Monday, April 29, 2013

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking by Sherry Gore

This week I was super excited to read and review "Simply Delicious Amish Cooking" by Sherry Gore! The title of this cookbook says it all. There are over 237 pages of simple recipes included in this book! Sherry Gore compiled this enormous list of recipes from hundreds of Amish and Mennonite women across the United States. Between the recipes, Sherry includes short stories about various Amish families.



I think what I liked best about these recipes is that they don't require many ingredients. They also don't use many processed foods or any preservatives. As a person who has dealt with food allergies her entire life, this is very important to me. I try to use as few ingredients as possible, so I was excited to find that I had most of these staple ingredients right here in my cupboards. There are 12 categories of recipes which include Breads and Rolls, Breakfast, Appetizers and Beverages, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Meats and Main Dishes, Seafood, Cookies and Bars, Pies, Cakes and Frostings, Desserts, and This and That.
I was a little disappointed to see that there are not pictures for every recipe, but there are two points in the book where there are a collection of photos.

I would say that a majority of the recipes could be classified as comfort food. Meaning that these recipes probably aren't the healthiest meals you could make, but you can bet they'll be delicious. I have been looking for a good dumpling recipe for quite awhile now, so I am looking forward to seeing how that turns out!

The author also explains how she came to write this book and what makes Amish cooking so special. The next few pages explain the Amish and Mennonites beliefs and Sherry gives an interesting look into the Amish community.

I thought this cookbook was fantastic and I give it 5 stars. This book will be available at your local Christian bookstore on May 7, 2013.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Limitless by Nick Vujicic

This weekend I had the privilege of reading "Limitless: Devotions for a Ridiculously Good Life" by Nick Vujicic. I had previously read "Unstoppable" and this book is much the same even as a devotional. It contains 50 short devotions which take approximately 3 or 4 minutes to read. Each devotional contains a key verse, a short story and an application.



Nick is excellent at speaking on grief and sharing his story of how God has worked through him. He doesn't feel sorry for himself and amazingly, he says his life is more blessed because of his "disabilities" even though he doesn't call his lack of limbs a disability. As a child, he dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts because of his circumstances and bullying. After a failed attempt at committing suicide, he realized that God had a plan for his life. God called him to speak about his "disabilities" and share how God has worked through him.

I think this book would be great for anyone dealing with death, loss of job, divorce, or even a prolonged sickness. Nick shares how to reach your fullest potential, deal with heartache, and how he came back stronger when he was at his lowest point in his life.

I think Nick is a great motivational speaker who has reached thousands of people, but I wish this devotional contained more of a study on God and the Bible. While Nick shares how God worked in his life, he mostly talks about "reaching your full potential" or "you can do anything you want if you trust God." And while I believe these things are true, I think the focus on our abilities is a bit much in this book.

I am still a big fan of Nick Vujicic and all of his books, including this one. I rate it as 4 stars.

I received this book free from Multnomah Waterbrook Publishing Group to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review of "The Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler" by Erin Macpherson!

In my opinion, this book could not have come at a more opportune time for me! I always pictured the terrible two's occurring when a toddler is at least 2 years old, but according to Erin Macpherson in "The Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a toddler", the terrible two's actually begin at 18 months. Seeing as how our daughter is just 16 months, we are already beginning to see many of the traits Erin describes in this book in our daughter!



Erin addresses many of the issues parents face while parenting a two year old. Bedtimes, tantrums, picky eaters, and help with what's normal and what isn't. The author shares her own experiences as a mother of three children, with both humor and compassion for other mamas! Even if you're a seasoned vet with an abundance of parenting expertise, you will benefit from this book! This book may be aimed at parenting younger children, but Erin still offers excellent advice for parenting from birth on up to 6 years.

I think one of my favorite chapters of this book was the one entitled "The Food Fight". A chapter dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthier and to at least attempt to abandon their picky habits. My toddler is definitely not a picky eater but this was still one of my favorites. I especially loved the kid friendly recipes, and Erin's definitions of the types of toddler eaters, which are actually pretty humorous.

I also enjoyed the chapter discussing discipline. So many times as parents we are quick to dole out a punishment for anything our child might have done wrong. We think there must always be consequences to our children's actions or they will turn into unruly children who will grow up to be irresponsible adults. But what if once in awhile we extended our children the same grace, love and mercy that God extends us? Wouldn't it be okay to give them a hug and tell them that you know they didn't mean to disobey? To let them off the hook just this once and to let them know you love them and you know it's hard to be a kid?

I absolutely loved this parenting book and would not hesitate to recommend it to fellow parents of toddlers. I rate this book as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review of "Get Back Up" by Sheryl Giesbrecht

I recently had the privilege of reading "Get Back Up: Trusting God When Life Knocks You Down" by Sheryl Giesbrecht. I had not read anything by this author before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but was happy to see the foreword by Pam Farrel! She wrote a fantastic book called "Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti" which I absolutely loved!


