Friday, December 30, 2016

Natural Color By Sasha Duerr

Loving to sew means loving fabric. It seems no matter the hobby, the more I enjoy it, the more I want to take it back to its roots. I want to learn every aspect and create the all the materials myself. When I learned to knit it wasn't long before I was researching spinning wheels and contemplating alpaca ownership. Dyeing my own fabric has always seemed like an exciting and worthy adventure. But where does one start?

Natural Color by Sasha Duerr is the perfect book for beginners like me. I wish it was as simple as throwing some pretty, colorful things in a pot, but making and dyeing fabric is a bit of an art. The fiber maters and there is scouring and things called mordants. Basically I need somebody knowledgeable to tell me what to do and what to buy.

Sasha makes the process understandable and leaves the reader with so much inspiration. The book highlights the peak colors of each season-- rhubarb in the spring and blackberries in the summer. I really loved that this book gave options for anyone interested in natural dye. If your only option for foraging materials is your local grocery store, you can still do this. Save your onion skins and avocado pits because those are just waiting to be used as dye! With a few supplies available on Amazon and some kitchen scraps, you're in business. That type of accessibility is really exciting to me.

Sasha Duerr

Sasha not only tells the reader how to dye but offers a wide range of project ideas. Each dye process has a project associated with it, but with any imagination you could switch these projects up very easily.  She explores many techniques and methods. Her love for natural dye is evident and makes this inspiring book a pleasure to read!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bible Basics Board Book-- PLUS GIVEAWAY!

Books for Kids

We have at least five different counting primers on our bookshelf. Cute board books, counting fruit, animals or colors. I can definitively say that we don't have anything like this book on our shelf though. 

Instead of counting cows, this book counts through key tenets of the Christian faith. Danielle Hitchen does such a great job in the Bible Basics at explaining the "basics" in a deep way. This may be a small book intended for young children, but the content is purposeful.    

So what is being counted in Bible Basics?

 1 God
 2 Natures of Jesus
 3 Persons of the Trinity
 4 Gospels
 5 Books of the Pentateuch
 6 Days of Creation
 7 'I AMs' of Jesus
 8 Beatitudes
 9 Fruits of the Spirit
10 Commandments 

I believe young children are capable of learning and understanding more of the deeper truths of scripture than one might guess. My own children surprise me with what they can retain. I like that this book doesn't shy away from the deep things. Instead, it invites children into the conversation. Some of the content might be challenging, but I don't think challenging is necessarily a bad thing.  

The quality and feel of this book is just top notch. The illustrations by Jessica Blanchard make this book a true pleasure to look through. The pages are thick and pictures vividly colored with a matte finish.

From the great content to the beautiful pictures this board book is a new favorite. This is one counting primer you can count on.

AND I have one to give to you! If you would like to win a copy of Bible Basic leave me a quick comment here. US residents only, 18+. Giveaway closes December 31st!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from the BlogAbout Network, all opinions are my own.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

She Reads Truth


In a lot of ways, I think it's a lot harder to review books that I really like. How do I communicate how really good, really excellent and really life-changing this book is? I have read a lot of books this year, and this is one of the best. I wasn't planning on connecting with this book. I like the She Reads Truth ministry and I figured this might be a nice read. I guess I expected some sad stories and then the glorious tale of how they launched their business? I dunno, it just didn't fit my preconceived notion.

She Reads Truth, by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, shares their life stories and what they mean in light of God's big picture. Even though my life was vastly different that either of theirs, I felt such a kinship with them. I really related to parts of their stories in ways I wasn't expecting. I won't go into detail, but to suffice to say, there was lots of underlining and praying and little bit of crying (which is rare for me).

This book is a powerful reminder of where truth is found. There is truth that is unchanging and unshakable. A large portion of this book looks at truth, and the truer truthOur truth is what is going on in our lives and our world. The truer truth is all of that in light of God's promises, plan and nature.

The world feels like a really scary place sometimes. I find myself so frustrated as I research any issue because there is conflicting and contradictory information at every turn. What is true? Can we even know? I read this book during the election season and it did my heart good. When all the information out there was spinning a story one way and then another, I was fed up. This book encourages you to zoom out from from the up close, detailed view of our present and look through the lens of God's Word.

