Friday, January 18, 2019

Minnie Mouse-Themed Birthday Party

Minnie Mouse-themed cake

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Just as our son loves all things Mickey Mouse, our daughter loves Minnie Mouse so it only seemed natural to host a Minnie Mouse-Themed Birthday Party for her as she turned three. Fortunately, we were able to reuse a lot of the items from our son's birthday party.

Food


food for a Minnie Mouse party


This year we didn't have as many themed food items as we picked things that our children would enjoy eating – their preferred veggies and snack items.

Veggie Tray & Fruit Tray


Cheese & Quackers 


Everyone in our family enjoys the cheese and cracker trays...so we went with different brands and flavors to provide variety.

Bow-tie salad, treats, and pizza rolls

Bow-tie Pasta Salad


My in-laws provided a yummy salad using bow-tie shaped pasta.

Pizza Rolls 


We made mini-pizza rolls from crescent rolls, pepperoni, cheese, and oregano seasoning. These were a great hit!



Sweets 


I hand dipped pretzel rods and wafer cookies in melted chocolate and sprinkled them with different toppings. Of course, I used white, pink, and red to fit the Minnie Mouse theme.


Cake and Cupcakes 


Minnie Mouse-themed cupcake dress
Minnie Mouse Dress made of cupcakes!

Minnie Mouse-themed birthday cake


Decorations




Games



Pin the Bow


I created a Pin the Bow on Minnie game for the kids to play.

Pin the Bow on Minnie Mouse

Pin the Bow on Minnie Mouse





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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Club: Book Review of Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith

image of Grandparenting book cover


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy. Thank you.

A new book in the Grandparenting Matters series was released by Bethany House – Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith by Dr. Josh Mulvihill. In reviewing the book, I found much useful and practical advice for grandparents who wish to have a Christian relationship with their grandchildren using the Bible and Jesus as their guides. The book's introduction provides a clear and detailed explanation for its purpose. I found Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith to be very well organized – one could seek just the specific information they are interested in – or read the work cover to cover.

Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith is broken down into four parts:

  • Cultural Messages
  • God's Design
  • Discipleship Practices 
  • Strengthening Relationships 

There are also three appendices and notes, if you wish to research the matters discussed further on your own.

Quote (Grandparents are awakening to their God-designed roles) and image of a swan


Great Organization 



Each chapter is subdivided to make it even easier to navigate the topic. For example, in Chapter 7: God's Vision for Your Family from Psalm 78 – How to Be an Intentional Grandparent, Mulvihill  helps the reader examine how to apply Psalm 78 to their own life. He hopes that "Psalm 78 does one of two things: provides confidence and affirms that you are headed in the right direction, or provides clarity and encourages you to adjust your ways" (93). Focusing on God – bringing the work and teachings of God to one's grandchildren is key to an intentional grandparent. In addition to the examination of Psalm 78, Mulvihill gives an example of one grandmother and offers questions ("Grand Chat") for the reader to use to further what they have learned.


Quote (Flexibility is one of the best gifts grandparents can give their children and grandchildren) and image of grandfather and granddaughter

What I Like 



I found Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith an easy and enjoyable read. Even though I am not a grandparent, I found lots of great advice that I can apply to my own life as a parent. There are very simple steps described that any family can implement – no matter if the grandparents are involved or not. For example, having intentional meals where families use meal time to connect. And for grandparents, the advice of serving child-friendly food and accommodating food preferences, special diets, and food sensitivities are great reminders.

Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith is full of scriptural references – asking the reader to seek out their Bible to help them become grandparents who will "pass on a rich heritage of faith in Christ and make a difference" in the lives of their grandchildren.

I recommend Grandparenting: Strengthening Your Family and Passing on Your Faith to Christian families seeking assistance in learning how to focus on Christ and build relationships with children and grandchildren. It would fit well on the bookshelves of homes or churches as a valuable resource.



Looking for reviews of other parenting books? 

Please read these others on my blog. 


Image for Prayer Warriors book review link  Image of Parenting Teen book review link

Image of Love, Honor, and Virtue book review link



Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Book Club: Book Review of Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen




Disclaimer: I received access to the e-book on NetGalley for free from the publisher in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy. Thank you.

As devotionals are quite popular, I thought it would be lovely to review one with a twist. Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge from Bethany House Publishers is an interesting change of pace from ordinary devotionals. The book is designed to help one “savor Jane’s prayers” and fully appreciate the “treasure trove of biblical and practical applications found in each line” of the three prayers.

I learned so much from this short devotional from Bethany House Publishers. The beautifully written introduction shares a wealth of information about her life and her family (as does the rest of the book). There are glimpses into the books of Austen, biographies of the author, the Old and New Testaments, and more in Praying with Jane. We see that our lives are not so very different from Jane’s life. She had a very busy life – two brothers in the navy, illness and death in her family, travelling, working, and more – so she sought out God for refreshment and to refocus.  


