Monday, March 29, 2010

Love Finds You In Homestead, Iowa

Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, go HERE.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

The people who lined the streets on Palm Sunday had different reasons for waving those palms. Some were political activists and they wanted him to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick or dying. Some were curious onlookers, while others were genuine followers. Jesus was the only one who knew... why he was going to Jerusalem - to die. He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Linky Love: Whitney Caroline Designs

I was recently lucky enough to win a $75 gift card from Whitney Caroline designs.      It is so much fun to be given money and permission to shop.     Hubs loved it too because I wasn't spending money.... out of the budget.

Oh my gravy she has such gorgeous stuff!      How to choose!  How to choose!

Now that I am looking through her site again I am thinking.   Why didn't I choose this Four boys Scout Bag.    The things I could have used that baby for.... carrying curriculum for homeschooling, towels and snacks to the pool, books to the library, a quick day trip bag.

I didn't buy it, but I seriously gave second and third thoughts to this Hamptons Coffee Tote.   I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!      I am telling you that if hubs drank coffee I would have snatched this baby up.   Just the thought of packing up coffee or hot chocolate in this cute baby and sneaking away for a morning breakfast picnic just the two just spells romance to me!

Now I wish I was one of you girls who could look cute with my hair all pulled back in a ponytail rockin' one of these adorable baseball caps, but I am not.   However, I would be willing to forego the fact that I look hideous just to own one of these monogrammed cuties!    

I love that she has prissy plates.    I have two prissy plates and I use them all the time.    They are so versatile for entertaining and a great investment.     She has a a BLACK prissy plate which I have never seen before, but is very cute with black polka dot or even orange ribbon.   She also has a slotted prissy bowl which I would love to have.    Oh, I am sorry.  You don't know what a prissy plate is?      Here....

Would this polka dot tote not make the cutest ever Easter bag?    You could fill it with candies or books or gardening supplies or whatever ideas you come up with?    

What did I choose?   Well, I just can't tell you because there I just don't want to spoil some surprises for some very special people that I love with all my heart!     

I hope you will visit Whitney!  Tell her I said hello!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Graduated from Sign Class

Little Guy and I "graduated" from sign class.    We already miss our Mondays with our sweet teachers,  Leighann and Nikki.      They were such sweet ladies and now they are studying so hard for their finals and state tests to get ready for their graduation.

We are going to frame Little Guy's certificate.   

So proud that we were able to be a part of this first sign language class.    We not only learned a lot, but we made a lot of great friends as well.

Here Burns My Candle (Liz Curtis Higgs)

Here Burns My Candle
by Liz Curtis Higgs

A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here Burns My Candle, go HERE.

Book Review

This latest book from Liz Curtis Higgs is a brilliant book which blends a Scottish historical fiction and the story of Ruth.     Lately, I have become entranced with author websites so I searched to read about this book before I read the book.    What a SCORE!    Liz had posted the photos from her trip to the Scottish Lowlands.     I loved being able to visualize these places as I read Here Burns My Candle.    I felt as though I was there in Scotland with Lord Donald and Lady Elisabeth.   

The story is one of a widowed mother-in-law and her two sons along with their wives all living under one roof.     Isn't that enough for a story?    But their country is going to war and the sons are about to leave.     One daughter-in-law secretly worships a pagan god, the mother-in-law has put her relationship with God on the bookshelf with her Bible and the other daughter-in-law only worships herself.      

All of these relationships and conflicts wind around the streets of Scotland and reveal secrets some would have thought best to have remained hidden.    In the end, God's love repairs and Lady Elisabeth tells her mother-in-law, "Whither you goest, I will go."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break Is... PE

Did I just say PE?   During Spring Break?    I did.    The boys are in training for the Presidential Physical Fitness Test.     The test date is set for April 5th so our PE coach said that we would not take off Spring Break.    She said come if you could.    We did.

This is no whimpy test.     There is a one mile run.    You can't just run it.   You have to meet the time requirements:  Big Guy has to run it in 7:11 or less and Little Guy has to run it in 8:48 or less.

Next are pull-ups.   5 for Little Guy and 7 for Big Guy.

Next up is the shuttle run...  in 11.1 seconds for Little Guy and in 9.8 seconds for Big Guy.

How far can you stretch?   Both boys need to reach a minimum of 31 cm on the sit and reach board.    