This book has stuck with me. I actually read it months ago and I still frequently find myself thinking about it. I have pulled it off the shelf over and over to re-read bits. Both of the authors have such a beautiful, humble, real voice in this book. This is not the story of how they had hard lives and then learned lots lessons and became super holy. This is a book about what God can do and is doing, and the power and truth of His Word!

"Truth stands and it will stand, period.
God's promises are permanent when the world's promises pass away.
God's covenant is permanent when our good intentions pass away.
God's love is permanent when our good behavior passes away.
God's mercy is permanent when our bodies pass away.
God's hope is permanent when our plans are passing away.
God's sovereignty is permanent when our power is passing away.  
The gospel is permanent when our belief is passing away.
The permanent is there for you....
You cannot change the truth. You cannot earn it or lose it or escape it. 
But you can hold on to it, knowing that it holds you." 
(She Reads Truth p.172)

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from B&H Publishing.

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!

It's been rainy and dreary and just the best sort of book reading weather.  I was going to save it for under the Christmas tree but with antsy rained in kids, it seemed like the right time to enjoy it. New books are a hot commodity and this new read is being enjoyed non-stop.

I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug!  by Caroline B. Cooney is a fun and easy to love book. This is the perfect bedtime or anytime story. In playful verse the book tells all the ways you might receive a hug.

 "I'm going to give you a bear hug.
 A show you how much I care hug. 
A good night 
Sleep tight 
Way beyond compare hug"

This book creatively explores how a pig, a duck or even a whale might give a hug. It instinctively invites kids to try these hugs out. We weren't half way through and my kids were trying out how these silly hugs might look and feel.

I have found that books that aren't fun to read or fun to look at don't get read much at all in our house.  Cooney delivers in the fun to read department. The book easily rolls off the tongue. It is the perfect combination of sweet and silly. Tim Warnes illustrations capture the mood of the book perfectly.  They are bright, engaging and fit the this book just right. I just loved this full spread picture with the galloping horse.

This is a book any child could enjoy and one to add to your bookshelf!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Booklook Bloggers.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Around Our House Week 4

While many in Oregon enjoyed snow, here on the coast we got buckets of rain. It was the perfect weather to curl up with a good book.

I thought this week it would be fun to make some wreathes. I snipped some willow branches from beside the creek and the kids formed them into circles. We then tromped around the property finding greens. We used rosemary, fir, holly and spruce. They were so proud of their creations. We hung each one in a special spot and they look so festive.

We also had the pleasure of having some special friends over this week. We had a pizza picnic and watched Narnia.

I can't believe this advent season is soon coming to a close. Only one more week until Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Around Our House Week 3

It's the second week of December and things around our house are quite.. Except for the sound of a constant hacking cough.. Violet and I have caught some bug and it sounds like a tuberculosis hospital in here.

Last weekend we made our annual trip to Shore Acres to look at the lights. I love the lights, but I love watching the kids watch the lights even more. My husband carried Elsie the Ergo and her neck was crooked back the entire time. This was her first year enjoying them. Despite the kids grumpy appearance, they had an excellent time. I love going into the old gardener's house after walking around in the cold to get hot apple cider and a cookie.  

Later in the week we continued our Advent fun and gathered with friends for the afternoon. I love this book by Lori Walkburg. After I read the book to the kids, they made their own candy canes with red and white peppermint playdough. Despite the fact that the red playdough was a bit too wet and the white playdough was bit too dry, they had fun. Then Heather and I made actual candy canes.. or well.. close enough to actual candy canes?! There was a bit of trial and error but we did eventually get the hang of it. Luckily, the wee candy consumers were not too picky about their appearance.

This little trouble is busy destroying my house. She has eaten a part of a page of e.e cummings, Robert Frost and Poe... Perhaps she will be a poet? She finally got a tooth and we are all still recovering from that. She is such a sweet and obliging baby but has proven to be a very grumpy and opinionated teether.

She just fits right into our family. We needed a little Elsie and we didn't even know it. She is the big kids constant companion and when they are gone she crawls around the house and looks for them. Even the cat likes her, and if you knew my cat, then you would know that's practically a miracle.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NKJV Journal the Word Bible from Thomas Nelson and *GIVEAWAY*

Years ago I searched and searched for a Bible with wide margins to write in. I was so disappointed at how few options there were. Now journaling Bibles are everywhere, but they are definitely not all created equal.

