As a mom, one of my favorite aspects of this book is the wholesomeness of the book. Lily is an adventurous, fun girl who enjoys simple beauty and helps her family. She’s brave and kind, yet has problems that most young girls can identify with – with obeying her elders, with making wise friendship choices, and with fear of the unknown. Her parents are wise and their instruction will teach young readers bold lessons.
As a teacher, I love all the hands-on activities that Lily does in this book – because it presents myriads of choices for lessons and for exciting, real-life interactions with Lily’s life! My daughter’s book club will be reading this soon, and we’re planning to do many of the activities that Lily enjoys in the story – like baking, making indoor windows, and sewing a quilt square.
This a series that will definitely grace our bookshelf so that we can enjoy it for many years. I can’t wait for the next installment!
To read other reviews on this tour, click here.
Suzanne Woods Fisher lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has one husband, four children, one son-in-law, a brand new grand-baby, and a couple of dogs. She graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.
If I Could Ask God Anything is just that – a series of questions and answers divided by topic and geared for children. The questions are open and honest, and the answers are, too. When an answer isn’t known, Slattery says that, as well as explaining how she knows the answers she does. She lists references for known answers and explains in simple, clear-cut terms.
I love the way that this book starts out with simple questions like “Did Jesus ever do anything wrong” and works up to harder questions like “If God loves people, why do bad things happen?” Slattery doesn’t dodge difficult questions and gives them the same honest consideration as the simpler ones. Written from a Christian perspective, the answers in this book are encouraging and appropriate for a child of any age who asks them. The scripture references make it easy to go back to the Bible and see for yourself, in context, what God has to say about any given topic. This book is a must for any parent who has a curious child asking those hard-to-answer questions.
Thomas Nelson has provided me with a free copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I expressed are my own.
What do princesses need to know? It’s not all about the party dresses and tiaras. In this princess-pink book, Sheila Walsh teaches girls the ins-and-outs of etiquette regarding clothing, dining, friendships, and hostessing. While this may seem like any other Emily Post-like manner guide, Walsh takes her tips straight from the Bible and gears them toward young girls. There are chapters about caring for your attitude, dressing modestly, and being smart on the Internet.
I love the way that this book is divided into chapters with interactive quizzes and games sprinkled throughout. This is not a serious, study-guide type manual but is written more along the lines of a fun, girly mazagine that just happens to have a rigid spine. The information is sound and basic and very relevant to young girls’ lives today.
The only issue I have with this book is with the princess theme. This book is not watered down or written for toddlers; I would guess it would be most interesting and be useful for girls ages 5-9. However, they are not all going to be able to read the text independently at that age, and after that many girls lose interest in the princess concept. I think, though, that this book would be great if read with an adult and discussed together.
I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.
The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child’s attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn’t working. Sunday School isn’t doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.
What makes The God Puzzle unique?
- ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson
- can be done at any pace that works with your family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life
- puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith
- in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming
- any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep
- deep theology put into language a child can understand
- deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ
- put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ
- child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn
The premise of this book is an important one: to teach kids about how the entire Bible fits together. We often teach individual Bible stories to little ones, but do we show them how far and wide and intricate the love story of the Bible really is? How it’s not a bunch of separate stories but our history as God’s created and chosen people and how He has been patiently loving us since the time of Eden?
With that goal in mind, the chapters in the book walk kids step-by-step through a study of the important beliefs of Christians, and that’s a distinct difference from what I expected: it’s not a walk through the Bible, it’s a walk through God’s love story to us. There is a great deal of scripture in each lesson; some for the kids to look up, some to think about, some to pray about, some to ponder, some to copy. The scripture references do not go in either Biblical or chronological order, but are pulled out according to the topic that they address. I think that this trait alone bumps up the difficulty level of this book.
The readers are not unpacking just one verse, but instead studying how various parts of the Bible all support God’s plan of salvation for His people. If the kids are not familiar with their Bibles, these lessons will be a bit time-consuming as there are lots of scripture references to find, but then again, becoming familiar with the Bible is also a very good thing.
Each chapter is a lesson and takes about four pages of the book. There is an activity for the kids to do in nearly every lesson – something like a word puzzle or something to color. There are also review or discussion questions located at the end of each chapter.
