Thursday, December 08, 2011

The big reveal.....drum roll please.............

As you may remember, my latest challenge (in the Christmas decorating category) was to find a festive way to include these in the deco theme.
You can read more about it in my previous post HERE.

So without further ado ( adew, adue, adeue ????????), anyway,  without waiting any longer - here's what I came up with,
First, I covered them with white burlap.  Did you know that white burlap is expensive?  Well, it is.  Don't tell my husdand but it cost more than the lumber he used to build
Next I added the lights:
and happy, bright red bows.  You can't tell in the daylight, but there is a surprise inside each "tree".
Here's what they look like at night, in all their glory:
Can you see the surprise?  I was going to string white lights across the front of each one, but then I decided to hide them inside.  Here's another shot that might show them better:

So, what do you think?  I'd love to hear from you.
Have a very Merry Christmas !

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Yea!!!! Christmas is coming!!

This year I decided that I would do what I had planned to do for several years.  Sort and clean out the old Christmas decorations.  I have ended up with so many half full boxes and collections that I haven't put up in many years (like the massive collection of Santa figurines and mugs, etc.).  Can I just say right now.....WHAT WAS I THINKING ???? !!!!  In the first place, many of the decorations that I haven't used in a while are things my kids made when they were younger and no way am I getting rid of those.  In the second place, after about an hour of sorting, my brain shuts down and I end up not being able to decide what to do with everything.  After all, I might want to use all those silk poinsettias and holly branches some other year and why get rid of them and have to buy more?  See how my mind works?  Oh well, I'll do a little each day and hopefully it will get done in time.  On top of all that, the room that had been storing all the decorations is really a very small bedroom, and as our family grows, we need the room for visiting grandchildren, etc.  The bad part is, it is stuffed to the gills with boxes, toys, and various other "treasures", so while I'm trying to organize Christmas decorations, I'm also trying to clear out and relocate all that junk  stuff.  Where did it all come form??

On another note, I've been trying to get the outside decorations up before we get snow.  The lights are up on the porch, the wreath is on the door, and the garland is on the fence.  My newest project was trying to come up with a festive solution to decorate these:

I had asked my husband to make some covers for our new shrubs to keep the ice and heavy snow off of them.  He suprised me one day with these.  He assures me the shrubs will grow into them. 
 So. I'm using some of this:
In case you can't tell, it's white burlap.  (The cute kitty is not part of the project) and then I'll add these:

It's not finished yet , so come back and I'll post the finished product.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear how you would decorate the shrub covers.

Christmas is coming!  Thank you God for the gift of your Son, the only way to salvation!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble

There are not many books that I want to read again as soon as I finish it.  This was one of the few.  I can’t say LOVE enough!  It grabbed my attention right away and held it all the way to the last page.  There are good guys and bad guys and you never are really sure who is who until the end.  It is a story that will keep you guessing and tug at your heart at the same time.    Here’s what the publisher says about it: 

"Eden’s hope is rekindled when Clay delivers astounding news: their daughter has been found.
Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson’s baby was stolen and never found. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

Now Eden’s moved to a new town. She’s found faith and is trying to rebuild her life. She’s even dating again—a sweet guy who plans to marry her someday. But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: they’re still married. What’s more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time. And he believes he’s found her: their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch.

To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch. Working together, they rediscover their love for each other. But danger is closing in—Eden, Clay, and their young charges are in jeopardy. As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along. And His plans are for a more abundant life than they’ve dared to hope."

The characters are very believable and the circumstances they find themselves in are realistic. You are reminded that in real life, bad things do happen to good people, but God is always walking with us.  There are many twists and turns in the plot.  The only thing I had a slight problem with was the number of characters to keep track of.  But, in all honesty, the author does such a good job of introducing and explaining them, that it's only a very small annoyance.  This is a clean, suspenseful romance full of mystery and faith.

I’ve read other Colleen Coble books and really liked them but of all the ones I’ve read, this is the best!!  5 stars out of 5!
Don't trust my humble an exerpt for yourself! 


