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Friday, December 9, 2016

Grace for the Moment

You all know how much I love my devotionals. I feel that you need to spend time with God and His word daily in order to have  a relationship with Him. 

When my copy of Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado arrived I immediately knew I had to review it before Christmas as it would make a wonderful gift for any Christian in your life, especially the easy-to-read comfort-size print edition which I received, which has a leather flex cover and a ribbon marker - it is absolutely beautiful! I was looking for a gift for my Bible Study Advent Prayer partner and knew this devotional would fit them perfectly.

This is literally a book of daily inspiration, perfect to keep on your bed stand to read before rising each morning or before your head hits the pillow each night. Lucado has a way of making you think about a Bible verse truly turn it into a life lesson.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The City Baker's Guide

I've rarely listened to books on audio, I can actually count on one hand the amount of books I have. But when I mistakenly ordered this as an audio book instead of a hardcover I decided to go ahead and "read" it that way. The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is right up my alley, with a main character who is a pastry chef who messes up at her job in Boston so moves to an idyllic town in Vermont.

This is a great story for those who love chick-lit, baking, and a book with wonderful descriptions; you feel like you can taste the desserts and really visualize the town and characters. I love a story that you can "see" while reading (or hearing!).  

A delicious story all around!

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

All the Pretty Things

We are all products of our environment, so I love hearing people's life stories and digesting what shaped them into who they are. Some rise above their situation and some follow in the footsteps of their parents. Each story is as original as the person. All the Pretty Things by Edit Wadsworth is the story of a child born into extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, with an alcoholic father. You can see right from the very beginning that Wadsworth's father was a product of his family, who all struggled with poverty, addiction, and criminal behavior.

It was heartbreaking to see how even when her father let her down Edie still idolized him. It made me mad at him for putting himself first always, but showed Edie's own compassion and how she was able to separate her dad from his addiction. 

Wadsworth took a different path and rose above her circumstances and was one of the first in her line of relatives to finish high school. She then went on to become a doctor. 

The book was fascinating but I felt it begin to rush over things towards the middle and left several big holes. I know part of the issue is that Wadsworth omitted some names and parts of the story to protect the people she loves, but that left very stale descriptions of her first marriage and her motherhood journey. I learned very little about her first husband or why their marriage was doomed from the start. I didn't have any idea of where the kids were as she studied and graduated medical school or while she practically lived at the hospital during her days as a medical student. It took a lot away from the story and I found myself distracted.

In the end Wadsworth tells us how she found God. On page 134 she writes: "the painful parts of our lives are often the very things that God will use as gifts to bless and change us and the people we meet" which basically boils down to what this book is about. Our pain often has a purpose and it's up to us to figure out how to use our pain for good.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Falling Free

I expected to thoroughly enjoy Falling Free by Shannan Martin. She writes about being "rescued from the life I always wanted", in an essence, doing what they feel God lead them to do instead of living the life they wanted. 

I started this book over three weeks ago and have only gotten to page 50 and just can not get into the book. I can't even explain why, as the writing is good and story could be fascinating. I did feel as though there were too many cliche sayings thrown in. While Martin's writing is good, she reminds me a bit of Voskamp, who takes just a bit too long to get to the point. 

I did mark this sentence on page 16: "We so often say we believe that there is no safer place than the center of God's will, but we refuse to believe he would ever lead us to the places of brokenness or danger." 

Isn't this where all our stories truly start? Where we not only allow God to lead us to these places but trust enough to actually follow Him through those places?

So while I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't finish this book due to lack of interest in the book, judging from other reviews I see that people may have found this book to be Martin's own story of following God blindly and seeing His light throughout her life.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Girl Talk

What better way to dispel some of the teenage angst than with a daily meditation and devotion? Girl Talk by Lois Walfrid Johnson is a book of weekly devotions, with daily questions and thoughts to ponder. 

What makes this devotional different than other teen devotionals is that each week you will read a story about a girl who may have situations, thoughts, and feelings just like you. You will then learn ways to process those feelings, the best ways to react, and how to follow God's word in these situations. 

We found that these real life situations make this devotional more relative and easier for pre-teens/teens to apply the week's lesson to their own life. I've decided that this will be part of our religious ed lessons.

