Month: January 2015

Book Review: “Knitting Block by Block” by Nicky Epstein

When I saw this book, I was intrigued by the idea of being able to knit smaller projects as parts of a whole, larger project. Somehow, knitting an afghan seems more daunting than just knitting a block. That being said, I just starting to learn to knit. However, I look forward to attaining the proficiency needed to make a lovely afghan of differing blocks. I hope this book will do just that.

This book contains a load of beautiful pictures. The pages are nice and thick, allowing the book to lay open easily. Not only does the book proudly boast of having 150 different squares, it also shows several different types of edgings and methods of joining. Patterns and photographs are provided for each square as well as several projects (such as a purse or vest).

The end of the book showcases a gallery of all the blocks for planning purposes. Abbreviations for the patterns are also explained as well as instructions for basic stitches. A resource list is provided. This book will be an excellent addition to my crafting library.

(I received this book for free from BloggingforBook.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.)

Book Review: “The Diabetes Solution” by Jorge E. Rodriguez, MD and Susan Wyler, RDN

I was excited to be able to review this book. I have insulin resistance, so I am constantly trying to stay current on the best ways to eat in order to control this condition so that it doesn’t become full-fledged diabetes. The author does a wonderful job of explaining diabetes in terms that are easily understandable to people without a medical background. His explanation of how the body’s energy system (and insulin’s part in that system) is used in the body in terms of a subway station on pages 19 and 20 made more sense to me than discussions with my medical doctor and dietician. In fact, I feel like I have more of an understanding of this disease than I’ve ever had because of this book.

The first part of the book covers everything from basics of diabetes to how to screen for it to complications resulting from it. The second part of the book covers how you should be eating and includes recipes to get you started. The book suggests using an eating plan that is called the Blood Sugar Budget. In it, a certain amount of points are awarded each day with specific foods “costing” a prescribed point value. One interesting part of the plan is the use of penalty points that get assessed for not eating properly. For example, one would have to add 8 points for not eating the suggested 5 servings of leafy greens and nonstarchy vegetables in a day. While the budget point values seem a little confusing to me at the beginning, I’m sure that with practice and time, it would be easier. The overall recommendation is not unlike a lot of healthy eating suggestions where lean meats, vegetables, and fruits are encouraged. Of course, the book also points out that physical activity is an important part of the solution. I liked the book and plan to try the meal plan because I think at the very least the penalty points will help me stay on track to healthier eating. This would be a good read for anyone who has diabetes, prediabetes, or has a family member with it.

(I received this book for free from BloggingforBook.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.)

A Couple of Great Authors

I know I do a lot of book reviews here, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight a couple of my favorite authors today. There are so many great authors out there, but these authors have a special ability to immediately draw me into their stories.

Terri Blackstock
I can honestly say that I have never read a book by Ms. Blackstock that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. While there are some authors in which I have to “get into” their books and end up enjoying them, I am usually hooked on a Terri Blackstock book by the end of the first chapter. All of the books that I have read of hers have also been devoid of bad language and explicit sexual content. I just wish I had more time to read all of her books. These are the only ones I’ve read so far. I recommend them all!
Cape Refuge Series (4 books)
Restoration Series (4 books)
Truth Stained Lies

Tamara Alexander
My mother let me borrow a couple of books, Rekindled and Revealed, by Ms. Alexander. I really enjoyed them. Rekindled was probably the first historical fiction novel I’d read in a very long time. It’s been several years since I read them, but remember enjoying them. That is the hallmark of a good book: when you remember it years later.

Book Review: “The Uncommon Marriage Adventure” by Tony & Lauren Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

978-1-4143-8372-9

I was drawn to this book after my husband recently went to an All Pro Dad conference where Mr. Dungy spoke. He had brought home The Uncommon Marriage, also by Mr. and Mrs. Dungy. This book makes either an excellent companion to that book or as a stand-alone devotional book for couples. It is divided into 16 weeks, with a devotion to do together as a couple each day. Each day is started with a Bible verse and then a discussion portion penned by either Mr. or Mrs. Dungy. Following the discussion section, is a section called “Adventure Application” which helps reinforce the day’s topic. Also, the book spends two weeks exploring what the book describes as “The Core Principles of an Uncommon Marriage.” These principles are:
1. Look to the Bible as your guidebook and to Christ as your living example.
2. Stay in sync spiritually.
3. Manage expectations and appreciate your differences.
4. Work as a team.
5. Practice committed love.
6. Communicate well and often.
7. Don’t run away from conflict.
8. Support each other in serving others.

As you can see, all of the principles are important in a healthy, loving marriage. I could easily relate the personal stories in the discussion sections, even though I’m not really a “sports girl.” I think this would be a great book for any married couple, whether they have been married for quite some time or are newlyweds. In fact, it would make a wonderful wedding present to help the couple get a great start be intentional about their marriage.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to each of you. I pray that your new year is blessed, healthy, and happy. 2014 was quite an eventful year. At least three life-changing events presented itself during the year. I’m still trying to understand why these things happened, and am slowing coming to understand that maybe I’m not supposed to ever completely understand them. Maybe I’m just supposed to grow through them by trusting that God holds all the answers and trusting in his promise saying, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

As a lot of people do, I’ve decided to plan achieve a few goals in the new year. There is something fresh and invigorating about the prospects of a new year. It encourages me to try to be a better person this year than last. So, I encourage you to think about a few things that you would like to work on, not just hollow resolutions, but a time of reflection and prayer in which you earnestly seek to be better. One of the posts on moneysavingmom.com made me start thinking about making these goals to be specific and able to be accomplished in a set period of time. One thing that hold me back on getting a lot of stuff done is procrastination, hesitation, and uncertainty. I hope to address these bad habits to live life more fully and happily. So, here are a few of my goals for the year. They are already listed with a deadline in my to-do list so I can keep myself accountable. Feel free to share some of your goals as well.

-Learn to cook five complete meals that I feel are my go-to meals when I have company over. I can cook, but sometimes become nervous when cooking for others.
-Eat more healthy foods and exercise more. (I know this is cliche, but it’s needed in my case.)
-Hone my sewing skills, including learning to quilt, make doll clothes, and a dress.
-Read the Bible, spend more time on devotions and prayer, and memorize (and apply) at least one verse a month that can help me be a better mother, spouse, family member, friend, or Christian.
-Actually do some of the things I love on Pinterest. 🙂

All the best to you!