Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Reviews: Two Children's Books

In Only God Can Make a Kitten by Rhonda Gowler Greene, a little boy asks his mother series of questions, wondering who made the trees, rocks, birds, and, of course, kittens.  His mother replies every time that only God can make these things.  Well, that makes the book sound boring, but it's really not since it's written in a delightful rhyme and reads very nicely.  The illustrations are wonderful and visually appealing.  I enjoyed reading this book to my children, and I recommend it highly.

The Behemoth Dinosaur in the Land of Uz by Maryluz Guerrero Salas takes place during Biblical times when Job was a little boy.  He and the behemoth Dippy are friends, and they teach Job's village a lesson about sharing the fruit and vegetation around the village, never mind the fact that Dippy would quickly eat all of the foliage around the village along with all of their crops.  I did not like this book, and I do not recommend it.  I think the idea behind it is great:  a book about Job and a dinosaur, one of the ones described in Job.  But the story is slow, and the grammar is terribly distracting.  It appears that it wasn't proofread.  The dinosaur's name is never capitalized, and I don't understand that.  The illustrations look like something one of my children would draw.  In short, don't bother with this book.

I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copies of these books, but my opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Nice Weather

It's hard to get a good picture of Daniel, but I did it!

We've been enjoying the nice weather this week.  With temperatures in the 70's and the wind blowing, it was almost a bit chilly a couple of times.  So far, it's been a fairly quiet week at home, and I've enjoyed it.  Here are a few other things for which I'm thankful this week:
  • I had a wonderful birthday supper with a good friend Saturday night.  I forget how nice it is to spend time with a friend, especially without the interruptions of children.
  • We're meeting different friends today at a museum.
  • I feel like I "passed" my interview to be director of our CC campus next year.  Now I just have to fill out the application along with several essay questions.  I haven't answered essay questions since college!
  • Homeschool story time at the library.  Love it!
  • My hens are all laying well; we're getting about five eggs a day.  And the chicks pullets are growing well and should be able to be integrated into our flock soon.
  • John was able to come home in time for supper several times this week!
For what are you thankful this week?  When was the last time you had to answer an essay question?  ;)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday's Quote: Our Weaknesses Are Really Strengths?

I don't know about you, but I don't like having weaknesses.  I don't like admitting that I have them, and I don't want anyone else to know what they are (although they're probably pretty obvious to anyone who knows me).  But what if our weaknesses are really our strengths?  As Gary Thomas says in A Lifelong Love:
It is in our weaknesses--as individuals and perhaps as couples--that Christ's power comes to rest on us; often it is only when we are at our end that we make way for God to begin.  If God resolved every issue, every child's problem, and every spouse's annoyance with our first uttered prayer, we'd be weaker saints.  We'd be weaker couples.  We wouldn't display the power of Christ.  Or we'd display it to a much lesser degree. 
Can you thank God for that child who keeps you on your knees?....  Can you understand that God may not remove some difficulties that you hate because He wants you to rely on the supernatural power of Christ that He loves? 
I believe it will change our marriages and our walks with God if we stop expecting every problem to be fixed and instead expect every difficulty to help us learn Paul's secret of strength in weakness. 
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (p. 81)
If we didn't have any weaknesses, we wouldn't need God's strength.  And then we wouldn't need God.  But as we learn to rely on God, we draw closer to Him and become more like Christ.  And isn't that what our lives here are really supposed to be about?

Do you see your weaknesses as strengths?  I must admit that I need to work to change my perspective.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Recipes: Two Amazingly Good Chocolate Ones

I tried a couple of new recipes this week, and I wanted to share both of them with you because they are amazingly good!  But I do not recommend making them in the same week (like I did) for the sake of your waistline and your tummy because both are very rich.

At the church we attend, there is a potluck lunch every Sunday.  Since I enjoy baking, I usually bring some kind of dessert.  This week I tried Rolo Fudge Brownies.  I don't remember who brought this recipe to my attention, and I wish I did so I could thank them properly.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.  I mean, Rolos and a brownie, caramel sauce and fudge -- what's not to love?  ;)

Mine isn't nearly as photogenic, but it sure was scrumptious!

