Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Boy Mom by Monica Swanson Book Review + Giveaway (ends Aug 11)

Boy Mom by Monica Swanson is a book geared for moms of boys so that moms can give their sons what they most need. Monica gently guides moms to look at the big picture and then breaks it down into areas that give suggestions in ways to teach our sons. Each chapter is sprinkled with stories of her own life, books that have impacted her and excellent ideas. There are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter. She dives into areas for character, technology, spiritual growth, influences, work ethic, relationships and much more. And there also is a link to a printable that is outlined in the book for various topics such as how to share the gospel, identity in Christ, boy approved food and dinner conversation starters, just to name a few. 

I have to be honest, as I was reading this book I began to feel overwhelmed with what area to focus on for my son. They all seem so vital! But as I read, I realized that I will just take it one step at a time and keep this book by my side so I can refer to it often. I am thankful for Monica's ministry and how she has used her knowledge and life experience to help other boy moms in their quest to raise their sons in the way of the Lord.

Visit Monica Swanson at https://monicaswanson.com/boymombook/
She also has a podcast too!!

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley for review.  All opinions are my own.*

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The DIY Guide to Building a Family That Lasts by Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden Book Review

Home improvement shows have been infiltrating our TV for many years.  But how can we use that concept to strengthen our family relationships as Gary Chapman and Shannon Warden share in their new book, The DIY Guide to Building a Family that Lasts: 12 Tools for Improving your Home Life?  Gary and Shannon take a home improvement approach to building a family.  Each chapter starts with a goal and tool, a funny story, real life situations, drawing up plans- ways to make the goal work, DIY- take a look at yourself and how you can reach the goal, All-In Budget- getting the whole family involved, Sweat Equity- summary of the chapter, the Big Reveal- how it should look, and Talk it Over- questions for discussion.  This book covers 12 tools such as kindness, gratitude, love, compromise, forgiveness, communication, trust, compassion, patience, getting organized, creating fun and building connection.  There is also an epilogue with a home maintenance section and home life inspection quiz.

This book covers so many great topics that are absolutely needed in a family.  For me, I think I could only focus on one goal every few months.  My favorite part of the book was the Sweat Equity section that summarized the chapter.  I thought this was a good part to read to the family and that everyone could get on board in a short amount of time.   I also liked the main goal and the tool to get to that goal stated at the beginning of each chapter.  It gave a good focus keeps the chapter spotlighted on the topic.  I would recommend this book to any family who struggles in any of the areas listed above.  This would make a great family project book.   

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Moody Publishers for review.  All opinions are my own.*

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham Book Review

Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham tells the story of a single woman working at a dead letter office whose letters from a man named Thomas pass over her desk.  Penny feels heartbroken for this man who has lost the love of his life.  She seeks to unite them by delivering the letters to his fiance herself.  But she finds out some tragic news and feels even more connected to this mysterious Thomas.  His words have truly touched her heart and she wants to give the letters back to him.  She goes on a quest to locate the young man and finds herself and her dog traveling from Washington DC  to a small town in Iowa.  Penny is unprepared to meet the endearing people of this sweet town, but becomes attracted to Thomas but does not reveal her reasons for coming to the town.  Some strange things start happening to Thomas and his new farm and Penny becomes involved. They form a friendship and become emotionally attached, but with secrets still between them.  When she finally reveals who she is, will Thomas accept her?

This book was a sweet historical romance that swept me back to a time with dead letter offices, community dances, writing long letters, boardinghouses and taking chances.  Penny was a young girl who felt things deeply and wanted romance more than anything in her life, but she felt stuck.  She had determination and spunk to to pick up and travel to a faraway place on her journey to finding true love.  This book gives a glimpse as to what a possible lost letter might give to woman searching for a place to belong.  I enjoyed this story.

Find our more about Rachel here:
Rachel's Website
Rachel's Facebook
Rachel's Instagram

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Revell Reads for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner BOGO Sale!! Ends Aug 31, 2019

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Several years ago I was floundering around with a planner that I had printed off week by week.  I wasn't able to keep up with it and eventually gave up.  Then I discovered this planner from Sue Hooley known as the Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner.  

 Here are the features I love about it: 
*It's a convenient size.  I can slip it into my purse.
*The weekly task list helps me organize my to do list.
*I can record and see my menu plan for the whole week on the two page spread.
*I plan birthdays, cleaning projects, clothes I need, makeup brands, books to read and more.
*The tear out shopping lists are handy for recording my shopping needs and using for my grocery run.
*I keep a master list of shopping needs from my favorite stores.
*I can see a month at a glance.
*It's my brain and I LOVE it!

This planner has been such a positive impact in my life to be organized, productive and happy!

Recently I moved and this planner has helped me organize my new life schedule as my kids are now in school.  We've been having a very fun and busy summer and it's great to keep my running list of things that need to be done.  There are SO many family birthdays in the summer.  I also run a Podcast Club and do many book reviews, so this planner keeps me on task.  

Take a look inside:

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by Marty Machowski Book Review

Don't Blame the Mud :Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by Marty Machowski is a picture book for young listeners to understand exactly how sin can move someone to make bad choices which lead to consequences.  But it also offers the forgiveness and redemption of God's love.  Young Max is on his way home and has been told to keep his clothes clean.  He opts to walk down near the creek but thinks he can skirt around the mud with no problem.  He eventually slips and becomes muddy which he tries to hide when he gets home.  His parents see through his disobedience.  He gets cleaned up on the outside, but his inside is still battling the sin and he makes excuses.  His parents gently guide him to understand God's way and lead him to repentance. 

