Friday, February 28, 2014

All My Love

Today's card was created with the Jars of Love x 3 kit from Unity Stamp Company.
(What is it with mason jars? I just can't help myself!)

The jar image was stamped on vellum and then I created a mask for the jar area and stamped a variety of hearts.
It's a simple card, but I like it.
Thanks for stopping by!

Cardstock: Discount Cardstock (Brilliant White 130#); 

Other Paper: The Paper Company (Vellum);
Stamps: Unity Stamp Company (Jars of Love x 3);
Ink: Ranger (Archival - Jet Black);
Ink (Chalk): Tsukineko (Turquoise Gem, Pink Grapefruit, Persimmon);
Tools: Fiskars (Trimmer, Scissors); Scor-Pal (Scoring Board);

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review :: Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne

Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek is the first book in The Good News Shoes series (Faithgirlz!) by Jill Osborne.

Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek was an entertaining story about a young girl who is chosen to be a spokeperson for a line of athletic shoes for girls. Although the idea of an "unknown" girl being chosen to have an entire line of shoes named after her is unlikely, the rest of the story was very relatable. The story is easy to read - 238 pages divided up into 52 short chapters.

I wasn't expecting to be entertained by this book - I was more excited to get it for my 10 year old daughter (her review of the book is below) - but I enjoyed it and thought it was a great book. I really liked how the author shows Riley Mae (the main character) thinking through her decisions and keeping her focus on God and what he would want. I think the internal dialogue will be beneficial for the girls who are reading the book - knowing that they aren't alone in struggling to choose what is good (when they may wish they could just lie or do something to avoid the situation instead). About mid-way through the book, a bit of mystery comes into play, which made the story a bit more exciting. (I'm not going to give away the ending - I'll leave that to you to find out!)

If you get this book, you will likely want to get the next book in the series, Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids...when I finished the book I was ready to read on and find out what happens next for Riley Mae.

And now...a review from my 10 year old daughter: "I really liked Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek because it had mysteries and it was fun to read. I want to read the other books, too. I think it's a really good book. I think maybe 8-13 year olds would like it. Girls would probably like it more than boys. I liked the end of the book a lot more than the beginning."
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 21, 2014

Recipe :: Homemade Refried Beans in a Crock Pot

Note: I have a 6 quart (oval) Crock Pot. I am not sure how to make them in another size slow if you have something smaller (or bigger) you may need to do some adjusting.

3 packages (16 oz. each) dried beans {I like to mix it up with a variety of black and pinto beans - you can use any combination you want as long as it comes out to the same total amount}
1-2 sticks butter, unsalted
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) ground cumin/cumin powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt (or more - to taste)
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) shredded or grated parmesan cheese - Optional
2 tbsp lime juice

Add rinsed, dried beans to Crock Pot. (No need to pre-soak.)
Add water to approximately 1" below the Crock Pot line (Crock Pot line = where the lid rests).
Cook on high for 5-6 hours, until they are as tender as canned beans.

{If you want a canned bean substitute, just bag and freeze the beans at this point. You can freeze them in their liquid or just as drained beans. Thaw in the fridge before use.}

Add 2 sticks of butter. (You can use only 1 stick if you like...but the more butter, the better, in my opinion!)
Add spices (cumin, salt, parmesan cheese, and lime juice) and stir to combine.
Mash (or not)...and serve.


{You can easily freeze any refried beans that you'd like to save for later.}

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review :: Whatever You Grow Up To Be by Karen Kingsbury, Illustrated by Valeria Docampo

Use Grammarly's grammar check because... ain't no checker like Grammarly's grammar checker.
('Cause Grammarly's grammar checker don't stop!)

Whatever You Grow Up To Be is a children's picture book written in rhyme by Karen Kingsbury. This book takes you through the journey of a little boy's birth and life up through the birth of his son. At each stop in time along the way, there is a mention of a job or life role that the boy may fill in his life (firefighter, businessman, father, etc.). It is a short, sweet look at the different stages of life. Each stage of the story is wonderfully illustrated by Valeria Docampo. On many of the pages there are Bible verses that tie in with the story and/or illustrations - some seem to be taken a bit more out of context than others.

I love Karen Kingsbury's novels and was so excited to get my hands on one of her children's books. I was a little disappointed in the way that the story seemed to be somewhat choppy. It seems to me that the book would have benefited from a little more transition from one stage to the next and a bit more consistency in the perspective of the story.

Overall, I think the illustrations outweigh the story in this case, but I will enjoy keeping this book on my shelf and reading it to my children.

FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Polar Vortex? Have fun with it!

Are you one of the many families out there currently complaining about yet another day stuck at home during this polar vortex? As a homeschooling family, we are used to being at home during the day, but we decided to have some fun with the freezing temperatures...
I came across the idea of frozen bubbles, and thought we would give it a shot. I mixed up some dish soap and water and luckily we had a bubble wand sitting around to give it a try. The results were really neat, but I have to admit it was not easy to blow the bubble and then find it again when it was a bit I got another idea. 

I mixed some dish soap and water in a glass jar (it's just prettier that way) and used a straw to blow bubbles. I let the bubbles pile up and flow out and around the jar, and it was really interesting to watch the freezing process.
Go on...give it a try!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review :: Becoming Home by Jedd Medefind

Becoming Home by Jedd Medefind (with Re/FRAMES by Francis Chan, Jim Daly, Ruslan Maliuta, David Platt, and Carissa Woodwyk) is a small book (approx. 80 pages - 4 1/4" x 6 3/4") in the new FRAMES series by Barna Group. The FRAMES books are intended for those who want to take a quick look at a topic that is relevant to today's society.

The book is divided into 4 main sections: 'Infographics', 'Framework', 'The Frame', and 'Re/Frames'. 

The 'Infographics' section is small (4 pages) with a variety of infographics picturing various aspects of adoption and foster care. The infographics are full-color and easy to read. (In this book there is one infographic where the 'info' and the 'graphic' don't match up...a bar graph where a bar indicating a 28% involvement rate is shorter than other bars representing 25% and 23% involvement rates, while another 23% involvement rate bar is shorter still than the other 23% bar. I didn't notice issues with other Infographics in the book, just this one.)

The 'Framework' section is also short (7 pages) and focuses on some general statistics of adoption and foster care. There are a few more (full-color) infographics in this section as well. 

'The Frame' is the meat of the book, and this is where author Jedd Medefind comes in. (Previous sections were by Barna Group.) Here the author shares anecdotes that express how adoption and foster care have impacted his life and the lives of others. This section gives a realistic look at adoption and foster care (the benefits and the difficulties) and discusses the need for Christian action in these areas. It is a relatively brief explanation (less than 50 pages), but uses the space wisely to summarize the main ideas in the realm of adoption and foster care. There are, again, (full-color) infographics in this section.

The final section is 'Re/Frames', where a select group of people gives their take (1-2 pages) on the topic at hand (adoption and foster care). 

There are additional (generally 1 page) additions to the book - I really appreciated the 'About the Research' portion that explained how and when the research for this book was conducted.

I found this book to be easy to read, informative, well designed, and relevant.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through BookSneeze®. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.