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God’s Amazing World

with 2 comments

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 4.20.52 PMGod’s Amazing World
by Eileen Spinelli
Ideals Children’s Books
32 pages
For ages: 4 – 8 Years

Here are the girls’ review of the book:

Melody
Like: It teaches kids to experience the Bible.
Dislike: I don’t like that it doesn’t show the rest of her family, and it doesn’t show what happens next in the Bible.
Recommend: I recommend this book for anyone ages 2-5.

Emily
Like: I like that they love in that book. I like the picture of the Gracie’s painting. I like that God made the world.
Dislike: I liked all of it.
Recommend: My friends Ashlyn and Jadyn should read this. Melody (my sister) should read this.

Notes from Melody and Emily’s mom:
I think the girls did a good job with their review of the book. I also wanted to add that I like that the book is about cousins. There aren’t too many books about cousins, especially not cousins who get along and love each other. The illustrations are also cute and colorful. I love being able to chat with my kiddos about God being the Creator of the world. The uniqueness of all the things that surround us is not by accident. Our Creator is the Greatest Artist! I like that He paints a different sky every single day, like the sky in the picture below. :)

Other reviews of God’s Amazing World:
Amazon.com

“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 prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and 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.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

GIVEAWAY
One lucky reader will receive a copy of God’s Amazing World. Giveaway ends Thursday, April 3rd. (Giveaway open to US and Canada ONLY. If you have been a winner of one of our giveaways in the last 30 days, you are not eligible for this giveaway.) We’re trying out a different way to do our giveaways, and keeping all review products, etc. on this site. Let us know if you have any questions.

Tell us something about God’s amazing world, and click on THIS RAFFLECOPTER LINK to see how you can enter for your chance to win, and how to earn extra entries too!

- Joyce

Written by Joyce and Norm

March 19, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Joshu-ya Brasserie

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Address: 2441 Dwight Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 848-5260
Website: http://www.joshu-ya.com/

Our first date of 2014 was during Berkeley’s Restaurant Week at Joshu-ya Brasserie.  This was a small and nicely decorated place with one large seating area, one smaller seating area, and an outdoor seating area (with heat lamps and a crazy fire pillar we tried to take a picture of).  There was a nice small rock garden with waterfall….not sure if it was a koi pond or not.

Since it was Restaurant Week, we ordered two of the special $30 prix fixe menus (1 starter, 1 entree, and 1 dessert).  After reviewing the regular menu, there was a similar prix fixe option, but for $10 more.  Go during Restaurant Week and save a bit of scratch.

We ordered the Pommes Frites and a Lion King roll for our starters.  The Pommes Frites was french fries in duck fat with spicy aioli sauce on the side.  Tasty!  The Lion King roll was your typical baked salmon sushi roll.

For the entrees, we ordered the Slow Roasted Pork Belly Tacos and the Grass-Fed Lamb Burger (but instead got the Bone Marrow Kobe Burger).  The Slow Roasted Pork Belly Tacos were 6-hour roasted pork belly, radish, red bell pepper, and cilantro JALAPENO pesto. I capitalized jalapeno because there was quite a bit of it and it was very spicy with each bite taken.  Good thing our waiter came by often with water and napkins.  We didn’t know what to do with the Bone Marrow of the Bone Marrow Kobe Burger but it came with tempura onion rings with cheddar on a pantofolina bun.  The girls sitting next to us gawked at the enormous burger and the waiter was surprised we finished most of it.

 

For dessert, we ordered the Tiramisu and the Blueberry Honey Panna Cotta.  By this point, we were stuffed beyond belief.  But of course with my sweet tooth, the other side of my stomach accommodated the dessert =p  The Tiramisu was light and airy with chocolate, strawberries, and lady fingers.  The Blueberry Honey Panna Cotta had a smooth custard texture.

At this point, we almost couldn’t move because we were already stuffed coming from a huge brunch earlier in the day.  The waiter continually commented how good a job we were doing on the amount of food we ordered every time he came by.  All in all, the food at Joshu-ya was pretty top notch.  We have to come back and try some more items on the menu.

