Sunday, December 23, 2007

I've Been Carded Meme

I'm officially a blogger! :) I've been tagged! By whom you might ask?? I got CARDED by Tami at Tree Swing Reading (check out her book reviews and giveaways!!).

Ronie Kendig altered this CARDED meme to include a Spiritual Wish list so we can know how to pray for each other, both spiritually and physically. Isn’t that a great idea?
1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for Christmas.
2. People who are "CARDED" need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get "CARDED" and list their names.
4. Don't forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they're "CARDED", and to read your Blog.

My Materialistic Gift/Wish List:
1. a good haircut (someone could come to my house or a gift certificate would work)
2. a maid/housecleaner
3. gift cards to eat out
4. mp3 player (or iPod)
5. trees trimmed in our yard (so the limbs would stop breaking and falling on our roof!!)

My Spiritual Gift/Wish List:
1. work on the spiritual disciplines (especially Bible reading, study, and prayer)
2. to focus on physically taking care of myself (proper sleep, etc) to be able to take better care of my family
3. to reach out to others and evangelize more
4. to pray more for my husband
5. help our children see Christ and know Him better

The people I have carded:
Biscuits & Grits
Kelli at Living in Grace
Shannon at A Reforming Mom
Deena at Wholly Devoted and A Peek at My Bookshelf
and Stacy at With Great Joy

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fall Into Reading wrap-up

Thank you Katrina at Callapidder Days for having Fall Into Reading 2007!! I did not finish my list but I think I've done well nonetheless. I had 8 books on my list and finished (and reviewed) 6 of them. I'm over 1/3 of the way through Ten Things I Wish Jesus Never Said, I plan to finish it and hopefully read Christy before the end of the year. I read my list in random order because I checked some out from the library.

I liked The God I Love ~ A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada the best. This book really seemed to speak to me, also encouraged me to live life, and it made me Laugh Out Loud! I liked The Camel Club by David Baldacci the least. That surprised me because he really is one of my favorite authors. Though I liked "the Camel Club" characters themselves the book was hard to follow and too much politicalness (see my review here). I'll definitely still keep reading David Baldacci books (and I still want to read the follow-up to The Camel Club but I'll know not to run out and buy it!). I enjoyed writing the book reviews though sometimes it's hard to express my passion (no hand waving, etc.).

I still like fiction better than non-fiction (no surprise)! But I really did enjoy the memoir by Joni Eareckson Tada so I might start looking for more memoirs/biographies. I do better reading a non-fiction book when my husband and I read it together and I have a "strict" schedule. :) I could list several reasons why I didn't finish my list but I won't. I'm still trying to get caught up in Bible reading to finish on Dec 31. My husband and I always set a goal of reading through the whole Bible in one year (broken into daily readings from OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs). If you'd like to know an easy way - I've subscribed on my bloglines from One Year Bible Blog. Each day there is a link for that day's reading and a little info/commentary about the reading. Will you join me in 2008?

Links for Fall Into Reading original, reviews, wrap-up. My links for original list, reviews: The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, When Sinners Say "I Do", and The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WFMW - parchment paper and brownie tips

I'm sure you've seen other posts about this but maybe you haven't bought it yet. I LOVE Reynold's parchment paper (there's probably some other brands, feel free to look around)! I have an airbake cookie sheet (got it a looonng time ago) and it's sorta scratched and yucky looking but when I put parchment paper on it I don't worry! :) Plus if you're baking cookies, you can probably scoop those cookies off and use the same paper again (saving $) for the next ones to go in the oven (cool your cookie sheet a little). The parchment paper really helps so you don't have to scrape the cookie sheet or possibly wash it between uses (did I really say that? do I sound a little lazy?). Look here for a free sample!

I also use parchment paper to line my square airbake pan (again, bought a loonng time ago) to bake brownies. It doesn't fold into the corners perfectly but that's ok, I usually cut the edges off (we keep and eat those) and send the cut up brownies for functions and gifts. I think brownies are best when frosted (yum, I promise it's all my husband's fault!!). Take a regular can of frosting, stir it, then frost semi-cool brownies (spread the frosting around before you cut them). If the brownies are semi-cool the frosting will "melt" a little and be really delicious. Another tip is to take a box mix and add 3 eggs instead of 2. This makes a more "cake-like" brownie (according to the Betty Crocker directions). I also recommend baking in an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan instead of 9x13. With the added egg, this makes the brownies much thicker and it seems to cook better (softer and not overdone). (Put the leftover frosting in the fridge, use it for your next batch of brownies, ice cookies with it, make smores, or frost graham crackers. I've left my leftover frosting in the fridge probably up to 1-2 months but the label will usually say 1-2 weeks.)

