Book Review: A Very Merry Christmas Prayer

A Very Merry Christmas Prayer (A Time to Pray) arrived this month in my mailbox!

I have to say, I’ve had the hardest time not wanting to dive into Christmas. The bug has hit early this year!

This is a charming book. At a time of year when it is easy for children to think about what they want, it reminds us to give thanks to God for His many gifts and especially of His son, Jesus.

Some features of A Very Merry Christmas Prayer:

  • Board Book perfect for toddlers (but some of my older children loved it, too!)
  • Shaped book (my children loved this feature- it added interest for their little hands!)
  • Glitter accents on the cover
  • Beautiful illustrations (the snow scenes are so beautiful, I found myself looking at all the little snowflakes)
  • The entire story points back to celebrating the birth of Christ while we go about the celebration of the Christmas season.

From the back of the book:

“These little woodland animals are full of joy over so many blessings from twinkling lights and sparkling snowflakes to family fun and the gift of God’s love. Join the celebration with gratitude and make this your own very merry Christmas prayer!”

Precious Moments 5 Minute Bedtime Treasury (Book Review)

This month, I received a copy of Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury to review.

I have long been a fan of Precious Moments. Even the topper on my wedding cake was a Precious Moments figurine that still sits in a cabinet in my bedroom.

The Precious Moments characters have long been a sweet reminder of positive and uplifting messages.

The Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury is no exception.

The following are some highlights of this book:

  • Gorgeous, hard-back book has a padded cover with foil star accents (I adore the charming accents Tommy Nelson adds to their books. There is something exciting about reading the book when the outside is so pretty!)
  • Book is 192 pages
  • This book is suitable for gifting and features a satin bookmark and dedication page
  • Book is divided into sections that feature attributes of God- “God is Trustworthy”, “God is Good”, and “God is Love”
  • Helpful tips are included for creating a bedtime routine for your children
  • Similar to a family Bible, a fill-in family tree is included
  • An “All About Me” section is included for children to personalize the book
  • There is also a church record for a child to record special ceremonies, classes that have been attended, vacation Bible schools, and church camps
  • The back can be personalized by an adult in the section entitled, “A Prayer From Someone Who Loves Me”.
  • The last page is a place for a child to record their own prayer

Each story selection is a re-telling of the most well-known Bible stories. They give a Bible reference, and a promise from the Word.

Of course, the entire book is filled with the soft Precious Moments illustrations that are loved by many and make perfect bedtime story companions.

This book would make a very sweet baby gift or could be a nice addition to a home library for your own child’s bedtime story book.

Community Fellowship Reminder- November 10th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Lulu Tutu Win or Lose I Love You! (Book Review)

4H is a whole new world for my family. In the past, we tried 4H and never could really get a program started. Now, we’re part of a thriving 4H community and my children are involved in all sorts of wonderful learning adventures.

Our first project was the 4H chick chain. It involved raising chicks to full-grown hens. In the end, they went to auction with some of their chickens and competed against other children to test their knowledge of the chickens they have raised.

The entire experience was fascinating and though the children did learn quite a lot about chickens, there were certainly larger lessons about sportsmanship- there were those who came in right at the top, and those who didn’t.

The children who won awards needed to learn to shake hands and encourage those who didn’t do so well. Those who didn’t win needed to learn to congratulate those who did better and rather than dwell on the negative, find positive things about their experience.

Because we had not been part of something like this with these younger children, I spent the entire summer teaching and preparing them for the outcome of the chicken show.

In the end, I was so proud of each of them.

This month, I received a copy of Lulu Tutu’s Win or Lose I Love You! by Lysa Terkeurst.

Full of adorable illustrations, Lulu and her friend Max, join their animal friends for a day of friendly competition. In the end, there are those who are not such good winners and those who are not so good at losing. Lulu encourages them to think of others before themselves and learn to forgive when others fall short of the way they should behave.

From the back of the book:
“You may not win, but you must try. Sometimes you’ll lose, but there’s no need to cry. Win or lose, one thing that’s true- No matter what, I love you!”

