Thursday, June 19, 2014

Esther Queen of Persia by Jim Baumgardner, A Review

I've been busy homeschooling my kids and getting ready for our oldest to graduate from our homeschool, but thought I might get another review in for you, my readers! I read a couple of books over the winter that were really great and inspiring. I was looking for something inspiring again, maybe empowering too as I conquered oodles of paperwork to get my son ready for college. Something historical I thought, because I love history, since history is after all, His Story. So something also biblically based, but not necessarily a dry history book sounded just right. When I read about this book Esther Queen of Persia I was excited to dive in and see what it was all about. It did not disappoint.

ISBN: 978-0988410718| List Price: $16.95 | Format: Softcover & ebook | Page Count: 304

About the book:

Hadassah, the beautiful, Jewish teenager from the city of Susa in Persia, is taken by force to the palace of King Ahasuerus. His command to find the most beautiful virgins in his kingdom, and bring them to the house of women, has placed Hadassah under the supervision of Hegai, the king's custodian of women. Hegai and his servants, have one year to prepare each virgin for one night with the king. Although Hadassah was taken from her home by force, she refuses to become bitter. She accepts being called Esther, but inside remains always, Hadassah. She continually wonders why she is there, yet remains faithful to her God, and to her identity. It is years before the answer is revealed. Her people face annihilation, and it falls upon her shoulders to stop it. Her first thought is to shirk her duty, but Mordecai, her cousin, will not allow it. His words, '"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"' brings her to her senses.

Unlike many of the novels written about Esther, this book seeks to remain true to the Biblical account, while supplying additional historical information from the time period 486-473 B.C. The book has a five page Introduction, which gives insight into some of the things found in the story. It has a page, listing the months of the Jewish sacred calendar and the corresponding month of our modern calendar. Also in the back of the book is a listing of Scriptures mentioned in each chapter, along with a listing of works consulted in research for Esther Queen of Persia.

About the Author:

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Jim Baumgardner, raised by Christian parents, gave his life to Christ in 1957. The author continues to reside in Wichita with his wife Linda. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Jim has seven published books. Four are known as the Sarah books, which tell of the adventures of a girl named Sarah, set in the 19thCentury. The other three are Bible novels, including the author’s latest release Esther Queen of Persia. All of Jim’s books are primarily written for his grandchildren’s benefit.

You can learn more about the author by clicking on the websites below.
The Author was also nominated for:

You can purchase your copy on Amazon.

My Thoughts:

Before reading this book, I went and reread the book of Esther to brush up on the biblical facts of the life of Esther. I found the book followed the biblical account of Esther but from a fictional perspective. In our homeschooling we have really enjoyed reading historical fiction to gain a better understanding of the time period we are studying. I think this would be a great book to read alongside the Ancient History time period during the rein of King Ahasuerus. It is a very descriptive account of Esther's time in the King's palace and how she is chosen to become Queen and ultimately helps her Jewish people. I have always loved stories of simple people God uses in big ways. While this is a fictional account of the life of Esther, it does follow the Biblical account and is a good read. I would recommend you pick up a copy and check it out!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week Two On My Trim Healthy Mama Journey

So here I am drinking my Bulletproof Coffee diving head first into week two. This is still very much a learning process for me as I basically deconstruct my diet on this path toward wellness and hopefully lose some weight! If you missed my Week One post you can click below and read why I started this book and what I learned in Week One.


On to week two!

The things I'm learning this week have to do with how the food I eat breaks down at the cellular level. I noticed the first time I drank a full can of coconut milk as a shake (yes, I really drank the full can!) I started feeling tingly all over my body. It felt like I had just stepped into a warm milky bath, except on the inside. The can reads that it contains five servings at 22 Fat Grams per serving. Now obviously I need to drink this in a better moderation but my body actually is craving this healthy fat! In the first few chapters of THM the authors talk about how eating fat does NOT make you fat. Carbs and sugar make you fat! Our bodies need fat, therefore if we don't eat enough fat our bodies will convert our excess carbs and sugars INTO fat.  THM also addresses vitamins and supplements toward the end of the book. I'm not ready to dive into all that but I am gathering information while I still try to get a handle on "S" and "E" meals versus a Fuel Pull or a Crossover meal. PHEW!
I found this interesting article on Natural News about iodine.
Iodine is essential in producing thyroid hormones. Unbalanced thyroid hormones lead to weight gain, infertility, and many other issues. I have suffered many years with infertility even though I now have seven children!