The newest Bible I had the pleasure of reviewing comes from Thomas Nelson. I love journaling Bibles because I think they are an excellent way to interact with what you are reading. I see a lot of people painting and coloring in theirs. However, that is far from the only way to enjoy them.

I have one that I read through and write in the margins prayers for my family. Another idea is as you read daily, keep a prayer list and record answered prayers. You could write the things you're thankful for or how the Lord is blessing you. It's a great way to journal as you read. 

I am not a fan of tissue thin pages, tiny print and a frail cover and in these areas, this Bible delivers.
  • This Bible is solid. The cover is heavy duty and looks like it could endure the various trials I put my Bibles through (spilled coffee, sticky baby hands...) 
  • The cream pages are soft but relatively thick for a Bible. They don't do great with really wet markers or highlighters, but if you stick to a drier pen or pencil they hold up well. 
  • This Bible is considered large print (10-pt). I really appreciate how easy it is to read, even in low light. 
  • The margins are wide and lined, with ample space to write or draw.
  • There is a nice little ribbon to mark your page.
  • The whole things closes with an elastic band, keeping all my random bookmarks, shoved pens and church bulletins (mostly) neatly contained.  
  • It lays flat when opened and doesn't constantly flop closed. This is important to me, as I usually read on the couch or in bed. 
  • Personally, I like that this Bible is a little classier and doesn't have a bunch of additional coloring features or pictures. There are a lot of other journaling Bibles out there that come with various decorative stuff in them already. The lack of "pretties" makes this Bible perfect for men or women. 
  • While this is a NKJV this same Bible comes in KJV too

This Bible is very simple in that there are no additional study notes, maps or concordances. Study Bibles are an awesome resource and lifelong companion. If your looking for something along those lines, I have a study Bible from Thomas Nelson that I have used for years and love. This Bible is different but still great.

Another great thing about this Bible? I was sent two! One to review and one to giveaway to a reader. Here's how to enter-- Go to the comment section and tell me one of your favorite verses or books of the Bible. One person will be randomly selected December 11th. US residents only please and 18+ years old!    Now Closed :)

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and BlogAbout for providing me with these two copies. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Moments & Days

Seven years ago, when my husband and I began our journey of making life together, one of the things I was most excited about was making our own family traditions. What would we celebrate and how would be celebrate it? I began learning about Advent in an attempt to keep our eyes on Christ during the holiday season. The richness and anticipation that brought, made me wonder, is there more to the Christian calendar that I am missing? 

When I read the tagline "How Holy Celebrations Shape our Faith" from Michelle Van Loon's book Moments & Days I was really intrigued. I find myself pretty ignorant about Jewish Biblical and Historical Feasts. Not knowing or understanding these has caused me to miss meaning and nuances in the Bible. Even a lot from the Christian calendar I know of, but don't really know about. What is Lent or Epiphany really about? Needless to say, I had some learning to do.

The first part of the book covers the Jewish Biblical and historical feasts. She explained the Jewish calendar and had chapters on the Sabbath, Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Jewish history's holy days. In the second half of the book she looks at the Christian Calendar, which features, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost and Ordinary Time.

I found Michelle an informative and easy to understand teacher. The book was an quick read and I didn't find myself dragging along trying to finish. The descriptions of the Holy Days are brief and succinct but do not feel glanced over or trivialized. Michelle does more than just inform the reader about Holy Celebrations. She examines how time shapes who we are, our faith and families. Our calendars and what we choose to celebrate can either offer richness, reflection and a heritage or they can strip us of that. During this hectic season this book was very refreshing!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Tyndale Publishers.  

Friday, December 2, 2016

Around Our House Week 2

Every year around this time I determine to make the most of the advent season. Then a few days before Christmas I ask myself where the season went?! I'm an excellent planner but a questionable follow-througher. 

I picked up a hefty load of Christmas books on hold at the library today. I had the baby in one arm and the book bag in the other. It was a heavy, but well-balanced load.

The kids eagerly helped me snip some branches from our evergreen trees and arrange them in a vase. I loved the Story Warrens beautiful ornaments for our Jesse tree.

Earlier this week we gathered with friends to roll beeswax candles. I have always wanted to do this and I am so thankful for friends who think rolling beeswax candles would be cool! ha. I don't know how many times the mom's said "roll it tighter!" In the end they turned out great, wonky ones and all. The best part is they smell like warm honey when they burn.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Radical Book For Kids

Watching my children grow in their knowledge and love of Christ has been the most rewarding and humbling experience. I have never felt so powerless but also so responsible?! Titus is turning 6 soon and I'm constantly asking myself, how do I encourage his faith to take root?

