Kid’s Book Review: The Bible Explorer’s Guide

My 8 year old loves picture filled fact books. Sometimes she spouts out a random fact, and proudly announces “I read it in my almanac.” So, I knew she would really enjoy The Bible Explorer’s Guide, a Bible almanac of sorts, filled with over 1,000 facts and photos.

The book is written in chronological order, starting with Let’s Explore the Bible, and ending with Writing the Rest of the Bible. Each page is filled with colorful blocks of facts, photos, maps, and captions.

There are facts about history, ancient customs and photos of ancient artifacts, facts about the lives of Biblical figures, and even background information about the occupations of citizens in Bible times.

Each page is filled with enough graphics to keep children interested, and I even learned quite a bit of new information! Some of the pages include:

-Captives in a Foreign Land
This page has maps, art, artifacts and photos of Babylon, talks about the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Babylonians and Daniel’s life in Babylon, including some of the famous events in Daniel’s life.

-Trumpets, Feasts, and Holy Days
This page outlines all the major Jewish festivals, the customs, the food, and the history behind each one. It shares accounts from Josephus about how many Jews he witnessed at the feast, and shows current photos of how Jewish people today celebrate each of the feasts.

-Enter the Gates of the Holy City
This page is filled with photos of Jerusalem, models of the Temple, and a painting of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. It tells kids about Jesus entering Jerusalem for the Passover before His crucifixion, tells them where in the Bible to read the account, and facts about how Herod the Great built much of the city as Jesus would have seen it.

This book quickly became a huge hit at our house, and I was very impressed with the amount of photos and graphics along with interesting facts, and I know it will be used in our homeschool quite frequently as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Bible and Bible times.

*I received a free copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers and Zonderkidz Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review, as all opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Bible Review: Precious Moments Precious Prayers Bible

I love Children’s Bibles. The often have fun and colorful features, and I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of enjoying things like that! I recently received Precious Moments Precious Prayers Bible. Precious Moments are an adorable set of illustrated characters that have been charming children (and adults) for decades.

I was excited to receive this Bible for several reasons. First of all, Precious Moments characters are just adorable, and secondly, it is a NKJV. I’m not a big fan of the children’s Bible versions, and since my oldest is almost 9, she’s ready for a more advanced version.

This Bible has a bunch of full color inserts (sets of 4 pages) that include a poem, several illustrations, a familiar Bible passage, and a prayer. The illustrations are obviously very sweet, and the page inserts are cute.

Each book of the Bible gets it’s own short introduction discussing the book’s author, timeline, key verse, and theme. It gives some good background information. There are also a couple of maps in the back as well as some resource lists.

The downside to this Bible is that, while cute, the page inserts are the only features of the Bible. I would love to see some key words, or small illustrations, or little tidbits strewn throughout the pages. I would also like to see the words of Jesus in red.

Overall, I thought this was a very cute Bible, and I know my daughter will love it, but I wish the features were more spread out throughout the Bible instead of all within the feature pages.

*I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher and BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. I was not required to give a positive review.


Bible Review: NKJV Study Bible

I’ve had my current Bible since I was a freshman in high school…that was nearly 2 decades ago. But, like an old, trusty, reliable friend, I just couldn’t bear to replace it. The handwritten notes and underlined verses reminded me of special moments in my life, and helped to carry me through the difficult times.

But, lately, I have been considering getting a new, fresh Bible to write all new notes and look at passages from the perspective of this stage of life. Plus, the book of Micah fell out…

I couldn’t resist checking out this NKJV Study Bible from Thomas Nelson. First of all, the cover colors on this Bible are beautiful. The teal and dark blue on the imitation leather cover are one of my favorite color combinations (and my 8 year old daughter even asked me to buy a copy of this Bible for her because she loves the colors so much.) There are a lot of really great features in this Bible to help you study and get a deeper understanding of the Word.

Some of the information I ran across include: a chart showing the types of Jewish calendars as compared with our calendar, five pages of Strongs words (word studies from the original Hebrew and Greek), as well as many maps, timelines, charts, articles, and tons of commentary on each page.

The only thing I wish this Bible had was red letters for when Jesus spoke. That was the only thing I didn’t love.

As a whole, though, this Bible offers a lot of information that can help both the new believer and the seasoned believer to have a better understanding of God’s Word. I loved all the information it packed in, and I look forward to this Bible being one that I can use for many more years to come.

*I received a review copy of this Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Book Look Bloggers. I was not required to write a review, positive or negative All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

The Destructive Habit Christians Buy Into…and how it’s ruining us


God designed the church to be a great source of encouragement, edification and building each other up for His glory. But lately I have noticed a nasty trend of denying grace and promoting works and self, sadly, even within Christian circles. It’s breaking people apart…physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For me, I think it all started in a Christian Mom’s Group, where a debate on some hot parenting topic got out of hand. Where opinions became dogma and “because God convicted me to do something, YOU must do the same regardless of what God has told you to do.”

