Category Archives: Holidays

The Sparkle Box

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Let me start this review with a confession: I had heard of this book before.  Last year, somewhere around Christmas, I heard an interview with the author on Focus on The Family.  It really touched my heart and I’ve literally thought about it all year long.  The author’s goal seemed to truly be the lesson the book teaches: to give to others.

It is not often that I am inspired by a children’s book.  I read the book in order to do the review and had to force myself to come in and write.  Not because the task is so daunting, but because the book has me so inspired I don’t want to sit down and write.  I want to do something.  Anything.  Make bread for the shelters, donate, something!  Not simply to fill a box, but to make a difference in someone’s life.  One of my favorite scriptures, and one my husband and I remind each other of constantly is this:  “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40 KJV. 

This book will not only teach your children the joy of helping others, but it will make you want to go out and help someone else, anyone else.  My family has taught me throughout the years to help others.  Even my little brother who seems to be on a poor attempt at running from God has reminded me through his actions to do whatever I can to help others.  When we were kids we went through a period where our Mom couldn’t afford to pay the bills, much less provide for Christmas.  That year, a man we had never heard of, came to our home with a basket of fruit and a gift for my brother and I.  I don’t remember what my brother got, but I got a curling iron gift set.  I’ve never been a girly girl, don’t even know if I ever actually used that set, but what I do know is that I hold that as one of my fondest memories.  It was a great lesson and has been a constant inspiration for me to help others throughout my life.  Granted, I don’t wish that upon anyone, but the lesson could never be the same.  The closest I’ve seen to something teaching this lesson is this book.

About The Sparkle Box 

A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas

Sam is so excited about Christmas! He’s thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s mom explains that the things that they’ve been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

Author Bio

Author Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

Illustrator Bio

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

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Giveaway

Must leave a physical address.  However, if you are a military family and have an APO, I will personally ship it to you if you win, so go ahead and enter!

Originally posted 2013-11-19 10:07:11.

Santa Letter Review

Hey everyone!  I just love this letter!  They did a great job!  Of course, the little Monkey loved it too!  It came very quickly and will be made specifically to your little Monkey’s name and age.  Below are some pictures and the form for you to get entered!  If you’ve got more than one Monkey, go here and get your letters sent!

For $3.99 you can have a custom Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, tooth fairy or birthday letter sent to someone you love!

Of course, they’ve still got the fabulous frisbee cards too!  😀

Originally posted 2012-12-03 22:50:00.

#Novica Handmade Products

Hey Everyone!  Okay, so I am quite impatiently crazy awaiting the arrival of this:

” Framed by a golden border, this dark brown shawl celebrates the textile traditions of Bhagalpur. Shailendra and Uvais present a soft shawl hand-woven with two types of silk, one of which is Tussar, which requires drying the cocoons to soften and reel the silk. The other is Eri, a silk that is heavier and appears like a long filament, and can be obtained from a live cocoon.”
Is that not gorgeous!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  Novica has some amazingly beautiful handmade stuff.  Here is another I just loved:

I loved this one too, but Monkey pointed out that it would make me glow red, as my skin already has a lot of red in it!  So, no to this beauty!

Novica, partnered with National Geographic, supports artists around the world by giving them loans to start their own artistry business and helping them sell their handmade goods.  Then, when they repay the loan, they pass it on to the next artist to keep the cycle going!  I can only imagine what a blessing this is to these people and their families!

Here are a few more of my faves:

In promotion of their awesome new gift finder, Novica is sponsoring this awesome giveaway of a $40 gift code!  So, go by their site here and check it out!  You’ll definitely find an awesome unique gift for someone you love!

Originally posted 2012-12-02 04:22:00.

#MercyMe Christmas CD: It’s Christmas!

mercymeMercy Me It’s Christmas​ CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  “We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It’s the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit.”

My Thoughts

Everyone loves Christmas music, right?  The only problem is that over playing thing they do around the Holidays.  So, before you get played out check out Mercy Me in their CD done for Pizza Ranch.  With great voices singing all these wonderful songs, you’ll definitely want to add this CD to your Christmas music collection!!!

PizzaRanchAbout Pizza Ranch:
Cultivating its mission “To give every guest a legendary experience” since its inception in 1981, Pizza Ranch connects with its communities in a way that provides bridges for friends, family and colleagues to come together. Today, Pizza Ranch is based in Orange City, Iowa and owns, operates and franchises over 190 locations in 13 states. Consistent growth has been a Pizza Ranch staple, as the brand has become a beacon of community involvement and exceptional food. The Pizza Ranch buffet features legendary pizzas, salads and desserts, and is delivered with an unmatched service quality.  “We are extremely blessed to have a very close connection with our guests,” said Adrie Groeneweg, co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch. “This project extends the brand’s essence to a new dimension beyond our four walls and into their lives. It’s a new kind of way for us to relate to our loyal fans.”