I have only one big concern with this book. While the lessons come straight from scripture, we know that different people interpret those scriptures differently – and one of the biggest differences among Protestants is how baptism is handled. The God Puzzle takes a decidedly Baptist view on the issue, which may be very confusing for Methodists or those with similar ideas. For those people, I’d recommend being prepared with your views and scriptural basis for why you believe what you do and be ready to discuss it thoroughly. Isn’t that basically what we’re supposed to do, anyway?
According to the author, this book is geared for ages 7 to 12. My Big Helper is eager to get started, and she’s 8 – but I do think that the lessons are very meaty and deep. That’s a good thing – but it may be too much to do one lesson in one sitting. I can see this book being a great resource for an upper elementary or middle school youth group. It could be fun to have different groups of kids looking up different scriptures and then sharing their thoughts with the whole group – think-pair-share style. I also thought of many art and extension activities that might help the lessons to stick for visual or kinesthetic learners.
As a bonus, the back of the book contains a list of scripture verses according to topic that kids can look up to find out what the Bible has to say about given things. Worrying? Scared? There’s verses there for you.
The God Puzzle is a fantastic resource for parents at home and for young youth groups. This book tackles the Bible in a way that even adults sometimes miss – and it shows how every piece of the Bible fits together like a puzzle to make up God’s plan. As adults, we need to be studying this. As parents, we need to be teaching this to our children. We cannot neglect the big picture look at the fine details of God’s plan.
This is the perfect resource to help you do it.
Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children’s Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children’s ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God.
Find out more at LeadMeToGod.com.
I received a free copy of The God Puzzle from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
Lily Lapp’s family has settled into their new home in Pennsylvania, but life still holds big changes and big steps for Lily. Good changes, like once again living close to her beloved cousin and best friend, Hannah. Bad changes, like a mean girl who plays tricks on her. And no change at all where Lily would most want one–Aaron Yoder sits near her in school and relentlessly teases her. Surprises are in store for Lily as she learns, with Mama and Papa’s help, to manage the ups and downs of growing up Amish.
The third of four charming novels that chronicle the gentle way of the Amish through the eyes of a young girl, A Big Year for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish—and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines Mary Ann Kinsinger’s real-life stories of growing up Amish and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With charming line drawings in each book, this series captures the hearts of readers young and old.
Lily is back, and she’s better than ever! We loved the newest installment of the Lily Lapp series. Within a week of receiving the book, my daughter read it twice – and is working her way through the series again. Any book that will encourage a love of reading like that is a winner in my book.
A Big Year for Lily is as full of childish adventures and parental wisdom as the first Lily book. She deals with issues like what is truth?, who are my friends?, and how important is stuff?. The story teaches about these important lessons while entertaining in a fun way.
I look forward to our upcoming book club event centered around A Big Year for Lily. There are so many opportunities within this book for children to act out Lily’s adventures! Besides math, quilting, and cooking ideas, there are art and game options, too. For more specific plans, email me at email@example.com or keep watching for our book club post on a Friday in November. I don’t want to give anything away here just yet if you haven’t read the book! 😉
My Big Helper is already asking when the next Lily will be released. I’m not sure if Suzanne Woods Fisher and Mary Ann Kinsinger plan to collaborate on any more books after that one, but I hope that they do. Our kids need more books like this – books that are strong in family values, respect, honesty, truth, and, yes, adventure! Adventures that kids can really go and replicate on their own or with an adult’s supervision. Please, keep’em coming, ladies!
You can read other reviews on this bloggy hop here or purchase your own copy here.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Lancaster County Secrets series and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher. Get Amish proverbs delivered right to your iPhone or iPad! Download the Free App! http://bit.ly/134r55G
Learn more about Lily at http://adventuresoflilylapp.
I received a free copy of A Big Year for Lily from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
- You’ll need two cakes – one cake in a 9X13″ pan and another half cake in a small oven-safe bowl. You’ll want the cake to come 2/3 of the way up the bowl and for the bowl to be slightly wider at the rim than at the base. I used a Betty Crocker peanut butter cake recipe for the flat cake and divided my Goofy Cake recipe in half for the bowl.
- Mix each cake as directed. Line the bottom of the flat pan with a piece of waxed paper. Spray or butter well the bowl.
- Bake the cakes as directed until the center is springy. For the Goofy Cake, this will take between 40 – 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Let the cakes rest on a wire rack until just cool enough to handle, then remove carefully from the pans. Chill.
- Invert the flat cake onto a jelly roll pan to create a flat surface to work with.
