Archive for Gift Ideas

The Desire by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

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The Desire by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

The Desire by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley is the third book in The Restoration Series. It is about a young couple who has deals with infertility. This is a Christian fiction novel. The book also deals with crisis pregnancy, single motherhood, showing compassion and generosity as believers. It is a nice story.

I was naughty and did not write my thoughts down right after I read the book a month ago, which is when it is freshest for me. So I am relying on my daughter’s thoughts since she just read the book over the weekend.

My 15-year-old daughter, B, says the book made her really think about the issue of humility and trusting God, which were spiritual themes in the book. She said both of these issues are areas she needs to work on personally.

B said she really liked the characters. She thought they were very well fleshed out and developed. She said she was proud of Christina (single woman facing a crisis pregnancy) for not choosing to have an abortion. She loved Michele’s development both as a wife and daughter of Christ. B said Michele’s parents, Marilyn and Jim were amazing people, as were the rest of her family. I have to agree. They portrayed what a Christian family should be like. B thought the contrast between the beginning and end chapters were beautiful.

B also loved going to Africa with Allan and Ray. B has always wanted to go to Africa since reading missionary stories and having a close personal friend serving as a missionary in Zambia. All in all, she really enjoyed The Desire.

We both really want to read the first two books of the series and we cannot wait for the sequel to this one to find out more about Christina’s journey and that of Michele’s brother, Doug. I missed the fact there was a children’s lesson book, but B said she wants to read that as well.

I think this book has lessons in it, not just women or couples struggling with infertility, but lessons for everyone.

 

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NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser

NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser

We drink a lot of water. We are currently on well water. The water itself is fine, however, we have to add salt since the home has an on-demand water softener system. It is the salt in the water that makes our water no-so-great. That is why we were excited to be offered a NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser. No more carting home 10 1-gallon water jugs since we can use!

The NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser is a nice little appliance to have in our home. It has a stainless steel front and black sides and back. It has a slim size, which makes it a great choice for smaller homes or areas within the home. We put ours just off the kitchen in the master suite hallway since there is no room in our small kitchen.

NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser Specs

~ 33.65 lbs.
~ 1-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.
~ Removable plastic drip tray.
~ Hot & Cold water dispenser
~ Two push button controls – the hot water has a safety regulated “hot water” push button, making it safe for children.
~ Light indicators.
~ Hot water 176°F – 203°F.
~ Cold water 41°F – 50°F.
~ Compatible with 2-gallon, 3-gallon or 5-gallon bottles of water.
~ Features a stainless steel water tank which delivers a plastic free taste when drinking both hot and cold water.
~ UL Certified.
~ Easy no installation; simply remove it from its packaging, add a water bottle and plug in!

NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser Review

We really like having the water dispenser. It saves on boiling a kettle of water, making it very convenient to get a cup of tea or hot chocolate. It is holding up well under our family of ten’s use of it. Granted the younger children cannot get hot water unless they have two of them to maneuver the child-safety feature on the buttons! It is easier for the children to get a drink and a lot less mess too, unless of course they overfill or spill, which they have yet to do, thankfully.

The only thing I really do not like about the unit is the fact that the buttons to dispense hot and cold water, as well as the child-safety button are all plastic. I fear they will eventually snap or break under heavy, extended use. I hope I am wrong but only time will tell. We have had it for nearly a month now, but we did limit the children’s use until this past week when I knew I would be doing the review.

Overall, the NewAir WCD-110SS Water Dispenser has been a welcome addition to our home and I am looking forward getting much use out of it.

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Back to College with the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

Collective Bias

I have mentioned before that our oldest daughter heads off to college in less than a year. #Phones4School #CollectiveBias. One of the things on our to-do list is to research cheap wireless plans. We desire to get her set up with a technological life line a.k.a a cell phone when she is away from home. A cell phone will enable her to communicate when she’s out, give her a life line if she gets stranded or if, God forbid, she runs into trouble. We also want her to have a phone for when she starts driving by herself in a few months.

#Shop

My daughter was away at her cousin’s house all weekend. It was fun to surprise her with a trip to the store to buy her an early college present. We purchased Alcatel One Touch Fierce ($99.88) for $34.88/month, an unlimited talk text and data/web plan with Walmart’s Family Mobile (T-Mobile is the carrier), plus $25 for the starter kit. We love the unlimited aspect of this plan. It is also affordable for a college student on a limited budget. Bobbie is already figuring on paying for her phone herself. Of course, we are not complaining!

FFR Walmart Best Plans #shop_1

FFR Walmart Best Plans #shop_2

On the way home in the car she was setting up her calendar, which she is going to need to keep track of classes, assignments, exams and activities while she is away in college. She is obviously very excited to have her own smart phone! Other features she likes are the graphics. She is also looking for apps for homework, budgeting and exercising. She is having fun learning her way around her new phone.

