Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

First of all, I have been waiting to read this book for MONTHS, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw that this book was available for review! I'm sure most of my readers have heard of the comedian Jim Gaffigan. He is one of the few who are actually family-friendly and clean! He is probably best known for his "Hot Pocket" bit he does at his shows.

This guy is hilarious. Seriously. I do most of my reading after my family is already sleeping, and at times this book had me laughing out loud. I am surprised my laughter didn't wake my family!

Throughout this book, and with much comic relief, Jim introduces readers to his family. His wife Jeannie, and his 5 children. Hilariously, he shares the reactions he receives when someone finds out he has five kids. Or what it's like living in a 5 story walk-up in New York City with 7 family members. Probably one of my favorite chapters was when Jim shared about the children's books that he reads to his kids.

"A critical analysis of children's literature: The Very Hungry Caterpillar- I'm sure I'm not the only one who is concerned that maybe the main character has an eating disorder. Hey, I identify. Five Little Monkeys- I'd think that after the second little monkey jumped off the bed and bumped its head, the doctor who the mama called would have been tempted to call Children's Services. Yet the doctor's advice remained "No more monkeys jumping on the bed." Really? Didn't that doctor take an oath at some point? I smell a lucrative malpractice suit."

Not only was Jim hilarious in his book, but the stuff he writes about his wife is actually pretty endearing. I know a lot of comedians that have used their wives as the butt of their jokes, but not this guy. No, he pretty much says that he is a schmuck most of the time, and he would be lost without his wife. She is the glue that holds their family together. He may make jokes out of his crazy kiddos from time to time, but he is a father who genuinely cares for them and respects them for the little people they are.

I was not disappointed with this book and I believe that it truly lived up to all of it's hype. It's hilarious, but yet sweet as Jim shares his greatest treasures- his kids. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good laugh! I rate it as 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book in ebook form from Blogging for Books in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Get to know Jesus by Nancy I. Sanders

"Get to Know Jesus: A biography for Kids by Nancy I. Sanders" is the perfect book for curious little ones who wonder what life was like for Jesus!

The book has 10 chapters in all, beginning with a chapter called "The Important Plan" which explains how we know the Bible is true. It goes on to explain where Jesus grew up, and the difference between Romans and Jews. Next we learn about Jesus' lineage and how the Bible tells us who Jesus' grandparents and great-grandparents were, all the way back to Adam and Eve.

Throughout the rest of the book. we see maps of where Jesus lived, learn about the 12 disciples and learn about Jesus' death and resurrection. Definitions are included for big words and names, and there are small facts (Eyewitness Account, Bible Heroes, and Did You Know?) throughout the chapters.

I think this Biography is perfect for kids ages 5-10. There is so much information packed into this little book! I plan to use it this Fall with my 8 year old, as a Bible supplement for school. Chapters are short, so reading could be divided into multiple days or lessons. I loved that there were many colored pictures of maps, historical landmarks, and common household items and what they looked like back then.

I cannot say enough positive comments about this book. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to show it to my kiddos! I rate this book as 5 stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

She Calls me Daddy by Robert Wolgemuth

There's so much I could say about this book, but just let me start with Wow! This book should be a prerequisite for anyone expecting a little girl! I can not say enough how much I enjoyed it! I know it's for daddy' says so in the title. But I found that as a mom, I really enjoyed it too.

In a lot of ways, people really underestimate the father/daughter relationship. They fail to realize that a daughter will use her daddy's example as her standard for men. If her daddy treats her mom well, she is much more likely to look for a mate that does the same. If she receives love, attention and tenderness from her daddy, it's unlikely that she'll seek it elsewhere, especially in inappropriate ways.

A daughter's relationship with her daddy has the potential to shape what kind of woman she becomes. So Robert Wolgemuth wrote this book to give dads a first hand look at the 7 ways to do just that. To build a complete daughter. These 7 characteristics are: Protection, Conversation, Affection, Discipline, Laughter, Faith and Conduct.

Robert explains the importance of talking with your daughter, spending time with her, and letting her know that she matters to you. All too often, once girls hit their teenage years, dads tend to back away a bit. But Robert explains why your daughter needs you just as much now as she did when she was a little girl. The father/daughter relationship is a precious one.

I especially loved that the author addresses daughters of all ages. Whether you have a newborn at home or a daughter in her teenage years, there's something here for everyone. I would say that this is one of my favorite parenting books of all time! Robert's writing style is very easy to read. Chapters were filled with humorous stories and expert advice, but I didn't feel like I was reading a manual on how to raise girls. It definitely kept my interest. With that said, I think I know what I'll be buying for every baby girl shower I attend. :)

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cloak of the Light by Chuck Black

If you're a fan of a good page turner, "Cloak of Light" by Chuck Black is a must read! I would say his writing style is somewhat of a mix between Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, so you can bet that Cloak of Light ranks pretty high up on my list!

As a young boy, Drew's father passes away. Knowing Drew would need a male role model growing up, Jake, a friend of his father's steps up to the plate as sort of a father figure in Drew's life. He takes him on camping trips, treats him like a son, and makes sure Drew and his mom are taken care of. Drew faces numerous obstacles growing up, but because of the efforts of his mother and Jake, he grows into a man that knows the value of hard work and integrity.

In college, life knocks Drew down once more when he is involved in a lab accident and loses his eyesight. To make matters worse, his best friend Ben goes missing. What follows next is a battle of spiritual warfare that will keep you glued to your seat!