At the heart of the book are the three prayers that Jane wrote that were saved by her sister, Cassandra, and kept safe for future generations. The book is divided into three sections, one for each prayer, and with 10 devotions for each prayer. Each of the 10 devotions includes part of the prayer, a look into Jane’s life, an invitation to pray, things you could journal, prayers, and a bible quote.


One comforting reminder of Praying with Jane is that “we can come close to God in prayer, whenever and wherever.” I think we too often forget that we can call upon God at any time and any moment in our lives and I found this to be a pleasant and needed reminder.

Praying with Jane: 31 Days through the Prayers of Jane Austen was a good and easy-to-read devotional. Even though I have not read a lot of Austen’s works, I still found the book to be valuable and enjoyable. I would recommend Praying with Jane for fans of Austen, those needing a good devotional for themselves or as a gift. I believe there is much that we can learn from Jane.

Do you have a favorite devotional? 


Looking for more book reviews? Please check out my following reviews. 





Image of Jane Austen from wpclipart.com 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Snowflakes Keep Falling on my Head...Let's Write About January with Free Writing Prompts

Winter scene logo


Is this the year you will start writing regularly? Perhaps in your homeschooling children need something new to fuel their imagination in writing or you wish to pick up the pen (or keyboard) and get back to creative writing yourself. Sometimes all one needs is a good prompt to get one started on their writing journey. Images can spur the imagination or a great question or prompt might start a novel. Why not try these free writing prompts this January? 


Photo Prompts 



Lantern hanging in tree photo prompt

Home in winter photo prompt

Soup photo prompt



Writing Prompts 


January Writing Prompts


Download Here


Missed our other writing prompts? 

December writing prompts


November Writing Prompts


October Writing Prompt


Friday, December 7, 2018

Book Club: Book Review of A Cobbler's Tale: A Novel

cover of A Cobbler's Tale: A Novel book



Disclaimer: I received access to the e-book for free on NetGalley in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

A Cobbler’s Tale: A Novel by Neil Perry Gordon is an intriguing look into the lives of three individuals – Pincus, Jakob, and Clara – as they navigate New York City and Poland in the early 1900s. The story introduces the reader to life in a Jewish village in Krzywcza and New York City. I really found the tale to be an interesting one as I learned more about each individual and their lives and families.

Cover of A Cobbler's Tale: A Novel and a photo of New York City


The story starts in July 1910 aboard the SS Amerika where we meet Pincus Potasznik who is seasick and his new friend, Jakob Adler. Both are Jewish and escaping persecution and trying to make a new life in America. A Cobbler’s Tale provides many details about the life of Pincus in the United States and that of his wife, Clara, in Poland. One of the groups to which we are introduced – in addition to the gangs of New York – is that of the Landsman Society of Krzywcza, which helps the newly immigrated from Pincus’ village find a job, a place to live, and provide religious assistance as well.

One of the features I liked about A Cobbler’s Tale was that everything seemed to hold a significance. Things that might only seem to have a passing importance to the story – like the meeting of the palmist Dora Meltzer – are actually more important to the plotline than they first appear. This assisted to create a tale that was woven together from the first page to the last page of the book. I most definitely wanted to see what was going to happen in each successive chapter of the book.


Clara was a strong character of A Cobbler’s Tale. She was key for keeping her family together while Pincus emigrated to America. There were many things that Clara needed to accomplish without her husband. From the birth of their last child, Anna, to keeping the cobbler’s shop running in Krzywcza with the help of Shmuel, while raising the children, Clara was kept very busy. She also handled difficulties with grace and strength.

My recommendation requires you to read a few potential spoilers. A Cobbler’s Tale: A Novel by Neil Perry Gordon is not the typical work of Christian fiction I usually review for my blog. So while I may have enjoyed it – as I really enjoy works of historical fiction and non-fiction – there may be some parts that some might find disturbing.

Warning and Potential Spoilers


There are a great number of raw details included in the story that are not normally found in books that I review for my blog. For example, there is persecution, gang warfare and violence, murder, rape, and details about war in general. Personally, the way in which Clara must ‘handle’ the police chief in Krzywcza was upsetting to me as well as that of the problems that Moshe (the son of Pincus and Clara) got into with the palmist towards the end of the book.

Even with the raw details of the story of the three characters, I do not feel disappointed in having read A Cobbler’s Tale: A Novel. I loved the little details included about life during the 1900s and felt the individuals came to life. I enjoyed the book.


Looking for more books to read? 
Why not check out these other book reviews?