Book Review: Start With Amen

I really like Christian authors who challenge my way of thinking as a Believer. A fresh view on Scripture and Christian living is so refreshing.

When a friend suggested I join Beth Guckenberger’s Start With Amen Book Launch, I signed up blindly. I had never heard of Beth Guckenberger or her ministry. But I love book launch teams, so I was excited to participate! The publisher graciously sent me an advanced copy of Start With Amen in exchange for an honest review.

Once I looked up the premise of Beth’s book, Start With Amen, I was very intrigued. Her subtitle says, “How I learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind”. As I read her book, I realized I’m a traditionalist; I end my prayers with “Amen”. I always have and I’ve never considered doing anything differently. Once I realized this; I knew Start With Amen would turn me upside down. I was right. It did.

Start With Amen challenged me right away.  Beth starts her prayers with “Amen.” In Start With Amen, Beth says, “It starts with so be it. In the end, I surrender to him…The benefit of starting with amen is ultimately a release of control.” That got me. That was the moment where I finally understood what Beth was saying. So many times, I bring my problems to the Lord. My prayers wear me out with my pleas that I forget to surrender my problems to the Lord. Beth encourages her readers to start with Amen and as you pray, you surrender.

This is not to say that Start with Amen is dense; it’s not. It’s an easy conversational book  that flows seamlessly. Filled with deeply personal stories of Beth’s life and ministry and overflowing with Scripture; sometimes I felt like I was reading Beth’s journal. Her writing is vulnerable and it invites her readers to be vulnerable too. In between the stories, reflections and Scripture, Beth slips in those little nuggets that hit you hard. You know the ones where you have to set the book down and reflect and chew on those nuggets so they sink in and take root.

While the focus of Start With Amen is on “Amen”, what I kept gleaning from her book was that a relationship with God is about connection and not manipulation. This was the nugget I kept chewing on it. It was hard for me to consider that my prayers could be manipulative in nature, but since that was the theme I kept gleaning, the Lord was definitely working on my heart and changing me.

If you are looking for a book to challenge your prayer life, I highly recommend Start with Amen by Beth Guckenberger. It will challenge you, lead you to the Cross, and pull you in for a hug. Yes, Beth’s writing does all that. I cannot recommend Start With Amen enough. Grab your copy today! Be sure to check out Back 2 Back Ministries.

Little Fun Club Review and $50 Giveaway!

I’m so excited to share with you the Little Fun Club! Anytime we get a book mail, my kids go crazy. Receiving the Little Fun Club package was no exception! I managed to hold them off until the next morning and they were little eager beavers ready to dive into the books.  Be sure to scroll down and see the books we got + how Little Fun Club works!

About Little Fun Club:

Little Fun Club is a subscription box for children’s books. It’s ideal for kids ages 0-12. When you sign up, your child will receive a box containing three adventurous books every month. The books are tailored to your child’s age, so you can rest assured they will always have quality, age-appropriate reading material. Each book is hand selected for your child, and no two boxes are the same.  For our package, Little Fun Club graciously sent us three different books based on my kids’ ages. The packaging was BEAUTIFUL. I LOVED unwrapping the books. It elevated the entire book subscription box experience and it felt immensely special.

I was amazed by the books Little Fun Club sent us. You could tell the folks at Little Fun Club carefully selected books for my kids. I was even more amazed they sent us three books we had never read before! Ya’ll, that is no easy task with a houseful of little readers, but Little Fun Club did a WONDERFUL JOB!

My children are 5 years old and under. We received the following books:

1. You Are My Sunshine by Caroline Jayne Church – this fun boardbook sing-reads the song, “You Are My Sunshine”. The Gold cover makes me swoon; I love the color gold!

2. Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison – Ever wonder what happens if you are in the circus and you are, uh…ordinary? This book dives in and shares how finding your special talent may not be as hard as you think.

3. Mousetronaut Goes To Mars by Astronaut Mark Kelly – You may remember we did our #BookReviewMamaSpaceCamp series in the fall. How we missed this book, I’ll never know! But lucky for us, we have it now and can soar off into lots of reading time with it.

How it Works:​

  1. Join Little Fun Club and let them know your child’s age so the box can be customized for them. You can include up to three kids per box and they’ll customize it accordingly.
  2. Get three adventurous books every month for as little as $25/month.
  3. Grow with Little Fun Club. As your child gets older, the books change accordingly — so you’ll always receive age-appropriate books for your kids.

