Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Apologia Astronomy Lap Binder

As some of you know I enjoy lapbooking with my children, it’s a great way to gain rentention as well as having fun while learning.  It made Hannah’s first ever homeschool assessment a piece of cake, so it can also ease the burden of proving what you’ve taught over the year.  Another added bonus is they have something to look back on over their school years as a keepsake – not just work book pages.  I am branching out this year and we are going to be doing a Lap Binder (I don’t know if this is actually trademarked or not, so if it is I apologize) which is notebooking/lapbooking put into a 3-ring binder.  Since there is going to be more added while we study Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy  by Jeannie Fulbright., we’ll need more room to expand as we study God’s creation than file folders will allow.

Here are some pictures, the cover of the binder, the inside is the first chapter/lesson titled "What is Astronomy?" with the mini books already glued in and Hannah just needs to do the writing.  All the drawings, pictures, writing assignments will be added.  I found the free lapbook at Notebooking2Learn Yahoo Group.



the Creation story for children by Helen and David Haidle

There is a book written for children by Helen and David Haidle called the Creation story for children. This is a wonderful hardcover book that tells the story of Creation using Scripture from the King James Bible. The Scripture used comes from Genesis 1-2 and Psalms 139, focusing on God’s creation.

On each page there is a Scripture given including reference verse along with writing that relates the Scripture back to the child’s life in connection with the Creation story. This is a engaging way to really immerse a child in the true history of how the world was created, by our God. Mixed in with the story are questions that the child can be encouraged to answer so that it leads to better understanding of Scripture and what occurs in our lives. Children need more ideas to grab onto to retain new information and this book really offers a helping hand in the educational arena.

Beautifully illustrated, each page has it’s own related picture that goes along with the Scripture and story told. This book does show Adam and Eve in the Garden alongside dinosaurs and woolly mammoths, and if you believe in the literal 6 day Creation this isn’t a problem. My children enjoy learning that Adam and Eve walked among the dinosaurs as stated in Scripture. At the end of the book there is a section on God’s “amazing creatures” like octopus, hummingbird, hedgehogs, velociraptors among others with information on the animals from a non-evolution viewpoint.

The very end of the book concludes with Psalm 139 telling children how they are made in a child friendly way and again beautifully illustrated. There are beautiful pictures of children enjoying life and some are shown in nature enjoying God’s Creation. The most beautiful picture though is that of the baby in it’s mother’s womb for Psalm 139:13,15 – there is something that words cannot describe seeing an in utero baby – but it is done in a way a child will enjoy (no shock value, in other words).

With child friendly and engaging illustrations this will be a wonderful addition to any families personal library, it would also be a welcome addition to a church or school’s library. This book would make a wonderful baby shower or new baby gift or even just for use in an educational way for schools, home school, or Sunday schools. This book will be treasured and enjoyed for many years to come. The Creation story for children is published by Master Books a division of New Leaf Publishing.

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D is For Dinosaur: A Rhyme Book and More by Ken and Mally Ham

Are you looking for something to teach your children about Creation and Dinosaur but coming up short handed with all the evolution based ‘stuff’ out in the market today? In today’s evolutionary and humanistic society our children are bombarded by non Biblical world views. I have a wonderful resource for parents and others who want to deliver Biblical truths about Creation and dinosaurs.
Master Books a division of New Leaf Publishing has published a wonderful resource written by Ken and Mally Ham titled D is For Dinosaur. The book is a three one resource for teaching young children (although my 7 year old also enjoyed it) more about Creation from a Biblical Creationist standpoint. The book is a three in one book that includes a wonderfully written ABC rhyme book, a coloring book, and a devotional/teaching book that can be used by Sunday Schools, Home School, Christian School or just by a parent who wants to add to their at home teaching after school hours.
The book measures 11 X 8 1/2 inches and is hard covered with 124 pages and there are beautifully illustrated pictures. The pictures are drawn with keeping the children’s interest in mind while they listen to the story and learn the alphabet and Creation story as the story is read. Full of educational value this book will be treasured for years to come and even be passed down through the generations, creating a godly generation. The second part of the book is the coloring book which has images from the story that the children can color themselves. The story is retold along side the coloring pages. The third section, included beside the coloring pages (devotional/teaching guide) has notes to the parents or teachers (or in my case both) which gives ideas for deepening the educational use of the book. Student exercises are also included that can provide additional hands-on learning for the entire family. I think any Christian family regardless of denomination could use this book, especially those who believe in the young earth and Biblical Creation.
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Religions of the Stars by Richard Abanes