FFR Walmart Best Plans #shop_3

FFR Walmart Best Plans #shop collage

The Alcatel One Touch Phone is perfect for college students because it is not only portable but it is a smart phone with all the bells an whistles – talk, text, web/data, 4G capability, camera and a 4.5″ touch screen. The monthly plans are budget friendly for both students and families.

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In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

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In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin


In Perfect Time
by Sarah Sundin is book three in the Nightingale series. Each book is a stand alone book. The series is set in WWII and is about flight nurses and the men serving in the war. I have enjoyed this series. You can see my reviews of the first two books of the series here and here.

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

I enjoyed the adventure and intrigue of Lt. Roger Cooper’s flights in this particular novel. It kept me wanting to turn the pages. A couple of flights are based on true WWII flights, which my husband found hard to believe when I relayed information to him. He’s a skeptic though and a war buff so he likes the facts and the flights were pretty amazing feats so that’s why he was a doubter at first.

There is a definite Christian theme in this book, as there are in most of the books I read. This particular book’s theme centered on the fact that God loves sinners no matter what they have done. We are all redeemable and do not need to earn forgiveness but to accept it as the gift it is.

In Perfect Time provided me with the back stories of a couple of characters featured in the first two books. It was nice to finally learn more about them and what made them tick, as well as the follow-up story of some of the other characters.

I even enjoyed the romantic side of the book this time. It was realistic, romantic, humorous and heart-breaking all rolled into one.

There was an underlying theme of parents who do not display confidence in their children’s talents and abilities. For me this was sad to read about, it made me feel sorry for the characters and question if I am expressing my belief in my children so they know that I truly believe in them and what they are capable of doing with their lives. The characters in this book only learned in adulthood what should have been impressed on them in childhood – you are talented, you are worthy, you are capable and you can do anything you put your mind to. Every parent should instill self-belief into their children, especially if the child does not have it in themselves. What a responsibility we have as parents!

I give In Perfect Time two thumbs up and recommend it to all history lovers and romantics.

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The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.


The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Revealing by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third and last book in the Inn at Eagle Hill series. As a reminder, this is a series about an Amish family, as seen from the girl on the book cover above. The mother was widowed and started an inn to make ends meet, due some bad financial decisions on the part of her deceased husband. It is all about how the family is making the inn work and their life in their Amish community. A review of book one and book two are here and here.

It was sad to see this series come to an end. I have enjoyed getting to know Rose, Bethany, Mim, their neighbors the Kings and various other characters.

In this particular book, I really liked how Suzanne made baby Sarah a part of the story and how Tobe and Naomi triumphed through some troubled waters of their relationship.

I was disappointed that we did not get to see how Bethany and Mim’s love life ended. I mean we saw them get to know a couple of fellows but that was it. Granted, Mim is just 14 years old in this book so it is kind of hard to show who she ends up with….but it was like a cliff hanger gone wrong because the series ended with too many questions. It made me feel like the story of The Inn at Eagle Hill was left unfinished….unless she is going to start a new series and share the missing details in it. I want to know if the inn ends up being the income Rose needs to provide for her family, I want to know if Jimmy goes into the horse breeding business, I want to know if Mrs. Miracle continues to give advice, what Mim and Bethany go on to do? See? Too many questions!

Otherwise I did find it an enjoyable read since it will probably be one of the only books I read this summer.

What are you reading this summer?

Buy it Now

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Returning a Gift – Wordless Wednesday

Have you ever tried to surprise someone? It takes a lot of work and secrecy, even then plans can be thwarted. We successfully surprised our 14 year old daughter three weeks ago with the gift of a Palomino horse (she’s a quarter horse), on the condition that we’d keep her if she passed the vet’s pre-purchase exam. Sandy is an 18 year old Quarter horse, give or take according to the vet’s look at her teeth.

FFR Sandy Cheeks Palomino

Over a week ago the vet did a pre-purchase exam and could not pass Sandy based on some lameness issues. The issues are fixable but would cost money and could cost us a good horse if she went completely lame. :( We were hoping for an easy keeper since Blaze his a hard keeper.

lameness
lame
1 [leym] Show IPA
adjective, lam·er, lam·est.
1.
crippled or physically disabled, especially in the foot or leg so as to limp or walk with difficulty.
2.
impaired or disabled through defect or injury: a lame arm.
3.
weak; inadequate; unsatisfactory; clumsy: a lame excuse.
4.
Slang. out of touch with modern fads or trends; unsophisticated.
verb (used with object), lamed, lam·ing.
5.
to make lame or defective.

We had hoped to keep Sandy for a good long time and let her get her weight up on our yummy pasture. Her stables do not have access to pasture. The horses live in their stalls.

