God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren {Book Review}

As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others…even the seemingly unlovable.
“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”

In a sturdy format, ideal for the littlest hands at storytime, bedtime, or anytime, God Gave Us You assures each child that he or she truly is a treasured gift from the Lord.

My Thoughts:
We have the book God Gave Us You also by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant.  It has been enjoyed and well loved especially by the youngest as he flew through his toddler years.

Not surprising, my family enjoyed this new addition to the “God Gave Us…” Collection.  The beautiful illustrations make the story come alive and allow for some delightful observations and questions. The story shares the theme of loving as God is love in various ways and situations with the gospel (“…we know God loves us because he sent his Son to save us…”) presented simply as well.
This little board book can begin some important conversations with your children. Besides learning about love, there are side themes developed like the joy of family spending time together and praying to ask God help us love. God Gave Us Love can be a helpful tool in developing character in young hearts!  I recommend it!
I was given a copy of this book by WaterBrook Multinomah Blogging for Books Program in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Next Story by Tim Challies {Book Review}

by Tim Challies


Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by advances in digital technology. We rely upon computers, cell phones, and the Internet for communication, commerce, and entertainment. Yet even though we live in this “instant message” culture, many of us feel disconnected, and we question if all this technology is really good for our souls. In a manner that’s accessible, thoughtful, and biblical, author Tim Challies addresses questions such as: • How has life—and faith—changed now that everyone is available all the time through mobile phones? • How does our constant connection to these digital devices affect our families and our church communities? • What does it mean that almost two billion humans are connected by the Internet … with hundreds of millions more coming online each year? Providing the reader with a framework they can apply to any technology, Tim Challies explains how and why our society has become reliant on digital technology, what it means for our lives, and how it impacts the Christian faith.
via Zondervan

My Thoughts:

Today, in our digital world, we spend much of our lives beyond Gibraltar, beyond accountability through visibility, able to say and do and look at and enjoy whatever our hearts desire. Yet for all the freedom it brings us, it can also bring us captivity. (pg. 68)

The Next Story is a look at our digital lives through a Biblical filter, a little dive into the histories that brought us to where we are plus a clear view of how we now communicate. Challies shares what the media explosion is doing to us as modern people and admonishes us to step back and give it some thought!  In fact, the challenge really is to help us retain the ability to think deeply within the much fragmented pull of social media and the digital age.

If we are a distracted people, a distracted society, it stands to reason that we would also be a distracted church, a church with a diminished ability to think deeply, to cultivate concentration, to emphasize slow, deliberate, thoughtful meditation. (pg 116)

For me, the reflection on my habits and certain changes has been beneficial. For example, I began to ponder what I really want passed down to my children and am I living that. I also found myself slimming down my Google Reader to blogs that I know, people whom I have connected with online, ones that edify, and so forth. If I missed a day, I would open my reader to find 1,000+ posts to skim and often I would just peruse my favorite categories and dump the rest. This way, I now can skim the headings of worthy blogs and read the posts that I have time for that day. (I do still follow Missional Mama readers, so be sure and let me know that you do.)

The Next Story was a hefty undertaking for Tim Challies and one worthy of your time. If you are entranced by what the Internet and latest devises have to offer, perhaps this book would be a thoughtful meditation on the information overload we now face. I think it is imperative at this point in history for all of us to take a good look at how we use media and what it is doing to us and our families. How would we like to shape it instead of having it shape us?

This book was given to me in exchanged for my honest review.

Swish: Flip, Rotate, & Stack Game by Thinkfun {Review}


Ages: 8 and up

Swish is a spatial card game that challenges you to be the first to make matches, or “Swishes.” Swishes are made by layering as few as two or as many as 12 cards so that every ball swishes into a hoop of the same color. The cards must be placed on top of each other in the same orientation, and no ball or hoop can be left unmatched. The player with the most matches at the end of the game wins. Various levels of play make this card game addictively fun for all! Swish is a spatial card game that challenges you to be the first to make matches, or “Swishes.”