I'm planning to add some Himilayan Salt to my next shopping trip! Now I'm not looking to necessarily improve my fertility (ha ha), but I am looking at how to heal my body so my hormones are more stable.

This week I am loving all the extra advice in following this diet I have found through Facebook. I've joined three different THM Facebook groups and my newsfeed is constantly buzzing with ladies asking questions very similar to what I am asking myself! The THM for beginners and the Nursing and Pregnant THM groups have been wonderful resources. They have places where people upload their own documents like menus or recipes. I've "met" some great women in these groups and been really encouraged by them and their testimonies of their own THM journey. Who knew buying a book would open so many doors to information of how to live this THM lifestyle?!

For week two however, I did go "off plan" twice. We had chinese food one night which was so nice so I didn't have to cook. A few days later, we celebrated my son's 16th birthday out to the movies with burgers and sweet potato fries! Other than those two meals however I have tried to stay "on plan" as far as I can tell. I tried to think of my two eating out meals as "crossovers" and not beat myself up too badly over them. I'm still nursing a baby so I don't want to lose weight too quickly and hurt my milk supply.

My favorite recipes I tried and loved this week were the Bread in a Mug recipe, Oven Flax crackers, Ultimate Chocolate Cake and chocolate frosting, Chocolate Cake in a Mug (that one is seriously amazing!), Lemon Fat Bombs, Berry Cottage Whip, and Berry Waffles with bacon! Am I on a diet? Seriously, look at this amazing breakfast I made this morning!

(This is an "S" meal, I think, still learning! ;)  Two slices of bacon, one bread in a mug recipe cooked in my waffle maker, cottage cheese, berries sweetened with Truvia, small dollop of Redi-Whip. I even get to put real butter on my waffle! Yum!)

 Overall I am feeling great and while I would love to say I lost 10 lbs on this diet in the first two weeks, I have not. I have lost about 2 lbs though. Chapter 12 in the THM book was a great reminder, slow and steady is a much healthier way to lose weight. I wish I had taken measurements though because I did notice a difference in how my clothes feel at the end of week two. My stomach feels less flabby and my pants fit better. Here are my two week changes, subtle, but changes to say the least. I noticed that my shirt hangs lower on me now there is less gut! I also noticed when I went to put my hand on my waist like I did in last week's photo, I actually had a waist!

On to Week Three!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Week One On My Trim Healthy Mama Journey

I have been reading too many success stories from women who are not just getting healthy from reading and applying THM but are losing weight, a lot of weight. After my pregnancy, this being my seventh little blessing, and getting ready to turn 40, I am determined to not just be healthier but to actually LOSE these stubborn baby pounds for good!

So I dove in and bought the book on kindle e-version last week for $19.95. It was cheaper than the hard copy version at $35 and I can carry this massive book (it's over 650 pages!) right on my windows tablet wherever I go. I really want this to be the beginning of my own THM success story but I have my doubts as to how dramatic my own weight loss journey will be. All I know is that we eat fairly healthy with occasional treats now and then. Even though I exercise and have used some wonderful DVD programs I never really seem to be able to blast away the fat I have carried for nearly 18 years! I have had success losing inches and pounds through running and a fitness program, but again, the really stubborn fat remains.

The answer has to be in the way I am eating. Duh!


I know I need to drink WATER, LOTS OF WATER! Especially since I am a nursing mama.

I think I'm ready to shake things up a bit. Stop feeding my body what I've been feeding it and give this THM diet a try! I've already been adding Stevia to many things thanks to a NuNaturals product review I was fortunate to be a part of with Christian Women Affiliate.