I cannot say enough positive things about this book! As I said above, I would classify his writing with Ted Dekker....I think both are literary geniuses. I can't wait to read more books by Chuck Black! I rate this book as 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Multnomah Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Odyssey Adventure Club

I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I loved listening to Adventures In Odyssey! I find that even as an adult with children of my own, I still enjoy listening just as much as I did when I was a kid! As a child, I had a routine of getting my pajamas on, brushing my teeth, and then picking out an Odyssey to listen to. We have begun this same tradition with our own children now...first with our 7 year old and now with our 2 year old. The stories give them something to look forward to at bedtime, and they eagerly pick out a story.

If you haven't heard of Adventures in Odyssey, you're missing out! Most of the stories take place in a small town called Odyssey, with the main character, John Avery Whitaker (or as the kids call him "Whit"). Children are delighted to visit his shop "Whit's End" and visit "The Imagination Station", a creation of his that places children in the middle of a story such as the birth of Jesus, or the story of St. Patrick.

Not all of the stories have to do with the Imagination Station. Sometimes it's just a great lesson about values and friendship, but in any case Adventures in Odyssey were a big part of my childhood, and I'm glad my children can say the same.

So the question is "How can I listen to Adventures in Odyssey?"

Well, when I was a kid, cd's had JUST come out. I mean, a lot of my friends still listened to Adventures in Odyssey on cassette tapes or on the radio. (Which you can still do by the way. Our local radio station still plays them every night). So for quite awhile, my brother and I requested Adventures in Odyssey cd's. For birthdays, name it. We took care of them, but as you can guess, cd's don't last forever. They get scratched and nicked, and sometimes have to be replaced. Unfortunately, they are not cheap to buy. I mean, you do get 4 cd's per set, so it evens out pretty well. But even if I buy them while they're on sale, they don't last forever.

That's why I'm excited about the newest thing from Focus on the Family. It's called Odyssey Adventure Club! For $15 a month you get:
  • Unlimited streaming of Adventures in Odyssey episodes. (There are currently over 700 episodes!)
  • Daily Devotions
  • A behind the scenes look at the production of Adventures in Odyssey
  • A free subscription to Clubhouse magazine! (I received this magazine as a child and I LOVED it!) 
  • Beginning in July, club members will be able to hear a brand new Odyssey story before it's even released! 
$15 may seem like a lot of money, but it really isn't when you think about what your child is benefiting. Think of how much you spend a month on cable tv! My kids would much rather be listening to Odyssey! And think of how much better it is for them! Not only that, but a portion of your payment goes to support other organizations such as Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International! 

And for a limited time, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5 for the first month! 

focus on the family adventures in odyssey odyssey adventure club

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Love, Skip, Jump: Start Living the Adventure of Yes" by Shelene Bryan" is the story of how one woman decided to step out of her comfort zone and start saying yes more often. Throughout the book, Shelene takes us on an incredible journey! The title of her book gives us just a small glimpse into what her story is all about.

"Love" stands for her favorite Bible verse: John 3:16. "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son..." Shelene believes that giving always follows loving.

"Skip" demonstrates the act of giving. Shelene's idea is to skip something that we would normally do or buy and instead donate that time or money to someone who really needs it instead.

"Jump" has a more obvious definition. :) Meaning to jump at opportunities that God presents us with!

I found this book to be an impressively inspiring read. Shelene actually lives what she speaks. It all started one night when Shelene was throwing a party. One of her friends noticed pictures on her fridge of children that Shelene was sponsoring in Africa. Her friend said "How do you even know those children are real? How do you know you're not paying for some 40-year-old guy's Porsche?" Shelene couldn't get the idea out of her head so she did the craziest thing she had ever done. She packed her bags and hopped on a plane to go meet her two sponsored kids! What follows is her amazing story of Love, Giving, and Jumping.

I think everyone could learn something from Shelene's story. It's easy to think you can change the world, but quite another to actually set out to do it. I rate this book as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Wholehearted Wife by Erin, Greg & Gary Smalley

Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of reading "The Wholehearted Wife: 10 keys to a more loving relationship by Erin, Greg and Gary Smalley". I say weeks because with three girls in the house, and the youngest being just 8 weeks old, I don't get as much reading time anymore. But that's okay because I wouldn't want it any other way! :)

I was especially excited to read and review this book as I have always been a fan of Gary Smalley's! This is the first time though that I have read anything by Gary's son and daughter in law, Greg and Erin. I found that a majority of this book is actually written by Erin, which makes a lot of sense to me considering this book is written for wives. There are small tidbits here and there from Greg and Gary.

There are 10 chapters in this book which focus on subjects such as Honoring our husbands, Accepting Personality Differences, and Connecting Spiritually (just to name a few). I found it really easy to read from Erin's point of view as she frequently uses illustrations with stories to get her point across. I also loved that the book included a Personality Quiz to help wives figure out their strengths and weaknesses, which could be very beneficial in marriage.

The only thing I disliked about this book is the way it switched from Erin, to Greg to Gary's point of view. I found it to be a bit confusing at times since it often switched right in the middle of a chapter. I still found this book to be a favorite of mine and would definitely recommend it! I rate it as 5 stars.

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

About the Authors:

Erin Smalley and her husband live in Colorado with their 4 children. She currently works at Focus on the Family and enjoys speaking at women's conferences. Erin has published numerous articles for ParentLife, HomeLife, and Marriage Partnership magazines. She co-authored her first book in 2007, entitled "Grown Up Gitlfriends" and she also wrote a premarital book with her husband called "Before you plan your wedding, plan your marriage" before co-authoring "The Wholehearted Wife" with her husband and father-in-law.

Dr. Greg Smalley serves as executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family. He is the author of 11 books including "The Wholehearted Wife" which he co-authored with his wife and father.

Dr. Gary Smalley is a family counselor, the president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and the author of 40 books on marriage.