Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review ~ The Genius of Ancient Man (Don Landis & Jackson Hole Bible College)

Evolution's nightmare, indeed.  Jackson Hole Bible College and Don Landis have put together an engaging book that exposes the evolutionary discrepancies regarding ancient man.  At over 100 pages, this hardcover book offers fabulous photographs/illustrations and is full of indisputable facts.

Evolution basically brings man from slime through animalistic behavior (and form) to a "highly intelligent" version of man by modern standards.  God's creation of man is that of an originally-perfect human with great intelligence and the ability to gain/apply knowledge.  After sin, the perfection was broken; death entered the world and life itself became difficult.

The Genius of Ancient Man is a book that should be handed out alongside school textbooks that teach evolution as "fact" versus "theory".

As pointed out in the book, "every person has a bias, whether they realize it or not; an assumption that influences everything they believe to be true."  The starting point of this book is that God is the living, eternal Creator of all; the Bible and God are Truth.  For someone who disagrees with this standpoint and considers tuning out, I would highly recommend taking the time to read this book to find out if your disagreements are legitimate or unfounded.

Important to take note of this fact:  God is the ultimate Creator of all.  Satan cannot create anything; he can only distort and pervert God's creation into something it wasn't intended to be.

As detailed throughout The Genius of Ancient Man, there is much that men and women accomplished and studied thousands of years ago that we don't understand today.  Many ancient people groups had knowledge that we simply (no pun intended) don't have access to today.  Their vast knowledge is displayed through elaborate building projects, artistic styles, structural celestial alignments, and in the very fact that they lived globally.  Ancient man understood far more than evolution gives him/her/them credit for!

This book condenses information shared by ancient cultures from around the world into fact-packed chapters.  When worldwide commonalities are laid out end-to-end, it's difficult (impossible?) to refute the astounding discoveries found around the globe.  Such commonalities between people groups living in many different areas on Earth attest to there being a common background between all; said background being traced back to Babel.  The Genius of Man goes into detail regarding similar building styles (including recreations of the tower of Babel), twisted but similar stories regarding a worldwide flood and creation itself, common distortions of Biblical symbols, shared interest in celestial movements/meanings of celestial bodies, and the parallels that echo God's plan for humankind that have been counterfeited by Satan.

Written and illustrated in layman's terms, this is a book that you could easily read through in a day or two....then come back to read again to sponge up even more information.  I love that it's an oversized hardcover book that is equally intended for adults and children of about 10-years-old and up.  Our 8-year-old son loves to read/listen to books like this. I love that even at a young age, he is giving reasons for why certain evolutionary events couldn't have happened, and backing up his reasons with facts he has gleaned from various AIG scientific evidences.  These are the books we need to share with our children!

I was happy to review this book for New Leaf Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. The Genius of Ancient Man ~ Evolution's Nightmare was published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

LEGO Theme Birthday Party

This was our 8-year-old's first "real" birthday party and the Lego theme was so fun to play with (literally)!  If you're looking for more ideas for your own Lego party, I hope you will find inspiration here.

This was my first attempt at cake pops.  I saw the smiley face idea online (easily adapted to Lego minifigure heads) and they seemed like a great treat for his class at school; always fun to share treats with your friends.  My previous post goes into more detail on their creation.


Did you realize that the official LEGO website has these fun printables and so many more?  It was my 10-year-old who informed me of this wonderful "free" decoration.
However, the trick is to actually find them!
1. Go to "Products" (top bar)
2. Once on "Products", you can select "City", "Star Wars", or "Super Heroes".
3. On each of these pages you will see "Comic Builder" (top right); click on it.
4. Build your comic on the page provided.  I selected the page with one single full-page frame.  It's pretty self-explanatory and you'll get the idea once you start.  
5. I added 4 minifigures per 8.5x11 page.  You can adjust the size larger or smaller to fit the page.  There are also many other Lego items (trees, flowers, Star Wars ships!!, etc.) to select from.
6. Copy and paste your page to Microsoft Word and print it!  It's that easy! (Be sure to select "photo" in your printer options or the images will come out streaky).
7. Cut out characters, laminate, then cut out again for a clean look!  I love having our own laminator; knowing we can reuse these neat Lego printables again!  Boys bedroom decor!


