January 25, 2011

Boba Carrier Review - A Mom's Best Friend

Sometimes I think moms could use an extra set of arms . . . actually, I think sometimes we could manage just fine if the arms we were given were free to do what needed to be done. That is where baby-wearing has saved my life. My sweet little boy, now 18-months-old, wanted to constantly be held when he was younger. Baby-wearing made it possible for me to get things done around the house, go for a walk, or even check my e-mail. Now, with baby number two on the way, I've been interested in comparing different baby carrier options.

The Boba carrier is a soft-structured baby carrier.The beginning weight limit is 15 lbs, so this carrier is intended for older babies and children. It does not currently offer any type of newborn insert. It is similar to a backpack in style and can be worn on both the back and the front.  

Here are a few of the things I really liked about the Boba:
  • The shoulder straps and waist strap are nicely padded, adjustable and were comfortable to wear.
  • The Boba is suitable for children 15-45 lbs which means I will be able to use it for a long time and it's versatile enough that I can use it with both an infant and a toddler with just a few quick strap adjustments!
  • It can be worn comfortably on both the back and the front. 
  • I thought the foot straps were a neat feature for older kiddos. It helps keep the legs in a comfortable position for the child. My little one had a blast moving his foot back and forth in the stirrups. 
  • The sleeping hood is a great asset for younger children. It comfortably supports the infant's head and makes for a more conducive sleeping environment.
  • There are tons of super cute colors and patterns to choose from, as well as some great organic options. I love the Tweet pattern
There were a few things I had trouble with:
  • When wearing the baby on your front you must reach both hands behind your back to fasten the top buckle. Although the two shoulder straps are securely holding your infant in the carrier, I was a little bit nervous to take my hands off of my child to fasten the last strap. This did not feel like a big issue when I was wearing the baby on my back.
  • It takes quite a bit of practice to put the child on your back without assistance. It's super easy when you have another person to help, but it was a bit challenging to do it by myself. I'm sure it would get easier with practice, but the first few times were a bit awkward.

All in all I was pleased with the Boba carrier. It was quick and easy to put on and comfortably distributed my 25 lb son's weight. I look forward to trying it out again with baby #2. Thanks to my handsome hubby for modeling the Boba. My growing baby bump has been impeding my baby wearing in the last couple weeks. As you can tell, it works great for both guys and gals!

To find out more about the Boba carrier you can check out their website and their Facebook page. They're also on Twitter. I'm a Facebook fan of theirs - they'll give you a heads-up on any sales, contests, or specials on the Boba carrier which normally retails for $100-$118.

Happy baby-wearing!


I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the carrier. I was not obligated to give a positive endorsement.

January 11, 2011

The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher - Book Review and iPad Giveaway

Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)
Lainey O'Toole made a decision as a ten-year-old girl that forever changed the life of an Amish family. Fifteen years later, she unexpectedly returns to the town of Stoney Ridge when her car breaks down on her way to culinary school. A series of "circumstances" brings Lainey face to face with those involved in the accident from fifteen years earlier.

Bess Reihl is somewhat hesitant to spending the summer with her grandmother Bertha on the family farm. Due to the strained relationship between her grandmother and her father Jonah, Bess has not spent much time with her family in Pennsylvania. Anxious to escape potential summer school and her father's courtship with an overly cheerful neighbor, Bess agrees to spend some time in Stoney Ridge.

The worlds of the Amish and English collide in this novel by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is a story of love and forgiveness. This is my first glimpse into the world of Amish fiction. To be honest, I didn't know much about Amish culture before reading the book. I thought it was interesting to learn about the different customs and traditions of the Amish faith.

I felt that the story was interesting, although somewhat predictable (which is fairly common for this genre - boy meets girl, problems arise, boy and girl fall in love). I think Fisher did a good job of keeping the reader interested in the story. The character of Bess develops from a self-focused child into a maturing young adult. Things did not end exactly the way I anticipated, which is a good thing in my book.

This is the third book in the Secrets of Lancaster series. The novel is able to stand alone apart from the other books, which is good since I haven't read them yet. . I thought the book was an easy and enjoyable read. This is the first work I read by Fisher. I look forward to reading more in the future.

**I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the novel. 

The Search - iPad Giveaway
Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Facebook Party:
Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.


January 8, 2011

Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills - * Book Review

Pursuit of Justice (Call of Duty)
The plains of West Texas may hold a treasure worth millions. The legendary Spider Rock treasure has lured treasure hunters for centuries, and one man will go to any length, even murder, to get the treasure for himself. Three men were found murdered on Carr Sullivan's ranch making him the prime suspect in the mysterious slayings, but something tells FBI Special Agent Bella Jordan that there is more going on than meets the eye. She must confront the shadows from her past if she hopes to solve the murders.

