Friday, December 25, 2015

Covenant Christmas Roundup {LDS Christmas Favorites Blog Tour}


Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  Is it yours?  I know many people dislike the commercial feel that tags along with this holiday and I admit that it does get frustrating at times...especially when it comes to finding that perfect gift for someone.  This year I did a LOT of my shopping online...and I'm glad I did.  I think that avoiding the stores really kept me from getting overwhelmed and upset with cranky shoppers, crabby cashiers and elbow-to-elbow crowds...  Shopping online is the BEST...and one of my favorite places to shop is Deseret Book online!  They have inspiring books and beautiful gifts for adults and children.  I'm excited to share with you a wonderful selection of gifts that I received from Covenant Communications all of which can be purchased at DeseretBook.com!  I know it's a little late to purchase these for Christmas THIS year...but these would make such lovely gifts ALL year round.  Enjoy this Christmas Roundup!  


First up is this perfect little stocking stuffer!  A gorgeous little, marble, Christus Statue.  Standing 3" tall it is a miniature replica of the large Christus statue found in LDS Church Visitors Centers throughout the world.  Jesus Christ's welcoming arms invite all to come to him and brings peace and comfort into your home.  Expertly crafted from marble (yes, real marble!) with painstaking attention to detail this is a heirloom quality statue that would look beautiful on a mantle or other display area.   


This would also make a great gift for a baptism, completion of Personal Progress or Duty to God, and  or course, it is a perfect size for Stocking Stuffer.  You can purchase the Christus statue HERE

The next gift I want to share is called A Songbook for LDS Families honoring the musical legacy of Janice Kapp Perry with Bonnie Hart Murray.  Including 18 favorites, as well as 28 new Book of Mormon hymns, this lovely hardback book show cases musical scores that everyone loves!  Insights into each hymn offers the stories behind the music and highlights the scriptures that inspired the arrangements.  Also included are 2 CDs containing accompaniment tracks to the music as well as the complete Book of Mormon art collection by Arnold Friberg!  It has a nice enclosed spiral binding that will stand up nicely on the piano.  Truly, from a Charlotte Mason/homeschool perspective this book is fantastic!  This is going to be so wonderful for our hymn studies over the next few years!  I can't wait to get started with it!!


You can purchase your own copy of A Songbook for LDS families here!

Next up!  It's All About Christmas!  If you are not already feeling the Christmas spirit then this book will get you started.  And it's contagious!  It's All About Christmas is a collection of stories, songs, poems, Christmas history, traditions, recipes, activities, nativity to St. Nick...and stuffed with a whole lot more!  Short, sweet sections make this perfect reading for the holidays with small children.  The illustrations are colorful and delightfully vintage...  I love how this book reminds me of an old fashioned Christmas.  Chock full of values and character this book will be a real treat to any one who reads it.  Next year I plan to begin reading this book (and the next) at the very beginning of December.  They will make fantastic bedtime stories!  



Here is another great devotional-style book!  Words of Christmas; Savoring the true meaning of the season one word at a time.  Here is what I really like about this one...it is, literally, just one word.  Just one word a day.   Start reading on the 1st of December, read one reflection each day, use like you would a tradition Advent calendar.  Or...choose a word that reflects your mood or that you personally want to study.


Words of Christmas encourages you to look closer at 25 oft-repeated words that we often hear throughout the holidays.  Find deeper meaning in each word and find the real reason for the season one word at a time.  You can purchase Words of Christmas here.

Last, but not least are 2 heart-warming Christmas DVDs.   

The first, No Ordinary Shepherd is a story about a young crippled boy who treasures his fathers tale of the starlit night when the heavily host appeared to the shepherds in the field.  Years later he meets a gentle stranger in the hills and finds him oddly familiar...and encounters a miracle of his very own.  Enjoy the trailer!  You can purchase No Ordinary Shepherd here.


In the second DVD, He Knows My Name a little girl named Rebekah is very fascinated by the man her neighbors call Jesus.  Her mother is not so sure...until the day Rebekah brings him to their home...  and He changes their lives forever.  Get your copy of He Knows My Name here.


Thank you so much for checking out all of these great products provided by Covenant Communications!  I received all of these fantastic items free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  Thank you SO much Covenant!




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Oh, Christmas Tree


The girls decided to decorate this little tree next to our driveway.  We were a little short on gold tinsel but it still looks cute anyway!  Wish we could actually get some cold weather...and maybe even some snow! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Disney World 2015!

Ahhh, Disney...how do I love thee?  Another fun vacation to Disney World is complete.  We had a blast using the new bands and staying on property at the Wilderness Lodge.  It was a totally different experience!  Here is vacation picture overload:














We also met quite the lineup of princesses:






