Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesdays

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, 'Do it again.' And the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again,' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again,' to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

G.K. Chesterton

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Berenstain Bears God Shows the Way: A Book Review

You know how all those toys from when we were kids are coming back? (If I say Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony, am I dating myself??)

It turns out so are the books...

I saw this new Berenstain Bears three-in-one book and all sorts of warm fuzzies came over me as I reminisced about the many different titles from this series that my mom read to me and my siblings long ago.

Time for the next generation to learn about-- and from!-- these wholesome, friendly bears (though I've never been quite sure what kind of bear they really are?!). It was a delight to read The Berenstain Bears: God Shows the Way to my precious nephews this week. While the book is actually an "I Can Read" level and would be best suited to children slightly older (grades K-3 perhaps), these Little Men were all smiles as we read about the Bears on a scout trip, learning to trust God as they got lost in a cave. Two more stories follow this one in the book, so we could probably consider it a Berenstain B(e)argain...okay, okay.

Summary: This book is adorable. Love the memories from my own childhood but also fun and godly stories for new readers or listeners. As I mentioned, it will be most appreciated by kids who are learning to or able to read because there are a few 'big words' in it for little minds (not sure the 2-year-old quite understood the rhyme about stalactites and stalagmites!)

[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary copy. These are my original and honest thoughts contained in the review.]

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wisdom for Wednesdays

"Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer." [emphasis mine]

-Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1820

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Blessing Bags [A Project]

I grew up a country girl and now I'm just a small town girl (let me re-phrase...a country girl living in a small town!) but every once in awhile I make the drive to the city for some shopping. There's a particular shopping spot I love and almost every time on the corner of the stoplight entrance stands a man or woman holding a cardboard sign.

You've seen them. The poor. The homeless. And perhaps, according to some people, the good actors.

But every time it tugs at my heart. The thought of standing there for hours on end with a small sign that tells the world you need help. And to have so many cars just pass on by as they spend countless amounts of money in the stores.

"And the king will say to them in reply...For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome." (Matthew 25:42-43)

I've bought sandwiches and come back to deliver them. I've given money. I've said a silent prayer. And I've passed by doing nothing.

We don't know their stories. We don't know if they'll use money to buy alcohol. But we do know there's an opportunity in front of us to be Jesus to see Jesus in someone.

So when I saw this project on Pinterest, I thought it was a fabulous idea! I still want to challenge myself to give when it hurts and to make the personal connection with people in need, but these practical little Blessing Bags are so neat. I made three to keep in my car and would like to add a Subway gift card to each one.

Check them out and let me know what you think:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Chopped Cookbook: A Review

It's been a great summer for cooking. I have more time at home due to fewer work hours now, and I've been able to plan and prepare meals more often. I also love the fresh, local food available in the summertime from friends with gardens or the farmers' market.

So this cookbook arrived in the mail at the perfect time.

I was ridiculously excited to crack open the cover of The Chopped Cookbook. The Food Network never fails to deliver when it comes to both quality and creativity. While I haven't watched the show Chopped, the description on the cookbook cover told me what I wanted to hear: "Use What You've Got to Cook Something Great."

I don't know about you, but I have often opened the refrigerator to see a hodge podge of produce or my cupboards to see some pasta noodles and spices...and haven't the slightest idea how to put it all together. The Chopped Cookbook teaches you how to think like a chef. I'm not only impressed with the fun (and tasty) recipes, but also the education. It teaches you how to substitute in recipes by knowing the ingredient's role (starch, sweetener, crunch, richness, etc.) and to even come up with your own recipe by knowing those same roles and which are essential.

At the end of each chapter, they take a basic recipe (spaghetti or frittata, for example) and show you ways to change it up. While I can certainly whip up more than a box of macaroni, I'm also fairly dependent on recipes and rarely venture out on my own with creativity. I think that's why I'm so excited about this cookbook; it's the perfect skill level for me, with just enough new ideas and ingredients to challenge my status quo yet not so advanced to feel like it's a Julia Child cookbook in French!

And the final perk to my new favorite cookbook (honestly, guys, I love it that much!)? Pictures!! Lots and lots of pictures!

Here's the book on the publisher's website for more info and a sneak peak at the pages--so colorful!

[Thank you to Blogging for Books for my complimentary copy of this cookbook in exchange for a review. These are my honest and original comments.]