Here is one of my reasons to get healthy, little Julia is four months old and I still look four months pregnant!

I am loving this book so far. I love that the authors actually WANT me to eat butter!

But we also have to incorporate healthy foods too of course!

But I get to eat CHOCOLATE!!! Yes, it's part of this "diet" too!

You see, because this really isn't a diet. It's a way of reshaping the way you eat and consuming it in the way our bodies can process it!

So if I am feeling like bacon and eggs for breakfast, great!, I can have bacon and eggs then! I can even add veggies and cheese to those eggs and I have myself what THM calls an "S" meal. "S" is for Satisfying and boy are they ever satisfying!
You know what? If I'm feeling like toast for breakfast but I still want eggs, I can do that. I just need to not go crazy on the carbs in my toast by choosing a lower carb version or make my own and forget about the bacon and only use 1-2 tsp of butter on that toast to keep the fat content down. This would be an "E" meal. 
I am not going to even try to touch "FP" (Fuel Pull) meals/snacks or crossovers until I feel confident in the "S" and "E" meals. More on these at later time.

But this is only my first week and I've made a ton of mistakes, but I'm learning!
I've learned that I don't eat enough protein. I've also learned I need to eat more frequently to keep my body fueled. I also eat way too many carbs and sugar, well, that's just a given. I have a sweet tooth!

I've even learned about these really cool noodles made from the konjac root called Miracle noodles.

They are calorie free, gluten free and make a wonderful substitution as pasta or rice so you feel full but not all loaded up on all those carbs from pasta and rice!

I've also learned how to make bread in a mug! Yes, you read that right, Bread in A Mug!
The basic recipe is found on page 265;:
These are the basic ingredients

Ingredients: an egg or egg whites * golden flax meal and optional almond flour * baking powder * coconut oil or butter * sea salt and other optional seasonings

I even let the kids make their own bread in a mug muffins yesterday. These low carb babies literally cook up in one minute in the microwave! I'm not kidding, try it! You can google Bread in a Mug recipes and find all sorts of great blogs out there of ladies doing this THM diet and find TONS of free ideas and recipes and even printables to actually make the leap into this Trim Healthy Mama way.
I started at this lovely lady's site; Gwen's Nest.
I also found these and I plan to add more so I can remember where they are.
Heavenly Homemakers-Ranch dressing recipe
Pinterest has tons of sources for inspiration too!

This mornings' favorite change I made thanks to THM is switching out my coffee and vanilla flavored non-dairy creamer (yes, I know they are not good for me but I can't resist them...until now :) ) I found a recipe thanks to my FB THM Beginners group called "Bulletproof" coffee. Now I haven't read this far in the book yet to really research "Bulletproof" coffee but let me tell you, it is AMAZING!
I made mine with vanilla stevia and it was just so good!

Here I am 16 months ago after my 6th baby. Still carrying a gut and heavy in the thighs. Feeling happy but, oh the fat in the thighs, it's just got to go! THM has taught me that I am basically eating myself into this fuller figure by all the carbs and sugars I consume.

Now here I am at the end of week one with THM after my 7th baby. The scale says I lost a pound or so, but mostly I am happy I can fit back into my favorite black pants. I really hope this THM diet will finally be something that will work for me!


(Four Months Post Partum Baby Number Seven)

Changes and purchases I hope to make next week:

Grass-fed butter for my "Bulletproof" Coffee
Protein powder to start FP meals/snacks
Peanut flour
Glucomannan powder
Almond flour
More Miracle Noodles
Naturally sweetened jam
More eggs, my chickens aren't laying well right now and I went through all my eggs I just purchased!

Are you ready to get healthy and try the THM lifestyle too?
Get your book today and get started!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tender Mercies by Vicki Watson a Book Review

Horses are amazing animals. They can be a real source of comfort on the road to healing for many people. I was moved to tears when I learned about my cousin Kaitlyn Pintor who suffers from a pain condition and found some relief while caring for horses at Hoof Beats in California. You can read and listen to her story below.

But who cares for the horses who are destined to be discarded?

