Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ellie Claire Devotional Journals

The beginning of a new year is when we all think about adding new routines to our lives and keeping a regular Bible and devotional reading time is on the New Year's resolution list for many of us. Over the past few years, I've found Bible journaling to be a meaningful practice. I love reading scripture and recording my thoughts and prayers in the margins. Before I had a journaling Bible, I used a separate journal. These  Ellie Claire Devotional Journals are a variation on quiet time journaling, with a dated devotional book and journal in one. I was able to review three of these journals.

 Each of these lovely devotional journals features a beautiful cover, decorated pages, a ribbon bookmark, and an elastic band closure. The 7x9" size is larger than the typical devotional book, allowing plenty of room for my own journaling. The 365 readings are dated for each day of the year, offering a bit of motivation to keep up the daily habit to keep up with the schedule! The readings for each book are focused on a single theme, but are written by various authors. Each includes a Bible verse, a short prayer, and some include related quotes from other authors or from songs and hymns. The daily reading fills half the page, with the rest of the page lined for responding to the devotional thoughts, writing out prayers, or whatever else comes to mind that day. I plan to use this as a daily "thankful" list as well journaling my thoughts and prayers.

Peace Begins With Me has an aqua, marble-look cover and page borders. Just opening the book gives me a peaceful feeling. Who isn't craving more peace in this stressful society? This volume points the reader toward God's Word and praising him as a means of finding peace in her heart and relationships.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus begins each day with a quote from a hymn or song and the devotional passages encourage the reader to turn toward Jesus, trusting him with our lives each and every day. The pink borders and flowery decor are very girly. I think this is the one that I will be using in 2019!

The Earth is the Lord's and Everything in It focuses on God's wonderful creation. This is perfect for nature and animal lovers (like my daughter), who will love the reminders that God's hand can be seen all around us in the wonders of the natural world. Peacocks and flowers embellish each page.

Just opening these devotional journals makes me happy! I love pretty things and the beauty and exceptional quality of these books will make my devotional time even more special. I'm looking forward to adding this to my morning quiet time. One or two of these books will be given as Christmas gifts, and I'm sure the recipients will love them as well.

I received these devotional journals in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ellie Claire Art Journals (Review)

I'm excited to share with you some absolutely beautiful journals by Ellie Claire that I was recently sent to review. All three exude quality and elegance, featuring textured cloth-bound covers with pages for journaling, coloring, lettering, and doodling. The paper is heavy weight enough to allow use with markers or even paint. (I can't use these mediums on my thin Bible pages.)

The Illustrated Word is an illuminated Bible coloring journal that features both color reproductions and coloring pages reproduced from medieval illuminated manuscripts. This one is perfect for people who love intricate coloring designs. I've found that I enjoy praying and meditating while coloring.

Illuminate Your Story Journal has a ribbon bookmark, a keepsake pocket inside the back cover, an elastic pen holder on the spine, and an elastic closure. This book has step by step directions for drawing an entire alphabet of illuminated letters just like those found in ancient manuscripts. The step-by step instructions are fool-proof! Blank journal pages with inspiring quotes are interspersed with the instructional drawing pages.

Faith and Lettering Journal is my very favorite of the three. I've been using a journaling Bible for the past year, but don't have much skill or confidence in my lettering skills. This journal is an instructional manual for letters, flourishes, banners, and other doodles with plenty of blank, lined, and grid pages for practicing. It is also a traditional journal that includes both blank pages and pages with small inspirational quotes like "Fear not, I am with you." There are several completed decorative quotes for tracing and copying--a great way to develop confidence before actually drawing in a Bible.

I really love the "pro tips" that are scattered through the book. I learned that ovals are more pleasing to the eye than circles, so calligraphic letters and flourishes should use ovals. Another pro tip offers the suggestion to draw containers to hold large quotes, titles, or lists. I know that my artistic confidence will grow as I use this journal.

Any one of these art journals would make an awesome creative outlet, quiet time journal, or Christmas gift!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Lots of changes in our home in the past months! Emily graduated in May. Our cover school had a lovely ceremony planned by the students and held at "Burritt on the Mountain," a historical home and park with views overlooking the city. She spent much of her summer doing an FBI internship. She was thrilled to have this opportunity, since she's hoping to have a career in the FBI eventually.

In August, she moved off to the University of North Alabama. She's loving college life, making many new friends, and doing well with her classes so far. She started with plans to major in psychology, but will probably change her major to criminal justice. Since she's only an hour from home, she has been back about every other weekend.

I'm finding myself tutoring every morning for three different homeschooling families, so I haven't left the teaching/homeschooling life behind yet!

Monday, November 6, 2017

ESV Illuminated Bible Review

#ESVIlluminatedBible  #FlyBy 

One of the latest trend in Bibles is journaling Bibles. Journaling Bibles vary in their translation and format, but generally have wide side margins for making notes, writing out favorite verses, or decorating with designs and pictures. Some have printed designs on some pages for coloring. This allows the reader to react to and relate with the text while reading in whatever way inspires and spiritually nourishes the reader.

The new ESV Illuminated Bible: Art Journaling Edition is a beautiful option in the world of journaling Bibles. It uses the ESV translation with a single column format on cream paper and features lovely gold embellishments in the margins and a blue ribbon bookmark for an elegant appearance.

The ESV Illuminated Bible comes in a sturdy slipcover featuring the same design as the fabric bound gold embellished book cover. 