I am usually not one to read stuff about celebrities but since Religions of the Stars by Richard Abanes had information about the different religions that are gaining a foot in Hollywood and movies today, I wanted to give it a chance. I received this book through the blogger review program through Bethany House Publishing. This book was a very informative and fast read, which I was happy with, educational and fast – what more could a busy mom want when reading a book?

From the Bethany House website: “You’ve probably heard that Tom Cruise is a Scientologist and Madonna follows the teachings of the Kabbalah. And you know that Oprah Winfrey is very spiritual. But what does it all mean? And more important, how does it affect you?

  • Why is Scientology such a controversial religion?
  • What does the Kabbalah teach?
  • Which faiths are embraced by Richard Gere, Marie Osmond, Ashton Kutcher, and many other celebrities?
  • How does Christianity line up with the popular religions of Hollywood?

Inside this book you’ll find the answers to these questions and more. You’ll also discover how today’s Hollywood spirituality affects the movies and television programs you see, as well as how your children might be influenced by the way these religions are portrayed in the media. Richard Abanes–former Broadway performer and television/film actor–blends his knowledge of the entertainment industry and his expertise in the area of world religions and pop culture in this intriguing examination of the religious beliefs embraced by various Hollywood stars.”

The glossy cover sort of makes the reader feel as if they have stepped into the glitz that is considered Hollywood and Richard Abanes being a former actor knows all about that. Mr. Abanes really did some great researching in writing this book. The information is well documented but yet put forth in a Christian way, in a way that lets you know the information is true and opens the reader to the Truth. Richard Abanes discusses Oprah’s New Age religion, Scientology, Buddhism, Kabbalah and several others, pointing out what they believe and weighing it against God’s True Word.

Presented in an easy, conversational manner makes this book enjoyable to read without burdening the reader with too much unnecessary information. Many Scriptures are given so that the reader can look up the verses on their own and make their own decisions about what Mr. Abanes writes about the religions discussed. Again, he does not judge or condemn any actors or actresses for their beliefs, he simply wants them and his readers to be educated about what those working in the entertainment business believes. He wants Christians to read this book and reach out to those in love and Truth and do what we’ve been commanded to do – reach the world with the Gospel of Christ.

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Finding an Unseen God by Alicia Britt Chole

Finding an Unseen God by Alicia Britt Chole has a subtitle of Reflections of a Former Atheist so it might actually turn off a Christian from reading it but don’t let the subtitle dissuade you – this book has something to offer even the most mature Christian. From Bethany House Publishing site:
” “I sincerely believed that there was no God,” she says. “As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales.”

Then one day, without warning, Alicia’s Atheistic worldview was shattered.

Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia’s surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him.”

The cover is actually what grabbed my attention at first and drew me to actually read the book. The fact that it’s an unusual cover, made to look like a word search puzzle, intrigued me. Imagine my surprise when I opened the book and saw an actual word search puzzle that the reader can complete, with answers at the back of the book. The chapters are numbered in an interesting way as well, sort of like a cross word puzzle. This book is also a quick read, a bonus for me, I read it completely in one day. The book comes in at 176 pages and that includes the appendix and notes.

I enjoyed this book, the fact that the author admits to being an Atheist and then giving her life to Christ is a wonderful testimony to God’s pursuing even the most resistant person. Alicia also gives ways to lovingly respond to an Atheist when discussing our beliefs with theirs, yes, she points Atheist’s do have a belief system. Finding really helped me to understand an Atheist’s frame of mind in why they deny an existence of God, also she made it clear that a Pagan is not the same thing as an Atheist. I recommend this for any Christian who enjoys reading awesome testimonies of the Lord’s work or wants to know about how to respond to Atheists in a Christian manner.