I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donika K. Paul

This was a hard review for me to write. I really wanted to like this book . This is what the publisher’s web site says about it...

Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?

In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.

Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.

This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?”

Can you blame me after that set up?  What I wasn’t prepared for was all the references to wizardry and magic. It’s obvious the author thought it might be a problem too since she describes a wizard as meaning old and wise, several times in the book.  Depending what dictionary you use, the definitions of wizard include, “ a wise man, one skilled in magic, a conjurer, enchanter, sorcerer.”  The Bible warns Christians to stay away from anything that might be connected to the occult.  I just couldn’t meld the two in my mind.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been projected as Christian fiction, but rather as a fantasy.  The story, minus the “spooky” wizardriness, is basically a cute story. The disappearing streets, miraculously appearing tickets, etc. would have just seemed fairy tale-ish had the author not tried to wed it to Christianity.  While the book doesn’t go into all the details of wizardry, I can’t recommend it as Christian fiction.  That being said, it is a very easy read and the artwork on the dust cover is beautiful. The down-syndrome sister of the male main character is delightful and refreshing in her simplistic grasp of Christianity and there are many humorous incidents that leave you chuckling. 

You can read an experpt here:
Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball by Donita K. Paul (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

You can make up your own mind, I rate this book a 2 out of 5 stars. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books and Waterbrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why book reviews?

Since this blog is soon to be dedicated to only book reviews, I thought I'd tell you a little about the how's and why's I rate and review books .

For the most part, I receive complimentary copies and advanced reader copies from a variety of publishers.  If I don't like a book, I can say so. But really, why would I request a book that I know ahead of time I'm not going to like?   Most of the time, I can say that I have liked the books I have reviewed.  There have only been a couple that disappointed me.  (My next review is one of those, sadly).  Many of them I have REALLY liked (I've got one of those coming up too!).

I'm not one of those readers who reads for reading's sake.  I have to be interested in what I'm reading, so  I try to request books that I anticipate enjoying.  I'm not a literary genius and I don't want to feel like I'm preparing for an English test.  If I have to have a dictionary next to me just to get through a chapter, it's not for me.  I also don't want to have to figure out what deep, philosophical meaning the author is trying to convey. I want to be interested in the characters and be involved in their lives, loves, struggles, etc.  I want to be able to picture the landscape and surroundings.  If you haven't guessed by now, I tend to read mostly fiction, preferably Christian historical romance or Amish romance.  Non-fiction reminds me too much of a textbook....been there, done that, not doing it again.  That's not to say I haven't learned anything from all this fiction reading.  I've learned that not all Amish orders are the same, that women really did get on a stage and travel for weeks to marry a man they had never met and that Western New York state was once 'the frontier'.   I've also learned to be thankful that I don't live in the bygone years.  I like buying my soap at the grocery store and throwing my clothes in the washing machine instead of hauling them to the river. I like plugging my vacuum cleaner in to clean my carpets instead of dragging them outside and beating them with a stick.  We can complain all we want about how hard our lives are, but we don't have it anywhere near as hard as our 'founding mothers'.  

So, there it is....why I read and write reviews.  Oh, and did I mention I really like getting free books? Well, I do, alot.  I have quite a library now, and my daughters will tell you that I am very protective of my books.  If they want to borrow one, it gets signed out to them. Not kidding! 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Changes afoot.....

Sometime, in the not too distant future, I will be starting a new blog.  This one, A Touch of Heaven, will be reserved for book reviews.  The new one will be for news, Etsy product introductions, and what ever else I want to chat about.  So here is where you, the reader, comes in.....I need to choose a name for the new blog.   So... leave a comment with your suggestions and we'll see what happens. I can't wait to see what you come up with!!

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer - a book review

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I really liked this book.  It’s set in Alaska in 1898 and Sawyer’s descriptions of the landscape and her attention to historical details takes your imagination back to those frontier days and Alaskan wilderness.

