Reviews, Giveaways, Recipes, Fiber Arts, and more...

The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby

The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltbyxmaskitchen

Short Bio: Tammy Maltby is a writer, speaker, and media personality. For eight years, she was the co-host of the Emmy Award-winning television talk show, Aspiring Women. She serves on the board of the National Women’s Ministry Association, Christian Women in Media and Arts, and Women of Courage International. She and her family live in Colorado Springs, CO.

Short Book Description: The heart of the home and of Christmas is the kitchen! Including decorating tips, gift ideas, recipes, meditations, and much more, Tammy Maltby serves up brief meditations on the meaning of family, friends, Christmas and the kitchen with a gathering of seasonal hints and advice.

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed learning what fun ideas Tammy had in making the Holiday a little brighter in her own home as well as sharing inspiring ideas of things we can do with our own families too during the Christmas season in her book The Christmas Kitchen!

I just recently have been learning on how to be a hostess as with what comes with the role of being a life group leader, so this book has been a wonderful resource for me. Ways to go about inviting people and what types of Christmas parties to host from cookie baking to many others. Those little details that sometimes we over look have clearly been pointed out and shared through out the pages of The Christmas Kitchen.

I felt the love of Christ to give to those around you in this book and that’s number one in all aspects for me! I believe this book would make a wonderful gift this Christmas season!

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Touching Wonder:Recapturing the Awe of Christmas by John Blase


About The Book…

An instant classic that breathes new life into the familiar Nativity story This lovely little book invites readers to rediscover both the strangeness and the delight of the Nativity story through a bold retelling of Luke 1-2. To Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible translation, John Blase adds his own storytelling voice, exploring the familiar events from multiple first-person viewpoints. What emerges is the intimate story of unlikely people–a frightened teenage girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd–meeting up with the divine as they move toward the realization that the little one just born is the One. It’s truly strange and wonderful, this retold story of Word made flesh, and it invites readers to react appropriately–with eyes opened wide in wonder, jaws dropped in amazement, and hearts rejoicing. The beautiful design and Amanda Jolman’s lively line drawings make this book a fitting gift as well as a potential heirloom.

About the Author

John Blase’s publications include the Living the Questions and Living the Letters Bible-study series, the Worldviews reference book (TH1NK), Real Life Stuff for Couples, and The Message Children’s Bible. A former pastor, John lives with his wife and three children in Colorado.

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed reading through Touching Wonder:Recapturing the Awe of Christmas  by John Blase. This book sheds light on the Christmas story in how I never stopped to look at it before. In many words I relate John’s writing style to Max Lucado’s whom is one of my favorite christian authors. Throughout the story you’ll find third person narrative in describing what each character may have been thinking such as Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, and others. Though of course we have no idea what they were thinking, it gives us sort of something to think about in pondering their thoughts on the miracle of Christ’s birth.

This book would make a wonderful gift during the Holiday Season! You can find it on Amazon for just $9.00!

Disclaimer: This book was provided for review purposes only from FIRST Wild Card Tours, and no cash or payment of any type was received for this review.

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Give This Christmas Away (101 simple & thoughtful ways to . . .) by Matthew West

9781414336442Christmas is the time of the year when consumerism is at it’s peak. People rush here and there sadly trying to snag the best deal on gifts big and small at whatever cost it may take to get it. The Holiday season which should be stress free become frustrating and rather a hassle, not at all what it should be.

What if Christmas Looked Different this year? What if we all just give this Christmas away? Matthew West asks these two question in his latest book Give This Christmas Away.

If you are a Veggie Tale fan like myself, you may recall the song “Give This Christmas Away” which is a duet between Matthew West and Amy Grant from the latest movie Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, a movie that brought me to tears.

Little things matter, trust me they do. You don’t have to have gobs of money to be an encouragement to someone. All it may take is a helping hand, a card letting them know you thought of them, fresh baked cookies and an invitation to come over and have tea.  God blesses us in so many ways that through those, we can bless others.