How fun are these Lego minifigure and brick molds (trays)?!  I ordered them to make ice cubes, finger jello, or chocolate but they didn't arrive in time.  That hasn't stopped us from making ice ever since the party though. I've also seen people make Lego crayons and soap out of these; creative!

...and the Lego birthday cake!  
This was my first time making fondant and creating any kind of "fancy" cake.  If I can do it, you can do it!  Be forewarned though: it is a loooong process.  I have a new found appreciation for why *real* cake artists charge the prices they do.  A future post will detail the process for building this cake.  I didn't have it put together until after 2am, so it was fun to hear our children giddy over the finished product in the morning.  ...then I went back to bed!  Our 10-year-old added the "real" Lego guys and ladders to the cake, making it into more of a construction zone.

I wasn't sure how colouring would go over, but most of the kids took to this activity; drawing their own Lego minifigures.  Thanks to an idea on Pinterest for these pages.
See the square pretzels?  Lego-ish.  ;)

Guess how many Legos in the jar.

Pose and have your picture taken with Lego friends!
I thought these would make for a fun picture to include in thank you notes to friends who came to the party. 

Ideally, these would be square mini-pizzas, but we're not living in a perfect world. ;)

See the cute Lego minifigures cut-out on the wall?  Another cute Pinterest idea for Lego decorations.

Lego Bingo was a hit ~ great game and totally free printable!
Link to the thoughtful family who shared it via Pinterest!

Such a fun birthday!

LEGO Minifigure Head Cake Pops

This was my first attempt at the infamous "cake pops" ~ Lego minifigure head style!  Yes, I realize they are far from Bakerella-perfect but at least they are somewhat recognizable and the kids enjoyed them.  Perfect party or bite-sized treat to send to school on your child's birthday. 

Honestly, they weren't all that difficult to make; easier than I anticipated. Healthy?  Not in any way, shape, or form.  If I had time, I would have at least made the cake "healthier" by scratch, but as time would have it, a red velvet cake mix sufficed.  I basically followed Bakerella's instructions for the cake based on these cute cake pop smiley faces.

Where I differed with her was on the icing.  If nothing else, I avoided the partially hydrogenated oil in the store-bought frosting.  I've never cared for the taste of that stuff anyway...  So, my icing (or "frosting" per the American language) consisted of my usual recipe: butter, icing sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Just for the yumminess factor, I also added cream cheese.

The gist of making your own icing is pretty simple.  You're looking for a creamy, smooth, and spreadable texture.  Soften and beat about a 1/2 cup of butter and a 1/2 brick of cream cheese with your first cup or two of icing sugar (American terminology: "powdered sugar").  From this point on, you just continue to add in the icing sugar and tablespoons of milk until you get to the consistency that you want.  Do NOT add a good dousing of milk unless you want to go purchase another bag of icing sugar; add it only as needed.  (Believe me, I've done this several times in the past few decades; you would think I'd have learned by now....).  When you are at the approximate consistency you want, add about a tsp of vanilla and you're done.  This is the icing/frosting I use to mix into the crumbled cake (per Bakerella's instructions).

Following the basic cake pop instructions, I formed slightly elongated circles (think minifigure head shapes) and stuck them on the sticks.  I used little dabs of chocolate to attach half of a mini-marshmallow to the top of each "head" and put these sticks in the freezer for about 10 minutes.  I was a bit apprehensive about the "dipping into chocolate" part of this project, but it wasn't a big deal at all.  It's really more of "rolling" in chocolate than dipping.  Each head was rolled in the chocolate, then tapped repeatedly (and not too hard) on the side of the pot/bowl to get the chocolate thinned out.  After leaving them propped up in a large piece of styrofoam for a few hours, they were good to draw faces on.

For the drawing of faces, I wasn't sure which direction to head, so I opted for black icing.  In hindsight, I should have purchased the edible pen that was available in the cake decorating section.  I read that the edible marker/pen doesn't exactly work all that well, but the black icing wasn't that great either.  I used a toothpick to draw the black icing faces.  It would be insightful to find out what the best alternative is for drawing faces on any cake pops; do share!