The discussion elevated into condemning judgment from both sides, and at the end of the day, a divided group went back to their homes, more determined than ever to prove their side of the argument, even if they had to break relationships to do so. Grace was dead that day, as each person sought to make their own personal experiences the sole bringer of truth for everyone else.

In the book of John, after Jesus describes the death Peter would eventually face, Peter asks Jesus “What of him?” pointing to the apostle John. I can see Jesus looking at Peter, his God-light eyes full of love for this headstrong fisherman. He replied with a truth that transcends the ages: “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

Such a simple truth that could transform our lives and bring us more joy and peace! What is it to you if people make different decisions on topics the Bible has no specific commands about? What is it to you if someone breastfeeds or doesn’t? Vaccinates or doesn’t? Cloth diapers or doesn’t? What is it to you if a mom down the street doesn’t want to homeschool, feeds her kids Goldfish and non-organic apples, gets an epidural, and is done after 2 kids when you want 12?

What is that to you? Are you following what God has put on your heart? That’s great. Maybe she is too. And maybe…just maybe…what God has convicted her to do is completely different from His plan for you. As for you, follow me.

The Bible commands us not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. The world criticizes, judges, breaks down, and condemns.

The same thing I saw in that mom’s group, and the same thing I see whenever someone brings up one of those touchy topics I mentioned earlier, even (especially) among Christians.

The same thing I felt when, after diagnosed with an endocrine issue that made breastfeeding an absolute nightmare, I chose to bottle feed. The decision came after my husband and I prayed about it and I felt God’s peace to give up nursing so I could better care for my baby. But, even after sharing the peace I was given, I was reprimanded more than once for “poisoning” my child. It broke me and sent me reeling. I felt abandoned by the very people who were supposed to be lifting me up and encouraging me.

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have opinions. No, very much the opposite. Strong opinions keep us firm in our convictions and allow us to stand up for our faith. Ialso believe that debate can be healthy when voiced in a respectful and responsible way. But we get ourselves into trouble when our opinions become the only truth.

God put us all on different paths, on different roads. He gave us all different experiences that mold and shape us into the people we eventually become. Among subjects where there are no specific Biblical commands, it’s up to each person and each family to figure out what God wants of them. And only them. A map of California, while having the same universal legend and cardinal directions as any other map, isn’t going to do much good in New York. No. You’ll get hopelessly lost trying to use someone else’s road map for your own God-ordained path.

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some spilled Goldfish to clean up before we leave for church.

What We’ve Been Up To…

Okay, how is October halfway over already?!
If you were to ask me, I’d swear it was still August. And, not just because it was 90 degrees yesterday.

With homeschooling Stinker every day, including one full day of classroom time per week at a local church, Junior’s therapy appointments running two to three times a week, plus the sports and activities Stinker is involved in, I have two days this month with nothing on the calendar…and one of them is my birthday!

Despite the hectic schedule, I think I’ve been really productive. Here are some updates and some fun homeschooling ideas! (The above picture is how I organized supplies for our school room. I love that I can put all our supplies in the baskets and keep them accessible but hidden away.)

1. Junior (16 mos)
-We’re doing Auditory Verbal Therapy two to three times a week, getting him to use his cochlear implants as effectively as possible. He’s now saying “mah” (meaning either “more”, “mine”, or “mama” depending on the context), “up” (which was ironically Stinker’s first word), “hi”, and is babbling. He also understands “no”, “bye-bye”, and starts doing hand motions as soon as I start singing “The Wheels on the Bus”. It’s amazing that our child who was born deaf is learning to speak and listen, and we are so grateful for the technology!(Not familiar with Junior? Read his story starting HERE)

2. Homeschooling
-We’re thoroughly enjoying Classical Conversations. Here are a few review games we’ve done.

Lego Review. See the original Post HERE for a printable version and the rules. I found a set of these awesome make-your-own foam dice at Lakeshore, and they’ve been very useful for several review games.

Magnetic Puzzle Review.
I wrote each of the 6 review subjects on a piece of paper and taped it to the back of this magnetic puzzle we have. (Melissa & Doug Deluxe 10-Piece Magnetic Bug Catching Game). Stinker uses the attached magnetic bug catcher to pick up one of the pieces. I ask her a review question, and if she answers correctly, she gets to put the piece in the puzzle. The goal is to complete the puzzle. She likes to win, even when she’s playing by herself :)

Ping Pong Cups
I modeled this game after a well-known carnival game. You stand a few feet away, and throw the ball into a plastic or paper cup. I turn the cup over (which I’ve written the subject on the bottom), and ask Stinker a question on that subject. She gets a point when she answers correctly. 10 points and she wins! (Luckily, not a goldfish like at the fair :)

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