Vicki Watson explores the world of horse rescue

 in her newest fictional book Tender Mercies.

Our favorite homeschooled girls Carrie and Rosie are back!
Homeschooling and horses!
Life lessons, Christian faith, adventure!

In the fourth book in the Sonrise Stable series, Vicki Watson pens a story that follows a small newborn foal. The reader is introduced to the foal from its own perspective from its first moments with its mom and being taken away from her to being rescued by a wonderful horse rescue farm called Last Chance Corral to being adopted. Written from the perspective of the little foal at times the reader gets to not only learn about how and why horses are rescued but to see how a small foal taken from his mother might feel. This book opens the readers eyes to some of the horrible ways that humans can be cruel to animals. A cat who is speared with an arrow is one particular chapter that really drove the message home as Grandma  quotes Proverbs 12:10 on page 73, "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel".  Bible scripture, footnotes throughout, and wonderful black and white sketches make this an exciting learning adventure for any young horse loving child to read.

My girls and I have so enjoyed reading these stories
 about two young homeschooled girls and their love for horses.
You can read my reviews of Vicki's other books here:

Author, Vicki Watson

"The Sonrise Stable series combines my love of God and horses in stories that I hope will help children learn more about both." 
To learn more about Vicki click the link below.

Follow Vicki on Twitter!

Watch a wonderful intro to the book below.

Go on over and pick up your very own copy of Tender Mercies at one of these sites!
ISBN: 978-0-9847242-3-9| List Price: $8.95 from Vicki's website or $9.86 on Amazon 

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

day7 Whales Tale Baby Blanket Review

"Wrapping your little ones in the love of God."

I was so excited to be chosen to review this beautiful baby blanket from day7 through the CWA Review Crew! Mine came in the mail Monday morning just four days before my 7th child arrives!

My blanket arrived in a nice sealed plastic bag. It comes in three colors, white, (shown above), blue and green. I received the green one. I love it! The first thing I noticed was how incredibly soft it is. My older children  ages 5, 3, and 22 months began to fight over who was going to snuggle with the blanket first.

Here is our 22 month old snuggled up with our new day7 blanket.

The dimensions and care instructions were placed directly in the front so they could be easily seen. You do not want to bleach nor dry clean this blanket. Here is a little more information about the brand new day7 Whales Tale blanket.

About the company from their website:

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2: 2 & 3

This verse is the foundation of our company.  We are designers, and quilters, and home makers, but above that, we are Christians who desire to share our gifts and abilities.  We want to be able to wrap God’s love around each person, and let them find a soft place to rest.

The founder of day 7 is Myra Harder, who has been working as a designer in the textile industry for the past 15 years. Through her career, her work has produced over 6 quilting titles, resulting in 100,000 copies of her books, she has produced thousands of yards of fabric for top design companies, and she has designed work for over 30 magazines, with 12.5 million copies in print. You will have seen her work on the covers of many top magazines on your local newsstands. However, as she worked, she felt the increased desire to share her faith in her designs, and a small idea started forming in the back of her mind. 2012 brought a decided change on the direction she wanted to create, and today we can introduce you to the first results of her new direction.

100% plush polyester fabric, double sided blanket
Original fabric design, featuring a verse from Psalm 23:3
Large 28″ x 34″ size, to wrap around your little one
Wash in cold water in the gentle cycle, tumble dry at low temperature
Do not bleach, iron or dry clean
Available for $34.99.

If you are looking for a wonderful baby shower gift or for a gift for a special small child this blanket would make an amazing gift! The scripture on it allows you to literally wrap your child in God's love! We were so blessed to get a chance to review this blanket. I can't wait to welcome our newest child and wrap her up in God's Word in this super soft blanket! Buy yours today at day7, or Amazon, or their Etsy shop.

