Friday, December 21, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Baloney

Chocolate-Covered Baloney (Confessions of April Grace #3) by K. D. McCrite was another fun book provided to me on my nook by Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This book, written in the first-person, reminded me of the Junie B. Jones' books written for much younger kids. April Grace is a sixth grade girl, so definitely older and more mature than Junie B. but still just as funny.
I am looking forward to my twelve-year-old daughter to read this book. It is always fun to discuss books with her and this one will lead to discussions about judging people without knowing their whole story and then leading into asking for forgiveness and forgiving.
This book takes place in 1987 which seemed odd for a book published this year (2012). However, there is an author's note at the end of the book. McCrite explains that she wanted today's youth to realize "what you experience is new to you, but it's not new." It's as reminder that life still happened before cell phones and Google!
Five stars for the tween/young teen population!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The MoneySmart Family System

The MoneySmart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides was provided to me on my nook from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

The subtitle is "Teaching Financial Independence to Children of Every Age." It does teach financial independence but it also teaches basic independence and character as well. Because of that, I think this book is more of a parenting book than a money book. For example, some of the later chapters are much more parenting advice involved with some finance thrown in: "Activities for Character, Strength, and Scholarships," "Playing and Paying: Toys, Recreation, and Technology" (gives helpful websites for movie/gaming reviews) "Gifts and Gratefulness," and "Friends, Love, and Marriage." They are well written chapters and I agree with them almost 100%;
Ex: "Parental involvement is critical, and so is honesty. We know one family who allowed their eleven-year-old daughter to lie about her age so she could have a Facebook page. She learned an "important" lesson from her parents - she doesn't need to follow the rules."
they just seem out of place in a "money" book.

The book starts by explaining the 5/50/500 rule. Steve was a graphic designer and learned that if a mistake was caught early in the printing process it may only cost $5; if the mistake is caught a little later, that mistake may cost $50. But if the mistake is caught near the end of the process it could cost $500. And so it is with raising our children. If we train them well when they are little, their mistakes will cost less ($5). As they get a bit older, the mistake could cost more ($50, $500, $5,000, etc.). Throughout the book this analogy is used in a helpful way.

This book goes into detail about chore charts, points, and 'pay days,' including chart examples and pages to copy. (However, on the nook that doesn't work.) Many ideas the Economides' family uses are very similar to ideas we currently use. There are a few things I think we may implement after reading this book: raising the 'pay day' amount to include clothing money and/or extracurricular activities.

The best part of this book, I think, is the number of references provided. Books and websites are mentioned if you want more information on certain areas, lists are made for you as to how to buy a used car, how to file for college scholarships, etc. They also tell you about two more chapters they have online, which I have not yet read.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Heaven Changes Everything

I received this book by Todd Burpo from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Since I read Heaven is For Real a year and a half ago, I was very interested in reading this next book, thinking it would be a sequel of sorts. Although there are some updates as to what the Burpo family has been doing, this is much more of a devotional than a sequel. But that is okay; it was great!

The Burpos share their losses and victories in this life and how they reconcile all of that with God's Word. They admit the difficulty in knowing their son survived his near-death experience when not everyone has that joy. They also tell of the difficulty and grief in the miscarriage they experienced and how hard (impossible) it is to explain to someone who has not gone through it. The Burpos travel around the country sharing the Hope they have; this book shares bits of that.

Here are some parts I highlighted in the book so I could remember them for myself:
  • "You can always find a reason to give to God when you realize what He's done for you."
  • "You see, God doesn't do anything without a bigger purpose than we can imagine. But because we can't even begin to imagine it, we sometimes end up stuck in feelings of hurt and confusion."
  • "There are things God allows to happen because he knows the outcome is going to be greater than anything we could ever do on our own."
One other thing to note about this book: If you haven't read Heaven Is For Real, you may be a little lost. They did a good job filling in and explaining parts so that I could remember from eighteen months ago but I don't think it was enough for someone who has never read their first book.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

God's Love Letters to You

I received this book, God's Love Letters to You by Larry Crabb, from Book Sneeze for an honest evaluation.

