Saturday, August 30, 2014

What I Love Most About Drake July 2014

I adore this little daily ritual or habit we have... Every morning (when you get up before me) you wake up, crawl into bed with me and snuggle till I get up. Then you kiss my head and tell me you love me and scamper off to play your games. We are getting back in the habit of reading at bedtime right after prayer. We read our daily bible study, talk about it and then pray. Afterwards we pick a book out that you can read most of on your own and I just help you along. When we don't do this we normally watch a bible story on Netflix till you fall asleep.

Scripture Verse... Proverbs 12:10
"The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel."

Favorite Photos...

Favorite Things We Did... his month we spent alot of time at baseball games watching the Rangers loose. :( You go to run the bases again, which was the highlight of a few games for us both I think.We also went to Lowe's Build and Grow this month and you made a pencil holder that you painted red and green. Later you gave it to me so I can put the bills in it since my bill holder broker. You are a very sweet little boy. With Generation Outdoors you went and watched the Frisco Rough Riders game. You said you had a blast. Got a baseball, a ball cap and ate lots of great food. Best of all the team you were routing for actually won! This month you also did VBS at Shiloh Baptist Church. The theme was spies and from what I hear from you it was a great time. You ended the month going to Kristian's 12th birthday party, where you got to play soccer, eat cake and ice cream and wrestle around with your cousins.

I adore this little daily ritual or habit we have...Before each ballgame you help me pack up snacks or go shopping for snacks that we like to eat. You help me get the van ready if we are bringing anyone else with us to the games and we almost always sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on the way out before we pick anybody else up.

One of your most irresistible physical features is... Your cute little scar you have a couple inches above your eye from slamming into the door and needing stitches. It is quickly making its way up toward your forehead though and I think one day it will be in your hairline and we wont even see it.What is so cute is that you will see me looking at it, ask me what happened (even though you know) and then tell me how sometimes it still hurts you and I need to kiss it. I am going to miss things like this as you get older.

I missed you when....You went off on your own to a ballgame for the first time with your mentor. Even though I had plans, I felt so weird not having you around for 6 hours. I am so use to you being with me that when you are gone for more than an hour or two I really miss you.

5 Words/Phrases that come to mind when I think about you: Quirky, stubborn, emotional, silly, kind. You are a unique duck and like to have things done your way or you wig out. You have your own little quirks and do not like for anyone to point them out, even if we are complimenting you. You are very stubborn (much like your dad and me both). You insist on doing things your own way and learning most lessons the hard way, which really breaks my heart. You are very emotional-weather it be from showing love, anger, sadness, joy, insecurity-you wear it all for the world to see.

Some of our favorite songs we both love...
Sam Smith-Stay with me
John Legend - All of Me
Unspoken-Start a Fire

One Republic-Love Runs Out
Pit Bull-Timber
One Republic-Counting Stars
DJ Snake-Turn Down for What
New Boys-We Believe

Special Occasions... This month you mowed the whole front and back yard all by yourself for the very first time. You saw me out about to start and asked if you could learn and do it on your own, so I taught you and let you go. You did a really great job.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Studies in World History, Volume 1 by James P. Stobaugh {Curriculum Review}

Middle School World History from a Christian Worldview
In Studies in World History vol. 1 you’ll find
A complete year of junior high history that examines the world from creation, through the Fertile Crescent, Egypt, India, China, Japan, Greece, Christian history, and more!
With this volume in hand, your student will see history come to life no matter what their pace or ability. This is a comprehensive examination of history, geography, religion, economics, and government systems. This educational program equips students to learn from a starting point of God’s creation of the world and move forward with a solid biblically-based worldview.

Awesome Features:
  • 34 chapters  for one-a-week study
  • Five 20 to 30 minute lessons per chapter so you have a lesson lined out for each day of the week.
  • Each short reading session comes with already prepared discussion questions to make life easier for mom!

~ My Impressions~

Master Books sent me the first year of the history curriculum Studies in World History Vol. 1 by Dr. James Stobaugh to review. The first thing I noticed was the durability of the curriculum. I love anything that I can place in a 3 hole binder easily and that can stand up to a house with little kids running through it. 

