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Family Life

Book Review {The Kid’s Book of Devotions: A 365 Day Adventure in God’s Word by Mark Littleton}

We bought my oldest her own Bible almost two years ago when her reading skills reached a level where she was able read and understand the Bible independently. She was also getting frustrated that she hadn’t read all the Bible stories she was hearing — they simply weren’t in her Jesus Storybook Bible.  We chose a beautiful, lavender, imitation leather ESV Seek and Find Bible with her name embossed on the cover. She was delighted with it, and is sure to bring it to church and Sunday School each week. She’s learning to look up references for herself, and loves finding and reading the verses referenced during our daily Morning Time.

About a month ago, we had a little chat about reading and praying regularly on her own. We discussed making it a regular part of her day — how it is easier to maintain a new habit if we repeat it at the same time each day (upon waking in the morning, during her afternoon quiet time, or before bed). I let her know that I usually do mine in the afternoon or before bed.

Next, I gave her what she found to be very exciting: her own pretty notebook and a devotional. I encouraged her to write in the notebook daily — she could write out something new she learned, a question she wanted my help in answering, or even just to copy out a verse. I was so happy to get out my own Bible with her after that first day when she brought me her  journal and help her find the answers to her questions. I LOVE that she’s asking questions!

The Kid's Book of Devotions REVIEW

The devotional book I gave her was The Kids’ Book of Devotions: A 365-Day Adventure in God’s Word by Mark Littleton. This book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher through Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to provide a favourable review, and all opinions are my own.

This book is a simple daily devotional for the whole year. It is geared to children ages 7-11 which I thought would be a good fit for my 8 year old daughter. Each day includes a passage of scripture (NIrV), a short message or devotional thought, and a prayer. The devotions are arranged according to various themes with each lasting a week. The themes include the Bible, the Church, fellowship, evangelism, temptation and perseverance.

My first impression is that this devotional might be a good fit for reluctant readers. My daughter (who loves to read and is probably quite a bit above “grade level”) was disappointed to discover just how little text there is for her to read each day. Also, there is only one verse, or on occasion, two verses to read each day. I would really like a devotional that had more of God’s Word in it. Again, this could be good for a child who struggles with either the ability or desire to read independently.

I do like that it doesn’t shy away from using important and possibly difficult words like “omnipresence” while also defining the term. As well, most of the devotions end with some kind of question for application — I think that that format is good for helping the child to continue to think over what he has learned even after the book is closed.

I do have one complaint about the content of the book however, which came to my attention on the very first day my daughter was using it.  The verse quoted at the start of the day’s devotion is Revelation 2:19 “I know what you are doing. I know your love and your faith. I know how well you have served. I know you don’t give up easily. In fact, you are doing more now than you did at first.”  The devotion for this verse states that Jesus is telling them all he knows about them, but that they did have one fault — and then tells the child to look it up to see what it is. When your child looks up the verse, this is what they will find: “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” I must admit I was a little shocked at this content for my daughter, who has very minimal knowledge of matters pertaining to sex, let alone sexual immorality. Since this was her first day, and I was helping her along, I read the verse to her and omitted the part I found to be inappropriate for her ears. I’ve not found anything else in the book to be developmentally inappropriate thankfully.

Overall, I’m not terribly impressed with this devotional — we will keep using it however, as long as my daughter is enjoying it and until I find something else that is more suited to her.

Please note: This book was provided to me free of charge from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

How have you encouraged your children to spend time in God’s word? Do you have any recommendations for children’s devotionals or Bible studies?



What Do You Believe About Motherhood? {BOOK REVIEW: Hoodwinked by Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk}

Boy, I sure knew a lot about raising children — back before I had any I mean. Just like anything else, there is a right way to do it, and a wrong way. Actually, there are many wrong ways, but only one right. And you better believe I was going to do it right!

Well, it didn’t take me a long time to figure out that children aren’t recipes, and there aren’t any perfect formulas for raising them. I’ve been on this motherhood journey for a little over eight years, and if anyone has done their homework, surely it has got to be me! I’ve read just about every baby care, parenting, educational and motherhood book I could get my hands on — but the one thing I’ve discovered of the years is that the more I learn, the more I find there is yet to learn! Despite all the “know-how” I gained from these books, my babies never slept through the night, my preschoolers whine about what’s served for dinner, and my kids rarely respond with an enthusiastic “yes mommy!” when told to set the table (or anything else for that matter!).

Motherhood isn't a recipe - Hoodwinked Book Review


I recently had the opportunity to work on the Hoodwinked Launch Team, to help spread the word about the new book released this month by Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk. It’s all about the lies and myths about motherhood that women often believe – similar to my own preconceived (no joke intended!) notions about motherhood. They are trying to get the word out about these lies so that mothers can experience joy, build relationships with one another, and raise their children to the glory of God.

