Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Big Book of Quizzes by The Editors of Faithgirlz


Every girl loves quizzes that reveal more about herself and her friends! This book has quizzes about personality, change, workouts, pressure, learning styles, money, friends, dating, family, and faith.  For each quiz, you tally your score and read a summary, which is full of good solid advice for growing up (not what your daughter will read on a tabloid in the grocery store!).  Some even include scripture, but it's never preachy.  I loved the section on faith, too, because it gives answers to tough questions. The book has a tween friendly design that's fun and full of energy.

I highly recommend this book for girls ages 11-14.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The One Year Devotions for Active Boys



This is a great devotional for older boys and tweens!  Like any good devotional, it has a story to capture the reader's attention and introduce the scripture, it has a related prayer and a scripture reading.  But what makes this devo stand apart is the engaging activity in the middle of the lesson.  There are puzzles, checklists, mindbenders, crosswords, jokes, tongue twisters, weird fats, science experiments, recipes, quizzes, service idea and physical challenged that help the reader dig into the Bible lesson for the day.  I could easily imagine my children reading ahead to explore the activities!

I love this resource!  It's a great way to get older boys and young teens to dig into scripture.  I would recommend this for boys ages 10-15.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: Tried and True by Mary Connealy

I love a good clean historical fiction novel that I can lose myself in.  Mary Connealy scored with this novel - Tried and True is creative, adventuresome, and enjoyable all in one.  Set in the wild west in the post civil war era, it's labeled as a romantic comedy or a cowboy comedy, but it also has good messages on self identity, family relationships, and community.  I enjoyed reading every page and I've already passed it along to a friend to read.  I would recommend this to any female reader age 15+.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Book Review: Best Party Book Ever by Faithgirlz

I'm so glad I was able to review this book!  It's so hard to find cute girly party ideas and idea books that aren't too mature for young girls.  Products and party idea books are so often too risqué, too high-society or too worldly for me to want to consider for my daughter.  But she loves hospitality and girly things, so I was thrilled to find this book of party ideas that is truly appropriate for a 4th-10th grade girl.  There are multiple party themes complete with invitation ideas, activities, and menus.  But they also include tips for how to be a great hostess, how to be a great guest, and how to make sure everyone is included in your party.  It's a very well-balanced and delightful book that your young lady is sure to enjoy!

Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dinner Tonight - Creamy Tomato Shrimp Pasta

I modified this from a Pioneer Woman recipe, and we love it!

  • ¾ pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1 pound Shrimp (deveined and detailed)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 small onion 
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • ½ cup White Wine
  • 1 can Tomato Sauce (8 Oz)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream (evaporated milk is a little bit lighter)
  • Fresh Basil - To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Cook the penne pasta until al dente

Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.

Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic. Saute in 3-4T butter.

Add white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce and heavy cream. Stir well until combined. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Add your herbs, salt, pepper and chopped shrimp into the tomato cream sauce. Stir until combined.

Add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir. Serve!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: The Life




If you are looking for an easy way to introduce yourself or someone else to the Bible, The Life is a great tool for you to consider.  It’s 106 glossy, easy-read pages in a 5x7ish magazine style book.  It contains the full text of John in the New Living Translation, which is so easy to read and understand. It also intersperses snippets of Luke, Acts and other New Testament books to give a fuller picture of the gospel.  It has diagrams to give visual explanations of a relationship with Christ, and the last few pages are a clear answer to the question, "how can I have a relationship with Christ?".  While written for teens, I think this is a great product to share with both youth and adults.  Simple, clear, and easy to digest; it's a great tool to encourage seekers to explore Christ and his word.  I am encouraging my 12 year old son to read this for his devotionals this month.  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Beyond IQ by Garth Sundem

I've been busy reading through Garth Sundem's book, Beyond IQ.  It's an interesting discussion on the many different facets of the brain that contribute to intelligence and problem-solving.  The author breaks the contributing factors into different segments such as creativity, intuition, expertise, wisdom, performance under pressure, emotional intelligence, willpower and multitasking.  For each segment, he gives research on how the variable impacts our overall intelligence and practical activities we can do to strengthen that part of our brains.  I'm especially intrigued by the dozens upon dozens of brain-building exercises that he has spread throughout the chapters.  If you are interested in learning how to expand your brainpower or the brainpower of young people that you love, pick up this book and see what you think.  Disclaimer:  The publisher sent me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Review: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden.

I just finished reading my first novel by Elizabeth Camden, With Every Breath, and I couldn't put it down.  I was captivated by the historical fiction tale.  It's actually a medical fiction tale, dealing with the quest for a treatment for tuberculosis.  But it's far from dull with the lively characters, light romance, and plot twist and turns.  The characters are well developed and easy to relate to.  The story-telling is very natural and easy to read.  The life lessons in regards to family, faith, life purpose, and fear are important things for us all to consider.  I would highly recommend this book to any reader age 13+ that enjoys historical fiction or medical fiction.  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Spicy Spaghetti


My sister-in-law made this recipe for our family years ago, and we all loved it!  (well, not my youngest two children who only like spaghetti with butter and parmesan, but everyone else)  This week, a friend gave us a whole bag full of cayenne peppers, so we used those in the recipe instead of the cayenne pepper.  It tasted so fresh and wonderful!  I bet if you used tomatoes from your garden instead of tomato soup, that would be amazing too!
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1lb. lean ground beef

1/4 to 1/2 white onion (this depends on how much onion you like)

1t garlic salt

¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ t black pepper

2t Italian seasoning

2 cans tomato soup

One can cream of mushroom soup (we use the light version)

1-2T Hot Sauce (we use Red Devil)

 
Brown the onion and the beef and add the spices, then drain the fat.

Add the soups and the hot sauce.  Simmer ‘til heated, then serve over spaghetti.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Book Review: "a match of wits" by jen turano

Turano has written another great light-hearted fiction novel in "A Match of Wits".  My expectations are incredibly high for her fiction, because I loved the first two so much.  This one wasn't quite as good as the first ones I read, but completely enjoyable nonetheless.  I laughed out loud several times, and stayed up too late reading because I couldn't put the book down.  A little bit of romance, a little bit of chivalry, a little bit of friendship/family, a little bit of mystery, and a little bit of faith.  A perfect combination for a winning novel.  I would recommend this to any female reader age 15+.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: The Young Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting and Running a Business by Steve Mariotti

Well, I picked this book out hoping to share it with my boys, ages 9 and 12.  They are definitely young entrepreneurs, but that's not the intended audience for the book.  Nevertheless, this is a five star handbook for starting a business.  If you are serious about starting a business this book will be an invaluable tool for you.  It has information on writing a business plan, the legalities of running a business, finances, tax structures, market research and social media.   It's 480 pages packed with helpful information!

I recommend this book for new entrepreneurs age 17+.  Honestly, it's a great resource for any adult who wants to learn the basics of developing, running and sustaining a new business.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade Pesto Sauce.

My 12-year old son & I just made pesto from the basil in our garden.  It's so easy to make, and it's so good on sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas.  If you have basil, you should definitely try to make some!

Pesto Sauce


1 cup walnuts

8-9 cloves fresh garlic, minced

3 cups fresh basil

.5 tsp. kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

 
Put everything into the blender (or food processor) except the cheese and pulse ‘til smooth. Then add the cheese.  I usually scrape the pesto back into the cheese container to freeze it for a large meal. Or freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and you can use what you need!