Monday, March 23, 2015

#Amazed By Grace {Deseret Book Review}

What is grace? What difference can grace make in our lives? How does the Savior make His power available to us? And what must we do to gain access to that power?
In Amazed by Grace, Sheri Dew discusses each of those important questions, exploring a topic that she describes as being central to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "The most compelling, most life-changing message of all time," she writes, "is that Jesus Christ has already triumphed over sin, death, hell, temptation, and every kind of misery."

I have always loved Sheri Dew.  When I joined the church she was a counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency.  She is just so "real" that I felt like she was one person that I could really relate to.  She has never married and I appreciate her optimism and enthusiasm for life even through the trial of being single (when church expectations are otherwise).  I wish that I had been able to face the future with such bravery and faith when we were going through the trial of being childless (also something the church expects otherwise).

I have read (I think) every book Sheri Dew has published.  She is an insightful woman.  This book, Amazed by Grace, was another winner.  She discusses Grace, what it is, and the idea of it being "after we have done everything we can do."  I was blown away by the end of the first chapter when I realized that I had been defining "grace" wrong and I actually had no idea what it was or what it was all about.  It was an easy read.  Sister Dew has a special knack for making complex topics understandable for those that read them.  Sister Dew's unique style of writing is very conversational.  I would sure love to meet her in person one day!

This book is small, perfect for gifting.  (Mothers day is right around the corner!). You can purchase it as a Bookshelf eBook or as a hardcover.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions here are my own.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Easter Ever {BookLook Review}

It's not very often I run across a really great kids book that focuses on the events leading up to Easter. The first Easter is often viewed as a tragic time but in reality it is a joyous occasion.  Jesus did what God had asked him to do, to provide a sacrifice for sin and demonstrate Gods love for us by offering his only Son.  This kids book is perfect for reflecting on the joy that is Easter.  Starting with Jesus' ministry we see John the Baptist, his selection of disciples, and his preaching to the people.  We do see Jesus upon the cross but it is tastefully done for small children. 

I have enjoyed every book we own that is illustrated by Dennis Jones.  So well done!  This book is also an awesome little paperback (not a board book).  My 5 year old has happily toted this book around the house.  Check out The First Easter Ever.  It will be a nice addition to your library.  :)

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Monday, March 16, 2015

To My Friends {Deseret Book Review}

"If you need a burden lifted, I want you to imagine I am in a personal, private, closed-door chat with you. I want to help you if I can." With those words, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland invites every reader of his latest book to become a friend, to receive instruction and encouragement, counsel and comfort.

I love Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  Ok, I admit, I love all the apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  :)  It seems to me that whenever an apostle opens his mouth you can just feel the love and concern for us pouring out.  This new book by Elder Holland is a compilation of past talks with beautifully designed quotations pages on a rich background of color.  It's true that I have heard many of these talks before but they are still wonderful to have in a nice hardbound volume.  His words of comfort and messages of counsel are timeless. 

In this book, Elder Holland addresses these powerful messages "to my friends who love the Lord," "to my friends who want to change," "to my friends who face opposition," and more. Throughout, Elder Holland's powerful witness of the Savior shines through, for, as he writes, "I am grateful for the greatest friend any of us could ever have, in time or eternity, the Lord Jesus Christ."
I enjoyed reading through these messages.  Some I was hearing for the 2nd time but some I was hearing for the 1st time.  (I'm a convert!)  As, I was reading, I was sure wishing I had the ability to frame the beautiful artwork and hang it in my house!  This book would make a lovely gift for a dear friend or family member (think, Mothers/Fathers day is right around the corner!)

To My Friends retails at as both a Booshelf eBook and a very lovely hardcover.

Disclaimer:  I received To My Friends free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you Deseret Book for the opportunity!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Orscheln Chick Days

It's always great to find something to do that is educational, free and fun!  This morning we headed to Orschelns Farm and Home store to check out all the baby chicks at their annual Chick Days!  The employees there are so patient and sweet with the girls and they were able to pick up the chicks and hold them.  I believe this is going on all month so check it out!  Kayley, my nature girl, LOVED it...and Maggie, my girl who likes all things soft and cuddly, was in Heaven. 

A baby turkey...

Those are "fryers."  
Kayley was horrified when she realized that meant they were to eat!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homeschool Science - the Mentos Fountain!

We have had a lot of fun using Dr. Jay Wile's Science in the Beginning.  I have never had a chance to do this experiment before so it was all new for everyone when we did the Mentos Fountain!
Kayley wore my apron to protect her clothes in case it rained Diet Coke on her, but she dropped the majority of the Mentos on the ground and so the spewing of Diet Coke was slightly anti-climactic, but still FUN!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Silence by Deborah Lytton {Deseret Book Review}