This book was given to us by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 3, 2016


October is Respect Life month. It's a month before elections and a good time to bring up these issues. What I've come to realize is that debating the issue does not help. You are either on one side or the other and someone telling you their opinion doesn't typically change your own.

It was only 2 days into the month when on Facebook I saw someone complaining about a group holding up pro-life signs at the side of the road. The comments below got heated fast: some people agreeing with the pro-life activists and others telling them they should mind their own business...that abortion is a choice. It's ironic that they didn't see that it is also a choice to be against abortion and that these protesters have just as much a right to stand up for their convictions as pro-choicers do for theirs.

It became disheartening on how quickly it became vile - insults being thrown, crude language, horrible judgements - on both sides. 

It's ironic that in a month that is for respecting life, debating the issue showed little respect for others. 

October is also infant and pregnancy awareness loss. It was sorrowful to see people arguing whether a baby was just cells and not human yet and then seeing other posts where women were sharing their pain with the loss of their pregnancies/infants. That was ironic in the most dismal way. Our words have power and we need to think before we speak (type).

So what can we do if we feel strongly about something that we feel is wrong/right? I once heard, "If you can't change something, you need to stay neutral." I think there is very little, if anything, that we can't change in this world.  

 It's important to stand for something, because those that don't fall for anything.  There ARE things that should be fought for, there are things in life that need to be changed. If you are pro-life you should be fighting for what you believe in and if you are pro-choice so should you.

I don't mean fight in the literal sense. It's not okay to verbally attack someone who has a different view than you. All it does is alienate you and your cause. 

THIS is what I've found works the best. If you're against abortion - pray, donate to crisis pregnancy centers, support the mothers who do decide to keep or put their child up for adoption, and go ahead and picket but do it in a non-hostile way. If you're pro-choice donate to organizations that provide birth control, vote, and hold your own picketing in a non-hostile way.

In the end, we aren't going to change everyone's mind but we can do our part to support what we feel is right. In a respectful way.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why Not Me?

I loved Mindy Kaling in The Office and really enjoyed her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? so was excited to read Why Not Me?

There were several laugh out loud moments as I read this book. I just didn't like it as much as her first. I still found it an enjoyable read because Kaling's humor matches my own so closely.

I think the only flaw I saw in the book is how Kaling mentions how different she is from most female comedians because she doesn't talk about sex. Then she goes ahead and sticks sex into this book - in a way that didn't even flow. I felt like she sold out on that one as the book could have been perfectly fine without her having to stoop to a Chelsea Handler level. Stay original, Kaling.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Earth Psalms

Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers is filled with reflections on how God speaks through nature. Accompanied by breath taking photography, ways to apply the week's reflection to your life, and prayers to mediate on. 

As someone who feels the peace, comfort, and awe of God most when I'm out in nature this devotional spoke to me. Romans 1:20 says
"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

I've often wondered how people can look at the beauty around them and not believe in the God who created it. Wading at the shores of the vast oceans, seeing the sea of color in a wildflower field, watching birds build a nest and care for their young. It is all so awe inspiring. There have been moments when nature has taken my breath away and I have thanked God right then for such beauty. This devotional draws us into these moments and makes us look at God's creation with new eyes. 

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Starry-Eyed by Mandy Arito is a book of essays on seeing grace in the unfolding constellation of life and motherhood. 

I have a difficult time reviewing this book as the essays are good and do touch on everything a mother encounters. But being written by the MOPS CEO and published by a Christian publisher I was surprised to find this more of a new age zen-like book than a Christian one. While that in itself wouldn't be so much of a bad thing, it is not what the description of the book states, "the brightest and darkest moments of motherhood alike can become a sacred—and sanity-saving— opportunity to encounter God. There is a way to flourish in the midst of it all, and it starts with embracing the light and darkness in life with expectation and awe."

 This book does mention God but also touts astrology, spiritual healers, and many other faith traditions different from Christianity. If it was touted as just a mothering book I would have had no issues, but I expected it to be completely different based off the description so was left confused on how this was classified as a Christian book.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

365 Pocket Morning Prayers

There is a saying of "garbage in, garbage out", meaning what we put into our brains will surely come out in our language, actions, and thoughts. Which is why I feel devotionals are so important in everyone's life. Starting the day, or ending the day, with a little prayer and some insights from the Bible really help one center their thoughts in WHO and WHAT are important.