And then the dreaded sit ups.     40 for Little Guy and 50 for Big Guy

These are great workouts and the time at the park is really great.    Plus we have gotten to know some of the kids from our home school co-op even better too which has been fun.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Break Is.... Peace Love Missions

Peace Love Missions was the name of our middle school Spring Break mission emphasis.     Big Guy gave up a big part of his Spring Break to go to Mission First and work for others.    Trust me when I say they worked.      They prepared ground for the pouring of a foundation.    They went to the homes of widows and cleaned.    They raked, shoveled, weeded, picked up trash, cut down trees, and anything else that was on the list of "to be done".     

I don't know if you know much about Mission First, but you may recognize this picture from 1999.   It was the Rosedown Apartment complex.    It was a den of drug dealers, prostitution and vagrants.    Shootings were a common occurance here.   The community wanted it to be torn down.   One neighbor wanted to invest in his community and saw the potential in this.   In this?   I am telling you that Mr. Joseph saw that place with God's eyes because I remember when Rosedown was on the news.     Police were afraid to go down there.    It was bad!

Our youth pastor asked Mr. Joseph how they got rid of the drug dealers.    His answer:  "A lot of prayer."     Don't believe prayer works?     Look at it now.

God's eyes are better than ours.    As far as I am concerned, Mr. Joseph is a modern day Moses.    He took the Westpark neighborhood out of the wilderness and followed God's path into a new land.      Today Mission First acts as a cornerstone for that neighborhood.   

It was an amazing privilege and honor to be a small part of their ministry.    One that we aren't finished with yet.   We intend to make it a habit to be a part of their ministry.

15 teens, 3 adults and 1 great big GOD... 

I adore these kids.      Not just because they are Big Guy's friends, but because they radiate the love of Christ.     I see them growing in their relationship.    I have literally seen them lead our entire church in worship.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Linky Love: One Year Bible Blog

Finding a way to read through the Bible is a challenge for a lot of people.     A few years ago I signed up to start receiving Mike's weekly emails with that week's Bible reading challenge.   With Mike's plan, I would be able to read through the entire Bible in one year.      There was a relatively small group in that Yahoo email group the first year I started reading through the Bible this way.       Since then many, many more have decided to join the One Year Bible reading program and Mike has started a blog.

It is great to read along with Mike's blog.     Not only does he include the Scriptures (including links) for that day's readings, but he provides questions to challenge you in what you are reading.

There are questions to use for small group Bible studies or even a family devotional time.

Every day is a fresh new commentary, set of questions, and images that will cause you to dig deeper and reflect on what that day's Scripture is all about.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Break Is... Swimming

Just because we didn't go out of town for Spring Break doesn't mean we can't have fun.    We decided to make use of the homeschool swim time at the YMCA.     Two hours of swimming in a heated pool.   Woo hoo!

Standing at the starting line of the Olympic size lap pool.    He loves to swim laps.

Got this adorable picture when I threatened to make him swim 40 laps if he didn't let me take his pic?    He responded with "What?!?"

Little Guy popped up out of the water and I snapped just in time....

Big Guy was soaking in the sun streaming through the windows and I got this one.   I love it.

As we were getting ready to leave I told the boys to get dressed while I went to grab Big Guy's glasses.   I nearly stepped on them.      See why?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break Is.... Lonely With No Girls

Poor toy basket.     Doesn't it look lonely?    It is so sad with no sweet girls to play with them.

We miss them too!   We are addicted to our Monday morning playtime with MM and LK.

But most of all we miss their hugs, kisses and snuggles....

Dead Reckoning (Ronie Kendig)

Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life. When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life.

When she spots a man trailing her, the questions are, Who is he? And how is he always one step ahead? Is the man trailing her an enemy or a protector sent by her CIA father?

Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL and now serves his country as a spy. His life is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the sources to a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India. The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become involved in her father's web of intrigue and mystery? Will she reconcile with her past and with him? Will she allow God to help her throught this ordeal of danger, mistrust and uncertainty?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dead Reckoning, go HERE.

Book Review

Shiloh Blake is at home in the water.    While in the depths of the water she sees things she shouldn't and all of a sudden her life changes.     

You don't realize it, but your life changes too because that scene happens on the first pages of the book.   From that time, just like Shiloh, you are running through the pages in this amazing thriller.  

There are no "flippers" in this book.    What are "flippers"?    I define "flippers" as pages that lose your interest and you start skipping over lines to get to interest parts.     You are devouring every word and every line to find out who is following, who is chasing, where they are going and if they are going to be safe.

