Saturday, December 27, 2014

NASB Note-Takers Bible Zondervan Bibles

NASB Note-Takers Bible  
Zondervan Bibles

Ahh... so you like to take notes in your Bible, but the margins just aren't enough?  Take a look at this new version of the NASB.  It is geared towards note-takers.  It has wide margins on the outer edges and bottom of the page.  The space provided provides adequate space for note-taking.   I had expected space surrounding the print on each page, so that a person could take notes next to the scripture that you are referring to, but their design makes sense for the flow of reading.  The paper of this Bible would be hold up better with a pencil for notes or a pen that doesn't bleed.  I would avoid a ball point pen with it.

This Bible has the basic information that accompanies all Bibles such as principles of translation, a basic concordance, a page listing promises from the Bible, and more.  There is no cross reference, nor any commentary, just the basics.  This is a red-letter Bible for those who like to read the spoken words of Christ in red, although we should note that since God inspired the whole of the Word, that all words hold equal importance and purpose.
Overall, I think this is a great basic Bible for note-takers.  The NASB is a great word-for-word translation as well.

|I received this Bible from the publisher.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Legend of the Candy Cane Written by Lori Walburg Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

The Legend of the Candy Cane
Written by Lori Walburg
Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey


Christmas is a wonderful time of year.  There are so many things to enjoy, and one is the candy cane.  This beautifully illustrated picture book, tells the story Jesus through the use of a  candy cane.  It is set in the late 1800's and is about a little girl who helps a local storeowner set up his new candy shop.  As they unpack the candy canes, he explains to his little helper the story behind the "j" shape and red and white colors of the candy cane as a way to share about Jesus.

I read this book with my kids, who are 8, 10 and 12.  They all enjoyed it even though they are above the age that the book is geared towards.  I really liked their simple presentation of the gospel for young children.  As I already stated, the illustrations are beautifully painted and enjoyable for children and adults alike.

I highly recommend this as a wonderful book to give to your children or grandchildren.  Read it with them every Christmas. 

I received this book from the publisher for a review, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Agents of the Apocolypse by Dr. David Jeremiah

Agents of the Apocalypse: A Riveting Look at the Key Players of the End Times
by Dr. David Jeremiah

Dr. Jeremiah has presented a book that focuses on the main players in the book of Revelation.   The key players or events are the apostle John in exile on Patmos, the martyrs, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, the two witnesses, the dragon, the beast from the earth, the beast from the sea,  the Victor, and the Judge.  Each one is described through a scripturally based narrative and explained afterwards through scripture.
This book is not a comprehensive study of the book of Revelation, but a highlight.  The narratives each bring forth engaging characters and interesting storylines based on the scripture subject.  Each narrative is independent of the other, with the common thread of the books subjects. 
I wasn't sure how I felt about the book at first, because I hadn't thought about the narrative aspect of it when I started to read it.  I still am a little ambivalent towards them, but I do believe that many people will like this aspect of the book.  I was glad to see exposition of the stories with scripture.  We know that that any fiction is just that, but it is nice to see good explanations  of scripture alongside the narratives.  This dual look at Revelation is a new perspective as opposed to only one or the other.
Overall, I would recommend this book, especially to those who have more difficulty understanding the book of Revelation.   If someone wanted to do an in depth study of the whole book of Revelation, this book wouldn't be it, but it has a place in supplementing an in-depth study. 

I received this book from the publisher.  I was not required to give a positive review.  All ideas are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson

Willie's Redneck Time Machine
by John Luke Robertson
with Travis Thrasher
Tyndale Publishing

You are Willie Robertson, and you have to choose your adventure.  As someone who has never watched an episode of Duck Dynasty but was exposed through the various marketing efforts of the TV world, I was interested in reading this book.  As a kid, I liked the choose your own adventures to some degree, and now as a parent, would I want my children to read them?  First, I liked the cover... Yes I know, but... I live on a cattle ranch and we have a "time machine free one" by one of the old outbuildings.  I'm glad it is no longer put into use!    One the few occasions that I have had the opportunity to use one, made me appreciate modern convenience.  So, that piqued my interest in the book.  It sounded funny, and overall the book had some funny parts.  There was one particular storyline that I enjoyed because, I have to confess, I graduated high school in 1990, and I'll leave it at that.  There are a few different storylines to travel through, some better than others. 

So how was the book?  Overall there were some funny storylines that kids will like.  I would have liked fewer storylines and a little more development on the better lines.  I thought a few ended too abruptly for my taste.  As far as the writing, it was a little easy reading for  the higher end of the age range it is geared to (8-12?). 

