Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
In 1890, Julia Cavanaugh travels west from New York City to unite orphans in her care with new families.
Imagine her horror when she discovers that she's to be "delivered," too--as bride to an uncouth miner! But with no return fare, Julia's options are bleak.
What does God have planned for her on the lonesome prairies of Montana?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website: http://www.triciagoyer.com/
Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!
This book was provided for review by the Litfuse Publicity Group.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Nativity Story by acclaimed author Geraldine McCaughrean brings new life to the familiar stories with breathtakingly evocative prose. This sumptuous take on the classic Nativity story, with enduring prose and opulent, stylish illustrations, is a wonderful family keepsake and a delight to read alone or aloud in homes, schools, and churches. This is one that I think is perfect for my budding six-year-old reader!
The Christmas Story (Candle Read and Play) is a neat book that combines both reading and playing. This innovative new series from Candle draws children into the Christmas story through captivating storytelling and interactive fun. Read the Christmas story or make up a story of your own with the eight character pieces within the storage box. I love the idea of including small cardboard pieces so that my three-year old can act out the story as I read it or on her own. My one qwibble with this book is that the book is attached to the box that holds the pieces and it makes for awkward holding. It would be nice if the storage box could be removed from the book without tearing the back of the book, but it is still neat and my girls have loved playing with these.
The Christmas Trio are three simple retellings of the Christmas story, each with a different perspective. The Innkeeper tells the story of Mary and Joseph and how they stayed in the Innkeeper's stable. The Shepherds tells the story of how the angels appeared and how the shepherds traveled to find Baby Jesus in the Bethlehem stable. The Wise Men tells the story of how the wise men followed the star to find the new king. These are great board books, just right for my busy two-year olds hands.
Thank you to Kregel Publications for the review copies of these books. You can also read my review of Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage, also provided by Kregel.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thanks for understanding. :)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
And, if you didn't win and would still like a copy of the book ... you can buy it here.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Things that are making me happy (also a thankful list). :)
~ simplifying (again) in many areas ... maybe even a bit of pruning as opposed to simplifying. Email subscriptions, blogs, books on our shelves. Glad to see clutter we don't need going somewhere else.
~ encouragement from a BFF.
~ good reports from the Dr. at N1's 6 year well check up this week. BBoo also had a recheck of her soft spot (she still has one at 2 1/2). What was a concern at 2 has shrunk considerably, so we are thankful that she doesn't have to go through any testing since it's resolving itself!
~ McDonald's chicken selects with honey mustard.
~ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I've read it before, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the reread.
~ starting a new read-aloud with N1 - The Borrowers!
~ pizza and movie night tonight (UP!) after a day with T home all day with us. (We've still schooled, but we love having him around).
Happy Friday. :)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
This week, Hope is the Word and I are both blogging about our recent chapter book read-aloud that we have finished with our girls. Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall is the story of two mice, Tumtum & Nutmeg Nutmouse, who live at Nutmouse Hall. Their humans, Mr. Mildew and his two children Lucy and Arthur, lead a sort-of pitiful life until the Nutmouses step up and take charge helping the children and keeping up around them home. The Nutmouses are simple folk - they enjoy a good meal, catching up on local mouse new, but certainly do not want to be involved in adventures!
In the first story, Tumtum and Nutmeg, the mice take on evil Aunt Ivy, the children's visiting Aunt. She abhors mice and is on a mission to rid the Mildews' home of these unwelcome pests. Book two is The Great Escape and in this story, the Nutmouses attempt to help their friend General Marchmouse out of a sticky predicament. (General Marchmouse is a quite a character himself). Book three again brings in General Marchmouse, a sunken boat and some pirate rats in The Pirates' Treasure.
My girls loved these stories. There was always the request for one more chapter and, while this is big book, we flew through it in record time. (I feel sure we will reread and revisit these characters soon, we loved them so much). The girls also loved the simple pen and ink sketches that were liberally throughout the stories. For my young chapter book readers, there were just the right amount of pictures to give them something to look at every few pages and keep them hooked into the story.
For Amy's thoughts on Tumtum and Nutmeg, visit Hope is the Word for Read-Aloud Thursday this week, too!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
These two books are advent devotionals for children. Jotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent is the story of ten-year-old Jotham. His adventure takes him across Israel as he searches for his family. He faces thieves, robbers, and kidnappers, Jotham also encounters friendly wise men, shepherds, and innkeepers until at last he finds his way to his family - and to the Savior born in Bethlehem. (This book is actually on sale at a GREAT price on Amazon right now.)
