Summer Guest Post ~ Featuring Cassandra from A Glimpse of Normal

This summer, I have the privilege of hosting some of my blogging friends in our Summer Guest Post Series.  Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Cassandra from A Glimpse of Normal.  She’s going to share with you a fun craft that she made (because summer is a great time for creativity!), as she helped a bride prepare for her wedding.  Meet Cassandra!

Summer Guest Post banner

 

Recently I was asked to help with a Bridal Shower at our church. This bridal shower was for a girl who just graduated and she has been a part of my mentoring group throughout her time in our youth group. So I felt honored and excited to help with her shower. We divided up the tasks that needed to be done for the shower. I ended up helping by making the cupcakes and some of the decorations. I will tell you that I completely cheated and just used boxed cake mixes to make the cupcakes so I can’t really share that recipe with you. Instead I thought I would share one of the crafts I made for the bridal shower with you. I made circle streamers that were simple, but quick to put together and they can be used for many different events.

 

Cassandra 1Circle Streamers

Supplies Needed:

Fishing line – about 20” per streamer
1 1/2” Paper Circles – I cut mine with my Cricut, but you could easily use a circle punch
Sheets of 12×12 paper in assorted colors and/or patterns (the choice is up to you)
Clear Adhesive Dots
Scissors

Instructions:

1. I picked 20 sheets of 12×12 scrapbooking paper in shades of light blue and green for the brides wedding colors.

2. Using my Cricut (an electronic cutting machine), I cut as many 1 1/2” circles that would fit on each page. My Cricut cutting system makes this easy for me and calculates how many circles fit per page. Then I hit the “Cut” button and it does all the work for me. You can complete this step using a hand punch from the store, but I would recommend cutting your paper in strips first to maximize the space where the punch fits.

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3. Once the circles are all cut, I cut a length of fishing line about 20” long.

 

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4. Next I picked which color I wanted to start with (I alternated between green and blue) and picked up 2 circles the same color and pattern.

5. I put an adhesive dot on the backside of one circle and then attached it about 3 inches from the top of the fishing line onto the line but pushing the fishing line down in the adhesive dot.

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6. Then I placed the matching circle on top of that one and squished them together.

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7. I repeated this until I had 10 circles on each streamer and then I cut off any excess fishing line. You could definitely make your circle streamers shorter or longer depending on the height of the ceiling you are hanging them from

8. Repeat steps 3-7 until you have the desired number of circle streamers.

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I used this simple decoration for a bridal shower (I totally forgot to take a picture of the room we used once it was fully decorated), but it could be used for any type of shower or party. The circle streamers added just a little touch of youth and playfulness to the shower which is what we were going for in the overall them of the shower since this was a young couple. I will definitely make them again for birthday parties as my daughter already told me she wanted them for her party. After the bridal shower, I brought these circle streamers home and made a few more to use for our church Vacation Bible School. Our theme for VBS this year is Ocean Commotion and I though these circle streamers would make great “bubbles” to hang in the class my hubby is helping teach. See, they aren’t just for wedding showers!

I also created another craft for this shower that was simple and quick, but I will be sharing that over at my blog A Glimpse of Normal so you will have to go over there and check it out. Drop by sometime and let me know that Wren sent you! I blog about every day life around our house so you get quite a variety of things to read about. Thank you for reading today and I would like to say a HUGE thank you to Wren for letting me be a guest today!

Such a fun craft!  And in some of my favorite colors, too.  🙂  Be sure to visit Cassandra at A Glimpse of Normal.  She’s just a delight!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Notebooking Pages ~ Our Most Excellent Experiences & Review

Through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, Jackson and I have found an excellent new way to reinforce what he’s learning via books, textbooks, experiments, and many other school experiences.  We were SO fortunate to receive a Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership from NotebookingPages.com.  I have been really pleased with our experiences.  And I can tell you, this is a product we will be using during all our remaining years of homeschooling!

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What is notebooking, anyway?

