Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Easter Storybook by Laura Richie (40 Bible Stories Showing Who Jesus Is) [Review & Giveaway]

My thoughts:  I thought this was going to be a  children's book focusing on the week prior to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. However, it is basically a children's book of main events in the life of Jesus culminating in the resurrection.

The illustrations beautifully and realistically depict the times, the people in the pictures are true to Jews and others populating the area at that time.

The stories are Biblically sound and well written. They are, however, on a level for ages 7 to 12 rather than the stated ages 4 to 8.

Produced in association with David C. Cook Publishing who has long had a sterling reputation for producing high quality and well written Biblical products, the book's text, illustrations, binding reflect well for this company. I found this to be a very good storybook.

Each of the 40 stories has a question pertinent to the story the answer to which involves having a grasp of the story, drawing conclusions, looking at a broader scope of what is being told in the story.

I did have one objection and that is the short, one-page allegory in the back. This is quite out of place in a book based on the Bible that is written to educate children in Biblical concepts, theology, and the person and life of Jesus, the Christ. My opinion is that a man's allegory, even if the concept is on the right path, has no place in a book that is suppose to be the truth of the Bible retold for the young.

About the book: Starting with Jesus’ time in the temple as a boy and ending with His appearances after the resurrection, The Easter Storybook invites readers into the big picture of God’s love. Each of the 40 full-color, beautifully illustrated stories includes a Bible passage and a conversational question to guide families through the Easter season together.

Unlike other children’s Easter books, The Easter Storybook focuses not just on Jesus’ last days but on the journey of His whole life leading to the joy of Easter morning. Every story will give children a glimpse into Jesus’ identity—as Teacher, Good Shepherd, Savior, and King—making this a rich book to read throughout the year.

The Easter Storybook explains who Jesus is, what He did, and why His death and resurrection matter, in a simple way that children ages 4–8 can understand and remember. As a fitting companion to the bestselling The Advent Storybook, this book is a wonderful way to discover as a family why Jesus came to earth as Rescuer, Redeemer, and Friend.

About the author: Laura Richie is a homeschooling mom and registered nurse. A missionary kid for several years, Laura confesses she didn’t truly understand her need to be rescued until later in life. Now she delights in sharing the beauty and grace of her Rescuer. Laura lives in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

About the illustrator: Ian Dale is an illustrator and designer who has created art for World Vision, the American Bible Society, Compassion International, and the Bible App for Kids, which has been enjoyed in more than thirty languages. Ian and his family reside in Los Angeles, California.
Begins March 28
Ends April 16 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions expressed are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by publisher, publicist, or author.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Easter jelly bean lip balm gift set of 3 or a "just because" item for yourself [Review & Giveaway]

With the onset of Spring and upcoming Summer sunny days, you don't want to be "caught short" and not have something for those special ladies in your life - the very youngest to the very eldest. You want good, quality care items for their sweet lips. 

And with Easter, and end-of-year parties coming up as well as swim dates, you need to think outside the box and choose something of quality and beneficial use that is still fun, exciting, and a joy to use and still won't "break-the-bank."

We're talking a plethora of flavors of Lip Balms produced by the good folks at GOOD EARTH BEAUTY EXCLUSIVES. I know these are good products and I use them daily! Personally! And I have gifted these fabulous, healing, good feeling, joy-to-use lip balms to a host of family and friends.

So if you move quickly, you can probably get an order in to have some to tuck into Easter Baskets. But any way you look at it, these lip-smacking, great tasting, effective, soothing, healing lip balms are for you and yours!

Good Earth Beauty presents.....


Product informationVegan - natural -  soothing and moisturizing - helps heal chapped lips. Lip Balm Natural Vegan set of  3 fun, original scents -  Birthday Cake, Jelly Beans, & Chocolate Mint. 
CLICK HERE to shop this set of 3
Don't forget 10% discount
code VERA10

Rich in Shea butter to keep your lips moisturized
. Exclusive flavors come from essential oils - never flavoring or perfumes.
  • Cruelty free
  • Paraben free
  • Non gmo
Made by Good Earth Beauty (Set of 3 $15.00) (reg. $6.25 each lip balm)

Ingredients: Meadowfoam oil, olive oil, avocado butter, candellia wax, vitamin E, natural flavor oil

Want some goodies to hand out (that are NOT CANDY)? How about ordering individual Lip Balms for your guests? Priced at $6.25 each OR you can order several sets of these Special Easter Lip balms and give them individually or as a set. 

highly recommend these lip balms (and the other "flavors" as well). You really need to see all the delightful flavors Good Earth Beauty Exclusives has in these wonderful lip balms.

Be sure you enter the #giveaway.

Go ahead and order some for yourself and your gifts and.....

to take 10% off your entire purchase. 
(This is a special Chat With Vera code but feel free to share it with others.)