Author DiAnn Mills weaves a story of intrigue and mystery in this novel. I was initially drawn to read this book based primarily on its setting. Having lived in West Texas for a number of years, I was curious to see how Mills would portray the area. I was also curious to know if I could recognize any of the locations she described. I was not disappointed. Her descriptions of the land and the people who inhabit it were right on.

The story offers plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The love story is somewhat expected, but I thought as a whole the story was well-written and enjoyable. I look forward to reading more of Mills work in the future.


I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the product. I was not obligated to give a positive review.

"Change of Plans" Movie Review

I love good, family-friendly entertainment. Unfortunately, in today's culture, it's often difficult to find a prime-time movie you can watch with the whole family. Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble are sponsoring tonight's Family Movie Night presentation of "Change of Plans."

I had a chance to preview the film a few days ago, and I was pleased. It's not your mult-million dollar blockbuster film, but it's a cute story emphasizing the importance of family.

Sally and Jason Danville seem to have it all together. Sally's an aspiring musician. Jason's a successful fighter-pilot. The young couple enjoys their independent lifestyle until a tragic accident brings four young children into their lives and home.

I enjoyed the movie. It had it's touching moments. Of course, when you're pregnant like I am, Kleenex commercials can make you cry. There were also several humorous scenes as the children and the Danvilles get adjusted to life together. There were the occasional product placements (ex. drinking Wal-mart's Great Value brand orange juice at breakfast), but they did not interfere with the movie, nor were they blatantly obvious.

Pop some popcorn and plop on the couch with the kids for the latest Family Movie Night presentation - "Change of Plans."

The movie airs tonight at 8/7c on FOX.

You can watch a movie trailer, plus learn more about the cast and film by visiting http://www.familymovienight.com/change-of-plans/


January 2, 2011

Topical Memory System from Nav Press Review

Topical Memory System
If your New Year's resolution is to memorize scripture, the Topical Memory System from the Navigators is a great resource. The kit comes with a workbook designed to help you learn methods to memorize Bible verses, a vinyl verse holder, and 60 verse cards in eight different translations.

This is a great resource for Christians of all ages. The verses and holder are a wonderful tool to help those wanting to commit portions of God's word to memory. Like any memory based system, it requires the individual to be committed to investing the time necessary to learn and remember. If you've got the desire, and the self-discipline, the Topical Memory system will be of great benefit! I highly recommend it. 

The Navigator's also offer the VerseMinder Topical Memory app. I have it on my iPod touch and have really enjoyed it. It's great for when you're waiting in line or just passing the time. It will quiz you on the verses you have learned using a basic "fill in the blank" process. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to invest time in learning God's word. The app retails for around $4.


I received a complimentary copy of the system to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the product.

"Amy Inspired" by Bethany Pierce - Book Review

Amy Inspired

Amy has ambitions. One day she will fulfill her dream of being a published author. For now, in between her teaching responsibilities at the local university, she catalogs her many rejection letters in a notebook. Governed by lists and unfulfilled plans, Amy wonders if her dreams will ever be realized. When a male friend of her roommate, Zoe, needs a place to crash, she begrudgingly agrees. Eli's artistic ways are quite different from Amy's ordered existence and initially she is not thrilled with his intrusion.Will this unexpected visitor change Amy's life for the better or for the worse?

I really enjoyed the story. I love that the protagonist is flawed. I get sick to death of sappy, cookie-cutter women in Christian fiction. Don't get me wrong, I am all for books that communicate the message of Christ's love and redemption. I just like to see it fleshed out in reality in a way that someone living down the street can relate to. I sure know that I'm not perfect, but I do know that I take my faith seriously and I learn from my mistakes. I love that the author allowed Amy to be real. She messes up. She faces temptation and sometimes falls short of making the best decisions. She has hopes and dreams. She falls in love, but makes a mess of things. Her character is one that I think many people can relate to in one way or another.

A beautiful love story and inspiring work of fiction. I look forward to reading more of Pierce's work in the future. 


I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the story.

"The Topkapi Secret" by Terry Kelhawk - Book Review

The Topkapi Secret: A Novel
If it's not worth dying for, it's not worth living for.

Angela Hall, a Berkley English professor, thought she was accepting a summer research opportunity in Turkey. Through her travels in the Middle East she becomes entangled with a man determined to reveal the Topkapi Secret to the world, even if it costs him his life. 