Would I let my kids read it?  Yes, I think it's clean and would provide some entertainment for them.  On the other had, I would like to have seen a little more of the Robertson's faith embedded into it.  It is a great opportunity to introduce children to Biblical truth.

Overall, I think it is a good book for kids.  They will enjoy it.

I received this book from the publisher, and all opinions are my own.


Monday, September 29, 2014

The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig by Chris Chamberlain

The Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig
by Chris Chamberlain
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Can you say bacon?  This book is your guide to the pig.  When I opened the book, I was delighted with  more than I imagined.  This book is more than a cookbook, it is a guide to the pig, to the best restaurants peppered throughout the southern regions of the United States.  It taught me about the parts of the pig, about roasting a whole hog, and provided everything from the basics of bar-b-q to a delightful range of recipes all centered around on thing, the pig. 
The book takes you on a southern tour of the basics of rubs, sauces and marinades, to side dishes, main dishes.  The author highlights several wonderful sounding restaurants, and provides a list of recipes that are included in the book from each particular restaurant.  The photography and graphics are appropriate and pleasing to the eye.  There is also plenty information so that we uneducated people will know what a brine is and what its purpose is for, and more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I have neighbors who raise hogs, so maybe I can talk my hubby into getting one and having a hog roast.  There is so much in this book that I want to try and look forward to putting it to a lot of use.

I received this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  THis review is solely my opinion.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goodnight Ark by Laura Sassi Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Goodnight Ark
Written by Laura Sassi
Illustrated by Jane Chapman

Ahhh .....  the beloved ark and it's time for bed, or is it?    Noah is about ready to sleep but when a storm scares the animals, they come to Noah two by two to crowd into Noah's bed. The rhyming and fun familiarity of this story are endearing.  The illustration is well done and colorful.  I do wonder at there not being any Mrs. Noah, but I think the story works  well either way.  I do love the skunk portion, but I won't spoil the fun by sharing it all.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a children's book that is Biblically accurate, this is not it.  It takes a fun story idea and uses a Biblical story setting, but that is as far as it gets with truth.
The large size of the book makes it easy to see the pictures and read with one child or many.
As a fictional storybook, I would recommend it.  I would not recommend it as a book to introduce children to Biblical truth, because it is purely fictional.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and loved the illustrations.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Loving Kitchen by Leann Rice

The Loving Kitchen by Leann Rice
Published by Thomas Nelson

Open up this cookbook to find a bevy of wonderful recipes just waiting to be created in your kitchen.  Leann Rice has created a cookbook that any woman  can use to create wonderful home cooked meals reminiscent of your grandmother's cooking and a comfortable home.  The concept behind the recipe book is a grouping of comfortable recipes straight from the author/blogger's kitchen.  Ms. Rice includes such recipes as:  Creamed corn, fried chicken, oven-baked BBQ ribs, various sandwiches and soups, and berries and cream layer cake, and oh so much more!  I'm so excited about this book, because the recipes have easily attainable ingredients and are realistic for my family. 

Ms.. Rice also includes a section on reaching out and gathering in.  It's about showing love to your family and friends through your cooking.... The book also includes well done food photography, and as a photographer that is one of the first things I look at.  I only wish every recipe had a photo or that there was a photographic index of every recipe.  I know this book will be a staple in my home for the coming years.... I think I'll wear it out.... maybe I should have it spiral bound so that I can use it more handily... who knows.... I just know I'll be using it quite often.

This book was received from the publisher, and I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Regency, a beginning

Every girl has her romantic side...  Ever since I was little I loved Victorian bustle dresses, medieval attire, and as an adult I've also come to appreciate the Regency Era after enjoying the 1995  BBC Pride and Prejudice series.  Now, I have never been much of a sewer.  I have tried a few things growing up, such as a pillow and as an adult peasant blouse and maybe a few things that I don't quite remember.  But my daughter has shown some interest in fashion design, so I bought a regency pattern from Sense and Sensibility, and have made her a regency girls dress, hat and pantaloons.  I do plan to do a pinafore sometime this summer as well.  I thought the sewing process would be good for her to watch and to do some of.  I did this with the hopes of making my own Regency era dress and underpinnings.  So  here are a couple of photos of the dress and pantaloons I made with Zoe's help (she sewed the straight pieces of the dress),  They aren't perfect, but they are the best that I have every done, and I hope a step to doing more.  BTW, I have been hand sewing a regency chemise for myself, and I'll post a photo of that later.  I should photograph the whole process but my house is so small and cluttered, so I haven't.