“Notebooking” is simply journaling what you are learning, or what you have learned.  It can be anything from writing down the key points of a read-aloud’s chapter, to noting historical events and timing, to recording the experiences of  a field trip, to scientific principles, and more.  Anything that a child can recount that he’s learning, can become a notebooking exercise.  British educator Charlotte Mason espoused this as a key method of learning for children, and you’ll find it used by many homeschooling families today.

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What is NotebookingPages.com?

NotebookingPages.com creator Debra L. Reed, who’s also a homeschooling mother of 10, wanted her children to really learn what she was teaching them, and internalize those things for a lifetime, not just for the test (as many of us might have done during our own school careers!).  She also wanted to bring freedom to homeschooling mamas and families, and her NotebookingPages.com has done just that!  She has created an enormous plethora of pages for all kinds of subjects that students will encounter during their formal education.  In addition, she has teaching videos (as well as videos that tell the story of how and why NotebookingPages.com was born), and many different helps for the homeschooling parent.

 

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What you’ll find in the Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership:

If you’ve never used notebooking pages before, never fear!  Debra L. Reed has created an “Easy Start Guide” that takes the user step-by-step through an effective beginning (including videos, creating notebooks for both mama and student(s), and more).  Even if this method of learning is completely new to you, you’ll be equipped to start out simply by following this guide.

But of course, the Lifetime Membership doesn’t stop there!  Next, you’ll find what I (and probably you would as well!) find most exciting:  the “Membership Downloads.”  Also known as all the pages for all the subjects you want to teach, for students in grades K-12!  Here’s a listing of the categories:

  • Any Study (blank lines with clip art, attractive borders, and so on, for any subject)
  • A-Z (alphabet copy pages of many kinds for beginning students)
  • Bible and Character Study
  • Famous People (historical figures like First Ladies, missionaries, explorers, artists, etc.)
  • Fine Arts (including picture study, artists, composers)
  • Geography (continents, U.S., etc.)
  • History (from ancient times on, with timelines/century books)
  • Holidays
  • Language Arts (with a variety of copywork pages and even some Latin and Greek word study)
  • Science/Nature

Each of these comes in files which can be downloaded onto your home computer, and printed from there.  Or you could, of course, put them on a flash drive and take them to a copy center, if you’re unable to print at home.  The Lifetime Membership enables the user to access everything on the website for generations to come, whether they’re current products or future ones that are still being added.  There is no time limit on the Lifetime Membership!

 

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How we used these pages:

We used our notebooking pages the most during this review period, on science work.  (For some reason, our schedule has been science-heavy the last few months!)  First, we worked on an upper middle school Life Science study.  It was extremely well-written.  Yet for some reason, it didn’t work well for us as a read-aloud and my son had a hard time concentrating on it when he read it himself.  I think that it was just so chock-full of information that it was a little too much for his brain to absorb.  NotebookingPages.com to the rescue!  I printed out some pages with colorful borders from the “Any Study” section.  These pages have lines for writing and boxes for writing lists or drawing diagrams.  This made THE difference for us, taking our study from a good curriculum that was a bit difficult for us to work with, to making a challenging subject completely understandable.  I wrote questions, fill-in-the-blanks, and words to define (as well as diagrams to reproduce), and Jackson used these alongside his book as he read.  What a difference!  Plus, he was creating his own study sheets as he worked on these pages.  Win-win!

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We used the notebooking pages with two other science programs as well, both heavy on experiments.  With one of them, Jackson drew diagrams of the circuits he built and then wrote explanations of what they did, and the components he used to build them.  With the other, which dealt with physics experiments, he defined words and explained the principles he discovered as he worked the experiments.  For these, we printed out pages from the Science/Nature section of NotebookingPages.com; they’re black and white with a “Science” header.

NotbPgs 2Since it’s summer, we have had the opportunity to use some of the notebooking pages we might not have gotten to during a regular September-May school year.  Recently, our family took a vacation to Texas and New Mexico.  So we printed the USA State Study Sets (there’s one for each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.) from the Geography section, specifically for Texas.  The pages we used had spaces for state information (date of statehood, bird, motto, etc.) plus blank pages where you could fill out information on things you did or places you went.  They were just fabulous pages (okay, I am from Texas myself, so I admit I might have had a slight bias here) and so interesting for Jackson to fill out.