Thursday, December 10, 2015

He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You {Book Review}



Growing up, Misti thought she had a pretty normal childhood. Right up until the sixth grade. That's when she began to notice things. Like how she was constantly aware of every blink of her eyes. How any normal physical thing could become an enemy that her brain would replay over and over again. She tried talking to her parents about it, but family dysfunction and parental control issues wouldn't let them see her problem for what it was. So she did everything she could to hide it. It would take her many more years to attach a name to her tortuous condition — Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. 
But after many more years of struggling, praying, and counseling, Misti experienced the miracle she had been seeking — she was healed. 
So she's done hiding. This is her story of suffering through — and eventually being healed of — OCD, anxiety, and depression through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This is her story of how the Lord turned her deepest struggles into her greatest blessings.
I have never read anything quite like this book.  It actually sat on my shelf for several weeks before I even ventured to crack it open.  I was afraid it would be depressing, or even stressful to read.  Honestly, I was prepared to find it trite...just another self-help book.  I was WRONG.  So wrong.  I couldn't put it down.  The author, Misti Stevenson has poured her soul into this book.  It is her personal journey of healing.  Starting with her childhood, she walks the reader through the very beginnings of her anxiety, depression and eventually her overwhelming and intense Obsessive Compulsive Disorder even at the tender age of 11.  I have no experience with mental illness of any kind but it was unnecessary...I had a window into the very heart of OCD.  
Mist's book is punctuated with incredible wisdom and insight into a private, desperate world shared by those who suffer from OCD.  Having suffered from both anxiety and depression, and I was so spiritually fed by her perceptive intuition.  Her liberal discussion of the Atonement and use of scripture is calming and reassuring.  She offers her reader peace and hope for the future.  Anyone, and everyone, would benefit from reading this book.  What a needed resource in turbulent times.
You can purchase this book both on Amazon and at Deseretbook.com.
Learn more about Misti Stevenson by visiting her on her Facebook page!

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  Best Wishes to Misti Stevenson!  You are one inspiring lady!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

NASA - Kennedy Space Center

We had such a nice vacation!  It was great to take our "summer break" over the last several weeks.  We had fun on our trip to Texas, our visit with Grandma, and finally our trip to Orlando!  Our first day out in Florida we made a trip to Kennedy Space Center and learned a lot about the space program!  Here are some pictures from our day at NASA. 







 Touching a REAL moon rock!





 Of course they had to have a photo sitting on a "space toilet."


 Kennedy Space Center was really interactive and really neat!

 We couldn't be that close to the Atlantic without making a quick stop to see the ocean.  It was sunset and we only had a few minutes but it was Maggie's first time to the ocean and Kayley's 2nd (although she was so little last time she couldn't remember it).  They marveled that they felt like it was the edge of the world. I can see why.  Gorgeous isn't it?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Financial Freedom by Greg Kesten

I have to admit that, as I read this new book by Greg Kesten called Financial Freedom, I wasn't prepared to actually learn anything NEW.  I mean, after all, the hubby and I are pretty decent with money and while we are not very good at actually following a budget, we are very, very good at creating one!  We do it nearly every January.  (And then promptly quit following it by February).  Really though, I kind of felt like we knew what we needed to know about Finances and Budgets.  I felt smug in Chapter 1 when Keston discusses the Haves vs Wants.  We discuss this concept with our kids all the time.  But- I was surprised to discover by Chapter 2 that we needed to have something called a "financial vision."  Hubba-Wha?

Kesten describes a Financial Vision Statement as "a positive, passionate description of your financial hopes, bringing them into the present."  Ok...so he had us there.  Our "financial vision" was usually something like "get out of debt."  Pretty vague, nondescript and certainly flat with no passion or hopes.  This the the first thing that we will want to change!  Having a goal that makes sense and is emotionally charged creates a sense of ownership that I don't think we have had before.

The author goes on to address how to do an honest assessment of your current spending habits.  This may require you to "face your fears."  I believe many people may be embarrassed to really analyze your current out-going cash-flow.  One time we sat down and looked at our receipts to really see where our money went and were mortified to realize that we spend hundreds on eating out!  (I am very much to blame since I am the one who should've been cooking!  Ugh!).

Keston discusses net worth...YOUR net worth.
This is calculated using this formula:

Total Assets - Total Liabilities =Net Worth

Finding this figure demonstrates your "financial health" and gives you a target to work toward.  Keston describes this number as "getting on the bathroom scale after the holidays."  Hahaha...  No...I'm not going to share mine.  Don't ask!  =O
To get this number into a healthier range the book offers myriad suggestions.  Not falling into the comparison trap, how to increase your cash-flow, how to recognize a spending addiction (how to get over it!), and much more.

I really enjoyed this little book!  It is smaller than an average paperback and only about 100 pages but it is bursting with great financial advice!  I personally think it would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone this Christmas or a wonderful gift for a high-school or college graduate!

You can purchase the book as either an eBook or paperback on Greg Kesten's financial website.

Also:  The Financial Freedom website is FULL of great video presentations, a bio of Greg Kesten (he was a missile launcher in the Air Force!), and his blog.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge from Shadow Mountain in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my very own.  Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A month gone by.

Its crazy how fast time flies when I'm busy and not paying attention.  Halloween has come and gone with girls dressing up as Robin Hood and a Gypsy.  They got a LOT of candy at our church's Trunk-or-Treat!  

We also went to the Spooky Symphony put on by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra...it was great!

The conductor was channeling his inner viking.  

We also took advantage of more Halloween fun and the girls participated in the Trick-or-Treat around the square...  It was really neat to meet so many of the local business owners.


Then we headed out to Texas to meet my new nephew Milo
 (and to pick up Gramma and bring her back with us!)
We stopped at the newly rebuilt McDonalds in the Sky which is always neat.

 We took turns loving and hugging on the new baby...


 While in Texas we just HAD to make a stop at the Half Price Books flagship store.

It had a Vault!

 It was so HUGE!!!!

 While Gramma was here we took the time to pay a visit to Silver Dollar City.

 And to console ourselves right after she left we decided to put up the 
Christmas tree (only a little early).  :)


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