Enjoy! And these ideas, work for me! See Shannon for more tips. :)

Coupon Savings

I thought I'd pass on my experience at Target tonight. The Kraft cheese coupon is good through this Saturday so I "bought" 4 more string cheeses (free after coupon), 4 bags of 8 oz. shredded cheese - these were 1.04 after combining a $1/2 coupon from a blinkie at Kroger my friend gave me! I also "bought" 4 packs of Huggies wipes (using the $3/2 Huggies products coupon) - 2 were trial size 16 wipes packs ($1.27) in the travel size area and 2 were 40 wipe packs ($1.47) from the baby area. The coupon wouldn't scan (may be due to having printer problems at home, others have had the coupon scan ok) so the clerk took $3 off for each so I actually had overage for the wipes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

More about books!

I'm not sure if I'm going to finish my Fall Into Reading list but I haven't given up yet!! In the meantime, visit Tree Swing Reading for her Really big week of giveaways - "I'm in a Christmas gift-giving mood and will be giving away a different Christmas book everyday for the week of December 13-19!"

Today's giveaway is TWO BOOKS! The Red Glove Collection by Karen Kingsbury and At Home for the Holidays by Meredith Efken.

Her question today - Are you the one in your family who's impatient to get to opening the presents or do you like to wait and torture others in the family who can't wait? Well, the kids are pretty excited about opening presents now. However, I used to be pretty impatient. I wanted to carry on the tradition from my family of opening 1 present on Christmas Eve but my husband has put his foot down and said, "NO!". Probably 14 years ago, my brother really wanted to open his gifts. My mom said if he washed all the dishes (we didn't have a dishwasher), he could open his presents after midnight. Then the rest of us went to bed. He washed all of the dishes and opened his presents!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Book Review #6 The God I Love

The God I Love: A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Joni Eareckson Tada

Wow!! I really was intrigued by this book. I knew about Joni's (pronounced "Johnny") diving accident that landed her in a wheelchair and also that she painted. And I guess I knew she was married but I'm not sure I knew much more. This book definitely gives you more! :)

The book begins (probably her earliest memories) when she's about five and her family's on vacation. They are a family of non-stop adventure and Joni loves it. She faces the typical childhood issues of school, friends, and older siblings (in her case - only sisters). But also the non-typical of falling off horses, finding out the family secrets, and finding her place in her family but also living up to her "inherited" father's name.

Some of her stories and examples had me laughing out loud. I really felt like I was a part of her world (and time period!). (I've enjoyed other biographies where I felt like I was learning more about them BUT not actually there, with "The God I Love" I felt like I was there.)

One issue that stuck out to me was how her friends were still a part of her life after the accident. I'm sure their relationship changed but her friends were able to come to her "rescue", comfort, and make her life somewhat lighthearted again. That speaks to the depth and value she had, even in high school. (I haven't kept in touch with any high school friends, we went in separate directions after graduation with many going to different colleges around the U.S.) I know part of that is the grace of God in her life. You will be pointed toward God with each struggle and challenge Joni faces.

I can't imagine having my life played out on screen in a movie, but Joni not only went through that - she also starred in it. She also started Joni and Friends to reach out to others and across the globe who have disabilities and those who need equipment (like wheelchairs).

My only critique of the book would be that she jumps ahead in time (especially in the 3rd part) and it's hard to know "when" it is and what is going on. Warning - the book references (briefly) some "physical" struggles including losing her purity through bad choices she made in high school. However, I would highly recommend this book to older teens and adults!

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, and When Sinners Say "I Do".

