Friday, October 24, 2014

Bible Study for Busy Mamas

"Bible Study for Busy Mamas: Thirty Days in 1 Corinthians 13" by Pam Forster is advertised as "inspiring, in-depth Bible study, five minutes at a time". As a busy mom of two little kids, I was intrigued by this book. Rarely do I have more than five minutes of uninterrupted time, so I thought this might be a great way to help fill in my days with more Bible study time.

The book is broken down by day, numbered "day one" through "day thirty". The daily reading itself is easily done inside the promised five minute time frame. However, rather than this book reading like a devotional with a focus on explaining, and strengthening understanding, it is more like classwork. Each page starts with just a short overview of the purpose of this particular "lesson", and is then followed by the "assignment".

Most of these "assignments" are slightly more involved that I thought they would be, which requires more time to sit and work on them. Then, the assignment is followed by "for your children", which is an assignment for you to do with your kids to help tie it all together. However, I feel like at times, this became more about doing so much that the message or purpose of the actual Bible verses were lost.

Overall I would say that this book had good intentions, but it really wasn't for me. When I'm picking up a devotional or Bible Study time, I look forward to that time being between myself and God, and I feel like this book tries to "assign" too much work and not enough wisdom.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for this review.

Geoffrey Zakarian's, "My Perfect Pantry"

Geoffrey Zakarian's newest cookbook, "My Perfect Pantry" is one that is designed around a handful of specific ingredients that are commonly found in your kitchen. Featuring ingredients like baking soda, almonds, ketchup, and anchovies, these recipes are simple to make, but have great flavor! It will taste like you spent much more time cooking than you actually did!

Be sure to read the first few pages of this cookbook, as Geoffrey outlines some of the commonly used spices and herbs, so that you can make sure your pantry is fully stocked. Most of these items you will probably already have in your spice cabinet.

The recipes in this book are designed for the everyday cook, not for a professional chef, so the recipes are simplistic, and the ingredients are common. I hate when I find a delicious recipe I want to make, only to realize that I need to make a trip to the store in order to get uncommon spices or ingredients. Some of these amazing recipes include white asparagus salad, pizza margherita with olives and arugula, and brown rice crab cakes.

The only downside to this book is that it is organized by ingredient, rather than by type of meal. So if you are looking for an appetizer, you have to page through the entire book, because they are scattered throughout.

I would give this book a 4/5. The recipes are great, and I loved that it is all designed around easy to find ingredients. I think that this book could have been organized a little bit better, though, as I mentioned.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for this honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review for this book.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

"Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary" is am absolutely amazing resource for Bible study. Personally, I've never seen anything that is so exhaustive and complete all in one book. This dictionary definitions of terms, a brief history, explanation, and if applicable, the Biblical references of that word. This is organized like a normal dictionary, in alphabetical order. This is so handy to have on my bookshelf, and when I come across a name, place, or word I'm not sure of, I can easily find it in this dictionary, as well as gain a better understanding of the meaning/person/place.

As I mentioned, this dictionary offers people, places, and things, and I have found it most helpful in reference to names of people. I have a hard time keeping minor characters in the Bible straight, so being able to look it up in this dictionary really helps in getting the most out of Bible study time. What is handy is that uncommon words are also accompanied by a pronounciation key, so that you can sound out the word correctly.

There are also many photographs in this dictionary. Maps, historic relics, significant places, and architectural feats are all featured in this dictionary. Placed where appropriate, these visual aids are a helpful way of connecting with the Biblical places, people, and times.

Overall, I would give "Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary" a 5/5. I feel like this is a comprehensive study tool that supports studying the Bible. I loved all of the pictures that were added to this book, and thought it helped to make me feel more connected with the events in the Bible. I also really loved the pronounciation aid for some of the more uncommon names and terms.

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FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from, in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NKJV Study Bible

Thomas Nelson's newest study Bible, aptly named, "NKJV Study Bible" advertises itself as "The Complete Resource for Studying God's Word", and it is, in fact, an amazingly helpful and informative Bible. This Bible offers a full color edition, which really adds a lot to this Bible, with colorful photographs, maps, and bright boxes with study materials.

This Bible offers chapter introductions, as most study Bibles do, which gives you a summary of what the chapter is about. It includes pertinent information, like the author, theme(s), chapter outine, and the tie-in to Christ in the Scripture. The translation of this Bible is New King James Version, which does make it a little bit easier to read and comprehend than the older KJV. There are TONS of footnotes in this Bible - I felt like there were notes for nearly every verse! I loved how in-depth the footnotes are, to really help you unlock the meaning of what you are reading.

This Bible also focuses on some words that are used frequently in the Scripture, and gives definition, Hebrew version of the word, where it can be found, and what it means in context of the Scripture. I found this to be very interesting, and helpful.

Throughout this Bible, helpful and colorful boxes appear with helpful information, as well. Some feature colorful photographs with a summary of the photo, others include information about Biblical culture, or an understanding of the times.

Overall I would definitely give this Bible a 5/5. I really thought it offered so many amazing tools to really help you get the most out of your Bible. I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone in the market for a new Bible.

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FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from BookLookBloggers, in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


In his book, "Draw-A-Saurus", James Silvani does something amazing - he teaches you how to draw dinosaurs. Yes, you! By breaking down the drawing into simple, easy to follow steps, with tons of images to help you along, Silvani gives you an awesome tutorial in designing your very own dino.

This book not only offers tips and hints for drawing your favorite dinosaurs, it also has lots of real information about a variety of dinosaurs. For example, did you know that Oviraptors were named so because their skull shape made them appear to be egg thieves and eaters? I loved that Silvani took the time and effort to make this not only a book about drawing, but a book about understanding the animals that you are drawing.

The tutorials cover a variety of different dinosaur species, and Silvani goes step by step through the drawing of the dinosaur, with plenty of pictures of how the image should look at each step. I got this book for my daughter who loves to draw, and I think it's the perfect book for beginners or more advanced artists. I also think it is perfect for any age. Silvani mixes in humor with his lessons, but it's appropriate for anyone.

Overall I would give this book a 5/5. The actual drawing tutorial is simple and easy to follow for any age or skill level. With over 100 pages of information, lessons, and humor, Silvani really offers a great guide to drawing these magnificent beasts!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Weird & Wonderful Creations

"Weird & Wonderful Creations" is a Zonderkidz publication that is all about animals and plants! This book is actually a combination of four books, each featuring different types of animals. There is one book that features spiders, snakes, bees, and bats; another book features big bugs, little bugs; another that focuses on sea creatures; and the final book is all about poisonous, smelly, and amazing plants.

The recommended age for this book is 4-8 years old, which I would agree with. My daughter is 6 years old, and had no trouble reading this book independently. The hardback cover makes this book sturdy and attractive. The images in the book - and there are TONS of pictures - are wonderful. Bright, beautiful photographs of animals in their habitat are amazing, and will definitely gain the attention of your young one.

What I loved about this book is that it combines fun facts about animals with the Biblical story of God's creation of them. For example, a short section of the jellyfish pages reads, "Even though jellyfish do not have brains, hearts, or bones, they are special to God". I loved that this book reinforces God's creation of the world, as well as his love for his creation, but it also offers a lot of interesting facts about these animals.

Overall I would give this book a 5/5. I loved all the unique facts about animals, as well as the way that this book ties into God's creation of the world. I thought it was put together thoughtfully and very tastefully. I also loved all of the beautiful images throughout the book. This makes it easy for even my 18 months old to look through, and enjoy. Lots of fun in these pages, especially if you have a little animal lover in your home. Highly recommend this one.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers, as a member of their blogger program, in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.