Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chronicle Valentine Goodies

Chronicle had two Valentine's Goodies that I could not pass up!!

Who Loves you, Baby? by Nina Laden is an adorable board book in their series with the peek-a-boo windows. When your little one looks at the book - they see their face in each of the adorable animals in the book - TOO CUTE!! This is a board book your little one will come back to over and over!

Cake Pops by Bakerella is the one that will be my demise!!! My daughter POURS over this book and is insistent that we make these goodies SOON!!! It is a gorgeous recipe book - great "cake" ideas - and step-by-step directions that make it do-able. BUT, all of that said, this mom is not sure she is up to the challenge - I think we'll bribe Dad!!! (I'm a chicken!!)

**I was provided copies of both of these books by Chronicle Books for review purposes.

Read and Share - Stories About Jesus

I always hesitate when I hear of yet another children's Bible - I mean, really, we own TONS of these and it is hard to find a reason for yet another. But my girls are THRILLED with this new collection of Jesus stories we were sent. It is the Read and Share - Stories about Jesus by Gwen Ellis and illustrated by Steve Smallman. We LOVE the Read and Share DVD's so this has great appeal to my girls! We love the simplicity - they are tender and heartfelt stories, illustrations that are simple and yet friendly, and each story ends with some questions to spark more discussion. ALL on a young level - the board book format is nice for our youngest daughter as well - there aren't too many board books that focus on the life of Jesus so she loves that AND she loves that it is just like her favorite movies. This title includes 13 stories from the life and ministry of Jesus - a great find for our little ones!!

**I was provided a copy for review by the publisher.

Friday, January 28, 2011

City of Tranquil Light

Bo Caldwell's City of Tranquil Light was a read that totally had me intrigued. I am not sure if it was the whole China connection that captured me or what exactly, because I loved so many aspects of it that it is hard to put into words - but I am highly recommending this to friends right now. It encouraged me spiritually, it gave wonderful history on China, and it made me think about our place in this world as missionaries. Like I said, it is just tying into so many areas of my life right now - I thought it was a fabulous read.

It is the story of two single adults that travel to China to be missionaries. (Based on the author's great-grandparents' story, by the way.) They eventually begin to date and get married and it is the story of their lives in China - telling others about Christ. They had numerous struggles - the book is real - you feel like you go through it with them and learn to love the land and the people just like they did. It was the ending of this book that REALLY got to me though - what happens when missionaries come back to the U.S.?? How do they assimilate and start over when their hearts are still in China?? Truly a great read.

This book is not published as Christian fiction, or any label like that - it is a secular publisher but it challenged me spiritually - it really makes you think - what lengths would you go to to spread the gospel?? I highly recommend this one!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants

This app is SUPERB!! The Strange and Wonderful World of Ants by Amos Latteier is a read-along geared for kids ages 7 and up. At that age, they should be able reading-level-wise to read alone but I can guarantee that younger will enjoy this app as well. Our six year old is enthralled by it! It is a very informative book on ants - we LOVED the illustrations and all of the new information we learned. Great app!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

iLearn Solar System

I am so excited about this app! iLearn Solar System is an app that is sure to please your inquiring solar system minds OR your child that could care less! I think this one is great. You are led around the solar system by Zooby and Astronaut Ashley - and they teach you facts that will keep you learning for along time! I was impressed - the amount of information they cover is generous and it's not easy - my first grader will have a ways to go before this one is too easy for her! I think your older kids will REALLY appreciate this one! Fun app and challenging as well - we like that!

Magnificent Moon Unit Study

I have a first grader that LOVES school - I mean, REALLY LOVES school - so when I found these units, I was thrilled (and so was she!!). We are enjoying these!! I still do my regular math, reading, phonics, writing, etc. but we just add in a few books, etc. everyday to complete these units as well. So far, we've gone through two units and she is begging for more!!

But I'm here to share our fun with Magnificent Moon today! This was a good unit for us, we haven't done much with outer space, so Chloe really enjoyed this unit. These units are very well thought-out. We love how there is such a variety - videos, read alouds, informational reading books, and, our favorite part - LAPBOOK stuff
galore!! This is something new to us - we haven't tried lapbooking, but we are LOVING it!! You certainly don't have to turn the unit into a lapbook, but if you wanted to, then they make it very easy for you to do that.

This unit was broken up into 5 days - and it is very clear what to cover each day.
Day One: What Exactly is a Moon?
Day Two: Getting to Know the Moon
Day Three: The Story of the Moon
Day Four: Science Secrets of the Moon
Day Five: Cool Things About the Moon

We learned so many new things - Chloe is STILL talking about visiting the moon!! We even supplemented some of our own book finds - so if you do this unit - make sure to add The Moon by Felicia Law - what a fun read!! This unit study has daily studies on astronauts which was also
fun - again, you could go MUCH MORE in depth than we did in first grade, but that is what I love about these units - you can tailor them to the ages you are teaching - and add to them, or decide what not to do based on your children.

IF these sound interesting to you and your kids - there are some good deals right now:
A Giveaway for THESE!!! (to be announced TOMORROW - so stay tuned!!)