I received a free blanket in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Are You Playing by House Rules? A Review

Joe's estranged wife has just been involved in a horrible car accident. The doctors want to declare her brain dead so they can harvest her organs for another wealthy patient. But the hospital  soon becomes aware that Joe's wife is actually pregnant. Now more than one life hangs in the balance. A spiritual battle has begun for the life of Mary and her unborn child. In walks Robert. An outspoken Christian man with some strong values and heavy knowledge of the Constitution. He even has strong opinions about social security numbers and birth certificates. The hospital bills are growing, the Christian school where Joe teaches is being threatened with lawsuits. How much more can Joe take and will he be strong enough to make the right decisions to help preserve the life of his unborn child if his wife never recovers? Will his new faith in Jesus Christ really help him trust that God has everything in His control including the very soul of his wife? Will God hear his prayers and save his wife and child?

About the Authors:

Darren Grant, has a B.S.Ed. chemistry,M.S. Science Education, and has been a certified science teacher since 1991. For the first twelve years he taught within the public school systems of Kansas and Missouri. He became frustrated with all of the systematic built in problems inherent in public education. He learned first hand while he was a state representative delegate for the Kansas NEA that the problems in public education exist by design. The NEA exists to indoctrinate students - not educate them. He was tired of being part of the problem, so he left and taught for seven years in a private christian school. Darren is still certified, and continues working as a teacher and presenter for Real Ark Ministries.

Cara Grant, B.S. Vocal Performance, worked as a CPhT until our marriage in 1999. Since that time she has devoted her life to raising our six children. In December 2005 they formally launched Real Ark Ministries as an educational ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of their friends asked what led them to investigate these issues and write this book. It certainly wasn’t an abundance of free time! They had plenty of activity to fill their days with running a small goat dairy, building a debt-free home, raising and homeschooling their six children, and Darren working full time outside the home as a science teacher. In 2000, they began to study freedom, the Constitution, and the Code of Federal Regulations. These topics eventually led them to study socialism, communism, and the New World Order. As they studied, they saw an evil no one seemed to be warning others about: the slavery of the church and the slavery of the common man. After the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, they felt even more compelled to warn others of the dangers of enslaving our churches and our children.

After a wildfire in Aug. 2011 took their home and most of their earthly belongings, they again evaluated what the most important issues in life should be. In this book, Darren and Cara have only provided a small sampling of the body of knowledge that exists on these two topics. Their prayer is that readers will take the time to study not only the dangers of church incorporation, but also the dangers of social security numbers and birth certificates.

Why social security numbers and birth certificates? Because these documents are the foundational documents for the enslavement of this generation and the next. 

My Thoughts:

I could hardly put this book down! It reminded me a little like some of Frank Peretti's writings as this book shared with the reader some of the hidden powers of darkness that were at work effecting the characters lives. There were many ideas in the book that challenged me such as birth certificates and social security numbers as well as church incorporation, three of the main themes running through the book. A few times I even stopped to look up a website or book or author and was impressed that this book, even though fiction, had real research with real websites that I could go and look up for myself.

This book had a great story and was worth the read if you read the more challenging issues like birth certificates and social security numbers with a grain of salt. However, if you are concerned about government and its role in your family's lives and would love to be inspired and challenged to research more, this is a wonderful book to make you think and research for yourself what is really going on in America.  Do you know what the Constitution really says or are you willing to have your life played out by others using "House Rules"? 

ISBN: 978-0983835967 | ASIN:  B009XMDY4U| List Price: $17.99/ 9.99 in Kindle | Format: Soft cover and kindle | Page Count: 370

Or at Amazon.

I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thanksgiving Table Cloth Project

This was such a fun project I did last year before Thanksgiving. I had seen this idea somewhere on one of my homeschooling websites, I'm sorry but I don't remember where. But I basically went to the Goodwill and bought an old sheet in a neutral color and some fabric paint in assorted fall colors. I poured the paint onto paper plates to make it easier to apply the paint to everyone's hands and I went around the table having each child press their hand prints in the spot where they would normally sit for a meal. The ones who were old enough signed their own names, (including my silly husband.) I then took a permanent marker and wrote out the Bible verse in the center of the table cloth. "O, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Such a fun project and a wonderful keepsake table cloth! Looks like we'll adding some new hand prints this year too!