Monday, February 28, 2011

The Me Project

Kathi Lipp has written a book that just thrilled my soul!! I LOVED The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You've Always Wanted. I love this book because it reminded me of the days before kids and a busy life and all of those goals and dreams I had for myself. After 18 years, I have totally forgotten most of those, and to be honest, barely make it through what I have to get done each day, let alone the "extras" of dreaming dreams for myself. That is what made me smile about Lipp's book - she challenges you to re-think those dreams and work on making them happen. She gives you fun, creative, and do-able ways to make those dreams happen - those God-given dreams that were once planted in your heart and have been put on hold because of the busy-ness of life. Lipp is funny and yet touching - she so wonderfully helps you put your busy life in focus. Here are some of the keys she focuses you on.

Learning how to:
*Discover (or rediscover) the unique plan God has for your life
*Connect with a group of like-minded women who want to make their goals a priority
*Change your attitudes toward your roles in life, as well as how you approach your goals.
I love her focus on God first - that is HUGE and the ONLY way we'll ever accomplish all He has for us!

HERE is a great article on how to get started - a jump start (in 15 min.) on how to start working on those goals!

Kick Start Living Your Dream

And here is more information on Kathi Lipp:

Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the
United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four
teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website:

I want to make you aware of one more thing!! There is a very fun contest with this blog tour! Just leave a comment below and I will submit your name to win this!

Grand Prize Giveaway:
Deluxe Starbucks Coffee Gift Basket
  • Three 2.5-oz. bags of Starbucks coffee
    (Sumatra, House Blend, and French Roast)
  • Tazo black tea
  • Starbucks marshmallow cocoa
  • Almond roca
  • Almond roca buttercrunch toffee cookies
  • White chocolate and raspberry cookies
  • 2 Starbucks mugs
  • Keepsake black bamboo basket
    $62 value

    **I was provided a copy of this book for review by Kathy Carlton Willis Communications.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    NEW Horse Unit Study

    Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

    NEW UNIT out today!!! Handsome Horses - "We are definitely doing this one," my 6 year old daughter says!! ;)

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    The Wishing Trees

    John Shors has written a novel, The Wishing Trees, that will definitely tug at your heart. It is a book that follows the story of a father and his 8 year old daughter on their trek across Asia - at the request of their deceased wife/mother. The story is real - the emotions are poignant and fresh. It is well-told and was a book that kept me going. I liked to watch their healing take place as the novel progressed and you really begin to care for them as characters. All of that said, the ending was just a bit too "neat" for me. It wraps up nicely and neatly - if that is the kind of book you enjoy - that I highly recommend this one. If you aren't as hip on nice and neat - then you may not find this as enjoyable. I love it when I can't see the ending coming in books - when I can't figure it out - this book was not like that at all for me. It was much more predictable. It is an excellent beach-read - and it will leave you contended and there's always a place for that too!

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Charlesbridge Publishers

    I have some books that I am so excited about and you don't want to miss them!! These are all available from Charlesbridge Publishers.

    Animal Colors by Beth Fielding is a board book that is a wonderful addition to the "color" books that are available. I am always looking for board books that teach colors because we are still working on colors at our house and we need variety!! This one is a fun one that teaches colors by showing animals of each color. Great idea and wonderful photographs of the animals!

    Animal Eggs by Dawn Cusick and Joanne O'Sullivan is a book that our non-fiction readers will DEVOUR! This book shows all different eggs and then shows you what comes out of those eggs. Real-life photographs and information provided in a friendly way - a great read!

    Animal Eyes by Beth Fielding (hmm, staring to see a pattern here?!?!) is another non-fiction book that our animal readers will just LOVE! Eyes really are intriguing and this book definitely shows that! Fielding takes and shows us the different eyes of animals and then gives us fun information for each of them - really a great information book!

    I am thrilled with the additions to Stuart J. Murphy's I See I Learn series. Percy Gets Upset and Camille's Team are stories for the preschool age and they are great for teaching emotional and social skills like how to deal with frustration and how to cooperate. Murphy is wonderful and his new series does not disappoint!

    While You Are Sleeping by Durga Bernhard is a picture book that I just LOVE. It is a fun lift-the-flap book and shows how the times is different all around the world. What a fun concept for our little ones to grasp and they will love this format! Great for any multi-cultural unit!