Bartholomew's Passage is another advent storybook. Bartholomew's advent adventure starts when Roman soldiers destroy his village and disperse his family, and continue through his enslavement to a tyrannical master and his escape with his new friend Nathan. It ends with a reunion with his family in Bethlehem - just in time for Christ's birth.
(FYI, there is a third book in the series, Tabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent (Jotham's Journey Trilogy). It is still out of print right now).
I'll be honest and say that although I have been wanting to add these to my library for years, I'm not sure I will use them with my girls this year. After reading through them some, they seem to be more suited for a little bit older child (maybe starting with an 8-9 year old). Jotham's story starts out with his family thinking he has been killed by animals and he is left behind when his family moves their camp. I don't think the story is bad, per se, I just don't know that my girls are old enough to appreciate it.
For more holiday book recommendations, please check out Five Minutes for Books Children's Classics posts today!
Monday, November 09, 2009
The 10th snuck up on me again so a little randomness to kick off this week.
1. I love November. It might be my favorite month of the year, but I'm not sure. Cool days, colder nights, sweatshirts, coffee/hot tea, football, colored leaves, and being thankful.
2. This past weekend was nut-so. On Saturday, N2 & I left home at 9:30 and headed to a baby shower. Back home a little after 1 pm to drop her off and pick up N1 to take her to a friend's birthday party. Back home a little after 4:30 pm to rally the whole family to go to a sweet couple's open house/housewarming party they were having. Back home about 7 pm and crashed!
3. Due to the craziness of Saturday, when we got home Saturday night, I told the girls that Mommy was going to lay in the chair and they could watch a movie with me. :) I picked Sound of Music and we had a ball watching approximately the first 1/2 of the movie. The music in that movie just makes me happy and the girls loved it, too.
4. In other movie news, due to my savvy Netflix skills, I have timed our recent return perfectly so that Up is arriving in our mailbox tomorrow. It is my week to pick our movie for our Friday night family movie and we are all very excited to see Up again after having enjoyed in in the theater so much. If you have not seen, Up, do! It really is wonderful and sweet and precious.
5. I'm taking a break from sugar for a while. I've been off and on with that for some months, but my skin has been rebelling against me and I am going to start weeding a few things out of my diet to see if it helps.
6. This week N1 and I are doing some reading about koalas for school - week two of our Australian animals discussions. (Last week was sharks). I'm really enjoying this and we have learned some super cool facts just this morning. Did you know that koalas have two thumbs?
7. I mentioned a baby shower that I went to on Saturday ... I have to show you a super cute pic of the table decorations. Someone (not me!) had the idea to write the word "baby" on white pumpkins to decorate the table. The young mama is having a little girl, but she's not a huge pink person so there were lots of fall colors splashed around. I thought the pumpkins were super cute (and yes, I did the lettering).
8. While we're talking about the shower, look at this beautiful wrist corsage. My sister does the bookkeeping for a florist shop and they outdid themselves on this corsage. Seriously, check out the cranberries in there! I love it.
9. When I had to buy a gift for N1's little birthday party, I bought some Shrinky Dinks for the birthday girl. I had forgotten all about them and I used to love them as a little girl! I can't wait to get some for N1 at Christmas, and yes, I will be playing with them right along with her.
10. And lastly, I am addicted with making these right now. I believe one can never have too many bookmarks! :) These are also on tap for some crafting with the girls. I'm going to let N1 loose with a paint brush and she will be thrilled!
Thanks, Meredith, for hosting!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Kona with Jonah begins with a brief history of Jonah and Ninevah. Merging historical event with current modern day practicality, Glahn invites readers to take a walk in Jonah's sandals. Coffee sippers will find it hard to escape the similarities as these two worlds collide. Prayer, mercy, city revival and other strong themes will perk the interest and heart of diligent students.
Frappe with Philippians brews for five weeks of strong, powerful conversation about Paul and the heroes of the Philippian church. With detailed study time spent examining the letters of Paul to the Church, readers will come away feeling like they have met with the man himself. With sections entitled "That God Will Get me Out of Here, and Other Prayer Requests Paul Doesn't Make," Glahn keeps the tone of the study light, without disrespecting the seriousness of the study of God's Word.
