Thursday, March 23, 2017

Open when...

This is a TINY book. The "envelope" size is small than your usual envelope, and there's not much more than a paragraph...if that, in each "letter". And there are only 12 letters.

Honestly, the book made me sad, because it seems like the kind of things you would own only if there is no one around to encourage you. I mean, what's a generic paragraph from a stranger going to do for you that some good friends or close family couldn't do more?

I also was mixed up as to what kind of book this was. I knew it was "letters to lift your spirits" but I was thinking it was from the "faith" section - from a Christian perspective. It's not. It talks about karma, and about Buddhist belief, and how the first step to forgiving someone is realizing they're an idiot. Hardly Christian thoughts!

While the artwork is absolutely adorable, the content is so less than stellar that it's not a book I'll be keeping around. But, if you like generic messages of affirmation and positivity, this might do it for you.

I received a complimentary copy of Open When... from Blogging from Books in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

When God Made You

As parents we are constantly looking for inspirational, motivating, God-centered books for our children to encourage them along. I was optimistic when I saw this book from Matthew Paul Turner - The back of the book reads:

YOU, you...God thinks about you. God was thinking of you long before your debut.
From early on, children are looking to discover their place in the world and longing to understand how their personalities, traits, and talents fit in. The assurance that they are deeply loved and a unique creation in our big universe will encourage them to spread their wings and fly.
Through playful, charming rhyme and vivid, fantastical illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God's diving plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves.
'Cause when God made YOU, somehow God knew That the world needed someone exactly like you!

Unfortunately, when I picked up this book online I was unable to read this back description or I would have lost some of my optimism about this book. This gives you a very good feel for the book. The book is NOT about God - the book is about YOU. Every page is focused on you (aka the child reading the book) and whenever God is mentioned it is in the context of him thinking about you. Reading this book you seriously walk away with the impression that God is completely and totally absorbed in you and everything you have to offer and give with your unique and amazing talents.

This is a false idea. And a problematic one, on a theological level yes, but also on a practical level. We keep filling our children's heads with delusions of grandeur. We constantly fill them with grandiose ideas of greatness and uniqueness only they can bring. They are special and unique - it's true, but, intentionally or not, we belittle common, ordinary things in the process of trying to build them up.

Is it any wonder we have disgruntled college graduates? They expect to have the world handed to them, instead they can't find a job in their weirdly specialized field. They can't even find a job in their normal field sometimes. Or it doesn't have the pay "they deserve" or some other perk "they need".

We don't give them the idea that maybe their talent is best used in a ministry, not a full time job. Or that maybe its ok if they have an ordinary Joe job, like being a plumber or mechanic or electrician. These are jobs that are regularly demeaned, but in our modern world we can't live without them.

Maybe the point isn't on US and OUR special abilities, but doing *whatever* we have using whatever talents we have (because not everyone actually has a special talent) to the best of our abilities to bring glory to God.

Bringing glory to God is something entirely lacking from this book, and yet that is one of our biggest purposes in life. The closest this book gets to anything remotely Biblical is when it vaguely mentions you being a peacemaker and loving each other.

The God of this book is an undefined "other" being that fits into just about any religious framework, yet it is intended to be for Christians. There is NOTHING in this book that makes that evident. And it's a shame.

I received a complimentary copy of When God Made You in exchange for my honest opinion from Blogging for Books, but I won't be hanging on to it.

(I also didn't dig the illustrations. They might work for some people, but I found them odd.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Pun-ny Game (Right Participants Required)

I picked up Punderdome for my dad. He has ALWAYS made puns, a good number of them groan worthy. My siblings and I got the gene too, though not as strong. I never realized how much I made my own puns till I got married ... I get a lot of eye-rolls ­ŁĘŁ.

I gave this to my dad as a "get-better" present after his unexpected heart surgery. NOTE: giving a game of puns after heart surgery is a bad idea. BAD IDEA. Cause we laughed a lot. And that's pretty painful when your sternum is healing!

Making puns on demand is not the easiest task, if someone isn't into puns they WILL NOT like this game. My mom & husband bowed out after a couple rounds cause it just wasn't their thing.

The thing about puns is they don't have to be great - you just roll with it. It may be horrible, but that doesn't mean you won't win the round. If you like puns and thinking on your feet, you'll enjoy this game.

A couple complaints about the game itself, though - the included paper for writing down the prize for winning is not perforated. You have to get scissors out everytime! C'mon! Just perforate it.

Not all the words on the cards are spelled correctly. Run it through spell check, proof read it. It isn't impressive when you pull out a card like "OYLMPICS"

With the right people, this game could be side-splitting, but otherwise it's a dud. It's truly a love-it-or-hate-it scenario.