STELLA was born to sing. Someday Broadway. But everything changed when a tragic accident renders her deaf; she cannot hear, much less sing. Trapped in a strange new world of total silence, she must face not only the loss of her friends, her hopes, and her voice but also the loss of her identity and her life's purpose. Who is she is she's not a singer?
HAYDEN is a quiet loner, an outcast, and the only person Stella can communicate with; his profound stutter makes him speak so slowly, she is able to easily read his lips. As they find new ways to communicate despite their disabilities, their friendship grows into an unexpected—but welcome—romance. But is it a romance that can last if Stella regains her hearing and resumes her former life?
Sophomore, Stella Layne has been a quiet, shy presence her whole life.  She has always known she could sing but it was a talent that she hadn't shared much, until this year when she auditions for the school play and shocks everyone with her amazing voice.  Cast as Maria in West Side Story she goes from a virtual unknown to a most popular girl overnight.  It is during rehearsals that she meets a Hayden.  Hayden is an amazing piano player, he's handsome, and he stutters.  While others make fun of Hayden, Stella finds something in his eyes that make her want to get to know him better.
The night before the opening of West Side Story, Stella falls into a pool and hits her head during a cast party.  The next morning she discovers that her world has become silent.  Afraid and anxious Stella tries to slip into a depression but Hayden refuses to let her.  He takes her on a journey, showing Stella that a "new normal" is ok.   And that deaf or hearing, she too will be ok.  
This book was a great, clean read.  I needed a tissue by page 62!  You will cry with sadness and triumph.   Hayden is just so sweet and wonderful with Stella and I really appreciated Stella's maturity in handling this change in circumstances   She is brave and doesn't blame others or lash out.  I think you will enjoy this lovely read by Deborah Lytton!  It would be a very sweet romance for teens!  (and those are hard to find!)
Silence retails at Deseret Book as a hardcover and Deseret Bookshelf eBook!  

Disclaimer:  I received Silence free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  Thank you!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Quick Take On Our Week...

The last week has been interesting.  We had snow, it melted, we had a LOT more snow and now it's melting.  The girls have had a great time just playing and playing in the snow.  I enjoy winter.  A lot.  I haven't enjoyed getting out and driving in it, but I think snow is so pretty...and I don't like being hot.  Cold suits me so much more. 

Our neighbor has a tractor and he comes through and plows our circle drive for us.  We convinced him to push all the snow to the same spot and make the girls a hill that they could sled down.  It worked like a charm!

We cuddled up and watched movies.  In fact, we introduced the kids to Star Wars!  They loved it!

Several weeks ago in homeschool we started studying about countries and cultures.  This week we studied about Mexico.  It has been fun.  We've done some art projects, read several books, learned about Cinco de Mayo and Dias de los Muertos.  We watched the movie The Book of the Dead (which was a pretty cute).  And ate Taco Bell.  (hahaha- We have promised some more authentic Mexican food this weekend).

We have also really enjoyed our science program by Jay Wile called Science in the Beginning.  It is so hands-on that you can't help but learn something new every time.  

Kayley has become quite a helper and she wants to cook.  
Here she is browning some ground beef.  

Oh, I almost forgot.  The girls won some incentive coupons for getting all their chores done.  Kayley choose "be a teacher for the day."  As teacher she opted for a day of "online learning."  

Maggie chose "Pajama Day."  So, it worked out great that both girls basically lazed around in their PJ's and played on electronics all day.  Thank goodness they only earn those incentives once in a while or we'd never get anything done!  ;)

Did I mention that they are good helpers?  
Here they are unloading and reloading the dishwasher!

Oh!  How cool is this?  Peace Hill Press (the publisher of Susan Wise Bauers curriculum) had a quick contest on FB asking for people to run outside and show something that had to do with anything from Story of the World.  If you were one of the first 3 to reply you won a free book!  Yeah!  We are very competitive like that.  We rushed out, dressed up Kayleys snowman as Cleopatra, hurried to submit and won a free copy of First Language Lessons Vol 4!!

Anyway, thats our week in review!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter {Deseret Book Review}

I'm so excited to share another amazing devotional-style book from Emily Belle Freeman called Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter!  You may recall, back in November, I had a chance to review a book called "Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas."  At the time I was frustrated and overwhelmed with the sensationalism and commercialism that surrounded one of our favorite holidays...  The Christ-Centered Christmas was just the ticket to help us focus on what mattered most:  Christ!  Author Emily Belle Freeman has taken this same approach and created another wonderful study of the Savior, this time with a focus on Easter!
One of the few titles for adults on the Easter holiday, this beautiful gift book tells the story of Jesus from Crucifixion to Resurrection in short chapters, illustrated with line art, told in the first-person narrative of seven disciples. Each section offers the author's commentary on the lessons learned from each disciple and suggests simple traditions to follow to remember how implementing the teachings of the Easter holiday can vastly enrich your life today.
Personal stories include:
  • Lazarus
  • Simon
  • Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
  • Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome
  • Thomas
  • The disciples on the road to Emmaus
  • Jesus Christ
  • In this small book Emily Belle Freeman demonstrates for us seven traditions that will lead us closer to christ while not compromising the childhood joy of the Easter season.  Starting with those who were closest to Christ she weaves the story of those who walked with him, each story bearing testimony of our Savior.  Just like the Christmas book, at the end of each chapter she offers the reader a tradition to consider, a hymn to sing, a story to tell, a lesson to share and scriptures for further study.

    This is such a great way to study leading up to Easter!  Read a chapter each week or read one each day leading up Easter.  This tiny book will be a wonderful devotion for the whole family.  I plan to use this book in the week leading up to Easter as our nightly scripture study!  I'm so excited!

    Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter is available in paperback or as a Bookshelf eBook at!  

    Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions here are my very own.
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