The story opens by introducing us to Lizzie Dawson, part Athabascan and part white.  Her white father left her when she was twelve years old.  She and her mother were left to fend for themselves because the tribe  has “shunned” them.  After her mother dies, Lizzie is left to survive on her own, and she does an admiral job of it, with only the company of her sled dogs. She becomes totally self sufficient.  However, she longs to grant her mother’s dying wish, to bring reconciliation between her and her grandparents.  Once she has accomplished that, she plans to leave and find her father.

Meanwhile, Clay Selby and his step sister, Vivian, arrive in the Indian community to set up a mission school.  They become acquainted with Lizzie and begin to form a friendship with her.  The tribal leaders warn Clay not to continue his friendship with her or risk losing his school.  His father was a great missionary and he has always longed to follow in his footsteps. He struggles with making the right decision.

Vivian, on the other hand, chooses to keep visiting with Lizzie in the hopes she can teach her the tribal ways and in exchange, Vivian helps Lizzie learn to “be” white.

This is a story of love, forgiveness, sorrow, faith, acceptance, racial and cultural differences, and spiritual lessons.

 I do wish that Vivian’s romance, (you know there had to be one!) was more developed, but maybe that’s for another book.  We can hope!

You can read an excerpt here:

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Out of Control - a book review

Yep, another book review.  I've been knocked down by a nasty cold so I'm having to play catch-up. 

This review is for Mary Connealy's, Out of Control, The Kincaid Brides, book 1. 

As this story opens we find Julia, a young women obsessed with fossils, stuck in a dark cave.   Her screams are heard by Rafe Kincaid, the rancher who owns the land the cave is on.  He has promised himself that he would never go back into the cave after his brother suffers a devestating accident while exploring there. When Rafe hears her screams he knows he has to go back in to the cave and get her out.

 Rafe is used to being in control of his family, ranch and most areas of his life, except when it comes to the cave. Julia is used to taking care of herself since her mother died.   Julia’s father leaves her alone for days at a time, in an old shack to fend for herself.  She was looking forward to coming of age to leave when her father brings home a new wife, almost the same age as herself and who has a toddler daughter. She soon becomes pregnant and Julie finds herself becoming responsible for three more people. 

Of course, when two strong willed, independent people come together you can usually expect lots of personality clashes and fireworks and the author doesn’t disappoint us.  Mary Connealy draws the reader into emotions and feelings of the characters.  This book has suspense, mystery, emotion, tension and lots of humor.  While spirituality and faith are mentioned, they are not the focus that I would have liked to have seen.  I was impressed with Julia’s stepmother and her commitment to her marriage, even thought her husband neglected her and was unfaithful. 

This story takes place in the 1800’s in the Colorado Territory and the author does a wonderful job of describing the landscape and environment.

While I enjoyed reading this book I can only give it a 3 out of 5 rating.  Some of the situations are a little unbelievable and I wish the author had delved more into the faith of the characters. 
You can go here to read an exerpt, see the trailer and find purchase information.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Forsaking All Others - a book review

Forsaking All Others, The Sister Wife Series  by Allison Pittman   

Forsaking All Others is the second book in this series. I have not read the first one, but found I didn't have to in order to enjoy this book.  The author does a good job of ‘reviewing’ the story through a letter written by the main character.
Camilla Fox left  home against her parent’s wishes when she was  15 year old. She marries Nathan Fox a young man who is also Morman. She is so infatuated with her new husband and relieved to be away from her overly strick father, she joins the Mormon Church. She and Nathan have two little girls, Melissa and Lottie, and then a little boy, Arlen, who dies. Her Husband decides to take another wife, as is the custom in early Mormanism.  Camilla is devastated and finds herself drawn back to her Christian upbringing. She knows that she has been following a false God, and decides to leave. This is where we meet her in the second book. She has successfully escaped her husband’s home but gets caught in a life threatening snow storm.  She is rescued by the U.S. Military and comes under the protection of Army Colonel Charles Brandon. She is slowly brought back to health.
She knows she must return for her daughters to save them from the same life she had just escaped.  She also knows she must make amends with her family especially when she hears her father is dying.  Camilla has to make many heart wrenching decisions but underneath them all is her desire to do God’s will.  She is taken care of, protected but also rejected and betrayed.  Many times in the story the reader is brought to the edge of disaster.  You will hold your breath at times, wipe a tear or two, feel anger and then joy as you read this book.

