Monday, June 27, 2011

What I think about...A Reluctant Queen - The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf

The book of Esther is probably one of my favorites so when I saw that Booksneeze had a fictional version of the story available for review in an ebook I snatched it up!

Here is a description from the publisher...

An inspiring re-imagining of the tale of Esther, a young Jewish woman thrust from a life of obscurity into a life of power, wealth, intrigue . . . and tender love.
See the story of Esther in an entirely new way—with all the political intrigue and tension you remember, but told as a passionate and tender love story between a young man and woman. Misunderstood by many, King Xerxes was a powerful but lonely man. Esther’s beauty caught the eye of the young king, but it was her spirit that captured his heart.
Imagine anew the story of Esther, one of our faith’s great heroines, destined to play a key role in the history of Christianity.
Now here's what I think...
If you are looking for a scripturally accurate recounting of the story of Esther with just a little fiction thrown in to fill in the detail gaps in the actual Bible then this is not the book for you.  While I truly enjoyed reading the book (I actually had a hard time putting it down and got frustrated when my ipad that I was reading it on ran out of power!), I often caught myself saying "wait a minute, that's not what really happened" and I even went back to the Bible to double check things.  Now I know this book is clearly fiction and isn't trying to pretend to be nonfiction but some pretty major things were changed (i.e. a whole new king was created for Esther to marry instead of Xerxes).  My biggest issue is that it could clearly confuse people as to what really happened and how the scriptures recounts things.  Also, I guess I just don't think the actual story really needed to be changed that much just to get a "good romance" out of the book of Esther.  I think there's plenty of great stuff that's right there in the scripture!  If you are looking for a more scripturally based fictionalized story of Esther I would suggest checking out "Hadassah: One Night With the King" by Tommy Tenney.  (It's one of my favorite reads!)
To sum it up...It's a great book with well developed characters, a good plot, and a nice level of sweet romance. However, I think the author took a little too much liberty with the facts of the scripture when she wrote the book and that definitely disappointed me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend 2011

Memorial Day usually means a weekend at my dad's lake cabin.  So we hoped in the car on Friday afternoon for the drive up.  It's about an 3 hour and 30 minute drive if you don't stop but we figured with Little L we'd have to stop at least once...but thankfully we were wrong!  :)  She fell asleep about 45 minutes into the drive and slept for over an hour and a half.  That meant that she really only had to be "entertained" for about an hour at a time so we were able to make the drive without stopping!  WooHoo!  One of the things that helped keep her entertained was V Tech Learning Tunes Karaoke toy that I had gotten for about $6 during a great sale at Toys R Us!  Little L absolutely LOVES it and I have to admit it is one of my favorite electronic toys that I have ever gotten her.
Little L sleeping on the way up to the cabin

Unfortunately the weather was kind of yucky so we didn't get a lot of nice outside playtime in but the girls still had fun and even played in the lake for a bit while the guys put the dock in.  We had to give them a warm bath afterwards to warm them up since the lake was still really cold!  On Saturday night a group of us took a trip into town to go to the movie Thor.  It was lots of fun with the family!  

Here are some pics from the weekend:
The guys putting my dad's dock in

Little L and her "cousin" (really my cousin's daughter) Miss A

The girls watching the dock go in

Playing in the COLD lake!

Do you like that I just took Little L's pants off and let her splash in her raincoat!


Miss A and her Daddy B!

Miss A showing Little L how an alphabet ipad game works

Both of the girls on ipads!  We're a very technically advanced family you know!  :)

Daddy and Little L playing hide and seek behind GG's chair

Friday, June 24, 2011

Toddler Tuesday - Dancercise

A few Tuesdays back we met up with a girlfriend of mine from Homemakers (K) and her 2 beautiful girls, Miss M (3 years old) and Baby J, for the Toddler Tuesday at MOA.  This time around they were doing Dancercise with a pajama theme.  So the little girls all went in there jammies!  Miss M and Little L actually had *almost* matching pjs but I didn't end up getting a good picture of it!  :(

The lady that was performing (I completely spaced her name) was a lot of fun and cute.  Miss M really got into it but Little L wasn't overly interested at all.  The two girls went and got their own carpet spots and when it started Miss M did all of the dance moves and sang along while Little L just sat there staring.  About half way through Little L decided she was done and started to cry.  I tried to get her to come over to me (we were sitting on the sidelines with strollers and Baby J) but she wouldn't move.  So I had to go over and grab her.  Once she got into her stroller she was happy as a clam!  Silly girl!

