Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Child Feel Special Every Day by Susan Newman (With Giveaway!!!)

About the Book:

As digital devices take over family life in subtle and seductive ways, what will happen to child development and family bonding when children spend more time with screens than they do at school or with their parents?

Life swirls at a hectic pace in most families today. That reality places a high premium on finding family time. Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day, is updated for today's digitally driven and time-strapped families, offering hundreds of easy ways to create treasured childhood rituals that your children will look back on fondly.

The book hinges on 10 Cardinal Rules designed to help parents let go of work or social obligations and commit to spending time with their children. Rules include:

At home, focus as much as possible on your kids.
Put away electronic devices so you can really ‘be’ with them
Choose activities you like; children can tell when you are not having fun and are ‘faking it.’

Little Things Long Remembered is designed to help maximize parents and children’s available time. Slow down to grab pockets of time—even a few minutes here and there.

Establishing Ties (gestures that take seconds or a minute or two to strengthen parent-child bonds)
Five Minutes More or Less
Half and Hour to an Hour or So
Weekend Fun
Special Circumstances — When You Travel
Special Circumstances — Sick Days
Special Days — Happy Holidays
Special Days — Memorable Birthdays

Readers are encouraged to pick and choose to match their needs and their children’s ages and personalities. The time you spend with children and what readers choose to embrace from within these pages will become as memorable and meaningful to parents as they will be to children.

My Thoughts:

I like this book! It doesn't focus on BIG things, but instead offers lots of little things that would be easy(ish) to incorporate into our days, and make more special moments. I always hope that my boys are tucking away special, happy memories to think about, but I like the "tradition" value of many of the suggestions in here. Just to give you an idea, there's a suggestion to hide gifts around the house on a child's birthday. I'd never thought of doing that, but I like it. How could that not make special memories?! I like the idea of making/buying little stocking stuffer type gifts or treats to hide.

This book is divided into different sections, like holidays and weekend fun. There's even a section for sick days. Grasshopper and Firefly are suffering through flu right now(even with a vaccination!), so there's been lots of couch time and Christmas movies. Of course, there are some things suggested that won't apply to you/me right now, if ever. These little suggestions are set up so that it's easy to pick and choose the ones that fit our current lifestyles. There's some that we already do, but I'm excited to try many of the others.

This is a sweet book! If you're like me, you can get easily overwhelmed browsing Pinterest for ideas. This book is a great, *simple* way to get more ideas to make special memories with your little ones.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day

(The kindle version is only $1.99!)

About the Author:

Susan Newman, a social psychologist, specializes in child development and family dynamics and has been named one of the 100 Top Psychologists to Follow on Twitter as well as one of 25 Parenting Educators to follow. She has been blogging for Psychology Today magazine about parenting and issues related to raising children for over six years: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/singletons.

She has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, and her work has been feature on NPR and major leading newspapers and magazines.

Connect with Susan: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht

Thomas Nelson (September 16, 2014) 240 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

When I first discovered there was a whole new world of blogging encouragement, Darlene's blog, Time Warp Wife, was one of the very first blogs to enter my feed. Several years later, and I still find encouragement there. When I learned she was writing a book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it!

I think most of us know the general rules when it comes to marriage. Putting them into practice is the hard part! Books like this one is the extra boost of guidance I need sometimes(always!). Messy Beautiful Love is a large part memoir, but there are many pages of encouragement for married ladies, too. There's also a few question and answer sessions, consisting of letters from readers and answers from Darlene. She makes it very clear that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, and things get messy. She tells of her affair at the start of the book. This took me by surprise, but I appreciate her honesty! Sometimes it's too easy for bloggers to hide behind an image of perfection, and I appreciate the ones that step out of hiding.

I really DO think this is a great book for marriage encouragement. I can almost guarantee you will get a boost of marriage encouragement by reading it. But, there were a couple of things I wasn't so fond of. When an author proclaims that God told them to write something in their book(spoke, not led), a big giant flag starts waving in my mind. As with everything on my blog, you're free to take or leave that, since something like that may or may not bother you. It's at the beginning of the book, and honestly after reading it, I put the book down for a good long while. Also, there was a comment concerning divorce(in a round about way) that I wish was expanded on a bit more. *Ultimately*, I think I agree with her, to an extent, but I believe that women will read her advice and possibly make an un-Biblical choice, since it wasn't expanded on, nor do I know exactly where the author stands on the issue. Based on the letters within this book, it proves that women highly value her opinion and advice. God's Word is always the most important, though. (I say that kindly! :) *I* have gleaned lots of encouragement from her myself, especially with this book.)

Other than my couple of issues, I greatly enjoyed reading Messy Beautiful Love! Also, it's a quick read, which is just what I needed right now.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Can’t-Miss Black Friday Deal from Adventures in Odyssey

Christmas time is nearly here, and the excitement is in the air. But rather than waking up before the sun on Black Friday or having to fight the massive crowds, you could get a special present for your kids or grandkids from Adventures in Odyssey: a subscription to their online Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC)!