I highly recommend this book, not only because it is an enjoyable and enticing read but because it is also historically accurate in regards to the early Morman religion. 

There are reading group discussion topics and a section of group questions.

Watch the trailer!

Visit the author's website to learn more about her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thanksgiving roundup

Pretty soon, everyone around here will start putting up their decorations for Halloween.  I'm always amazed on how elaborate some of them are.  I've noticed some homes, with their overabundance of orange and black lights, blow-up monsters, and other scarey, evil looking creatures, leave them up FOREVER.  (Don't get me started!) Now, I will admit, when our children were little, we also decorated , usually a day or two before the official trick or treat night.  At that time, there were no orange and black lights. We usually hung some of that fake cobweb stuff with spiders and bats and for a few years we had a door mat that spewed screams and weird noises when you stepped on it.  Usually, the decos came down with in the week (unlike my Christmas ones that my husband would like left up until spring, I think I made it to Valentines Day one year -NOT KIDDING).  My point is...these spooky, scarey decorations get left up right until time for the Christmas ones to go up.  Where did Thanksgiving go?  Have you noticed in the stores we skip right from swim suits to Halloween to Christmas?  No Thanksgiving, unless you count a few paper mache pumpkins and silk maple leaves.  

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, here's a little round's more than turkey!!!!!

A wreath made of natural things....go scrounge in your yard or take a walk in the country and pick up stuff.  Lots more great Thanksgiving ideas here.

Love this!!!! Find more great suggestions on this web site.

Something to think about........... I found that on a blog called

And who can think of Thanksgiving without thinking of this?  For more Thanksgiving thoughts check out this blog.

And this........yum !!  If you're into frugal living then check this out.  (btw, my turkey never looks like this)

The BHG never fails if you're looking for decorating ideas!  I love these wreaths. So pretty!

Personally, I would love to skip over Halloween and go right to Thanksgiving.  What does your family do for Thanksgiving?  We get as many of us as possible together for the day and have the traditional turkey with all the fixin's meal.  My daughter makes the pies because she makes the best pie crust ever!  For those of us who can't be together, there's always a few phone calls. At some point around that time many of us pile into cars and meet up at my parents house.  Thanksgiving Day also marks a very important day in our house..... it's the official, Mom approved, first day of Christmas music!  We listen to it as we cook, as we drive.......all other cd's are tucked away, the record player is dusted off and the LP's come out of hiding.  And....the cheesey Christmas movies!! Can't wait!!
It's coming!!! Yea! 
But first, let's remember to be thankful, for the good and the bad (wow, that's hard).  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28 NIV

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Harvest of Grace Book Review

The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall, is the third book of the Ada’s House series.  I had read the first two quite a while ago but had forgotten the characters and plots.  Fortunately, Woodsmall introduces this book with a ‘the story so far’ prelude which refreshed my memory.  While the characters from the first two books are involved in this one, the story line revolves around a lesser character from a previous book, Aaron, and a new character, Sylvia.

Sylvia, the oldest of 8 daughters, loves farming. Her father has let her work the farm but when it comes to decisions, he leaves her out of the process. She falls in love with a young Amish man but when he asks to marry her, she hesitates because she has overheard her father discussing his plans to turn the farm over to him after he and Sylvia marry. Because of her indecision, he ends up marring someone else, her sister. A few years later she has an incident with him that shames her, so she asks to leave the family farm. While her father knows nothing of the shameful incident that occurred, he agrees to allow her to work for an older couple, the Blanks, whose daughter has died a year ago and whose son is off at rehab for drinking. She becomes like a daughter to them and is slowly making their farm profitable.  However, when the son, Aaron comes home, all that changes. He has come home to try to convince his father to sell the farm. Sylvia and Aaron end up having to work together and they soon find themselves attracted to each other. They each have different goals for the farm. She hopes to make it profitable so the Blanks can continue to live there. Aaron, on the other hand, wants to make it just profitable enough to pay off the debts and sell it.  While Aaron continues to fight his addiction and the contentious relationship with his father, he and Sylvia find forgiveness, acceptance and love.