After the show was done we went and ate at Soul Daddy's which is the new restaurant from "The Next Great American Restaurant" show.  K was a fan of the show and wanted to stop by and even though I hadn't even watched an episode it was still fun to go!  The food was pretty good and you certainly got a lot of it!

We had lots of fun with the girls and I'm sure we'll hit up more Toddler Tuesdays soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Little L's Ladybug Umbrella

Little L loves umbrellas (which is good thing I guess since we've had so much rain lately!)  I had some credit at an online store that I wanted to use up so I decided to get Little L her very own umbrella.  I showed her a couple of options online and she picked out the ladybug one.  She actually knew when the box came that it had her ladybug umbrella in it and she was so excited!

Here she is trying it out!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Outdoor Fun

Little L and I planted a flower garden a few weeks ago.  (I guess I should say I did most of the "planting" while trying to get Little L to not throw dirt and not pull on the flowers after we planted them!)  She is absolutely in awe of our flowers and loves to water them!  The morning after we planted them the first thing she did was run to the window to look at her flowers!

Here's what it looked like when we planted them (the middle is a daylily that I planted last year and now it is so big it is almost covering up the other flowers and has lots of buds although it hasn't bloomed yet). I was planing on putting in 2 more flowering perennials and some type of white annuals to fill in the triangle but since the daylily got so big I don't have too.  My goal is just to have lots of color and once the daylily starts to bloom I am sure it will be filled with color!

Here is one of the lilies I just planted.  The sad thing is that only a few days after I took this picture I went outside and all of the buds (including the one that was open) had been broken off.  I'm thinking it was the wind but whatever, it made me sad!

Little L got a new tricycle and it is actually really cool because it comes with a handle so it can function as a stroller as well (and even has brackets to go around smaller babies but Little L is too big for them now).  The shade is a great idea but doesn't really function that well since it tends to fly up in any amount of breeze.  All in all though, a great first trike for Little L!

Little L has been eyeing Daddy's skateboard all winter long!  She could see it in the garage when we went to get in the car and after seeing Jake skate on Jake and the Neverland Pirates she wanted to give it a go herself! We had to keep telling her to wait until the snow was gone and now that it is she really wants to ride it. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pinkalicious at the MOA

A couple of Tuesdays ago they had Pinkalicious at the MOA for Toddler Tuesdays.  The Hopkins Stages Theatre was doing a production of Pinkalicious and so they came out to preform a few songs.  I met up with a my girlfriend M and her daughter Miss E.  The girls had lots of fun coloring their princess crowns and watching the show.  The best part of the trip was the fact that the mall was so quiet!  There weren't that many people there for the Toddler Tuesday and even the rest of the mall seemed empty!  After the show was done we went over to Lego Land and walked around.  For most of our time walking through that store we were the only people there!  Total bliss!  :)

Miss E watching Pinkalicious

Little L watching Pinkalicious

M and Miss E coloring

Pinkalicious with Little L and Mommy


Checking out Woody

Sharing a stroller!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Display for Little L's Art Work

Little L is getting to the age where she "creates masterpieces" on a daily basis and I wanted to be able to display them, at least for a while, to give them a sense of worth.  I had seen a couple of different ideas for "Look What I Made" displays and decided to try and make one myself.  Using some digital scrapbook paper and a fun font that I found online (for free of course!) I made a picture for each word (Look, What, I, Made).  Then I printed it on photo paper and laminated them.  After that I used a hot glue gun to attach a wooden clothes pin to the back of each word.  This is where it got tricky for me...I debated a lot of different ways to hang the clothes pins (attaching to a decretive wooden board, putting magnets on them and sticking them to a baking pan or something similar, etc.).  What I ended up doing is hanging up 2 3M hooks (actually made for hanging wreaths so they are green...think I will end up spray painting them at some point) and then I tied ribbon between the two hooks to hang the clothes pins on.  Like I said, I think I am going to spray paint the hooks and I'm not too happy with the ribbon I have up right now so I will probably change that some time too but all in all I think it turned out ok!  Now it hangs above Little L's table where she does a lot of crafts and hopefully it will inspire her!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Castle Built for a Princess

We were playing in Little L's room when she told me she wanted to build a castle out of her building blocks.  I think it turned out to be a castle built for a princess!  She wanted a door but we had already used all of the blocks so we just improvised and used a puzzle! Little L was pretty as a princess in her castle!

Ta Da!