Monday, December 4, 2017

Family Honor Plate

I love traditions and fun things that keep my kids involved in what is going on with the family.  We try to celebrate a lot of things together, the big holidays and the small personal victories too.  When I got the chance to try out the Family Honor Plate and Let's Talk cards, I couldn't say yes fast enough!
 The Family Honor Plate comes in a kit with everything you need to personalize it and make it your very own.  It is very well packaged and easy to get to.
 Within in the kit, you will find the plate, paints, nice pain brushes (not the cheapy ones with bristles that fall off or handles that give slivers), a paint tray with spots to mix colors and a plate stand.
 The plate is a nice, heavy, finished piece that should stand up to regular wear and tear. On it is printed "Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control"
The idea behind the Family Honor Plate is to honor a member of the family when they have displayed one of the attributes in their daily life.  This can be used for every day or on more special, larger event occasions, the choice is completely up to the family.  Imagine little Susie steps out of her comfort zone and helps a new student at school, or little Johnny has a great report card after lots of hard work...  Maybe Dad earns a promotion or Mom remembers to be patient on a very trying day...  There are so many ways to use this plate!  The fun thing is that anyone can decide who should get to use it, not just Dad or Mom.  

 Available separately but to compliment the plate are the Let's Talk Table Thyme cards.
 On a convenient flip pad, there are more than enough to fill a year with a new question each day.  These are questions that invite each member to contribute thoughts and ideas and spur conversation.  Even the little ones can do this!
 On a sturdy cardboard stand, this set holds up nice and is easy to use.
The included paint is designed to be baked, hardening and setting up after a 30 minute bake time.  With 8 colors: red, white, black, blue, orange, yellow, purple, green, there is enough color to make any picture or design you wish, and enough white to mix colors and make your own.  We were sad to find that, in our box, though the paint cups were well sealed (and easy to open, thank you!) the red was completely solid and that the blue, purple and yellow were chunky and on their way to becoming solid as well.  We were able to limp them along with a little water, but they did not apply smoothly or offer us much.  Big bummer there!

 My children were very excited to get started on the plate!  We decided for ours we would let each member do their own section.  As my children are younger, one just 10 months old, this will surely become a treasure as they grow in addition to the fun it will add as we use it to honor one another.
 My older three worked very diligently, each perfecting her masterpiece.
 Dad, Mom and baby added their parts and then it was time to bake.  The baking process was super easy!  Just put the plate in a cold oven, turn it on to 350 and set a timer for 30 minutes once the oven reaches temperature.  After the timer goes off, turn the oven off and let the plate cool with the oven.  That's it!  And it's now ready to eat on.

We opted not to paint on the center of the plate, as suggested, to avoid having paint get scraped off with use.  The children were very pleased with the end result and Dad and Mom agree it turned out pretty cute! 
We have already put it to use, honoring our oldest daughter for her kindness to a new child at church, helping to bring the child to her class and befriend her for the whole day so she would not be lonely.  What fun to give her the special plate!  She had fun being the special person and the other children were chatting about how they might be able to get the plate too.

Here are some videos to walk you through the Family Honor Plate:

You can find out more about the developer, Michelle, here

You can find and purchase the plate here

* I received this product for free for the purposes of review.  My opinions are not influenced by the free gift nor required to be positive, but are from my actual experience.  

#HonorPlate #FlyBy

Thursday, October 26, 2017

God's Great Love for You

God's Great Love for You
by  Rick Warren
Illustrated by Chris Saunders

We love books in our home.  We especially appreciate when a children's book helps to convey and reinforce our teachings in regards to faith.  Enter Rick Warren's new children's book - a book that fits perfectly into this category for us. 

Very simply written, with a short sentence for each full set of pages, the pictures make up the majority of this book.  Two pages wide to give a huge picture to go with each sentence.  The artwork is beautiful and quite enticing, even for adults.  I especially loved the pages with the whales in the ocean, the perspective is amazing.

Easy enough for a beginning reader to read, yet full of depth in it's truth, this story simply talks of how great God's love is.  A young girl is pictures in the illustrations, and it walks through how God's love is big and there day and night, forever.  My children have enjoyed exploring the pictures as well as reading and having the story read to them.  It has given us content to discuss as well.  While on the simpler side of a children's story with very little text, it still speaks volumes and reaches children right where they are.  We have enjoyed this book.

