Music Review - Counting Stars

~ Posted on Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 1:43 PM ~

I would like to share my feedback and review on this awesome album that I have the chance to review for Centricity Music. The album by Andrew Peterson is called “Counting Stars” and is scheduled to be released on July 27th.

Excerpts taken from the album's bio page:

Framed in a largely acoustic context and underpinned by a sense of gentle but ancient and unyielding strength, Counting Stars aches and glows, finding infinite wonder in the stuff of hearth and home, family and friendship, struggle and storm. Perhaps it’s because the writing approach this time around involved a conscious departure from the string of concept albums Peterson has released in recent years. Opting for a more introspective, confessional approach seems to have opened a greater sense of vulnerability in the writing process. 

 

While at least a half dozen of Peterson’s new songs—like “Dancing In the Minefields”, “Planting Trees”, and “God of My Fathers”—joyously celebrate his connectedness to his creator, family, friends, fellow artists, and even to past and future generations, a secondary theme also clearly emerges on the record; one that speaks of the great battle between hope and despair. Songs like the sparsely melodic “In the Night My Hope Lives On”, the slow-building “You Came So Close”, and the weary but unwavering “The Last Frontier” each move from a place of pain or struggle to one of a hard-won eternal hope.

The title Counting Stars ties the themes of relationship and hope together in the hope of God’s promise to Abraham. We’re a part of the cloud of witnesses, passing the promises of God to our children.

 

 

One of the songs in the album which caught my attention (and led me to click to every other songs of his on Youtube and becoming a fan on his Facebook profile) is the "Dancing in the Minefield". You can click on the song title to view the official video on Youtube or click here to read about the making of the music video. Few lines in the "Dancing in the Minefield" song which I absolutely love is:

"So when I lose my way, find me
And when I loose love’s chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, to the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me
"`

 

Lovely and meaningful lyrics! According to album's website, the story behind the "Dancing in the Minefield" song is as below:

"In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. Three days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, a godly marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed? No, the wounds bear testimony to the great power of grace. If I had had any idea what I was getting into fifteen years ago I wouldn’t have walked the aisle—I’d have run down it."

Wow! I just loved it when he said "Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, a godly marriage involves at least as many resurrections."

IMO, marriage is not an easy thing. To be able to find that special someone out of the gazillions people on this planet means something. To make marriage works takes lots and lots of love and understanding, tons of patience and an open heart and mind for both parties. And since we're still on the topic of marriage, do take some time to read the following scriptures that I found: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, Ephesians 5:22-33 

You can get the Counting Stars album from Amazon to get your own copy now!

I would like to give a note of thanks to Centricity Music for this wonderful opportunity to review this amazing singer and album!

Andrew Peterson's songs are definitely going into my bookmarked pages for songs to listen to when I am doing my work (when Ben's asleep of course!) and even as I'm typing this, the "Dancing in the Minefield" song is playing at the background and Ben is sleeping peacefully as ever and I'm reminded of how blessed I am to be married to my hubby and having a beautiful and perfect child like Ben.

Also, I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a promo page with info on this album by Centricity Music in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.

Product Review - Hermie: Who Is In Charge Anyway?

~ Posted on Friday, July 16, 2010 at 12:08 PM ~

This is my 1st DVD review under the Book Sneeze (formerly known as Thomas Nelson) Blogger Review program.

To be honest, the moment I saw the name of Max Lucado, I immediately request for a review copy and I didn't even realised that it's a DVD until I received the parcel today! Not complaining at all, since I love Lucado's work.

So anyway, I'm constantly looking for educational materials to expose to my 16 months old boy and although I'm trying not to rely so much on IT gadgets as a medium for teaching and learning (we wanted more hands on learning approach), I still gave this a shot.

Ben checking out the DVD cover...

I like the DVD cover because it is attractive and the illustrations are just too cute!

On the inside of the DVD box, there's a small booklet of the products available and some discount coupons that we can use for purchase of selected DVDs or books.

Ben watching with full concentration as I played the DVD on my laptop.

He recognised some of the insects and animals shown in the video and  I love the sing-along of the "Just Can't Pray" song! Catchy, inspiring and cute! However, I don't quite like some of the characters - like the lizard... kinda spooky actually.

What is the DVD about you ask?

Well, it's about Freddie the flea who's feeling pretty low because everyone around him seems to have a purpose in life, as if they are put on earth for a reason and that as a flea, he couldn't think of what good he is to be alive and God told him all about the Garden gangs when they are young and afraid and do not have confident like him. After listening to God, Freddie started feeling positive and he realised that God made no mistakes and everything has its purpose on earth!

Now, I would definitely play this DVD again as it also has bonus materials such as trivia game and a story read-along. Overall, I give this DVD an 8 out of 10.

Click on Who is in Charge Anyway?: A Lesson in Growing Up With God to buy your own copy today! 

Product Review - Label Daddy

~ Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 10:30 PM ~

I am so honored to be given the chance to review this awesome product:

The Label Daddy company is such a delight to work with, they are just so awfully helpful and prompt!

According to their website (http://www.labeldaddy.com/OurCompany.php),

"Our two founders, the Label Daddies, met back in high school when they were just sixteen years old, and to this day have remained the best of friends. For many years they have dreamed of becoming business partners and having the opportunity to combine their entrepreneurial skills. Before they could do that, they needed to find a great product that they believed was practical, useful, and worth its value to consumers.     
   