The Radical Book For Kids was written for kids like ours, for parents like us. This book is specifically for kids 8-14th but I read many of the relevant pages to my kids.

The aim of the book is to look at the "ancient roots of our faith". This book has a ton of content. It explores many different areas of knowledge from science to archeology. There is a section about how to read stories from the Bible and one about how to make a sling like David. It goes deep into numerous passages of the Bible and looks at martyrs of the faith. It is serious and studious but also at times really fun and silly. Above all it keeps the focus on Christ and your relationship with Him.

Because the book is divided into short sections (2-4 pages usually) it works great to read as a devotional with the kids. I usually flip through and find a topic that stands out and read it. We pull it out  during lunch or morning time. For readers they can start wherever they are interested. The book all has a similar theme, but doesn't need to be read from start to finish. It's fun to bounce around in. There are also some activities to do with your kids, like make pottery or a sundial.

I can guarantee that your kids will learn something from this book because I certainly have. I find myself constantly thinking "hey, I didn't know that!". The pages are full of bright, beautiful pictures that really enhances the content. The kids insist on sitting on either side of me while I read, so they get the best view of the pages. I also want to mention how lovely the cover is. The letterpressed writing, the gold, just beautiful. It's a sturdy book and very well designed. All around, from content to design, this is a book you don't want to miss.

Thank you to Litfuse for the chance to review this book!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Around Our House Week 1

Every time I blink this little girl has changed and grown. I'm not sure where the tiny little baby went, but I am sure enjoying this sweet 8 month old. She loves going on walks with her siblings on brisk Autumn afternoons. We walk past the last of the apples, holding onto the trees, half rotten, We always check to see how high the creek is rising and how full each puddle is. Finally, when noses are pink and cheeks are icy we head back to the house.

I am so enjoying seeing some of the fruit of all the work Titus has put into learning to read this year. He has been really dedicated, even when I want to groan at the sight of How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love writing little not to him, and getting notes in return.

The days are so short and rainy I have been sending them out to play whenever there is a break in the weather, and sometimes when there is not. Warm coats and dry boots make a little rain a bit more bearable. These wet and muddy afternoons have created plenty of memories and dirty laundry!

Smart Games Party

Games for KidsI just love when I get the chance to host Tryazon parties. Recently I got the chance to host a Smart Games party! The quality and educational value of these games truly exceeded my expectations.

I like to keep a few games around for the kids to play during quiet moments. It's great for when I need to work with one child for school, I can have the other one keeping their hands busy with a game. It minimizes distractions for the child who is actively trying to learn and keeps the other one happy and entertained- no screens necessary.

What I really liked about these games was the degree of educational value and entertainment. Not only did all of the kids at the party enjoy playing them, but these are a superb brain workout. These games were just different than a lot of games I have seen out there, They are also all relatively small and self contained. I hate losing game pieces and trying to store big game boxes, All three games would work in the car or slipped in a purse.

 The IQ XOXO game is for ages 6 and up. This is a multi-level logic game, so there are many levels of difficulty that can be played. With 120 puzzles there is something to stump just about anybody. You set up the pieces as the book shows you and then try and fit the rest of the pieces in around them. It's actually pretty challenging and fun. The game is all enclosed in the clear case and it's perfect for travel. I liked  that the pieces the child wasn't using could rest in the open lid and not fall out onto the floor of the car.

My kids love this Busy Bugs Magnetic Travel game. It's ages 7+ but also has many different levels of difficulty. You move the magnetic pieces around make the bugs match the pictures. I actually had fun trying to figure a few of these out, it's not as easy as it looks! Like the other games its compact and this one closes up like a book. I think I will keep this in my purse for the kids to play on the road or in waiting rooms.

The final game is called Ghost Hunters.
This game is for 6+ and has 60 challenges. This one is a lot of fun and a really creative game. You move the different tiles around to shine your flashlight of the different ghosts. The pieces all have to fit just right to solve the puzzle. The base of the game holds all the puzzle papers. The  container that holds it all is super sturdy and the lid stays snapped shut when you want it too.