    Good to Know

    1. You can add a note to your child’s account with reading preferences so the box can be tailored to their interests.
    2. Shipping is FREE on all boxes.
    3. Little Fun Club selects books based on merit. Books go through a rigorous selection process and are read and reviewed by the Little Fun Club team before being considered.
    4. If you receive a book that you already own, just let Little Fun Club know about it. They’ll replace the book in the next box! You don’t have to return anything.
    5. You can cancel or put your subscription hold at any time.
    6. A Little Fun Club subscription makes a wonderful gift for birthdays, holidays, or just because.

The final product is a box filled with education, fun, and opportunities for positive child development. They make sure each box is just right before it is sent out.



1 month – $29/month

3 months – $27/month

6 months – $25/month


You can see what types of books Little Fun Club offers by visiting their website.


$50 Cash Giveaway |


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive $50 in PayPal cash

Open to US and Canada

Ends May 12, 2017

Use the Rafflectoper to enter. Entrants must be 18 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them. The winner will be chosen randomly. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. This contest is void where prohibited by law.


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Blog Tour Schedule

April 17 – The Mommy Island

April 18 – Writing My Own Fairy Tale

April 19 – The Kids Did It

April 20 – Feed Your Fiction Addiction

April 21 – Book Review Mama

April 24 – Homebound but Hopeful

April 25 – Looking Glass Review

April 26 – Kristi’s Book Nook

April 27 – Natasha Reads Books

April 28 – Create With Joy

May 1 – That’s What She Read

May 2 – Tee and Penguin

May 3 – Bookworm for Kids, This Kid Reviews Books

May 5 – Word Spelunking

May 8 – Babies to Bookworms

May 9 – The Tangled Yarn

May 10 – Geo Librarian

May 11 – Savings in Seconds

May 12 – Kid Lit Reviews


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Book Review: When Mommy’s Home With Me

Several months ago, I reviewed the book Working Moms. I really appreciated how that book highlighted and celebrated working moms. When I read it, I remember thinking how great it would be to have a book like Working Moms specifically for stay at home moms. When Cedar Fort Publishing gifted me with When Mommy’s Home With Me by Alison Moulton, I knew I had been given a gem.

There are two ways you can view When Mommy’s Home With Me.  One, you can view it as a book for stay at home moms. Which is how I read it the first time we read it aloud. This fun book is told from a child’s view point. Each page layout shows a different Mom/child(ren) scenario. It shows the ways a Mom stays home with her child. Such as, Mommy stays home with the her children and cooks  is a nod of the mom’s previous life as a baker/chef. I loved this. Not only does it celebrate moms who choose to stay at home with their children, it also shows how the mom integrate their previous working roles into their daily lives with their children. As a stay at home mom, I found My Mommy Stays Home With Me to be so encouraging. Not because it’s about a mom who stays at home with her kids, but because each mom brought such a unique set of skills home to her kids.

The second way you can view it is a Mom who may work outside of the home, but when she is home, she brings her “outside” gifts and talents to share with her kids. So, if Mom is an artist, she paints with her children.

Either perspective works well within the book. Each page celebrates who Mom was or IS; it varies from page to page, but it is always a celebration. There is such a great variety of professional roles illustrated within the book. From Scientist to Banker to Yoga Teacher to Gardener, there is something for everyone!

The illustrations are so beautiful. Rich and full, you can literally feel the love between the child and mom leaping off the pages. There are so many details on each page spread, don’t be surprised if you notice something new each time you read it! I know we have done that!

Be sure to grab your copy today! It’s a great book!






Book Review: The Once Brave Boy

I have fond and distinct childhood memories of reading a huge poetry book. Curled up on the couch, I would flip that big book open and dive into whatever poem the page flipped to. I love poetry and how it tells a story in a different form. Introducing poetry to my children is something I have anticipated since the birth of my firstborn. We’ve been able to introduce poetry with the practice of Poetry Tea Time, but I’m always on the hunt for new poetry.

Enter The Once Brave Boy by Briana Gervat. This book follows the story of Andrew and his quest of overcoming fears and being courageous.  As Andrew wrestles with feeling inadequate, his loving parents devise a plan that will empower Andrew to be the brave boy they know him to be. When his loyalty is put to the test; Andrew must decide if he will let his fear hinder him, or if he will push forward.

This unique story is written in a poetic prose.  Reading it to my kids was a delight. My son especially loved the story of the brave boy. I was a little worried that my kids might lose interest in the story, because there are no illustrations. But even though there are no pictures in the book, my kids were held captive during the entire story.

