Friday, March 24, 2017

For Love and Honor

For Love and Honor
Written by Jody Hedlund
Published by Zondervan Publishing
Ages: Young Adult
Cost: $12.99

I have had some HEAVY reading on my list recently, so when I finished my latest 425 page book on the cousin kings of World War I, I was so happy to have some easy reading to give my brain some pleasure.
For Love and Honor filled the gap beautifully.  A story of chivalry, adventure and love, with a historical context (WHICH I LOVE) was a quick and enjoyable read.  Both Lady Sabine and Sir Bennett have a secret that drives this book forward to its finish.  Will it be true love or a disaster?  I am sure you can figure it out, but there were some twists and turns I did not expect along the way, and there is a sweet resolution at the end.
For those concerned about the romantic element, it is all handled graphic descriptions, but you can feel the attraction.  If you are concerned about the material, an advanced read might be beneficial.
I personally enjoyed this book, ,but I am also careful not to read too much in the romantic genre as I don't find it helpful in real life.

* I received this product to help facilitate a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and/or opinions may vary.

Promises for You Coloring Devotional

Promises for You Coloring Devotional
60 Days Discovering God's Hope and Love
ZonderKidz Publishing
Ages: 8-12
Cost: $12.99

This is a beautiful hard backed book filled with fun coloring pages and 60 devotions.  This would be a great way for young girls to begin the habit of a quiet time in a way they would enjoy.  There is a page that gives some direction in how to proceed with the book.  I LOVE THIS!
It has some great tips and do not have to start at the can look for a page that looks interesting or fun to color.  EVERY word of God is profitable!
 Some of the designs might be a little too detailed for younger or more active girls...
 Some of the devotions might be too simple or short for more advanced or mature readers. This is dependent on where they are in their faith too.

                                                   (aren't these butterflies LOVELY?)

I personally have some mixed feelings about the content of this devotional, but I do think girls would LOVE IT!  It could also be a great way to calm down for the day in preparation for bed or a gentle start to your morning.I wouldn't want this to be the only Bible contact my child had during the week though as it seems to be a little more like a commentary in substance than what we currently do in our family.
One other issue I had, was the book does not lay flat when open.  This would seem to be frustrating to girls trying to color.  The pages are thick and you could use a variety of art materials for the coloring pages.
It would make a sweet gift!

* I received this item to help facilitate a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and/or opinions may vary.

Light Up New York

Light Up New York
Faith Girlz: Glimmer Girls series
Written by Natalie Grant
Illustrated by Cathi Mingus
ZonderKidz Publishing
Age: About 7-12
Cost: $8.99

Light Up New York is the latest Glimmer Girl story out on the market.  I have really enjoyed these sweet stories with issues young people deal with often, sometimes daily.  As the issue of homelessness is seen all around us where I live, I thought this was a timely story, showing what can be done to help out.  While most young people do not have a famous singing mother option for public concerts, television show spots and record deals, I still think that young people can take the principles from the book and perhaps see what they might be able to do.  I know finding ways to help the homeless is a tender spot for many people today.
I also really liked how the book dealt with a side issue of sibling relationships and give suggestions for how to handle conflict.  I won't give a lot of details, but I thought this was handled well.  These girls aren't perfect, but conflicts are resolved in healthy ways in all of the books and sets an excellent example for parents and children alike.
As I have said before, each book has a mystery to solve and this one is FUN!!!  I LOVE this mystery and it has a takeaway for all of us!  Again, no spoilers!!!
Illustrations are simple...not taking away from the story.
I would recommend this book!  I really enjoyed it!

*I received this product to help facilitate a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and/or opinions may vary.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Budget is NOT a Four Letter Word?

Budget is NOT a Four Letter Word!

So as I sit to write another article at the beginning of the year, money matters are in the forefront of my mind. I don’t intend to write a year’s worth of money articles, but I did want to talk a little about budgeting, after talking last month about savings. As I shared, my family has found some easy ways to boost the savings account a little bit. That said, creating a budget has been the number one way we have gotten a better grasp of our finances. Rather than just living paycheck to paycheck with no real idea of where our money is going, we sit down and we tell our money what we want it to do. It isn’t perfect and sometimes there is more month than money, but we are much more in control with our budget than we were before.    

Here are a few of the things we have learned:

First, a budget is not an ogre telling you that you can never have anything, do anything, or go anywhere. A budget is just a plan…a to-do list for your money, if you will…I think it actually gives you permission to buy things. You create the budget categories you need and then that money can be spent on that category. We all need clothing, there is a category for that. Go get some clothes. Have no guilt. You want to go out to eat and to a movie…we have a category for that. Go do it. Don’t think of the budget as telling you what you can’t do, but instead what you get to do because it is in place. You cannot spend freely though, so a budget helps you determine what is appropriate and when you will need to stop spending.
Second, a budget is not a one-time thing.   It will change from month to month… you need to make a new one each month. When we began budgeting, I was not sure where to start. I found a template I liked online that gave some budget categories with some percentage ranges. These are not a one size fits all kind of thing, but rather a helpful tool to know where to begin. We tweaked those percentages through trial and error and still use those figures to begin with when breaking down our paychecks. Our family gets paid weekly, so we create a new budget each week (with some specific things that need to be done with that particular check). Those categories sometimes need to slide a little as the heating bills are higher in the winter and the gas category isn’t as high because gas prices are down, for example, but again are a framework to begin with.
Third, communication is the KEY! Being the math nerd of the family, I LOVE creating the budget, and it might even be right. If my husband has no input, it is not OUR plan, no matter how perfectly the decimals align, and then the budget can be tossed aside by one splurge at Michael’s or Home Depot….and who really cares anyway and let’s just forget it all. It just doesn’t work. Sit down together with the outline, the bills, the things just on the horizon and have a conversation and be in agreement about what happens.
Finally, remember, a budget is just a plan for your money, not a four letter word! You will feel much more in control financially when you have a budget in place, won’t have as many things pop up and say SURPRISE, and may even find there is a bit less month at the end of the money!  We have learned A LOT by listening to Dave Ramsey/reading his books.  If you need some help in this area, I HIGHLY recommend his materials.
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics