ingredients: Calories ~ 700, Love ~ 800, Prayers ~ priceless.

Manufacturer: Chick-fil-A Corporation, Atlanta, GA

Refill as needed.

If only I can convince Rick that this prescription is necessary…and see if our insurance will cover it also.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Few of Our Special Christmas Ornaments

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Every year I love taking out the ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree, especially as the kids ask where the ornaments are from and why we have them. The majority of our ornaments all have a fun story or reason behind them and they always bring back a flood of memories.

This past weekend we hauled our tree up from the basement. Yes, fake Christmas trees are the best trees and you can read about the Great Praying Mantis Tree Incident that spurned that choice}.

decorating the Christmas tree

I love the ceramic ornaments that a friend in high school gave me to help me ‘grow’ my Christmas ornament collection. The same year she gave me this gingerbread man, she also gave me a teeny cow and star…hidden somewhere in my tree. We exchanged ornaments for years ~ so much fun to see them each year. :)

gingerbread man ornament

When I was in the 5th grade, I painted this sled ornament at school as part of a project and it’s been on my tree every year.

sled ornament

One of my favorite ornaments is a memory from a trip we took to Holland a little more than 9 years ago ~ tiny wooden shoes. It was the last time I saw my Oma, since she died Christmas Eve of that same year.

wooden shoes ornament

Last year my mom gave me a few that used to hang on our Christmas tree when we were growing up ~ tiny wooden angels on a delicate gold thread.

angels ornaments

What special ornaments do you have hanging on your tree? Do you have special traditions when decorating your tree?

I would LOVE to see some of your ornaments and hear the stories behind them!! If you want to write a post on your blog and share pictures of your favorites, link up below. Feel free to grab a button to add to your post {coding can be found in my sidebar}. The linky will be open until December 18th, so start linking!

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