Sheryl begins each chapter in the same way...A story about someone who goes skydiving and their parachute fails, or when a member of the air force is thrown from their airplane and has no parachute at all. Some of these people fell thousands of feet, but yet landed safely on the ground and sustained small injuries. The point is that despite the circumstances, it's possible to get back up. It's possible to survive these traumas just like you can survive through many other hardships in this life. God can get you through anything. Job loss, death of a loved one, divorce or even dealing with sickness. 

When things go wrong in our lives sometimes we question God. Why would He allow this to happen? Sometimes we begin believing Satan's lies instead of trusting in God. Sheryl shares how we need to hold onto God's truths and trust God rather than depending on our own abilities. 

The author shares her story of how she was raised in a Christian home, but yet got to a point in her teenage years when she rebelled against her parents and God. She found herself addicted to drugs and alcohol at the age of 16. It wasn't until a few years later when Sheryl's parents pulled some strings to get her a volunteer job working at a Christian camp, that she realized her need for God in her life. She was sure she had done too much to be forgiven by God, but her fellow staff members kept reassuring her that " Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). It was then that Sheryl submitted her life to Christ. To read more about Sheryl, visit her website: From Ashes to Beauty


I would definitely recommend this book to anyone dealing with grief or in need of healing from past wounds. I rate it as 4 stars. 

I received this book free from Litfuse to give my honest unbiased opinion. 

**Also, please click on the "Get Back Up" link on the right sidebar for a chance to win a Kindle Fire!!**

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hunt for the Devil's Dragon Book Review

I was so excited to read and review "The Imagination Station" book 11: The Hunt for the Devil's Dragon" by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson. I have been a fan of Adventures in Odyssey ever since I was a little girl, and now my own kids enjoy listening to it as well! When I was younger, I read through the Passages series which was written by Paul McCusker, one of the writers of Adventures in Odyssey. When I requested this book, I expected it to be somewhat like the Passages series but it was quite different.



I would say that the Passages series is aimed at an older audience of 3rd grade on up whereas The Imagination Station series is written for 1st or 2nd grade on up depending on your child's reading level. I thought "The Hunt for the Devil's Dragon" was a fun read but this book in particular does contain some scary elements and quite a bit of action. So I would recommend reading through this book yourself to make sure it is age appropriate for your child.

The story itself is about a young girl named Beth, and her cousin Patrick. Beth's friend at school has been struggling with a bully, and Beth can't decide whether or not she should get involved. If she stands up for her friend, won't she be bullied too? Beth presents her problem to Whit while having a root beer float at Whit's End after school, when Patrick arrives. Whit suggests that her and Patrick take a little trip in the Imagination Station to help her sort through her problems.

Patrick and Beth are excited until they learn that the adventure Whit is sending them on involves a dragon! Whit convinces them to go anyway, and when they arrive they meet many characters. Sabra, Hazi and their father Tarek. And a brave soldier named Georgius who saves them from the awful Lucius, who is the head soldier. Throughout the story, Sabra and Beth are captured by some men who want to feed them to the dragon, and Tarek is put in jail. It is up to Hazi, Patrick and Georgius to save the day! But they soon find out where the danger lies and it is not with the dragon! Georgius shows what the love of Christ is all about, and how God commands us to love and help others. Even if it means saving someone who doesn't believe the same as you and they are an enemy.

I think this story had a great message and lesson to learn. I rate it as 4 stars. I would have rated it as 5 stars but I could have done without the scary elements. ;)

I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers to give my honest unbiased opinion.

For more information on this series, please visit www.theimaginationstation.com!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Passionate Mom by Susan Merrill

I have to say first and foremost that I thoroughly enjoyed reading Susan's book! Her approach to writing a parenting book is much different than most books I have read. She doesn't write about a parenting list of "Do's" or "Don'ts" but rather 10 patterns we should follow based on the life of Nehemiah.
  • Perception- Are you paying attention to what is going on in your child's life? Do you notice when they are struggling or need encouragement? Are you making yourself available to your child's needs? 
  • Pondering- Study your child. Ponder everything you learn about your child so you will know when something isn't right. 
  • Passion- Be passionate for your child. Keep guiding them to make the right decisions even when they are making the wrong ones. 
  • Prayer- Pray over your children. Pray Bible verses over each of them and pray that God will reveal to you what choices to make regarding your children. 
  • Patience- Exercise disciple over yourself so that you can be a patient parent. Sometimes that includes letting your children fail when you want to bail them out of their problems. 
  • Preparation- Build relationships with the people involved in your children's lives. Teachers, coaches, parents of their friends. This will ensure that you will have access to much more information about your children that you would not have otherwise known. 
  • Purpose- Know your purpose as a mother. A passionate mom knows the reason for her existence as a parent and is determined to fulfill it. 
  • Planning- Make a plan for how you want to parent your children. What are the values you would like to instill in them before they leave home?
  • Problem solving- You will face many trials and tribulations as a mother. As a passionate mother you must learn to solve those problems to the best of your ability. 
  • Perseverance- As a mother, you need to intentionally maintain your purpose in spite of any problem you may face while continuing steadfastly until the end. 
Nehemiah was extremely passionate about protecting his people. In fact, it was much like the way a mother protects her children. He cared about his people's spiritual life just as much as their physical life. Isn't that true for us mothers? Our children's safety and spiritual life are of utmost importance to us.  