As a parent, I really appreciated Andrew’s parents. In the story, they see Andrew struggling to overcome his fears. Instead of criticizing his struggle, they devise a plan. This plan evokes an opportunity for Andrew to overcome. To confront his fears with courage. While Andrew may not know his parents are pushing him; his parents love him enough to encourage him to move forward. This is a beautiful display of parenting. Reading this aloud to my kids, they only saw Andrew and his courage. But as a parent, I saw Andrew’s parents. While my kids rooted for Andrew to succeed, I was quietly high-fiving his parents for they way they took loving measures to encourage their son.

If you are looking a book that has adventure, poetry, encouraging parents, and a kid who overcomes, be sure to check out The Once Brave Boy.

You can follow author Briana Gervat on her website, Facebook, and Instagram. On Briana’s website, you will see her other works of poetry. Be sure to check her website out!

Book Review: The Inn At the Edge of the World

When I spoke to Jeremy Gritton several months ago about his book, The Inn At The Edge of The World, I knew he had a special book. Jeremy did a Kickstarter campaign for his book; I’ve seen some amazing books come from Kickstarter and Jeremy’s book is no exception. I also knew that my kids would enjoy The Inn At The Edge of The World, because it has a dragon. My kids love dragons. The first time we read this book, we were sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office. At one point, I glanced up to see other children in the lobby completely enraptured with the story we were reading. In fact, one kid sat frozen – mid lollipop lick – as I read aloud. This is the magic of Jeremy’s book – it draws kids in.

The Inn At The Edge of the World is about a family who decides they need an escape from the boring life they lead in Charcoal City. So, they buy the Inn At The Edge of the World. Their guests are of the fantasy variety. Leprechauns, fairies, witches, dragons, and trolls all visit. The family encounters all sorts of problems and dilemmas. Probably not unlike problems real hotel/motels experience. There are a lot of problems, but the family NEVER gives up. They keep trying. They recover and move on. But along the way, the gray and mundane world of Charcoal City fades and is replaced with a lot of color and magic. I love how innkeepers take on this adventure, because they weren’t satisfied with their boring life. They wanted more. So, they sought out their adventure. This underlining tone of purpose is consistently talk about in the storyline and illustrations.

The illustrations are so fun. I loved the vibrancy of the animation. Each page make you stop and soak in the content. There are so many details to see! The characters are incredibly expressive which only adds to the storyline.

Jeremy Gritton has created a book that is the picture book prelude for Harry Potter and other books within the fantasy genre. This is the first stepping stone. Reading The Inn At the Edge of the World was a joy to read. In fact,  our copy hasn’t made it to the bookshelf yet – my kids have been so enjoying it!! Be sure to grab your copy today!

Book Review: Peanut Butter & Pickles

If your kids are like mine, they eat weird and unusual food combinations. They are picky eaters, so usually, I’m all: WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET YOU TO EAT. (Haha…but really) So if they will eat sprouted bread with peanut butter and marshmallow creme, sign me up. Or if they are nervous to try greek yogurt with a beautifully made strawberry sauce, that’s okay – just a dab will do ya.

With all this food talk, I can think of no better book to add to this conversation than Peanut Butter & Pickles by Philip Pecoraro (illustrated by Nicholas Pecoraro). This hilarious book is all about a father and his kids and their quest to make lunch. I could very much identify with having kids who turn their nose up at turkey sandwiches. As the kids throw out alternative lunch options, well, they really start to add up. The grocery list of foods grows and grows and hilarity ensues.

Nicholas is definitely a budding artist. I really appreciated how consistent his illustrations were on each page. That is NOT an easy task. Nicholas did a phenomenal job matching the expressions to his father’s story. This father-son duo is extremely talented.

I know I mentioned this book is hilarious, but when Philip Pecoraro sent me the book description, I was laughing. That’s a good sign the book will be rib-tickling. When I read it to my kids, they couldn’t stop giggling. Peanut Butter & Pickles is a GREAT read aloud book. It’s equally important for the parent and child to LOVE reading a book and Philip Pecoraro is an amazing storyteller.  The second we finished reading it, they grabbed it from my hands and curled up on the couch to read it again. To me, that is the sign of a great book if my kids grab a book to look at once we are done reading it!

Be sure to follow Peanut Butter and Pickles on their new website, and  Facebook! Also if you purchase Peanut Butter and Pickles here, you can get and extra 30% off using this discount code: 99QL7LUA.