Both daddies have substantial experience in business in very different arenas, thus bringing a wide variety of skills to the table. One of our daddies has worked in the garment industry selling and managing production lines for all sorts of products while the other daddy has worked with banks and financial institutions assisting them in managing their balance sheets.    
   
The daddies were inspired to create Label Daddy soon after becoming parents themselves. They would often hear many fellow parents complain that too much time was spent labeling and re-labeling clothes and other items that their children took to camp or school with so-called permanent markers that often faded in the wash. They realized this was the moment they had been waiting for, the opportunity to use their respective business experience to create a stylish, adorable, and extremely useful product. A product that would be easy to use, time efficient for mom, durable for dad, inexpensive for both and very personalized.
"

I received the product real fast, I was not even expecting it to arrive so fast (normally those products that I get to review from US took about 3-4 weeks to arrive!) and the moment I saw the packaging, my eyes practically lit up! Isn't that the cutest packaging ever?!

You have no idea how hard it is for me to contain my excitement from ripping the packaging apart to see what's inside! I had to quickly rushed upstairs, grabbed my digital camera and quickly and steadily snapped the first few shots of the packaging before I open up the packaging! And what fell out were these awesome stuff!

A total of 4 packets of labels with the name of Benjamin and David (that's my hubby!), each design were individually packed in a vacuum sealed plastic bag! There's only 1 packet of label under my hubby's name, that is because I earlier asked Label Daddy whether I could request for a design under hubby's name and without any further question, they really did send me what I asked for! Awesome! 

Btw, they have a variety of label designs and colors to choose from, but as I really don't want to be too demanding, I did not request anything fancy other than asking whether I can have a set of the labels under hubby's name. Anyway, I quickly read the instructions which was printed behind each of the plastic bag on how to apply the labels.

Now, I'm already planning that I'm going to stick the labels to hubby's working shirts and pants and suddenly Ben snatched the labels and proceeded to investigate them... I let him investigate for a while more before I proceed to start sticking the labels with hubby's name to his working shirts and khakis.

FIRST TEST: PEELING AND FOLDING

I look for a shirt which hubby often wears to work and I proceeded to peel one of the label, ensure that the surface is clean and dry and started applying pressure to the label as I stick it onto the shirt's label.

Once it's applied completely, I tried to bend the shirt label at ALL directions. Just to see whether the Label Daddy's label is going to peel open or not. I fold to the left and the label stays on. I even tried flicking the label edges and it stays on! Good, good!

Then I fold from the top, even halfway and it remains where it should be. The Label Daddy edges are so strong that it doesn't peel open.

I stuck another one onto hubby's khakis that he just wore and is about to be send for washing...

SECOND TEST: WASHING & DRYING USING WASHING MACHINE

The label on hubby's working shirt stays on even after wash! Ok, guess those guys at Label Daddy are true to their word! It's machine washable!

I actually tried peeling and folding the label on another shirt that I tested on (after wash) and they still stay strong!

However, sad to report that the label I stuck onto hubby's khakis came off after the wash. I just peeled it and it came out easily. Am not sure whether the material is not compatible with the khaki's label or that the khaki's label was a bit damp when I styck the label on.

* Note: After browsing through Label Daddy's website, I found out that I'm supposed to wait 24 hours before washing the clothing labels! Yikes! My bad!! But I wished this instruction was printed at the back of the sealed plastic bag as well...

THIRD TEST: IRONING

I ain't going to stop the test at washing and drying. I wondered whether the label is going to be able to withstand heat, and I waited a few more days to collect more speciments (ehem I don't do my ironing everyday, normally I waited until there's a big pile of clothes before I proceed to do my ironing!) in order to perform this last and crucial test - The Ironing test!And the label remains unscathed!
Look at me having a go at ironing the label! I actually placed the iron and left it on the label for about 10 seconds.

Here's another shirt I ironed.

Here's me showing you guys what temperature I'm using to iron the shirt and test the label... In case you can't see clearly, the maximum is at level 6, and I'm using 5 for my ironing.

IN SUMMARY:

Other than the one label on hubby's khakis that came off after machine wash, the rest of the labels remains strong to this day.

As for Ben's name label, I stuck a few on his glass cointainer which I always used to store his food prior to going out. Because I homemade and homecook all Ben's food, I will cook his oats real hot, poured it into the glass container and serve it to Ben during his meal time whenever we are out. So far, the labels remain where they were stuck at and did not peel off after washing and scrubbing.

What I like about the Label Daddy's labels?

* Very easy to apply onto the clothings.

* Prompt & very friendly customer service and very cute packaging!

* Its machine washable and withstands heat from ironing!

* Looks so awesome and lots of trendy designs to choose from, which makes it very unique and eye catching! (Darn it! I should've choose mine!)

Go to Label Daddy's website and choose the type you would like. They have labels for clothing, camp pack, school pack, combo pack and other stuff such as labels for garbage bin, allergy note, photo stickers, zipper tags and much much more! Once you've got the type you like, you can proceed to choose the designs you like - the icons, label colors, font style and font colors. You can even choose to laminate the labels for some extra protection! The 4 sets of labels I received are all laminated! Awesome again right?!

But wait just a minute!!! I'm in the midst of finalising the details for a giveaway of this awesome labels with ONE of my lucky blog reader! Yes, yes, I know, you all love me, yes, please, don't stop praising, keep them coming, oh thank you, thank you... So, stay tuned and watch out for the giveaway post coming up soon! Control your drool please! I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jealous of you guys for this giveaway!

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a free product by Label Daddy in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.