SHOW & TELL: These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

One of my favorite things about blogging is being able to pass on great resources or links for you to learn from and use to grow in your walk with the Lord, in your marriage or family life, or for your personal enrichment. So, this "Show & Tell" is all about my favorite things... things that we personally use and love in our home that have been a blessing or help to me. I hope you'll find something of interest in this list that can be a blessing or help to you!
  1. Sovereign Grace Music- WOW. Valley of Vision in particular is an excellent CD. These musicians are really focused on writing lyrics that are full of truth and Scripture and not just fluff. I have been so challenged by songs like "Jesus Thank You" (you can listen to it in my music list at the bottom of Making Home) and "I Will Glory in My Redeemer" (you can listen to part of it at the link above).
  2. America's Test Kitchen "Family Cookbook"- This is by far the best cookbook I have ever owned. It not only has the amazing well-tested recipes you'd expect in any quality cookbook, but it also has tips and instructions for things that you'd never find in most cookbooks. We're talking step-by-step photoed instructions for making a pie crust. Or a discussion of why changing the temperature by 25 degrees can completely change the way your muffins turn out. This is the most fascinating and user-friendly cookbook I've ever seen. I've not only made better food since using it, but I also have started *thinking* like a cook, which alone is worth every penny for this cookbook. I HIGHLY recommend this!
  3. LeCrae- This Christian rapper is so unique... the music itself is good (not cheesy or predictable like so many "Christian rappers" of the past), and the lyrics themselves are full of truth and authenticity. He knows theology, he loves the Word of God, and he's reaching out to this culture in an excellent (and can I say, fun?) way. We have dance parties here in our home a lot, and LeCrae is most definitely a favorite for not only me but for my kids as well. Here's what LeCrae says his mission is: “to digest theology and spit it back out so the streets can digest it." You can listen to a few of his songs on my music player at the bottom of this website, or you can watch a LeCrae video here.
  4. Hillsong DVDs- I've mentioned on a previous post how we use these DVDs to worship in our home as we go about our days... but I have to share the specifics with you. These DVDs are SO great for helping you teach your kids about worship, learning new songs, and being encouraged to worship the Lord as you go about your daily routine. Here are my four favorite DVDs:
    - HOPE- great, uplifting praise music focused on encouragement, healing, and hope.
    - LOOK TO YOU- a DVD of the Hillsong youth praise band... this ranges from very fresh and young sounds to very worshipful moments as well. We love it.
    - UP (Unified Praise)- Hillsong & Delirious teamed up to put out this worship DVD/concert. It's full of songs you'll probably know and some that will be new and encouraging for you.
    - GOD HE REIGNS- The songs on this DVD in particular are focused on the majesty and power of God and is an intense and enjoyable invitation to worship... the Hillsong team uses a choir and dancers and this is a very good DVD as well
  5. Settlers of Catan- This game (introduced to us by our friends, Tamara and her husband, Mark) is so much fun and is always unique and challenging, no matter how good you get. Doug & I have a blast playing this at least once a month once the kids are in bed, and it's great for playing with couple friends as well. Perhaps I just revealed my total geekiness, but I'm OK with that. :) It's a fun game.
  6. Blokus- There are a couple versions of this game (we have the travel/2 player version), but this is a GREAT game for kids and adults of all ages... it changes every time you play it, and is great for teaching strategy and spacial comprehension to children.
  7. iTunes sermons/resources: Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Al Mohler-- I went into my iTunes store and subscribed to each of these so that they automatically download. Then, I can add them to a new "iTunes playlist" each day (mixed in with things like Sovereign Grace, LeCrae, and classic rock favorites) so that, as I'm going about my day, I can be taking in wisdom from a wide variety of sources, all based on the Word of God. This is a great way to stay spiritually challenged and keep your mind at work throughout the day (while doing dishes, sorting laundry, sitting on the floor with your toddler, etc.).
  8. Rainlendar- onscreen calendar for your desktop - extremely user-friendly and always at your fingertips. It's adaptable to allow for a wide variety of alarms/reminders for every purpose, and it has an optional "To-Do list" that keeps a running list of what's coming up in the next week, so you can keep up-to-date. We have it on both of our computers, and it helps us stay organized!
That's it for now. Hopefully, you too will be able to enjoy some of these "favorites" of mine!

23 comments:

The Three 22nds said...

We love Catan too! It actually has been really good for our "togetherness". We used to go out with friends or by ourselves but it is more difficult with 3 little ones in bed by 7:30. So now we put the kids to bed and have people over to our house to play! We are uber competitive, so we have to watch that...but we love it!

Mom said...

I love LeCrae too! I remember the first time I heard his music. I just loved it. When you listen to his songs, you instantly realize that he is telling a story, like you said, knows theology, and he's so talented! If you are going to be in the car for a trip or for a long time, don't forget to bring the LeCrae CD's. The whole family will enjoy singing along and listening!

Lynn said...

We love Blokus. It is great. I also love that cookbook. I agree it is one of the best that I have. I have been meaning to review it for my blog but have not done it yet. I received it as a gift a few years ago and have used it a lot. Cooks Illustrated is one of my favorite recipe sources. Thanks for sharing some of your favorite things.

Linda said...

I too love playing both Settlers of Catan and Blokus. My friends and I often have Settlers of Catan evenings in each other's homes. All you need is the game and a few nibbles for a great evening! If you like Settlers of Catan, you might also like Carcassone and 6 Nimmt (6 Takes) and some of the other German games recommmended on this link. Many can also be played with children as well:
http://www.tragsnart.co.uk/gamehub/german/german.htm

Linda

Elijah's Mommy said...