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Summer memories/Field Trip

I feel bad for not updating this blog very often with more personal/homeschooling stuff so I am going to do some updating now.  We didn’t do too much this summer what with have two children having their tonsils out but we did do a few fun things….. the first up is my husband and I taking Christian, by himself while our daughters were at my inlaws, to the local dairy.  Young’s is a tourist attraction in Springfield and the children love to see the animals almost as much as they like the ice cream.  I love their seasonal pumpkin ice cream and the gelato is also good – but usually we skip buying the ice cream.  So here is Christian with the goats.  He did actually kiss one but he moved to fast before I could get the picture LOL

The next thing we did was go to Carriage Hill Farm, it’s a working farm that was owned by an Old German Baptist family back in the 1880’s.  There are re-enactors and period farm animals and implements and there are many demonstrations through out the year that provides wonderful hands on history learning al disguised as fun, of course when you homeschool you don’t have to really disguise learning because the children love to learn!

Christian petting one of the horses, picture taken by my oldest, Hannah.  She did a rather great job too.  These horses are huge, I think there draft horses, this picture does not do their size justice.

One of their chickens, can’t remember what kind they were called.  We were allowed to pet them but when you have one excited 3 year old the chickens aren’t crazy enough to let themselves be caught.

The day we visited the homemaker was doing a period sewing demonstration!  On a treadle machine and hand sewing.  I love talking with the homemaker as I learn all kinds of things and what I wouldn’t give for some of those dresses LOL  My daughter Hannah was allowed to help the homemaker hand sew an apron.  The homemaker said she did a very good job!  Here is Hannah hemming the apron.

Next up was Hannah’s 4H Cloverbud Show and Tell at our county fair!  It’s such a great learning environment with no competition that prepares them to be regular 4Her’s 😀  These pictures are of Hannah explaining her project to a 4H volunteer and in front of our 4H booth.

Then it was time to celebrate Christian’s birthday.  We had to celebrate late, his bday is actually on July 26th but we had to postpone his party due to his tonsilectomy.  We did celebrate on his actual bday, just the 5 of us but his party was on the 1st.  So here are his cakes which are made from scratch including the icing 🙂

Then we took an unofficial, before school officially starts field trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.  I was happy to see that a lot of stuff that had been destroyed by years of use and unsupervised children had been replaced and several areas fixed up.  We visited on my birthday although we do have a season pass, thanks to my inlaws, we don’t get to go a whole lot due to fluctuating gas prices and numerous things going wrong on the van.  We had an enjoyable visit though and my mom tagged along.

This is the picture of the court/jail.  I think every parent needs one of these installed in their homes – especially when mom needs a nap LOL  Just kidding but the possibilities are endless – like a spotless home LOL

There is a special exhibit on dragons both real and make believe.  We discussed the dragon issue from a Biblical stand point, where we believe that there were actually dragons (not the fire breathing, fairy tale kind) and that they walked beside the dinosaurs and Adam and Eve.  So it was more or less just something fun.

There is a ‘wishing well’ thing that you could press different buttons to hear bad and good dragons doing things, my son’s was the bad dragon eating which produced a chewing and then loud burp noise.  Did I mention he is all boy!  LOL  This was a neat way to drive home manners, unfortunately most of the children there forgot the lessons once they left.

Next they had dress up clothing, Hannah is the princess, Christian is the knight and Bethanne is well….the dragon LOL  I think the way they choose to dress up reflected their personalities in some way.

The dragon’s breath, you’d press a button and it would ‘breath’ and it did smell although no one could agree as to what it smelled like.  Bethanne insisted it smelled like pizza.

The girls put on a semi-puppet show LOL

There were cutouts that were painted and the children put their faces in the holes.  I have one of Bethanne but couldn’t find it so again here is Princess Hannah and Sir Christian.  This wasn’t discussed but we have before discussed how Jesus sees us as His special Princess and Christian is a Knight in relation to protecting his sisters.