Book Review: Joy & Finley

This Spring Semester, in my children’s homeschool, we are traveling the world. Every few weeks, we will be exploring a different continent. We will be using the five senses (touch, sound, taste, smell, see) as our focus in each continent.

Which leads me to Joy and Finley by Rachel and Keith Ingram. I was really excited when Rachel Ingram approached me about exploring her new book, Joy and Finley, which is based in Italy.  When I received Joy & Finley in the mail, I squealed! It was beautifully wrapped with MAPS! You can head over to to purchase your own copy and it will also arrive wrapped too!



Joy and Finley is the delightful story follows two sisters, Joy and Finley, in their car race adventure through Italy. There are obstacles, villains, Italian words, incredible Italian villages, and of course, PASTA! All heroes have a sidekick and Joy and Finley are no different. We can’t forget to mention their dog, Sir Sam (which may be the best dog name I’ve ever heard). This is a fast-paced story (as all good car races should be), so buckle up and hang on tight.

Strong sibling relationships are so important to us as we raise our kiddos. I particularly enjoyed how in sync Joy and Finley worked together. It was very clear throughout the story, they worked as a team. They were equals in the race.

The illustrations are amazing. Incredibly detailed, you really feel like you are bouncing through the Italian countryside in a vintage motorcar. The characters are expressive and so dynamic. The characters are dressed in 1930s motor car racing garb which just adds a wonderful unique layer to the story. I loved how each twist and turn in the story was perfectly matched in the illustrations. I even spotted several “hidden” details writing this review, so be sure to take your time to fully take in the artwork!

This book takes you on a journey to Italy. When you close the book, I can almost guarantee you will be surprised you are still on your couch. I can also almost guarantee you will be craving spaghetti.

Follow Rachel Ingram on Instagram for news about Joy & Finley, giveaways and more!


Book Review: When I was A Child, I was Always Afraid

A couple of weeks ago, my 18 month old woke up in the middle of the night terrified. He was crying. He was very upset. As we calmed him down, he kept saying, “Dark! Scared!” It was so sad to see him so upset and communicating how he felt.

When I was a Child, I was Always Afraid by Michael Cascio would have been the perfect book to read to my son that night. In fact, the next time, he wakes up in the middle of the night, I will make sure we read this book. This book was a delight to read. This book is all about conquering fears. The story is about a child who is scared of the monsters under the stairwells or under the bed. But as the story unfolds, his dad gently helps the boy conquer his fears.

Author Michael Cascio wrote When I was A Child for his own children. This makes the entire storyline that much more endearing. It truly shows a father’s love for helping his children overcome their fears and teaching them to feel safe and confident.

The illustrations are so beautiful. I loved the layers of watercolors with animated images. The combination is unique, but works so well with this story for making the scary images not seem so intense. The watercolors provide a warmness to the illustrations. I loved the splashes of colors on each page.

This is Michael Cascio’s first book. It was really fun to read, a great read aloud, and the best storyline. I’m very confident this book would help children navigate overcoming their fears. Books are magical like that; they help children explore their fears from the safety of their couch. I especially liked that When I was A Child lets children know they don’t have to conquer their fears alone; their parents are there for them.

Be sure to follow Michael Cascio on Facebook!

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Book Review: My Toddler Life

When I was a kid, I distinctly remember when my parents introduced dial-up internet to our home. HELLO! It was so awesome! So trendy! SO SLOW!  I often wonder what my kids will remember when it comes to technology. I primarily use my phone for taking pictures of my kids. I hope they cherish those photos! I know I cherish them!

In My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh, it’s the sweet story of a mom and her child during their day. They paint, they read, they play toys and they spend a lot of time together. And capturing every moment is the momma’ phone.

The illustrations  bright and fun. I love how expressive the child in the story is. I also love that the backgrounds on each page use bright colors. There are a lot of very relatable scenarios in the book too that both child and parent will be able to identify with.

At first I was a little worried that this book would make me feel guilty for  being on my phone. That it would make it look like the parent is glued to their phones. But I was relieved to see that instead of there being guilt, the author really focuses on the moments spent together AND using the phone to capture those moments. There is such a fine line to capturing the memories and being super attached to the phone. Admittedly, I am  guilty of both. Corine does want parents to put their phone down for their kids, but she balances it out really well by acknowledging that we use our phones to snap photos of our kids in action. (And how many of us spend our evenings once the kids are in bed, strolling through our instagram feeds looking at our babies?!?! Oh…just me???)

This is a great book and it is part of a series called #BabyLove (Check out the website!!). Be sure to follow author Corine Dehghanpisheh on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.