Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Review :: Noah, Noah, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Melissa Iwai

Noah, Noah, What Do You See? was an instant favorite in our house. And I mean FAVORITE - a day is not complete if we don't read "Noah, Noah, See" (what my little guy calls it) at least once. 

In Noah, Noah, What Do You See?, we look in on Adam, Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Daid, Daniel, Esther, Jonah, Mary, Zacchaeus, Peter, Paul, a little child, and Jesus - and we find out what they "see". Some of the things they "see" aren't exactly visual (ex: Paul sees an earthquake), but that is being nit-picky. You will definitely get a lot of practice saying the words "see" and "me" in this book, but it is such a cute idea that it is worth it.

My little guy loves this book so much that I am considering buying two - one to keep in the car or at church. This one is definitely a must-have in our house!
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Adventures in Bible art & journaling :: Abide With Me

Well, I've done several reviews of Christian books and journaling Bibles lately, but haven't done much actual Bible journaling. I am trying to get back in the swing of things, though, and this page is my "comeback":
I made a weave of washi tape, gave it a little layer of paint to stamp on, and then stamped and did some quick coloring. It was a fairly simple approach, but has kept this idea ("Abide With Me") bouncing around in my head for weeks...which is why I love Bible art & journaling so much. 

Have a great day!
Find all my posts pertaining to Bible art or journaling here.

Supplies:
Bible: Zondervan (NIV Holy Bible, Journal Edition);
Stamps: Ink Blot Shop, LLC (
Floral Frenzy, Chunky Alphabet (Solid)); Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps (Outline Alpha);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Tape: Washi Tape;
Paint: Plaid (Apple Barrel - Antique Parchment);
Page Prep: Ranger (Multi Medium - Matte, Clear Gesso);

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Recipe :: Herbed Cream Cheese, Pesto, and Bacon Chicken (for a crowd...or for your freezer)

This is a recipe I've been asked for many times, so I figured it was time to "officially" write it out. It was inspired by a dinner that our family got once from one of the assemble-your-own-freezer-meal places (I can't remember what it was called), and I messed around with the ingredients until I got the flavor I wanted. 


This is a great option to make in a large quantity and freeze in portions that will work for your family size. For our family of 6 big eaters, this makes 3 freezer meals. (Yay for freezer meals!) It is also very easy to make for a crowd, so I am sharing a crowd-sized recipe. 

Ingredients:
16-18 pieces frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or approx. 6 lbs., depending on the size of the pieces)
52-60 oz. marinara sauce (meat-free)
5-8 oz. cooked bacon crumbles (or substitute with 1 uncooked piece of bacon per piece of chicken)
1/3-1/2 c. prepared pesto sauce
Herbed Cream Cheese (recipe below)

Looking to make this in a smaller quantity? For 6 pieces of chicken you will need approximately 20 oz. of marinara sauce, 1-2 oz. cooked bacon crumbles, 2 tbsp. pesto, and 6 tbsp. herbed cream cheese.

To make the Herbed Cream Cheese:
8 oz. tub of whipped cream cheese (or substitute with 8 oz. softened cream cheese)
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried dill

Directions:
For the full recipe: set out four 9x12 casserole dishes.
Tip: If you are using uncooked bacon and want to broil it to get it crispy, make sure you are using metal casserole dishes. I have some from this line. This one might be a good pan option, too.
Pour marinara sauce into the bottom of each of the dishes, making sure the bottom is covered with about 1/4" of sauce.
Lay frozen chicken breasts into the casserole dishes.
Place approximately 1 tsp. of pesto on top of each chicken breast.
Place approximately 1 tbsp. of herbed cream cheese on top of each chicken breast. (If I have some left over, I like to dot it over the marinara sauce in the dish.)
Sprinkle bacon crumbles over the top (or if you are using uncooked bacon, place one strip of bacon on each piece of chicken).

If you are preparing this as a freezer meal, cover your casserole dishes and place them in the freezer.
Tip: If you are using a metal pan, do not cover directly with foil. Use plastic wrap to create a barrier between the metal pan and the foil, otherwise your foil will create a battery and "melt" into your meal. Yikes!

When you are ready to cook your meal, place into an oven that has been pre-heated to 375 degrees.
Bake (uncovered) for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken (and any uncooked bacon) are cooked through. If you started with uncooked bacon, you can use your oven's broiler to crisp up your bacon (just be sure your pan is broiler safe!).

