‘God’s Crime Scene for Kids’ Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery. Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Book Review : Chasing Secrets

 

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Chasing Secrets is the latest in the Elite Guardian series from Lynette Eason.  In the past I have shared my thoughts on Always Watching and Without Warning, two books in the series that I thoroughly enjoyed.  These books stand alone just fine, but they also weave together with overlapping characters as well.

I have enjoyed all the books by Lynette Eason.  She writes an action adventure story with some light romance.  In this particular story we get to know Haley Callaghan in depth, and find out that her history holds lots of secrets.  When Haley was a young girl her family was savagely attacked resulting in her nanny running with her, trying to keep her alive.  Fast forward to the adult woman, she has little memory of her life before she and her “mam” were on the run.

As a member of the Elite Guardians, a group of highly trained women who are hired as body guards to famous people, she constantly finds herself proving her worth.  Haley is very qualified to watch her back, but when people seem to be trying to kill her, she has to balance protecting others and protecting herself.  Haley is also a woman who is always watching out for others more than herself, and this quality endeared her to me.

I loved the story, the action and the drama parts of it.  This book, like all of Ms. Eason’s are great summer reads, they are fast paced and move along very well.  I always enjoy her stories, and even my teenage boys enjoy them.  Once again, a clean story with great moral lessons taught throughout.

NOTE: I received a copy of Chasing Secrets at no cost.

Book Review : Fault Lines

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Fault Lines is a novel by Thomas Locke (AKA Davis Bunn).  This is the third book is a series that goes beyond this book, and oh my!!  This book starts on page 1 and you will not want to put it down, even after it is over!

This is one of the fastest paced books I have read!!  I did not read the first two books in the series but feel like it is ok, I do not think I missed much, but I want to read them and plan to get my hands on them as soon as I can!!

I absolutely loved the characters, every one of them!  The main character Charlie Hazard is the perfect hero, selfless, competent, handsome and committed.  The heroine Gabriella is highly intelligent, sensitive and needs Charlie.  The two fit together perfectly, however little to no romance is in this story.

The main theme is psychology and it was very thought provoking!  I can’t go into too many details because there are so many twists and turns you just want to read it yourself!!  The book is clean and safe for young adults (teens) and I know my boys will love it, but I want to let them start at the beginning once I get the other two books.  There is a fourth due out, and you can bet that I will be reading that one too.

I have read other books by Thomas Locke including the Emissary and Merchant of Alyss – he is an author that we all enjoy, he writes amazing stories with strong characters and a page-turning plot!!

I HIGHLY recommend Fault Lines if you are looking for an amazing action story that you will not want to set down!!

NOTE : I received a copy of Fault Lines at no cost.

Beekeeping Wednesday : Swarming

by Jacob Cole

If you didn’t know, spring is one of the honey bee’s busiest times of the year. Speaking of spring, many of you know that it is time for the bees to start swarming. Swarming is a natural function of the honey bee, and is the subject of my article today.  Swarming has many benefits for the bees, but also can benefit the beekeeper, and I will cover that in my article. Bees swarm for a couple of reasons and I hope to inform you as to why.

Honey bees swarm mainly for reproductive reasons. In case you didn’t know honey bees are classified as a super-organism, which Google defines  “the term superorganism is used most often to describe a social unit of eusocial animals, where division of labour is highly specialized and where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for extended periods..”  Ants and termites are another example of super organisms. Similar to a cell, super organisms reproduce by splitting in two. In a beehive, this looks like the old queen leaving with half of the workers, looking for another cavity to nest in. Some bees have a strong split nature making them more likely to swarm in spring.  This year, my family put an empty hive body in our apiary, just in case a swarm might nest there.  This is a good way to catch your own swarm or another one in the area.

There are a few signs that can indicate that your hives might be preparing to swarm. One of the easiest ways to prevent swarming is to make sure that the hive has plenty of room for the queen to lay eggs and raise brood. Generally bees will swarm when they run out of room in their home. This is especially important right now in the honey flow; when the bees can fill up their supers almost as fast as we put them on. One early sign of swarming can be queen cells. The hive will split just before the young queens’ hatch, with many of the workers following the old queen to a new home.  Some things you can do to keep the bees there, is to put a queen excluder underneath all of your boxes. This will keep your queen in your hive. You could also just kill the queen cell.  Another method would be to split your hives, especially if there are queen cells on the frames.  You should talk to an experienced beekeeper before you split, if you have never done it.

Swarms can be great for a beekeeper, especially if they are from someone else’s hives. One of my favorite things to do as a beekeeper is to catch swarms and hives with my dad. We have removed hives in roofs, wall, trees, and water meter boxes and we have also grabbed swarms from fences, tree branches, and bushes. Swarms are very easy to handle, but an established hive can be a little trickier. I have learned a ton from catching bees, and one of these lessons is that it is better to supplement your hives with swarms that were free as opposed to buying hives.

I would also like to point out that bees are most docile when they are swarming. My father has caught a swarm, our first year of beekeeping, with a broom and a box, so it is very easy. Also there is nothing bad about buying bees, but anything free is great. I hope that you are able to glean a little information from this article. Just remember that queen cells, can indicate that your hive is preparing to swarm, and it would be best to split them yourself.

African Blue Basil

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If I had to pick one plant that is my favorite this year it would be this one.  The picture above is after I cut about 1/3 of it off (it was covering nearby plants).  This plant is amazing!!

African blue basil is one of a few types of basil that are perennial. It is a sterile hybrid of two breeds of basil, unable to produce seeds of its own, and is propagated by cuttings.

Scientific name: Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal’

Rank: Hybrid

The bees love it.  And not just honey bees.  There are so many bees (bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees, etc) that I cannot even count them when I walk by.  This plant is just gorgeous, huge and even smells good.

This basil will not come back from seed, so I plan to clip several pieces before winter and root it inside for my spring garden next year.  This plant roots like crazy!!  It takes abut 5 days in a cup of water and it will throw some serious roots out!!

IMG_4202In fact, there are so many bees on this plant it buzzes.  This particular section is right by my herb garden which is on the way into my house.  I walk by it every day, sometimes several times a day and it always makes me smile!!

No matter what this small bushy herb is always in bloom with tons of flowers, so once the bees start coming they will be back every day to get pollen and nectar from the new blooms of the day!

I guarantee that this plant will always have a place in my yard, in fact, next year I will have some in my herb garden but even more in the butterfly garden in the front – because I know it is so loved by the pollinators as well as me!!  Hope you find some to add to your garden, or if you are near me come by & snip a piece to root for yourself!!