I still can't believe this is Koenig's first book, but I am excited to see that this is her first book in a military thriller series.    The second book is called, Nightshade.    Can't WAIT for its release in July.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Molly's Money Saving Digest

Book Description

Are you squeezing 32 hours into a 24-hour day?
How often does your money do a disappearing act?
Is stuff overflowing your home and hindering your happiness?

Time, money, and belongings—everyone deals with them.
Find out how to get a grip on it all.

Molly’s Money-Saving Digest
January 2010

51 pages
Ebook   $4.95

 Book Review
Is there any better way to start a year than getting organized?     Well, yes, there is.   Having someone actually tell you how to do it!    That is what I loved about getting to review the January issue of Molly's Money Saving Digest.     Her main focus was: evaluate, prioritize and organize!

On the first pages of the digest I found my true loves:  recipes.   I love to cook but making pie crusts has been a nemesis so seeing a recipe for a pie crust that promised to be no fail definitely piqued my interest.     I tried it and it worked.... even for me.     Made a delicious chocolate chess pie for my boys.     Woo hoo!   No more frozen pie crusts for me.      (Hey, Molly is right.    This is a money saving digest!)  

I have found cooking to be an incredible way to teach science, math and general skills in our homeschooling and many of the recipes in this digest are ones that will be used in our classroom setting.    I loved that the Digest thinks the same and gave a suggestion for using all of the pie recipes and pies in general for math in your homeschool setting.

The calendar of items which are on sale during the month of January is such a help for any mom trying to be a good steward of her family's finances.     And my boys love celebrating all the wacky holidays such at National Popcorn Day, National Pie Day and Chocolate Cake Day!

Speaking of organizing, it was nice to have budget charts, calendars and blank to do lists ready to print.      A clothing inventory sheet was also included.     Oh, isn't that a terrible job, but I love the idea of filling out this inventory sheet and putting it in my binder so I can better keep track of my families clothing needs.

Two frugal but attractive crafts were included.    The supplies needed could be found at the local Dollar Store, but I have them around my house so I can't wait to use these ideas to tuck some new Scripture in an attractive way around the house.

If I could hug Molly's neck I would because opening this digest was like having someone else write out my shopping list for this week.     There is an entire week of recipes including a SHOPPING LIST!    Can you hear the angels singing?     I can.     There wasn't one recipe on the entire menu that my boys couldn't help me prepare or say "What is that?!"      They were all win/win meals for our family and included things like pork tenderloin, vegetable soup, fancy grilled cheese, and grilled chicken salad.

Other things included in this digest:  a craft for the kids, a lesson in keeping a checkbook, photo storage solutions and tips, how to make a jewelry organizer, "This Is My Story" article, letters from Molly's "Mailbag" and an entire directory of money saving links!

I had never heard of Molly and her Money Saving Digest before receiving this ebook to review, but now that I have I know that we are going to be very good friends!

Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My Highschooler!

Book Description

Do the words homeschool and high school make you a bit uneasy?
Are you unsure if you have what it takes to teach higher level curriculum?
Are hints of weakness discouraging you?

Be inspired and encouraged by experienced homeschoolers as they direct you back to the all powerful Superintendent of Christian Homeschools --God!

You'll read about families taking homeschooling one year at a time, while others homeschooled for the long haul from the very beginning, with homeschooled children from preschool to graduation. Some share where their children are now, what fields they are working in, and even whether or not they will homeschool their own children as they are now beginning their own families.

E-Book available for download  $12.45 from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

EBook Review

God answers prayers in all types of ways, but I have never had Him answer one of my prayers through an Ebook.    My boys and I are almost at the end of our first year of homeschooling.      It has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences for us, but it has also been one of intense doubt and insecurity for me.     I have spent a lot of time in prayer over curriculum, our schedule, whether my boys are learning appropriately and the activities we have chosen.      When TOS sent me the ebook, "Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready To Home My Highschooler!", I grabbed a cup of coffee and clicked the download link anxious to read.  I wasn't prepared for what popped up on the screen.     Literally 122 pages of encouragement from moms who had homeschooled their kids through high school.   

I loved the fact that "Lord, Help I'm Getting Ready to Homeschool My Highschooler!" gave stories from so many different families from so many different backgrounds with children facing so many different struggles and situations.     Homeschooling is such a personal decision.     I have two boys and my decision was different for each of them when it came to homeschooling.  

Having the advantage of knowing which curriculum was used to help students facing specific struggles (such as dyslexia, auditory processing issues, migraines and others) was a wonderful encouragement.    