The end of the book includes a page of Bible verses to encourage children to show love towards others whether they win or lose.

Book Review: NKJV Study Bible for Kids

This has been a year of replacing Bibles in our family.

Courtney’s Bible literally has entire books falling out of the binding. My little ones have either outgrown the version we originally purchased, or the book is just completely worn out.

Needless to say, we’ve been shopping around to replace them. It’s been interesting to look through the many different versions available and the options each now have- I have been carefully considering the needs of each child and making decisions on what they need.

This month, Tommy Nelson sent me a copy of the NKJV Study Bible for Kids.

Some features of this Bible include:

Hardback cover
Bright colors that are child-friendly and fun
Suitable for gifting, this Bible contains a dedication page
Satin bookmark for keeping your place
Background information on the NKJV
Each book has an introduction that includes information about who wrote it and the highlights of the book
Information about where Biblical events occurred along with full-color maps
Spotlight sections that further discuss particular Bible events, and how they apply to life today
Profiles of major Biblical people

The one thing I didn’t care for so much was the page navigation on the side of the pages rather than the top (my preference).

This Bible is headed into Emma’s hands. I think it will be a great Bible for her age.

Community Fellowship Reminder- October 13th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Book Review: Read Me a Bible Story 365

Our evening devotions are one of my favorite times of the day. It’s that time when we can sit and snuggle in the living room. Daddy most often reads from the Bible or one of our family devotional books. We listen and ask questions.

It is a time to share concerns and prayer requests. The house begins to wind down for the day and everything is just a little more quiet, (which is a rare happening in this house!).

Read Me a Bible Story 365 is one of the books I received for review this month. It’s fun to look through these devotional books since we are always looking for the next book or topic for our nightly devotional time.

Details of this book include:

  • Hardback book
  • Gift dedication page in front of book
  • Approximately 222 pages
  • Stories broken down into dates to make reading a story a day easy
  • Scripture reference included for each story
  • Simple illustrations make the stories come to life as you read to your child
  • Illustrations are done in a variety of styles to hold a child’s interest
  • Written for children ages 4-8 years. (I found that my younger children also enjoyed these stories.)

I love that these stories are simplified so even my younger children understand (in a simple way) these stories they will hopefully be reading for themselves, from their own Bible, as they grow older.

Read Me a Bible Story 365 would make a good gift for parents who are just trying to learn how to teach devotions to their family during their own family time each day. The simple structure and stories are easy to read and understand. The scripture reference would allow the parent to go straight back to scripture, for their own reference, or maybe as a follow-up with older children.

Community Fellowship Reminder- October 13th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

Book Review: God Bless Our Fall

Do you have plans for fall?

Each year, I have HUGE plans for fall. They don’t always work out, but if I have some kind of plan, it does seem that we get more done.

Fall makes me want to bake yummy things, find fall activities to do with my children, and sit back to experience a beautiful new season, (my favorite season of the year!).

Fall has arrived in our home state. The weather is turning cooler. The leaves now cover my back porch. We’ve been raking and adding mulch to the garden beds to cover them for winter.

So far, we have decorated the house and are super-busy preparing for our annual fall fellowship.

This very morning, Jessica is simmering apple cider on the stove.

In the summer, I participated in a blogger program that made each week memorable by creating intentional projects to be completed each week.

This fall, I’m more on my own. I have found several bucket lists (I really liked this one!), to help with ideas and planning. (We don’t celebrate Halloween, so I’ll be changing this just a bit to better fit my family and the things we would like to try to finish this fall.)

I’m praying that the Lord would bless me with some good ideas to make this fall extra-special for my family.

This month, (and with great timing!), I have had the opportunity to review a charming book called God Bless Our Fall. It was a perfect book to review considering all the fall planning that is happening around our home!

