Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Snyder of Berlin: New Packaging for an Old Favorite Snack (Review)

With Memorial Day just around the corner and many more BBQ opportunities all summer, this seems like the perfect time to tell you about the new potato chip packaging from Snyder of Berlin.  I received product samples, at no cost to me, for the purpose of this review.

Snyder of Berlin has been making potato chips in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania since 1947.  To celebrate that history and the surrounding area, potato chips are being packaged in cartons with a patriotic design.

In addition, each variety of potato chips features a different area location on its packaging.  Here are two examples:
Ohiopyle Falls, featured on Snyder of Berlin® Original Potato Chips, is 38 Miles from Snyder of Berlin. At the tiny town of Ohiopyle, the rushing river drops 20 feet over a wide sandstone ledge. During special events, Ohiopyle Falls is open to thrill-seeking kayakers.

The Lower Humbert Bridge, exhibited on the Snyder of Berlin® Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips, is 27 miles from Snyder of Berlin. Pennsylvania has the most covered bridges remaining in the US including the Lower Humbert Bridge. The Lower Humbert Bridge was built in 1891 and crosses Laurel Hill Creek in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County.

For now, Snyder of Berlin products are distributed in a region reaching from New York to North Carolina to Kentucky.  I hear that they'll be in New Jersey soon!

All Snyder of Berlin snacks, by the way, are made with locally grown ingredients.  My family had the opportunity to try four flavors of chips:  Original, Bar-B-Q, Honey Bar-B-Q, and Sour Cream & Onion.

Sour Cream & Onion is a rippled potato chip, nice and crunchy, with some body to it.  (That was the first bag we finished!)  The other chips are thin and crisp.  Other than Original, they're all highly seasoned but not overdone.  Honey Bar-B-Q is too sweet for our tastes, but we enjoyed all of the others.

For more information--including more details on the new packaging, a video tour of the factory, and the online store--visit Snyder of Berlin online.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scripture Memory Songs (CD Review)

According to a LifeWay Research study, only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week, and 18 percent of church-goers say they never read the Bible. A Barna research study showed that 60% of Americans cannot name five of the Ten Commandments. Similar surveys have shown that scripture illiteracy is at an all-time high, and Telly Award winner and top 40 Billboard artist Jennifer Shaw hopes her new project will help alter the current trend.

Shaw is releasing a children’s music project entitled "Scripture Memory Songs for Kids and Families," which features 30 word-for-word scripture songs from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. ... The recording project also includes nine bonus Christian theme songs suitable for Vacation Bible School curriculums or for other kids-themed events.

Some of those statistics really surprised me!  Although I do read the Bible, my scripture memory isn't great.  Maybe it would have been easier if I'd learned as a child, but clearly I can't change that now.  Because of this, I was happy to receive (at no cost to me) a review copy of "Scripture Memory Songs for Kids and Families."

Releasing today from recording artist Jennifer Shaw, "Scripture Memory Songs" contains 30 songs written with word-for-word Bible verses.  The CD also includes nine additional songs for kids.  Here's an example, a song called "Truth Sleuths":
Truth sleuths!
We're searching out the truth in God's Word
We are the truth sleuths!
The Bible holds the answers in this ever changing world
We're going to seek God's heart as we read His book
We're going to know His will if we take the time to look
Those lyrics are followed by a roll call for six groups (Scouts, Detectives, Inspectors, and so on), perfect for getting VBS crews to respond.

All of the songs are VBS songs:  short, up-tempo, and cheerful.  When I listened to the CD, I could picture a room full of kids singing along and learning hand motions to accompany the songs.

The lyrics of each scripture memory song contain the verse as well as its location in the Bible.  Most of the verses are from the New Testament, with a few Old Testament verses sprinkled throughout.  Here are a few examples:
  • Light of the World (Matt. 5:14, 16)
  • A New Creation (2 Cor. 5:17-18)
  • God is Our Refuge and Our Strength (Ps. 46:1-2)
  • I Know the Plans (Jer. 29:11)
  • I am the Vine (John 15:5) [A personal favorite verse that I included in my blog header!]
I found that I couldn't listen to "Scripture Memory Songs" as background music: I had to pay attention if I wanted to hear every word.  That makes sense, and it's just an observation.

Overall, I think this CD is fun.  I don't have children in the kindergarten to sixth grade range to which it's targeted, but I can easily see it working well in VBS, Sunday School, or other children's events.

Links for more information:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Be a Good in the World (Book Review & #Giveaway)

Hey, I guess I'm already doing something good:  I chose to receive a free review copy of Be a Good in the World as an ebook instead of a paperback!  At the end of this post you'll be able to enter to win a paperback copy of your own.

