Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I think this year I'm seeing more and more people decorating for Christmas as soon as Halloween is over. For the holidays, I'm sharing the products I've had the opportunity to review for the season and suggest for the holidays! Hope you get some great ideas!

For the Home:

For the Crafter

For the Family

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beautiful Word Coloring Bible For Girls Review & Giveaway

NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 9780310763543

You must know my love of Bibles considering the ones I've been talking about! And they're not always just for me! I received this Bible from Zonderkidz for a review. I'll be donating it to our youth group so that it can be given to a girl who needs her own Bible!


The NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls contains hundreds of inspiring verses illustrated in detailed, ready-to-color line art created just for girls ages 8-12 so they can reflect on the precious truths of Scripture. The thick white paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins provides ample space for your own artistic expressions and journaling.

Features of this treasured Bible include:
  • Hundreds of verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art
  • Thicker white paper for enduring note-taking
  • Lined, wide margins for notes, reflections and art
  • Full text of the most read, most trusted modern-English Bible; the New International Version (NIV)
  • Easy-to-read black letter text in single-column format
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker
  • Beautiful debossed and screen-printed leathersoft over board binding

My Review:

What young girl doesn't want her own Bible? I loved my girls (and my boys) having their own Bibles they could study with at home and bring to church with them. This Bible is a beautiful way to draw them into the Word. It says it's for girls 8-12, but after looking through it, there's no reason a teenage girl wouldn't love this Bible. I know my oldest daughter would've used it through high school!

The wide margins are great for taking notes or if they decide to get creative, they can doodle! The pages are thin so you can see the designs through the pages. I would suggest using a colored pencil when coloring it in. Then there are a few pages with text that you really can't color. With hundreds of verses to color, those text ones are just a drop in the bucket.

I love the two page spreads. What a wonderful way to have girls taking in the Word while adding their own touch to their personal Bible. I love the idea that the girls as they grow up, their Bible will be with them, and one day maybe pass it on to their own daughters! How great would it be to look back on that time while passing on a heritage!!

Now you have the opportunity to win one of your own! Now, it won't be to you in time for Christmas so please keep that in mind! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Nutcracker At Westfield Mall

It's a magical time of year! One of the most cherished traditions during the holidays is taking in The Nutcracker. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Westfield Mall - Annapolis to enjoy a High Tea and The Nutcracker.  The Ballet Theater of Maryland sent their dancers to perform selections from the performance while parents and children were served a tea party!

100% of the proceeds benefits Anne Arundel Medical Center Pediatrics. This year they had 5 sold out shows! Tickets were only $10/person! Isn't that incredible? Maybe you want to introduce your children to The Nutcracker, but you're not sure if they'll sit through an entire performance, this is the way to do it AND give back at the same time.

I have to tell you how sweet it was to see moms, grandmas, and their little children taking in the wonder of it all. They serve child friendly food:

Of course there's enough for everyone at the table along with the desserts! The tea was delicious, and thankfully they had a good selection. The staff at Westfield Mall serves the food and tea. It's incredible the amount of work that goes into pulling this whole shindig off!

The first performance didn't last as long as shown on the schedule. It might've been because it was the first performance. It only lasted about 45 minutes. Each pair or individual ballet dancers would get on the stage outside of Nordstrom and perform a dance that lasted a few minutes.

After the entire performance was finished, the dancers came out to greet the attendees. Moms and grandmas had the little kids taking pictures with the group. It was really cute. Then the big kahuna himself showed up...Santa! Oh my gosh, once he made an appearance, some fake snow started falling, and the kids flocked to him.

Now, as you can imagine, these tickets sold out in a hot minute! With only 5 performances and limited seating, you have got to be on top of it in November to make sure you get seats. yes, this year's performances are over, but you can put it on your calendar now to make sure you don't miss out next year. It's an incredible way to make memories and introduce your children or grandchildren to a timeless holiday tradition!

World Vision Gift Catalog For Christmas Giveaway

One of my favorite organizations to work with every year is World Vision! We love giving back as a family and knowing how we're specifically doing that is possible with World Vision. I was incredibly thankful to partner with them again this year for Christmas! They sent me some amazing items from their World Vision Gift Catalog.

