Thursday, February 26, 2015

BookLook Review: It Will Be Okay Written by Lysa TerKeurst


I'm excited about sharing my most recent review for a children's picture book titled, "It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change" written by the well-known author, Lysa TerKeurst and illustrated by Natalia Moore. I was thrilled for the opportunity to read her children's book. This hardback picture book is suitable for children ages 4-8.


Book Description (Taken From Faith Gateway's Store)
Whether we like it or not, growing up brings change. For many children, this conjures fears that are sometimes real and sometimes imagined. How can kids learn that even when they face new and unfamiliar situations, they don't have to be afraid? 

Little Seed and Little Fox are facing changes and brand new circumstances - and they don't like it one bit! Through this unlikely friendship, children will discover that no matter how new or fearful their circumstances, God is always with them. The whimsical art by Natalia Moore will put a smile on kids' faces and put their minds at ease. Just as Little Seed and Little Fox learn to trust that the Farmer is good and kind, children will also learn to trust God. The book will help kids discover that in the end . . . it really will be okay, because we have a God who is good and kind and always with us.

Author Biography
Lysa TerKeurst is the New York Times bestselling author of two popular adult books on the market titled, Made to Crave and Unglued. She's been learning God's lessons while admitting what a mess she can be and sharing it all on her blog (www.LysaTerKeurst.com) and in her books. Lysa is also the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She writes from her farm table in North Carolina where she lives with her husband, Art, five kids, three dogs, and mouse that refuses to leave her kitchen

What We Thought
I read this book to my 7-year-old daughter. I have to say . . . this 32-page book published by Thomas Nelson was meant for my daughter and I to read. With all the changes occuring in our life right now, I sometimes catch myself not putting all my trust in God. I have many fears about upcoming changes, but I am sure my daughter's fears are much bigger than my own. Alyssa and I snuggled on the bed to read this book the first day it arrived and we've read it many times since that day.

A personal letter from the author dedicated to her readers is found at the beginning of the book. I truly appreciated the memory verses mentioned in the book. I plan on eventually utilizing them in our homeschool. I will most likely create copywork pages to accompany this book in hopes that they will help my daughter memorize the verses better. I feel that these verses are extremely relevant to our circumstances right now and will be relevant to many readers as well. We are going through several big life changes and dealing with our newfound fears and turmoil on a daily basis.

My favorite Bible verse listed in this book is "So do NOT fear, for I am with you: Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10.

Natalia Moore's charming illustrations are sweet and absolutely adorable! You can definitely feel the bond between the two main characters and children will be able to relate to their experiences and feelings making their own connections to the story.

This touching story is about the friendship between a fox and a little seed. The book emphasizes two prominent and central themes. These changes and fears occur in their lives while God is watching over them. The book reminds children that no matter the circumstances you face or changes you face God will always be with you and there for you. The book also encourages children to put their trust in Him, because the Lord will NEVER leave or forsake us.

The Farmer represents God in this story as stated in this quote: 
"But the Farmer was good, and the Farmer was kind, and the Farmer was always watching over them. Even when they didn't know it." Notice that the word Farmer is capitalized each time which indicates or signifies that He represents God. The actions of the Farmer described are symbolic of God watching over us.

The book discusses topics such as friendship, meaningful relationships, facing fears and anxieties, adjusting to changes, and the importance of trusting God in the midst of chaotic life challenges.

Alyssa said, "This was the MOST amazing book you've ever read Mommy!" When I asked her what her favorite part was she summarized the message by saying, "That even though we're in a dark place and we're afraid . . . it'll be okay because God's always there."

There's not a thing about this book that I would change. Another aspect of the book that I like is that it features the seasonal changes of a tree. The lifecycle of a seed growing into a tree was depicted throughout several different seasons. As a home educator and certified elementary teacher, I love seeing books that add in science concepts. A science activity could be easily be created and used after reading this book.

Price 
You can purchase this book for $9.99 on Amazon or at FaithGateway Store for $14.99.

Note: All prices are subject to change at any time. 

Recommendations
I HIGHLY recommend this book for Christian grandparents, parents, and Sunday school teachers! It would be a perfect gift for children dealing with stressful situations, fears, and big changes. It is one of the best children's picture books I've read with a meaningful message that will benefit both children and adults. Younger children may not be able to sit for the longer pages therefore I suggest summarizing the main points on each page with children under age 4. My daughter asks to read this book quite often. The book is a gem that I'm happy to add to our home library.   