You can find out more here

#RickWarren #FlyBy

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review, thanks to FlyBy promotions.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Patterns of Evidence: Exodous

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus
Director: Timothy Mahoney

It is human to want the evidence, either for or against a cause in which one chooses to believe.  While Christianity is based on faith, the belief without the sight, it can be exciting to have a piece of history prove the Bible is true.

In this project filmed and directed by Timothy Mahoney, released in January 2015, he sets out to find the evidence of the great Biblical Exodus.  Through interviews with many experts, archaeologists, scholars and more, Mahoney places the evidence he finds out for the viewers to sort on their own.  He presents evidence for and against the Exodus, citing archeology digs, confusion over timeline, questions of location and more.  The entire documentary is presented in a non-conclusive way so as to allow the viewer to decide for themselves whether the evidence points toward or away from Biblical proof of this event in history.

I was interested to see this film based on the historical research and the offer of genuine proof of a core Biblical event.  My husband, a history and Bible study fan, was also curious and wanted to see the film.  Unfortunately, we were both bored.  We made ourselves sit for the first hour and promised to come back to it later.  It was truly filled with research and documentation and proof of depth, but it was also dry and hard to remain engaged in.

I wanted to find myself enthralled, but instead I was droopy eyed.  Perhaps for a true history enthusiast or someone into documentaries, this might be for them.  However, I found myself lost and as a result my interest was lost.  I found the bounces from evidence against to evidence for and then back again dizzying and hard to follow.

I will leave my rating mid-line.  The work put into the piece was thorough, but the delivery was just not for me.

You can watch a trailer here
You can buy the film here.  If you enter code MK1, you will received $3 off the regular $19.95 price.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ATG Today

Awakening To God Today (ATG Today) is a beautifully simple devotional journal in app form, created to inspire users to find 8 minutes each day to seek God through a series of simple steps.

Using this app is simple and can be done in a few quick moments in the day.  It is a great step toward getting into the Bible more, deepening one's prayer life, recording prayers and answers to prayer, journaling and more, all in one place.  Once registered, the user simply logs in and is greeted by a daily Bible verse.  This verse can be used for reflection, memorization, or deeper study.  From here, the verse can be shared if desired via social media platforms.

Beyond the daily verse, users can chose the "inspiration", "timeline", "add", "photos" or "calendar" tabs to go further.

Inspiration: The daily verse and option to share via social media
Timeline: Lists the days the user has made an entry with option to click the date and read what was entered
Add: Guides the user through prompts to create an entry that will then be store in the timeline.  Here, users can choose day or night and then add a picture and answer the following prompts:

  1. Day
    1. Lord, I thank you today for..
    2. I believe God is speaking to me today about...
    3. Lord, I pray today that you will...
  2. Night
    1. How did God touch my life today?
    2. What more could I have done to reflect God's love today?
Photos: All photos that have been added to an entry can be found here
Calendar: Displays a calendar that users can then click on dates to view entries.

How it works:
  Set up in 1 minute increments, each minute has it's own task to create an 8 minute daily focused time with God
  • Minute 1: Still your mind and focus on one or two things to thank God for. Be mindful of why you are grateful for these things.
  • Minute 2: Memorize and think on the day's verse
  • Minutes 3 and 4: Ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit.  Listen for God's voice.
  • Minute 5: Hand over all of the day's coming tasks and responsibilities to God 
  • Minute 6: Think about a way you can reflect Christ 
  • Minute 7: Write down what God has shown you
  • Minute 8: Thank God and go forward with the day
   Ideally, if you do these steps each day along with your daily entry, you have spent some intentional time with God and begun to develop a habit that can then grow into longer sessions and deeper thought and prayer.

I have found this app to be tremendously helpful for me.  A long time Christian, I have struggled at times to make the time to listen and learn through quiet devotion and prayer.  Especially as a mom of 4 little ones, the time I have is often not my own.  The idea that I can do this in roughly 8 minutes makes it something I can easily accomplish without guilt, even if the kids are already awake.  I love that the app encourages a day starter and finisher to encourage wrapping the day in thoughts of God and His intentions.  The fact that I can easily journal from the same place I enter prayers, thoughts and more makes my quiet time more productive because I don't have to wonder who wrote in my journal or hid it where, or get distracted with doodles and more.