* 60 clear SWISH! Cards
* Game-Go Bag
* Instructions

via ThinkFun

My Thoughts:

Swish is an extremely unique and interesting addition to the ThinkFun line. The fun “see-through” cards are really exciting for kids and adults alike. Even the box that Swish comes in, shouts of the creative game adventure inside. Of course, it has a convenient bag to store the cards in just like all the ThinkFun games. 

When the game arrived, my kids begged me to open it and get started. They quickly figured out the rules and began to play. It has been pulled out many times since because “it is fast, fun, and cool” (quote from my oldest). This Mama likes it because the children can easily play it on their own, they enjoy it, and it helps with critical thinking skills.  I have even heard them talk of playing their own version by modifying the rules which is also a big plus in our household.

ThinkFun, keep making creative learning games!

This game was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles by Carol Barnier {Book Review}


Many of the books on learning styles devote 98% of their text to identifying learning styles, then spend the remaining 2% telling you how to apply this knowledge. They are long on diagnosis and short on prescription. Carol Barnier knows from her own experience and from interactions with educators all across the country that while people are certainly interested in the “why”, they are in urgent need of the “how”, or the big “what now?” They need perfectly clear and practical information that can be applied tomorrow.

In The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles, parents and teachers will find an emphasis on “what to do about it”. This book

  • supplies hundreds of activities keyed to learning styles for easy access and application
  • covers practical strategies for success in spelling, writing, math, history, geography, science, and more
  • inspires parents and teachers to act with confidence on the conviction of God’s potential in each child

via YWAM store

My Thoughts:

I could not wait to read Barnier’s book, The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles.  What a wealth of information for the weary homeschool mom who just need that one great idea. 

Within the first section of The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles (pages 11 -41), Barnier sets out to suggest that all children do not learn the same and that new activities can be introduced to find what works for an individual child. In a few chapters, she gives a short, encouraging exhortation to the homeschool mom whose child may not be grasping a certain subject or two. She also explains how to make the best use of the book.

Section two (page 43 -191) is full of ideas or “keys” as the author calls them. You will find chapters containing activities for spelling, writing, reading, math, history, geography, science, and reviewing. Each idea is clearly explained with a symbol showing the learning style it best matches. You are encouraged not to let this be your only guide as each child is different. Some ideas even challenge the parent to consider a new perspective like “Shared Spelling” on page 81-83. The reader will find bonus material including a unit study on for history, ditties & mnemonics, educational resources, and websites.

After reading the first section, I personally turned right to the chapter on math. The beauty of this resource is that it does not demand a cover to cover reading, but instead can serve as an idea manual to use when you can’t find what will spur learning. Certainly, you can read it straight, underlining and highlighting ideas that you would like to try, that is up to each teacher.

Any mom who wants to help her child find easy, creative ways to learn would appreciate this helpful volume. It really will help answer the “what now” question.

*This book was given to be in exchange for my honest review. The links within this post are not affiliate links.

Heroes for Young Readers Companion CD Review

Many young readers and families with children have enjoyed the vividly illustrated, rhyming Heroes for Young Readers books. Now these popular childrens books are supplemented with the new Heroes for Young Readers audio CDs.
audio CD contains activities for the following four Heroes for Young Readers books

Gladys Aylward
Eric Liddell
Nate Saint
George Müller

Enjoy a CD filled with book readings, songs, and fun activity tracks.

Ages: 4-8

(Product description taken from YWAM Publishing. Click link to purchase.)


My children are presently 10, 8, and 4 and they all enjoyed listening along with the Heroes for Young Readers Companion CD. The rhyming short stories had them asking insightful questions like why children had to suffer in Gladys Aylward’s story. The CD is a great addition to our children’s library even without the read along books. I do think; however, that the books would be nice to have so the kids could follow along, see pictures, and develop their reading skills. Each story starts with the same song and ends with another song that goes along with what was shared. The music was not my favorite, but the kids did not seem to mind.