- Norm

Children’s Menu [n]
Changing Station [?]
Highchairs/Boosters [?]
Stroller Access [might be tight]

Other reviews of Joshu-ya Brasserie:
yelp
OpenTable
Urbanspoon
TripAdvisor

The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

with 2 comments

TMYAW_Book_3D-245The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted
by Gary Chapman
Published by Moody Publishers
$15.99
144 pages
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Small Group

When a bride and groom stands before their loved ones to exchange vows and say, “I do,” they usually have some kind of picture of what their life would be like after that moment. “You may kiss the bride.”

But then, reality hits. There are bills to pay, work stresses, and then kids come into the picture. These aren’t necessarily bad things. The bills mean you have water coming out of your faucets in your home. The work stresses mean you have a job!…to pay those bills. And kids? Well…they are a joy, right? :) They truly are, but it just means you have to work that much more on being intentional in making time for your spouse.

ABOUT THE BOOK
In The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, trusted counselor, relationship expert, and author of dozens of books Dr. Gary Chapman shares how we can strive toward “happily ever after” with true oneness. Dr. Chapman presents the wisdom he has gained through his experience of successes and failures in his marriage.

  • Are you trying to change your spouse?
  • Do you know what it means to really love someone?
  • Do you feel ignored or even alone in your effort to improve your marriage?

Dr. Chapman has answers and action steps on topics from expressing your emotions to managing your money, all in a format that will have you and your spouse talking and learning with every page. At the end of each chapter, there is a Your Turn section which allow you to go deeper into how you can move forward to a better marriage wherever you are at.

My favorite chapter is What Love Really Means. You’ll have to get your own copy and read more about what happened when Dr. Chapman’s wife kept leaving the drawers in their home opened, but it was a big lesson for him. He realized that if his options from this minor irritation were: (1) I could leave her! (2) I could be miserable every time I looked at an open drawer from now until the time I die or she dies, or (3) I could accept her as a “drawer opener” and take on myself the task of closing drawers, it wasn’t her who needed to change, he needed to change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Gary Chapman
You may have heard of The Five Love Languages. Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of those books. With 45+ years of marriage behind him, Dr. Chapman knows about how we can improve or heal our most important relationships. His first book, The Five Love Language: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, is a New York Times bestseller, and has helped millions of readers save their marriages. He speaks to thousands of couples nationwide through his weekend marriage conferences. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, A Love Language Minute, and a Saturday morning program, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, both airing on more than 400 stations. Dr. Chapman and his wife have two grown children and currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.

Other reviews of The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christianbook.com

“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 prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and 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.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

GIVEAWAY
One lucky reader will receive a copy of The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted. Giveaway ends Friday, February 28th. (Giveaway open to US and Canada ONLY. If you have been a winner of one of our giveaways in the last 30 days, you are not eligible for this giveaway.) We’re trying out a different way to do our giveaways, and keeping all review products, etc. on this site. Let us know if you have any questions.

Tell us your best marriage tip, and click on THIS RAFFLECOPTER LINK to see how you can enter for your chance to win, and how to earn extra entries too!

- Joyce

Written by Joyce and Norm

February 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Bun Mee

with 2 comments

Address: 650 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 362-8663
Website: http://www.bunmee.co/

bunmee3 bunmee2

One of my co-workers recommended a new Vietnamese sandwich place that just opened up on Market close to our workplace.  It’s actually a second restaurant to the already popular Fillmore location.  Bun Mee mainly serves up traditional Vietnamese street-food sandwiches known as Banh Mis.  They also serve appetizers, rice/noodle bowls, salads, sides, and desserts.  Also, the skinny/narrow interior is nicely designed and esthetically pleasing.  The diagonal red support beam in the 2nd picture above says, “All sandwiches come with hot jalapeno peppers unless you’re sissy”.

bunmee1

I had the Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi.  This came with caramel mayo, shaved onion, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumbers and cilantro (I was wussy and asked to take out the jalapenos).  I also added a Fried Egg for $1 and Pate (spread) for $1 more.  I’m not sure why pate is an add-on since that’s what Banh Mis traditionally come with as the spread for the sandwich.  The Banh Mi was a bit expensive compared to usual Banh Mis, but was extremely filling.  The chicken tasted marvelous and the Banh Mi was amply filled with pickled carrots and daikon.  Somehow the fried egg ended up on the outside of the sandwich, so the yolk ended up messily running onto the paper wrapping.  I love fried egg anyways so that didn’t matter.

bunmee4 bunmee5

The Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi.  This came with grilled lemongrass Kurobuta pork, garlic mayo, shaved onion, pickled carrot & daikon, cucumber, and cilantro.  I added a Fried Egg for an additional $1.  There was lots of tender grilled lemongrass pork on the inside of the sandwich, but was seasoned with a bit too much pepper.  Shredded carrots and daikon abounded on top with some cilantro.  This time the Fried Egg was cooked a bit longer and wasn’t as runny as the Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi above.

bunmee6

The next time I go, I’m going to try the Catfish Banh Mi.  I heard good things about it.