I had a hankering for a chocolate mousse cake for my birthday, but all of the recipes I found online were too complicated, that is until I found this one.  While Chocolate Mousse Cake may not technically be a cake, it sure is good.  It's really not too hard to make, and I may want this every year for my birthday.

Yes, I've made my own birthday cakes for several years now.  I just can't justify paying a grocery store to make one; it's too expensive for cake that's not that good.  I can make exactly what I want for a lot less I do.  Sarah Beth has offered to make my cakes for me once she learns how.  Maybe that should be my goal for this year.  ;)

Have you tried an "amazingly good" recipe lately?  Do you make your own birthday cake?  Or am I just strange like that?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thankful Thursday: Another Year, Another Week

My birthday was Tuesday, and it was a big one, as far as birthdays go.  John had to work, but I had a quiet day at home with my children.  As I told one of my friends, we did a lot of nothing...which was nice for a change.  We read some books, played some video games, and watched a movie, and we did not do school.  ;)  Nothing great or wonderful, but it was a nice, quiet day at home.  And it was lovely.

Along with my getting another year older, I am thankful this week that:
  • John is feeling better; he hasn't been feeling well lately
  • silly children who were as excited about my birthday as I was
  • a new recipe for my birthday cake turned out wonderfully.  (I'll share it tomorrow.)
  • we had a couple of days of sun this week, even though they predicted rain for every single day
  • that CC is over although it's bittersweet since we love CC and seeing our friends
  • our end of the year CC party is happening today despite a change of venue because of the predicted rain
  • an upcoming supper with a friend, just the two of us, withOUT any children!
  • our chicks are getting big enough to go outside, so we can get rid of the box in the barn
Mostly, I am grateful for God's gracious provision through the past year, and I look forward to seeing what He has in store for my next year.

For what are you thankful this week?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday's Quote: When Do I Want my Reward? Now or in Heaven?

I've put Richard Baxter's Saints' Everlasting Rest on hold for a little while because I got a new book that I'm so excited to read.  A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas is chock-full of good stuff, so you'll be seeing lots of quotes from it in the upcoming weeks.

This quote reminds of Randy Alcorn's Heaven, and I love it!  I appreciate the reminder of where my real treasure is being stored up, and I enjoy the encouragement to store that real treasure up where moth and rust cannot destroy it.
When I live for reward in this life, when I seek primary happiness in the here and now, I'm discounting all the promises of God about what's to come.  Now, certainly, living a godly life produces many rewards in this life.  We rightfully celebrate those rewards and are thankful for those blessings.  But God has told us He is preparing an even better place; He has said that while there are many blessings on this good earth that we can receive with thanksgiving, our ultimate reward won't be found here.  Ultimate happiness and fulfillment won't be found here.  They are waiting for us in the new heavens and the new earth, so at the very least, let's live our lives here remembering the importance of preparing for life there.  (p. 55)
This earth is full of good things, but Heaven has even more, things so wonderful that we cannot even imagine.  Oh, I can't wait to get there and experience it!  And I want to live in such a way that, while I enjoy many things of this Earth, I realize that there is so much more to come!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Finished Object Friday

Daniel has been asking me to make him a blanket for a while, so I finally got around to it.  He picked out the colors and the pattern from this book.  I think it turned out well, although it is heavy which just means that it will be nice and warm.  Since it's a regular blanket (instead of a baby blanket), I figure I shouldn't have to make him another one until he heads off to college or gets married or something.  ;)

I finished this blanket from this book before I made Daniel's; I just never got around to posting it.  I used my iPhone so the picture isn't the best.  This was a fun blanket to make, although my mother suggested blocking it...and I'm sure that I should.  But it's a baby blanket, and whoever gets it will wash it as soon as they bring it home.  At least, I would.

I have a question for you, my faithful readers.  Do you enjoy seeing pictures of the things I knit and crochet?  Honestly, I feel a little like I'm bragging.  If you do, too, please let me know, and I'll stop posting them.  Thanks!

What have you been working on lately?