I really enjoyed this book — it is written in a casual, conversational style that reminds me of having a heart-to-heart chat with a good friend.  I really identified with several of the myths discussed, especially the following:

  • Mothering is natural, easy and instinctive
  • The way I mother is the right (and only) way
  • Motherhood is all-consuming and all-fulfilling, and
  • I have to do it all right, or my child will turn out wrong.

And what’s really great about this book (especially considering the buffet of motherhood and parenting books out there) is the focus on using the truth of God’s Word to replace the lies we believe.

“Only Jesus can help us shake off the lies and embrace the truth. Only a relationship with him can help us to truly be a better mom. He doesn’t do this by allowing us to be perfect, but rather by enabling us to be perfected” 

If you are feeling the pressures and stresses of motherhood, if you are struggling with judging or feeling judged by other moms, and if you would like to move past our culture’s lies concerning motherhood, this book is for you! Please note that I as a member of the launch team I was provided with the book free of charge and agreed to read, respond to questions ,and help spread the word. I was  not required to provide a favourable review.  As always, these opinions are my own honest impressions. 

Hoodwinked Book Review - What do you believe about motherhood?

What are some of the lies and misconceptions you had about mothering before you had children? Are there any that you still find at work in your mind, stealing your peace and joy?

If you want to know more about Hoodwinked, check it out on Ruth Schwenk’s site The Better Mom and Karen Ehman’s site. There are some awesome giveaways going on as the book launches, as well as an online book study with the authors! The book can be purchased from Amazon or

Podcasts for Kids

Audiobooks and podcasts are a pretty big part of my children’s day. We don’t often do television during the day, but they really enjoy having something to listen to while they play during their afternoon quiet time. We also listen to podcasts while we travel to and from library or grocery store visits, which helps with the long drives (and cuts down on the arguing in the car). This is what they have been enjoying:

Paws and Tales

Paws and Tales is a cute little series put out by Insight for Living, about a group of animal friends that live in a place called Wildwood. It’s designed for preschool to early elementary and my kindergartener really loves it. Big Sister still enjoys it but prefers her audiobooks these days. Each story is related to faith and character, and includes catchy songs that my kids love to sing.

Adventures in Odyssey

Big Sister loves Adventures in Odyssey! AIO is produced by Focus on the Family and has been around for almost 30 years. It’s target audience is a bit older (8-12) than Paws and Tales, and Big Sister enjoys it much more than Little Sister does. The stories centre around John Whittaker (Whit), a grandfatherly character, and his ice cream shop. There are a few free podcasts available on iTunes, CD compilations that can be purchased, and I was recently pleased to discover that you can listen anytime to their daily radio broadcasts online  for free.

Melody, Mystery and Mayhem

This is a new podcast, and as of my writing this post, there have only been two podcasts produced. It’s a good one though, and Little Sister has already listened to both episodes twice. It is the work of Alison Burr, who is also the Project Coordinator for my absolute favourite podcast, The Read Aloud Revival. Melody, Mystery and Mayhem is a podcasts for the whole family, featuring variety show style content in stories, interviews, and song. It’s really cute, and not at all annoying to adults as some children’s programming tends to be. We are looking forward to what they come up with!

Sparkle Stories

Sparkle Stories have a variety of characters and story lines, both of the animal and human type. It also has both paid and free options. So far we have only made use of the free stories available via iTunes. Some of their stories even feature homeschoolers!

Classics for Kids

Classics for Kids is a podcast featuring classical composers. It is largely biographical in nature, but their website has all kinds of information on musical instruments, timelines of composers and more. They even have lesson plans and activity sheets on their site for you to use with your children. I’m using this to fill in the gaps of our musically education – I’ve not done any composer study to date, so the only music that has been formally covered in our home is the piano lessons Big Sister receives.

I’m always on the lookout for great podcasts for my kids to enjoy! Are there any that your children are enjoying that aren’t on my list?

Favourite Family Movies

We aren’t ones to jump on the Disney and Pixar bandwagons around here — which makes selecting movies for our Family Nights a wee bit challenging. Disney certainly isn’t banned in our home, but my daughters have found them quite scary, and mom and dad are not fans either.  We did however, absolutely love the new Cinderella movie that came out last winter!

I’m always in search of great, quality, wholesome movies for us to enjoy as a family. Considering what a book enthusiast I am, why not stick with the good, old fashioned books that have been made into movies? Four out of Five of my top favourites are adaptations from favourite books, and the fifth is from a musical.

