Parenting Strategies for the Exhausted Parent!

Have you ever been to the point where your creative ideas for fun and discipline strategies as a parent have plumb ran out? Have you found yourself stuck in the same rut and routine of parenting as you have been doing for the last umpteen years; maybe even ones perhaps your parents did before you? Perhaps it is working, perhaps not, but even if you are just a parent looking to add more tricks to your book, you are going to want to pick up Quick Tips for Busy Families by Jay Payleitner! From cover to cover, this book will have you chuckling along with Jay on some of his tried parenting tips and techniques and calming you down for serious thought on what your parenting looks like in another tip.

With 144 separate tips, you will find a little bit of everything, from conquering boredom (or temper tantrums) on road trips, at the store, or even on strategies to teach your kid humility and how not to be a hypocrite (because heaven knows we all sometimes are). There are several tips just for fun, but for the more serious tips, Jay includes Scripture to back up some of his philosophies.

One of my favorite tips was Tip #74: The Job Jar. This tip recommends that instead of pulling a chore punishment off the top of your head in the spur of the moment when it is usually difficult to do, having a “Job Jar” where the kid can pick an extra chore to do as punishment. In the Job Jar, there are also to be slips that say “Grace. 1 Peter 4:8” and if the kid draws this, they are off the hook this time as an act of grace, but they still need to read 1 Peter 4:8. I thought this was a nice and simple way to relieve the parent of stress and also show the occasional act of grace to a child.

Another one of my favorite tips is “Tip 37: The Slurpee Solution”. This tip bases itself on how to control chaos and misbehavior on car trips. It suggests that saying “if you stop this behavior, we’ll get a treat” kind of rewards them for the bad behavior. Instead, Jay suggests if there is ruckus in the car, pull over to a gas station, excuse yourself and come out of the gas station with a small treat for yourself and take the time to enjoy it outside of the car by yourself. When you are done with the treat, he suggests getting back in the car and thanking the kids for being patient while you enjoy your treat and if they behave for awhile longer, that maybe you can stop again to get a treat for everyone in an hour or two.

Overall, this book is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. As a mom of 3 kids with a 4th on the way, I plan on using quite a few of these strategies in the years to come and this book will have a special place on my bookshelf. The great part about this book is that many of these tips can be used over and over again, and some tips even give you a few for one deal! If you are out of parenting ideas and want some good, fun ones, then this is the book you will want to pick up!

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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Chocked Full of Fun Trivia and Jokes

“Why does God love bald people? Because the Bible says God has the hairs on our head numbered, so bald people make his job easier.” (pg. 46, Bible Trivia, Jokes, & Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt) If you enjoyed that joke, you will enjoy so many more biblical jokes like that and trivia that are featured in Bible Trivia, Jokes, & Fun Facts for Kids by Troy Schmidt. Troy comes up with some clever and sometimes corny jokes that you will enjoy sharing with your children and even your own balding father. I know my children enjoyed the sometimes corny jokes and not only were all of them simply jokes, but some of them were actually also packed with facts, just said in a funny way that would make the facts stick in your mind.

In addition to the jokes, there is a lot of good trivia and facts about the Bible and it is put in a way that kids get it and they remember what it said. Troy explains the facts in a way that is very easy for children to understand and connect with and there was quite a bit of trivia in there that even I, as an adult, wasn’t really familiar with. You will find facts and trivia ranging from the first pages of the Old Testament to the last page of the New Testament. The trivia comes in Q&A form, did you know, matching and a variety of ways to keep any reader interested. There are even some questions to discuss as a family on what you thought about certain aspects in and of the Bible.

At the end, a message of Salvation is easily explained and spelled out for kids with biblical references. Troy realizes that a lot of kids like to be hands on when they are having fun learning, so he includes fill in the blanks throughout the book, but in the last few pages of the book, he includes a few blank pages and general instruction of some things for the kids to do in the back of the book. Kids are encouraged to write their own jokes and trivia and draw a sketch on their favorite Bible stories.

This was a great book to help kids (and adults) learn parts of the Bible in a fun way. I learned some new knowledge and I know my kids and husband did as well. I recommend this book to anyone who has some special children in their life, for their children or for themselves… or for anyone who just enjoys a few corny biblical jokes from time to time.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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A Blast from the Late 90s Past

You may end up doing the Macarena by the time you are finished looking through this book. Or if you grew up in the 90’s, you may be having flashbacks to the late 90’s and all the awesome pop music that came along with it by the time you are done looking through or coloring That’s So ‘90s Pop! by Patrick Sullivan. Back to a time when the Backstreet Boys would “never break your heart” and *NSync “was all you ever wanted”. Before Britney Spears “did it again” and ended up in the paper numerous times for shaving her head or anything else; back when she claimed she was “not that innocent” when in reality she was still just the teenage princess of pop that was everyone’s sweetheart. You will be taken back to a simpler time and place, back when Surge and Fruit by the Foot were all the rage.