Yay! More Settlers fans! =) We love this game and have fun introducing it to our friends. Most of them like it too.

I've enjoyed and been encouraged by the Hillsong cd's but i'm sure the DVD's are great too. I'll put them on my christmas list this year! =)

The Boojes said...

Thanks so much for sharing what works for you! The cookbook in particular sounds good!

Bessers said...

I recently found your blog and have been enjoying it. I found the travel version of Blokus at Goodwill a year or so ago after seeing it reviewed on a blog. Hubby and I have enjoyed it ever since. Settlers looks like a fun game too, but on the Amazon link, it says it is for 3 - 4 players. Are you able to play it as a two person game? If so, it might make a good Christmas idea.

Brinley's Momma said...

Another awesome FREE family calendar to help you stay organized is the Cozi calendar. You can check it out at www.cozi.com. My little family has been using it to keep track of our appointments, my husband's classes, major events, etc.

It also has a place to make multiple lists. For example, I keep a grocery list going, a hunny-do list, and a gift idea list. The lists and other messages can also be sent to family members from your Cozi homepage to their mobile phone. So if it is 4pm and I realize I need a few items for our dinner, I can message hubby the list of items I have made for him to pick up on his way home from work. It can be accessed from basically anywhere that you have the internet--so hubby can check the calender from work to see if any changes have been made.

My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE part is the Cozi screen saver. It creates beautiful, random photo collages of family's digital photos. I love to look at it while I'm sitting in the living room and nursing my daughter. I can watch how she has grown so quickly through the beautiful photos. Just incase you are wondering, no, I do not work for Cozi or anything like that...I just really love their calendar!

Catherine R. said...

I would like to get the Test Kitchen cookbook for sure. I love watching that show on PBS. It's fun how they make stuff over and over to figure out why it comes out bad, then they figure out the solution to the problems.

I was wondering if it's one of those things were you can only do it the "right" way if you have an endless supply of expensive kitchen gear, like may cooking shows...but sounds like the cookbook has some good stuff.

BTW, wondering if the "favorite things" was a deliberate Oprah reference or not. I wouldn't be surprised if you don't watch her but she has an "Oprah's favorite things" show she does periodically. Everything she features on those shows sells out at the stores the next day. The woman is powerful.

Jess said...

Nah, Catherine, I'm really not an Oprah fan at all, although now that you mention it, I've heard of those episodes.

In my head, this was a little less Oprah, and a little more "Maria vonTrapp" :)
~Jess

The Arab Musicians said...

I'm with you, Jess. You had me singing about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. :)

mrsidotf said...

I love Valley of Vision! It is one of my favorite CDs. I have found myself in tears many times through the songs. We are singing some of the songs from that CD at our church now and I am so excited!

Seven's Heaven said...

I was singing "these are a few of my favorite things" too! I am always looking for family games since we don't watch TV, just have movie and game nights. And can't wait to get Blokus. We love Settlers of Catan and my son wants the Seafarers now.

Blessings on you. Your posts are always a blessing to me!
Susan T

These Three Kings said...

Love your favorite things! My hub and I are 116 groupies! lol ( thats the group lecrae is apart of)
I do a lot of post about him on my blog and we use a lot of his music and other christian rap artist with the teens in our hood!

soooo good!!

Randy and April said...

I had heard Lecrae's song "The King" and really liked it, but I had no idea who it was by until I clicked on the link you provided (which was also an excellent song!) By listening to the words to some of his songs, it really seems like he's not just in it to make a buck, but that he really has a heart for the Lord--and he's super talented! Thanks for the link!

Oh, and Settlers of Catan? Awesome!

Mrs. "M" said...

I am addicted to Blokus...is that bad? :o)
Our new favorite game is "Yell Scrabble". I stink at it right now because of slow baby brain but look forward to regaining my quick thinking in say....a year or so :o)

jarmstrong said...

Love, Love, LOVE America's Test Kitchen...they're partnered with Cook's Illustrated which also has amazing cookbooks! They have a Light cookbook as well that I've had my eye on for quite a long time! Everytime I make something from those books, I always get asked for the recipe! love them!!

Kentucky Kate said...

Awesome. I'm new to your blog, but we sing a ton of Sovreign Grace songs at my church. I'll have to get the cd - it looks good and I recognize a few of the tunes.

:..Rebekah..: said...

I absolutely love Sovereign Grace music. My brother goes to a Sovereign Grace church and introduced me to the truth-filled worship music.

Anonymous said...

BTW, if you like podcast sermons/messages, you should give Ravi Zacharias a listen. His "Let My People Think" podcast is phenomenal.

Rosheeda said...

Lecrae's music is great (or my kids would say 'off the chain'. Also, Cross Movement and T.R.U.T.H. are more of my fav christian rappers. - And I'm pretty picky - because I need the theology to be right.

I'm enjoying your site, btw.

ro

Carletta said...

Thanks for telling me about LaCrae. I am always looking for GOOD Christian music for my son. You are right that some of it is cheesy, lol.

Melinda said...

Thanks for some great resources. I just found your blog and love it! I love anyone that is willing to speak biblical truth no matter what. I love Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Have you listened to Matt Chandler or Francis Chan? If not they are both excellent as well. Let me know if you need any more info. I know Matt was at a Resurgence conference and did an interview with Mark and John.