January 29, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt {Book Review}

Delilah: Treacherous Beauty {Book Review}
There are some book covers that just grab you. The ones that you reach for and then look at, LONG before you ever read a summary. I recently picked up such a book--the cover grabbed my attention, and after seeing the author (one of my favorites), I didn't need to know anything more to desire to read it. I looked forward to reviewing Delilah: Treacherous Beauty by Angela Hunt and hoped that it would be as good as it looked!

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About Delilah: Treacherous Beauty

Most of us think of one woman, and one woman only when we hear the name Delilah--the infamous woman who brought the great Bible hero Samson down. But what is her story? What led her to that fateful relationship

January 25, 2017

Even the Wine Spit at Me (aka. My Jonah Day)

It really began the night before with a restless, wakeful vigil of grumbling toothache. When Anne arose in the dull, bitter winter morning she felt that life was flat, stale, and unprofitable......."Oh, this has been such a Jonah day, Marilla..."~ Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 12
Have you ever had a Jonah day?
You know. The days when it seems like EVERYTHING in the world is against you. When it seems like NOTHING you do is right. The kind where you just want to go crawl back in bed and pull your covers over your head.

Yeah me neither.

I had one of those this past Friday. Unlike Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, my day didn't start as a Jonah day. It sort of...stumbled into one as the day went on. School went well. But as soon as it was over. Oh my.

January 20, 2017

Refine Me, Lord...gulp {Five Minute Friday}

Happy Friday! Can you believe it is already the 20th of January? I'm sure many of you are staying up to date on the events occurring in Washington DC today. It is hard to believe we will be swearing in a new president today. New changes on the horizon, and like always, we have no idea how things will play out. The one thing that I take comfort in, is that my Father is in control. He puts people into power, and He removes people from power as He wills it. He is an active God. And He is definitely active in my own life. And that leads me to today's Five Minute Friday word...refine.
Five Minute Friday: Refine Me, Lord


When I think of refining, I think of a process of removing flaws and impurities. My dad worked in steel and so he knew a lot about what goes into the refining process. No impurities could be in the steel he was using or the pipe fittings they created would be jeopardized. Refining is a long process. And it involves HOOOOOOOTTTTT conditions for it to work. And then there can be beating of metal. And plunging into icy water. And then it can repeat and repeat.

I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people'; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.' ”
~Zechariah 13.9

God talks about how He is working to refine us the way that one would refine gold and silver. Research that process. Watch it. Now think of God doing that to YOU. Holding you in a fire until JUST the last moment when you will be compromised and useless to Him, and then removing you from it. If it isn't to His satisfaction--back into the fire you go. It is said that a refiner knows that the work is done when he/she can see their face in the object they are refining. Thus it stands to reason, when God can see attributes of Himself in us, He knows He can remove us from the fire.

Thus, my heart must ask Him to refine me.
Refine me, Father.
Make me shine so You can see Your face in me.
Even though that means I must go through a hot fire.
Even though that means I might have to go to the very limit of what I can stand without breaking.
All the same...
Refine me, Lord (gulp)


I hope your family has a simply marvelous weekend! Need a dinner idea? Make sure you check out my latest recipe--Chicken and Biscuit One Skillet Pie...It's like Chicken Pot Pie, but healthier and easier!
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Chicken and Biscuit One Skillet Pie Recipe {Fresh from the Kitchen}

chicken and biscuit one skillet pie recipeThe links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate linksPlease see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!
I am so happy to say that I FINALLY (I'm sorry!!!) have a NEW RECIPE for you! I tried a recipe I found, but right away changed it up to fit our family taste. Lucky for YOU, I remembered to take photos of this delicious meal, and noted all my changes! So without further ado, here is a dish your family is going to ADORE--trust me. And if you like Chicken Pot Pie---but don't like the mess of a pastry crust, this recipe is definitely for you! Did I mention it's got some better ingredients too?? That makes it much lower in calorie count--another win!

January 15, 2017

Fresh From the Bookshelf: The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson {Book Review}

I think it was last year that I discovered the author Melanie Dickerson and her *new* take on classic fairy tale stories. I started with The Golden Braid, and then quickly became enchanted with her signature style as I devoured the rest of her fairy tale series. I have been fortunate to be able to review several of her books, and was delighted to receive the latest installment in her Medieval Fairy Tale series, The Silent Songbird, from The Fiction Guild to review. I hoped that I would enjoy it just as much as I had all the previous books.

January 13, 2017

Meet in the Middle {Five Minute Friday}

Hello and happy Sunday! I hope that your weekend has been going along just wonderfully. Were you in the path of the supposed major winter storm Jupiter ice storm? We were at the edge--but it ended up completely fizziling out and doing nothing but dump rain. I am so happy they were wrong with THAT forecast! Here is my Five Minute Friday post. It took me a bit to be inspired, but I think I have something to share about this week's word...middle


What do you think of when you hear the word middle? I would venture to say most of us simply think of being in the middle of a creek. Or reaching for something in the middle. Or maybe you are the middle child? It's the one that isn't first, nor last. Somewhere in between.

