Book Review: Love Letters From God

Above all, I want our children to grow up loving God and knowing that He loves them unconditionally. I want them to love reading their Bibles and to live out what The Bible says. Books like this one are going to be perfect in creating that foundation in their lives!

Love Letters From God by Glenys Nellist is a fabulous and creative book that brings The Bible to life for kids at their level while still maintaining accurate theology throughout. The author takes the most important stories and tells them in a kid-friendly way that will hold their attention and captivate them.

Each story also contains a flap for them to lift up and under the flap is a letter from God with a space to write their name.

I love this concept and cannot wait for my children to be old enough to enjoy this book!

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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Taking Care of Baby for Free

Note: just because we have made these choices doesn’t mean that we are judging those who don’t! All parents have to make the decisions that work best for their family.

The number one thing I have heard about raising kids is how expensive it is. Between diapers, formula, wipes, etc. it can really add up during the first few years of life. On average, parents who choose (or need to use) formula will spend thousands of dollars just to feed their baby. Diapers on average will cost $3,000 per child from birth to potty training. I don’t have links to prove this, but I have heard these stats enough to believe them.

When we found out that we were pregnant, we knew that I would stay at home with the baby (and all future children), which would mean a slight loss of income. So, being the frugal person that I am, I began to research ways that we could save money and still make life great for our children so that our budget would not be greatly impacted.

By cloth diapering, using cloth wipes, and breastfeeding, we spend very little, if any, money on our baby each month.

IMG_3535.JPGIf you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever cloth diaper, I would have said no! It sounded awful and like so much work. However, I have several friends who have cloth diapered and they blogged about their experiences. As I read their blogs, I realized that this was absolutely what we needed – and wanted – to do.

We spent less than $300 up front for our cloth diapers. We have 21 diapers and at least 20 extra liners. Since they need to be washed every 2-3 days anyway, it’s the perfect amount of diapers for one child.

Because Tori is exclusively breastfed (which is also free), washing the diapers is simple: you put them right into the washer. The poop of breastfed babies is water soluble (and doesn’t stink!), so you just do a cold rinse cycle and then add your detergent and wash on hot. So while we have increased our water bill by about $4 per month, we are saving so much more than that!

In addition, Brennan’s step-mom and her daughter-in-law made us cloth wipes for our baby shower. Again, never thought I would use cloth wipes! They are so wonderful and so good for baby’s skin, though! No chemicals, no waste, and you wash them with the diapers. Even our pediatrician said to not use disposable wipes because of the chemicals.

Tori rarely has any diaper rash and she seems to prefer cloth to disposables based upon her demeanor during diaper changes. We do use disposables at times and have them on hand for babysitters who may be uncomfortable with cloth.IMG_3532.JPG

The best part about using cloth is that these will last until she is 35 lbs, and we can use them for all of our children! That means a savings of $11,700 if we have the four kids we would like to have! Granted, if the next baby is born before Tori is potty trained we may need to buy a few more, but we are still saving thousands of dollars.

Kids don’t have to be expensive. It’s all about what your priorities are, I think. You can choose to use disposables, which are easy and convenient, but expensive, or you can choose cloth, which require a little bit more effort and time but save thousands of dollars. We have chosen to save money while also keeping our daughter’s skin away from chemicals, and it is working well for us.

What steps have you taken to save money while raising children?

 

 

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Book Review: Barren Among the Fruitful

Infertility is a heartbreaking condition that many women in my life have experienced, or are currently going through. In fact, before we conceived Tori we were wondering if we were ever going to be able to conceive as it took over a year and a half for us to become pregnant. There are so many women who struggle with this, and that’s why I loved this study. It is so relevant and important.

Barren Among the Fruitful is a real, honest look at infertility and is written by someone who knows the pain firsthand. She infuses humor into every chapter by titling them with questions often asked of women.

Amanda uses personal stories from women who have struggled with infertility or miscarriage to create a powerful book that will help women navigate this difficult road.

I definitely recommend this book, and I will be passing my copy along to a friend who is on this journey right now.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

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Book Review: Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions

Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson is an essential read for any parent. Parents are the first people that their kids will talk to (in most cases) about things they encounter in life, and this book gives age-appropriate responses based on what the Bible says about each topic in an effort to help you adequately answer their questions.

What I loved the most about this book was the fact that they chose some of the hardest questions children might ask and they tackled them thoroughly – questions about divorce, sexuality, death, suffering, etc. I want to be prepared when our children ask us questions like these, and I know this book will be a fantastic resource.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Noah

 

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I was given the opportunity to review this book and I am so glad that I accepted!

Noah is a wordless book filled with absolutely stunning artwork. Honestly, it left me speechless at times, so it’s difficult to write a review!