Here is the hat, which was completely hand sewn.

The fabric was purchased at a local quilt shop called Quilter's Candy Shoppe.  We don't have any regular local fabric shops, so we have to travel 70+ miles or order online.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Mark of Distinction

Price of Privilege Trilogy

Jessica Dotta

Tyndale Publishers

Mark of Distinction is the second book of the Price of Privilege trilogy, and we pick up the story of Julia (Elliston) Pierson after she has been rescued from her husband, Macy, by the Lord Pierson, whom she had discovered was her father. Julia struggles with her father's plans to introduce her to society and the illusion that they have created to protect her. She also has to beware of her past....

I found the book easy to read and hard to put down. I wanted to find out what was going to happen, which is great when I find a book that can keep me reading. Her characters are interesting. The plot keeps you wondering, and the characters are intriguing. I did have a major problem on how she does and doesn't present the truth of God's word in this book. It's lacking seriously. As a book marketed to Christian audiences, which would also have appeal to secular audiences, the author has a great opportunity to share the gospel and how it is affecting the main character (and it doesn't have to be blantant), but she fails in this. I hope that the final installment will tie things together and present a character who is convicted by the word of God to change and not just some imagined experience that seemed vague.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I am looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy. I do hope that a proper gospel presentation to the mail character and response are developed in it.
One comment that I have (that really does not lend to the quality of the book) is that the cover image does not portray proper historical fashion. I would have loved to see a cover with that....
This book was provided by the publisher, I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Baby Blanket

My sister-in-law is expecting a second daughter, and so I got inspired to weave a lightweight baby blanket.  It is primarily acrylic for ease of washing, but it does have a third of angora, alpaca, and wool  fibers.  It's rustic, but I love it, and wish I had made one to keep for photography.

Here is the warp.  It had a lot of wool fiber mixed in and each yarn was constantly catching its neighbor.  It was strong enough for the warp but that catchiness wasn't too pleasant.

I used a purple warp, and purple, variegated and cream yard for the weft.

I did have some booboos in it, but I decided not to go back and fix them, but instead leave them for a more rustic look. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Essential Atlas of the Bible

Essential Atlas of the Bible

Carl G. Rasmussen


Take a visual journey through Biblical history with this compact and concise atlas. It's 158 8x10” pages are packed with maps, photographs and illustrations that provide a thorough look at Biblical history. As you read you Bible, you can pull out this atlas to get a visual orientation on locations and people mentioned as you read. It also summarizes Biblical history and concurrent regional history in order to help you to get context for the passages being read.

I have found the atlas useful, especially as I have been reading I & II Chronicles. The charts made it easy for me to visualize the order of the kings of Israel and Judah mentioned in a linear fashion. The charts are colorful and relevant, the photographs are wonderful and the size of the book is great. It isn't overwhelming in size but handy enough to carry with my Bible and other study materials.
Overall, I would recommend this as a study tool, and enjoyed reading it.  I loved seeing photos of places I've been and have read about, and being able to study charts of historical events and people. 
I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to provide a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wedding Cake

Cake... I love cake, and I love trying to make creative cakes, although I am far from great at it.  I was asked by a friend to create a cake for a friends daughter's wedding.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  The theme was a rainforest.  I went ahead and said I could do it, but could I?
I searched online for ideas.. any where from to The Pink Cake Box.  I found two cakes from the Pink Cake Box that inspired me and I went from there.  So here is my first ever, probably only ever, wedding cake......

I spent the a couple of weeks working off and on gum paste flowers and butterflies. These two are my first, although I didn't use them for the cake, they were great starting flowers.

I started off by covering the cake board with Crisco, then wax paper, and finally modeling chocolate that I made at home.


Here is one of the tiers crumb coated.

I used the upside down cake icing  procedure, but even though It's great for clean edges, I had some trouble with it, and I think I need more practice, or just use it only under fondant.

Here is modeling chocolate before and after.

More cake icing.

Now on to stacking.

And finally decorating!
Here it is.

Here is my favorite butterfly.  I like the way it turned out.
I also love the calla lilies, and they are so easy to make, and they are so beautiful.