Disclaimer
I received a complimentary, free copy of this book from the publisher as part of the BookLook Blogger Review Team Program in exchange for an honest review on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: February 23rd, 2015


A cold front arrived on Sunday! It's a little chilly this week so we are making several soup dinner meals to keep us warm and cozy. I definitely spend a lot less on groceries when I take a few minutes to meal plan each week. Our grocery shopping day is Wednesday so we pick up staples and ingredients needed later in the week. I also try to plan meals at the beginning of the week based on what we already have in our fridge and pantry. This system seems to be working for us.   

Monday
Breakfast - Cereal + Fruit
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches + Carrots
Dinner - Sausage and Hamburger Quiche + Romaine Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast - Sausage Hamburger Quiche + Kiwi 
Lunch - Tuna Cheese Melts + Broccoli
Dinner - Beef Tacos + Asparagus

Wednesday
Breakfast - Egg Milk + Nutella Toast + Blueberries
Lunch - Ham and Cheese Sandwiches + Bell Peppers
Dinner - Beef Taco Leftovers

Thursday
Breakfast - Yogurt Berry Smoothies + Caramel Rice Cake
Lunch - Peanut Butter Honey Sandwiches + Broccoli

Friday 
Breakfast - Blueberry Lemon Pancakes
Dinner - Chicken Dumpling Leftovers

Saturday
Breakfast - Hardboiled Eggs + Cinnamon Toast 
Lunch - Pizza Birthday Party 
Dinner - Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup + Salad  

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal + Fruit + Egg Milk
Lunch - Turkey Cheese Sandwiches + Chips
Dinner -  Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas + Spinach Salad

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Virtual Refrigerator: Valentine's Day Teacher Card Crafts

Alyssa enjoys creating gifts for others. This year she made adorable Valentine's Day card crafts for her dance and piano teachers.

Materials Needed
Scissors
Construction Paper
Cardstock
Colored Pencils
Glue Stick
Heart-Shaped Stickers

The first card was given to her main dance instructor. The front said, "Happy Valentine's Day! Bee Mine." The back of the card said, "Thank you for "bee-ing" a great teacher!" We found out that her teacher actually LOVES bees after giving her the card.
Front
Back
The second card craft was give to her dance teacher assistant. It was a cat Valentine that said, "You are the "purrfect" teacher!" on the back of the card. She signed her name in cursive since she's been learning cursive letter formations.


The last craft card was made especially for her piano teacher. She cut out a large red heart and glued it on a piece of white cardstock. Then, she folded the card in half. She drew a piano note on the front using colored pencils and heart-shaped stickers with a To: Mrs. Lu note. The inside was actually a pop-up card! She wrote, "You make my heart (sticker) skip one beat! Happy Valentine's Day!" I love the play on words! She also drew a musical note on the pop up area using colored pencils and heart stickers.
Front
Inside
This was a fun, creative activity we did as part of Alyssa's Valentine's Day countdown. She also made Valentine goodie bags for her dance classmates, but I think I forgot to photograph them. I'll post the pics if I find any.

Helpful Websites That Inspired Our Projects
Crafty Morning - "Bee Mine" Valentine's Day Craft
Crafty Morning - "Purrfect" Valentine Craft

I will link this post up at Virtual Refrigerator and Share It Saturday.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! 
God bless,
Tracey

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Inseparable

During our visit to New York for Christmas, my daughter made a buddy. They were inseparable for HOURS! They literally played with his stuffed animal the entire night and we had to pull them apart so we could go home. She LOVES this dog!


I will link this post up at Life at Rossmont - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Give Your Family a Loving Valentine's Day Heart Attack

I found a "heart attack" idea on Pinterest. This is a great last minute, thoughtful way to show your love. I decided to make one for my daughter last year. I stayed up all night cutting construction paper hearts of all sizes and colors. Alyssa absolutely jumped for joy when she woke up to this surprise! The smile on her face made me cry. She left the hearts on her floor for days reading them each morning until I finally asked her to clean up her room. Last year, she asked me if I would do it every Valentine's Day. I bet you can guess what I am doing tonight as I watch a movie.