A little hope goes a long way and generosity multiplies. World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers gifts that have a multiplier effect—positively impacting the giver, receiver and those in need. Your readers can eliminate shopping guilt and join World Vision's efforts to tackle poverty and injustice around the world, helping children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential.

There are so many ways you can give through World Vision!

  • Where most needed.
  • Is your heart to help out locally? You can donate to end poverty in America!
  • Maybe you love to help children so Child Protection would be a great choice!
  • If you've always wanted to help empower girls & women, that's an option
  • Your family could get together for one big gift.

We love to pick a few different options depending on who we're giving for. When it's Fred's kids we donate soccer balls. For my family it's typically giving animals such as ducks, chickens, or rabbits! There are so many amazing ways to coordinate gifts for everyone in your family. It's also a great gift for a co-worker. You know that hard person to shop for? This is the way to go!

When you give where it's most needed here are some amazing items YOU get as well:

  • The Heaton Hope Bracelet ($100) – This year, everyone’s favorite TV mom, Patricia Heaton, has partnered with World Vision to design the Patricia Heaton Hope Bracelet. The name was purposely chosen to encourage people to feel hopeful about our world and to give hope, through generosity, to those in need.

This is a beautiful, textured bracelet that is definitely a statement piece.
It will grab people's curiosity which means you can discuss how a donation
to World Relief in turn gave you this bracelet as your reminder!

  • Vietnamese Tote ($100) – Disabled Vietnamese women gain independence by creating these beautiful hand-embroidered purses.
I can't begin to tell you how much I love this bag! The colors are perfect
for using all year long. It's a fantastic size which means you can carry nearly
everything! The design makes it fun and is very eye catching.

  • African Soapstone Box ($85) – Talented artisans bring raw stone to life with etched designs and hand dyed finishes that showcase modern African creativity and provide a sustainable way out of poverty.
I was so surprised at how heavy this was. It's the perfect place to keep my trinkets!
This will spend it's time on our new bookshelf so we can remember to be praying for the
families and individuals who impacted by the giving of everyone!

  • Charm Necklace ($100) – Made by a gold and silver plating specialist in India, the unique and elegant charms make this necklace a subtle statement piece.
This is a very feminine, delicate necklace. I like that you can wear it with your
scarf and the blues match. I like the idea of giving a gift of "where most needed"
and then gifting this necklace to a friend or loved one. The receiver will know
how special the necklace is.

  • Infinity Scarf ($75) – This fashion-forward accessory is made by artisans in India who are trained in the loom industry to attain skills and a sustainable livelihood.
I wasn't expecting this necklace to be nearly as fun as it was. The variety of designs
connected to the scarf make it extremely versatile. It's also a light weight material so
it can be worn year round!

  • Wraparound Ring ($55) – A vibrant, adjustable ring with aqua and blue chalcedony stones set in metal, made by female artisans in India.
You can see the ring closer up above. It's a wraparound which
is the type of ring I've wanted for a long time. I've got small fingers
so it's helpful that the ring is adjustable.

As you can see, there are an incredible number of ways you can give now and any time throughout the year with World Vision. I'm so thankful for the lives this organization speaks life into!

Now you have the opportunity to win each of these gift basket items shown above. When paired with the donation that's a $500 value. Individually it's approximately a $153 value! Once you're done entering, be sure to visit everyone else!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 3, 2017

She Reads Truth Bible & Giveaway

She Reads Truth Bible
Publisher: Holman Bible Publisher
ISBN: 978-1433648212

I have a love for a variety of Bibles. I remember my first one was a parallel Bible and I loved it! Things went uphill from there! When I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media, I was really looking forward to diving into it. My husband is a fan of the Holman Christian Standard Bible so I really wanted to see what he liked so much.


The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of "Women in the Word of God every day." The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Ad: This beautiful Bible will make a great gift. Enter thru 12/10/17

Features include:

  • almost 200 devotionals
  • 66 artist-designed key verses
  • 35 full-color timelines
  • 20 full-color maps
  • 11 full-color charts
  • reading plans for every book of the Bible
  • one-year Bible reading plan
  • detailed book introductions
  • key verse list
  • carefully curated topical index
  • smyth-sewn binding
  • two colored ribbon markers
  • wide margins for journaling and note-taking. 