If you are all out of ideas of your own on how you can can minister to those around you, Matthew West has written up 101 ways to give this Christmas away. I literally read this book in about on hour. I took a few notes of my own from the inspiration given to me from random stories through out this book. I love how each story is a word of testimony and a Bible Verse to match ends everyone. I challenge everyone to pick up this book and be a blessing to those around them not just during the Holiday season but every chance that you get!

It’s time to think outside the box and not just about what’s inside of it!

If you follow this link: you can read the first chapter!

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network

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Holiday Gift Guide: Pretty Please Press Review and Giveaway


Pretty Please Press publishes various titles of children’s books that were made to be read aloud and later discussed. Each of the books available are hoped to be building blocks in helping to enlighten and teach children various values through each issue displayed with the end results of learned life long character skills.

A special thanks to Pretty Please Press for giving me the opportunity to Review and Giveaway a set of their character building books! I hope you benefit from the short write up of each book below.

My thoughts…


Kick Block Punch by Jacquie Hann

This book is the perfect story for children who may have an interest in martial arts. We find the main character, a boy named Sam, learning that to master a certain skill he must start at the bottom and work his way up. This story teaches patience, practice, and determination and is perfect for discussion. I personally love seeing the character development through the story. This book is quite special to me because I took karate classes growing up and learned these lessons in self-discipline first hand.

bella-coverBasset Ballerina by Laura Aimee Garn & Illustrated by Valerie Sokolova

This book will be quite a treat to all dog lovers out there. I know a friend of mine who has a basset hound, and I’m sure she would just eat this book right up!  I love this whimsical tale of Bella the Basset hound whose dream is to become a great ballerina. The illustrations in this book are ever so delightful. Though everyone tries to deter Bella from the dream she has, she tries her very best no matter what, which is really counts the most.

pynx-coverPynx by Jeffrey Greene

My husband being a fan of science fiction is a real fan of the illustrations that can be found throughout the pages of this book. The creatures have fun names Long- Tailed Lavender Cripe, White Fuzzbun, Blue Pipsqueak, and other names! In this story you’ll learn what it means to accept others despite their differences and to look within yourself in to try and make a point. Perfect story in teaching children to not be so quick to judge others who may live, look, and act a little different than themselves. It really makes me think about the song “Why can’t we be friends?”. 

scritchy-coverThe Scritchy Little Twittchell Sisters by Laura Aimee Gran and Illustrated by Erik Brooks

I literally laughed out loud when reading through this story. I grew up with four sisters, one older and three younger, so I can really relate to this book though quite a bit of the parts are exaggerated for amusement purposes, I’m sure. Siblings will fight, there’s no preventing that. In this book, despite the good, bad, and the sometimes ugly, the point put across is that through it all understanding and appreciation for each other can be learned. Anyone whom has a sibling especially girls with  sisters as well as their parents would really love this book, in my opinion.

Giveaway is now over.

Disclaimer: I was given a  set of book from Pretty Please Press to review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Chocolate- A Love Story By Max Brenner

About the book:
chocoloveWith gigantic vats of churning chocolate, desserts like their famous chocolate pizza, and 12 varieties of hot chocolate served in custom mugs, Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man has turned their line of hip, colorful themed restaurants into an international sensation.

Chocolate: A Love Story is a vibrant new cookbook that includes 65 original recipes narrated in the quirky, captivating voice of Max Brenner, the restaurant’s visionary founder and “bald man.” Bold original illustrations inspired by Art Deco poster graphics, full-color photographs, easy-to-follow, delicious recipes, and a serving of Max’s unique vision for spreading “chocolate culture” around the world make this book a must for every chocolate lover.