There is a short section after the story for parents to help their children understand sin and also to understand the gospel.  At the back there are key Bible verses to remember with a promise, a prayer and a plea.

This book was illustrated with lively pictures to help kids identify with the "picture" of sin.  Sin is the ugly mud that follows young Max everywhere until he finally asks for forgiveness and he's washed clean on the inside.  This story gives a realistic look at the thoughts and actions of a child's mind and heart as they choose disobedience and reap the consequences of sin like shame, guilt, and blame.  This story also shows how parents can naturally help their child to "see" sin and to learn to come to God to wash away the "mud in our hearts." 

This is a great book for ages 6-10 as children need to learn how to confess their sin and truly understand the Gospel that is relevant and present in their lives.

Learn more about the author at www.martymachowski.com

Don't Blame the Mud can be found at New Growth Press.  Visit www.newgrowthpress.com.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Saturday, June 15, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky Book Review

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky is the first book in a series that explores the British Home Children who were sent across the ocean from London to Canada in the late 1800's to early 1900's. Many of these children were orphans, but this novel gives a glimpse into a family that was torn apart by this system that promised a better life for children.

Laura McAlister is working as a lady's maid for the very affluent Fraser family in England when she finds out that her widowed mother has become ill.  When she arrives in London, she discovers that her brother and sisters have been put in orphanages.  She is desperate to find her siblings and tries not to worry her mother. Laura encounters many obstacles and frustrations as she searches for her family and  when she finds out that her siblings have been shipped off to Canada, she sneaks her way into a position that will allow her to travel the same route that will lead her to her siblings. She meets Rose who becomes a kind and caring friend.  And while on the boat, she meets Andrew Fraser (again), who not only is the son of her former employer, but also an attorney who is on assignment to learn more about the children being transferred through the orphanages to families in Canada.  She begins to form an unlikely friendship with him as they continue their search for her family. Laura had to rely on God's provision through this scary and lonely trial. When Laura finally tracks down one of her sister's she is appalled by her living and working conditions.  She is adamant to find her the rest of her family.   Will Laura and Andrew rescue her siblings?  Will they move beyond their friendship to something more?

This book addressed a new topic for me that I had actually never heard or read about before.  I was highly intrigued about how all these children were moved from one continent to another.  This historical fiction gave a glimpse into the life of a family that learned the struggles and heartache that could happen accidentally.  I especially liked how how even though the main character, Laura, seemed to be a very responsible and careful young lady, she had to take great risks and even conceal her identity to pursue her siblings.  I can't imagine all that this family had to endure.  It seemed very wrong and even though there were many well meaning authorities, when it came time for choosing homes, it was not done properly in my opinion.  The novel does not end here, but will continue on with a story for each of the McAlister children.  I look forward to following this family.

*I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own.*

Be sure to check out the author at her website for more amazing books:  Carrie Turansky.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Goodbye, 2018, Hello 2019! 6 month update!

Oh my goodness!  I never believed I would have packed so many transitions into one year.  I did not plan any of these things!  At the beginning of the year we adopted a new cat who was about 6 months old.  He was all black and we named him Raven.  He has become my little buddy.  Also in January, we went to my father in laws memorial (he passed in October).  It was a very comforting time with family. Then in February, we had a garage fire which destroyed everything we thought was valuable, but realized it was just stuff.  Also that spring, my parents sold my grandmother's house (she had passed in October as well).  Then they bought a new house in a different town and also later that summer sold their home (my growing up home!).  Amidst all of that we went through a job search, and eventually selling our house, buying a house and moving across country.  I explained a lot of this in my previous blog posts.

But today we have been in our new home for 6 months.

Whew, and so much has happened since we moved here as well, but really good things.

I started this blog much earlier in the year and then life has become really busy!

First of all, I just LOVE living in the country! We have a huge yard and we are not close to any neighbors or noise.  We hear birds singing every morning.  The frogs were croaking at night in the Spring.  We can see the stars and watch the sun rise and sunset every day.  The kids can run, ride bikes, dig in the garden and be loud without disturbing anyone.  We have built bonfires, planted a garden, bought chickens and made a makeshift coop.

Our historic town is less than 10 min away.  The school is 5 minutes and the grocery store is 7 minutes.  There are many places to explore likes beaches and state parks.  There is a lot of driving, but there is no traffic except in planting season when the tractors use the regular highway.   We live about an hour and half from the big city of Richmond and the airport.

We have found the people to be very friendly and welcoming.  We started going to a church, the small group and the kids attended the Awana program.  I am volunteering at the school and taking care of the home as well as taking the kids back and forth to school.  I also have been on a few of their field trips.  My son went to Jamestown and Yorktown.  My daughter went to a state park for a fun day.

Things are a lot different here and sometimes we think about life back in Tacoma.  But somehow we feel so comfortable and at home here.  We love our big house and yard.  We are going to have a big work party with my husband's co-workers soon.  The weather is unpredictable, but we have had snow, rain, thunder, lightning, tornado warnings, sun and wind.  Most days are pleasant although it is getting warmer.  I don't even need a sweater!

We are so excited to see what the rest of the year will hold for our family.  There is so much to tell, but honestly, I enjoy living my life.  If you want to keep up with me, be sure to check out my Facebook page The Knowlton Nest,  where I occasionally post what I do on a daily basis.  

We are so happy that God moved us to Virginia and continue to find ways to serve Him in this new area.  And we can't wait to have fun this summer with our new friends!