My personal opinion is that one of the greatest needs of any homeschooling mom is encouragement no matter the age of your school age child.     Reading this wonderful ebook would encourage a homeschool mom no matter what stage of the homeschool journey she is in.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Winner Of The Viking Cooking Class

Thanks to the generosity of

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 
hands-on cooking class
valued at $99 is...

Wanda M

Congrats!   I will be contacting you so we can mail your gift certificate to you!

Veggie Tale Winner

Mom?   What are we doing?

Can't you tell?   We are doing a very official drawing for the Veggie Tales DVD giveaway.

Mom, don't other blogs use some fancy Random Integer Generator or something like that?

Well, yes, they do, but that costs money and Dad says no unnecessary expenses so I am uses you as my impartial judge.    So.... pick a card, any card.


OK.  Sorry.  Just pick someone to win the DVDs OK?

Man.  I should have taken a picture with something other than my phone.   What does that say, Big Guy?

The winner is.... @EMBR! 

Congratulations, @EMBR!
Email me with your address and I will send out your vouchers for the FREE DVDS in the morning.

(I will be announcing the VIKING winners later tonight!)

Click "LIKE" for Brainy Blocks

Make It and Love It's cousin, Brad has developed an amazing new toy.     It is my favorite kind of toy because it it multi-functional.    You can build, stack, group, stack, line up, and perform countless math skills. 

Look at this adorable video Brad put together showing his new toy...

Brad is a finalist for a contest and whoever wins the most votes on facebook, wins a trip to meet the retailer about selling their product.

We can help him! Voting on Facebook is EASY. Just click "like"!

We click "Like" and get an amazing new toy.

Because Brad is Make it and Love It's cousin she is holding a giveaway where you can win lots of amazing stuff for supporting her cousin. Visit her and find out how you can win a set of Brain Blocks plus some of Brad's artwork!

Linky Love: Southern Sentiments

A few years ago I was browsing through some photos that a friend posted on the Mississippi Moms website.   She had taken a vacation and had, in her words, just taken a few shots.   They were amazing.     They were beautiful.    Most of all, they captured the beauty of our home state so well.  

I wrote and said, "You really need to start your own Etsy shop!    People would LOVE these."    She modestly said, "Yea right."   

Thankfully, she must have received even more words of encouragement and those little seeds continued to grow because she finally started her own Etsy shop.    She has called it Southern Sentiments.    Isn't that just a southern graceful name?

Just perfect for her wonderful pics.

If you are lucky enough to live in Mississippi, then you will admire how her photography talents just capture the essence and beauty of our state.     If you weren't blessed enough by God to be born here, then you will be able to glimpse into why all of us love calling Mississippi home.

Congratulations, Christy!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

Enter to win a FREE
Viking Cooking School
Cooking Class
Right NOW!

This class is valued is valued at $99 and you can enter by simply becoming a fan on Facebook or suggesting that some of your fans become fans on Facebook.    How easy is that?

Just don't forget to leave comments letting me know what you have done so you will officially be entered!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon

Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died under mysterious circumstances on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later—divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical—she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Seeking closure, Bryn goes along for this men-in-black ride. But upon meeting Howard’s son Sam, an outspoken Christian, she can’t decide whose beliefs are more pie-in-the-sky.

The gravity of life has pulled Bryn down for decades. But a perfect love could be her first step to soaring. It only happens once in a blue moon.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once in a Blue Moon, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:

Book Review

First things, how great is that title?     And you know how much I love book covers so when this book arrived I thought it was just wonderful.   

This book is about a lot of things, but mostly is about Brynda's fears of being alone.     Isn't that a fear so many people can relate to?      Brynda's mom was killed when she was only 9 years old.     She was killed on the same day the Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Now she is grown and someone appears with supposedly knowledge about her mom's death.    There are hints of a Nasa cover up and all of it seems to be tied in and wound up to her mom's death.

I think that I would describe this author as very quirky.    It took me a few chapters to start to truly enjoy the book.    Not because the writing wasn't good but because she sometimes writes with a unique slant.   

Goodbye, Studly

Our sweet blogger friend, Shelby, lost her husband, Studly on Monday.      He had been having increasingly troubling health problems over the past weeks and Shelby had asked all of us to be praying.      Despite his ICU stay and her constant updates, it still knocked the breath out of me to see her post stating that her sweet Studly has died.

Studly was born and raised in Ohio as the grandson of Italian immigrants.     He had an intense interest and fascination with the JFK case and was known to be one of the foremost experts on the subject.    He was a husband, father and grandfather.     

My prayers are with you, Shelby, your children, your grandchildren and Study's parents.