This curriculum comprehensive history book is geared toward Christian children entering the 7th grade. It comes with a Student Guide along with a Teacher’s Guide and is broken down into 34 manageable chapters that take about 30 minutes each to complete. Each lesson is covered in units (Japan, India, Greece, China, Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc) with a short lesson, a daily discussion question that the student is to respond to in essay format. 

The one thing that discouraged my daughter when we were working through this program was that she felt she was not given enough information in the reading text to properly answer the discussion questions. Although the book is wrote to encourage critical thinking when answering these questions, I also felt that the curriculum was lacking slightly in this area, especially after comparing what the Teacher’s Guide gave as a answer and reading what the student was given. It also was not very clear if the other material that was mentioned was to be read, so she often found herself on the computer doing searches for information to make sure she was getting the full details before doing assignments. 

Other things I liked about the curriculum were the ease of use and helpful Teacher’s Guide. I adored the curriculum schedule and optional tests that were included. We are not big test takes, but we do we use them as a check point when we go through lessons  to see what knowledge is being retained and what we may want to address again later on. So the optional part was a big hit with my daughter. My favorite section of the Teachers’ Guide hands down was the ability to check off assignments as they were completed and a place for grading them. It was a great visual snapshot of what was going on. 

For a full year curriculum I think this is a great deal for the price. If you are looking for a good Christian based history program, you will not be disappointed with Studies in World History Vol. Not too many places can you find Geography, History, Government,  Economics and Religion all tied together around the neat bow of a Christian world view.

Master Books video for Studies in World History series:

~Purchase Links~

Amazon: Studies in World History Volume 1 (Student) and Studies in World History Volume 1 (Teacher Guide)
Christian Book: Studies in World History Volume 1, Student Book and Studies in World History Volume 1, Teacher’s Guide
New Leaf Press: Studies in World History Volume 1

~About the Author Danika Cooley~
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr. and Thriving Family; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.

This book was sent to me free of charge my honest review from Master Books/NLPG through the Moms of Master Books Blogging program.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish

  • ISBN9780375870644
  • Price16.99
  • Ages: 8-12
  • Published by Random House Children's Books
Believe in the possible . . . with this brilliantly quirky, thought-provoking novel from New York Times bestseller, three-time Newbery Honor winner Jennifer L. Holm
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.

Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He's bossy. He's cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie's grandfather, a scientist who's always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?


This three-time Newbery Honor–winning author takes on a very unique twist to some interesting scientific questions about life, immortality and death. Jennifer's great sense of humor shines through in this lovely story about Ellie, her grandfather and the impossible.

Ellie is your not so basic middle school girl. She cooks for herself, does her homework on her own, takes care of the house while her divorced parents teach drama at night., etc. She  is trustworthy and dealing with typical teenage issues, such as who is she, were does she belong and how to cope with her dissolving friendship.

Ellie's life is about to change though when her mother brings home a teenage boy that claims to be her grandfather. A grandfather that claims to have discovered the fountain of youth and that he is the proof! Travel along with some zanny characters as they tackle science, middle school, and family issues all with a touch of humor and sensitivity. 

I can recommend this book for entertainment value. Its funny, has a good theme of family bonds and encourages friendship and healing.

JENNIFER L. HOLM's father was a pediatrician and she grew up listening to him talk about the wonder of antibiotics and how science could change the world. Today Jennifer is the NY Times bestselling author of three Newbery Honor Books, as well as the co-creator of the Babymouse series (a 2013 Eisner Award Winner) and Squish series, which she collaborates on with her brother Matthew Holm.

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book from Random House Blogging for Books Program via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and opinion which I have given.

My Gentle Barn Creating a Sanctuary Where Animals Heal and Children Learn to Hope

Founder Ellie Laks started The Gentle Barn after adopting a sick goat from a run-down petting zoo in 1999. Some two hundred animals later (including chickens, horses, pigs, cows, rabbits, emus, and more), The Gentle Barn has become an extraordinary nonprofit that brings together a volunteer staff of community members and at-risk teens to rehabilitate abandoned and/or abused animals. As Ellie teaches the volunteers to care for the animals, they learn a new language of healing that works wonders on the humans as well.