Be a Good in the World: 365 Days of Good Deeds, Inspired Ideas, and Acts of Kindness, from author Brenda Knight, is described this way:
In the hurly burly of this busy world, simple kindness and goodness can get left behind in the rush to be first in line, to the top of the corporate ladder, and to have the most likes. But, what does it all mean at the end of the day? Isn't being a good person and making real contributions to the world more important than anything else? Author Brenda Knight, part of the team who made the world a better place with Random Acts of Kindness as well as a little more thankful with The Grateful Table, writes "At the end of life, I feel sure having lots of money, fancy cars, and real estate is not nearly as important as how much love you gave to the world." This realization was the inspiration for Be a Good in the World, a book of "good days" filled with ideas for making a difference.
Be a Good in the World contains 365 ideas for things we can do to better the world:  to improve someone's life, to help an animal, to keep the environment clean, or just to make someone smile.  Each month has a theme, such as "The Month of New Beginnings" for January.

Now, unless you have unlimited time and financial resources, you can't possibly do everything in this book.  But that's okay:  some are quick, easy, and free.  Choose the ones you like, the ones that tug at your heart.

This is a secular book.  You'll see references like "the whole Universe supporting you" (October 2) and possibly some worldviews you don't share.  I was able to sift out the parts with which I don't agree, but you should make your own decision.

Can I share some of the items I bookmarked?  (I see you nodding Yes.  Thanks.)
  • February 5:  Upon learning about the Veteran's History Project, I was reminded that our servicemen and -women are doing just that:  service.  And they should be thanked for it.  Many of these noble souls are very far away on active duty and receive little mail to their camp or barrack.  Take a few moments to acknowledge their contribution and offer a friendly hello from back home in the U.S.A.  You can learn all about Operation Write Home at  I have heard of great pen pal relationships that result from this gesture of gratitude.
  • February 27:  "When we are on track, living close to the things we deem important--the things we value--we feel happier. ... This is the kind [of happiness] that lingers in the background of our lives. ... [I]f we are living a values-based life, we are also living with meaning and purpose."  (a quote from Polly Campbell)
  • March 23:  Be a baby cuddler.  According to this excellent guide for volunteers at, "Baby cuddlers are needed in orphanages, neonatal hospital units, group homes, nurseries, and wherever else there are babies and young children who may not have adequate human contact early in life to begin developing social interaction skills."  What could be better than helping a baby survive and thrive?
  • July 19:  Stop interrupting others when they are speaking. ...  Listening is an act of love.
  • November 29:  Adopting an animal is a serious commitment.  For those who aren't able to adopt, but still want to make a difference in the life of an abandoned animal, fostering is an excellent alternative. ...
Some of the ideas involve donating money to organizations, but I guess I bookmarked the ones that don't!  Quite a few of the ideas are eco-friendly, as well, but they weren't among the handful I marked.

Once I sifted out certain parts, I really liked Be a Good in the World.  Simple ideas like smiling at a stranger or listening attentively without interrupting can take little effort, yet they could change someone's day for the better.

Links for more information:
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Friday, May 8, 2015

Meeting New People (Five Minute Friday)

It's Five Minute Friday!  FMF brings together a flash mob of writers for a five-minute free write.  No major editing--just write and publish.  Simply for the joy of writing without the need for perfectionism.  For today our writing prompt is Meet.


As you probably know by now, I'm an introvert.  Big time.  My kindergarten teacher almost held me back because I was so quiet.  When I was still in school, I had a shirt that said, "I'm shy but friendly."  So, like, really really introverted.

When I was about 35 I met Jesus.  I'd gone to church from the ages of about ten and 18, but I never had a personal relationship with Christ.  I'd been away for a long time.  Jesus drew me to Himself, and I haven't wanted to step away since.

That didn't change me immediately.  But after a while I noticed that I wasn't quite as introverted as I used to be.  I'd smile at strangers in the supermarket, make small talk with cashiers, talk with our librarians.

The first big change that I noticed was at church.  I've told this story before, but it fits here.  I saw a woman in our lobby, and I didn't recognize her.  Without a second thought, I went over and introduced myself (to the amazement of my husband, who'd never seen me do that).  Since then I've done that with other visitors, as well.  Last week we met a prospective new youth pastor, and I didn't hesitate to go over and meet him.

Jesus has changed me and my life.  Most mornings I pray that God would let His love flow through me, and that everything I say and do would honor Him.  I'm convinced that this new extroversion, as limited as it is, is part of what changed.  I'm looking forward to seeing what else He has for me!
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

(Click through if you'd like to read more of my testimony.)

 Five Minute Friday

photo credit: Handshake via photopin (license)