And now for the educational part of the dragon exhibit, real life animals with the title of Dragon somewhere in their name, forgive me for not remembering which animal is which and these are just a sampling of what they had.

Okay and now for something actually related to school….I keep all of our math manipulatives kept up as we are not able to purchase something just because something got lost so for frugal reasons I usually don’t let the children play with manipulative and definitely not pattern blocks but apparently they keep children occupied for hours!  Here are just two of things that Hannah and Bethanne made out of pattern blocks  (after math was completed) Hannah made the girl and Bethanne says hers is the bird.

 Bethanne’s bird:  The big red blocks are wings, the purple on the left is the eyes, the purple on the right is the beak, the light blue is food (a bee and a fly) and the dark blue is the feet/claws and the dark blue under the purple is the body.

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The Knight by Steven James

The Knight is the third in the Patrick Bowers Thriller series written by Steven James and published by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group. I hadn’t heard of Steven James before and must say it’s disappointing that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading his books before.
The Knight is a thriller and one that will keep you up at night, reading. If you like thrillers without all the cussing and lewd actions of the characters this is the book for you. There are detailed descriptions of the crime scenes that FBI agent Patrick Bowers investigates. As the criminal is tracked the reader can feel the thrill of the chase and the climaxing of the story.
We are drawn into Patrick’s life as he struggles with raising his stepdaughter, Tess as well as having a dangerous career and having to protect her. I could feel his struggle as he tried to decided whether to continue with his job or staying home with Tess as she finds something out that makes her reevaluate everything she thought she knew to be true. The reader feels the anguish that Tess goes through and I got the feeling of wanting to reach through the book to comfort this girl.
It’s been awhile since I have read this type of book in the thriller genre, but I am glad that I took advantage of participating in this tour because this book was well written with well developed characters. I even felt as if I knew the criminals in this book – but beware of the surprising and twisting end – and could somehow figure out how they ‘ticked’. If you like thriller’s and are looking for a Christian alternative to the usual cursing and lewd filled secular thriller’s this will definitely fit the bill!
Available August 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Power Through Prayer Blog Tour

Welcome to another blog tour through Kathy Carlton Willis Communications!  This time is for a book by author, Peter Lundell titled Power Through Prayer.  Read through the tour for a chance to win a prize package!

About the Book:

In the crazy world around us, our prayers may too often seem ineffective. Do you want to connect with God when you pray and receive more direct answers? PRAYER POWER is the tool you need to build a more powerful and dynamic life of prayer.

Intensely practical and straightforward, PRAYER POWER helps you improve on thirty essential facets of prayer such as passion, routine, fasting, praying with others, listening to God, handling distractions, and spiritual warfare. In each brief chapter you’ll be inspired by stories of people whose lives of prayer give us powerful examples.

PRAYER POWER can be used as a month-long devotional, a prayer guide, or a reference for help in specific areas. Whether you’re a new believer or think you’ve heard it all, this book’s refreshing and honest insight will guide you to a deeper connection with God.

About the Author:

Peter Lundell, a former missionary to Japan, is a pastor at Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, California. He has an MDiv and DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the founder of the Walnut Valley Pastors’ Prayer Network. Lundell is the author of two books, and his articles have appeared in magazines such as Guideposts and Pray!

Top Ten Reasons Prayer Doesn’t Get Answered

Lack of faith   –A much-abused idea, but essentially still true.

Effects of sin separating us from God   –The Bible says that God sometimes won’t listen when we wallow in sin.

Unforgiveness / Emotional wounds /  Self-pity  –A weird dynamic, but scary in how powerful these emotions are.

Unhealthy lifestyle in disagreement with prayer   –Don’t pray to lose weight, then eat donuts.

Demonic affliction   –Satan and his demons are deceptive and merciless.

Strongholds in the mind   –People allow attitudes and beliefs to block out the truth.

God’s working behind the scenes   –Sometimes God is in a process of answering before we can see it.