My Thoughts…

I adore this book because it’s a mix of my two most favorite things chocolate and art! I myself have not ventured so much as to make lots chocolate filled dishes in my own kitchen but after browsing through this book, I just may give it a shot soon. I love the names of the recipes because they are so not typical! You’ll find recipes titled “The adult and child chocolate buger joint venture, The eternal chocolate bliss Indian lassi, Recipe 66 ( the book features 66 recipes…the name is only suitable!), and so many more! I appreciate  the individuality of Chocolate: A Love Story and applaud the author on making his book so much more different by featuring illustrations by Yonatan Factor. This cookbook is so much more than typical and while it would make the other cookbooks in your kitchen jealous, it could also be featured on your living room coffee table!

I think this book would make a wonderful gift this Holiday season, especially to those whom really appreciate all types of art forms because as we all know cooking is one in it’s own!

You can learn more about Max Brenner here. You can purchase the book at Amazon for about $20.00!

Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Anna, Hachette Book Group, and the Product Review Place for sending me a review copy of this book to review.

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Holiday Gift Guide: How to Roast a Lamb – New Greek Classic Cooking by Michael Psilakis Cookbook Review

About How to Roast a Lamb…


A rising star in the food world, Michael Psilakis is co-owner of a growing empire of modern Mediterranean restaurants, and one of the most exciting young chefs in America today. In How to Roast a Lamb, the self-taught chef offers recipes from his restaurants and his home in this, his much-anticipated first cookbook.

Ten chapters provide colorful and heartfelt personal essays that lead into thematically related recipes. Gorgeous color photography accompanies many of the recipes throughout.  Psilakis’s cooking utilizes the fresh, naturally healthful ingredients of the Mediterranean augmented by techniques that define New American cuisine. Home cooks who have gravitated toward Italian cookbooks for the simple, user-friendly dishes, satisfying flavors, and comfortable, family-oriented meals, will welcome Psilakis’s approach to Greek food, which is similarly healthful, affordable, and satisfying to share any night of the week.

About the Author…

A long time front-of-house man with no professional cooking experience, Michael Psilakis took control of the kitchen when, as owner of his Long Island restaurant, Ecco, his chef simply failed to show up for work one night. Since then, his star as a chef and entrepreneur has risen considerably. He now owns three restaurants in Manhattan–Anthos, a showcase for his modern take on fine Greek dining; Kefi, a cozier spot that serves the more classic home cooking he grew up on; and, Mia Dona, a new Italian restaurant with a Greek bent. Psilakis lives in New York.

Barbara Kafka is the author of Vegetable

Love, Roasting: A Simple Art, Party Food, Soup: A Way of Life, and the New York Times bestseller Microwave Gourmet. Vegetable Love was winner of the 2006 IACP award for Best Single
Subject Cookbook. She was a regular contributor to the
York Times and has written extensively for food magazines
in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia,
and was recently honored with the
James Beard Foundation lifetime achievement award.

She lives in New York and Vermont.

My Thoughts…

I’m always looking to expand my cooking skills and I have faith that no matter how fancy it is, I’ll be able to pull off some tasty version of a dish even if it may not look exactly like it should. I’m very blessed to have a family that is willing try new things. And again, I’m blessed also to have collection of fantastic cookbooks that make me look like I really know what I am doing in the kitchen!

I’m now a fan of Michael Psilakis cooking. His cookbook How to Roast a Lamb features various Greek dishes that are sure to tickle your taste buds! I enjoyed the in-depth recipes as well as the full color photos of various dishes he’s prepared. In addition I also liked learning more about Micheal through various personal stories include through out the book.

Ten chapters are included in How To Roast Lamb estimating up to over 300 pages. You’ll find all sort of dishes that use more than just lamb but other meats as well as some that have no meat all. I found this cookbook heartfelt, user-friendly, and simple enough to create some pretty fantastic meals for friends and family!

How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis would a be a fantastic cookbook to add to any kitchen and a great book to think about picking up this Holiday season whether for yourself or someone you know. You can purchase this book at Amazon as well as many other places for around 18.95 (hard cover).

Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Anna, Hachette Book Group, and the Product Review Place for sending me a review copy of this book to review.

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