There a several sub-plots based on characters from the previous two books in the series which add another layer of intrigue and emotion.  This third book brings all the characters and stories from all three books to a pleasing and satisfying concusion.  It is a wonderful, uplifting book, a loving portrayal of Old Order Amish life.

The author provides an added bonus with a list of characters and a glossary.
To read the first chapter click on the link below:
The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall (ch. 1 excerpt)

I received a complimentary advance reading copy of this book from Blogging for Books and WaterBrook Press  through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, September 02, 2011

A bit of this....a bit of that.....

So.....I don't have a book review ready , no contest, no insightful ponderings. I'm just going to show you what I've been up to lately.

We had some cooler days last week so I spent some time on my front porch watching these little beauties:

See him there on the phone line?
As far as I can tell, I have four regular feeders (?), feedees(?), feedists (?). Anyway, there are four that come and eat. One is a bully and doesn't like it when the others are there. If he weren't so cute, I'd get mad at him.

I've also made a new hat pattern and posted the hat in my Etsy shop.
Now your little 'punkin' can look like a little pumpkin!

And, because I apparently had nothing better to do.......
I made something from these:
This is what I came up with.................

TA DA!!!!!!  My first, and probably last attempt at garden art:

And remenber when I showed you my front yard garden earlier?
Well, I told you then that the green and white ground cover would all come back, and boy did it!  Along with a bunch of other stuff, like clover and crabgrass.  So here's what it looks like today...
Note to not plant trailing nasturtium next year. I thought they would just crawl around and blossom throughout, but there were/are very few blossoms and lots of long, leggy stems.  Also, I'm gonna have to transplant alot of those hostas.  And can you even see my cute little shrubs in all that foliage?  Trust me, they're there.
Now, I just have decide how I'm going to decorate that area for Christmas
since I don't have the humongous bush there.
Any ideas?

I'm linked HERE:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Healing Hearts by Beth Wiseman: A book review

This is a collection of three previously published novellas. 

The first of the three, ‘A Choice to Forgive’ is centered around Lydia, a widow with three children. Her husband, Elam, dies after fifteen years of marriage.  His brother, Daniel, who had been shunned and living with the English, returns two years after his death.  Lydia was engaged to Daniel, but he left her with very little explanation.  His brother, Elam becomes her good friend and she eventually falls in love with him and marries him.  When Daniel, returns, he brings with him questions and secrets.  Lydia struggles with long lost feelings and we see her try to forgive Daniel. 

The second novella is ‘A Change of Heart’. This story is about Leah, a young woman who wants to be a writer.  However, young Amish girls are not encouraged in such endeavors. Leah’s father wants her to learn to be a good frau, but Leah has no interest at all in cooking, cleaning or sewing.  Aaron, a young Amish man, becomes interested in Leah and a romance develops.  There is conflict, love, mystery, humor and forgiveness in this story.  I found this to be my favorite of the three.  There is also a delightful character named Ruth, Aaron’s aunt, who left the community before she was baptized. She returns for a visit and adds some very humorous, touching and enjoyable moments.

The third story is ‘Healing Hearts’.  I have read this before in another collection. “Healing Hearts” is unusual in that the main characters are not a young couple discovering love. Rather, its about a married couple married for more than 30 years suffering from the empty nest syndrome and working to rediscover the love that they had when they were young. The husband, Naaman, has come home after leaving his family for a year.  His older children are not as forgiving as his younger children and his wife struggles with trying to be the wife she feels God wants her to be and her own feelings of doubt and resentment.  This is a story of forgivness and rediscovered love.

All three stories were enjoyable and uplifting.  They are easy, fun and clean reading and will keep you captivated until the end. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

From the Thomas Nelson web site:

Healing Hearts

A Collection of Amish Romances

Trade Paper

Three hope-filled stories about second chances, trusting your heart, and the power of forgiveness.