For those of you looking for missional reading to encourage your children or yourselves, check out the Heroes for Young Readers and the Christian Heroes Series.

Homeschooling Families – Please note that there are unit study pintables available too.

I was given a CD copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Good Manners for a Little Warrior by Kelly Chapman Review

The adventure begins when Luke and his friends are transported to a time of knights and nice manners. At Warrior Prince Academy the boys are challenged to:

  • let kindness reign in their hearts
  • dine with divine dignity
  • become a Golden Rule Keeper
  • be a noble and gracious friend

Every parent, grandparent, and Sunday school teacher will be excited to bestow the godly lessons of chivalry, courage, and confidence on the young boys in their lives (summary from the Harvest House site.)


Good Manners for a Little Warrior by Kelly Chapman is perfect for little children. The illustrations are well done, down to the details. Your littlest child will enjoy looking at the pages and seeing the antics even if they cannot read the story yet. This is the kind of book that can challenge newer readers while keeping their attention with interesting visuals.

September 2011 011There are several teaching moments within the five short chapters where you can pull out the manners that are being discussed and dialog with your child. I specifically enjoyed the list of “Royally Wrong Manners” on page nine as you can have your children brainstorm before you read the list to see if they can pick out the bad manners. I also liked the list of what a “Code Keeper” (page 20) looks like which has characteristics I would like my boys to learn and value.

The only drawback for me was that the story felt a little awkward in places especially as I was reading it aloud; however, I think that from a little boy’s point-of-view, it is just fine. After all, it it has adventure, knights, and sports. What more could you want?  My youngest was enthralled.

Have you read any of the Little Warrior Series?

I was given this book by Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Pick and Draw Game Review and Giveaway

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When the Pick and Draw game arrived, it took my son no time to read the rules, set it up, and begin drawing pages of faces.  With straight forward instructions put forth step by step, he was off.  We found that this card game can be used with any age and it can be done alone or together plus parents and teachers can use it as a learning tool.
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When I contacted Rich Davis to see about writing a review, he didn’t just send me one game; he sent me four! He asked me to use them in ministry here in Bolivia. I thought that was amazing! He told me that people are using the Pick and Draw games in India, Africa, Poland, and many other countries. Mr. Davis stated, “…even if they (missionaries or teams) can’t speak the language. Art, a gift from God, is a language all people can understand immediately.”  It is his greatest desire and a dream he believes God placed in his heart to see people come to know Jesus through art.  Pick and Draw is the beginning of God’s answer to that dream.

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What will we do with the extra games we received? One pack of Pick and Draw was already played during the English Village ministry which helps future missionaries and leaders from South America develop language learning skills. Another of the games will make it’s home in a small village where we have a single missionary who works with a church there. The children in that town are used to life without electricity and other conveniences, I really think this will become a highlight for them. The others will be used by our children’s ministry team, the school, and possibly the medical team plus we will enjoy our personal copy and make use of it as ministry comes along too. I am excited to see how this game might help us in sharing the Gospel.

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I highly recommend Pick and Draw for anyone with children. You can use it for an afternoon activity, waiting in a restaurant or office, a character for a short story, or many other things. If you want to give it a try, go HERE.

Please consider making a purchase (using the link or the button to the right) of Pick and Draw, at just $10.00 a game it would make a great gift for any occasion or just an addition to your lessons. If you do decide to get a copy or already own one, let me know what you think.

To Win a Pick and Draw Game 
Below are the various ways you can enter and the fine print.

  • Please remember to leave one comment for each entry.
  • Comments will close Monday, August 29TH at midnight (ET).
  • US addresses only.
  • Please note, once I post the winner you will have 48 hours to notify me or I will pick another. If you leave an email address, I will also email you if you win.
  • Winners are chosen using the random generator.


Leave a comment about why you would enjoy winning Pick and Draw or about games in general.

BONUS ENTRIES: (8 extra entries)

I received a copy of Pick and Draw in exchange for this review which is my own opinion. The links in this post and the button are affiliate links.