When I think of middle, an older country song pops into my mind...it's from the band Diamond Rio, an old favorite band of my parents when I was younger. Here is how the chorus goes:

I start walking your way, You start walking mine. We meet in the middle 'neath that old Georgia pine.We gain a lot of ground, 'cause we both give a little. And there ain't no road too long, When you meet in the middle.("Meet in the MIddle", Diamond Rio)

You know. With the chaos that is around us these days, it sure would be nice if more people in the world practiced this philosophy. Wouldn't we be able to accomplish so much more in this country if each "side" started walking towards each other? If they both gave a little? Why do we think it is so wrong to meet in the middle on things? That's how you make things work! That's how you make relationships work! So why can't we apply that philosophy across the board? Are we so incredibly stubborn that we would rather watch our country fail, than work out a compromise where EACH is willing to GIVE UP SOMETHING for the better of the whole?

If you have children, isn't that what we teach them when they are young? In essence, it's the idea of sharing. So why can't we continue to practice this when we are "old"?


I hope you have a simply wonderful week! And remember--if you are a homeschooler and haven't read my post about SchoolhouseTeacher website and their INCREDIBLE deal, you need to do it TODAY. Because there is a coupon included that will give you a 50% off price--and TODAY is the last day to use it before they raise their prices tomorrow (1/16/2017)!
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January 12, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green {Book Review}

Every now and then, I read a historical fiction book relating to a time period I don't have much knowledge about. Once I am through with the book, if it was written well, it will kickoff a desire to learn more about the era or event. I have a couple favorite authors who I can count on for this, but I can now add another author to that list. Jocelyn Green's newest novel The Mark of the King was the latest book I was given to review, and after I kept hearing a LOT of hype about it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Would it live up to its grand acclamation?

January 11, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: My New Release Book List for 2017

Books. They are my friends. I (like you) have those authors that I consider "friends" because they write such heartwarming stories to give me warm fuzzies, or take me on adventures, or through an emotional whirlwind. There were some INCREDIBLE books released in 2016, and I'm still trying to hurry myself through finishing the reviews for them. But you know what? That doesn't stop me from looking eagerly ahead to what 2017 is going to bring! So here is what is on my New Book List for 2017!
New Release Book List for 2017

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

There are SOOO many books I could add to this list, but I had to limit it, so I am focused on the genres that I am most interested in and then the books that are in my radar--most are being released in the first half of the year, so I might need to do another post like this, once the release dates for the second half of the year are released!

January 10, 2017

SchoolhouseTeachers.com~ A Homeschooling Treasure {Favorite Product Review Revisited}

There is a special treasure among homeschooling resources. It's a HUGE resource, and yet few homeschooling families are familiar with it. Full curriculum. 300+ courses. Video classes. Basic and elective subjects--even foreign languages. Pre-school through High School. Lessons Plans. Transcript help. Record keeping. Everything a homeschooling family could ask for! What is this treasure? The yearly membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com!
SchoolhouseTeachers.com ~ A Review

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

I initially learned about SchoolhouseTeachers.com back in 2014, when I was accepted to the Homeschool Review crew for the first time. I was BLOWN AWAY at all the courses they offered. And created by certified teachers too! What a money saver this was to have so many options. You can read about the courses I used right away in my first ever Homeschool Review Crew product review

Since then, I have enjoyed visiting the website whenever I am in need of a new course or activity to add. But you know what? Sometimes I forget about the website. And then I am wandering through a whole host of other companies trying to find material--meanwhile, the curriculum I need is sitting nicely over at SchoolhouseTeachers just waiting for me to remember it's there! 

January 9, 2017

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck {Book Review}

Rachel Hauck is a rising star in the inspirational romance genre with her delightful books usually centered around weddings! In fact, both of her top selling series are wedding themed! She has released two new books in 2016 that go with two of her most beloved series. The Wedding Shop is part three of her The Wedding Dress/Heart's Bend series, and A Royal Christmas Wedding is a novella that goes with her The Royal Wedding Series. I received both of these books from The Fiction Guild to review, and because each of these books are wedding oriented, and were both released in 2016, I decided to combine them for a Rachel Hauck Romance Book Review!

January 6, 2017

Check Your Connection {Five Minute Friday}

Hello and Happy Friday!
I started participating in the Five Minute Friday link up towards the very end of the year last year, and I am excited to spend an ENTIRE year linking up for 2017. Hopefully I will have 51 blog posts all inspired by 51 different words by the end of 2017! So let's get started as I join Five Minute Friday with this week's word...Connect.

Connect makes me think of connection. 
Image Source
It actually brings to mind a scene from last night's episode of The Crown. In the episode, it featured an old fashioned calling center with all the call girls hooking up the cables into the correct slots to allow two people--Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth--talk to each other. If they didn't have a good connection, they would not have been able to hear each other. The call girls might have put the cable into the wrong spot. Or the wire might have been loose. So it was very important that they make a good connection.