Would love to see your creations!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lilla Rose Free Shipping November 8 - 10, 2012

Only 3 days to receive Free Shipping on your Lilla Rose order over $20!  Beautiful hair accessories that make your quick updo into something more fabulous!  Click above to shop through my consultant store ~ and thank you!

Book Review ~ The True Account of Adam & Eve

If you are looking for an accurate Biblical account of Adam & Eve for your children, look no further.  Beautifully illustrated by Bill Looney and written by Ken Ham, this book is one that should be kept at arm's reach.  Of this 64-page book, the fabulous 38" fold-out section in the middle of the book makes if difficult to keep reading; you just want to snuggle with your children as you search out every inch of the panoramic views of the earth before and after the fall of man.

Jesus coming to save us from our sins means nothing to a world that doesn't know the history of mankind from God's creation of the world.  The True Account of Adam & Eve briefly addresses the first 5 days of creation, then heads into the crux of the story: Adam & Eve, the first two humans.

The unfounded theory of evolution is taught as fact in nearly every secular institution around the world.  By virtue of necessity, evolution would brand the story of Creation at God's hands and the creation of man and woman little more than fairy tales.  However.....

God is truthful.  God's Word is truthful, infallible, historically and archaeologically accurate; it has never failed and never will.  Knowing the true account of how sin came into the world is of utmost importance.  Otherwise, how will people understand the significance of God loving us beyond comprehension to send His sinless Son into the world to free us from the eternal penalty for our sins? 

I love that this book begins with Bible passages to read with your family.  It's not just any story; it's the story of our great, great, great, great, great, great, great,.....etc. grandparents.  Ken Ham also brings up questions that tackle why things are so messed up in the world today, why God instituted marriage between one man and one woman, why fossils aren't a result of millions of years, why sin is such a big deal, and why we look forward to a time when there will be "no more curse."

Delve into this book with your children.  It's the story that brings life out of death.  It's a story to have on their minds as they fall asleep.  It's the story to read and study further when they are alert during the day.  Encourage them to ask questions, dig into God's Word, and wrap everything in you around the fact that God didn't allow Adam & Even to live a hopeless existence after their fall into sin.  He provided the ultimate rescue for those who would seek Him with all their heart; the only way to spend eternity in close relationship with the One who loves us more than any other ever could.

I was happy to review this book for New Leaf Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.  The True Account of Adam & Eve was published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Publishing.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: Tangled Ashes ~ by Michele Phoenix

Tangled Ashes was the first fictional novel I have read in a long time.  Locations, historical buildings, and events that occurred during World War II reflect an accuracy that surrounds fictional characters.  Knowing this book was set during the Nazi occupation of France, I looked forward to reading it.

Marie and Elise are two 17-year-old girls, forced to grow up overnight when France is invaded by the Nazi regime.  To support their families, they take on jobs at Nazi headquarters, Meunier Manor.  When questionable changes begin happening, the girls must decide who to remain true to and which version of "the truth" is the real thing.  

50 years later, main characters, Becker (Beck) and Jade, are two wounded souls; each seeking solace in different ways.  Beck has come to France as a skilled architect/woodworker to tackle an immense castle renovation.  He finds himself fighting the same emotional, self-medicating battle that he yearns to be free from.  Jade, who seemingly has everything put together in her life, is fighting a battle of her own.

As characters' lives begin to unfold, mysterious events of vandalism at the castle put individuals on alert.  Seeing how puzzle pieces fit together weaves an intriguing story where the past becomes the present and choices are forced on everyone involved.  Even 50-years later, decisions made by Marie, Elise, and others involved are affecting lives.

I don't believe this book lacked for interest.  However, I was disappointed that there was minimal Biblical outreach.  As a Christian-authored novel, Tangled Ashes possibly offered more potential Biblical discussion by way of the "questions" section, where you could dig deeper into the hows and whys of the story.  In addition, while remaining true to Beck's tormented character, the reader is given fill-in-the-blank cuss words; I don't care for that aspect.  I feel the author developed Beck's character well in my mind without the addition of said words.

Knowing that the author actually grew up in the setting of this book and enjoyed the beautiful historical buildings she describes makes this book feel closer to "real life".  Michele Phoenix holds these places in high esteem and brings her cherished memories into your imagination.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.