We love to serve this with rice, making sure to scoop out some extra sauce onto our rice.
It's also great with mashed potatoes.
And don't forget to make some delicious rolls to go with it, too.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review :: Read & Play Baby Bible illustrated by Gustavo Mazali

The Read & Play Baby Bible is a padded cover board book with lots of Bible stories and themes (22, to be exact) to share with little ones. 
The illustrations are cute, with a unique (digital + crayon strokes) style to them. The images are colorful and sweet. 

What I really appreciate about the variety of topics in this book is that there are many stories/themes which just don't seem to get highlighted in many of the books for little ones. Each page opening is a different topic. Here they are:
- God Made Everything (Genesis 1:1-27; Creation)
- The Beautiful Rainbow (Genesis 7:1-12; Noah's Ark)
- A Happy Baby (Genesis 21:1-7; Isaac)
- A Coat for Joseph (Genesis 37:1-3)
- A Baby in a Basket (Exodus 2:1-10; Moses)
- Away Goes the Water (Exodus 14:15-22; Moses/Parting of the sea)
- Ruth Stayed with Naomi (Ruth 1:14-18)
- A Quiet Prayer (1 Samuel 1:9-18; Hannah)
- Who Is Calling Samuel? (1 Samuel 3:1-10)
- David Sings to God (1 Samuel 16:18-23)
- Esther Asks for Help (Esther 5:1-5)
- Daniel and the Lions (Daniel 6:16-23)
- Baby Jesus (Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12; Birth of Jesus)
- Jesus is Lost (Luke 2:39-52; Jesus at the temple)
- Jesus Stops the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)
- Jesus the Shepherd (Luke 15:1-7)
- Food for Everyone (Matthew 14:14-21; Loaves and Fish)
- Come and Get a Hug! (Matthew 19:13-15; Jesus loves the little children)
- High Up in the Tree (Luke 19:1-10; Zacchaeus)
- Jesus Is with Me (Matthew 28:20)
- God Always Listens (John 14:13-14)
- Up in Heaven (Revelation 21:3-4)

While I think the images are cute, I must say that this book just cannot keep my little one's attention. (In fact, he saw me looking at it by myself and came over to cover it up with another book.) He has not let me get farther than a couple pages of reading it to him, and he loves to listen to books. It is just not a hit in our house. 

I do appreciate the concept of the book (short stories for little ones with interactive moments to bring the story to life for the child), but think that the stories themselves are lacking. They are so short (just a couple sentences each) and don't have much to them. Some of the sentences just don't seem to flow like a natural conversation and, personally, I feel like they would have more "punch" to them if they had been written in rhyme.

While this book may be great for some, it's just not one for us. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review :: God Made You Nose to Toes by Leslie Parrott, illustrated by Estelle Corke

God Made You Nose to Toes is a cute book about the body and how God made each part to do what it does. It is a board book, written in rhyme. 
The little boy and the toucan on the cover of God Made You Nose to Toes are depicted on each page opening. The body parts referenced are: nose, hand, knees, eyes, ear, mouth, teeth, hairs, head, & big toe. The illustrations are big and colorful, and my little guy loves to look at them. I like to have him pick out where the toucan is on each page.

I love that God Made You Nose to Toes focuses on how God made each part of us to be useful. It is a fun, easy book to read with your little one.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review :: I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney, illustrated by Tim Warnes

I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! is a fun book about hugs (& the animals that might give them in different ways). The book is available in both a board book version and a hardcover version. There really isn't much difference (between the obvious difference in page thickness), but there is one additional picture in the hardcover version (the first page of the story). 
The illustrations in I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! are really adorable. I think it's a fun bonus that each of the animals has the same polka dot pattern somewhere on them that the mom has on at the beginning of the book. What I love to do while reading I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! is to hug my child at the end of each hug description. The hug descriptions aren't necessarily something that will change the way you hug (how can you give a "knock over chairs, chase up the stairs" hug?), but it is fun to read and look at the pictures, anyway.