Materials Needed
Construction Paper (All Colors)
Scissors
Black Marker

Alyssa's Heart Attack

Other Valentine's Day Heart Attack Ideas
  • Taped in the Bathroom
  • Written on the Mirror with Washable Markers
  • Floating Love Notes from the Ceiling
  • Scattered on the Bed
  • Stuffed in the Mailbox
  • Mailed in a Boxed Package
  • Dinner Table (Any Meal)
  • Posted on Any Door or Wall
  • Jarred Hearts
  • Lunchbox Surprise
  • Lawn Hearts
  • Porch Sidewalk Chalk Hearts
  • Inside the Car (As Seen Below)
I haven't blogged much about this, but this week my divorce was final. Not that it helped my marriage much, but I also gave Jeff a heart attack in his car last year. I thought it was a sweet gesture and would remind him how much I loved him at the time. I also wanted to give him a little extra attention. I set it up around 2 or 3 in the morning when I knew he would be in a deep sleep.

Any other suggestions? 

See my Heart Attack Pinterest Board for additional ideas.

So what are you waiting for . . . start cutting!  

I will link this post up at Titus 2 Tuesday #142Home to House Linky Party #104, Hip Homeschool Mom Hop, and at Modest Mom Link Up. Come join the fun!
I Choose Joy!

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey!

God bless,
Tracey

Monday, February 2, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: February 2nd, 2015

Meal Planning is really helping us! We aren't wasting as much food as we used to or buying as many groceries each week. Thinking about our meals ahead of time only takes a short amount of time out of my day. Every Sunday nigh . . .  I glance in my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to figure out which ingredients I already have on hand in order to plan meals around those ingredients. We'll eat a meal twice a week and then I'll freeze the leftover portion for those solo weekends when Alyssa is visiting her father.

Monday
Breakfast - Egg Muffins + Fruit
Lunch - Tuna Cheese Melts + Carrots
Dinner - Taco Soup + Cornbread

Tuesday
Breakfast - Yogurt Berry Smoothies + Hardboiled Eggs
Dinner - Baked Fish + Honey Sweet Potatoes + Rosemary Asparagus

Wednesday
Breakfast - Raisin Oatmeal + Hardboiled Eggs
Lunch - Peanut Butter Honey Sandwiches + Bell Pepper
Dinner - Olive Garden Mother-Daughter Dinner Date

Thursday
Breakfast - Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwiches + Celery
Dinner - Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas + Broccoli

Friday 
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Pinwheels + Sugar Snap Peas
Dinner - Turkey Black Bean Enchiladas + Strawberry Spinach Salad

Saturday
Breakfast - Fruit and Nut Oatmeal + Scrambled Eggs
Lunch - Grilled Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches and Carrots
Dinner - Morning Star Black Bean Burger  + Zucchini

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches + Green Beans
Dinner - Italian Meatball Soup + Spinach Salad

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: January 26th, 2015

Planning a menu is definitely helping me save money on groceries. Our plans last week moved around a bit, but the meals were mostly the same. It was a successful week!

I would still like to learn more about freezer cooking, saving money on groceries using coupons, and adding more variety to our meals. It is much harder planning a menu for only two people now with one of those individuals being a child.

Monday
Breakfast - Cereal and Banana
Lunch - Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches with Carrots
Dinner - Shrimp and Sausage Veggie Stirfry

Tuesday
Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich + Carrots
Dinner - Shrimp and Sausage Veggie Stirfry 

Wednesday
Breakfast - Hardboiled Eggs + Fruit + Energy Balls
Lunch - Peanut Butter Honey Sandwiches + Bell Pepper
Dinner - Turkey Zucchini Burgers and Spinach Salad

Thursday
Breakfast - Blueberry Lemon Pancakes + Hardboiled Eggs
Lunch - Tuna Cheese Melts + Sugar Snap Peas
Dinner - Turkey Burgers and Spinach Salad 

Friday 
Breakfast - Yogurt Berry Smoothies + Rice Cake
Lunch - Egg Salad Sandwiches + Avocado
Dinner - Penne with Meat Sauce + Asparagus

Saturday
Breakfast - Scrambled Eggs + Toast + Kiwi   
Lunch - Ham and Cheese Ranch Wraps + Green Beans
Dinner -  Penne with Meat Sauce + Spinach Salad

Sunday
Breakfast - Cereal and Fruit
Lunch - Chicken Salad Sandwiches + Celery
Dinner - Taco Soup + Cornbread

I will link this post up at Menu Plan Monday.