The pictures tell the story of Noah in a way that people of all ages will find fascinating. Each page is so detailed and fun to look at, and the story is true to the biblical account.

The description of the book on Amazon says this:

“Mark Ludy’s latest book will appeal to adults and children alike. Digging deeper than the Sunday school tale of cuddly animals on Noah’s ark, the story follows the biblical text and illumines Noah’s relationship with God, his wife, family, nature, and humanity. Ludy’s world-class artwork lets people see, as though for the first time, the beauty within this story – revealing a clearer picture of the nature and character of God and his relationship to humankind. It’s immersive and epic in scale and scope.”

This gorgeous book belongs in every child’s library, and I think that it will quickly become a classic.

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I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Teachable Moments: Using Everyday Encounters with Media and Culture to Instill Conscience, Character, and Faith

“There’s no way to avoid the intrusion of popular culture into our homes and families, but we don’t have to let these instances exploit and influence our children. Instead, we can use those unplanned opportunities to instill conscience, character, and faith into the hearts and minds of the children God has entrusted to our care.” (pg. 2)

In this day and age, you can’t be too careful when it comes to the things to which children are exposed. The battle to protect their innocence is a difficult one to fight. This book by Marybeth Hicks is invaluable! While I am a few years away from having to put the teachings of this book into practice, it’s definitely not too soon to start preparing for what’s ahead.

More than ever, kids are exposed to content and concepts in the media and the surrounding world that go directly against the Bible and Christian values. How can parents use these instances as opportunities to teach? This book breaks it down in clear language and talks about areas such as media, school, friends, sports, family, and the real world and how you can use these situations to build character in your child.

I especially enjoyed the chapter about media because it is an ever-growing part of everyday life. More than ever, people are connected to screens (whether through smartphones, television, etc.), and it’s increasingly difficult to avoid exposure. I agree wholeheartedly with this quote: “As Christians, we’re called to integrate our media consumption into our lives in ways that support our faith and values, and not as a perpetual temptation or an avenue of corruption.” (pg. 61) After reading this chapter, I feel better equipped to teach our daughter when the time comes.

It’s incredibly important to guard the hearts and minds of our children until they are old enough to maturely handle the content, and this book provides great advice about how to accomplish that. If you’re a parent of children under the age of 18, I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: The Adventure Bible for Toddlers

The Adventure Bible for Toddlers is a fantastic first Bible! I chose to review this as I am a brand-new parent and want our daughter to experience the Bible as early as possible.

The Bible highlights the key stories in the Bible and presents them in toddler-friendly language with plenty of colorful illustrations. It’s a board book, so the pages cannot be torn easily, which will allow your toddler to enjoy the book in their own way.

The titles of the stories are fantastic as well: my favorites are Daniel and the Lions’ Den – “Drooling Lions” – and Jonah – “Fish Food”.

I can’t wait until our daughter is old enough to start looking at books – this will be the first one we show her. It’s so important to teach our children the Word of God early on, and this is a great way to start.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition is a wonderful, fresh way to encounter the Bible. I love the concept of a chronological Bible because it makes it come alive in a brand new way as you read about the events in the order in which they happened. History is understood much more clearly in context, and this provides that context.

The readings are broken into 365 sections, and each section is followed by a short “Reflection” section to help you process what you just read. The NIV is easy to comprehend and it flows well, making each reading even more enjoyable.

This Bible will definitely help me read my Bible consistently and to experience the Bible in a fresh, new way!

I definitely recommend this to anyone – even if you’ve read through the Bible many times, this is worth your consideration.

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Goodnight, Ark

Goodnight, Ark by Jane Sassi is a fun bedtime story for children based on the biblical account of Noah’s ark. 

During the rain, the animals are startled and all end up in bed with Noah, which makes for an amusing story with great illustrations to go with it. The book presents a scenario that children can relate to as many children end up being afraid of storms at some point in their lives. 

I loved the illustrations – they are so detailed and colorful. The story is told in rhyme and is easy to read.

While this isn’t an aspect of the ark that the Bible discusses, it is still a fun story that kids of all ages will enjoy. 

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Review: Jonah and the Great Big Fish

download As a new mom, I thought it would be great to start reviewing books for children so that I can add to our daughter’s collection, so here’s my first one.

Jonah and the Great Big Fish by Rhonda Gowler Greene is a biblically accurate and kid-friendly retelling of the story of Jonah. The story is told as a poem, making it easy for kids to remember, and the accompanying illustrations are absolutely beautiful!

The story is simple yet accurate, and it is worded in a way that children will easily comprehend and remember. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait until my daughter is old enough for me to read it to her!

I received this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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