I was really happy with the quality of all of these games. They are well designed and all the details have been thought out to make them portable and fun to play. After trying these I put a few more Smart Games games on the Christmas list!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Devotions for a Deeper Life

Like so many other Christians out there, I have immensely enjoyed reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It's a book I come back to every few years to enjoy.

Having read a few of his other works and essays, I knew that I would likely enjoy Devotions for a Deeper Life.

This devotional book is a compilation of exerts from a few of his lesser known essays. He might have lived and wrote a long time ago, but I always find his writing applicable and enduring.

The devotions are pretty short, shorter than My Utmost. They don't need to be long to be deep, and I found these really thought provoking. I did notice that they felt a little choppy and didn't feel very cohesive in theme or part of the Bible they came from. They were taken from different essays and put into one book, and it felt that way a bit. Sometimes they would follow the same train of thought for two or three days, but mostly the content jumped around. I didn't find that too bothersome and still have really enjoyed reading through this.

The book itself is smaller and perfect to keep on a bedside table or tucked in wherever you keep your Bible. It has a very sturdy cover and is just all together nice to look at. If you or a loved one enjoys the works of Oswald Chambers, this book is for you!

I received a copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Two New Titles From Tyndale

Today I wanted to share two fun new books from Tyndale Publishers with you guys! The first is this sweet little book by Carolyn Larsen. Has Anyone Ever Seen God is actually one of three books in which Carolyn looks to scripture to answer some of the most asked questions about God.

This is a fairly compact book that looks at answering some very deep questions in a simple way. Through the ages entire books have been written on some of these questions. Keeping the answers to one page must have been hard! She does a pretty good job though and freely admits at times she just doesn't know the answer.

The illustration on the cover and the overall design of this book is pretty cute. It would be a great present to a new believer. The answers she provides are not exhaustive, but they provide foundation knowledge.

Next is Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal. This book is a part of their Living Expressions collection. This journal aims at pairing coloring with your devotional time. The book has tons of space to color, draw write and pray!

The book has a thick, hard cover and the entire thing lays flat when you open it. Some of the pages take up the entire spread and you are actually able to color the whole page because it lays flat!

I thought the overall design of the book was really nice. I was happy to see that the content was well thought through. The prayer and devotional aspect really added something to the book instead of feeling like an afterthought.

Both of these books were sent to me by Tyndale Publishers for my review. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Himalaya Botanique Toothpaste

Toothpaste stresses me out. In the last few years I have tried to make conscious decisions about the household products we use. I have held back on toothpaste out of fear that it won't really work.

Our family has been using this toothpaste from Himalaya Botanique for about a month now. I have to say, I am honestly impressed. There are loads of benefits and on top of it all, my kids like it! The flavor is refreshing and not so intensely over the top that your mouth is on fire. It tastes like real peppermint and the cinnamon one tastes like real cinnamon. That's because this toothpaste has real ingredients.

» Neem leaf, harvested from the ‘worlds most researched tree’ is history’s original housekeeper and works to keep the mouth clean.

» Pomegranate is an astringent fruit extract that helps support healthy looking gums by tightening the tissues.

» Triphala is a traditional detox formula in ancient Ayurveda composed of the three myrobalan fruits for clean teeth and a radiant smile.

» Not only is Xylitol a tooth-friendly sweetener, but it has also been clinically-studied to support good oral hygiene.

Obviously, regular brushing is required to reap the benefit of these ingredients. They even carry a whitening toothpaste that contains Papain and Bromelain, the enzymes from papaya and pineapple that help remove surface stains.

If you're on the fence about switching to a natural toothpaste, give this one a try! It might even convince the kids to give up the pink, sparkly bubblegum goop.

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Temple and the Tabernacle

Rainy and wet around these parts today. The perfect day to catch up on a few reviews that I am behind on. This book is one that I have been meaning to review for quite some time! The Temple and the Tabernacle is a full color exploration of the significance and beauty of God's dwelling places.

I knew this book would be a great resource to use with the kids. As we read through the Old Testament so much revolves around the building of the tabernacle and the temple. I thought having this resource with it's beautiful full-color illustrations and pictures would be really helpful. At the same time the book as seriously helped fill in many gaps in my own understanding of the temple and tabernacle. J. Daniel Hays does an excellent job at making what I have previously misconceived as a relatively dry subject really interesting. This book bring together the newest in archaeological discoveries without compromising a Biblical foundation.

 I received a copy of the book from Baker Publishing.