How is your connection with God? Are you plugging in daily? Are you on a secure one-on-one line? As part of our journey on this earth, we are to be strengthening that connection. Making a relationship through our connection. The best connection we could ever possibly make, is one with God the Father.

Our minister gave us a GREAT "connection assistance" document this past week, in a Spiritual Growth Training Workbook. 
With it's 52 weeks of assignments--and daily spiritual writings, it is definitely a "manual" for making my connection the best it can be!

So why not start the year by checking YOUR connection with your heavenly Father?


I hope you have a simply marvelous weekend!
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January 4, 2017

Zonderkidz: The Beginner's Bible, new edition {Product Review}

I remember the year my little brother received The Beginner's Bible when he was a little boy. It was so exciting to go through the stories, and he LOVED acting them out. We read it sooooo many times, he had passages memorized! When my oldest was born, my parents gifted us with that Bible for us to read to him. He too LOVED it, and cherished being able to read it by himself when he was old enough. This past year, that same Bible--now in our family for 25 years was passed to my youngest son and he too began reading it all by himself. As soon as I was told I had a chance to review a NEW edition of The Beginner's Bible by Zonderkidz, I leaped at the chance to get it and hoped the new edition still had the wonderful traits of the one we had been passing through the family.

Product Information

The Beginner's Bible by Zonderkidz is a MUCH loved picture bible recommended for ages 6 and under. The new edition of this beloved Bible has updated 3D artwork, new stories (over 90!), and new text. The text is written with beginning readers in mind, and features a LOT of sight words and easy to phonetically sound out words. There are also online coloring sheets, apps, games, and more that coordinate with the new edition of this Bible--perfect for letting your children or students enjoy their favorite bible stories even more! This new edition is affordable--retailing for just $16.99 at most retailers.

Our Thoughts on This Product

The first thing I noticed about the bible, was that it had VIBRANT colors and still featured many of the same cover characters our beloved classic edition did. In fact, the boys immediately recognized that it was a newer version of their now worn out edition. Both boys--even though Little Britches is well beyond the age it was designed for--eagerly wanted to get their hands on it. 

I have enjoyed seeing my youngest find joy inside the covers of this version of the bible. He LOVES the bright colorful photos and most important, that he can easily read the text. He enjoys that the words are either recognizable or easy to sound out. Baby Britches takes this bible to church with him each week, and at any given time during the service, I can find him with it open on his lap reading silently to himself. It really makes me happy when I see that...gives me warm fuzzies.

This past week, he has asked if he can have it during meals--we are book friendly family and everyone is allowed to read during lunch if they want. I loved watching him read while he ate his meal! Bible study is always welcome!

Do you have the older edition? If so, I'm sure you want to know what the difference is. That was what my main question was too. Here are a few pictures to show some differences:

First, the table of contents is much easier to navigate. The stories are clearly marked. They also have some new titles--and also some of the stories have been switched out.
Classic Edition

New Edition
 You would also find some of the text reads different. Here are some pictures of photos of the same story in each edition. You can really see how the illustrations have been changed to the brighter 3D version. 

 Because I really wanted to share more about how these two versions compare, I have created a video review for you--I hope it will help you get a feel for this product. 

(I apologize for the cuts to and away--I was all by myself and my editing program wasn't working properly!)

Now, before I quit, i do want to share a couple of the cons I have with this bible. For me, one downside of children's bibles is that too many of them don't quite line up with our family's doctrinal beliefs. This one has elements of that present. For instance, there are several mentions of heaven as an eternal resting place, a few of the men (some non-Nazarite vow keeping ones) have long hair, photos of angels with wings, the age of Jesus in the beginning of His story (has Christmas elements to the story--and I don't celebrate Christmas), the age of David in the battle with Goliath (he should be more of a teenager), and a few other odd ball things. It truly is what you would expect in just about any contemporary children's illustrated bible. BUT if you don't have issues with these things, then it won't be a problem! I will add, that I was pleased to see the FULL and biblically correct 10 commandments listed. Sometimes children's bibles don't get that accurate. Now in regards to the cons, they are not enough for me to not use this bible. I am not above making text changes if there is something that doesn't completely match the Bible. This version's error is mostly in the illustrations, NOT the text. And really it DOES do better than many of the children's bibles available.

In short--I would definitely recommend this children's bible. It is a great book for beginning readers. The illustrations are vibrant, the text is age appropriate, and there are many beloved children's stories included. I know that we will plan on getting another 25 years out of this new edition as we enjoy it's treasures!

Want to Know More?

You can see how much we loved The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz--but why not hop over and see what other families in the review crew thought as well?
The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}
Make sure you connect with Zonderkidz via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest for more news!
If you have any questions, make sure you tune in for my LIVE review of this product on Thursday, January 5, 2016 at 1pm EST over on my Facebook Page!

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