- Norm

Children’s Menu [y]
Changing Station [?]
Highchairs/Boosters [?]
Stroller Access [decent]

Other reviews of Bun Mee:
yelp
SFGate
Urbanspoon
SFEater

Written by Joyce and Norm

February 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Old World Food Truck

with 2 comments

Address: Follow on Twitter or Facebook
Phone: (415) 630-0205
Website: http://oldworldfoodtruck.com/

oldworld3 oldworld2

Today at the TruckStopSF alley, my Jewish co-worker’s favorite food truck happened to be there.  I haven’t tasted their food yet, so I decided to tag along.  The Old World Food Truck serves East European and Jewish Soul Food as the picture above states.

oldworld1

I ordered the Old World Food Plate which was a tasting (sampler) plate of chicken schnitzel with caraway honey and pepper relish, Yukon Potato & Farmer’s Cheese pierogi with condiments, and apple-cabbage slaw.

oldworld4

You can taste the sweetness of the caraway honey in the Chicken Schnitzel and also the crunchiness of the breading.  It’s basically like eating sweet fried chicken.  Yummy!

The Pierogi was like eating a potsticker (or Gyoza) and was decent.  Sour Cream and Fried Onion pieces were the condiments that topped the pierogis.

The apple-cabbage slaw didn’t stand out much.

All in all, a decent sampler plate.  I have to try the rest of their menu for a more comprehensive review.

oldworld5

***Update 3/12/2014***:  I tried the Reuben today.  It consists of a generous amount of house cured corned beef & sauerkraut with an overabundance of whole grain mustard seeds and slight brandied Russian dressing on very toasted NY Rye.  I couldn’t really taste the brandied Russian dressing because of the plethora of mustard seeds overpowered it, but I could see it.  Very tasty sandwich.

- Norm

Children’s Menu [n]
Changing Station [n]
Highchairs/Boosters [n]
Stroller Access [sidewalk or parking lot]

Other reviews of Old World Food Truck:
yelp
Chowhound
SFWeekly
50 Food Truck Dates

Written by Joyce and Norm

January 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Super Duper Burgers

with 2 comments

Address: 721 Market Street (btw. 3rd and 4th streets), San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 558-8123
Website: http://www.superdupersf.com/

superduper1

My co-workers have been raving about Super Duper Burgers, so I finally tagged along and tried it out.  The hype is true.  It’s so good they can go head-to-head with In-N-Out…possibly.  Super Duper already has five restaurants opened in the Bay Area.  Definitely a step in the right direction.  “Fast food burgers, slow food value” is their motto.  Think slower than fast food, but faster than a diner.  The quality is definitely closer to the diner side.

superduper4

I ordered the Super Combo, which was the all natural Niman Ranch beef Super Burger (added Cheese, Bacon, and “Everything On It”) with fries (substituted garlic fries) and a fountain drink (substituted with a Cookies & Cream Super Shake).

superduper5

The Super Burger was perfectly cooked with two patties, melted Cheddar cheese, bacon, and lettuce/tomato/super sauce (“everything on it”).  Super sauce is a thousand island-like dressing.  The burger was quite filling with grease dripping from the paper wrapping.  You definitely need two hands to eat this.

The Garlic Fries were crisp and not too over-garlicky.

superduper3

The Straus Organic Soft Serve Cookies & Cream Super Shake was downright delicious in a tall glass.

superduper2

I also grabbed some homemade pickles on the side (crisp and a little spicy from the brine) with a cup of ketchup for the garlic fries.