- Spread a thin layer of peanut butter onto the top of the cake. This helped prevent the ganache from soaking into the cake. (If you chill both the cake and the ganache completely, you won’t have this problem, but I hurried a bit. Ultimately, it ended up tasting like a Tasty Cake – yum!)
- At the point where the bowl cake begins to dome – the part that baked on top – slice this dome off in one flat cut.
- Mix one batch of cheesecake filling – recipe below – and one batch of thick chocolate ganache to use as glue for holding pieces together and for decorating the tops of the cakes. Tint the cheesecake filling red for lava.
- Put the cheesecake filling into a sandwich bag and cut off one corner about 1/3 of an inch from the end.
- Pipe some cheesecake filling onto one corner of the cake. This will serve as glue to hold the “volcano” in place.
- Put the bottom of the bowl cake upside down on top of the cheesecake filling.
- Top with another squirt of cheesecake.
- Top that with the piece you cut off. This will give your volcano a higher, domed top. Angle the sides, if necessary, to create the proper shape. I also cut a small hole in the top of the dome to create the “hole” inside the volcano.
- Pipe some cheesecake filling around the volcano’s mouth and in rivulets running down the sides. Use a knife to create ‘flowing’ patterns in the lava.
- Add interest to the landscape. Use marshmallows or other candies in various sizes and shapes as “boulders” strategically placed across your landscape. If you want to add fossils, this is the time! I planned to use pretzel sticks to create a dino skeleton under the mud, but I found fossil toys at the Dollar Tree, so I used one of those, instead. If you look closely, you can see it in the lower left-hand corner of the cake. My son was particularly excited about this feature.
- The ganache should be chilled and slightly thickened by now. It will pour well but thicken more in the refrigerator, so keep in mind that it will firm up and not run after you finish. Begin to ladle the ganache over the volcano and landscape, being careful to avoid the lava-covered areas. Ladle the ganache-mud over anything that you want to be earth-colored.
- Chill your cake until serving time.
- Add your toy dinosaurs. Use their feet to make extra tracks across the top of the cake. Don’t forget to place some in fun places, like on the sides of the volcano and on your candy boulders!
- Twisty candles make for explosive volcanoes! Place a few in your cheesecake-lined “hole” and light for a fun, action-packed cake.
- Mix 8 ounces of softened cream cheese with 1/4 c. of powdered sugar. Tint as desired.
- Put 1 c. of chocolate chips into a heat-safe bowl.
- Heat 3/4 c. of heavy cream until hot – but not boiling – and then pour quickly over the chocolate.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Let cool until room temperature – at least – before using on a cake.
Do you make your children’s birthday cakes? Do you do shapes or 3-D varieties?
For the past few years, I’ve roasted pumpkins in the oven to make puree for cakes and breads.
This year, however, I heard of a new, much easier way: the Crock Pot.
I love this method! There’s no more guesswork about when it’s done, no more waiting for it to finish, no more heating the house (when here in the South it’s often still pretty warm outside) while the pumpkins bake.
Instead, I just go about my business – even cooking one overnight while I slept – and come back to it when I’m ready. No rush, no guessing, no waiting, no crazy mess.
To cook your own pumpkin in a Crock Pot, here’s what you do:
First, of course, find a pumpkin. I’ve always used a pie pumpkin.
Next, you need to break it. Now, pie pumpkins are not as easily cut into as the ones many people carve around this time of year. First, My Little Man and I tried these tools:
Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t really smash the pumpkin with the hammer as I hoped, so then I used the massive knive as a chisel and hammered the knife in all the way around. (I wouldn’t recommend this, but I was in a hurry. My Little Man got a good laugh out of the whole thing.)
This method works much better – just be sure to wash both the saw and the pumpkin before beginning. Watch out for those fingers!
The hard part is now over. Pat yourself on the back!
Scrape out all the pumpkin ‘guts’ and the seeds. Put them into your slow cooker, making sure that the lid will fit on securely. Add an inch of water to the bottom and cook the pumpkin for several hours, until completely soft and mushy.
My Little Man absolutely loved this part! He cleaned out this whole pumpkin by himself, and he did a great job.
Put the pumpkin into a blender or food mill to puree it.
Or, as he likes to do, you could eat a bit of straight up pumpkin.
When you’re done, you’ll have several cups of fresh pumpkin puree, ready to freeze or bake into your favorite pumpkin recipe.