I started it immediately after receiving it but just couldn't get into it. I set it down and forgot about it. Now that I have picked it up again, I still can't get into it. There just doesn't seem to be much substance. I was excited to have a "quick" devotional that would really make me think throughout my day. But this only held up to the "quick" part of my expectation.
Maybe for someone who is just starting to know God, this would be better. But I want more depth in the devotionals I read. I am sorry to give this only a two-star rating.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Akeelah's Bee

Akeelah's Bee is a great underdog story about a girl working her way up to the Scripp's National Spelling Bee. Since we had just watched the actual Scripp's Spelling Bee a couple weeks ago, this was of great interest to all of us. We were glued to the movie, many (sentimental) tears were shed, and (hopefully) we learned the benefit of perseverance!
Just as a warning, there are a couple of spots with foul language that I wish they would have omitted.

Thunder Shirt

Sophie has never liked loud noises. But for some reason this year the fireworks were driving her crazy! Pacing and yelping and trembling. And this was the weekend before the Fourth! This was just from some little neighborhood fire crackers. So we invested in a Thunder Shirt. We figured if it doesn't work we would just take advantage of the money back guarantee.
So the next night before the fireworks could get started we got Sophie dressed in her Thunder Shirt. She immediately laid down and went to sleep! Of course there weren't fireworks that night! The next night the fireworks started, Sophie began trembling and pacing, we put on the Thunder Shirt, and she relaxed. She still kind of looked around like, "I wonder what this is" but she really didn't care. Since then, we have dressed her with the Thunder Shirt for more fireworks and for a thunderstorm. I LOVE this Thunder Shirt and so does Sophie!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cheesy Gift

Instead of a cream cheese ball, a cream cheese gift - how fun! I found this in a FAMILY FUN magazine as well, I believe but when I tore it out of the magazine, the identifying features were gone.
So, just like you are making a cheese ball, mix the ingredients together and then reform into the rectangle shape - just reuse the cream cheese box lined with plastic wrap. Use diced red pepper as the decorative wrapping paper and a scallion for the bow.
Here are the seasonings used in the above recipe:
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Summer Games

As promised, here are some fun summer game ideas! I found these in the FAMILY FUN magazine from June 2008. I'm pretty I'll plan these to be used at my husband's staff picnic in a couple weeks, assuming it will be hot outside!
(#1) Frozen T-Shirt Contest
Gather up as many t-shirts as you will have contestants, soak with water, wring out, fold, and stack on a cookie sheet with waxed paper separating them, and place in the freezer. Hand out the shirts for a race to see who can get the frozen shirt on first!

(#2) Fill It Up
Have teams of two ready to fill up a cup holding a ping pong ball. Have the team members stand six feet apart and, using spray bottles, spray water into their team members cup until the ping pong ball floats out. Be sure to have buckets of water handy for refills!

Christmas Ideas

As promised, here are some fun ideas for Christmas - all taken from the December 2007 / January 2008 FAMILY FUN Magazine:
(#1) Terra-Cotta Nativity 
Every time I see this I think that I am going to do this with my kids for the next Christmas. Every year Christmas goes by without me even thinking about it! This was published in the December 2007/January 2008 edition  of FAMILY FUN Magazine.
Here are the abbreviated directions:
Paint 2 small terra-cotta pots and a small saucer. Use wooden knobs as the heads, drawing the faces on with a fine-point marker. Glue the heads to the pots/cloth.

(#2) Pieces on Earth

This is from the same page in the December 2007/January 2008 FAMILY FUN as the Terra-Cotta Nativity. Use some old puzzle pieces to paint as elves, gingerbread men, or reindeer and glue the accessories on. How cute!

(#3) Pop Down to Christmas
I love bubble wrap - what a simple and fun way to countdown to Christmas! Just cut out the bubble wrap in the shape of a Christmas tree. Glue cut out and decorated paper circles to the 24 circles for a pop for each day!


I have really ignored this blog for a while.
I am very excited about Pinterest and have been trying out some new ideas - from decorating to cleaning to landscaping. I realized I had been keeping my own version of a Pinterest book for several years. I have ideas in there I tore out from magazines: family games, party ideas, crafts, home ideas, etc. So, in an effort to consolidate my Pinterest board online with my dated notebook that has been ignored for far too long, I have scanned some of the pages from my book to post here and then pin on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy the following posts about summer games, Christmas ideas, and more!