The meal was absolutely delicious and I left full for hours on end.  Thank you Super Duper.  Your food was surely that.

superduper6

***Update 1/10/2014***: I ordered the Chicken Sandwich with Chipotle Aioli and added one organic fried egg.  The sandwich was held together well with a toasted ciabatta bun and had a slight kick with the Chipotle Aioli sauce.  I also ordered Fresh Organic Lemonade, made with Brown Sugar.  This added a good amount of sweetness to the lemonade.

- Norm

Children’s Menu [y]
Changing Station [?]
Highchairs/Boosters [?]
Stroller Access [decent]

Other reviews of Super Duper Burgers:
yelp
TripAdvisor
SFWeekly
Urbanspoon

The Promise: Birth of the Messiah, The Animated Musical (DVD)

with 6 comments

promise-coverThe Promise: Birth of the Messiah, The Animated Musical
Glorious Films
45 minutes
Website | FB | Twitter | Amazon | YouTube

ABOUT THE PROMISE
You have probably already heard the story of Mary and Joseph, their journey to Bethlehem, and the birth of Jesus. This DVD, The Promise: The Birth of the Messiah, is something a little different. It is an animated musical. At first, I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be a little cheesy? Animated characters singing and dancing about the Savior’s birth? But I LOVED it!

We received the DVD on Friday, after Thanksgiving, when my in-laws were all over helping us do Christmas decorating, so we ended our day with a movie night. It has not been a week yet, and we have watched it a second time already. This account of Jesus’ birth is from the Gospel of Luke.

Melody (age 6)
What the DVD is about: The Promise was about before Jesus was born, and when he was born. Mary and Joseph got engaged and married, and they had Jesus. The shepherds came.
Like: I like the music and the animations. I like how it talks about Jesus.
Dislike: I didn’t like that they did have closed captioning, so I didn’t know what was going on in the parts where I couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Recommend: Older kids

Emily (age 4)
What the DVD is about: The DVD is about when God/Jesus was born on Earth.
Like: I like when the baby was born. I like the “Jooooohhhhhhnnnnnn” part. (Zechariah got his voice back and was saying he wanted his son to be named John.)
Dislike:  I liked all the stuff.
Recommend: My friends Ashlyn and Jadyn should watch this. Those are my best buddies. And Becca, my best friend.

20131203_125817 20131203_125849

Notes from Melody and Emily’s mom:
The beginning was a little confusing because it started out with the priest in the temple singing. There were a few other parts in the musical that was a little confusing to the girls, like who the characters were, but that was a good thing because we got to take a look in the Bible to really read about the story in its details. My favorite part is Mary’s song, I Will Magnify. (You can listen to the song, and others on the website HERE.)

I think the musical is a pretty accurate account of everything surrounding The Promise of God sending the Messiah. I really liked that we really see the emotions of Mary and Joseph. I feel like we usually focus only on the baby Jesus, but throughout the musical, you get a peek at the love that the young couple had for one another. Melody even commented, “I think they are in love.” And maybe it is just me, but whenever I hear the story, I just see them as Mary, mother of Jesus, riding on the donkey, and Joseph, father of Jesus, pulling the donkey along and knocking on doors to see where there was room for them. In this musical, you really see them as they probably would have been after the appearance of the angel, kind of struggling to grasp the truth of what is happening, and then, the tender moments before the birth and after as they were in the stable together, a family of three for the first time.

The animation was incredible, and while it felt like the ballet did not quite fit in during some parts of the story, the performance of actual ballet dancers and dramatic stage actors blended with traditional animation techniques using optical motion technology was impressive. When my dad caught a glimpse of the movie when we were watching it, he asked if they were real people or animation.

Glorious Films will be releasing their second film, The Prodigal, in Spring 2014. It should be a good one too.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Congrats to our winner, Janna!
One lucky reader will receive a copy of The Promise DVD. Giveaway ends Wednesday, December 11th. (Giveaway open to US residents ONLY. If you have been a winner of one of our giveaways in the last 30 days, you are not eligible for this giveaway.) We’re trying out a different way to do our giveaways, and keeping all review products, etc. on this site. Let us know if you have any questions.

Tell us your favorite part of the Christmas story, and click on THIS RAFFLECOPTER LINK to see how you can enter for your chance to win, and how to earn extra entries too!

- Joyce

Other reviews of The Promise:
Amazon.com

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.”

Written by Joyce and Norm

December 4, 2013 at 6:35 AM

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