Here is a purchase link:

My review:

First I have to say how beautiful this Bible is from beginning to end. I love the color (Poppy Linen) of the Bible and it's case. It's incredibly feminine from start to finish. Is it silly for me to mention that I love the two ribbon bookmarks? How is that not a thing already. So many uses for multiple bookmarks!

Somehow, many Bibles don't have explanations at the beginning of each chapter. Shocking since I think it's so important for the reader to understand what's going on in each book! There's a sweet artistic verse at the beginning of each one as well. It's incredibly helpful that there's an explanation of how to reach each chapter. Books of the Bible, while they can stand alone, are each part of the big picture and all work together, so reading the parts of the Bible they suggest will give the reader a better understanding of the book you're currently in.

I think my favorite art is at the beginning of Ruth. It's just so beautiful. For some reason it just pulls my heart to it!

There's great room in the margins to take notes or if you're a doodler to make designs. I remember the first time I saw someone write in their Bible. I was aghast! Of course that was because of my upbringing. I'm so glad I don't think that way any more. A Bible is about the only book I will actually write in. lol

One thing to note is that this isn't a red letter Bible. Jesus' words aren't noted in red like I'm typically used to. It throws me off a little bit when I'm trying to find Jesus speaking, but His words aren't written in red. HA! I'm a creature of habit.

I think my only "negative" is that since the pages are thin, the dark colors that are used with the art and the chapter beginnings show through to the other side. The gorgeous bouquet to start Jude is a good example of this. It doesn't make the text on the previous page unreadable, but you can definitely see the image on the other side.

This Bible would make a lovely gift for any occasion or for you to keep as your every day Bible. Not sure if there are people like me, but I keep a Bible in my car (it's my church Bible), one with my couch in case I ever need one on the spot, one in the bedroom, and at least one on the bookshelf. Seriously, I'm ready no matter what! hahahaha

Through 12/10/17 you have the opportunity to win one of 7 She Reads Truth Bibles! Be sure to enter TODAY by clicking on that link.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

More Alike Than Different

Do we realize that we're more alike than different? Clearly not when we look at the state of our country. I think most of us think we're so vastly different than our neighbor, we may as well just dislike them from the get-go. I have a blogging friend who is, at first glance, so different than me you'd think we'd have nothing to talk about or anything in common. I mean, hello, that's what I thought! Then we chatted, and chatted some more. Turns out, we're more alike than different!

I would actually like to speak more in this post to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Several years ago, my daughter and I were driving together and she said something so profound (actually it probably won't be to many, but it was to me) it utterly changed my way of thinking. I can't remember verbatim, but basically it was, "But they don't believe like we do, so they're not held to the same standard as us, right? They can't follow what the Bible says because they don't believe in it." It broke my heart when I realized I hadn't been living with this thinking all along. Maybe you're like me and thought the same way too. Do you remember yourself before you came to know Jesus personally? Holy Hannah, she was right!

Once I became a Christian, I basically wanted everyone to live the way → I ← believed. I followed the rules now and thought everyone should too. It didn't seem too complicated, except that it was! I was pretty much a modern day Pharisee. I didn't realize I was living in a very legalistic mindset!

As Christians, we are told to love God and love others. Loving others should come as an extension of loving God. Jesus is our living example. When we look at how Jesus treated others, people who were sinners, did he berate them, throw stones, or show hatred? We know he wasn't Mr. Fluffy saying, "Oh, go do what you want. Whatever makes you happy is fine by me." No. Jesus is a balance of grace, mercy, and Truth. Truth isn't always easy.

Here's a great example of Jesus lovingly taking care of a sinner and then speaking Truth to them. John 8: 2-11 A woman is about to be stoned because she was caught in adultery. Did he look at her like she was disgusting, like she had no value, or that she deserved to be stoned? That would be a big negatory good buddy! He turned to those who wanted to stone her, the BELIEVERS, not the SINNER, and said to them, "The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her."