Viking Cooking School Giveway Continues

Have you entered my Viking Cooking School Giveaway?    What are you waiting for?     You have the chance to win a hands-on cooking class valued at $99!      Go here to post your entries.

Did you see Julie and Julia?    I did and I LOVED that movie.  Join this class and you could be making this:

If you saw the movie you know this is Boeuf Bourguignon.      Mmmmm.     Think of how impressive you will be when you master the techniques of French cuisine.      I wonder if they will teach us to talk like Julia too?

Some of us keep saying we need a Girl's Night Out.    This class is screaming our name!

The description literally says to escape to the islands to relax and unwind!     Ahhhh.... and with that dessert?   Sounds perfect to me.    You know what else sounds perfect?   The fact that a part of every class tuition from this class goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation here in Jackson.

As much as I love to each fish, I am horrible at cooking it.     Worse than horrible which is a shame considering how much we all love to eat it.
This class teaches you how to determine the freshness of fish; select fresh fish; store fish; preparing the grill; creating crusty grill marks; turning fish without tearing; and determine doneness.    This is definitely going to the top of my "to take" list!

You can keep browsing all the great cooking classes at Viking Cooking School here.   Don't forget to go here to enter our GREAT Viking Cooking School Giveaway!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Lord Is My Shepherd, Psalm 23 Mysteries Series #1

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lord Is My Shepherd, go HERE.

Book Review:

Mondays are no one's favorite day of the week, but for a church secretary they are awful.    Nowhere else but in a church have people been digging through your desk, walking off with all your office supplies and reorganizing your desktop.     Every Monday you spend the first hours of the week finding all of your "stuff" and putting your office back together.     Cindy walks into church dreading those details plus she knows it is going to be extra busy with Easter week, but before she can ever make it to her office she trips over a dead body.    

Her screams bring the Rabbi from the Jewish synagogue next door running to her assistance.       Unknown to them, this meeting won't be their last and neither will this murder.

There are three views of faith in this book.      The Rabbi is obviously Jewish.   Cindy is Christian and Mark, the investigator, is an unbeliever.      Ms. Viguie goes into a great deal of detail explanating the details regarding the Jewish faith and traditions.    The Rabbi plays the role of "hero" to Cindy throughout the book.      Although it is Easter week in the book, the only details regarding Easter involved the murders.    It was also a little disconcerting that the pastor was portrayed in such an inept manner.       

This book was a great read.    Very well written and definitely a great fit for the mystery genre.  

You Are NOT Going to Believe This - VIKING GIVEAWAY!

Guess who contacted me?     You will never guess so I won't make you!

Can you believe it?   THE Viking Cooking School.    You know.   The one where Little Guy and I did this...


and this....


and learned to make a meal like this....

Oh yes.    That Viking Cooking School.     

They have given me a FREE GIVEAWAY for YOU!   

Let me say that again...

Viking Cooking School has generously given me a FREE GIVEAWAY
and it is mine... I mean.... will be one of YOURS!
And seriously, I could not be more excited to be able to
share something so amazing with you... my friends!

 Viking Cooking School has given me a gift certificate 
for a hands-on cooking class valued at $99.

What do you have to do to enter?
Leave a comment below for EACH of the following things that you do:
1.    Become a fan of Viking Cooking School on Facebook
2.   Tweet about the Giveaway (leave your Twitter account name in the comment section)
3.   Suggest your friends become fans of Viking Cooking School   (link to suggest on the Viking Cooking School fan page)
4.   Make a post about this giveaway on your blog  (leave a direct link to your post)
5.    Go to the Viking Cooking School website and tell me which cooking class you would like to take!

Five ways, Five comments, Five entries to this GREAT contest!      

This contest will end at 6:00 p.m. on March 12.    

Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's In The Bible? - FREE Giveaway

Kids today consume a staggering five hours of media each day, and may spend about one hour a week in church. Seven out of ten American adults believe kids receive inadequate spiritual instruction. For conservative Christians, the number rises to nine out of ten. It’s no wonder the Church is so biblically illiterate:
• 64% of Americans said they did not read the Bible because they are too busy.
• In a report on America’s religious illiteracy, USA Today reported that 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
• A 2000 study showed that 60% of evangelical Christians believed that Jesus was born in Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem.
• Only half of American adults can name even one of the four Gospels

Phil’s series, What’s In the Bible?, is part of the solution to the problem of biblical illiteracy. This 13-part DVD series will take you through the entire Bible—Genesis through Revelation—in a format that provides a biblical education for kids. The first two DVDs, In the Beginning and Let my People Go, will take you and your kids through Genesis and Exodus through hilarious new characters, catchy songs, and engaging animation.


