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Book Review ~ Best hair book ever!

“Cute cuts, sweet styles and tons of tress tips” along with plenty of photographs and instructions for a variety of hair types and lengths are what comprise the Best hair book ever! from the editors of faithgirlz and Girls’ Life magazine. Although it is targeted towards middle school and high school aged young ladies, this book even gives this 30-something mom a few ideas. 😉

The Best hair book ever! is thorough in content and friendly in tone. Its 128 pages are full-color with plenty of photographs. As a how-to book, there is a section to define your hair type with a recommended regimen as well as a guide to determine your face shape and the right cut to flatter it. The chapters are divided into styles for: summer, sports, school, weekend, party, and braids. For each style shown, there are small sections of information with a picture and description. There are braids, up-dos, ponytails, and accessorizing your style. None of the styles are over-the-top but include those ranging from classic to trendy.  There is also a make-your-own guide for “hair candy” like hair clips and ties.

4 out of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the BookLook Bloggers program.

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Book Review ~ Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli’s Thankful offers a feel-good reminder to appreciate our blessings in daily life.

Written as a rhyming poem, there are small amounts of text with full-page illustrations on each page. Spinelli writes of many professions: gardener, fireman, poet, artist, etc. and for what those people are thankful, ” . . .The doctor is thankful when patients get well. The traveler, for a cozy hotel. The dancer is thankful. She loves the beat that stirs her heart and hips and feet. . . .”

Illustrations of the family of four, with a son and daughter, bring the poem to life and offer a charming and whimsical feel to this book as the children dress up and play the part of the professions mentioned. The only religious aspect of this poem is towards the end on one page where, “Pastor is thankful for God’s loving word.”

Thankful is light-hearted and enjoyable for younger children and their parents. It is a nice addition to our home library, especially as we choose to be mindful and grateful in our daily lives. Although my 4-year-old son likes the story and the pictures, and listens to it when I choose it, he hasn’t picked it on his own.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program.

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review ~ The Berenstain Bears’ Harvest Festival

Ah, the joy of autumn: crisp leaves, bright colors, fall festivals, and more. It’s something I look forward to annually, so I requested a copy of The Berenstain Bears’ Harvest Festival by Mike Berenstain to review.

 

 

 

Full of colorful pictures depicting the beauty and fun of fall, the Bear Family attend the gathering at Farmer Ben’s where they enjoy apple picking, pumpkin picking, a hayride, and meal while giving thanks for the harvest and their blessings. Our 4-year-old son enjoyed the story and asked if we could “do that too” as the children picked apples and more.

Recommended for ages 4-8, I would say ages 4-6 as the story is nice but light. It is a good addition to seasonal readings and focusing on being grateful to God for the firstfruits and blessings of the day, but it isn’t a story I would add to our personal library to read often. The end of the book includes three questions to discuss and two activity suggestions.

In exchange for my honest review, I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Book Look Bloggers program.

3 out of 5 stars

 

 

Book Review ~ Summer by Summer

Teenage cliques, first impressions, personal agendas, and being stranded off the coast of Belize:  Summer by Summer, a young adult (YA) novel written by Heather Burch, has them all. A summer trip to Belize isn’t all she wanted her experience as a nanny to be when Summer meets the older brother, Bray, of the family. After making some peace and helping with a diving expedition, they are stranded on an island due to a bad storm. With no rescue party in sight, the two must rely on themselves, each other, and their faith in God as they learn who the other really is while waiting to be rescued.

This is definitely a young adult novel with a market age of 14 and up. It is an easy beach read, no pun intended, of survival, love, trust, and faith. The story line flows as the author alternates between Summer’s and Bray’s points-of-view. Each must let go of the first impression and assumptions made of the other to survive their adventure.

While this is not a must-read, I wouldn’t avoid it. It kept my attention as I knew everything had to work out. I just wasn’t sure how Burch would create the twists and turns to bring positive closure.

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review ~ Precious Moments God Watches Over Me

Would you like a book for a young child to demonstrate God’s presence in each day? Consider Precious Moments’ God watches over me. In classic Precious Moments design, each page has a Bible verse, one poem, and an illustration to go with it. Many writings are by Jean Fischer, and the last entry is “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Although it is a board book, the content of God watches over me is more appropriate for children ages 4-8. The front cover is a padded foam board, and the back is hard board. It is about 5″ x 7″ and 32 pages long, front and back, with full color illustrations. There is no Table of Contents, so here are the entry titles:

God watches over me:  all day long, when I need help, when I’m hungry, when I play, when I travel, when I learn, when I think that I can’t, when I need to be brave, when I get hurt, every day, while I sleep, all the time

God watches over my: friends and me, family and me, pets

God watches over the world and everything in it!

I like this collection of illustrations and poetry, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for the target audience of children ages one to four. The pictures are cute, but it is wordy. My son is 3, and he enjoys about 20 seconds of this book at a time. It is one to grow on, but not easily engaging with an energetic little one.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review ~ Psalm 23 by Richard Jesse Watson

Using the text from the King James Version of the Bible, Richard Jesse Watson illustrates the 23rd Psalm of “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” in a board book format for children. Without preamble, the reader opens the book to begin the psalm. There is one picture and page set for every 1 to 2 lines of the psalm, which is written in its entirety on the last page of the book.

The illustrations bring the words to life and help the reader understand their meanings. In keeping with the shepherd concept, there is a lamb included in each illustration. While the KJV is not my favorite, the pictures are lovely, colorful, and charming without being gaudy. The child-like innocence and trust comes through. Our 3 year old son likes it, and I recommend it for toddlers through young elementary age.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Book Look Bloggers program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and they are not required to be positive.

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Favorite Cookbooks

I love to read.

I like to cook . . . . well, most of the time.

Really, I would like to snap my fingers and have dinner present itself. Since that is not in my near future (magic housekeeper or sometimes cloning myself, anyone?), I read cookbooks for ideas and tips, search online (hello, Pinterest), ask others, go back to my stand-bys, and generally make up stuff.

I am a huge fan of my slow cooker, one pot dishes that are yummy and don’t require a cream of ___ can or Velveeta, and meals that are actually ready from start to finish in less than 30 minutes without a sous chef. (Rachael Ray, I’m talking to you.) A dear friend also reminded me to cook larger amounts to freeze for later. That is so simple, and I have remembered it a few times this month. 😉

I have a binder full of recipes I have put together and a collection of cookbooks. Here are some of them and a few that have been recommended to me.

Some that I own:

Joy of Cooking is a go-to for how to prepare almost everything with classic recipes throughout the 1000+ pages.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, Sixteenth Edition (Better Homes and Gardens Plaid) is one my mom used for apple pie. I consider it a staple in anyone’s kitchen with all of the information included.

Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Recipes and Tips to Cook with Confidence is one Mom gave me when I graduated college and was on my own. It has good photographs and descriptions of preparation without being intimidating. A novice cook can succeed with the recipes in this book.

Out of the Sugar Rut
provides recipes that use honey and whole wheat flour instead of heavily refined ingredients. Real food is what you will find in this cookbook.

Fix-It and Forget-It Revised and Updated: 700 Great Slow Cooker Recipes (Fix-It and Forget-It Series) is the first book I used for slow cooker recipes, and it has a little bit of everything.

Recently recommended to me:

For cooking anything Italian, cookbooks by Lidia Bastianich

Cookbooks by Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman

100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love by Lisa Leake

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime by Danielle Walker

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon

Cookbooks by local Junior League groups

Which ones would you add to the list?