Healing Hearts—Empty-nesters Levina Lapp and her husband Naaman have no children under their roof for the first time in 30 years. When Naaman leaves to visit cousins in Ohio, Levina never expected him to be gone a year. Now that he's back, will they be able to move beyond this estrangement and rekindle the fire of the love they once shared?

A Change of Heart—Leah is a writer in a community that does not encourage such fruitless endeavors. She lacks the skills necessary to be a good Amish fraa—cooking, cleaning, quilting, and gardening. Aaron is aware of Leah's short-comings, but his heart is captured by this spirited young woman. Will Leah's role as an Amish wife and mother force her to set aside her creative life—or will Aaron make an offer she never dreamed was possible?

A Choice to Forgive—Lydia has loved two men in her life. Daniel, who disappeared one Christmas Eve long ago, leaving only a note saying he wanted to live in the Englisch world. And Elam, Daniel's brother, to whom she had been happily married for 15 years. When Elam dies, Lydia gives up on ever loving again. But she is shocked when Daniel wants to return to the Order and her life. Is there enough forgiveness in her heart to overlook the past and move into a future that could fulfill her dreams?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great book giveaway!!!

This is a great giveaway for 4, count 'em,  4  Beth Wiseman books. I've read several Beth Wiseman books and have loved every one of them.  If you're not a fan of Amish fiction, I challange you to give it a try.  There is a bunch of difference between authors....some are very sweet and what some may call 'white washed' but always soul and spirit soothing.....and there are some who are more realistic and down to earth.  After you've read a few, you'll zero in on a few favorties.  Beth Wiseman is one of mine.  To get back to the just go to this blog and follow the directions, make sure to leave your email in each entry.   I hope you win.....well, sort of....I really hope I win, 'cause I entered too, but I 'sort-of' hope you win!  haha.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Children's Bible Book Review

My First Hands-On Bible  - a review

From the Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. website:
 My First Hands-On Bible is the preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold over a half million copies. Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations; My First Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way. My First Hands-On Bible is a fun and simple yet meaningful way to engage preschool, pre-K, and K children (ages 3-6) with the Bible while helping them build a solid faith foundation. Each lesson focuses on a specific Bible point through a variety of activities in order to reinforce and help young children remember the stories and lessons. Using common household items, you can help your children have a “hands-on” learning experience while engaging them in 85 key stories from the Bible. My First Hands-On Bible doesn’t just retell the Bible stories; it also includes actual Scripture from the easy-to-understand and easy-to-read Holy Bible, New Living Translation. In addition to the stories and activities, there are fun illustrations, prayers, and a special Jesus Connection feature.

I recently received a copy of this children’s Bible to review from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.   The first thing I noticed was the hardcover – nice!!  The graphics on the cover are cute and would appeal to youngsters.  My only concern with this book is that it uses the New Living Translation, not a translation I’m very familiar with.  It also “abridges’ the text for age appropriateness.  As I looked through the various passages, I was impressed with how closely the publishers stayed with the Biblical text.  They didn’t add anything to the Bible stories to make it more appealing, like forest animals talking to each other, or butterflies at the crucifixion,  etc.  Not that there couldn’t have been butterflies at the cross, it just isn’t in the Bible.

As the title states, this is a hands-on Bible.  There are activities to do with your child to help reinforce the story. A big plus for parents who need some guidance  in that area. Each passage has a section after the Bible reading with questions and discussion starters.  There is also a short prayer to say with your child.  While I’m not a fan of recited prayers, I think if a parent were to use this Bible with their child everyday, it might instill in them a habit of reading God’s word and then spending time in conversation with Him.  Each story also has a ‘Jesus connection” that helps to relate the story with Jesus. For instance, in the story of Esther, the Jesus connection is “Esther had to wait for permission to see and talk to the king. But we can talk to King Jesus anytime!”

The Hands-On Bible begins with Genesis 1 and ends with Revelation 22.  Aside from my indecision about the New Living Translation, I love this book. The graphics are well done, simplistic and sweet.  I wish I had had this when my children were small, and I look forward to sharing this with my grandchildren.  