3 Lip Balms (Val. $18.75) Winners
Begins March 27
Ends April 15  at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE:  I was provided sample products to facilitate a review. Opinions and ideas expressed are mine alone and freely given. Prize is provided by and shipped directly to the winner by Good Earth Beauty webstore.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Finding a bit of joy in an overripe banana and stuff in the fridge and pantry

When my children were growing up, we didn't consider ourselves "poor" just had "limited means" that meant one salary, five children, a small house, and opting to choose good medical care and private school education for our children. That meant scrimping in lots of other areas.

I carefully planned the food items to have available to maintain a healthy and adequate diet. Included in that diet was a bit of fun eating - cookies, cakes, pies. Most all of which I made at home. Sometimes it was not according to a recipe because the stuff needed just wasn't available or not enough of it. So that is where a bit of improvisation came into play.

The children are gone and in their place are successful, beautiful adults who have families of their own and there are even grand children and great-grands. And this means I have no need, and little desire to cook these goodies. But today......... well.... here is the story.
The things I found in pantry and fridge

I eat a lot of fruit. I like my fruits and veggies. And since we are at war with the coronavirus - CoVid-19, I am staying out of the line of fire by maintaining my shelter in place, stay at home, stay away from folks. That means someone else is bringing me my fruits, etc. Today, the store had NO BANANAS.

It's going to be kind of shallow, and right now it doesn't look real appealing.

I thought well, I can go a few days without bananas. I have other fruits and veggies. And then I remembered that small, very dark brown banana sitting on the shelf in my fridge. And I thought, "Vera, you can't let that banana go to waste! There is a shortage of bananas and that is nutrition!"

So I rummaged through my pantry and discovered I had the following......

  • A Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
  • A bag of Ocean Spray Cherry flavor Cranberries, dried
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Half & Half.
..... and I thought...."Banana Cake! But with just one little banana?" So here is what I did.

Cooked. Turned out. Yes, it is a shallow "cake." But so moist looking.

About (remember this is improvising)  1/2 stick of butter melted, 2 eggs, banana (mashed fine). Melt butter, add mashed banana, add eggs and stir until blended. I didn't want to mess with the mixer so I just used a spatula. Then use about 1/2 the cake mix stirred into the wet stuff; and when about half mixed and some dry mix still visible, add a nice handful of cranberries. Stir thoroughly. Well, it looked too dry at this point, so I added a couple splashes of half and half. Stir until mixed well (not beaten). Then pour into an oiled and sugared loaf pan. Bake 350 F. for 30-35 minutes. 

Yummy! I think it is a success!

I think it is rather tasty, moist, and I feel quite successful. I hope you will find something fun to do as you stay away from the CoVid-19 and find a bit of joy.

THE NUFF by Veronica Waldrop & illustrated by Cat Elliott - New Children’s Book Inspiring Every Girl to Know That She is Enough [Review & Giveaway]

Hardcover $17.99
ISBN: 978-1733099707
Ages 2-7
My thoughts:  An extraordinary message to young girls everywhere who feel insecurities of various types. This sweet story written in rhyme by a young mother for her own girls is illustrated by adorable unicorns.

Fabled unicorns frolic across these pages building confidence enabling young girls to exude their own charm and strength and become their best person and individual.

Empowering girls to have the strength and encouragement to succeed by simply telling them that they truly are "enough" or THE NUFF.

"When the world says you can't and you should just give up.
And your path seems rocky and rough...
Know you are brave and beautiful.
You will always be a NUFF!

Written and illustrated primarily for very young girls who feel they are not pretty enough, not talented enough, good enough, etc. it can still convey a message through the growing years that they can be themselves, be kind, be loving, and be brave and talented enough. A very good book.

About the book: A mother of two only had weeks to live. Veronica Waldrop knew what she had to do – write an enduring message for her daughters, ages two and five, so that they might know truth, hope, and strength well beyond their mom’s fight with breast cancer.  In support of International Women’s Day 2020 (March 8, 2020), Tailwind Publishing presents The Nuff, Waldrop’s heartwarming story written to inspire her daughters after she was gone and empower girls everywhere to be the bold and confident individuals they were born to be.

This children’s book about courage and self-discovery follows the adventures of the Nuff, a colorfully-illustrated unicorn with a broken horn that young readers will love. The Nuff reads books and rides bikes, dresses up and dances with a flower crown, and plays basketball and scuba dives. No matter what she does, the story reminds her that “when the world says you can’t and you should just give up....know you are brave and beautiful. You will always be a NUFF!”

“Though we miss her every day, Veronica’s courage and strength is living in us. The Nuff is a part of our healing and the beginning of a mission to inspire our daughters, and girls everywhere, that you are enough,” said Will Waldrop, Veronica’s husband.