My Gentle Barn weaves together the story of how the Barn came to be what it is today with Ellie's own journey. Filled with heartwarming animal stories and inspiring recoveries, My Gentle Barn is a feel-good account that will delight animal lovers and memoir readers alike.

My Impressions: 
Inspiring, heart breaking and beautiful wrote. This book grips your heart and does not let go. Told with warmth, compassion and gentleness you feel the love the author has for these wonderful animals that have lived tragic lives, much like the turmoil Ellie herself lived through.

Ellie does an amazing job focusing on the positives and negatives that have shaped her life and her mission calling from God. She stresses the importance of finding balance between work and family, talks of overcoming obstacles, self doubt and negative speech from others in her life. This book inspires you to live out your dreams and gives you hope to overcome obstacles that are holding you back.

Ellies childhod is a huge factor in shaping who this author turned out to be. With an emphasis on the animals she rescued really being the ones that rescued her though her life when she felt misunderstood, depressed, lonely, fearful and through her years suffering from drug addiction.

I adored reading about the heartbreaking stories of the youth that the Gentle Barn has helped. They remind us that we are all broken and in need of healing that only God can provide and I am so thankful that He has placed people like Ellie to intervene into the lives of these wonderful broken animals and humans alike. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough for animal lovers around the world.

Want to get involved and help this wonderful and unique cause? Visit
They always need volunteers, donations, animal sponsorship and people to share their message with the world. Together we can make a difference.

About the Author: Ellie Laks is the Founder of The Gentle Barn and is the Author of "My Gentle Barn" a new book available for pre-order now and available on March 25, 2014.You can follow along on her facebook page

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the Bloggingforbooks review program in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

The Family Project: How God's Design Reveals His Best for You

We all know what families look like when they’re broken. But how are they meant to appear when they’re healthy and thriving? Complementing Focus on the Family’s 12-week Family Project curriculum, Stanton and Wirth’s stand-alone resource will help you delve into Scripture and rediscover the Creator’s majestic plan behind this essential—and endangered—institution.s redemptive design for family to their neighbors, peers, coworkers and, ultimately, their culture.

My Impressions
Focus on the Family has created yet another excellent resource that can be easily adapted to fit your family, a small group study, or a church series. It reminds us that we are all fallen, broken, sinful people, but with the help of God we can be healed and proper image bearers for our families and the world. The authors dive deep into how the breakdown of the family can be tied to the sin issues we see in our society such as: poverty, divorce, abuse, drugs, crime etc, and how when we get our families right with God to be proper image-bearers we help conquer these issues within our community by changing the frame work of future generations of families.

This book offers so many things:
  • Statements of Reflection-wonderful, in depth statement to make you ponder the Word, Gods character, how we are living and should live life, community and more are found at the end of each chapter. You can easily focus your prayers around these reflections and spend countless hours discussing them and searching within the Word to find the in-depth truth.
  • Questions for Consideration-deeply profound questions that will get you thinking about life, consequences, sexuality, Satan, spiritual warfare, roles of fatherhood, motherhood and being a child along with so much more.
  • Charts, graphs and statistics
  • Get the Picture-really fantastic links to photos taken throughout the centuries with some background history. 
My favorite chapter though, admittedly, was My Imperfect Family. The title alone screams out to me. I am an imperfect individual striving for perfection I will never achieve. This small chapter cover how I can improve my current family situations, ways to help create a biblical family (or strengthen the one you have), essential behaviors for parents and kids (praying together, learning each others love language, being involved in your kids world) and learning what your families calling is (make an impact by the way you live life). Wrote is easy to understand terms, this book gives us simply ways to make profound changes within our family that will have an impact generations to come. This book tackles some really tough subjects that frankly alot of others gloss over or leave out. We live in a fallen and broken world and there are certain topics that are uncomfortable to deal with and talk about that our society has deemed appropriate and acceptable. I appreciated the tactful way these topics were handled without glossing over the importance of how they breakdown the family as God has designed it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meet Me in Barcelona

Meet Me in Barcelona 2A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer’s current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Carrie Ann wasn’t just Grace’s foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she’s kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter’s intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

My Impressions:

When Jake wins the vacation of a life time for him and his girlfriend Grace, Grace sees wedding bells in her future. Jake on the other hand is not so sure. When Grace's foster sister, Carrie Ann, shows up Jake and Grace are pushed to the limits and are about to discover how little they actually know about each other. With past secrets coming to life relationships are called into question and scars are torn open.

