Book Review: {Why} Motherhood Matters

As a mom of young children, and especially as a stay at home parent, being a mama is all consuming.  I am with my little ones basically 24/7 at this point and I basically only think about them.  Did they eat enough, are they sleeping enough, what do they need!!  Since they’re so little, their needs can feel overwhelming, but a lot of mamas of young children also start to feel alone.

Enter Steptember McCarthy and her wonderful book {Why} Motherhood Matters!  This book shares some very personal stories, as well as realistic and practical advice for any mom in all stages of motherhood.  So many times while reading this book, I found myself nodding because I could relate so much.

The book is laid out in four parts, which go deeper into some of the issues of motherhood.  From faith and wellness, to education and relationships, September covers so many aspects of motherhood, and each section ends with some questions and principles to think about and carry into your own life.

Whether you’re in the middle of trying to have a baby, or the sleepless nights, or you have teenagers and beyond, this book is for you.  I am so glad that I had the chance to read it.

For more information, check out September’s website here!

xoxo,
Alysa

 

Disclosure: I received this book at no charge in exchange for this review. All the opinions stated here are my own.

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Dating in Marriage: Book Review

I was recently given the chance to review a book on date nights in marriage, and I’m so excited to share that review with you here!  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on my links and then buy something, it will be a big blessing on our little family. <3

Dating in Marriage by Brittany Putman has 12 date ideas you can do with your spouse throughout the year.  Each date has a cute theme, and there are a number of questions you can ask each other during or after the date.  It’s a nice way to connect with your spouse every month!

Especially after having babies, it can be difficult to really go on a date with your spouse.  In this book, there are a number of dates where you don’t even have to leave the house, which is kind of my favourite kind of date.  My husband and I love our date nights-in, and this book has a few of those.  And, the other date ideas found in here are relatively cheap/easy to do.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on any of the dates in the book, which I really appreciated.  I also liked the fact that the dates are simple enough that Brittany doesn’t need to go on and on for pages.  It’s written in a way that is directly to the point, so you don’t need to go searching for what the actual date idea is.  It makes it easier to plan dates, because you can read a paragraph or two and then just go!  I like that it’s not overly complicated, because dating your husband shouldn’t be complicated.

Another thing I really liked is the part at the end.  Once you’re done your year of dates, there is a guide for a marriage retreat!  There are three mini-sessions you can do with your spouse at the location of your choosing.  All that is asked of you is that you go for 1 to 2 nights, and that you go by yourselves.  What a neat idea!  I love that you can have a little marriage retreat with your spouse and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and it’s totally guided by this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book, and I can’t wait to try out some of these dates with my husband. 🙂 You can read more information about this book from the author’s blog here!

xoxo,
Alysa

 

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A Few of My Favourite Picture Books

Since February was I Love To Read Month, and since the majority of the books I’m reading right now is picture books with my kids, I’m going to share some of our current favourite picture books.  Some are old, some are new, but we read these ones quite a bit.

This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made through the use of one of my recommendations, I may receive a small commission, which would be a lovely little blessing for my family.

01 // Beauty And The Beast by Ursula Jones
This book is SO pretty!  We received it for Autumn’s birthday, and it’s got a different story than the Disney version.  The artwork is gorgeous, and if you ask Autumn what her favourite book is, this is the book she’ll select from the shelf.

02 // Nobody Likes A Goblin by Ben Hatke
This book is pretty new to our collection but it’s SO cute.  It’s about a little goblin who goes to save his friend from some adventurers.  Andrew is very into Dungeons and Dragons, and he loves this book so much.

03 // i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!  This poem is one of my favourites.  We had my sister read it in our wedding ceremony, and so when I saw this at the book store I knew that I HAD to have it.  The illustrations are adorable, and I love the way this makes the poem about the love between a mother and her child.  I love it, I love it, I love it!

04 // Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell
This is an old favourite for us.  I first read it when I was a nanny, and fell in love with it.  Since then, I’ve tried to give it as a gift to my friends when they have kids.  In more recent years, it’s been tougher to find this version, and I’ve only really been able to find it in board book version, or not at all. It’s such a cute book about a little kitten who wants to give the whole world a hug, so he writes a To-Hug list and goes on a quest to find everyone on this list.  It’s such an adorable book, and I’ve read it to Autumn so many times, I could recite it by heart.

05 // The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield
This book is awesome!  Chris Hadfield is a really compelling writer, and I love that he has a children’s book for kids who might be dreaming about becoming astronauts.  I am currently reading his book for grown ups (An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth).  In The Darkest Dark, he talks about how he realized his dream of becoming an astronaut.  It’s a really cute book.

What are your current favourite picture books?

xoxo,
Alysa

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When We Last Spoke – Review and Giveaway

“Humor, heartbreak, and triumph are served with whipped cream and lots of local nuts in this heartwarming tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness in Fireside, Texas.”

