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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Rythms of Grace

I'm really not sure what I was expecting from this book, but I knew that when it came to finding a rhythm for our family, it was in need of some HELP!

Kerri Weems is a speaker and author who has a realistic handle of the craziness of life.  Each area covered in this book had me nodding my head as I walked the treadmill and read.  It may seems crazy to read a book on how to stop being so busy when you are so busy you need to read and exercise at the same time, but that is exactly why this book was needed.

Weems writes in a way the slowly draws the reader to crave peace and balance in their life and to realize how it can be found.  Covering subjects such as work, relationships, your body, spiritual vitality, each area is discussed from personal experience, scripture and a group of questions designed to help the reader focus on the area in their own life.  What I appreciated most was the practice of identifying pace setters and peace stealers in each area of my life.  After laying a case for why each area needs to be examined.  Tools are given to examine the area.  THEN, the reader is not left hanging!  Specific steps in how to create a calendar and life with margin are added at the end.  There is not a one size fits all step by step, simply steps to be taken at the readers pace to create peace and Shalom in one's life.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for anyone college age and older.  In fact, I believe reading a book about creating margin and making wise life changes early in life will lead to a more peaceful extended life.

Book Review: Wife After God

I have been searching for a book to replace Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian for a few months.  If you follow my blog you know I encourage our staff wives to spend the month of August doing a daily prayer devotional for our husbands.  Since the month of pre-season camp is such an insane month I have found that doing this type of devotional keeps my heart right.  After searching on Amazon I stumbled across Jennifer Smith.  If you haven't read her blog check it out here!

I was drawn to Jennifer's Blog Unveiled Wife because it is exactly that.  Raw, honest, and bold.  Jennifer addresses subjects most Christian authors only speak vaguely about if they don't ignore them all together.  She does so with honesty and appropriate boundaries.

Wife After God is a daily devotional covering multiple subjects in marriage.  Smith does not skirt around tough subjects, discussing scenarios such as porn addiction and mistrust in marriage.  Thankfully this well rounded devotional covers multiple other subjects such as communication, encouragement, and even praying for your husband to be protected with the armor of God.  Each day has several questions that can be journaled and if you desire, discussed with other wives.  Each day has relevant scripture to meditate on, and a challenge to follow through with in loving your husband more fully.  Although it may seems like a long devotional from my description, I found that each reading took less them 15 minutes and the questions could be pondered throughout the day or answered right then.

This devotional is what I would describe as an updated, current prayer journal for any wife working to keep her marriage solid in this day.  Culture now days teaches us that if we aren't happy that it's ok to walk away.  Wife After God  teaches the reader how to fight for your marriage and respond the way God calls us to.  It's a great read for any wife, whether seasoned or newly married, there will be encouragements and things to ponder throughout the 30 days.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: Killing Lions

Killing Lions is a departure from Eldridge's normal writing style.  This book is a conversation between John Eldridge and his son Sam who is in his 20's

Eldridge gives honest insight to his son who discusses his college and post college struggles in his journey to learn what a Man of God is and how to make the decision to strive for that in his own life.

Covering subjects honestly such as relationships, dealing with money, getting married and life calling as you read this father's caring words for his son you will find wisdom to be spoken to your own sons as well.

Eldridge identifies the decade of your 20's as the "season of the warrior". As he describes his journey he discovers that "courage and process" were the repeating factors in feeling validated as a man. Written in a way that any male will be drawn in and identify with the author truth is spoken clearly and bluntly.

My husband is a college football coach in the south and as we discussed this book it was clear that the subjects covered in Killing Lions are absolutely relevant to the Millennial male.  This book could be read individually, would make a great small group book or mentoring book.  This would make a great graduation gift for a high school senior as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bzz Agent: Arla Dofino Manchego Cheese

As a Bzz Agent I was given the opportunity to review Arla Dofino's new line of cheese which are available at Kroger stores.  My particular Kroger did not have all the selections available and so I settled on 8oz of Manchego cheese.  I was a bit shocked to discover that the cheese was priced at $10 for the 8oz, but purchased it anyway.  (My free coupon had a limit on it)

I've never tried Manchego cheese, but remembered that Rachel Ray had a recipe for mashed potatoes I was interested in trying.  Manchego cheese is described as a cross between parmesan and cheddar making it a perfect pair for potatoes!  Creamy and slightly tangy.  The recipe I've included below is Rachael Ray's and it was delicious!  I used fat free evaporated milk instead of cream.

I found this cheese to be very easy to grate, incredibly tasty, and easy to find in the dairy section of my Kroger store.  There were some interesting and unique choices that would be great as appetizers, but I couldn't figure out how to use them in a recipe.

All that being said, it's not in our family budget to spend $10 on cheese, so I don't think this will be a repeat unless it is a holiday!

Manchego Cheese Mashed Potatoes

4 pounds baby red-skinned or baby Yukon gold potatoes
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 to 1 cup milk or cream
2 1/2 cups shredded Manchego cheese, about 3/4 to 1 pound of cheese
Black pepper
Halve large potatoes, small ones can be left whole. Place potatoes in a deep pot, cover with water. Place a lid on potatoes and bring them up to a boil. Uncover, salt the water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and add back to the hot pot. Add butter, milk or cream and cheese and smash the potatoes to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: Cookbook Skinny Taste

I have been a Skinnytaste fan for awhile now, so I was excited to get my hands on this cookbook!

From the start author Gina Homolka reminds the reader of why her blog is such a great go to resource for great tasting, healthier recipes.  The intro to this cookbook should not be skipped.  Tips on purging the pantry, items to keep stocked up on and best of all, Homolka takes the reader through plan ahead for a week of healthy meals.

The cookbook is divided into 12 recipe groups and each section is full of tasty sounding recipes I can't wait to try!  One thing I would say is that I wish that each recipe had a picture attached to it.  The pictures that are included are very clear and look amazing.  Each recipe includes a breakdown including serving size, calories, fat and carbs. 

From breakfasts to dinners, appetizers to desserts I would be shocked if you didn't find more then one recipe to make a new family favorite!

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review: A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home is an adorable book by sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman.  The sisters have a blog which highlights home decor, craft and life style items.

This book is packed full of information.  I love the way it is organized, by subjects.  The table of contents have pictures to jog your memory about what each section is about.  Each chapter then starts with a large room picture followed by close up pictures and explanations of the room presented.

The sisters have created an eclectic array of crafts, recipes, hospitality tips and above all, easy DIY crafts for every room in the house.

If you are looking for inspiration for decorating any space in your house or apartment, this book will help you to think outside the box.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Book Review: God's Story For You

God's Story for You by Neil T. Anderson is the first book in a 8 part series labeled the Victory Series.
This book is a workbook for study as an individual or in a group.  Divided into 6 sections, there is a small amount to read and several questions to answer.  This could easily be done without much preparation prior to meeting as a group.

As this is book one in the Victory Series Anderson begins with creation.  The author's goal in this book is to reveal the true character of God and the purpose behind creating humans.  The first section overviews creation of humans, sin, the nature of God and much more.  As the book continues there is a short overview of many subjects covered including Sin, Salvation, and Sanctification.

I found this book to be unbiased in it's presentation of scripture.  The author explains what the most excepted thoughts are surrounding each subject.  Additionally, the scripture is used throughout.

Because each section is a very brief explanation, I would suggest using this for group study in order to explore each subject deeper.

I recieved a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.