Notbkg 5The second set of pages we used on our vacation were also from the Geography section, from the USA National Monuments segment.  We visited Capulin Volcano National Monument, and NotebookingPages.com has pages just for that!  So before we left on our trip, I printed those pages.  They included blank lines and a box to fill in (Jackson did a map of the hiking trails at the monument there), as well as photos of the dormant volcano and a U.S. map for marking its location.  I loved the way having a record of our trip made it even more memorable, and visual.

I have to admit to you that I am not generally a fan of printables.  I just find it, sometimes, so unhelpful to have to print things at home.  Plus our printer sometimes runs through ink VERY quickly.  That has not been the case with my NotebookingPages.com membership, though.  It is so easy to download and to print.  I don’t really even have to think about it!

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Our recommendations:

Do you want to ensure that your children are really learning the things they are studying?  Do you want to teach them good memory techniques, great note-taking skills, and build in them scholastic habits that will serve them well for a lifetime?  And do you want to help them to really become lifelong learners?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes!”, then I believe that NotebookingPages.com is something that you’ll not only enjoy, but that your child will greatly benefit from.  For us, it has been an incredible gift, and just what we need for a student who’s beginning his high school years.  (Although younger students will certainly find these notebooking pages both amazing, enjoyable, and useful as well!)

Jackson, who’s just finished the 8th grade and will be starting 9th grade in the fall, LOVES the notebooking pages he has used.  He felt that they were enjoyable to use, but also that they really helped him in the learning and studying processes.  Each and every time we used them, he was happy to do the schoolwork!

And finally….

You can purchase the amazing Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership from NotebookingPages.com.  It really is the most incredible resource.  I know we’ll find many other ways to use it in our homeschool, in nearly every subject (if not all of them)!

You can visit NotebookingPages.com at the following social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debrareed.notebookingpages/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NotebookingPgs @NotebookingPgs

Enjoy!  –Wren

Notebooking Pages Lifetime Membership Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

From Our Archives: It’s Farmers’ Market Time!

Here’s a great post from Finch, from our archives.  Even has a kitty pic.  Enjoy!

Well, lesson learned today..decided to visit our local farmer’s market. We arrived at 9:20 a.m. lots of cars and still quite a few Farmers with produce to sell.

We were quickly schooled by an older farmer who when I asked “What time do you get here?” He replied: “6:45.” Oh, I said: “and what time do the customer’s arrive?”

“5:45, I have a line out the door.” Oops…early birds do get the worm…

We were still able to buy some wonderful things:

Loaf of Sourdough bread, fresh and warm

Homemade mixed berry jam

Cucumbers

Bell Peppers

Squash

A ton of Basil

Two gorgeous Cantaloupes

Best of all…loved seeing the local farmers and buying true organic!!  Cleo was less than thrilled…

Enjoy—Finch

I cant eat this

Summer Guest Posts ~ Featuring Annette from A Net In Time

I am so happy to be featuring some of my favorite bloggers this summer, in our new Summer Guest Posts series.  They’ll be sharing words from their hearts, about their lives, and their activities.  Today, I’d like you to meet Annette from A Net In Time blog.  She has some lovely words for you!

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Dear Homeschool Mama

You know who you are…the one who does dishes at 11 p.m. because well.. the house is quiet and it’s a good time to think and plan out your day.  Or hold on…. maybe that’s just me!  RIGHT.. it is just me…

but none the less… Mama, Papa, Gramma….you know who you are.

You are the one that is there… teaching, thinking, providing, nurturing, answering, listening, questioning, pushing, pulling and sometimes even yelling…at yourself, at your children, at  your God.

Wondering sometimes if anyone notices what’s going on.

hmm.. I wonder…am I still just talking about myself?

But perhaps I am also talking about you?

You know. the you that you hide away from others, the you that says… will it ever be enough?

Will anyone really notice the heart and soul I’ve poured into these children?  Into this child here?

Wishing, praying, hoping that they will mature into people able to stand for the kingdom of God?

