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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

On My “To-Read” List

books

I’ve read barely anything this month.  Between getting back from our road trip, getting ready for being at the cabin, and getting ready for weddings, there just hasn’t been any extra time for reading.  I started something at the cabin, but left it there.  I started something the other day, but haven’t completed it.

So, here is a list of books I’d LIKE to read:

  1. The Harry Potter Series
    I like to re-read Harry Potter every few years.  It’s been quite a few years since the last time I read it (I can’t remember exactly, but it’s entirely possible that I last read them before I even got married… so it’s been a while).  It’s fun to re-read, I always get something new out of it.
  2. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
    I don’t know if this book is even out yet, but I’m SO excited to read it!  I loved her first book, so I’ll be very happy to read her second book.  TBH, I don’t even really care what it’s about.  If she wrote it, that’s all I need to know.
  3. Anne of Green Gables
    Again, I have read this before, but I’d really like to re-read it.  This was what I started reading at the lake, and I was really enjoying it.  I just need to find my copy though haha

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Books of 2015: June

June Books

This month I read a lot more books than last month!  It really helped that I spent a week at Victoria Beach with no wifi and no tv.  😉

11. Daddy Hugs by Nancy Tafuri
This was a cute little book.  For this month, I wanted to get books for Andrew to read to Autumn, so I picked mostly “Daddy” books.  This one was really cute.  There are little animal noises and it was super cute when Andrew would read those parts, too.

12. The Newlywed Cookbook by Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss
Lately, I’ve been borrowing cookbooks from the library to find new recipes! Pinterest is great, but I love being able to go through a book to pick things out.  This book had a lot of really fun ideas and I can’t wait to start making them.

13. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos
I LOVED this book! Nia Vardalos is absolutely hilarious, and I love reading her writing.  She talks about how she got My Big Fat Greek Wedding made into a movie, and how she got her start in comedy, which I loved reading about.  The main topic of the book was about her struggles with infertility, and how they adopted a 3 1/2 year old girl.  Such an amazing story.  I recommend this book highly!

14. Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss & Tell by Rob Thomas
The next installment in the Veronica Mars story, this book was even better than the last one, imo.  Mostly because Logan is actually IN the book.  With the last one, I had been disappointed that he wasn’t in it.  I love Logan.  I read this one fairly quickly.  It’s a real page turner 🙂 I enjoyed it!

June Books

 

15. A to Z of Wedding Style by Kate Bethune
This was a pretty interesting read.  Fun to read, too.  I read it cover to cover, as you would with a novel.. and I eventually skimmed and just read the things that I was interested in.  I liked the history in it, and the quotes from different people.  It was fun!

16. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Eh.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this honestly.  Mostly because I didn’t really like the main character.  I like John Green as a writer, this just wasn’t my favourite of his.

17. A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth
This was so much fun to read!  I love how positive Kristin is, and her writing style is great.  I really enjoyed reading this book and would definitely read it again.  Plus, it had recipes in it, too that I can’t wait to try.

18. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
This book was also eh.  I don’t know what it is… but it wasn’t really that enjoyable of a read.

19. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I’m on a bit of a John Green kick right now.  I like this one.  It was a sad story though. I wasn’t expecting it to be sad, and then it was 🙁 well written though!

What have you been reading this month?

xoxo,
Alysa

 

Continue Reading

Books of 2015: April

06. Baby-Lead Weaning by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett
This book was really interesting.  I went to a workshop type thing about introducing solids to babies, and that was all about purees… but I had heard from a friend about baby-lead weaning and how beneficial that is to do instead.  I was definitely curious, and thought that maybe I would do both, a little bit of spoon feeding, and some baby-led stuff.  This book totally changed that and I am so excited to start giving Autumn actual food.  She’s definitely seeming interested in it, at least she tries to grab things that we eat when we’re holding her.  It was great to be able to read the book and hear the why and the how of baby-lead weaning (aka baby-led solids).  I can’t wait to start!!

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Books of 2015: March

I didn’t get much reading done this month.  Between the surgery, and the recovery, and just being so tired that I didn’t think I could pay attention to what I was reading, I just didn’t end up reading too much.  I did finish one book though, so I’d say that’s a pretty good deal for what a wild month it was.

sexy feminism

05. Sexy Feminism by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Heather Wood Rudulph
This book was pretty interesting.  There was some stuff that I wasn’t interested in reading about, such as the body hair debate, and other stuff that didn’t apply to me, like dating, but overall, this was a pretty good read.  It would have been nice if they had put more focus on some of the intersections of feminism though.  It was an okay read for a bargain book!

What have you been reading this month?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Books of 2015: February

February Reads

02. Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
I really enjoyed this book. It was fun to read the story as NPH, I loved the concept of a choose your own adventure book when applied to an autobiography. As NPH, I was a young doctor on tv, hosted an award show, met the love of my life and started a family, hung out with Harold and Kumar, and met your mother.  I also got killed by piranhas, spoiler alert 😉 I’m pretty sure I missed some stuff, but it was a good read!!

03. Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I LOVED this book! Her stories were funny and interesting to read, and I really liked hearing about behind the scenes stuff from SNL.  Plus, she had some pretty good advice, and as a new mama some of her mommy stories were really great to read.  All in all, this book had pretty much everything I want to read about right now.  Loved it!!

04. The Family Blessing by Rolf Garborg
This was a pretty interesting read.  It was basically about why to give your child a daily blessing.  I’m really excited to be able to do this with Autumn.  We were given this as a gift when she was born, and we’ve been trying to bless her nightly.  Even though she doesn’t know what we’re doing just yet, it’s nice to be able to share a blessing over her, even if it’s just for ourselves at the moment.  I’m excited to do this for years to come.

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading

Books of 2014 + January Reads

In 2014, one of my new years resolutions was to read more.  I ended the year with 32 books finished, so I would say that I was successful in that resolution!

My new years resolution this year is to remember the word Joy in my day-to-day life, and reading brings me a lot of joy, so I’m definitely going to continue reading and documenting what I read on here.  I doubt that I’ll read as many books this year as I did last year, I have a very adorable distraction for that, but I’d like to read as much as I can.  So far this month, I have read one book!  Wayy less than last year, but it’s a great start 😉

So, here is what I think about what I’ve read in January:

01. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this book.  I’m on the fence about Lena Dunham, so I wasn’t sure what to think going in.  I knew she is a comedy writer, so I was expecting a funny biography, similar to the ones by Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling.  I was wrong to have any doubts.  If I had been reading my own book, and not a book borrowed from a friend, I would have highlighted parts of it.  There was a lot in there that I could really connect with.  Lots that I couldn’t (like where she worked right out of college, and her general lifestyle), but lots of stuff I really enjoyed.  Overall, it was a fun read and I’m glad that I gave it a chance!

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

Continue Reading