I'll admit it.   I am a Veggie Tales fan.    I was a Veggie Tales fan before I ever had children.     That crazy Bob and Larry just cracked me up.    When Little Guy arrived on the scene, it gave me a valid reason to start watching them in public. 

I immediately made time in my schedule to sit down and watch this new series made by Phil Vischer.    I asked the boys if they wanted to watch and help me review What's In The Bible?  put out by Tyndale Publishing.    

This is NOTHING like the Veggie Tales (which isn't bad), but if you are familiar with the JellyTelly you will rcognize the look and characters.

The first two episodes of  "What's in the Bible?" were included for review.     We started with the first episode, "In The Beginning" (that is a good place to start).    One of the issues that they addressed in this episode was the seven days of creation.    Phil Vischer, who acts as narrator of the series, explained the concept of "day" in the Bible.      He stated that Christians disagreed on this concept.  (He is right.)     However, when he stated that from "the Big Bang to Adam and Eve we aren't sure if it is a literal 24 hours", all my red flags went up.    I think Phil Vischer told me all I needed to know in that one statement.           Why?   Jesus himself has made it VERY clear himself in Scripture that He created the heavens in 7 days.   Don't believe it?   You can find it here:   John 5:45-47, Exodus 20:11, John 1:1-3.     

This episode also covers redemption and sin.    He does a good job of explaining how sin entered the world through Adam and Eve.     He does a good job of explaining sin.    Then he introduces the words "patriarchal history".       It was at this point that the boys said, "We are done."

Can you tell I am disappointed?     I wanted this to be AMAZING!    I was prepared to take this to our children's pastor.   To buy it for my nieces and nephew.     Phil and I agree on one thing.    Our kids are not being taught enough at church.    They are leaving church as they reaching high school and college age because they are not equipped and do not know enough about the Bible.     A project like this is needed.     I think Phil so desperately thought it was needed that he tried to cram too much into each episode and some of it is way over children's heads.   

What did Phil miss?   The basic truth that Henrietta Mears, arguably the most famous Sunday School teacher and portrayed as one of the puppet characters in this series, would remind us all of:   God said it.   I believe it.   That is good enough for me.

HOWEVER,  because Tyndale generous offered these first two DVD's free to one of my readers, I would love to have YOUR perspective on the first two episodes.    If you are interested in receiving these DVD's please leave a note and I will pick someone and mail you the redemption coupons later this week.

These DVDs were provided for review by Tyndale House Publishers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us

Wonder how others do it all?
Not sure you're cut out for homeschooling?

It's time to break a myth: Homeschooling families aren't perfect. In fact, real-life families like yours can be--and are--successful homeschoolers! That's the life message of Sonya Haskins, who is dedicated to helping everyday families meet the challenges of home education and enjoy its countless benefits.

In this practical, encouraging guide, Haskins shares tried and true ideas for how to:

*Discover a realistic vision of homeschooling for your family
*Help your child get excited about learning
*Find a routine that fits your goals and lifestyle
*Nurture a biblical worldview in your child's heart and mind
*And much more

Whether you are already homeschooling or just considering it, this book offers the support, answers, and flexible strategies to help you succeed.

Book Review
We are almost through with our first year of homeschooling.     "They" say that the first year is the hardest.    I am praying that is the truth because I feel like I must have been doing about everything wrong.     We have changed our schedule about three times trying to find one that fits our family.    We changed our math program halfway through the year because the boys just weren't learning what they needed.     We got involved with our co-op only to realize that you could be involved every day of the week if you weren't careful. 

Finding Sonya Haskins' book was such a welcome drink of water for this homeschooling newbie.     I really appreciated the fact that she does not hold up her family as the standard to follow as the model.    She encourages you to find what works for your family.     She gives you encouragement and suggestions in the area of schedules, budget, academics, dealing with nosy friends and family, issues specific to homeschooling, socialization, and addressing the needs of each child.   

While I can see this book as being a valuable resource for someone whether they are thinking about homeschooling, a newbie or a seasoned homeschooler.     I am especially glad to receive this as a newbie about to embark on our second year.      It will definitely help me smooth some of the rough edges and make what has been an enjoyable experience something even more exciting for our entire family.

In addition to Sonya's book, I intend to add her website ( to my RSS reader!

This book provided for review by Bethany House Publishers.