It doesn’t matter you know.. if YOU are noticed.

It doesn’t even matter if your children are noticed.

What matters mama is this….are you doing what you know you are supposed to?

Do you see your calling of God?

If you do mama, know it’s okay.

Know that God sees you and HE knows, he notices, he cares, he watches and holds you…closer than anyone else can hold you.

Annette's bunny

He will give you what you need, whether it be a sermon that reminds you of who you are in his sight, a hug from a hubby and a back rub that says.. tough day lovey?   Sit back a spell.. take a break with me.   Perhaps it will be a little bunny tumbling out of its cage in its rush to see you and it just melts your heart with delight and all is right with the world again.

God knows.

God sees.

and it’s enough.

It’s enough Mama.. just rest your heart in him.

I hope you enjoyed Annette’s beautiful encouraging words today.  You can visit her at her blog, A Net In Time.  You’ll enjoy it, I know!

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Thanks for stopping by!  –Wren

LearnBop for Families ~ The Online Math Tutor You’ve Been Looking For

Have you been looking for ways your children can keep their math skills up, over the summer months?  We found the perfect solution for this potential problem when we were offered LearnBop‘s LearnBop for Families to use and review via the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It has been a great experience for us (which is saying something, when a love-hate relationship with math lives in your household!)  We received a prepaid version (12 month subscription) for the Single Student Plan (although there is also a Family Plan available for up to 4 students).  It’s completely digital and online, and students watch, answer, and learn via the website.

LearnBop Banner

What is LearnBop for Families?

LearnBop itself is a program which teaches math and gives additional instruction on concepts students miss or don’t understand….all online.  LearnBop has been used in schools for some time.  They developed their new program, LearnBop for Families, for students to use at home.  It’s designed for students in grades 3-12 (although younger students have also used it successfully).

And how does LearnBop for Families work?  It organizes math concepts into learning plans called Learning Roadmaps, which contain thorough lessons on them.  There might be anywhere from 11-13, or more, plans or units in each grade level or roadmap.  And each of those has a number of lessons in it.  Students watch videos, answer questions, and are given additional problems.

LearnBop 1

Here is where things get interesting.  In each roadmap, students begin by completing a Warmup.  This warmup presents a number of different questions that illustrate the math concepts that will be taught in the particular unit.  The student works through the questions and the problems and enters his answers.  Then, based on how well he scores on the warmup questions, the website calculates his understanding of the concepts.  And fabulously, it develops a plan of study, called Building Blocks, for the student!  The Building Blocks provide teaching videos on each concept that needs to be mastered.  After the student watches the teaching videos, he can either watch additional videos on the concepts or proceed to the Bops, where he’s given problems to work so that he can show mastery of those concepts.  Once he has completed the Bops (math problems) with a 90% success rate, he can move on to the next Roadmap, which starts the entire process again.

 

LearnBop 2How we used it

My son will be entering high school in the fall as a ninth grader, and I thought that spending time with LearnBop over the summer reviewing the math concepts of his middle school years would be a great way to prepare him for the Algebra I class he’ll begin in September.  So we used a Roadmap that started with graphing along the x and y axes, introductory algebraic concepts with variables, and geometry.

We have used some different curricula over Jackson’s middle school years, and another reason I wanted to use LearnBop for review is because I wanted to ensure that he’d covered everything in those various curricula that he’d need to be successful in math during his high school years.  So as he worked through the roadmaps, I sat nearby so that I could make sure that the program itself worked and so that I could see what he was covering in each roadmap.  This ended up being a great plan for us, because we had a lot of conversations about why the math processes worked as they did.  And while I can’t say this about every math curricula we’ve used over the years, I LOVE LearnBop as a tutoring program!

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The videos teach the math concepts VERY calmly and clearly.  While students do need to watch additional teaching videos if they miss problems, my son never felt like that was a punishment.  (And he is not really a math fan.)  There is enough repetition in the problems that the student can really grasp the concepts by exposure and experience.  I did feel that the math seemed just a bit above what I’d have thought was grade level.  However, that was never a problem for us.  We’d just slowly and carefully work through each problem (sometimes with math, the student’s challenges are not that he can’t do the math, but that he’s working through it so quickly that he misses something) until understanding was reached and mastery demonstrated by the Roadmap.