Book Review #5 When Sinners Say "I Do"

When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey

I'm going to borrow a quote I saw posted at A Reforming Mom blog

"That's one of the ways in which the self-esteem movement works against the message of the gospel. The prevailing emphasis of our culture is to tell people that what's wrong with them is that they feel bad about themselves. If they will just feel better about themselves, they can be cured of anything.But the Bible says you'll never feel good about yourself until you learn first to feel bad about yourself. When you realize how bad things really are, then you are in a position to learn how to feel truly good. Then it won't be about you, but about the One who died to forgive your great debt so that you, in turn, can be a debt forgiver to others around you.Anytime I harbor animosity toward anyone, it is because I have diminished my sense of the debt I owe to the living God."-Alistair Begg

If you're ready to face your sin and feel bad about it then you should read this book. Though I won't get into Nouthetic counseling etc. right now, this book is from the viewpoint that problems in our relationships are due to sin. If you're sensitive to being told over and over again that you're a sinner (I am) then the first part of the book is rough but there is HOPE and it will get better. This book also addresses biblically confronting your spouse with his or her sin. As a Christian, we still need the gospel and this book reminds us of that. Marriage is used to sanctify us. I think the examples in the book are good, but there weren't enough of them! :)

My husband and I read this book together, usually reading and discussing 2 chapters each week. I would recommend this book for married couples, engaged couples and those seeking to be married. My husband recommends it for pre-marriage and marriage counseling. However, if you're not married I would strongly suggest skipping chapter 9. (Family friendly warning - this book is about marriage and so discusses issues pertaining to that relationship.)

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, Bleachers, and Treasuring God in Our Traditions.

Book Review #4 Treasuring God in Our Traditions

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper and John Piper

As I expected, I was not disappointed by this book. Not only did it point to great ways to celebrate throughout the year, it also pointed me closer to knowing the one we should celebrate - God and Jesus Christ. I think this is a great book if you have kids or if you don't. Everyone has traditions, sometimes you just have to dig a little to think about them. What legacy do you want to leave with others? What little things do you do automatically? I want to make a big deal about birthdays because it was a big deal in my family (not BIG parties but a special DAY), but my husband downplays it a little because that's how it was in his family. We're learning to compromise! :)

The book explains traditions, how to make them important, teaching traditions, and "everyday" and "especially" traditions, then talks about Christmas and Easter. I wanted to order Noel Piper's Advent Calendar for this year but when I called they were already sold out and they're redesigning it (or something, I was told) so I decided to make my own going for something similar to what she has, but it's turning out somewhere between a Jesse Tree and Advent calendar (I'll post about it later). Then my husband pointed out if we're doing this we really should do something for Lent (I used to think only Catholics did that!!), and I said that it talks about celebrating Lent and Easter in this book. So stay tuned to see if we start celebrating Lent!

The book also included poems by John Piper. I'm not sure if I'm not into poetry or just this type, I didn't really like them. I did enjoy the personal stories and letters. My one criticism of the book would be some of the spacing and "text boxes" were off a little, such as a box not having a closing line at the bottom (like it had been put on there but the overlapping wasn't done right so you couldn't see the line for the box). Also the font was small, if that's an issue and you can find a Large print edition - I would definitely buy it!

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list. Previous reviews - The Camel Club, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?, and Bleachers.

UPDATE to add, GirlTalk blog posted today about this book and there's a link to hear Noel Piper speak.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Twenty-five Reviews of Christmas

Deena at A Peek at my Bookshelf is having a special countdown to Christmas. She's reviewing 25 different books about Christmas! Go check it out and add her to your reader (bloglines, google reader, etc.) because she's also having giveaways!! And her reviews are awesome and she does other giveaways too. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Book Review #3 Bleachers

Bleachers by John Grisham

This was different than a "standard" John Grisham book, but if you've read the synopsis of the book then you already know that. I think the book will be most enjoyed by those who can relate to it: football players, possibly cheerleaders, band members who participated in football games, football fans, football movie fans (like Remember the Titans), and those who are from/now live in a small town. My brother played football, I was in band, I went to school in a small town, and I love Remember the Titans so I definitely related to this book! This was a very quick read and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism would be I kind of felt like the author gave away too much of the "secret" too early in the book. Usually John Grisham books have a shock or surprise but this one was lacking much of either one.

Part of my Fall Into Reading 2007 list, 3 more book reviews coming soon! Previous reviews - The Camel Club and These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

Monday, December 3, 2007


Have you been reading Shalee at Shalee's Diner? You need to read her IT dilemma she posted!!