This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made through the use of one of my recommendations, I may receive a small commission, which would be a lovely little blessing for my family. I received this book in exchange for this review, the opinions stated are my own.

When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna is a sweet look back at 1960’s smalltown Texas, through the eyes of a young girl who, along with her sister, have just been dropped off at their grandparents house to live, while their mother goes off to pursue her acting career and their father goes to war.  This book is a lovely story, with really interesting characters and setting.  As a Canadian, I especially loved the Southern-isms, some I even had to look up what the meaning behind them were.  I found that the story flowed really well, the writing was beautiful, and the characters were quite lovable.  It was a book that I had a hard time putting down, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet Southern story.

And you can win your own copy! This giveaway is open to the US and Canada

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You can also win a copy for your kindle on Amazon courtesy of the author from February 20-24!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Parenting with Grace and Truth: Book Review & Giveaway

I read a lot of parenting books. I really enjoy reading about different styles of parenting, and in each one I definitely take things away that I can use in my own parenting journey.  So when I was contacted to review Parenting with Grace and Truth by Dan Seaborn, I jumped at the chance of reading it!  I want to be able to parent in a way that is modelled after Jesus, and that is what this book is about.

As I say, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for this review.  Everything said here is my own opinion.  This post also contains affiliate links.

When I start reading any parenting book, I usually start by looking at the author’s bio on/in the back of the book.  I look to see what their qualifications are.  Dan Seaborn mentions on the back of this book that he has four kids with his wife.  That makes me think, ok, so he kind of knows what he’s talking about!  I read a longer bio that also said that he has worked as a youth pastor, so he really knows what he’s talking about with regards to teenagers.  I think it’s important to mention this, because there have been books I’ve read in the past that the author didn’t mention anything about whether or not they were a parent.  I know there are lots of non-parents that are very smart and everything, but as a parent, I take the advice of fellow parents more seriously.  So, I really like the fact that he mentions on his bio that he has children.

The way Parenting with Grace and Truth is set up is each chapter is about a truth about parenting.  Some examples are, The Truth About Developing Good Character in Your Children or The Truth about Effective Parenting.  I found it really interesting that Seaborn talks about these parenting issues as basic truths, and not just any truth, but truth with a foundation in Jesus.  I really liked that.  Another thing he does in each chapter is, he finishes each chapter with a number of questions to consider.  I think that makes this a good book to read with a small group.  There are questions that would make wonderful discussion questions with other parents.  And finally, he has a little blurb at the very end called “Dan’s Reality Check” where he is real about the truths he just talked about in the chapter.

Reading through this book, I found myself nodding my head in agreement about quite a few things.  I found myself hi-lighting sections of the book because I wanted to remember exactly what it said, so I could tell other people about it later.  I think that this is such a great resource for parents!  Though I am currently in the baby/toddler stage of parenting, and he talks a lot about parenting teenagers, I still got a LOT out of this book, and there was a lot I could take away and use in my life right now.

One of my favourite chapters is when Seaborn starts talking about specific parenting styles.  So he describes authoritarian style parenting, helicopter style parenting, and the very best parenting style: Jesus style parenting.  The way he describes Jesus style parenting made it seem actually attainable.  Jesus style parenting is perfect, but the way we do it doesn’t have to be perfect.  If we’re striving for Jesus style parenting, that is enough.

Another thing that I really appreciate about this book is the fact that there is scripture throughout each chapter.  Seaborn writes about parenting in a way that is based in biblical truth.  I think that is the one of it’s huge assets.  You can read exactly which verse he means when he gives his advice.

Parenting with Grace and Truth by Dan Seaborn was a really great read, and I think it will be one that I go back to again and again as my children get older.  And good news, friends!  You have a chance to win a copy of your very own as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to US/Canada.  Good Luck!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Christmas Eve Tradition: Christmas Books!

This year, the advent calendar we gave our kids was a new Christmas book under the tree every morning.  We read the book a few times a day, and then put it away so there would be a new book the next day.  It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m especially looking forward to reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas eve.

Sometimes, though, we found that some of the Christmas books were a little too long for the time-frame we had in which to read them.  If one of the children was not interested in reading a story before bed, we would pick a shorter book so we would definitely have time to read it before the tears started.  That’s where this handy infographic comes in!  I’ve teamed up with Personal Creations, who made this awesome visual.  Just select which Christmas book you want to read, and it tells you exactly how long it will take in minutes to read.  So if you’ve got younger kids, like I do, who might not be able to sit through an entire lengthy book, you can pick a shorter one from the list!

Kids Christmas books

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Piglet and Robin are Thankful book review

Piglet and Robin are Thankful

I was recently given the chance to review the book, “Piglet and Robin Are Thankful” by Jason Quinn & Andrew Gallagher.  I was given the book for free in exchange for my honest review, the opinions stated here are my own.