So we say good-bye to Sandy tomorrow evening when her owner comes to pick her up. We had her here on a trial basis. Kind of sad to see her go. Our daughter is handling it like a champ and we are proud of her.

It is hard as a parent to successfully surprise your child with a gift she’s wanted since she was nine and then to have to turn around and return the gift.

Have you ever had to return a much wanted gift?

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Budsies

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What if your child could draw anything they wanted and have it turned into a stuffed animal?  Basically their drawings could be brought to life. Now it is completely possible thanks to Budsies.  Their simple and fun process makes getting your custom stuffed animal as easy as 1,2,3.

First your child needs to draw a picture. It can be anything really. The Budsies website even offers templates for you to use. My son is really into monster trucks so he wanted his very own custom monster truck.  He drew it all by himself and colored it.  I asked him if he wanted to add windows or use different colors, but he drew it completely on his own.

Budsies2Budsies3

After it is drawn you need to send Budsies your artwork.  You can upload a picture of it or you can take a picture of the drawing with your cell phone and text it to them.  I used my iPhone and texted them a picture.  After that you finish checking out.  They ask you a series of questions to understand the drawing. This was my son’s favorite part.  We told them that the monster truck was angry, had lots of blue hair, and had big teeth.  Finally, you sit back and wait for your custom stuffed animal to arrive.  I have to say my son was very anxious and could not wait to see his creation come to life.

Budsies4

At last it arrived and my son could not stop smiling. He could not believe he had an actual monster truck that looked exactly like he drew. He goes absolutely everywhere with his Budsie. He sleeps with it every single night and plays with it all day long.

Budsies6

I have to say the quality of Budsies is superb! The material is super soft and cushy, and the colors are very bright.  My son just lit up the second he saw his monster truck stuffed animal.  The customer service at Budsies is exceptional.  At one point I contacted them to find out how much longer it would take to receive the stuffed animal. My son kept asking me when it was going to arrive.  They have a chat option available on their website where a real live person talks to you and tells you what is going on with your order.  The person I chatted with was so nice and really cared about my order.

Budsies5

I honestly cannot say enough good things about Budsies. I would highly recommend them to anyone with children, young or old. They would make an excellent gift.  Check out their website, you won’t be disappointed!

http://www.budsies.com/

 

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The Waiting Book & Giveaway

Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing and participating in The Waiting review. We are being compensated by Tyndale Publishing and The Motherhood. While we consider it a privilege to receive free products to review and compensation, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

FFR The Waiting Book Cover

All I wanted to do this past Mother’s Day was relax and read The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow. My husband let me sleep in and when I woke up I read my book. What I didn’t expect to give myself was a huge headache, a pile of tissues, and red, puffy eyes!

FFR Teary eyes after The Waiting
Lighting in our bathroom is awful! Should have taken it somewhere else!

I don’t think I have ever cried as much while reading a book as I did during The Waiting. That’s why I took pictures of my pile of tissues and red, puffy eyes.

On to the review….

The Waiting Review

The Waiting is a true story of a woman’s wait to see her first born daughter again after giving her up for adoption.

I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down until I was done. I shooed my children away , mostly because I didn’t want them sitting there on the bed with me watching and staring at me while I cried buckets of tears!

As emotional as the book made me, I cannot imagine living it as Minka did. I cannot imagine giving up my child and waiting 77 years to see her again.

There are so many facets of the story that show God’s faithfulness to a young mother and her years of praying and waiting. The fact that all the letters Minka wrote to the director of the “home” (like a pregnancy crisis center where young girls were sent to hide their pregnancy) were put into Betty Jane/Ruth’s adoption file, which would eventually be proof to Betty Jane/Ruth that her birth mother loved her fiercely for 77 years and never, ever forgot about her.

I loved the reunion and family bond Minka and Ruth’s families experienced upon meeting. I loved the honor and love bestowed upon Minka and how active and involved she continues to be even at age 102 (or possibly 103 at the time of this review). There’s so much more I could say but I think you should just read the book…how often do I say that!?

I highly recommend this very inspirational book. You won’t regret it. My daughter B read it the same day I did!

The Waiting in the Press

The NBC TODAY Show interviewed the author of The Waiting, Cathy LaGrow, who is Minka’s granddaughter. The interview aired on Friday, May 9, click the NBC link to watch it.

Tyndale is Giving Away FIVE Copies of The Waiting!

Enter to win one of five copies of The Waiting below!