The program also has some nice kudos for the student, in the form of badges and accomplishments that are displayed on the bottom of their pages.  In addition, the Single Student Plan that we used allowed us to have a student account and a parent’s account.  So if I needed a personal refresher in a math concept Jackson was working on, I could create a Roadmap in my own account and work the problems through that.  The parent’s account works in just the same way as the student’s, with Warmups, teaching videos, and Building Blocks problems.  (I admit that I’ve forgotten more upper-level algebra than I thought I had!)

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I really appreciated that we were able to work through a number of different grade levels via LearnBop.  I know that we have covered some of these topics but it has been awhile; and they’re all concepts that will be vital for Jackson to clearly remember and understand as he enters high school.  It has been a great learning experience that he’s been able to do with little anxiety (other than he’d really rather not be working on his least favorite subject during the summer months).  But from the mom’s point of view, it’s as stress-free as it could be.  Plus, it’s thorough!

 

LearnBop 5Our conclusions

I am a fan of LearnBop for Families.  It came along for us at a time when we really needed some excellent math reviewing time.  The lessons are easy to use, the video teaching is clearly presented, and the resulting and necessary problems provided for students really enable them to practice and improve on their math skills.

During our review time, we only experienced one issue in the program when it wouldn’t allow Jackson’s entered answers to be taken so that he could progress in the lesson.  This only happened yesterday, but we submitted a help request and should be hearing back any time.

Other Crew members reviewed different age levels offered by LearnBop.  If you’d like to hear more about their experiences, click on the banner below, which will provide links for other homeschoolers’ reviews.  You may purchase subscriptions for LearnBop for Families on a subscription plan (month-by-month) or a prepaid (yearly) basis at LearnBop.  If you’re in need of some math tutoring for your own students, this may be just what you’re looking for!

You can visit LearnBop and learn more at these social media sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LearnBop
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LearnBop @LearnBop

 

Enjoy! –Wren

LearnBop for Families Review
Crew Disclaimer

THE KINGDOM OF THRIM ~ Beautiful Children’s Book

Janis Cox has written and illustrated a beautiful new book for children, The Kingdom of Thrim.  She very kindly sent me a digital copy of this book, so that I could share my thoughts about it with you!

Kingdom of Thrim banner

I first connected with Canadian author Janis Cox on Twitter.  She had posted a photo of the most marvelous painting of the Lion of Judah, that she had painted herself.  I messaged her that our family loved the lion, and started following her Twitter account.  When she announced on Twitter that she was going to be publishing a children’s book and was looking for launch team members, I knew that I had to join and see what I knew would be an incredible piece of work.

And, I was right!

Kingdom of Thrim meme 1Janis’ newest book is entitled The Kingdom of Thrim, the second book in her Growing with God Series.  It’s both a wonderful story and a parable which has beautiful truths to share with its readers, whether they are children or adults.

 

Kingdom of Thrim book cover

What is The Kingdom of Thrim?

The Kingdom of Thrim is the story of Yoj (pronounced like the “j” in “Taj Mahal”), who is a happy doll maker in the kingdom where he lives.  He has an unusual gift; he designs and creates dolls, each one with its own special and unique appearance.  All his fellow citizens are delighted with his work, and he spends happy hours dreaming up and making each doll.  He is a beloved part of his community, where he has many friends.  His fame has spread throughout his entire country, and people travel to him to purchase his lovely toys.  He’s fully living life in the gifts God has planted in him.

One day, however, a man from Shadowland visits Yoj, with a business proposition.  He promises wealth and fame, if Yoj will just leave Thrim and come to work in the man’s factory.  Yoj leaps into this opportunity….but he forgets to ask God if this is His good plan for the doll maker.  So he goes with the businessman to a large, grey, ugly city, and the factory where he’s to work.

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Yoj is on a journey.  He notices that his work is suffering, that his creativity is stifled, and that the joy he previously worked in has left him.  What will Yoj do?  Can Yoj undo his decision, and return to the life he’d lived in Thrim?  And can his choices affect those around him?