Anne of Green Gables

This is my all time favourite childhood movie. It used to play on T.V. annually while I was growing up, and I knew almost every word by heart. I <3 L. M. Montgomery! It’s a pretty accurate adaptation; and Megan Follows captures the essence of Anne Shirley wonderfully. The second movie is  not as well done, and the third is a disgrace and I forbid you from watching it. I haven’t actually watched Anne with my girls yet — I want them to read it first so that their imaginations aren’t limited by the characters they see on the screen. I watched the movie first — so Anne will always be Megan Follows for me. I’m more than a little bit excited that Big Sister has started to read it!


Mary Poppins


I must say that I did not enjoy this book nearly so much as my daughter did. I did, however, faithfully read each and every book in the series to her delighted ears. This is definitely a case where the movie is so much better than the book! Julie Andrews is a so much more lovely Mary Poppins than the character depicted in the books! This movie is so enjoyable and fun!


The Wizard of Oz

My daughter loved this book — and I do suggest especially in this case that you read it first — and it was fun to spot the differences (hint: the shoes)  in the movie vs the book by L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). I must warn you though I’m sure everyone has seen it, the witch is quite terrifying in the movie. My daughter hid her head under a blanket during several scenes. It’s really to bad though, the witch plays a much more minor role in the book. My daughter loved this book so much, she later went on to read most of the other books in the series.



Little Women

This is one of my all time favourite movies and of course books. While the movie doesn’t really do the book justice, it is so very lovely though that all is forgiven. This is the perfect movie to watch at Christmastime and would make a great family tradition!






The Sound of Music

Musicals are so great to watch with kids! And this one is so much fun, and we continue having fun with it by singing “How do you solve a problem like Maria” or “These are a few of my favourite things!” on a regular basis.  It was also a great jumping off point for my oldest who had some great questions regarding WW2. She just loves history and historical fiction, we will have to do this one again when we study Modern Times.





What are your favourite family movies?

This post is linked up at the Hip Homeschool Hop

What’s Cooking? Top 5 Favourite Slow Cooker Recipes

I’m so excited about the return of fall! I love the cooler days, the beautiful colours, and of course, the return of comfort food! I do use my slow cooker year round (in the summer it is a great way of cooking without heating up the house) but I love it most in the fall and winter when it is simmering soups & stews and making my house smell so delicious.

As a busy mom and homeschooler, the slow cooker is really a life saver! I can prep supper when I have a free moment in the morning, or even the night before — and supper is ready whenever we are. It is ready even if we have been out all day!

These are my top 5 favourite slow cooker recipes; at least one of them is sure to be on the menu at our house weekly:

 Apricot Chicken

This recipe is actually my husband’s favourite dinner. Lucky for me, it is the easiest thing! Place 2-4 (depending on how many servings you want) cut up chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Throw on one diced red or orange pepper. Cover with a mixture of 1/2 jar apricot jelly mixed with 1tsp garlic powder, 1tsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp Ginger (or more!) and a squirt of soy sauce. That’s it. Less than 5 min of prep for this one! Cook on low for 4-6 hours. You can thicken up the sauce before serving with cornstarch if you want, but I never do. Serve over rice.

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

This one is actually even less prep. before putting it in the slow cooker than the previous recipe. A bit more effort required before serving though.  Place 2-4 (depending on how many servings you want) chicken breasts in bottom of your slow cooker. Squirt some lemon or lime juice (1/4 cup at most) on top. Sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsp chilli powder and 1 Tbsp cumin. Cook on low for 6 hours. You can add chopped onions and peppers to it too — when I do I wait until a few hours before serving because I hate mushy peppers.  Serve with all your favourite fixings (shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, etc).

Black Bean and Chicken Soup

I absolutely love this soup! This recipe is an adaptation this recipe from Pass the Fresh. Put 4 whole chicken breasts into your slow cooker. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup frozen corn, 2 cans rinsed & drained black beans (or equivalent of cooked, dried), 2 cups of salsa and 2-4 Tbsp taco seasoning. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken breasts and shred. Return to pot. Stir in 1 cup of sour cream and 1 cup shredded cheddar (or save to add to the bowls when serving). Serve with corn chips.

Spaghetti Sauce

Ok, so this isn’t really a recipe. Just use your usual recipe, but cook it in the slow cooker! I use browned ground beef and onions, finely chopped veggies (peppers, zucchini, celery, etc) and canned tomato sauce. I add my own Italian seasoning mix. Easy. I make a huge batch and then freeze it in 1 litre ice cream buckets; the frozen sauce fits perfectly back into the slow cooker for an even easier supper at a later date.

Slow Cooker Lava Cake

This recipe has nothing to do with making supper easy and nutritious. But it is so very delicious! Mix 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in 1/2 cup milk, 2 tsp melted butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Pour into slow cooker greased with butter. Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar & 1/4 cup cocoa. Sprinkle over. Pour 1 3/4 cup boiling water over top and cook on high for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours. Scoop into bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream on top.

31 Days of Favourites


I’d love it if you’d share your favourite slow cooker recipe(s) with me!