I really like the cream paper that this Bible uses. The color is easier on the eyes than a bright white. Although the pages are fairly thin, as most Bibles are, they are thick enough that the print doesn't show through the back side of the page too much. I always find that distracting in Bibles with very thin pages. The gold embellishments do show through somewhat, and I'm sure that any reader added notes or drawing in ink would show through to some extent as well.

I received the navy version for review, but this Bible is also available in green, burgundy, or leather bindings. If you are looking for a new Bible, a new way to interact with scripture, or a great gift idea, the ESV Illuminated Bible might be a great option! 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this item for review.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Disney Fun

Last month, we enjoyed a fun trip to Disney World. This trip was a little different from our typical family trip since my girls brought along a friend and a boyfriend. We visited just after Irma blew through, but, in typical Disney style, the trip was as magical as always.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Mermaid Costumes

Still looking for a Halloween costume? Do you have a little mermaid that needs a new tail? Mermaid costumes are available in my Mystic Cove Mermaid etsy shop and I ship all orders out in 1-2 days!


The easy to walk in skirts are new this year. If  your mermaid would like to use the tail year-round for costume and for swimming, the swimmable mermaid tails are also a great option (although harder to walk in).


Monday, January 23, 2017

Christmas at the Beach

We spent Christmas at the Beach with my parents, 3 sisters, and their families. It was a big crowd and lots of fun!


Monday, December 19, 2016

Groupon Coupon Deals

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. #GrouponCoupons #ad



Do you know about Groupon Coupons? I have often purchased Groupon’s local deals, primarily for saving money when eating out, and have purchased from Groupon Goods as well. Until now, I actually hadn’t paid much attention to Groupon Coupons.

Actually, I’m not sure why. When I purchase online, I try to remember to search for any available coupons or deals that will save me money on my order. While browsing, I discovered quite a few great coupons, like 20% –30% off at Barnes and Noble, Walgreens, Sears, and dozens of other online sites. I noticed a coupon for 20% off an Angie’s List membership. I wish I’d seen that before I joined a few months ago. (I’ve been trying to get started on some long-neglected home repair and home improvement projects in the past few months and Angie’s list has been a  huge help in finding local service people and contractors that do quality work. I love being able to read reviews from other customers before I commit to hiring someone.)

While browsing Groupon Coupons, I came across some new sites, like looks like a very helpful place for people to find caregivers and related helpers, including child care, senior care, tutoring, or pet sitters. Caregivers can register on the site as well to be matched up with those needing services. Seems like a great idea!

Groupon’s Facebook and Twitter accounts provide a good way to keep up with the deals. I plan to keep a closer eye on the Groupon Coupon deals in the future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

3 Seeds: A Game Review


I recently reviewed Commissioned, a cooperative game published by Chara Games. The company has a brand-new game out now called 3 Seeds that we also got to try. The company describes it as a “light strategy” game. It is designed for 2-5 players and is for ages 12 and up.

When I opened the box, I could tell that this was a bit more than a typical card game. The small box contained 4 kinds of cards: Harvest, Crop, Event, and Seeds. It also included a wooden turn marker, scoring cubes, plastic point tokens, and  scorecards.

Game play is a bit more complicated than many card games, but, as with Commissioned, once we started playing, we picked up the rules pretty quickly. It took a second play of the game to start incorporating strategy into our choices.













The basic game play is as follows:

Each player has one Crop card face up in front of him at all times. He also has a Harvest card that assigns a point value to that card. Each crop card requires a specified number of Seed cards (Time, Money, and Labor) to for that crop to be completed. Each player, on his turn, plays 2 seed cards on his on crop or on another player’s crop. When a Crop is completed, points are assigned to each player, depending on how many seeds he has placed on that crop and the number of the corresponding Harvest card. Event cards add twists to the game, allowing players to add to their harvest points, swap crops with another player, and so on.IMG_20161213_1317338_rewind[1]

Game play took us about 45 minutes for 2-3 players. I thought the game was quite unique—we have quite a few games, but nothing like this one. The Crop cards are fun to read as you play. They feature unusual “crops” like “Hyper Jalepenos: Heat that keeps you on your toes,” “Blissful Bamboo: Recommended by 10 out of 10 pandas,” and “Cautious Kale: A hyper aversion to the unknown. Side effect: No friends.” We enjoyed playing the game and I am sure we will play it again, but it’s really not one of our favorites. Game play seemed repetitive from turn to turn and, although there is some strategy needed for accumulating the most points, it didn’t feel very challenging, nor did we feel the competition against other players that makes some games a lot of fun.

Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I love shopping from home!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. #Groupon #ad

I’m really not a big shopper and one thing that I hate is fighting the holiday crowds. Over the past few years, I’ve done more and more of my Christmas shopping online and just love the convenience. I mean, how can you beat relaxing in your warm home with a hot cup of coffee as you choose gifts for your loved ones?

This year, I’ve found several great deals at Groupon Goods.  I found these adorable mini speakers (and there were hundreds of options to chooser from) and a set of Glasslock bakeware for the best price around.  I’ve been using Groupon for quite a while for their local deals, but am shopping there more often for the Groupon Goods deals. The prices are quite competitive and the selection is quite broad.


My recent orders all arrived within a week or so. I was excited to find the Glasslock dishes (Yes, they are for myself, not for a gift.) It’s hard to find the larger sizes and I since I make and freeze a lot of meals to eat later, I like to have a variety of sizes on hand.

The speakers are really cute. The reviews for them are good, so I’m hoping the recipients of the gifts will be happy with them!

You can keep up with Groupon deals by subscribing to their emails or by connecting with them on Facebook - or- Twitter -