Details of this book include:

  • Foil embellishment on the front of the book
  • Rounded-edge board book
  • 20 pages long
  • Designed for ages 0-4 years
  • Written by Hannah C. Hull, Illustrated by Steve Whitlow

I adore that Tommy Nelson books are family-focused. This one is page-after-page of animal parents and their interaction with their children as they experience many different, wonderful parts of the fall season.

I love that the illustrations in God Bless Our Fall are soft and full of the warm colors of the fall season. It is a beautiful book.

The theme through the pages remains reminding children who made fall and giving thanks to God for the beauty He has created. It’s a lesson I want my children to take with them as we experience fall in our own home.

The pages are full of the sights and sounds of fall and have given me some ideas for things I would like to share with my own children!

So what are your plans? How do you organize your plans so time doesn’t pass by without you finishing your planned projects.

Book Review: God’s Good News (Devotions from Billy Graham)

My first review book this month for Tommy Nelson is God’s Good News Bible Storybook.

I grew up watching Billy Graham on TV. It seemed that most of the nation stopped for his broadcasts (or at least that was my perception).

As I grew older, I learned more about his ministry to presidents that spanned decades. My husband had the opportunity to go and apply for a position with his son at Samaritan Ministries.

September’s Tommy Nelson book selection included a beautiful book from Billy Graham.

Paul and I are always looking for ways to teach our little ones about God, how to pray, and about a life of faith.

I enjoy sharing books like this one since it is full of scripture.

Some quick facts about this book:

  • There are 74 devotions, in this 192 page book.
  • It has a beautiful, padded, glossy cover that would be a beautiful addition to a book shelf.
  • It includes a dedication page, if you are choosing to give this book as a gift, and includes a satin bookmark.
  • The devotions are broken into Old and New Testament selections.
  • Each devotion is introduced with a selection from scripture, and then followed by thought-provoking words from Billy Graham.
  • If you follow one of the Amazon links on the page, you can listen to  a portion for free

From the back of God’s Good News Bible Storybook:
“Christianity is Good News…
When we open up the Bible,
it is Good News from cover to cover.
It’s the Good News that God loves us.”
–Billy Graham

“God’s Good News Bible Storybook invites your children to experience God through powerful stories from His Word, the Bible. They will imagine the walls of water in the parted Red Sea…figure out why Joseph chose to forgive his brothers…read about a paralyzed man Jesus healed from a distance…discover God’s exciting plan for their lives. Most of all this Bible storybook helps kids understand God’s incredible love for them.

With Bible stories told with actual Bible text, this storybook teaches children the most amazing news in the universe – that God loves us, saves us from our sin, and invites us into a new life with Him. Each entry includes the wisdom of Billy Graham, who spent his life helping people all over the world understand and respond in faith to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that God loves us-
and that is great news!”

Homeschooling: Our First Month

Our first month of homeschooling has officially come to an end.

When I posted after our first week, I was very happy with the direction we were taking.

It’s been an exciting year, so far. With exactly one month done, my children still adore the curriculum we are using. That makes this mama a very happy woman.

The following are the updates to what we are using:

Scheduling Software

We are still using the Illuminations 1 software for our over-all scheduling of the rest of our school work.

I’m still astounded that I’ve not spent more than an hour planning this entire year for my children. If you are using curriculum from Bright Ideas Press, you click on the curriculum and the assignments are plugged in for you to cover each week (it can be customized easily).

It incorporates all my different age groups- which is amazing to me! My older children obviously have more in-depth assignments, but they are all learning about the same things, at the same time. That is excellent when you have several different grade levels to teach.

You can watch my introduction to Illuminations here:

Probably my favorite part of Illuminations is that it can be re-used. We are currently using year 1 but when we have rotated through the other years, we can come right back to this one and use it again. That is just smart for those of us who have many years of homeschooling ahead.


We are still using Teaching Textbooks for math. This isn’t going to change any time soon. I have one child who wakes in the 5 o’clock hour each morning so she can work on her lessons.

It’s self-grading. It’s built-in lessons give each child the lectures they need and plenty of practice. I love it– it is that simple.


The Mystery of History is excellent!

I truly think it has breathed new life into our homeschooling experience.