God’s chastisement   –Sometimes people bring punishment upon themselves, and it’s for their ultimate good.

God’s classroom of testing and faith building   –The way God answers prayer may test you and build your faith.

Old age or time to die   –Sometimes it’s our time to go!

9 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life

1. Establish a designated place to pray.

2. Set a designated time of day to pray.

3. Use written prayers or music to help get started.

4. Repent of the things that hinder your prayer.

5. Pray out loud–this clarifies thoughts.

6. Personalize Bible verses when you pray.

7. Let yourself get in a situation where you have to trust God.

8. Seek the Holy Spirit’s leading–and listen.

9. Be bold and persistent.

And now for a contest, if I have 5 comments about this blog tour I will select one reader/commentor whose name will go into the grand prize drawing through KCWC to win a great prize basket with the following:

(leave a comment for an opportunity to win this great package)

Prayer Power by Peter Lundell
When God Turned off the Lights by Cecil Murphey (Cec is one of Peter’s mentors)
Committed but Flawed by Cecil Murphey
Also includes: Prayer Journal, Pen, and Candle


Waterbrook Back to School Blog Tour (3 authors/3 books!)

Well it’s that time again, back to school, we’ve already completed our first week but for most children schools are starting back into the swing of things and so Waterbrook is having a back to school blog tour with three books by three differen authors.  Here is the information:

Summary information for Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner :

A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.
She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.
What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

Author bio for Tina Ann Forkner:

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors. 

Summary info for The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y’Barbo:

The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

Author bio for Kathleen Y’Barbo:

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

Summary info for Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo:

Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.
As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.
Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

Author bio for Beth Pattillo:

RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

To purchase these and many other fine books visit: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper ,    The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love, and  Rose House.

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Secret Keeper:The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh

I have been curious about Secret Keeper Girl since hearing about the group on the radio and I was given a copy of Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh who also started the above, Secret Keeper Girl group. It’s all about teaching girls, starting at age 8, about Godly modesty and purity in an age appropriate manner.

The book is published by Moody Publishers and here is what I found at their website about this book. “With Victoria’s Secret now targeting 18-24 year-olds with the PINK line, and Abercrombie & Fitch successfully selling clothing through a catalog available only to those 18 and over, the need for a clear voice on modesty has never been greater.
In this reformatted edition of Dannah Gresh’s bestselling book on modesty, teen and twenty-something young women are given actual pictures and examples of modern clothing-a modesty fashion show, of sorts. Dannah’s approach to explaining the critical nature of modesty is both cool and relevant. The photos will also show the girls how to take the “Truth or Bare Fashion Tests.” In essence, this will provide concrete, “how-to” modest dressing skills. “

I liked the tiny size of the book, it’s about the size of a slightly over sized greeting card and the fact that there are only 96 pages makes it a quick and engaging read. This book is not one for the 8 year old group and I probably wouldn’t let my daughter read it when she’s 12 either, it is geared for the older teen girls. My overall impression of the book was it was well written and well done. It is not from a dresses-only point of view, which is okay and even the “Truth or Bare Test” is good for families that allow pants or are dresses only.

I will issue a word of caution this book did contain images of a naked statue titled The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers and you can see a breast. According to Dannah Gresh the statue is modest even in her nakedness, because she tries to cover her most private parts and her downward gaze. While I don’t see eye to eye on everything with the author, it’s a good book that has a lot that girls can learn from today – especially in the times that we live in where girls are supposed to be wearing writing across their bottoms, skin tight shirts and exposing undergarments. The test has some great ideas for making sure your clothing would be acceptable to God. These are tests that even I do with my own and my children’s clothing before I read this book. One test is raising your arms to make sure that your belly isn’t exposed, bending over to make sure your underwear are covered, how to tell if your shirt is too low among others.

Overall, this book is one that more girls need to read before going to school or church, being modestly dressed – Dannah Gresh though makes sure also to emphasize that being modest isn’t only about clothing, it’s also an attitude. This would be something good for a teen group at a church to have on hand or even do a study on it, or just for a mom and daughter to do together.

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