Offering 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey episodes, the club is a safe and fun environment where children can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth.

When you sign up between 11/26 and 12/1 (promo code: BLKFRDAY) not only will you receive a special introductory price of $5.00 for your first month of club membership, you’ll also receive a special gift worth $50, including:

  • Imagination Station #12: Danger on A Silent Night book (mailed to you in December)
  • A Family Christmas Volume 1 of Timeless Classics on CD (mailed to you in December)
  • Radio Theatre: A Christmas Carol digital download
  • Radio Theatre: Traveling Home For Christmas digital download
  • 101 Surefire Ways To Strengthen Your Child’s Faith ebook
Membership provides:

  • 24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
  • A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine delivered to your mailbox.
  • A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month's episode.
  • On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
  • Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.
A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner relief organizations such as Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others. 

This Christmas, give a present that will not only entertain throughout the year, but will provide a lifelong spiritual foundation.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Look Inside the Time of Jesus by Lois Rock

My Thoughts:

We love this book!

The whole book is somewhat like a large board book, with lots of flaps. It gives us a peek at what everyday life might have been like during Jesus's time on Earth. I'm always curious about what a typical day was like for people of various time periods and places, so it's been fun sharing that with my boys.

We've pretty much kept this book in our "diaper" bag for the past month, and its been enjoyed by all three of my boys, along with one of my nieces and nephews. It's been perfect for carrying with us to church service(for at least a few minutes of quiet...We struggle with quietness right now, though!)

Overall, this one has been a huge winner!

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Look Inside the Time of Jesus

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Windows on the World: 50 Writers, 50 Views by Matteo Pericoli

The Penguin Press (November 13, 2014) 152 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Windows on the World is a simple, but inspiring book. 50 authors give us a little peek into their lives, and tell us a bit about what they see outside their window. It goes past the physical, and touches on the sentimental of what their views/windows mean to them. Matteo Pericoli, with pen and ink, shows us those windows. At first, I was disappointed that the windows weren’t done with colors, but I grew to appreciate the simplicity of the black and white drawn pictures.

This is a short book. Most of the authors’ writing only takes up one page, though a few go to 2 pages. They also get a page for their windows. Due to time restrictions, I read it straight through, but I’d recommend just savoring it with a slow read. The amount of time that I’m sure went into this book deserves more than a quick read. I found it inspiring to “see” through the eyes of each of the authors. I hadn’t heard of a single one of them, but it didn’t matter. I got the chance to travel around the world and see new people and new landscapes, all in such a short amount of time. I’m inspired to appreciate my window view more and even to write.

Windows on the World is a lovely book!

*There was one mild word of profanity in one of the essays.

**I was provided a review copy through Amazon Vine.

Purchase Link:

Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views

Monday, November 10, 2014

Robots in Children's Books

HMH Books for Young Readers (October 7, 2014) 208 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was super corny, and I didn’t think I would like it at all. Thankfully, it won me over pretty quickly. Even though there are people in this story, I was constantly reminded of the movie, Robots, which I love! I also got a Meet the Robinsons vibe. (I JUST wrote a review saying how much I have a love/hate relationship with these kinds of comparisons!) There were still moment of corniness, but overall, I enjoyed it.

Since this is a short book, the reader quickly realizes that this book is a mystery. Also, it’s action-packed, with a battle for humanity. The ending leaves you knowing there will be more books in this series. I think my boys will have fun reading it a couple of years down the road.

*I was provided a review copy through Amazon Vine.

Purchase Link:

The Junkyard Bot: Robots Rule, Book 1

Scholastic Inc.; Revised edition (April 29, 2014) 112 pages

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Ricky is a small mouse, and he’s always getting picked on. That is, until he meets Robot!

Grasshopper is really small for his age. Though he's 6, he’s the size of a small 3 year old. I thought he might connect with Ricky. As a parent, I can’t say this was my favorite book. Grasshopper liked it okay, though he became a little confused with parts. I think this is one he'll probably enjoy more a bit down the road, when he's reading by himself.

This is somewhat of a combination book/comic book. Grasshopper really enjoyed the book part, but became confused during the comic book parts. We don’t read much in the “comic” realm just yet. There was one point where the scenes are viewed by flipping 2 pages back and forth really quick. There were 5 scenes like this. He didn’t really get it. I tried to explain to him what was going on, though.

The whole book is in full color, so we enjoyed that part! It’s also a very quick read.

Overall, we both thought it was okay, but not a favorite. Again, though, I think Grasshopper will most likely end up revisiting this book, and enjoy it more later. I really think it will appeal to beginning readers, particularly in the boy realm.

*I was provided a review copy through Amazon Vine.

Purchase Link:

Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot (Book 1)