A Chat Over Coffee w/ Sandra
Women who typically feel they don't have the time to do Bible Study find your studies relevant and easy to use. What's the secret to making the study inviting?
I don't know if there's one secret. Different things appeal to different people. But I do know that with my own personal Bible study time, I've been able to stay fairly consistent Monday through Friday when my daughter is at school. But on the weekends everything changes in our household. Sometimes we travel. Or we sleep later on Saturday. And we rise and go to church on Sunday. Result: my routine gets disrupted. For this reason I often have a more difficult time doing Bible study on the weekends. So I designed the series for Monday-through-Friday study with only short devotional readings on the weekends. The weekday time can require twenty minutes or more; the weekend readings take less than five minutes. I think the studies also appeal to the right-brained person. As an artsy type, I sometimes engage more with the Bible if I can write out a prayer, draw, view a related video, compose a story, sing a song... And I wrote this series with that person in mind. The devotionals are also full of stories, which most of us love to hear. In addition (and this is probably the main reason), when I was working full-time, I wanted a study I could stash in my purse without having to lug a Bible and a commentary. I wanted to use my lunch break for a quiet time without parading my resources in front of people. And I think it helps that the Coffee Cup series books don't look like typical Bible studies; they're all-inclusive (text, commentary, questions included); they're small enough to throw in a briefcase or diaper bag; and they're both spiral and bound--making it easier to use on a treadmill or fold in the lap and write on while sitting. In short they're designed for the multi-tasker. I heard from an ob-gyn who uses them as she's sitting in the doctors' lounge waiting for babies to arrive.
In Kona with Jonah, what do you hope participants will take away and apply to their own lives?
We tend to like our own causes best; we like our own country best; we like our denomination best; we like our own families best; we prefer the schools we attended, the neighborhoods where we grew up, our own political party or cause, our gender--even our brand of peanut butter. And somewhere along the way we cross the line from preference to prejudice. We pray for our loved ones but rarely, if ever, our enemies. Mention atheists, opposing politicians, humanists, materialists, homosexuals, and radical feminists in most churches today, and the response you'll evoke will sound nothing like, "Let's pray right now for God to pour out his love."
Genesis tells us that humans are fellow creations of one maker. The qualities of God that so angered Jonah are the very qualities we most need: grace, compassion, patience, mercy, abundant love, and truth. And not just for those we love--but for those we hate. For those who have wronged us. For those who want us dead. For those with whom we strongly disagree. The only possible way we can demonstrate such remarkable goodness is through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The focus of Frappe with Philippians is the life of Paul and the early church. What kind of historical research did you do and did you learn any surprising facts as you compiled your information?
I think it's enormously important to understand the world in which Paul was writing. Let's take the view of women, for example. The Jews were the most conservative. The Greeks were better, though greatly influenced by Aristotle's low view of women. And the Roman women had the most freedom--even owning property and supervising gymnasiums. Knowing a city's predominant citizenship helps us understand Paul's letters on such issues.
My PhD work relates a lot to the Greek pantheon and Greek and Roman history. The historical backgrounds for the Bible books are essential, and fortunately they interest me.
I also love getting a sense of the geography, if I can. I had the advantage this summer of taking a clipper to follow the journeys of Paul. Some of our stops included Corinth, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, and Athens.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
If you are looking for some contemporary Christian fiction that would fall in the chick-lit category, Tamara Leigh's newest book, Leaving Carolina, should fit the bill for you. The story of Piper, running from her family of black sheep and misfits, she find herself in the spotlight in glamourous Los Angeles, working in PR and almost engaged to a U.S. Congressman. However, the peculiarities of her family have summoned her back home again, and before her buried secrets are unearthed, she tries to help sort out the mess.
Themes in this story such as truth and honesty gives some depth to this otherwise easy read, as well as the thought that the Lord is the one that truly can change a heart. None of the scheming and manipulating of men (or women as we can be prone to do!) will work His purposes for His glory like stepping back and letting Him guide us.
For more info, you can see the official release below!
Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.
Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.
Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
This month the ladies at Five Minutes for Books are having a Louisa May Alcott themed book club. As I pondered about what to read for this (and after some google searching), I settled on Good Wives. I was determined not to blog about Little Women (which I have read until my copy is falling apart). However, Good Wives is actually the same thing as part two of Little Women - when the girls are grown and starting to get married and moving out of childhood. So, see ... I was meant to blog about Little Women. I can't help it. :)