“Piglet and Robin are Thankful” is a really sweet book about all the things to be thankful for.  It’s got a cute back and forth between the two characters, and lovely pictures to go with it.  It was fun to read with my daughter.  She loved pointing out the things she recognized in the pictures, and she would say the things she was thankful for, too.  This book is a really cute way to teach your small children all the things that they can be thankful for.

If you’re interested in reading this book, check out the website and Facebook page, and find it on Amazon.

xoxo,
Alysa

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The Blessings of Unity: Book Review & Giveaway

The Blessings of Unity book review

I was recently given the opportunity to review a marriage book, “The Blessings of Unity” by Richard T. Case by Flyby Promotions.  The book was given to me in exchange for my review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.

As per the back cover, “The Blessings of Unity offers insight and ideas for creating godly unity in our marriages centered around two key concepts: 1. Abiding in the vine and walking in the spirit, and 2. Learning and applying the concept of unity.”

This was a short book, but it covers a lot of material.  Each chapter offers many, many examples in scripture, as well as many itemized lists.  There are many tips for ways we can live together in unity in our marriages, and based on scripture.

However, I found this book to be a little dry for my liking.  I much prefer books like this to include personal stories where the advice given either works, or examples of when the advice was needed.  I enjoy books that are a little more conversational.

When I read books such as this one, I often check the author’s bio in the back, to see about their life and their marriage.  I found it really interesting, and a little weird that there was no mention of a marriage in this author’s bio.  Is he even married?  His bio talks about his business experience, and I felt that was a little out of place for a book on marriage.  Additionally, I have to say that I was a little turned off by the introduction when he talks about how children are bombarded with peer pressure, and includes “the gay agenda” as a type of peer pressure.  What is the gay agenda?  This did not seem to come up in the rest of the book, either, so it felt very out of place.

I agree that unity is a huge thing in a marriage, and, especially when kids are involved, being on the same page as your spouse is very very important.  “The Blessings of Unity” covers a lot of really great material on that.  And I really liked that it is primarily based on scripture, and gives actual usable tips on what we can do to have more unity in our marriages.

How would you like to find out for yourself?
You can win your own copy of this book! Open to the US and Canada!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or, you can purchase the book here!

xoxo,
Alysa

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family Review & Giveaway

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Recently, I have been reading Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp.  At this current stage of parenting, I have found the the other parenting books I have read in the past to be a little bit of a moot point.  I started reading this parenting book anticipating that I would be reading more about things that might come up in the future for my children.  There were certainly a lot of things in the book that were for parents of older children, but in a lot of ways this book is for every parent.

I find it funny that the title of the book has the word “change” in it, because one of the biggest things that Tripp talks about in the book is the fact that we, as parents, CAN’T actually change our children.  Parenting isn’t about trying to make our children change their behaviour, or the way they are, or to try to fit them into some little box.  It’s about being their leaders, and guiding them in the way that they should go.  Tripp talks about how many parents view their children with a certain amount of ownership.  Parents use their children to complete their identity.  It’s not the right thing to do.  Our children are not our property.  It is not our job to make them submit to us, or behave for us.  It’s our job to guide them and lead them.

There are 14 Principles listed in this book, but the overarching theme is that of Grace.  We need God’s grace every single day, and our children need our grace every single day.  This book was pretty eye opening and I would definitely recommend it to other parents, even parents of very little children like I have. 🙂

And if you’d like to read it, too, I have a copy to give away!  <3

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xoxo,
Alysa

I received this book in exchange for my honest review, the opinions expressed here are my own.

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Baby, Baby! Book Review & Giveaway

Baby, Baby by Diane Stortz

I am so excited to be able to review the board book Baby, Baby! by Diane Stortz!  It’s a perfect little book for  both of my babies.  It is absolutely adorable.  It describes all the thing that babies do in the sweetest little rhyme.  It also explains how much God loves babies, and how much God loves the reader!

It finishes with a mirror, and there’s a place where mama or daddy can write their child’s name.  It’s so cute that it can be personalized to the child reading the book.  God loves us all, and children benefit when they are included in the story.

I also really love that it is a board book.  My daughter loves reading, and she’s been able to turn pages on books since she was about 6-7 months old, and I hope that my son will have the same passion for reading as well.  Board books are a great way for little ones to learn how to turn pages in books, without accidentally ripping them.  Plus, the interactiveness of the mirror is a lot of fun for little ones.

Baby, Baby by Diane Stortz

My daughter especially loved to look at the little mirror at the end of the book.

This is a really fun book to add to our regular rotation!

I also have a copy of the book to give away! Just do the activities in this rafflecopter to enter.  I will announce a winner here in one week.  Giveaway is open to Canada and the Continental U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, if you’d like to purchase the book, you can do so here!

xoxo,
Alysa

I received this book at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review, all opinions stated here are my own.

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