Susan also shows her vulnerability to issues that all of us mothers face each day by including a "Confession" in every chapter. This area most often describes how the author struggles with the subject at hand. She explains how she is an ordinary mom, just like you and I!

The author also notes that just because we want something for our child, it does not mean that it aligns with God's will for our child. Ultimately, when we pray we need to ask that God's Will will be done in our child's life.



This was a fantastic parenting book! The topics were interesting and it was amazing to read a parenting book that had incorporated a Bible lesson into it. Susan also includes resources in the last chapter which include printable TALK cards, examples of how to pray Bible verses over your children, how to make a cell phone and driving contract for your teenager, and a link to receive a daily e-mail. I will highly recommend it to all of my friends and I rate it as 5 stars.

Want to follow Susan?
Facebook: facebook.com/SusanMerrill
Twitter: twitter.com/Susan_Merrill
Pinterest: pinterest.com/Susan_Merrill
Instagram: instagram.com/SusanMerrill

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review of Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

This was the first book I have read by Siri Mitchell and I was not disappointed! :) The story takes place in the early 1900's in St. Louis, Missouri. Lucy Kendall has just returned from a trip across Europe with her Uncle and Aunt and is dismayed when she returns home to find that her father's candy business has been struggling. Lucy's father suffered some health problems while Lucy was abroad and is unable to continue working. Her mother is determined to sell the business, but Lucy can't stand to let that happen. She devises plans to create a new candy to sell at City Confectionary. Perhaps if she can create a new candy that no one has tasted before, she can save the business and keep their competitor from winning over their customers.

Upon returning home from Europe, Lucy learns that she has been crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty for the city of St. Louis which means she is required to attend all of the prestigious parties and events in town. Lucy's mother is insistent on finding Lucy a husband to secure her an excellent future, but there is no man in town that Lucy is interested in. They're either too old, too odd, or just plain uninteresting. That is, until a newcomer makes his way to town. Lucy is suddenly taken by this new young man although she has no idea who he is or what his name is. Little does she know, he is the son of her father's rival.


I found myself glued to the pages of this book from the very beginning! It's nearly a 400 page book, but I finished it in a matter of days. The chapters alternate between Lucy's point of view and Charlie's, giving the reader a look into both of their lives and perspectives. And although it wasn't mentioned a great deal, there was mention of Christianity, God, and prayer throughout the story. There were also quite a few twists and turns that left me guessing up until the last few chapters. I would highly recommend this book to my friends and rate it as 5 stars. This is the type of story I would have no qualms about letting my girls read as they grow older. I am eager to read more of Siri Mitchell's work!

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers to give my honest unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Prayer Warrior Mom by Marla Alupoaicei

In a lot of ways, this book is similar to "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omaritan, but I still loved it just the same! Marla explains 15 different areas in which we can pray for our children while helping them fight spiritual, emotional and physical battles. There are so many issues that our children are going to face that are out of our control. But these issues are never too big for God! We can pray for all of these things on our child's behalf.



Marla explains how to Pray the Scriptures when we pray. Use your child's name in place of "Man" or Him/Her." Pray Specifically. If your child is sick, don't just pray that God will make them well. Pray specifically for what you would like God to do! God isn't always going to answer in the ways we would expect, but often His ways turn out much better than we could have planned anyway! When you pray, have faith that God will answer your prayers! Don't just pray and hope for the best.

This book is also filled with uplifting stories and accounts of women who have prayed for their children and seen God work in amazing ways! Marla suggests keeping a prayer journal to record things you are praying for as well as answered prayers! She also suggests beginning a gratitude journal and listing 3 things every day that you are grateful for. It is much easier to see the bright side of situations when we are grateful!

This book would be great for a Bible study or a Women's Prayer Group. In fact, Marla even provides group discussion questions at the end of each chapter along with key Bible verses and a sample prayer of how to pray for your children based on the chapter. She also frequently mentions her website, www.PrayerWarriorMom.com where readers can visit and share how God has answered their prayers and worked in their lives and their children's lives through prayer.

I absolutely loved this book and rate it as 5 stars!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”