Have you ever had a time when you jumped into an opportunity without having heard from the Lord if this was His good plan for you?  I certainly have.  And yet even when I make wrong decisions, the Lord patiently and kindly brings me back to His perfect plan.  He even redeems the messes I have made.  The Kingdom of Thrim tells this sort of story, in words so simple that a child can understand them…but so profound that they’ll touch the hearts of both adults and children.  Join Yoj on his journey, and see God and His love for each of us as we walk with Him on His good paths for us!

 

Kingdome of Thrim 4Where can you find The Kingdom of Thrim?

You can purchase this lovely book at http://www.janiscox.com/bookstore/ and at http://shoppagemaster.ca/The-Kingdom-of-Thrim.html ; it’s also available at Amazon.  (Check out Janis’ author page at Amazon, where you can see more about her and her books!)

Also, if you purchase The Kingdom of Thrim before June 28, you will receive some lovely extras; an ebook or PDF of The Kingdom of Thrim and a PDF of Five Extended Activities.  The Five Extended Activities are wonderful projects you can do with your children, or even use in homeschooling to turn this book into a unit study.

The Kingdom of Thrim is both a beautiful parable and a wonderful story, personalized with Janis’ incredible watercolor paintings.  Her artwork brings Thrim and Shadowland to life, as well as all the characters of the book…and the lives they live.  Beauty and shadow are clearly contrasted in the choices Yoj makes and their effects on his life.  And, they show that redemption is always waiting around the corner!  Get your own copy of The Kingdom of Thrim…and see what God can do with not only Yoj and his friends…but us as well!

Kingdom of Thrim Janis picYou can visit Janis at her social media sites:

Website: www.janiscox.com
Facebook Page: AuthorJanisCox
Facebook Page: GrowingWithGod
Twitter: @AuthorJanisCox
Pinterest: AuthorJanisCox

Disclosure:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinions, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Enjoy!  –Wren

A Review of “My Mother’s Quilts” ~ along with a quilt giveaway!

Are you a quilt lover?

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I am.  I’ve always found quilts so beautiful.  My grandmother was a quilter, and she made quilts both utilitarian and lovely.  (And some of them, like her dark brown one, were extremely warm!)

I’ve never mastered….or even taken up the art of quilting.  I don’t personally believe that my seamstressing skills are up to the task.  But I can certainly enjoy the beauties and hand-sewing that others do.

Author Ramona Richards appreciates a good quilt as well.  And in her family, there is a centuries-long tradition of quilting, begun in 1830 with a “Carolina Lily” pattern, and a quilt with history as colorful as can be imagined.  This art was passed down and carried on by both her grandmother and her mother, who left Richards with a bounty of hand-pieced quilts and stories associated with them, that reinforce her love of God, family, and beauty.  In My Mother’s Quilts: Devotions of Love, Legacy, Family and Faith, she opens the doors to her family’s lives and shares those tales, and the quilts which inspired them.

 

My Mother's Quilts 1The book itself is a hardback, about the size of a 5″ x 7″ photograph.  It has a ribbon so that you can mark your place in the book, and the pages and photographs are printed on lovely, glossy paper that beautifully showcases the quilts that are shown.  The photos are indeed beautiful and restful…and the devotions written by Richards also promote that same sense of grace and peace.

Richards’ stories include wonderful ones about a mother’s faith; a grandmother’s finding of her own place and work; the author’s own journey to faith and through life’s challenges, all anchored by the hand of God moving through each life and event, and the colorful family quilts that illustrate them.  In 60 different devotions, accompanied by different quilt patterns and photos, Richards shares both the work and love that go into the making of a quilt, and the way God uses so many different events in our lives to shape us and show His care for us.

Readers will also be introduced to a variety of different quilts, such as Carolina Lily, Ohio Star, Cathedral Window, Ribbon, Dutch Doll, and so many more.  Reading this book will provide moments of peace and beauty, and encouragement to know that God is with us in every step of our lives.