Last night, I took three of my children out for the evening. On the way to our location, they were discussing whether they find the Egyptian or Mayan culture more fascinating, and why.

That really happened, folks.

I have LEGO pyramids being built on the dining tables and ¬¬¬¬my children are reading our MOH timeline— for fun.

I’ve made a quick couple of new videos on our latest Mystery of History projects. (You can see the previous videos here.)

Here is one on our challenge cards:

and one on our memory cards (with a quick tip of something NOT to do!):


We are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry for science.

I have not gotten but a few chapters in on this curriculum so I don’t have a whole lot to share here except that it is very well written, and seems to be inspiring them to want to learn more on their own.


Northstar Geography has been a learning experience for my entire family.

I’m going to write an entirely different post on this curriculum.

It’s technically a highschool level curriculum, but my younger children are using it with no problems.

This is the only subject I’m having a hard time fitting in each day, but Illuminations builds in “catch-up” time so it has been easy to stay up-to-date with our assignments.

In addition, they just released an MP3 version (over 10 hours of audio!) so your children can review their material during the week, as they go about other activities.

I can see some areas where I want to improve.

My children still need more work on handwriting. I know it will improve as we go through this year but honestly, I get impatient and want to see immediate results.

I also still struggle with grammar curriculum. I have yet to find anything that I really like- any ideas ladies?

What do you use for your family??

The one curriculum I keep thinking I need to take a closer look at is Shurley English. It seems like it would be terribly complicated to teach.

So, that is our first month of homeschooling for this year, at a glance.

I hope the rest of this year looks like this first month, that would be a huge blessing.

How is your school year going, thus far? What curriculum do you love?  Do you wish you had made different choices with your curriculum?

Our Menu: September 4th- September 18th

Our Menu: September 4- September 18th

September 4, 2015

B- Breakfast Casserole

L- Grilled Cheese, Fruit

D- Pizza


September 5, 2015

B- Cinnamon Rolls and Bacon

L- Quesadillas

D- Meatloaf, Mac and Cheese, Veggies


September 6, 2015

B- Granola

L- Red Beans and Rice, Bread and Cookies (Church Potluck)

D- Friendship Casserole, Bread, Salad


September 7, 2015 (Labor Day!!)

B- Oatmeal

L- Family Lunch- (listed on additional menu)

D- Crescent Chicken Squares


September 8, 2015 (Community Fellowship)

B- Muffins and Sausage

L- Ham and Cheese Crescents

D- Red Beans and Rice


September 9, 2015 (Deliver New Baby Meal Today!)

B- Biscuits with Bacon, Fruit

L- Taco Soup

D- Shepherd’s Pie, Salad


September 10, 2015

B- Pancakes and Sausage

L- Burritos

D- Stir fry w/chicken and Fried Rice


September 11, 2015

B- Breakfast Casserole

L- Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

D- Pizza


September 12, 2015

B- Breakfast Ring w/ Fruit

L- Taco Salad

D- Stuffed Chicken, Garlic Potatoes, Roasted Veggies


September 13, 2015

B- Granola

L- Mac and Cheese w/ Ham, Bread, Cookies (church potluck)

D- Mac and Cheese w/ Ham, Bread, Cookies


September 14, 2015

B- Oatmeal

L- Corn Dog Muffins, Fruit

D- Chicken Pot Pie, Salad


September 15, 2015

B- Muffins and Sausage

L- Ham and Cheese Crescents

D- Chicken and Dumplings


September 16, 2015

B- Biscuits with Bacon, Fruit

L- Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

D- Beef Dip Sandwiches


September 17, 2015

B- Pancakes with Sausage

L- Burritos

D- Red Beans and Rice


September 18, 2015

B- Breakfast Casserole

L- Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

D- Pizza

*Many of you know I’m expecting right now. Because I don’t want to gain an enormous amount of weight with this pregnancy, I am modifying many of these meals to fit the Trim Healthy Mama meal plan that I’ve been using for some time. I’m just adding lots of good cross-overs.