During the final weeks of her life, Veronica wore a unicorn costume around the house to raise her daughters’ spirits. The Nuff defines the inextinguishable energy of Veronica’s life and the legacy she wants to pass on to every single Nuff – “a strong and beautiful girl with a powerful heart and brain.”

Encouraging authenticity, resilience, and self-assurance, The Nuff shares a message with  girls that they are not defined by their achievements or challenges – they are already, and always, enough.

“Veronica may have written this poem for our little girls but the reality is that this is a story that is resonating with women and girls of all ages.  Our hope is that through this message, adults and children alike will feel confident to navigate their lives and face any challenges that may arise. The Nuff is not just a kid’s book for girls,” said Will Waldrop.  “So many times I’ve had to go back to the book to remind myself as a dad, as a widower, that she’s talking to me.”

A portion of the proceeds from each book will go towards the donation of The Nuff copies to early education programs and non-profit organizations already focused on the advancement of young girls.

About the Author: Veronica Waldrop (1979–2017) was the mother of two beautiful girls, Natalia and Nina, and the beloved wife of Will Waldrop. Veronica was a dreamer, a writer, and a storyteller who found joy in building relationships and sharing experiences with everyone she met. Veronica had a special gift for connecting with others through her authenticity and enthusiasm.

During her two-year battle with breast cancer, Veronica wrote a transformational story for her daughters before passing away on November 4, 2017. Through The Nuff, she hoped to empower girls everywhere to be the bold and confident women they were created to be. Veronica left the world a heartwarming and courageous story of unconditional love, hope, and perseverance.

About Tailwind Publishing: Two weeks after Veronica passed away, Veronica’s husband, Will, asked a dear friend, Alan Williams, to bring this story and its all-important messaging to life.  Although Alan serves as an executive in the food industry, he’s been able to assemble a talented team of illustrators, designers, educators, PR specialists, content writers, leaders and friends to form Tailwind Publishing, so that Veronica and Will’s mission of inspiring women and girls everywhere would be carried out.

“It is an honor to bring a group of people together to produce something derived from ultimate authenticity,” said Tailwind Publishing Founder Alan Williams. “This book is filled with priceless treasures for our girls. It embodies everything we want them to know about strength, resolve, and true beauty. As a father of four children, I connect with The Nuff at my core, and our team is committed to inspiring girls everywhere that they are enough.  With the mission at the forefront, we aim to collaborate and create enduring partnership, so that this timeless resource can be put in the hands of young girls who might not receive it otherwise.”
Begins March 26
Ends April 26 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine alone, and are freely given. Winner's prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Runaway Bride (The Bride Ships series #2) by Jody Hedlund [Giveaway]

My thoughts:  The constraints imposed upon women in years gone by are hard for today's women to fathom. In addition to the "code" by which women had to abide, they were further sheltered from experiences that the men of the time felt they should not be exposed to. And then there were the rules and codes of behavior strictly imposed upon women of each class.

The stories of the women whose lives were changed by being chosen as a transported woman from England to British Victoria (today's Canada) while mostly involved the destitute poor of society who could not marry because of their status as well as the dearth of men available in England for marriage are interesting and heartbreaking at times. A few women of class - middle class as well as impoverished upper class, found themselves aboard a Bride Ship as well.

The story in The Runaway Bride is that of a woman of class who was being forced into a marriage to a vastly older man who was also a brute. Her knowledgeable ladies' maid contrived to evade the dreaded wedding and get the young woman, Arabella, aboard one of the Bride Ships.

The story is set in Victoria and mostly takes place after the ship arrives and the ladies aboard are being sought by the men to become wives. Arabella meets the local baker quite by accident and she also meets the dashing Lieutenant who contrives to claim her as his own.

The history of the period touched on in this story includes the smallpox epidemic that swept through the Indian tribes in the area and how the British Navy drove the epidemic and the Indians out of Victoria leaving the Indians them to fend for themselves. The epidemic nearly wiped out the Indians.

I found the growing relationship between Arabella and Pete, the baker and the relationship between Arabella and the Lieutenant interesting. Her class status demanded she choose the Lieutenant. Her heart was telling her that Pete, the baker, would be the one to love and cherish her.

Animosity exists between the Lieutenant and the baker and this was seeded by the way the Indian situation was handled.

This was an excellent story and exceptionally well written. The characters were interesting and well drawn. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The only exception I have is that the romance would really heat up at times though it was still a clean read with no bad language. One might reserve this one for teens 17 years and up. The faith aspect is beautifully woven through the story.

I recommend this as another of Jody Hedlund's great reads.

