As I’ve mentioned before my favorite kind of preschool activity books are the write-on, wipe-off kind! Not only is it much easier for kids to be able to master things when they’re able to repeat them, these books, when made well, are perfect for passing along to siblings!
The human mind has always fascinated me–my favorite college class was Psych 101 and I almost switched my major to Psychology until I figured out that I would need at least a Masters to do much with that degree. I still enjoy learning about the human brain, however, and what effects our thoughts and actions, so when Francesca emailed and asked me if I would enjoy reading and reviewing her book Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan I couldn’t say no!
Francesca Gino is a smarty pants–she’s an associate professor of business administration in the Negotiation, Organizations, & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. In Sidetracked she explores and expounds upon the fact that simple, irrelevant factors can have profound consequences on your decisions and behavior, often diverting you from your original plans and desires. She backs up her book with research she and others have conducted and often shares the tests preformed, the results gathered, and what it all means to us and what it shows us about our behaviors and our decisions.
Thanks to my Mother-in-Law a few years ago I was introduced to the O’Malley Series by Dee Henderson. She gave me the books to read through and I laughed, smiled, and zipped through them quickly. After I finished the series one thing that bothered me. I felt that since Jennifer O’Malley was such a central character to the entire plot of the series it was a shame that we got to see the love stories of the rest of the family–but we completely missed hers other than the few times it’s represented throughout the series.
Because of this sentiment I was so happy when I found out that Dee Henderson was coming out with Jennifer’s story–the story behind the series. I was also curious how much it would include, when it would start and stop, and how the relationship between Jennifer and Tom would begin.
I have really been enjoying the Candle Children’s Book series–especially their workbooks like My Very First Noah’s Ark Playtime and My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book. I hadn’t gotten a chance to check out any of their painting books before now, and since painting is one of Amber’s very favorite things I was looking forward to seeing how Bible Stories Painting Book 2 held up to our testing!
This vacation has been a little bit different, as we have been spending most of our days over at my Grandma’s house. While the extra time with her has been great it’s also meant that I’ve been left scrambling to come up with things to occupy my kiddos in a small space without a lot of resources.
Firsthand by Ryan & Josh Shook
I was blessed in that I spent virtually all my life growing up in church. Sunday morning, sunday night, church camp, youth group–you name it, I was there! And while this was a huge blessing for me, it also is super easy to fall into a rut when you’re spoon fed “the right answers” your whole life. It’s easy to see church as a chore and Christianity as one big long list of what you can do and what you can’t do. So when I heard about Ryan & Josh Shook and their book Firsthand: Ditching Secondhand Religion for a Faith of Your Own I was eager to read it because I was sure I’d be able to relate!
My Very First Noah’s Ark Playtime
When it comes to pretty much anything I love getting “the most bang for my buck”. This applies to children’s work books and storybooks, as well! I usually look for books that can be reused over and over again–like dry erase books can–or ones that can be used again once they’re all done playing with them–like workbooks that double as story books or have games, recipes, or activities that can be done over and over again. Books that are the best combine any number of the above items, and of course have to be good quality and cute as well. What can I say–I have high standards!
My Very First Noah’s Ark Playtime: Activity Book With Stickers happily falls into that hard to reach bracket! Cute and fun it does a good job of telling the well known story of Noah’s Ark. What makes this retelling special (since we already have several versions of this tale) is what it includes along with the cute retelling.
When I got married I wanted so much to be a godly and great wife to my hubby! What I didn’t realize was that sometimes my female brain with its ways of thinking and showing my love to him and his male brain and the way it is wired meant that sometimes there were things that I was doing, or not doing, that were causing problems I didn’t even realize were there!
Thankfully through several different women giving me books and recommending blogs I caught on early on into our marriage (probably 2 1/2 years) that there were several areas that needed work! I am so thankful that I was able to be enlightened to these things early on–and wish I had known sooner!!!! So now for every bridal shower that I attend my gift is three books: For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn; A Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Shelia Wray Gregoire; and Created to Be His Helpmeet. I include a letter with the books explaining why and how each has shaped and changed my marriage for the better.
They really just do. 2011 was the hardest year in my life so far and a large part of that had to do with my husband’s deployment to Cuba when Amber was a toddler and Tyler was a baby. Thankfully he came back home safely (above you see us on the night of his return home) and I have experienced every deployment emotion from the sinking crying of saying goodbye, the bleak depression of trudging along through, and the joyful butterflies in the stomach from reuniting after so long apart and being so excited and nervous you wonder if you’ve been married for years because it feels like a first date!
So anytime I get offered the chance to read another military spouses story–especially if it has a unique twist on it–I’m the first to jump in line!
Dinner with the Smileys: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime is the story of Sarah Smiley and her family–her Navy husband and her three boys–and how they turned his year long deployment into an experience to remember. For 52 “Dinner with the Smileys” they had community members–from gold medal athletes to the boy’s preschool teachers–come and fill in her husband’s seat during his deployment.
The story of Jonah is one of the most well known in the entire Bible. If you have children and you go to church at all, they have probably heard this story more than once–and most likely have heard it over and over.
That’s why when I saw The Whale Tells His Side of the Story: Hey God, I’ve Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up! I knew I that love it or hate it I needed to check it out!
Being a new mom is wonderful, exhilarating, breathtaking. It’s also exhausting, draining, and overwhelming. And you swing through these seeming paradoxes on a moment by moment basis which ads to the crazy of it all even more! That’s why I think that it’s *so* crucial for all new moms to make sure that they don’t let their spiritual walk slide during this time of life–which is just oh SO easy to do! Here are 3 sweet gifts to help Moms feed their spirit when they need it most!