The Koran is the most sacred text for a billion Muslims on the planet. Palestinian Koranic researcher, Mohammad Atareek is on a quest to determine if the words of the Koran are indeed what they claim to be - the unchanged word of Allah. Someone is determined to keep his research from being published. As more and more researchers face suspicious deaths, Atareek is intent on tracking down the murderer and revealing the secret to the world.

Angela and Mohammad set out on an exciting adventure that spans Israel, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and more. Will they discover who's behind the murders or will they take their suspicions to their graves.

I am fascinated by Middle Eastern culture. The author does a superb job of detailing different aspects of Middle Eastern life - from food, to dress, to appropriate social interactions. Rich in historical detail and full of vivid descriptions, you will feel like you are taking the journey with Angela and Mohammad. The plot is riveting and loaded with action and intrigue. I was very interested in the sections related to the history of the Koran. As a student of world religious, I enjoyed learning not only about the different codex, but also the history behind the initial canonization and publication of the Koran. I certainly learned a lot. You can tell the author did a substantial amount of research on the story.

Don't worry, it's not an academic paper disguised as a novel. The characters are well-developed and interesting. There's plenty of romance and close-escapes. I had a hard time putting it down. If you like a good espionage story, you'll enjoy the Topkapi Secret.

Fair warning for my more conservative readers, I would probably give the book a PG-13 rating for a brief episode of strong language at the beginning of the book and some sensuality.

You can check out the book's Facebook page by clicking here


*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Glass Road PR. I was not obligated to give a positive review of the book. The opinions expressed are my own thoughts.

January 1, 2011

A life well lived

You are peace, you are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, you are true
Even in my wondering
You are joy, you are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, you are life
In you death has lost its sting

These words from the praise song "Forever Reign" were part of the last post Brie made on her family's blog just a few hours before heading back to Amarillo, TX. On her way home from celebrating Christmas with family last Sunday, her SUV was hit head-on by a car that crossed the center line. Brie was 30 years old and 7.5 months pregnant. In an instant, the life of a young family was tragically changed. After being care-flighted to a hospital, Brie's little boy, Curran, was delivered through an emergency c-section. He was only 3 lbs 1 oz when he was born. Brie passed away later that night as a result of the injuries she sustained in the accident. Her husband and two little girls, age 6 and almost 2 were also in the car at the time.

I didn't have an opportunity to know Brie very well since she was a few years older than I was and had already graduated by the time I moved to Dalhart. I went to high school with her brother and sister and attended church with her family. However, thanks to the wonders of Facebook and her family's blog I was able to keep up with the events in her life. Her love of Jesus and her love of her family is evident in her posts and comments. When a friend of hers who lives in my area was having health problems, Brie sent me a message to see if there was any way we could reach out to her. She was concerned, and wanted to make sure that her friend was OK. Her faith was sincere and evident to those who knew her. More than anything she wanted her children to know and love God. 

It's hard to understand why things like this happen. There are certainly no easy answers, especially for loved ones left behind. One thing is certain, Brie's life has made a difference to countless people. They could see in her the love and compassion of Christ. Even after her death, six more families have the gift of life because of organ donation. 

I bring her story up because I am a strong believer in the power of prayer and in the importance of bearing one another's burdens. Would you pray for her family? Pray for peace, grace, and provision in a time of great sorrow. Pray for baby Curran as he continues to struggle in NICU (particularly for his respiration and intestinal trouble). Pray for her husband Eric and two young daughters, Mali and Eleri, as they work through their grief. Pray that God can use Brie's testimony to point others to the hope of eternal life found through faith in Jesus Christ.

Brie's life and death have challenged me to make the most of the time I've been given. I'll freely admit that I've wasted a lot of time on things that really don't matter in the scheme of eternity. It has opened my eyes to the fragile nature of life on this earth, but it has also been a reminder that life continues even after we draw our last breath on the planet. Here is the chorus of the song Brie posted on her blog:

I'm running to your arms
I'm running to your arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing no other name
Jesus, Jesus
To learn more about Brie and her testimony, you can visit her family's blog at http://brieericandmaligomez.blogspot.com/2010/12/forever-reign.html

You can view a news interview with Brie's dad, Tom, here.

 A fund has been set up at Happy State Bank, 3423 Soncy Rd, Amarillo, Texas, 79119, 806-354-2265 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              806-354-2265      end_of_the_skype_highlighting in the name of Curran Blaec and Eric Gomez family.  Donations can be made there for the family and baby Curran.

Also, if anyone is needing any new Scentsy in the new year, please go to www.loriatha.scentsy.us. She is doing a fundraiser for the Gomez/White family for baby Curran (3lbs 1oz) who is still in the NICU. All of her proceeds for the month of January are going to Curran! What an amazing way to help out a family in their time of need!