I've been using this app for several weeks now and am loving the habit I am getting into and the ease with which I can use it anytime or anywhere.  For the minimal cost ($3.99), I am very pleased and feel it was worth the purchase.

Created by Gerard and Jeannie Long, this app comes from a history of experiencing God's love and grace through deep trial and personal pain.  This app was created to inspire believers in their walk with Christ.  It also serves to "raise funds for several reasons: to dig wells in 100 villages in India, provide 40,000 meals to widows and orphans, 15,000 mosquito nets, and medical teams for immunizations, cataract operations and other services."

You can watch a video to learn more about the creators' story and their mission here and their promotional video here.

Apple users can click here to download the app and check it out for yourself!

#ATGToday #FlyBy

* I purchased this app in return for incentive as part of the Fly By Promotions program.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own regardless of incentive.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

When God Made You

When God Made You
by Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrated by David Catrow

When God Made You is a fun book that has value for young and old alike.  Readers follow a young girl in pictures as the story talks about things God valued and considered in making her, and creating her to be special and unique.  As the pages progress, the illustrations take on more color and brightness, becoming more exciting with each page turn, leading readers to a final thought that "You being you is God's dream coming true".

As a mom of four, each so unique and special, I have enjoyed reading this book to each child and talking about what makes them special.  While the overlying theme is that God made them to be individual, there are many specific examples listed within the story, and each child could find something about themselves being talked about in the story.

Illustrations are bright and engaging, cartoonish but realistic.  Features are friendly and inviting and the increasing color and design invite readers to continue exploring.  Even I enjoyed looking at the pictures for their boldness and fun.

This is a very encouraging book to read to young children, and can easily be read by younger readers as well.  It lends itself to many conversations about God and individual qualities and how we are each carefully crafted by His hand to be perfect in His sight.  We have all enjoyed this book in my home and I would recommend it to other parents as well.

* I was provided a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest and un-biased review as a part of the Book Crash review program.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Garden - Kari Jobe

Singer Kari Jobe has a new album just hitting the market, and if you are a Kari Jobe fan, you are sure to enjoy her latest work, "The Garden"  This album is filled with worshipful, contemplative songs that are collectively peaceful and slower in tempo to match the imagery of walking through a calming garden.  This collection of songs is great for those meditative times of personal worship as well as for quieting one's mind and heart in preparation for time with God, or even just for relaxed listening.
Songs such as "The Garden", "Fall Afresh",  and "Come Alive" echo the album title and theme. There is much focus on God's glory, power, divinity, healing and love, as is apparent in many of the song titles. There are a couple of songs featuring Cody Carnes as well.  It is an album of peaceful, deep thought and focus on God.

In general, this album is not my style of music, it is much slower and quieter than I find myself desiring.  For background noise, I can find a place for it, but this particular styling is not one I find myself singing along to or getting stuck in my head.  However, it is a beautiful album filled with thoughtful lyrics and themes inviting times of praise, adoration and worship.  Any fan of Jobe's or her style of singing is sure to find pleasure in this collection.

Click here to see a video

Click here to stream the album

Click here to buy the album

I received a free copy of this album as part of a promotion through FlyBy in exchange for my honest and un-biased review.
#TheGarden & #FlyBy

Monday, January 16, 2017

Made for a Purpose

Made for a Purpose
by Kristie Wilde

My children love to learn about animals.  We have many books about different creatures in our home.  This new book, Made for a Purpose, is a welcome addition to our library and has been enjoyed many times over by my three little ones.

As children read though this book, they discover many familiar creatures, like the turtle, duck, frog, fish and more - animals often found in or near pond areas.  For each animal, there is discussion about what their unique features are made for, the things that make them special and individual from all others.  The book completes by pointing out that, just like the animals, God has created them for a purpose that is just as special and unique as the animals.

Illustrations are done in watercolor, by the author.  Colors are inviting and true to nature, scenes are realistic, and the animals are painted to look as they would in real life.

Made for a Purpose invites young readers to explore the idea that they are even more special than the animals God has created and that each of us was made for a purpose, a special reason.  We have enjoyed reading this book together, talking about each of the animals, and welcomed the discussions that have developed as they learned through this book.  The first in the Joyful Creation series to be written, there are sure to be more engaging books to come from this author.

* I received this book for free for the purposes of review in exchange for my honest and un-biased review through the Book Crash program.