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VTech Phone System for Seniors & Giveaway

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A year or two ago my mother-in-law was going about her usual morning, however, one normal routine proved disastrous for her. She used her dresser to pull herself up from her bed and she inadvertently caused the dresser to fall on her, trapping her. My husband worked five minutes from her home. That one day he called her before he left work instead of dropping by but the phone was busy. He thought nothing of it and decided she was talking to his aunt and left for home instead of going over to her house. My mother-in-law in the meantime tried to use her cane to get her bedside phone but only knocked it off the hook. Fast forward 24 hours later, my brother-in-law discovers her with the dresser STILL on top of her. A bit of her history: she’s a diabetic with a history of leg and foot clots. Talk about scary! After recovering, she was suppose to get an emergency bracelet but I don’t think the home nurse ever followed through and to be honest we allowed it to fall through the cracks as well. Enter the VTech Phone System for Seniors.

The VTech Phone System for Seniors

FFR VTech CareLine Home Phone

FFR VTech CareLine Home Phone_1

My mother-in-law is nearing 82 years old and still lives on her own. Yes, even after the above incident. “VTech’s new CareLine home telephone system supports independent living, featuring a wearable pendant that allows seniors to conveniently make and receive calls, listen to voicemail messages, review missed calls or receive programmed reminders for medication, appointments or other events.” This seems like the perfect phone for my mother-in-law!

We have been testing it out before taking it to my mother-in-law’s house. It has large numbers, it has a bright display and it calls out the numbers as you dial as well as announces a call. We love that it has the pendant to go around her neck so she can just push the button if she finds herself in a situation where she needs help. We are looking forward to installing this phone in her home. Hoping she likes it too!

The best part – No fees!

VTech CareLine – Want to stay socially connected? Seniors are empowered to maintain active lifestyles and close relationships with this home telephone and personal communication system. This product was designed to answer your daily communications needs and support hearing, dexterity or vision challenges. Features include large displays, photo speed dial, reminder capabilities, volume boost and a wearable pendant with one-button dialing that directly calls those pre-selected people who you communicate with most or for emergencies.

The VTech CareLine home telephone retails for $119.95 and may be purchased at VTech.

Do you have a loved one who could use a phone system like this? Enter to win below!

VTech Phone System for Seniors Giveaway

One winner of a VTech Careline home telephone. Ends 5/28.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea: The Greek Yogurt in the Kitchen Cookbook

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The Greek Yogurt Kitchen Book Cover

As I mentioned before, we love Greek yogurt so when the opportunity to review The Greek Yogurt in the Kitchen Cookbook I took it. I really like the looks of the Eggs Benedict recipe so I have shared it below.

This cookbook would be a great Mother’s Day gift for you or your own mother. It contains over 130 recipes with meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. It also explains the health benefits of Greek Yogurt. I am really looking forward to trying new recipes, which is a change for me because I usually dread it because my family doesn’t really adapt well to new things, at least certain ones.

You can find The Greek Yogurt in the Kitchen Cookbook at any major book retailer.

About the Author

Toby Amidor is the founder of Toby Amidor Nutrition, where she provides nutrition and food safety consulting services. She is a nutrition expert for FoodNetwork.com, writing for their Healthy Eats Blog, a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report Eat + Run blog, and an adjunct professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. Toby trained as a clinical dietitian at New York University. Her expertise includes over 14 years of experience in various areas of food and nutrition. Through ongoing consulting and faculty positions, she has established herself as one of the top experts in culinary nutrition, food safety, and media.

Recipe from The Greek Yogurt in the Kitchen Cookbook

Eggs Benedict-6593

Eggs Benedict with Lighter Hollandaise
Serves 4

Hollandaise sauce is typically made with a stick or two of butter to serve four people. The fat and calories can easily be slashed by substituting nonfat Greek yogurt for much of the butter, while still using a touch of butter to maintain the traditional flavor.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
4 large eggs
2 whole wheat English muffins
Cooking spray
4 slices turkey bacon (about 1/4 pound)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 medium asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:
In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil over high heat.
Add the vinegar and lower the heat until it is no longer at a rolling boil.
Crack an egg into a small cup, dish, or wineglass.
Holding it near the surface of the water, gently slide the egg into the hot water.
Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Cover the saucepan and allow the eggs to cook for exactly 6 minutes.
Remove each egg carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
Toast the English muffins.
Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat.
Cook the bacon until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Place a slice of bacon on each toasted English muffin half.
In the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the asparagus, cover the pan, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with the yogurt, egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, cayenne, and salt.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler, set it over simmering water, and heat it, whisking continuously until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
Immediately remove from the heat.
To assemble the dish, place 3 asparagus spears over the bacon on each muffin half, and top with 1 poached egg and 2 tablespoons of the hollandaise sauce.

NUTRITION INFORMATION (PER SERVING): Calories: 241; Total Fat: 13 grams; Saturated Fat: 6 grams; Protein: 15 grams; Total Carbohydrates: 16 grams; Sugars: 3 grams; Fiber: 3 grams; Cholesterol: 295 milligrams; Sodium: 301 milligrams

Enjoy!

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