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Be Sure & Check Out These too:

Christmas Tracts & Ten Must Do Christmas Crafts

Christmas Love Letters from God 

#SavingChristmas Movie Review with #KirkCameron

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About the movie:

This Christmas, have your family join with Kirk Cameron’s family and dive headfirst into all the joy, dancing, celebration, feasting, imagination, and traditions that glorify the true “reason for the season.” KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS is an engaging story that provides a biblical basis for our time-honored traditions and celebrations, and the inspiration to stand strongly against a culture that wants to trivialize and eliminate the faith elements of this holy season. So take in the splendor; take in the majesty; take in the story. Take it all in… and let’s put Christ back in Christmas! KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS is in theaters for a limited engagement beginning November 14 for two weeks only!

My Thoughts:

I find myself very blessed to having had the privilege to preview this film.  This film is not just another typical meaning of Christmas film.  It teaches us so much more.  We’ve all heard the story right?  About Jesus’ birth.  We know that one, hopefully by heart.  In my opinion, this film takes the symbolism of the various traditions we have and it shows how they celebrate our Heavenly Father.

Saving Christmas does an amazing job of showing how one could have a distaste for Christmas traditions, however rather than taking the typical stance and making the person who feels that way a villain, the character is embraced.  Through love and understanding, Cameron presents a truth that I will admit that in all my years I managed to not know about the traditions of Christmas.

The film has inspired me to research the Biblical roots of our so-called secular traditions.  I won’t tell you which ones, or how where to find them in the Bible because I don’t think I could ever share that in writing with the effect that is brought through the film.  I encourage you to see the film, I truly feel like it will leave you feeling filled with not only love for our Savior, but also a new understanding and gratefulness of Christmas traditions.

The Prize

A SIGNED Saving Christmas movie poster (by Kirk Cameron), the soundtrack to the film, and a car air freshener (they smell like Christmas trees)
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The Promise DVD

promise-coverGrowing up a child of many Christians, I have seen and heard many stories about the Birth of the Messiah.  There isn’t a whole lot of variation, so I had no expectation for this one to be very different.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how the story was told differently.  The Promise told the beautiful story differently than I’ve ever heard it before and did it so very well!  I love the way they told the story, starting with when Mary and Joseph were getting to know each other.  Not an aspect I had ever really thought about before, much less seen played out!  The movie is full of  cute little songs that make one want to sign along and I love that the story is told so beautifully.  Especially the funny bits that are thrown in via the animation.  Just enough to keep the kids attention but not so much that it would take away from God’s story.  Overall, I feel like the Promise is a wonderful telling of the great story and if you like musicals, or just have children, you’ll want to add this to your movie collection.  I feel like it will become a classic, one we must watch every year to remind us of the True meaning of Christmas.
ABOUT THE PROMISE
The Promise: The Birth of the Messiah is an animated musical celebration of one of the most pivotal events in all human history, the birth of Jesus Christ.
This beautifully crafted musical is a faithful adaptation of the birth narrative from the Gospel of Luke in both story and song. The animated production leverages optical motion technology to blend traditional animation techniques with the performance talents of ballet dancers and dramatic stage actors. The result is a unique and worshipful story experience that will inspire audiences young and old for years to come.

Websitehttp://www.gloriousfilms.com/thepromise/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GloriousFilms

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/gloriousfilms

Amazon: http://amzn.to/IpaqUJ

Official Trailerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQBjkkF1ddU

ABOUT GLORIOUS FILMS
Glorious Films is the home of high quality entertainment products created from a strong biblical worldview. The creative and technical teams are world-class and have come to from all over the globe. Their first film, The Promise, is an animated musical about the nativity story that will be released in 2013. The second film, The Prodigal, an animated musical based on the parable of the prodigal son, is in production for a Spring 2014 release.

A great stocking stuffer and family Christmas classic, available at Amazon: http://amzn.to/IpaqUJ

The First Christmas Night

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What a special story, that will be told forever!  I love the way this book was written, seems like it brings God back into a poem.  Nothing like making a story lyrical to remember it!  I don’t think that this story could ever be told too many times, and I love hearing the different ways from such creative authors!
About
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men.  The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Christine Kornacki.

Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town

not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.

The moon shining bright in the heavens so high

gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.

The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places

with looks of contentment on each of their faces.

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith is on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.
 
About the Illustrator 

At a very early age, Christine Kornacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life. After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box for Ideal’s Children’s Books. Christine’s recent work also includes illustrating the six-book series for the American Girl historical doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut.

Who is it for?
Kids ages 4-8 – The rhyming language can help them develop verbal language skills and learn to read
Family story time during the holidays
Children’s Ministers and Sunday school teachers
Christmas carolers could set it to a tune!

 

The First Christmas Night 

Written by: Keith Christopher

Illustrated by: Christine Kornacki

Publisher: Ideals Books

Hardcover: 32 pages
$16.99