365 Pocket Morning Prayers by David R. Veerman is such a pretty little devotional with a nice leather-like cover. The size makes it easy to slip into your purse or set by your bedside and the devotionals are just one page long, so even if you are in a hurry in the morning you can start your day with some uplifting food for thought.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dear Mr. M

Sometimes a book will  grab hold of you within the first chapter and not let you go. This is one of those books.

It's the details within the descriptions that made this book a winner for me. I lapped the words up like a hungry dog, the paragraphs making you truly stop and think and nod your head along because you know people like that, you've thought that before, this sentence made you think! Koch is a true artist with his words.

The first 1/3 was thrilling. I begin to get a bit bogged down in the middle. The narration changed to third person and things got a bit difficult to follow, it seemed to drag on slightly too long, I think it could have been wrapped up sooner before the reader lost some interest in the characters. There were times I wasn't sure who was narrating and that became irritating.

I plowed on through the middle section and got the ending which again was thrilling, in a "Gone Girl" type of way. The ending leaves you with a few unanswered questions but wraps things up nicely. It's one of those books (which are few and far between) where you don't see the ending coming. 

Because of the suspense, spot on depiction, colorful characters, and ending I think this would be a great book club book as the discussion would be wild. I know I want to talk to someone about this book, so think I will suggest this for one of our book club picks.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.    

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It's Not Fair

Someone once remarked (funnily enough, it was in the comment section of this blog!) that "everything in life is a choice"


Somethings in life are chosen for us, things that no one in life would choose. Melanie Dale does a wonderful job in It's Not Fair; Learning To Love The Life You Didn't Choose explaining how sometimes life just happens and we need to go with the flow.

Backed up by scripture and humor, this book digs deep into pain and purpose. I think by chapter two I was hooked when Dale exclaims "It's not fair! This isn't how it was supposed to happen!" and a shiver went up my spine when a whisper in my head said "Maybe this is exactly how it was supposed to happen." 

Who are we to judge what God places in our path? Is an 8 year old boy dying of cancer fair? No. Was there a purpose? Most certainly. 

Dale tells us it's okay to question God. It's okay to not like his answers or his plan. It's okay to tell Him what WE want. We are human, life is not fair, and it downright sucks sometimes. 

What I like most about this book is that while Dale has suffered different types of pain, and the stories from other women in the book are different than mine, the suffering brings us together. On page 149 she writes, "There's commonality in the ways that we fear, and there's commonality in the ways that we fail, and when we partner in pain, it gives way to sharing in the joy as well." 

Partner in pain. THIS. This is why I read books written by those who have suffered tremendous pain and grew from the ashes. This is why I feel an instant connection to other parents who have lost a child. This is why grief retreats work. Why the pain in a strangers eyes can soften my heart towards them. Because when we partner in pain we heal together.

This book touches on so many subjects that one in pain will experience. "All The Feels", "Coping Mechanisms For The Horribly Mangled", "Hell Is Other People...Or Is It Heaven?", "On God, Suffering, And Other Easy Subjects", and "What's Next?"

This is a book that will be placed on my bookshelf and pulled out during those "woe is me" moments. It will be shared with friends during their tough moments in life. A little laughter and a lot of support is what I found in this book.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One; A Devotional of Comfort as You Mourn by Kathe Wunnenberg is written by a mother who knows loss. It's not a cliche "get over your grief" type of book but rather a "I've been there, let me help you through this journey" devotional which lends you support and encouragement during your darkest days.

What I like best about this devotional is that you can turn to the topic that is most fitting for the mood you are feeling that day. Is it anger? Sadness? Is it a special anniversary or holiday? Wunnenberg seems to have hit each mood and memory in this devotional and there is comfort for whatever mood you may be in. 

This would be very comforting gifted to someone who has recently lost someone special. 

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Wolf Road

Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
 But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka. Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. 
But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past. The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

I had to let this book settle with me overnight before I could write a review and yet this morning I still don't know what I read! There seemed to be a couple story lines within the book that I'm not sure if they didn't mesh well or if I just didn't get the whole premise. The setting is post-apocalyptic, yet I never fully absorbed how the story revolved around that. There just didn't seem to be a reason why that was thrown into the book. I didn't understand what time period this story took place - in my mind it was the 1800's due to the wild west feel with little to no technology. Maybe the author wants us to stay guessing but I felt a little lost not having a timeline. 