About the book: Wealthy Arabella Lawrence flees to British Columbia on a bride ship still wearing the scars of past mistakes. One of the few single women in the boomtown, she immediately has suitors, but she is determined not to find herself trapped again by a poor choice.

Vying for her hand are two very different men. Lieutenant Richard Drummond is a gentleman in the Navy and is held in high esteem. Peter Kelly is the town's baker and has worked hard to build a thriving business. He and Drummond not only compete for Arabella's affections, but clash over their views of how the natives should be treated in the midst of a smallpox outbreak.

As Arabella begins to overcome her fears, she discovers someone in dire need—a starving girl abandoned by her tribe. Intent on helping the girl, Arabella leans on Peter's advice and guidance. Will she have the wisdom to make the right decision or will seeking what's right cost both her and Peter everything?

Read Chat With Vera's review of A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships #1) - click here

Begins March 3
Ends March 31 @ 12:1 a.m. EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing to facilitate a review. Giveaway winner's copy is provided by author or publicist and sent directly to the winner by them.

Good Night, My Darling Dear: Prayers and Blessings for You by Amy Kavelaris [Review & Giveaway]

ISBN 9781400212460
Hardcover $16.99
Tommy Nelson Publishing
An Imprint of Thomas Nelson
My thoughts:  Charming! Beautiful! Keepsake quality! You don't want to miss this absolutely beautiful book of sweet prayers for your own special "dear."

The artwork is stunning, breath-taking, amazing, fanciful, sweet, charming. It is gentle, relaxing to gaze upon and the text is gentle weaving encouragement, guidance, and prayers using simple verse.

The little one is encouraged to know they are created special, can do wondrous things in life, can help lift others, and that they are always loved. Beautifully written and stunning art.

I highly recommend!

About the book: ​Popular artist Amy Kavelaris brings a whimsical bedtime blessing that celebrates the wonder of childhood, dreams of who your little one will someday become, and marvels at all that God has in store. Amy's prints are sold through a variety of top retailers, and she has been featured in major national women's and home d├ęcor magazines.

Hold your little one close as you celebrate your love for one another. This exquisitely illustrated book honors the wonder of childhood, dreams of who your little one will someday become, and marvels at all that God has in store. Amy Kavelaris's signature flower-crown art and poetic writing invite you and your child to enjoy peaceful moments before bed with delightful parent-and-child animal pairs.
Good Night, My Darling Dear makes an excellent baby shower gift or display book in a new nursery. Its keepsake quality also makes it a wonderful way to celebrate an adoption or birth announcement with a friend or grandparents.

This whimsical and heartwarming picture book calls you to enjoy the beauty of God's artistry across the skies and in the child resting in your arms.


DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Giveaway is hosted by publicist and prize is provided by publicist or publisher.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Jesus Rose for Me by author Jared Kennedy (The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series)

ISBN 9781645070450
My thoughts:  The publications from New Growth Press that I have had access to have always been theologically sound and provide uplifting education through enjoyable reading.

Their children's books typically do not cater to the flippant telling of Biblical stories. In Jesus Rose for me the author retells the final week in the Earthly life of Jesus and breaks it out into four "chapters."

As a board book, it is directed to the younger child who typically handles books roughly. The text and the length of this book is geared, in my opinion, more to older "young" children. The illustrations are cute with the front and back covers of modern children and the prerequisite lamb and bunny. The interior of the book, though, reflects totally upon the Biblical recount often depicting with darkness facilitated by deep, dense colors expressing the emotional and spiritual portion of the story.

So while the book is longer than the typical board book might be, breaking it down into "chapters" and reading each at a different time, facilitates understanding on the young child's level. The vocabulary is fine. The four chapters include:

  1. Jesus Rides Into Jerusalem
  2. Jesus' Last Supper
  3. Jesus Dies For Us
  4. Jesus Lives
Opportunity is presented for discussion with pertinent questions at the end of each chapter. Not a "study format" simply along the lines of "think about" or "have you.....?".

I highly recommend.

About the book: Every Easter, we celebrate that Jesus is more powerful than death. But what does that mean for your little one? Jesus Rose for Me by author Jared Kennedy helps toddlers and preschoolers understand the true meaning of Easter in a personal, memorable way.

This board book is a part of The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible series. For children ages three to seven, this beautifully illustrated book begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter, when Jesus rose for us. Children will learn that Jesus is our king, and that everyone who trusts in him is part of his forever family.

Help your kids understand that Jesus died for us and rose from the dead. Because of the compelling content and modern, vivid illustrations, children will live in the joy of the greatest truth of all: Jesus is alive!

This conversational book simply tells the story of the gospel and invites children to respond. Jesus Rose for Me helps toddlers and preschoolers celebrate that every day is resurrection day.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher to facilitate a review. Opinions and insights are mine, alone, and are freely given.