I mean, hello, can we talk about Matthew 7: 1-6? Do Not Judge Let's muck that out for a minute, shall we? When we see a brother or sister in Christ who is making poor decisions and who is sinning, we need to approach them as we're led by the Lord to lovingly remind them of their relationship to Christ. But, Christian, if you are judging that person, you my friend are a sinner just as much as they are. You need to take that big ol' log out of your own eye. Jesus calls you a hypocrite! Ouch! BEFORE you go to a brother or sister in Christ...NOT an unbeliever, get yourself right with the Lord so you can approach that person.

Le's say your family finds a stray puppy. I know, I know, I'm comparing human beings to a puppy. Just roll with me here, okie dokie? If you find a puppy, or even an old dog roaming down your street, is your first thought to go over and yell at it, kick it, or berate it for not being at home with it's master? No! (at least I hope it's a no) You see that it's lost. That it's probably scared, hasn't eaten any good food, and could use some water. That's how people are without the Lord in their lives. They might not be scared, but they are lost. They haven't eaten the bread of life or drank the living water. As the family, you need to gain their trust, bring them home and love on them! That's what unbelievers need from us!

Look at the stinking world around us! How much hatred do you see towards one another? How much of it do you see coming from God fearing, God loving Christ followers? I see way too much. I can only imagine how heart broken God is when he looks at those who claim to love Him and follow Him. How would you feel as a parent if your kid was condemning one of the other kids in his class? What if your child saw another child look at another student's test? Then your child stood up yelling that he caught that child cheating and that he should be sent to the principal's office and suspended from school or even expelled. Would you be mortified and completely saddened by your child's behavior? I'd imagine that's how our Father might look at us some times. Yelling, pointing fingers at the unbeliever who doesn't understand! What are we thinking? Honest to goodness.

I know that we all need to take a deep look inside. We have to understand we aren't perfect and we don't have all of the answers! We are all in need of a Savior. EVEN if we're Christians we are still in need of Christ's grace and mercy on a daily basis.

Get grace, give grace.
Get mercy, give mercy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

All Things Now Living By Rondi Bauer Olson 12/1

All Things Now Living
by Rondi Bauer Olson
Publisher: Written World Communications
ISBN: 978-1938679100

Having not read any books by this author before, and having my interest piqued about the idea of reading a Christian dystopian novel, I jumped at the chance to do a review of All Things Now Living thanks to Litfuse.


Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn't like anything to die, she won't even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can't let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it's God's will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God's curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy's feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn't end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome's collapse, but if Amy doesn't find her father's contact in time, she'll die, along with everyone else. 
Olson pin2

My Review:

I knew that All Things Now Living would be different than most books I read these days. That being said, I used to read this type of novel as a young teen. I also like reading books that my kids and I can talk about as well as enjoy together. I like the idea of different genres of novels weaving in a Christian message.

For me, I really never got into the book. I was confused at a number of spots at the writing really isn't a style I like. Moreover I wasn't a fan of the main character, Amy basically falling for Daniel within about 3 seconds. It really rubbed me the wrong way with how fast they trusted and became reliant on each other. I liked the premise of the book, I just couldn't get into it.

That being said, I thought, "Well, let me ask my 14 yr old son to read it." the book is written for a young adult crowd and I figured, he's just as judgy as I am so if he doesn't like it either, then at least I've been validated by my 14 yr old. lol

He basically read it in a day and liked it. I kept pestering him because I figured he'd get to a point where, if I asked him at least one more time he'd finally say, "You know mom, I just don't like it." He never said that. Every time I asked him, "So, what do you think of the book?" he'd reply, "It's good." When he finished it I asked him one more time and his opinion hadn't changed. We did chat a little about how parts of it were confusing and he agreed that he was confused at times as well. He also liked the author's style of writing.

Looks like we found a book we don't quite agree on, but since I'm not the author's target audience and he is, I'm going to go with his opinion of the book. Therefore, if you have a teen my son would totally recommend this novel!

About the Author:

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Find out more about Rondi at

Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.