While I don't think that I'm Going To Give You A Bear Hug! is an "essential" on the book shelf, I really do enjoy it and my little one loves to read it. Hugging the ones you love is a good thing.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Book Review :: The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book by Jan & Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book is a 32 page activity book with an insert of over 50 reusable stickers. The pages in the activity book are full-color (with the exceptions of the images that are intended to be colored in by the child).
In my opinion, this sticker and activity book would probably work best for 5-8 year olds. There are a range of activities such as:
  • basic coloring
  • mazes
  • finding stickers to complete the pictures
  • matching
  • word searches
  • message decoding
  • search-and-find
  • subtraction problems
  • fill-in-the-blanks
  • a connect-the-dots picture (with numbers up through 32)
  • color-by-number
The pages in The Berenstain Bears Hugs and Kisses Sticker & Activity Book cover various love & friendship themes that you might find in any of The Berenstain Bears books. This book is not a read-through story, but does have some short things to read on the activity pages. You will find references to God and the Bible throughout.

I am impressed at what you can get for under $7 retail. The full-color pages are fun to look at even without the activities, and the activities and stickers just add to the fun. I think that these sticker and activity books are a great value and would be a great gift for any child. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review :: Lots of Love by Kim Washburn, illustrations by Jacqueline East

Lots of Love is a cute, shaped board book with pink foil accents on the cover. Lots of Love is written in rhyme.
Lots of Love is a book with a positive message - spread love to everyone you come in contact with throughout your day. The little girl pictured in the book starts by waking up with a happy outlook on the day, and then spreads love to dogs, her parents, her siblings, her classmates at school, and her teacher. She recognizes that God has given her many blessings and that she should show love to others, too.

Lots of Love is an upbeat book with a positive message - something we can all use more of. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Book Review :: Doodletopia Fairies: Draw, Design, and Color Your Own Super-Magical and Beautiful Fairies by Christopher Hart

Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart is a fun book! It is one of three titles currently in Hart's Doodletopia line of books. It combines instruction, inspiration, and a space for your doodles all in one. This book is intended to be drawn in. 
Doodletopia Fairies is divided into 9 sections. They are:
- Introduction
- Complete Fairy Heads and Faces
- Draw Fairy Bodies
- Create Magical Clothing and Accessories
- Design Fairy Wings and Flying Poses
- Give Your Fairies Personality
- Conjure Up Magical Powers
- Finish Musical Instruments
- Design Fairy Dwellings

The book is printed in two color scales - grayscale and purplescale. The purplescale words and drawings are generally helpful tips and guides (such as base shapes and center lines) to give you a "base" for your drawings.

As in Hart's other Doodletopia books there is great variety (faces, bodies, accessories, poses, scenery, etc.), plenty of fun instruction, and room to practice. The Doodletopia books are instant favorites in our house, and Doodletopia Fairies is no exception. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging For Books book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review :: Journal the Word Bible, KJV, Large Print

Journaling Bibles have become very popular in the past year or two (for good reason), and the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) is one that will fill several "wants" that I have come across in Bible art & journaling circles. (There are several variations of Journal the Word Bibles - large or regular print, different cover styles, different Bible versions, etc.)
The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) comes in a cardstock band/slipcover and has a black hard cover with an elastic strap for closure. It also has a ribbon bookmark. If you have seen the popular ESV single column journaling Bible, the cover size is almost the same for the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print). The text of the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) is larger than standard size, but is slightly smaller than the print in the large print version of the Inspire Bible. (The cover size of the large print version of the Inspire Bible is much larger than the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print), however.) The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) measures approximately 6 1/2" wide x 8 1/8" tall x 2 1/2" thick/deep. It is one of the thicker Bibles in the journaling Bible market.

The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) has black text in a single column format. The words of Christ are in red in this version...a rarity in the journaling Bible market. For the single column, the words span from one side of the column to the other, not leaving extra journaling space as some single column journaling Bibles do. The margin size is approximately 2" wide (with an 8" page height) and are lightly lined. The lines are spaced at 3/16" apart.

As you will find in many KJV Bibles (not sure if it is always the case, as I don't own many KJV), the verse numbers are always at the very left of the column. This makes it easy to find the verse numbers, but may mean that sentences are split up to accommodate this feature. 

The Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print) has cream/ivory colored pages (toward the yellow end of the range). There are an extra 3 lined pages for notes at the back of the Journal the Word Bible, KJV (Large Print).

Finding a journaling Bible is a different search for everyone, but if you prefer KJV, large print, and red lettering for the words of Christ, this is definitely the one for you. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.