This Fill-In Activity book was an absolute blast to take me back to the past. I haven’t started coloring it yet, but I did flip through all the pages and checked out the trivia (most of which was common knowledge back in the late ‘90s) and I know that when I do start coloring, I will probably be taken back to my middle school years again. If you’re looking for a coloring book that encompasses a lot of the earlier ‘90s, this is not the one you’re looking for. A lot of the artists that were featured in this book had their hit songs from 1996 on to 1999. You won’t find New Kids on the Block or Marky Mark or MC Hammer or Tupac in here, but you will find BSB, Eminem, Avril Lavigne and 98 Degrees.

The artist/author does a great job of drawing the pictures of the artists so you can recognize them easily. Due to artist interpretations, their faces are a little more blockier than most of them are in real life, but it is still features great pages to color. If you enjoy late ‘90s music, grab your CD/tape player 5-disc changer boombox, a bag of 3D Doritos (if you can find them), and a can of Welch’s Grape Soda (maybe you’ll still find a code in the bottom!), pop in your favorite ‘90s mix tape and pick up this book so you can start coloring and thumbing through the trivia! Then call all your homies to find out “Whazzzzzzupppp” and invite them over to join in the fun!

To check out a preview of this book or order a copy, you can click here.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.


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A Gripping Book from the First Page

You know you’re in for a good book when from the very first page you’re pulled in and eager to turn the page to find out what happens next! The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green does just that and will not disappoint from cover to cover. On the very first page, we meet Julianne who is a midwife in France in the early 1700’s and in the middle of a risky delivery. Julianne has been an apprentice for 3 years and is with her instructor during the delivery and her instructor is miffed when the patient asks for Julianne to be there alone instead of the instructor. Doing she can to ensure the baby is delivered safely, but still having some issues since the baby is breach, Julianne’s instructor suggests they call the doctor and bleed the patient and in an act of spite, the instructor bleeds the patient too much, resulting in death. The patient’s husband is devastated having already lost a wife and child during birth, and now he is stuck with a baby, but no wife to care for it. Knowing that the penalty for malpractice is life in prison, the instructor suggests the authorities are alerted to have Julianne thrown in jail.

Fast forward a few months. Julianne is in prison in France with no hopes of ever seeing freedom again, until she overhears talk of sending convicts to New Orleans to settle the colony for France. Having a brother who enlisted as a soldier of France and was sent to New Orleans, Julianne talks with the Mother nun who is somewhat reluctant to send her at first, but eventually agrees. Julianne is hopeful for a reunion with her brother who is the only family she has left. None of the convicts who are selected to leave realize though, that before they are sent to the colony, they will be forced to marry to populate the colony, which is the only reason they are being sent. Julianne finds herself married to a man named Simon who she has never met and is forced to carry out wifely duties and they set out for New Orleans.

Once there, and even on the ship over, Julianne seeks to find what information she can about her brother in hopes of reuniting, finding out that he died of fever after his stay with the natives a few years before. Julianne is heartbroken, but she and Simon set out to make the best life they can for themselves in the new colony and learn to love one another. Meanwhile, Captain Marc-Paul Girard has fallen for Julianne on the ship over and due to Simon being a bit rash at times, feels that Julianne deserves so much more than Simon is giving her. Being a man of moral character, however, Marc-Paul decides to just keep a watch out for Julianne since she is married to Simon. There is so much more to the novel, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises.

This is a novel that is full of romance, adventure, danger, and grace. When I picked this novel up, I had a difficult time putting it down because it is so fascinating and packed with twists and turns around every corner. It is full of grace because Julianne finds that even though she is ridiculed, she discovers grace through the kindness of others and being able to start over in a new world. You will not want to miss picking this one up. I don’t recommend this book for young or sensitive readers, as while it is a Christian based novel, there is some material that is not appropriate for younger readers and there is a little bit of gore from fights with the settlers and the natives and amongst the settlers that would have been common around that time. I probably won’t let my children read this book until they are adults. It is a fantastic novel though and I highly recommend it.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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A Phenomenal Bible Study!

Liz Curtis Higgs is a phenomenal Bible teacher and writer and 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart definitely follows the same suit as her previous studies. If you have enjoyed her thoroughness and wit and personalization that she has put into the last several books she wrote, you will enjoy this one.

Liz has a passion for helping people to understand verses and passages from the Bible and it is evident in what she writes. Before writing 31 Verses, Liz took a survey asking for peoples’ favorite Bible verses and from there, she picked the 31 verses that were the most commonly agreed upon favorites. Each verse she delves into completely and each verse is one whole chapter.

To begin each chapter, she prints the full verse. From there, she picks apart the verse word for word and explains what each particular word/phrase means. She digs into the Greek and Hebrew and different versions of the Bible and has the reader stop to ponder on the emphasis that God placed on those words and unfolds the verse to show God’s great love for His children. A prayer always follows the chapter study. At the end of the chapter, she prints the full verse again and encourages the reader to write the verse in their favorite translation. Lastly, for each chapter, she gives tips on ways to make Bible verse memorization easier and even compiles all those methods together at the end of the book for the reader to review and study as preferred, along with a book study question and answer portion.