So if you’re looking for a child friendly, Scripturally based, Bible story book, I highly recommend Tyndale’s “My First Hands-on Bible”
Look for it at your favorite book store or search your favortie on-line book stores or you can go to the Tyndale website and choose from a drop down list of stores.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I remember when......

I know 56 isn't THAT old, even though my creaking joints sometime contradict that  thought.  I was reading an article on the internet recently that spoke of things our children or grandchildren will never know or see.  That got me thinking about all the changes I've encountered over these 56 years. See if these sound familiar to you or, if you're a youngster (say 30 or younger), ask your parents.

I remember:
- when you had to get up and walk to the TV and turn a knob to change the channel or volume

-when you couldn't walk all over talking on your phone because you were tethered to the phone by a spiraled stretchy cord

-standing under the eaves  during a summer rain, no clorinated water and we didn't die from it

-when you could trick-or-treat in a group of kids and walk all over town (with out parents)  with only the fear of a teenager jumping out from behind a bush and scaring you or getting egged

-the smell of burning leaves in the fall

-watching my mom paste her green stamps in her booklet so she could take it to the store and get free stuff

-when 55 mph was fast

-when Sunday was a day for church and family

-sitting next to a record player and listening to 45's

-having play clothes, school clothes and church clothes, and you only wore them for that purpose

-helping my mom wash the clothes in a wringer washer

-when 6 pm was dinner time, without fail, and everyone sat at the table unless you were sick

-when there were only 3 TV stations and sometimes they didn't come in very well so your Dad had to climb up on the roof and turn the antenae

-when TV's first were colorized and the old lady up the street couldn't get over how beautiful the colors on Bonanza looked

-one of the cars my parents owned that had a push button transmission. I think it might have been a Dash Rambler

-wearing 2 sweaters, 2 pair of socks and 2 pair of pants and tights, under a winter coat just to play in the snow.  It took longer to suit-up than to actually play, and heaven help you if you had to go the the bathroom!

-mopping a floor with a string mop and bucket of soapy water

-when lighting the Christmas tree was a big deal because you could only leave the lights on for a short while before they got too hot.

-when telephone numbers began with letters

- when milk came in glass bottles, or in a can from the farm

-when you had to peddle your sewing machine

- when , if your parents said 'no' they meant 'no', and you didn't argue

-Clark photo lab - where you sent your camera film to be developed

-buying candy and bubble gum for a penny

-when you washed cleaning rags to use again, and again, and again

-when women wore hats to church

-when saying "because I said so" wasn't a crime

-when bicycles didn't have gears

-when spanx was what you got when you disobeyed your parents

-when you could watch TV and not see people in their underwear or using fowl language

-when dishwashers were called 'Mom' (ok, that's one thing I don't miss at all!  I think I've mentioned in another post how much I LOVE my dishwasher)

Phew, my 56 year old brain is tired. Now it's your turn.  What do you remember that your children or grandchildren will never know? I'd love to hear !!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The winner of the cup cozy / mug shrug giveaway is..............................Jenn!  I had a whopping 5 entries who "liked" my facebook page,  and that's who the random generator thingy picked.  I'll be getting with her so she can choose which style she'd like.  Now that the giveaway is over, I'll be listing three different styles in my Etsy shop, A Touch of Heaven.  Congrats Jenn!

Some things you might like....

I wanted to share some really cool things I've found whilst looking at some of my fav websites and blogs. 
Speaking of will be here before you know it.....
I found this cute little fellow when I jumped from HERE to this girl's blog.  She even gives the directions!

Look at these!   Soooooooo ca-ute!  These were made and featured here.  She also has the link to the free pattern.  I'm gonna have to make some of these!

Brilliant!  A lego/toy mat/bag.  Why, oh why didn't someone come up with these when my kids were little? This would be really easy to make.  You could even applique roads, buildings and trees on the inside so all those little cars that always seem to get lost under the couch, have a place to drive! 

Can I have this sewing room, please?

Yet another use for an old door

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