Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury (Mary Engelbreit)

Mary Engelbreit's newest children's book is entitled, "The Blessings of Friendship Treasury". Published by ZonderKidz, this book is going to be available in the beginning of August, 2014. I wasn't too sure what to expect from a "treasury" about friendship, but I was blown away by the thoughtfulness that Englebreit put into this particular book.

This book isn't a typical book with a beginning, middle, and end - this book is an adorable collection of very short stories, quotes, Bible verses, and poetry - all with the topic of friendship. The actual text of this book covers things like what a friend should be, how a friend should act, and how we should treat our friends. I thought this was an adorable and creative way to really explain to our young children the concept of friendship.

Featuring quotes from the likes of William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Shel Silverstein, William Butler Yeats, and Rebecca West, this book puts into example the entire concept of friendship. My favorite quote from this book is, "Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do" (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

Mary Engelbreit has outdone herself in the illustration of this book. The artwork is bright, fun, and so uplifting. I thought that the images in this book did a great job of showing a variety of children playing, enjoying their friends, and having fun.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with young, school-aged children, as it really helps to encompass how we should approach friendships, and being able to understand that to have friends we must also be a good friend. I loved it, and would give this book a 5/5, easily!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through the BookLookBlogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Great American Slow Cooker Book

If you are looking for a great slow cooker cookbook, with tons of recipes, this book for definitely for you! "The Great American Slow Cooker Book" is a collection of amazing (and simple!) recipes that you can make in your slow cooker. What is really cool about this particular cookbook is that each recipe gives you the ingredients for three different sized slow cookers, which I really liked. Each recipe includes the ingredients for a 2-3.5 qt slow cooker, a 4-5.5 qt slow cooker, and a 6-8 qt slow cooker. This way, even if you have a smaller slow cooker, you can still make every delicious recipe in this book.

Each recipe also features "testers' notes", which are helpful tips for each recipe. For example, the testers' notes for french onion soup (page 59) tell us not to use frozen chopped onions for this dish because they will be too soft and wet and will not caramelize well. These are super helpful notes that can help make sure the recipe turns out as delicious as intended.

The directions for these recipes are all very simple, and easy to follow. Most ingredients I came across were easy to find, or items I already had on hand in my pantry or refrigerator. There are a wide variety of recipes in this cookbook, as well. Delicious recipes for breakfast, Soups, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal/Rabbit, Poultry, Fish/Shellfish, Vegetables, Side Dishes, and Desserts are all included in this cookbook. So there is easily plenty of variety to use the slow cooker daily without repeating recipes!

I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone. I am a mom of two and find that the slow cooker helps me to prepare healthy and delicious meals for my family without having to sacrifice time with my children. This would also be a great cookbook for busy working moms (and dads!), or even singles or couples who don't have any children. Who doesn't want to come home at the end of the day to a delicious meal, ready to eat?!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from as part of their blogger program, in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Berenstain Bears "God Shows The Way"

Stan & Jan Berenstain, with Mike Berenstain have a new book coming out, entitled, "Berenstain Bears - God Shows The Way". This is a Zonderkids "I Can Read!" for beginning readers book, which means that it is specifically written for young children who are new readers. The book uses simple sentences and easy to understand language that makes it easy for early readers to independently read.

"God Shows The Way" is actually a combination of three books, each with a focus on a particular Biblical principle. The stories included in this collection are: "Faith Gets Us Through", "Do Not Fear, God Is Near", and "Piggy Bank Blessings". Each story starts off with a Bible verse that is the foundational principle for the story that follows.

Each story is interesting, and keeps the young reader interested in the story while teaching them important Biblical lessons. "Faith Gets Us Through" encourages the young reader to remember that no matter where they are or what they are going through, God will always be with them. "Do Not Fear, God Is Near" reassures children that when they are scared, God is there for them, and watching over them. "Piggy Bank Blessings" discusses the importance of saving money for a special or important occassion.

All three of these stories feature traditional and wonderful Berenstain Bears illustrations. I would highly recommend this book for anyone with young readers in their home. My six year old read all three stories in a row, and loved them! Great stories, strong Biblical messages, and awesome illustrations.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review in exchange for this book.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jonah and the Great Big Fish

I am a big fan of reviewing children's books. I have two young children myself, and find that their reactions to books designed for them are sometimes much different from my own opinion of the books they read. Just recently we received "Jonah and the Great Big Fish" by Rhonda Gowler Greene, and illustrated by Margaret Spengler.

This story tells the traditional, Bible story of Jonah and the big fish. We learn about Jonah's disobedience to God in his refusal to go to Nineveh, and the unique punishment that God has in store for Jonah. This book brings to life the story of Jonah for young children, and illustrates the importance of listening to God and following his direction.

The book is beautifully illustrated, and the pictures are so bright and colorful. Both my children really loved looking at the images of Jonah and the big fish. Both my toddler and my big kid loved sitting on the couch and looking at this book together. When I read this story to my kids, I found that the book was really easy for them to understand. I thought this book was a big hit with my children, and I think that it will be a winner with nearly any young child.

I would highly recommend this book for children ages 3 and up. Wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated, and a wholesome Biblical message. What more could you ask for?

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not under any obligation to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celebrate Recovery Bible (NIV)

"Celebrate Recovery Bible" is a Bible designed to support those who are in recovery after struggling with addiction. The Bible itself is a New International Version translation of the Bible text. This Bible uses eight principles, based on the Beatitudes, to connect the reader to the Biblical text through their addiction. Each principle is listed and explained in depth at the beginning of the Bible, and then throughout the text of the Bible, when a particular principle is supported by Scripture, there will be a small number next to the text, corresponding to the principle it references.

Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the chapter, including themes, author, date of writing, encouragement from the chapter, challenge from the chapter, reflection from the chapter, as well as an explanation of recovery themes in the chapter.

There are many additional lessons that appear randomly throughout this Bible, as well, with a Bible verse, explanation, and link to one of the principles. These help connect the Biblical teaching to the life that most addicts are living before they embrace sobriety. Also, there are recovery stories that appear throughout the Bible, as well. These are stories of one person and their personal struggles with addiction - I think this is a great addition to this Bible. Because of their habits, addicts tend to feel alone, and this helps them to relate to others, and to realize that they aren't alone at all.

Overall I would give this Bible a 4.5/5. I think the features were all incredibly helpful for this specific set of people, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with addiction, or who has embraced sobriety after addiction. The only complaint I have about this Bible is that I wish it were hardcover. The paperback cover tends to wear much worse than a hardcover, but other than that, I loved everything about this Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from's blogger program in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.