52 Uncommon Dates

52 Uncommon Dates: A Couple’s Adventure Guide for Praying, Playing and Staying Together by Randy Southern. Moody Publishers. 2014. 223 pgs. 

I was intrigued by 52 Uncommon Dates and was even more excited to read it after I saw that the introduction was written by Gary Chapman (New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages). The concept of the book was appealing, but unfortunately the book didn’t meet my expectations. Perhaps a different title would have worked better for me as I just didn’t find that the majority of the dates were “uncommon.” I approached the book hoping to find date ideas that I hadn’t heard of before or that I see as typical suggestions for date nights. The less common dates that were mentioned in the book seemed too cheesy for my husband and I, but maybe that’s just us. 

I did like that each date is listed as a separate chapter and starts with relevant scripture and a brief statement or two by Gary Chapman. Toward the end of each chapter the date is tied into The Five Love Languages and how you can connect the date to God either with prayer before during or after the date. If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I would strongly recommend it before getting this book. 

Overall, I found the book initially appealing and thought the layout was carefully crafted. However, when it came down to it, I finished the book with few new date ideas for my husband and I. 

I received this book free of charge for my honest opinion. 


Kid Chef: the Foodie Kids Cookbook

Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook. Melina Hammer. 2016. 

As an elementary school librarian I have seen more kids being interested in checking out cookbooks. Most of the time, I have kids asking for them before I can reshelve them. As an educator I can honestly say this is one of the best cookbooks for kids I’ve seen. 

The book is divided into two parts. Part One features skills that are crucial in cooking (how to read a recipe, creating a shopping list, measuring skills, using the stove, safety, food prep, baking skills, etc.). Part Two contains recipes as a traditional cookbook would. The recipes in this cookbook include a variety of recipes ranging from breakfast to snacks to salads to main dishes and desserts. I was impressed by how many of the recipes were for healthy dishes and that there are numerous unique recipes that typically aren’t featured in a cookbook for kids. 

I am definitely going to look into buying a copy of this book for my school library. While the pictures in any cookbook are generally appealing, I love that Kid Chef contains so much more!

I received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

The Flower Workshop

The Flower Workshop. Ariella Chezar. 2016. 247 pages. 

Whether you’re a amateur gardener or avid floral designer this book will surely be an inspiration. The photos of Chezar’s arrangements are nothing short of stunning, providing a glimpse of the beauty found in nature all around us. 

While I’ve only been gardening for a few seasons now and haven’t explored much with flowers beyond a few window boxes and decorative pots, The Flower Workshop has me giddy for spring (as if my February cabin fever wasn’t bad enough already). Chezar brilliantly displays perfect combinations of colors and textures. Her arrangements are wonderfully unique and are full of endless, eye catching details. 

I appreciated the introduction on the tools necessary to get started. Ariella emphasizes what works for her without creating a “must buy list” that would break the bank for any new enthusiast. The Seasonal Flower Guide at the back of the book will also be a valuable resource as I get my feet wet in floral arranging.  

While the informative excerpts and the descriptions of her arrangements are emotional and personal, as an amateur I’m afraid I will need to supplement the steps in the book with additional assistance from Pinterest. Unfortunately there are few step by step instructions that include enough visuals for me to attempt to recreate Chezar’s’s masterpieces. The beautiful collections, however, will certainly serve as my inspiration and The Flower Workshop has found a new permanent residence on the top of my coffee table. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

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