    Over the Rainbow is spectacular!! This book has a CD included with it that includes the beloved song performed by Judy Collins. The paintings are by Eric Puybaret and are gorgeous! Really the paintings make this wonderful song/story magical! I LOVE this book and will be excitedly sharing it with friends!! Just beautiful!

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    Expedition Ireland

    Let's go on a trip - yep, you heard me, and I choose IRELAND!!! That is what we have done this past week - Chloe and I have ventured to Ireland and back and boy, have we learned a TON!!!
    We used Amanda Bennett's Expedition Ireland unit - LOVE those units - all of the work is done for you and all you have to do is pull some books together and start learning!! We loved the Geographic Feature of the Day - and we are thinking we are pretty smart now - I mean really, the Giant's Causeway??? Just ask us, we'll fill you right in! I love the videos that we start each day off with as well - you just feel like you are there and it's a fun way to set the stage.
    I asked Chloe her favorite parts and BY FAR, studying the horses was what brought a smile to her face - we read some books on horses and added some things to our lapbook on them as well. We both also enjoyed the food activities - we love to try new foods from different countries! It was also fun to see some Irish dancing and listen to the music that is included in the study - we're always "up" for new music - and TRYING to dance to it! :) What a fun unit to lead us into March - and certainly not one I would have had the time to attempt without the unit study to guide me. This is a great one and I'm glad we were able to study some Irish history - I highly recommend it, and who knows, when you start reading - you may discover your own leprechaun as well!! ( I would normally post pictures to show you some of our fun, but I totally forgot to get my camera out this week! You'll just have to take my word for it on this one!)
    Don't forget - there are still some $5.00 deals through Monday!

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

    Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

    I know - I know it's past Groundhog's Day but don't miss this great children's book just because you think you missed the holiday! This new children's book, Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox, is one that my girls and I have enjoyed together already numerous times! Brownie Groundhog wakes up, sees her shadow and off begins her adventure! She meet us with the fox - and just like a lot of children's stories, this fox has plans for Brownie that don't include just playing together!! But Brownie is clever and a wonderful story unfolds about friendship and the coming of Spring. Susan Blackaby is the author of this clever story and Carmen Segovia illustrates it in her own style that really adds to the tender feel of the book. Don't miss it - even though it's past Feb. 2!! It 's great for all month long (yep, and even for March too!!).

    **I was provided a copy for review purposes by Sterling Children's Books.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Sweet Jiminy

    Kristin Gore is a new author to me. I read her book, Sweet Jiminy, and have put her on my "keep track of list". She is a great writer - I was caught up in the book from the first page. The story is set in the south and deals with prejudice, an unsolved murder and the niece that comes along for healing and instead is wrapped up in the tragedy of it all. It really did pull me in and kept me engrossed to the very last page. It is tender and well-told with a surprise ending - I love those!!

    Chrissie's Shell

    Chrissie's Shell by Brooke Keith is a children's book NOT TO MISS! I think this is one I will read over and over to my little ones. It is all about finding your own God-given abilities and worth and not comparing yourselves to others and dwelling on the areas you aren't as strong in. Kids NEED to hear this book - this topic is so worthwhile and will be a springboard to so many more worthwhile conversations! To top it off, Mary Bausman is a wonderful illustrator and gives the animal characters a tenderness that children will love. Share this story with your little ones - they need to see how Chrissie finds her place in the forest - and sees she is just who God made her to be!!

    Sequin Girl's Bible

    Oh man, this was a tough post - I could barely get the Bible away from my girls long enough to inspect it and write a post about it!! This Bible is SO girl that all I can say is - if you have a girl - this is it!! It is glittery, it is flowery, it is sparkly - yep, it is beautiful! What a fun Bible for our little girls that love all things - pretty! It is the International Children's Bible version - and perfect for our beginning Bible readers - easy to understand and read for themselves. There are no illustrations - it is definitely an older girl's Bible - and they will LOVE it! My daughter is almost 7 and SO excited to carry this to church. Oh yes, and the added bonus is that if you are giving it as a gift - the box it comes in as just as beautiful as the Bible itself!!