 

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And you have an opportunity to win….a quilt, or other goodies!

Win one of the quilts featured in #MyMothersQuilts by Ramona Richards. Also up
for grabs: loads of other prizes including quilting hand warmers, coloring books,
and 25 signed copies of Ramona’s book. Winners will be emailed after the contest
ends on June 30, 2016.

Just click on Win This Friendship Quilt! to enter.  And best wishes to you!

thumbnail_Win This Friendship Quilt!

Official site- http://bit.ly/MothersQuilts
ShopBetterBooks.com- http://bit.ly/MothersQuiltsSBB

 

About the Author:

Ramona Richards is an award-winning editor, speaker, author of nine books, and a
frequent contributor to devotional collections. An avid live music fan, Ramona loves
Nashville, which she’s called home since she was ten. Sensing her mother was near
the end of her life, Ramona documented her mother’s stories and lessons behind
each family quilt. These stories form the devotions in My Mother’s Quilts. Find out
more about Ramona and her books by visiting her online at ramonarichards.com.

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Hope Unfolding ~ A Great New Encouraging Read from Becky Thompson

I have to admit that I chose this book in part because of its beautiful cover:

Hope Unfolding image

I have to admit, my life is not organized around beauty, or beautiful things.  (We tend more to the practical, usable, and so on.)  But every now and then, I crave beauty.  I want to see and smell fresh flowers, or look at beautiful art, or take pictures of an incredible sunset.  So when I saw Hope Unfolding for the first time, I was in one of those places where my heart and my spirit were calling out for beauty.

But Hope Unfolding is much, much more than just a beautiful cover.  It is filled with joy, encouragement, truth and hope for mamas who need someone to speak those things into their lives.  And this book met those needs for me wonderfully.

Author Becky Thompson, of the blog Scissortail Silk (now BeckyThompson.com), is a mother herself.  And she knows all about how moms need to hear from God about their value, their meaning, and His love for them.  And the fact that He is happy about them and what they are doing!

In this encouraging read, Becky talks about:

  • how God has not forgotten about you
  • how His plans for you are perfect—whether you can see the way they’re working out or not
  • how He can, and desires to, be the strength that you need
  • how you don’t have to compare yourself to that “perfect” mom you know—that you can have grace for yourself
  • and so many more thoughts and ideas that will bless a mama

 

Summer 2016 079As I said, I received this lovely book at a time when I really needed some beauty in my life.  We were heading toward the end of a very full (scholastically) semester, I had stacks of projects I hadn’t had a moment to turn my attention toward, I had a lapful of reviews to write…and I was tired.  Really tired.  And don’t get me wrong!  I love my family.  I love what I do, and what we do together.  But it had been a full, and at times, challenging, semester.

So I received Hope Unfolding.  I read a few paragraphs of it most mornings during my quiet time.  And oh, how it blessed me!  It nourished my soul.  It spoke truths over me that I needed to hear.  And it increased my joy and helped me think about the things that are true….not the things my circumstances were telling me.

If you look at the right of the book in my photo above, you can see lots of turquoise blue tabs.  Do you know what those are?  They’re tiny Post-It notes.  Stuck on paragraphs or words that really spoke to my heart.  (There are a lot of those, aren’t there?)  Here are just a couple of my most-loved ones:

  • “What if I reminded you that even the most unspectacular moments are all steps on the path down which God is calling your heart?” (p. 26)
  • “…the Lord taught me what it meant to stop in the middle of my day and listen for how He might be leading me.  This tuned my ears to hear His voice more clearly.” (p. 45)
  • “But the truth is, the sun can only stay hidden for so long before it begins to rise again, and hope can only stay buried for so long before it begins to bloom.”  (p.63)

So many good and perfect words that I needed to hear more than I knew.  (And I didn’t even list half of the most meaningful!)  This lovely, lovely book did just what the title promised; it unfolded hope in me.

And I would say that that is an incredible outcome for the time I spent in it!  Hope Unfolding is going to stay on the bookcase beside my bed, where I can reach for it in the coming months.  I know it will continue to be a joyful, rich resource.

Enjoy!  –Wren

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

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