I also really like how the chocolate looked...!
The most exciting part was adding all the flowers and chocolate.  It really brought the cake to life.  Although Looking at the photo, it looks like the layers are uneven :(...  I should have used a level.... Well, live and learn.  I can't wait to hear what the bride thought of the cake.  She was  on a very low budget, and so had ordered a Walmart cake before her mom asked me, but we went ahead an did this cake.  She is going to be all caked out before her wedding is through!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If I Had Lunch with C.S.Lewis by Alister McGrath

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis

Alister McGrath

Tyndale Publishers

Sit down, grab a lap blanket, and cozy up with Alister McGrath as he takes us on some interesting jaunts through topics that we all face in life, and explores them from the perspective of one of the most respected Christian apologists of the 20th century. Briefly journey through Narnia, explore the Problem of Pain, consider the Pilgrim's Regress, as reflections of Lewis' life from his abandonment of atheism, into his journey into Christianity, friendship, grief and pain.

This was an engaging perspective on Lewis' life through short chapters that introduce a subject and then proceed to give brief biographical sketches of Lewis' thoughts and experiences. I found each chapter well written and a good length. I do suggest being familiar with some of Lewis' writings since there is an underlying assumption of familiarity with his work.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Lewis, or interested in his work and some of the history behind it all. This book gives a peak into the life of Lewis, and is great for those who may not have time to devote to a full biography.

I was provided a review copy by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Niobrara River, An Old Tractor, and a Horse or two

Here are some recent photos that I have taken... One was even put on a billboard in Kearney, NE

Here it is on an electronic billboard!  I know the color is different, but different monitors will showcase color differently.
It was -12 when I took these photos, and I nearly froze my fingers and ears off!
Here is our horse June.  She will be 2 in June!

Here is our old Farmall tractor.



It's been a while since I've posted, I know... I'm guilty... I do have some photos I'm going to be sharing, but before that I'm going to share a couple of photos of a cake that I made.  I have a friend who has asked me to bake her daughter's wedding cake. So I'm on the hunt to improve my abilities. I'm not a pro cake baker/decorator although I love playing with cakes when a birthday comes around.... and I've been striving to learn to do a better job frosting and decorating.  One of the many things that would keep me from ever becoming a pro cake decorator is that I don't have a pro kitchen, and I prefer to do things that I like and not a photo that someone want or expects me to copy. I look at each cake as an individual piece of art or junk (when I do a lousy job) and they are a self expression more than anything else.
Now to say that I won't copy something isn't necessarily correct, but it has to be something I want to try or fits my artistic dreams.  So the cake I'm making for this March wedding will be a copy of something I would love to be able to create.  In the meantime, I created this simple chocolate cake for practicing my basic icing skills.  Here it is:

Not great by pro standards, and I have a LONNNNNGGG way to go with my cake.  For one thing, I always make too little icing, and then I don't have enough to fill it out and smooth it out as well.  I also didn't have any Viva paper towels to do any of that type of cake smoothing.  But I do like that I got fairly straight sides and crisp edges.  This is also the first time I have tried homemade or any type of modeling chocolate.  I have never made a rose before and this one turned out okay but I needed it smaller and with thinner pieces.  I do think the modeling chocolate band at the bottom turned out nicely. 
I have one month to get this cake decorating thing down.  I have made a few other cakes for this person's children so I know that they will be fine with the wedding cake, and I will put up photos here of that creation. 

BTW, the cake tasted delicious!  I got the chocolate recipe off of for Hershey's Perfect Chocolate cake. 
 I did have some trouble with the cake falling in the center, but I think it was a "me" issue and didn't affect the cake much in the end. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Redcoats Are Coming! The Imagination Station #13 Marianne Hering & Nancy I Sanders

The Redcoats Are Coming!
The Imagination Station #13 
Marianne Hering & Nancy I Sanders
Focus on the Family
Adventures in Odyssey
Tyndale Publishers

Oh how wonderful it would be if there was a real imagination station that I could jump into and travel to places known and unknown.  Until then, audio drama and books will have to be my imagination station.  This book, geared at ages 7 and up, takes us on an Imagination station journey with Patrick and Beth as they experience the events leading to the Revolutionary War firsthand with the likes of Paul Revere, John Hancock,  and fictional characters such as Sybil.  Their mission? To deliver a letter for Mr. Whitaker, and do they accomplish their mission?  You'll just have to read this book.

I found this book engaging and well written for the targeted age group, and my nine year old has his eyes on the story.   It's a good story to engage my children with American history from a Christian World view.  Although I do find myself needing to refresh my history, as I'm a little rusty.  Overall, I would recommend this book.  What's more, I am looking forward to the next installment to discover the continuing story....

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.