IF you'd like to read more of what others have to say about this unit study, go HERE.

**I was provided a copy of this unit study for review purposes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

iCrayon Maker

I was sent an app to review a few weeks back and we are STILL enjoying it over here!! iCrayon Maker is just plain fun! You are given a swirling palette and colors to choose from - you choose your colors to add together, swirl them together on the palette, and come up with your own new colors!! You can save them to use for future fun, or you can add LOTS of white, clear your palette, and start creating a new color. You can also use your created colors to draw pictures! What a fun app - if your child (or you) enjoy crafts, drawing, coloring, etc. you will find hours of enjoyment here!!

Second Chance

I have to wholeheartedly agree with PBS when it says that this book is highly recommended!! Second Chance: How Adoption Saved a Boy with Autism and His Shelter Dog by Sandra Gerencher is a touching picture book that stays with you long after you are done reading! I love this great way of teaching what adoption is and also what autism may look like. I think kids and adults will resonate with this story - and hey, maybe even dogs!! If you've been touched by adoption or autism - this book will resound with you as well - you will "get it". This one WILL be on our bookshelf! If you'd like your own copy - purchase a hard copy or ebook HERE.

A little info on the author, Sandra Gerencher -
Sandra J. Gerencher is a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at Lehigh University in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).

**I was provided a copy for review by Tribute Books.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


One of my all-time favorite books is Jane Eyre, so when I see any books that are a take off of that - I just HAVE to read them! When I saw April Lindner's Young Adult book, Jane, I was intrigued. It was a modern-day Jane Eyre story - and I did enjoy it. Jane, the young nanny, falls in love with her employer, the famous rock star, Nico Rathburn. The story really does stay true to the original Jane Eyre storyline, but the modern day additions are fun too. I think teens will enjoy this - and hey, if it intrigues them to read the original - all the better!!

I will caution that this is definitely older YA, the modern-day retelling brings with it scenes that are more intense than our young YA readers may be ready for.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

After the App!

I mentioned previously that I was trying out an ipad app - Big Fork, Little Fork. Well, I have had it on my iPad for some time now and I have to say - it's motivating me to try my hand more in the kitchen. I broke out today and made the Surprise Cupcake recipe - absolutely amazing!! And what I loved about it the most?? I watched the video FIRST, I knew I couldn't go wrong! It was clear and easy to follow and the layout is wonderful. While I was cooking - I could easily flip from the ingredients screen to the directions screen. My girls helped me (it was in the kid-friendly section) and they loved helping - it was really right on their level.

It really is a great app - you can build a shopping list, watch videos of people making the recipes, download more recipes as they come available - really there is so much to take in - I am sure I haven't touched the tip of the iceberg! Don't miss this app - it really is a good one! Thank yo
u Kraft and Marc Samuelsson!!

**I was provided a copy for review purposes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Captured by Grace

Dr. David Jeremiah's Captured by Grace - No One is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God is, in a word, Impacting. I do not know any other way to put it. If you want to see God's grace in a whole new way - this is it! Jeremiah starts us out seeing two lives: John Newton (author of Amazing Grace) and the apostle Paul - and from there we see how grace can prove changing for each of us. Grace is all around us - it is with us whether we acknowledge it or not. And it's power is amazing - it can free us from so much and change our lives. I love it when I can read a book and see God in a different way - this book did that for me - I have heard it before, but I saw it again - the God that is pursuing us fearlessly and with abandon - the God that can change our lives dramatically - and longs to do it. I saw over and over again in this book that it is the permanent forgiveness and mercy that God provides that can really change us from the inside out. I will put this on my shelf and return to it over and over - it really is THAT good.

**I was provided a copy for review purposes by the publisher.

Red Glass

Red Glass by Laura Resau is my latest YA read. I wasn't sure going in how well I would like it, but came out THOROUGHLY enjoying it. Resau has crafted a novel that made my heart go out to immigrants - the struggle they go through to get here, and why many of them choose to leave their countries. It was a fun love story - clean for our younger YA readers - and I appreciated that too. The book really resonated with me - Sophie is a strong female character that you won't soon forget - she overcomes so many obstacles to find out how strong she really is. And Pedros' story - the little boy that finds himself all alone in the U.S. after the rest of his group was killed trying to make their way into the U.S. is heart-wrenching. Great read - HIGHLY recommend it!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Award Day

I just LOVE this big day!!!
All of the awards are listed - check them out. I am shaking my head in shame as many of these have missed my radar - let me know what you think though!

Friday, January 07, 2011

This Heavy Silence

I finished this book and thought - WOW - how does this make me feel in one word?? And I thought, appropriately, HEAVY. Nicole Mazzarella's This Heavy Silence is a book that is guaranteed to make you think about who you are as a person. The story is strong - the characters are real. I loved it! It is the story of Dottie Connell, she is single and has farmed her whole life. Her life is turned upside down when her best friend dies and leaves her 8 year old daughter for Dottie to raise. Dottie has to come to grips with who she is and what her core beliefs are before life's circumstances try to ruin her.

This book will challenge your thoughts on parenting, love, and even serving God. It is truly an inspiring read.

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