It is difficult to review a book with such a shocking reveal towards the end without revealing what it is! I had an inkling halfway through the book what it was leading up to but shrugged it off, thinking no, it couldn't possibly be that. But yes, it was that and the minute you realize what that is a creepy little shiver runs down your spine. That is what a psychological thriller is about, right? A feeling of unease and dread and then yep...the reveal socks you in the gut. 
 This was a fast paced book which I started and finished in one afternoon. While it wasn't an edge of the seat gripping book, there was enough suspense throughout the pages that you just need to see how it ends.  

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Encountering Angels

I'm a big fan of books on faith and angels but there have been times that I get an uneasy feeling when I beginning reading and Encountering Angels by Judith MacNutt is included in that category. 

While the majority of angel stories in this book were submitted, so therefore not Macnutt's own stories, they didn't seem to be filtered for quality material.

I know that spiritual encounters can seem nutty and strange to someone who wasn't there to encounter it themselves. But take for example a mother who was horrified to see her child leaning out an upstairs window but then relieved to realize an angel is there blocking the window and keeping the child safe. How was the child leaning out of the window and yet the angel was blocking the open window? Either it was written in a way that was unbelievable or the story itself is. 

The writing is so choppy - one story, followed by Macnutt's musings, immediately followed by musings on a different story. You can't tell where one story begins and another ends. Within three chapters I was getting a headache and was more annoyed with the writing and editing that I had to call it quits. I didn't find this book encouraging but rather eye-roll inducing. And this coming from someone who does believe in angel encounters.

This book was given to me by Chosen Publishing in exchange for my honest review.  

The Drawing Lesson

I was in the middle of buying curriculum for the kid's coming school year when I ran across The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley. Having a tween who is a fan of graphic novels I figured one that teaches you how to draw would be a learning style right up her alley.

   It's an impressive book, showing drawing styles and working on things like shading, proportions, and basic drawing techniques in an interesting way. I'm going to be using this in our art lessons this fall for all the kids. The only draw back to this book is that the "teacher" in this book seems to be somewhat possessed...going from nice to mean to crazy looking throughout the book. It seems strange the way she is portrayed. I'm curious to see if the kids take notice of that. 

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

The 30-Day Faith Detox

The premise sounds good, "Renew your mind, cleanse your body, heal your spirit". With a devotional, physical detox, and recipe each day it does work as a daily encouragement during a 30 day detox. Unfortunately, I was unable to get into the recipes. 

I know that detoxes do take time and effort each day, and Smith reassures us that the foods are real foods found in most kitchens. But the majority of the recipes are smoothies and I just can't get into recipes with raw eggs or such time consuming liquid meals that would only be for myself, making me a short order cook for the rest of the family. 

It seems to me one of those things that looks good on paper but is hard to execute in daily life, at least for me.

 This book was given to me by Chosen books in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


I've been elated that in the past several years Christianity has seen a large uprising in the national theaters. There have been numerous movies with good morals and very pointed messages played in our own local theater and it's a good thing for the community.

Fireproof was at the beginning of this trend. I was given the opportunity by FishFlix to review this movie. While I watched Fireproof soon after it was first produced it holds a message that can be watched again and again. 

I thought the acting was a bit cheesy when I first watched it (and again while reviewing it!), it does make sense when you realize that the actors were mainly volunteers from Kirk Cameron's own church. This is a small budget film where the message is more important than the acting. If you can get past the sub par acting you will get to the point of the movie.

Which is that marriage is not the fairy tale often seen in the movies but rather a partnership between two very flawed people that only works when both are committed to each other. Fireproof brings up the (unfortunately) very common issue of work place adultery and porn addiction. It also shows that marriage is worth fighting for.

When Fireproof first came out the message was so popular that a companion book, The Love Dare, was used by many couple Bible Studies to strengthen marriages. The message is a very powerful one, which I think singles as well as married couples, need to hear today. With a country where the divorce rate is 50% and rising it is beneficial to have movies that show someone fighting for their marriage instead of glorifying divorce, adultery, and an "anything goes" mentality.     

