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Hiking at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Hiking West Canyon Trail

Daddy got Munchkin a new pack and some hiking boots for her birthday, so we thought it would be a good idea to try them out by heading over to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve after church on Sunday.

Hiking Out of the Marsh

According to Munchkin, the boots are much better than her old ones even with them not being completely broken in yet.

Hiking Marsh Trail

Unfortunately, the pack ended up not working out, but it’s better to find that out on a shorter hike than a long hike.

Hiking Marsh Trail 4

We’re back to looking for a pack that will work for our girl.

Hiking Marsh Trail 3

We enjoyed hiking in an area with some green as most of our normal landscape is desert.

Hiking Marsh Trail 2

It was rather hot in the sun, but the shade provided some cooling relief.

Hiking Canyon Trail

The marsh area was home to lots of lizards, birds, and bees.

In the Tree 1

One area along the trail was home to a very cool hollowed out tree.

In the Tree 2

It was a fun day on the trail, enjoying nature and our family time.

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Book Review: Illustrated Family Bible Stories

Special thanks to the New Leaf Publishing Group for providing a sample of this book through Moms of Master Books to help facilitate the writing of this review.

MOMB Illustrated Family Bible Stories Review

Illustrated Family Bible Stories Book Description:

Illustrated Family Bible Stories is an exciting introduction to the world of the Bible to be enjoyed by both children and adults. This unique collection features events from both the Old and New Testament, retold in a lively style and brought to life by dramatic illustrations.

Book Details:

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Press (February 13, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0892217235
ISBN-13: 978-0892217236
Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches
Retail Price: $24.99

MOMB Illustrated BibleMy Thoughts:

The Illustrated Family Bible Stories book is filled with beautiful images that bring the Bible to life for readers both young and old. This book contains a table of contents that lists all of the Bible stories contained within the book for easy reference. It then gives a brief introduction to the Bible including a listing of all of the books of the Bible. The two main sections in this book are (just as in the Bible) the Old and the New Testament. Each of these sections begins with an overview before diving into the scriptures.

My daughter thought the illustrations were quite nice, but she commented that some of the females lacked feminine features which caused them to look a bit masculine. She appreciated the fact that the illustrations were not cartoonish. She liked that in addition to the Bible stories there were also little tidbits of history and/or information which help readers get a better understanding of the time period. The maps help with understanding the location of the events being discussed. She also liked that the book had a built-in ribbon bookmark.

The scripture passage is listed under the title for the story, so families can read the actual passage in the Bible. The book concludes with a Bible reference section that gives more background information about Biblical times, a very basic look into some key people in the Bible, and a little “test your knowledge” review section.

While reading directly from scripture is always best, this Illustrated Family Bible Stories provides a way to help bring the Bible to life with visual imagery and background information to enhance a reader’s understanding of Biblical times.

Moms of Master Books Disclosure Statement


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My Baby Girl is 15

Painting Pottery 1

Where did all the time go? It’s hard to believe that my baby girl is already 15.

Painting Pottery 2

Since she enjoys painting pottery, I thought it would be fun to start our day by heading over to a local art studio that we wanted to visit.

Painting Pottery 4

Daddy was at work, so Munchkin and I had fun painting pottery together.

Daddy and Munchkin Hug

We finished up shortly before I received a call from Daddy letting me know he was ready to meet up for lunch.

Birthday Picnic

We headed over to Joshua Tree National Park for a picnic lunch.

At the Dam

Since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to take an impromptu hike at Barker Dam Trail.

Baked Mac and Cheese

We wrapped up our day with her requested baked gluten free mac ‘n cheese and had a movie night. It was a fun way to celebrate her birthday.

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Working with the Horses

Munchkin working with Phantom

Munchkin has really stepped up recently and started not only training her horse, Dixie, but also working with Phantom when Daddy or I can’t work with him. She’s always been great with Dixie, but seeing the transformation with Phantom has been fun to watch. She’s really playful with him which he loves as he’s an inquisitive and playful horse.

Dixie by Stall

Of course, there is one issue with Munchkin working with Phantom. Dixie gets a bit jealous that she’s not receiving all of Munchkin’s attention which means she tends to follow them all over the arena trying to get Munchkin’s attention.

Munchkin training Phantom

Now that Munchkin has been working with Phantom more, he also wants her attention and to be trained when she’s working with Dixie. It’s rather funny to watch him “pout” when she’s training Dixie. He truly loves to be worked and given challenges. Now, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t stubborn or that he doesn’t test you during training, but he does enjoy the process. He’s even started to lower his head when asked which is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself given his personality. ;)

Dixie's Eye

Both Phantom and Dixie have filled out nicely since we’ve brought them home. Their change in feed as well as their exercise and training has really helped with that. We’re looking forward to seeing how much more they fill out when we start riding them again. If all goes as planned, we’ll be starting their training with saddles on their backs soon.

Munchkin petting Phantom

It will be interesting to see how things go when we make that transition to saddles. They are both doing so much better with respect and listening, so it should be a more pleasant experience when we start with the in-the-saddle training. Because we aren’t training every day, the entire process is taking a bit longer, but we all think it’s going to be worth it in the end. Both horses have great personalities, so they are fun to be around.

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The Scenic Route: Joshua Tree National Park

S Curve Dirt Road

We were heading down the hill to get some groceries and see a movie, but we decided that we would take an off the beaten path route instead of the traditional highway route. We put on our hiking boots and brought our camelbaks “just in case”. Daddy did a quick check on his truck to make sure everything looked good, and we hit the road.

Rocky Hill

Our normal drive, while still pretty, takes us on paved roads and highways. This alternate route took us through Joshua Tree National Park and down some “4-wheel-drive-only” dirt roads.

Rock Pile

We drove a few popular climbing and hiking spots and kept going. If we weren’t on a semi-schedule, I’m sure we would have checked out these spots a little more, but while we weren’t on a tight deadline, we didn’t come out to really explore this time around. It was still fun to watch others bouldering, free climbing, and harness climbing.

Daddy in his Truck

Daddy wants to to back out sometime and do a little bouldering. ;) The free climbing seems way crazy to me.

Desert Road

At one point during our trip, we decided to pull off the dirt road and eat a picnic lunch. Because the area didn’t have anywhere to sit, we ended up eating in the truck with the windows open. It was beautiful weather – not too hot, not too cold with a nice breeze blowing.

Curve in the Road

I love these drives as it gives us an opportunity to talk without a bunch of distractions. The drive wasn’t nearly as crazy as we thought it might be based upon some things other people had told us. You definitely want 4-wheel-drive in certain areas, and you wouldn’t want to take a car down some parts of the road. That being said, it wasn’t anything crazy.

Dead Tree

Overall, this little scenic route was a nice drive that got us off the pavement and onto the dirt. :) We did discover towards the end of the route, nearer to our final destination that it wasn’t an area that you would want to drive at night which is good to know. ;)

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