This book would be great to use as a daily devotional and enrichment to go along with your Bible reading or to give as a gift to someone who is desiring to dig deeper into God’s word. It is more geared towards women, but I feel that men would also be able to walk away with a better understanding of the Bible. This is a book you definitely want to pick up and completely safe for all ages!

To check out a preview of this book or order a copy, you can click here.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.


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Romance, Suspense, and Mild Humor lay within this book

For the folks in Pine Gap, Missouri in 1885, life is pretty ordinary. They have their town mayor, postmaster, the usual outlaws, a sheriff who is partially afraid to do his duties at night, and a band of mysterious men that go around at night with sack cloth hats with horns to take care of the outlaws—the Bald Knobbers. The feel life is just fine the way it is, but the state of Missouri doesn’t necessarily see it that way. They feel that Pine Gap is unruly and that the sheriff is a coward so they send a new deputy into town to try straightening things up and they feel that Joel Puckett from Texas is just the guy for the job.

Betsy Huckabee is a budding writer. Not yet syndicated, her main duties involve helping her uncle in his print shop and writing stories to send to the Kansas City newspaper in hopes of getting published—so far, her attempts have been for naught. Feeling bereft of any more publishing worthy stories, Betsy continues looking for that perfect plot. When the new sheriff arrives in town, and is handsome to boot, Betsy imagines just the plot. Make the new sheriff the subject, change his name just slightly (but not his appearance) and voila! It is sure to be the perfect story that will catch the Kansas City newspaper’s attention and the attention of all the female readers in the paper’s vicinity. Her imagination runs wild and she can’t help but start writing about the romance and adventure of the Dashing Deputy Eduardo Pickett.

Betsy begins following Joel around on his journeys and gets to know him even better when he starts having meals with her family each day. Knowing Betsy is a writer, Joel requests that she does not write about his engagements with outlaws or the Bald Knobbers. She follows him on his adventure to stop the Bald Knobbers from harming citizens that aren’t lawbreakers and watches as he tries to convince the Bald Knobbers he is the law and because they are not respecting his authority that they are not obeying the law. Suddenly a lot of mischief starts happening around Pine Gap that could either point to the Bald Knobbers or the lack of respect for the new sheriff. Both the sheriff and the Bald Knobbers feel it is their duty to protect Pine Gap. In the meantime the sheriff who has been replaced is getting angry that he has unwillingly been usurped by this new deputy.

Meanwhile, Betsy is getting awesome material for the newspaper, but as her feelings for Joel grow, she begins to realize the impact not respecting his wish to not write about him might have on their blossoming relationship. After an unexpected kiss from Joel, her days of writing about him are almost over—almost, after she gets one more article out since she is at the highlight of her writing career and her stories are now being published in several papers across the country. When a detective and an officer sent from the governor of Missouri come to Pine Gap to investigate why Joel really left Texas, questions begin flying around Pine Gap and everything starts going out of control. A big question is who tipped off the gentleman to go to Pine Gap in the first place.

For the Record by Regina Jennings is an interesting book from start to finish and one you will want to read. The novel is chock full of romance, suspense, and mild humor, one that is bound to please young and old. This book is family friendly and I would have no problem letting my children read it.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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A Good Devotional Book

I’ll start out by saying, I think I would have enjoyed The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible by Troy Schmidt better had I been able to read it a little slower as a devotional rather than like a regular book. Troy offers a lot of good insight to verses in the Bible and such rich commentary on it that you will want to just mediate on the Scripture that is being explored. Reading through it like a normal book doesn’t give the text a chance to seep into your mind.

While Troy does offer a lot of insight with this book, I’m not sure if I really thought these were the MOST encouraging verses of the Bible. Even though I enjoyed the readings, some of the verses I really still had to wonder how it was encouraging enough to be considered “most”; especially some of the old testament verses such as Job 6:8-9. I know he was getting at how it was encouraging that God didn’t honor Job’s request to die because he was so miserable because God knows that what we are going through and our pain is only temporary and a lot of times a precursor for a blessing to take place, but I don’t know if a person who is needing encouragement is going think that Job lamenting to God about wanting to die to be very encouraging. He did provide a way to look at that verse that I have never thought of before and brought it back around to being encouraging, but I don’t know if I would consider it one of the “most”.

One of the things that would make the book even better is if there had been a reference somewhere in it specifying which verses to look for in the book to find encouragement for certain situations. If that was there, a person who is needing that encouragement at that moment would be able to easily look up those verses in the Bible or the book and study and mediate more on them.

While reading the book, it is obvious that Troy has definitely studied these verses. He did a lot of digging into the verses and opened up parts of it that many people might not see when reading. I really appreciated the research he had done into the verses. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for a good devotional that they can meditate on.

For a preview of the novel or to purchase, please click here.

I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.

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