Monday, June 6, 2016

Colors of Goodbye

I sometimes wonder if I am a glutton for punishment. There was no mistaking when I picked up Colors of Goodbye by September Vaudrey that it would be an emotional book, after all, it's a memoir of holding on, letting go, and reclaiming joy in the wake of loss. 

I figured it wouldn't be as emotional for me since Katie was older (19) and died in a different way than my own (car accident after an aneurysm). I was wrong. Reading the pain, the memories, the thoughts of a mother who lost a child is just as gut wrenching no matter the age, no matter the way the child passed. As heartbreaking as this book was, it also was deeply healing.

While I recommend this book to anyone who has lost a child or knows someone who has lost a child or someone else close to them, I'd also recommend it to anyone human, as it shows that one can face the ultimate pain in life and still see the good. As Vaudrey points out on page 226: "Life is hard, and tragedy strikes. Also, life is stunningly beautiful. Both/and. But our circumstances do not have the power to steal our joy without our permission. If our purpose, our identity, our sense of God's direction hinged upon a pain-free life, how precarious the world would be. How weak God would be. How few would ever find joy."

"I now knew from personal experience that the same God who allows pain to enter our lives also sends us comfort, His presences, and more strength than we thought we possessed. And with the sorrow, He extends an invitation for the transformation of our character and a richer, wiser appreciation of life."

Vaudrey writes with such passion about Katie and the rest of her family that you fall in love with them all and feel their pain. She digs deep into what a loss such as this can do to a person, to a family, to a marriage. But she also brings hope, as well as perspective. "As much as I hate the answer I got when I prayed for Katie, I can't call foul. God never guaranteed me a lifetime with her. He never promised me any of the blessings I get to treasure every day. He promises us comfort in sorrow, strength when our own fails, inexplicable peace, His presence in storms, and life in all its fullness for those who follow Him - but not a pain-free life. And the things He promises, He delivers."

This is such a beautiful book, both the writing as well as the family pictures and Katie's artwork.

This book was sent to be by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


I'm not sure what I expected Vegangelical by Sarah Withrow King to be about but I didn't expect it to turn into a PETA commercial. 

The first half of the book didn't seem to flow with the topic of animals but rather like a textbook from a theology class. It got so deep that soon it was boring and I admit that I skimmed over it. As a Christian, I know WHO God is, WHAT God is, and what my connection with Him is...unless you are writing for an atheist I saw no need to go into an in depth discussion of what most Christians already know.

Getting to the last half of the book is when it comes down to animals and our relationships with animals, especially as Christians who are to look after God's creation. I agree with King there, and with her views on factory farms and the current state of the big farming practices. Animals are treated horrendously and we should not stand for that.

Yet, the only thing I got out of this book is that King feels we should all be vegans. She mentions eating eggs from her friend's backyard flock because chickens lay eggs and nothing had to die or suffer for that egg but that is the only instance where she seems to think eating an animal product is okay. 

I know King logically does not expect meat-eating or all animal by-products to suddenly stop being consumed, but if she had her way does she think this would be a good thing? Does she realize that cows and chickens most likely would not be kept as pets except for a select few? Does she not realize that one can be a good steward of God's creation while still utilizing animal products?

I have nothing against vegans...I would have nothing against living my own life never consuming animal products. But I'm also not against animal products. Take a hunter who bags one or two deer a year to stock his families freezer, or a small family farm that has a flock of chickens, a milk cow, and a pig for the freezer. Is the question really...is it bad to eat meat? Or rather, does our current method of raising farm animals need to go back to what it once was? 

King lost me when on page 111 she ragged on zoos (even though I agree with her sentiments!) when she added "It's similar to the message we send our children when we teach them to love and be kind to animals while serving them animal parts for dinner." Is it not possible to love and care for an animal and then to humanely put that animal on your dinner table? Does it have to be an either/or?

The same goes for wearing wool or leather. King states that sheep do not need to be sheered and that it is painful and inhumane to do so. I do know that large factory sheep farms are not often humane places, yet know people who raise their own sheep, sheer their own wool, and spin that wool themselves. The sheep are like pets to them and well taken care of. Does King protest that type of wool or just factory farm wool? Is she protesting our current animal husbandry habits or any and all forms of animal products? This book didn't leave much in the way for interpretation - clearly the only right way is to be a vegan. As someone who feels that God didn't just give us animals as pets I do not agree with King, except on the fact that all animals should be treated humanely and lead a happy life while living.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fading Starlight

Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman was a fun read. Part mystery, part chick lit, with a tiny bit of faith thrown in.

"Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging--a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she's surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingenue who lives in the nearby mansion."

Like Cushman's previous book I read (Finding Me) this one incorporates faith without being preachy and overbearing. It was a quick read and perfect for the beach, pool, or on the porch!

This book was given to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Braving It

Give me a wilderness story, a roughing it story, a backwoods story any day, I'll read it and I'll probably love it. That held true with Braving It by James Campbell. A father, a daughter, and an unforgettable journey into the Alaskan Wild. 

When James and his daughter flew up to Alaska to help his cousin, Heimo build a cabin in the wilderness of Alaska I soaked up the pages, loving the wild that they were able to experience. While grizzly bears, swarms of black flies and mosquitoes, and extremely hard labor wouldn't be my idea of fun, the adventure alone seems worth it. A return trip in the middle of winter shows the true harshness of the wild and eyelids freezing shut, eating a beaver tail or seal blubber, killing and skinning the animals on the trap-line, and dangerous ice over flows again wouldn't be my cup of tea but the experience would surely be unforgettable.

It's the canoe trip that raised my hackles. Maybe it's the mother in me, but it sounded beyond dangerous for a 15 year old. I actually held my breath a few times while reading some of the rafting descriptions and almost wanted to smack Campbell upside the head for taking his young daughter into that danger. One tiny little mishap would have left a lifetime of regret. I'm no helicopter parent but I feel there are some dangers in life that should be avoided at all costs - one of those would be drowning in white water rapids. Or, you know, getting eaten by a polar bear.

Campbell was able to travel to Alaska three times within about a year span. While it was a wonderful experience for his daughter, Aidan, I did wonder a little more about his wife and two other young daughters at home. He mentioned briefly the wanderlust he has causing slight strife between he and his wife but there was nothing more about it. The same goes for his other two daughters - a brief question arising in his mind about those two feeling left out, and one mentioning the trip she hopes to have with her dad when she turns 15 but that was all. I understand the book was about the Alaska adventure with his daughter Aidan but I'll admit to judging Campbell a bit for being gone from the rest of the family for three months out of the year while he was on an adventure and the rest held down the fort at home.

All in all it was a captivating book and made me feel like I have a bit more knowledge of truly wild land.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

That's Not Hay in My Hair

I think what interested my daughter most of all about this book, even before reading it, is that the author is seventeen years old. How cool is it to read a book written by another teen?! That's Not Hay In My Hair by Juliette Turner is about a teen who goes from New York City life to a 300-acre ranch in Texas.

For my "want to live in the country" kid this book quickly drew her in and she stayed up late just to finish it. 

While I can't remark on the writing as I haven't read it myself, it clearly interested my 12 year old so it served it's purpose. It gets high marks from others who have critiqued the book so I feel it's a great book to put on your teen's summer reading list. My daughter is hoping that Turner continues on with more books!

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Selling for Summer

    (Above picture was 24 hours worth of online orders from Kidizen and Buy/Sell/Trade sites)
My goal for this spring was to fund the kid's summer programs with my online selling. I now have enough in my Paypal to sign them up for their activities (Becca will be going to a horse riding camp and Joe wants private swim lessons and a couple day camps). By selling the kid's outgrown clothing I made enough to purchase their wardrobes for this summer and enough left over to fund their summer activities. My little hobby of dressing them cute pays off as I finally know the brands that hold and exceed their retail value. By buying clearance or watching sales I can buy an outfit for $20, have them wear it a season, and still sell it for more.

Now that I've funded their summer activities I'll be saving my profits for their curriculum for the fall. I already bought Joe's 2nd grade science, health, and history books (Abeka) for 1/3 of the price through Ebay, the same goes for Becca's science, health, and history. I funded those purchases by selling some curriculum myself that we had no need for. I've decided on Spectrum books for writing, reading, and math and have been able to get those from Half Price Books with credit from books that I take in. So far all the curriculum has had no out of pocket expense this year. That will change as they get older; for example, I'm highly considering the Seton program for Becca once she reaches high school, as it is an accredited school. That will mean $$$, which I hope to still be able to fund with creative ways. Where there is a will, there is a way.

To quote Plato,   

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” 



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