    Made to Crave

    I was asked to review a new Biblestudy/DVD series - Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. How I will ever do this justice, I am not sure! I was blown away - I was willing to do the review because it sounded interesting to me - what I wasn't ready for was how much it spoke to me. This study just was for me exactly what I needed! You can choose to read the book all by itself and glean a tremendous amount - but coupled with the DVD series and workbook - be ready to be spoken to!!

    Lysa knows the struggle with food and having our cravings met by God alone - she has been there and I love that! A bit more about Lysa:

    Lysa TerKeurst is an author and speaker who helps everyday women live an adventure of faith through following Jesus Christ. As president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa has led thousands to make their walk with God an invigorating journey.

    Lysa wrote the book Made to Crave from the perspective of a woman who has never craved a carrot stick in her whole life. Having struggled with her weight her whole adult life, Lysa knows what it feels like to be in the vicious cycle of gaining and losing, but never feeling at peace in her struggle. Everything changed when Lysa decided to have her deepest desire met by God not food. Now, armed with the spiritual motivation she gained in her own journey, she is inspiring others to find lasting victory.

    If you want to purchase the set as one - go HERE. I highly recommend them as a complete set - the extra teachings and insight are SO good and really challenged me to work harder and pray more about where my heart is. For a short while - the 21 day devotional on Kindle is FREE - grab it HERE while you still can!!

    And if I haven't "sold" you yet, here's a bit more by the publisher:

    Just because a woman finally fits into her skinny jeans doesn't mean she's won her battle with food. Too often, women overlook the spiritual component to their physical struggle with healthy eating. Made to Crave taps into the desires God gave you to consume food without letting food consume you!

    Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman's desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn't a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the "I'll start again Monday" cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn't a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal - and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the "want to" in making healthy lifestyle choices. 224 pages. Companion Bible study DVD set also available.

    **I was provided copies of the book and DVD for review purposes.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Kane Miller - Hot off the Press!!

    As a mom of daughters born in another country - diverse literature is near and dear to me!
    So when Kane Miller asks me to review books - I'm ALL over it!!
    Here are some great ones I got in their box this past month!

    These are delightful beginning chapter books (ages 5-9). Anna is a dear little girl that lives in Africa - you see her world from her fun viewpoint and learn about the wonderful African culture at the same time. My beginning reader devours these!!! Don't miss any in this series!!

    Seasons by Anne Crausaz is a picture book that goes through the seasons with a new and refreshing look at how things change. The illustrations are a style unlike I have seen before - they are simple and yet the striking contrasts in color are beautiful. What a wonderful and unique look at the seasons!

    Rope 'Em! by Stacy Nyikos and illustrated by Bret Conover is a book that has "lots of laughs" written all over it! The story of a lassoing-octopus and a round-up'ing seahorse - the best cowhands ever!! You will love this story set in the O.K. Coral!!

    Hush, Little Beachcomber by Dianne Moritz and illustrated by Holly McGee is a fun picture book set at the beach and read to the tune of "Hush, Little Baby" - yep, this one is clever and fun! My girls loved it - and they joined right in to sing along because they are already familiar with "Hush, Little Baby". This one would be so great with a beach unit or story hour.

    Dorje's Stripes by Anshumani Ruddra and Illustrated by Gwangjo and Jung-a Park is the story of Dorje - a beautiful Royal Bengal tiger - but a tiger with no stripes. What a great multi-cultural story - Master Wu, a Buddhist monk in Tibet, tells this story about why the tiger has no stripes and how he may yet get his stripes. I liked this - it is totally different than other picture books and gives us a wonderful glimpse into the culture of Tibet.

    Need another fun dog book?? This is it!! Anitha Balachandran's The Dog Who Loved Red is one that will fit in so well with your unit on dogs, colors or just another fun read!! Raja is a dog you can't help but love AND learn about colors at the same time. GUARANTEED laughs and you will hear "read it again!!" :)

    Do NOT MISS - Learning to Fly. This is a picture book that will touch your heart AND make you smile. A wonderful story of a penguin that, because he knows birds should fly, is determined to learn how to fly. I LOVE this one - the illustrations are delightful and simple. A book from Germany - written by Sebastian Meschenmoser - this one is a fun find!!

    Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon by Lindsay Ward is a picture book that I am so excited to add to our "outer space" unit. It is the story of Pelly, a little girl and her dog, Mr. Harrison and what happens when their bathtub has a rocket engine attached! This is great fun and a story kids will love!!

    All of these wonderful titles are available online (links below) or through Usborne book consultants - if you need names - I have some!! :)
    *I was provided copies for review purposes by Kane Miller.

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    The Life Ready Woman

    I was asked to take part in The Life Ready Woman Blog Tour and I was thrilled to do it when I read that Shaunti Feldhahn was the author!! She has been a favorite of mine for some time. Her work is grounded and it always hits home - hey, she just "gets" women!!! And she's done it again - The Life Ready Woman by Feldhahn and Robert Lewis is a book that will challenge you and hey, maybe even correct you a bit. (That's ok, it did me too!!)

    Here is what has been said about the book:

    Are you a ‘Doing it all’ or ‘Do what matters’ woman?

    Whether a stay at home; or working mom, an airplane-hopping executive, an empty-nester caring for multiple generations or a single juggling high demands of career and personal life, today's fast-paced modern world leaves women gasping for balance. We as modern Christian women want to look to the Bible for guidance on how to manage our lives -- but because the world of women looks so different today than it did when the Bible was written, it is hard to find chapter and verse that seems to apply to our situation today.

    Thankfully, God has given us exactly that timeless, unchanging guidance for how to find peace, clarity, and God's best for our lives once we know where to look! The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World, reveals a profound biblical roadmap for how each of us can find the abundant life we are longing for, rather than the stressful, torn, how-do-I-balance-it-all life we often feel like we are trying to keep up with today. Actually being a LifeReady Woman means that you are clear about your life, bold in your faith, and able to find God’s best for you, and the end result will be that you not only survive but thrive in our do-it-all world.

    God has given every wonderfully unique woman different skills and abilities, different desires, and different temperaments -- and every woman around the planet and through the ages is certainly living in different circumstances. But no matter what a woman’s life looks like, the Bible says that God has an individual mission and plan that He’s carefully designed for each of us. And He wants us to find it. Starting January 2011, The Life Ready Woman and the Life Ready Woman Video Series will help every wonderfully unique woman to thrive as she identifies and courageously pursues God's unique design and callings for her. LifeReady Woman puts you on a roadmap to make decisions that will lead to relief, delight, and fulfillment instead of regret.

    How about a little info on Shaunti Feldhahn!?!?

    Shaunti Feldhahn is a former Wall Street analyst, best-selling author of the book For Women Only, national speaker, and regular commentator in the media. She has been featured on The Today Show, PBS, TNT and Fox News- to name a few. You can learn more about her many activities by visiting her website or get some great mom advice from her at She and her husband live with their two young children in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.

    Read what others have to say about this great book - HERE!!!

    AND this is fun - I'm always up for a contest!!!

    In celebration of Shaunti Feldhahn’s Life Ready Woman, MomLife Today is giving away 2 Weekend To Remember Gift Packs and much more!

    Not only, is MomLife Today helping promote Life Ready Woman, but they are thrilled to announce that Shaunti will be joining MomLife Today as a regular contributor!!!

    Weekend To Remember Get-Aways offer marriage-changing principles that you can take home and apply to your daily lives to strengthen your marriage. Whether you are newly engaged or have been married for 50 years, you will find value in the tools provided at the getaway.


    Don’t miss this opportunity to receive a conference registration for you and your spouse … and more! MomLife Today will be randomly selecting NINE lucky recipients to receive one of these great gifts:

    1. 2 Weekend To Remember Get Away conference registrations for two. $259 value each pair (Two couples will receive this.)

    2. 2 Life Ready Woman DVD packs. $149 value each (Two different people will receive this gift.)

    3. 5 The Life Ready Woman books. (Book will go to 5 people.)

    To enter click one of the icons below then tell your friends. Winner will be announced on March 2nd on the MomLife Today website.

    Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

    MomLife Today provides encouragement, advice and resources to help YOU with your daily Momlife! Because…every MOMent counts!