 I adored this witty, romantic, adventurous, quirky book. It was just a fun read from beginning to end. Filled with discovery, overcoming your past, finding love and childhood bonds that never end keeping you engaged and enthralled from the first page till the bitter end. Packed with imagery so wonderful it transports you right into the thick of things.

Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book that Mary Carter puts out.

For More Information

About the Author: 

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist.  Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include:  Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.

For More Information

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Pump Up Your Books in exchange for my honest review and opinion with I have given. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hold Still

Three men are viciously assaulting Philadelphia's prostitutes, and it's up to veteran detective Jocelyn Rush to stop them. She catches two, but they won't betray their partner, the most dangerous of all, and the attacks continue, striking closer to home. Jocelyn's only real clue comes when a monster from her past resurfaces--now she must race to connect the demons of her past with the villain of her present--before the sadistic attacker sets his sights on her.

~My Impressions~

Warning: There are some graphic scenes including rape, torture and language in this book. Not recommended for younger readers.  
Lisa did an amazing job breathing life into these characters. They were well rounded, imperfect and likeable. Jocelyn and her daughter, Olivia, make a wonderful duo that you do not want to mess with in this dark, creepy, mysterious thriller.  When Olivia gets kidnapped, in the seedy underbelly of Philadelphia, Jocelyn will stop at nothing to save her daughter, but at what cost?

I loved reading the unfolding of all the drama in this book. Dark family secrets, kidnapping, sex crimes, drugs and lurking danger keep this book engaging and moving at a great pace. This is not one you will want to put down once you pick it up. Filled with twists and turns you will be reading the clues right along with Jocelyn as you try to figure out who is guilty. 

With just a sprinkle of romance this book is a great read for crime lovers around the world that you wont want to miss out on. I personally cannot wait to get my hands on Lisa's next book.


“Did you Mirandize him?” Jocelyn asked.
Finch slipped the handcuff key into the locking mechanism. “What do you think?”
“I ain’t gettin’ locked up,” Martin said. “I ain’t gettin’ locked up.” Once again, his voice rose in pitch and volume.

When Finch freed the cuffs from the bedrail and reached for Martin’s other hand, the man shot upward, stumbling forward. He lashed out with one arm, knocking Finch backward, sending him flat on his ass. As he fell, Finch knocked the tray table over, remnants of the used suture kit flying everywhere. Before her brain had even completely registered what was going on, Jocelyn’s hand was reaching for her gun. She was too late. Martin lunged at her and crushed her against his chest before she could unsnap her holster. He wrapped a meaty forearm around her throat. She reached up and pulled down on it with both hands, prepared to struggle until she felt the cool blade of a knife against the flesh of her throat.

"Hold still," he breathed into her ear, the smell of alcohol burning her nostrils.

Where the hell had he gotten a knife?

She had time for one word before the forearm clenched, leaving her only enough room to breathe, nothing more. "Finch.”

Martin hollered again. She couldn't hear him because the adrenaline surging through her momentarily silenced the entire world. He kept squeezing her throat, then releasing slightly and pressing the blade against her skin. She strained her eyes, trying to see Finch in her periphery. He was getting up, slowly. His hand went to his holster, a little too slowly for her taste.

Lisa will be awarding an eCopy of Hold Still to five randomly drawn commenters during the tour and a print book of Hold Still to five randomly drawn commenters (US & Canada ONLY). A grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

~About the Author~

Lisa Regan is a crime fiction author.  Her first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher won Best Heroine in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards 2013.  It was runner-up for Best Novel.  It was also a Digital Book Today Best of 2013 ebook selection.  In December 2013, Finding Claire Fletcher and her second novel, Aberration were #1 Amazon bestsellers in the Kidnapping and Serial Killers categories, respectively.

Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. 

Her third novel, Hold Still is due out late March 2014!


Author Website:

~Buy Links~

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Goddess Fish Promotions in exchange for my honest review and opinion which I have given. 

Amazon Review
Goodreads Review

Goddess Fish Promotions