If you have a bunch of folks who want to play a game but aren't that into pun-making, but want a little brain workout, Mad Gab or Balderdash are likely a better options.

I received a complimentary copy of Punderdome from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Perfect Presents from Children

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

I am so excited about these Christmas cards from Tiny Prints. Why? Because my oldest is 3.5 years old and she's super excited about Christmas and gifts this year - and these cards let her have her own little gift to give family members!

She can color them and enjoy it. They don't cost that much. She puts her own touch on it. And everyone goes "aaawwwww".

You can have the option of putting a picture on the back of the card, which is totally cute. I left ours blank to give room for her own personal little message in her scrawling hand.

If you want something more sophisticated than a Christmas coloring card, they totally have you covered. Just check out this sampling of options from Tiny Prints! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CUSTOM OOAK Christmas presents??!

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

There is so much of the same ole same ole in stores these days, it's easy to feel like your gift is going to be the same gift one or two other people give someone. What about unique? What about special? Personalized?

Tiny Prints allows you to have truly one of a kind Christmas cards and presents like customized mugs and picture ornaments! (and I have totally unique and personalize-able non-picture Christmas ornaments in my Etsy store!)

I don't even know how to pick my favorite card option! These are just a few of my favorites - aren't these gorgeous?

AND you can get custom gifts! Like these ornaments, stockings, iphone cases, mugs, and pillows (and there are sooo many options to choose from!)!!

There are just so many gifts to choose from at Tiny Prints to truly stand out this season! Which ones catch your eye?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

Contrary to what your local mall tells you, it's not Christmastime yet. We're entering in to a season of intentional thanks.

This has been a difficult year for my family. After the birth of our baby early this year, it's been pretty much one piece of bad news after another. But, even in the midst of everything God has shown himself faithful, and reminded us of just how much we have to be thankful for.

We are thankful because he is our Savior. If he didn't take our wrongdoings upon himself, die on the cross, and then defeat death by coming back to life, we would be miserable and have no future. That alone is worth thanksgiving! But he has also given us regular food to eat, a roof over our heads, clothes to wear - he has provided everything we need.

We are grateful for good health, that my dad's heart problem was caught before it was too late, for memories of those who left us this year. We are grateful for their legacies - the can-do attitude of my grandmother; my baby cousin - knowing every life is important and has an impact; the wartime sacrifice and quirky humor of my grandfather.  Even in sorrow, there is much to be grateful for.

And we are blessed to have four healthy, beautiful children. That's right, #4 is on the way! It is a wonderful gift after the sadness of this year to know we have another child. #3 & #4 are bookends, in a way, of a season of sadness. But we are reminded, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away: blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)

To help celebrate this season of thanksgiving, Cents of Style is offering this FREE tshirt with any $25 purchase! Includes free shipping! 

Add ANYTHING from Cents of Style to your cart - jewelry, scarves, boots, you name it! until you have a $25 minimum in your cart. Then add the Tshirt from their Fashion Friday page and use the code THANKFUL1 at checkout. The price of the shirt will be deducted and, as always, you get free shipping! Orders will arrives before Thanksgiving - now there's something to be thankful for!

Friday, October 21, 2016

How to Style a Swing Dress

Swing dresses are very comfortable, flowy, fun dresses that can be dressed up or down. But sometimes it's easy to get in a style rut, so here are five different ways to style them! Great news, I think this popular swing dress from Cents of Style works great for pregnant ladies too (& it's available ins SEVENTEEN COLORS say what?! So you are sure to find the perfect color or five just right for you)! I think I'll be able to wear this dress well into my pregnancy, which is super exciting! Finding dresses that work while pregnant can be a definite challenge.

First look is super simple and works for casual and occasions you need to dress nice, but not be formal. For pregnant ladies, a think to medium belt worn above the bump with color matching earrings and shoes does wonders. These are actually Crocs! I absolutely love them, so comfy and versatile! If you aren't pregnant, a thick belt worn at the waist could be super cute.


For a more casual look, throw on a sweater, coordinating shoes, and a pair of big earrings (I just got these at Target last week and am already in love!) and this faux marble necklace! How fun is this?!

Or throw on some chunky jewelry in complimentary colors and keep warm this winter in your ankle boots!

Can we just think ahead to Christmas for a minute? (I won't tell, promise!) Stay warm with some tights and tall boots, knot the bottom of the dress, throw on a sparkly necklace and earrings! (I'm wearing clear snowmen earrings here I thrifted). 

Or go for a retro look! This works perfectly for that. I put on a long scarf with a 20s style bucket hat. No necklace and short silver earrings. I was wearing tights with my aforementioned Crocs. 

So there you have it! How do you style your swing dress?

PS - that huge stack of dresses? It's not even all the color options!