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

    Cybils Awards

    It's Valentine's Day AND Cybils Awards Day!!! (For us book bloggers - those two days go hand-in-hand!!) The winners are all announced HERE - but I'd love to fill you in on the category I helped judge!!! I was honored to be on the Fiction Picture Books Finalist Panel and LOVED this experience. We get to read and study some GREAT kid's books and then share why we loved them! Here is the amazing finalist list we got to choose from - yep, nothing easy about that job! I had so many listed in first position I spent days deciding which was my REAL favorite!!

    This is a truly delightful tale - and it all takes place around bedtime! As Little Red Chicken interrupts her Papa's bedtime stories to make up her own endings for some of the classic fairy tales, you will be tempted to interrupt and maybe even make up some of your own endings!! This book is all about using your imagination. The illustrations are fun and take you on a journey right to little chicken's bedtime! Interrupting Chicken is a picture book that will have children and parents alike laughing all the way to the last page, making it a perfect bedtime and group reading story.

    Congratulations to our winning author! And also thanks to the team of panelists and judges! (Here are some of the amazing bloggers I served with - Katie Davis, Melanie Greenberg, Danielle Smith, Tess Goldwasser, and our fearless leader, Pam Coughlan!!)

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    The Water Wars

    I was sent a copy of The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher to read and review, but this one caught my husband's eye and so he read it and took the opportunity to express his opinion!!! Without further ado - my guest blogger - my husband!!

    I enjoyed Cameron Stracher's The Water Wars. I found the characters to be compelling. As someone who enjoys dystopian literature I thought the concept around this book to be intriguing.

    The book is set in the not so distant future. The United States has been torn apart by numerous wars. These wars were focused not on oil, gold or land, but they were due to a shortage of fresh drinking water.

    The primary characters are Vera, a 15-year-old girl, and her older brother, Will. Vera meets a mysterious older boy named Kai. Vera and Kai develop a friendship and then Kai disappears. Vera and Will seek to find Kai and bring him home. Along the way they encounter a number of fantastic adventures, develop close friendships and learn much about the world they live in.

    Stracher did a pretty good job of developing a futuristic world that is desperately in need of water; at times I actually found myself thirsty. I would have liked to see more character development between Vera and Kai. It would have also been nice if we would have been able to get to know Kai better throughout the story.

    Over all I enjoyed the book. While I might not agree with Stracher's political and environmental message it was a good read.
    **I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes by the publisher.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    The Rhythm of Secrets

    I have found a new author that I have thoroughly enjoyed! Patti Lacy is amazing in her book, The Rhythm of Secrets. I was caught up from the very beginning and I have literally been hooked all the way to the end. This isn't your typical - "feel good Christian fiction" - Lacy paints a pretty sad upbringing for the main character, Sheila. She has lived through many tough situations and has lived a life that hides all of her past. I thought it was hard to read at points - all that this little girl had survived through - but it is so redemptive. There are threads that will please all types of readers - music, adoption, teen pregnancy, social issues, loss of a parent - it touches on so many things and really hit a chord with me. I highly recommend this book AND this author!!

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

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    Unit Study Blowout!

    BIG SALES - don't miss these unit studies - on sale until Feb. 14!!!
    Mom's Favorite and Season Fun Packs both only $14.00 each!

    Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Valentine's Day Download N Go

    BIG SALE!!!

    I don't want you to miss this if you enjoy unit studies!
    For one day only there is a sale on Valentine's Day DNG - it is just $4.00.

    Click here to visit Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011


    Are you ready for a novel that will take you on a ride that you're sure never to have been on before?? Then Lou Aronica's Blue is just the read!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it was probably not something I would have picked up if I had not been asked to blog about it, but I am SO glad I did. It says on the back of the book, "Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic." I think that is JUST RIGHT! I cried, I laughed - you just really empathize with the characters. It is the story of Chris and Becky - Becky is the 14 year old daughter who has been through a lot in life. She is a strong character that overcomes much, but it isn't even really until she becomes a young woman that she faces some of her greatest struggles. It all weaves together with a fantasy land that Chris and Becky created when Becky was young - and a young queen, Miea, of that land. I was totally caught up in the book - and I am sure your junior high/teen readers will be as well. It is a great mix of reality and fantasy and it will appeal to many!

    OH, and you must know about the upcoming contest as well!!


    How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

    New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?

    Now for the details:

    The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.

    The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
    Please email your submission to Lou at

    All winners will be notified by email by May 27, 2011.

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

    Search This Blog