Monday, May 13, 2019

Becoming Us {Review}


Emily and Trevor come to California hoping for a fresh start.  After years of infertility and financial exhaustion, the couple is seeking a new beginning at their uncle's car lot.  And when invited to a women's Christmas party, timid Emily comes out of obligation... and vows not to get close.  But as the group becomes more intwined, the women find that they need each other... and that becoming is truly a group effort.  Will Emily and Trevor get the break they need to start a new life?  Or will their "becoming" be cut short?

Written by the author of Christy Miller and Sisterchicks series, Becoming Us follows the lives of five women as they try to discover who they really are.  In various stages of life, they form a community through effort and time together.  I really appreciated the way Gunn always brought the story back to relationships: Emily with the other women, Trevor and Emily together, family relationships, Emily and her daughter... and so many more.  It is these relationships that bring the women through a variety of tough situations.  And these relationships that ultimate tie Trevor and Emily even closer together.  It was this marriage relationship that was even more enjoyable for me to watch... the way they both supported and encouraged each other.  

There were times that I felt Gunn minimized some of the character's issues.  For example, timid Emily quickly changes her ways and opens up to the group.  And some serious marriage issues were resolved rather easily.  These were issues that I felt could have been further developed and seemed somewhat trivialized.  But all in all, it was a light quick read about the importance of relationships... not only in terms of friendship, but also in terms of becoming all we were meant to be.  

* Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Tinderbox {Review}


As part of the Hickory Hollow series, The Tinderbox follows the story of an eighteen year old Sylvia and the secret that she uncovers.  As her father's past comes back to haunt the family, Sylvia wrestles with the role she has played and how it affects her parent's future.  Meanwhile her parents, Rhoda and Earnest, struggle to rebuild trust.  Will their marriage be able to survive the threat of the Bann?  Or will this secret tear apart a family, an engagement, and a community? 

I've always enjoyed Beverly Lewis' work and this book was just as enjoyable.  There are so many layers of story in The Tinderbox... Rhoda's sister struggling with a miscarriage, the romance between Sylvia and her fiancé, the loss of a dear friend and mentor, Earnest's struggle to find his place... and salvage his marriage to Rhoda... all of it wrapped into on beautifully written book.  While the beginning started out slow, once Earnest's secret came to light, I found that I couldn't put the book down.  This is a beautiful story of hope, forgiveness, and the power of commitment.  The Tinderbox left me with a lot of questions and I look forward to reading the sequel this fall.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.


Monday, April 29, 2019

What's in Our May Morning Basket?



Sharing the books and ideas in our May Morning Baskets. Click "show more" for multiple links.

The Simple Rugged Path:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7HVorQE8LgvYfw8_zPiDAQ

Bytes of Memory:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZYXBRaow7qaPnA5i0kf2bw

The Brave Homeschooling Mama:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNT9jeaMb7ylcKvZm5yq2Zg

Winter Favorites:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd1QlXQJ_sY

Join The Creative2xmom Family on their journey of being a family of 5! 💑17yrs led to 👱13 yrs, 👧11 yrs, and 👱 7 yrs.

Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations: BethAnn_97@hotmail.com

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FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Growing in Godliness {Review}


Raising a teen girl is not for the faint of heart.  Today's world is full of challenges that previous generations never dreamt of facing.  And yet, the basic foundations of life remain the same.  Foremost of which is how do we live to glorify our creator?  Throw in teenage emotions and peer pressure, and you're in for a wild ride.

In Growing in Godliness, Lindsey Carlson leads teens through 10 lessons that address this tumultuous time, including:

*Who we are in Christ
*God's sovereignty in all situations
*The importance of the Bible
*The importance of the church
*and more!

When I first started reading this book, I was slightly put off by some of the language.  The words weren't inappropriate.  It was more the tone... the edge... and maybe some of the author's illustrations.  But as I read, I realized I was viewing it through the eyes of a preteen mom.  And as much as I'm protecting her now, she will one day be going through growing pains like these.  As I began to read through a different lens, I realized I did like this book, but would suggest it for a slightly older audience... waiting until the later teenage years.  I did appreciate the fact that Carlson takes time to touch on two important topics: identity and the role of the church.  Identity for it grounds us in life and keeps us from being swayed by trends.  And the importance of the church that seems to have been lost in a seeker sensitive culture.  All in all, I would hesitantly recommend this book, but would caution that it's probably most useful as a mother/daughter study in the older teen years.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

10 Tips for Planning a Stress Free Disneyland Vacation

*Originally posted on 6/29/15.  Enjoy!

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We love Disneyland if you can't tell.  My kids have been spoiled to land in, not one but, two families that love vacationing there.  So we've traveled with big groups and small groups, grandparents and cousins, quick trips and longer trips, and have loved every minute of it.  These are just a few of the tips we've learned along the way for Planning a Stress Free Disneyland Vacation:

1. Choose the "best" time-- I personally love traveling in the fall.  School is back in and the crowds are thinner.  My in-laws like traveling in mid-spring.  I have a friend that swears by the week right after Thanksgiving.  Whatever you do, avoid summer and Christmas, and be prepared for heavier crowds around school holidays.

2. Choose the "best" hotel-- We've never stayed on-site and yet we've had good experience with all the hotels we've stayed at.  Look for hotels within the first couple of blocks as the blocks are loooooong.  Other things we look for are continental breakfast, free parking, and shuttle service.  At the end of a long night, shuttle service is pretty incredible.  :-)

3. Consider a travel agent--  Travel agents can often find deals that the rest of us can't.  Plus if you have a good agent, they'll keep an eye out for fluctuating prices and can get you a better deal as your vacation approaches.

4. Consider a dining experience-- Booking one or two Character Meals will ensure that you get to see several characters while you eat, maximizing your time.  We've dined at Goofy's Kitchen and Minnie's Breakfast and loved every minute of it.  It's a great way to see several characters and they come to you!

5. Book it-- Book those character meals several months ahead.  As soon as your travel agent gives you the green light, book them to get the best possible times for your family.  Be mindful of your child's schedule and your energy level.  We booked one for the beginning (while we were fresh) and one for the end of our vacation (when we needed a chance to sit).

6. Keep trying-- If you're preferred times are booked, keep trying.  Cancellations happen and you just might get into your time slot anyway.  Also check into your meal a few hours ahead and see if there's been a cancellation that you can get into.

7. Rent a stroller-- Even if you have older elementary aged kids, you will not regret renting a stroller. Disneyland vacations can include some really long days and even older kids will get tired.  Last time, we took our double stroller and even the 8 year old rode once in awhile.

8. Check the weather before packing-- Weather patterns change.  We once went in January and found ourselves running to Target to get t-shirts and shorts.  The weather had changed in the days leading up to our trip and I was caught unprepared.

9. Know the park schedule--Disneyland's park schedule is posted with hours, parades, fireworks and more.  Planning a few of these things ahead of time will help you prioritize what you want to see and what you're willing to miss.  It can help you plan what part of the park to enjoy throughout different parts of the day.

10. Be flexible-- While all this planning can help you enjoy a stress free vacation, you also have to remember to be flexible.  Traveling with kids will keep you on your toes and being flexible is key.  If someone needs a snack, veer from your plan.  Everyone will have a better time with a full tummy.  Flexibility is important in any vacation and will ensure that everyone has a more enjoyable experience.

What are your tips for Planning a Stress Free Disneyland Vacation?

For more Disney tips and tricks, check out our Disneyland tag.  You'll find everything from ride info to bucket lists to ways to save money on food.
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