Guest Blog Post by My Mother, Gina Metallo Shell: “Our Trip to Tybee Island and Savannah for Our 42nd Wedding Anniversary and Meeting Paula Deen””

It has been a goal of ours to visit Savannah, GA for over 20 years. I have been constantly encouraged to see the pre-Civil War structures each time friends and family returned from a trip there.
We discovered that 20 minutes was all it would take to connect from Tybee Island to Savannah. This would be the best of both worlds; touring Savannah and enjoying Tybee Island Beach. I always wanted to visit Tybee Island after our friend Holly Haney spent her Honeymoon there. She was so in love with Tybee Island that she named her son Tybee!

Planning “Vacay 2019” would be shared between Savannah and Tybee. Savannah Beach Raquett Club provided the perfect location for us. It is on the North side, secluded and quiet side of Tybee.

There are few places to eat close to there. It is perfect for us as we enjoy eggs and toast or overnight oats for breakfast on our balcony. Lighthouse Pizza provided great calzones with a quick walk two blocks down.

I have always loved Paula Deen and her restaurant was my favorite! Paula Deen’s Creek House is a quick 10 mile drive with plenty of parking places, friendly staff and delicious food! (I am still thinking about the Smoked Salmon Salad!) I had read the signs posted about Paula Deen’s book-signing for her new book, Paul Deen Cuts the Fat, scheduled for June 28th at 5 pm.

What were the chances that I would get to meet my most favorite southern cook who I have adored for two decades? We returned for another wonderful meal and waited to meet Sweet Paula, her husband Michael, and son Jamie. It was the icing on my cupcake!
We enjoyed the beautiful beach where the Bay and Atlantic Ocean meet, walking on the beach, collecting seashells and watching the dolphins.

This is the first time that I have ever seen so many whole seashells. There were plenty for everyone, especially since this beach is not crowded. We decided to Segway our way through Historic Savannah.

We used Adventure Tours in Motion Segway Tours and booked a 90 minute tour to view as much as possible. Chelsea was an amazing guide offering historical and fun facts. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful city and trees laced with Spanish Moss.

Do not let fear prevent you from stepping on a Segway like I almost did. I am ready to get back on and tour some more!

Our maps and brochures are ready to be filed so we can pick back up in a few years. There is no doubt about it that we will make every attempt to return. We loved Savannah and Tybee Island and they loved us back.

I will close by providing some helpful reminders that will make our journey smoother.

Walking and bicycling are highly encouraged with parking being limited. We plan to throw our bicycles in the back of our camper truck next time so we will be ready to ride. I currently do not own a bicycle so I hope to pick the skill back up quickly. I will soon find out if it is true about not forgetting how to ride a bike. At least for now I can navigate the Segway until I pick the cycling skills back up.
With parking being limited, I will need to remember to leave yourself plenty of time to find a parking place. When you find a place to park, you may need to walk a few blocks and need quarters and dollars for the parking.

My good New Balance Tennis Shoes were packed for walking and the Segway Tour. Somehow in all the excitement, I must have missed the memo on stretching your calf muscles before getting on the Segway. Our guide encouraged us to stretch our muscles every time we made a stop. It made it more comfortable for us and the other 60-ish couple we rode with.
Let’s pack the bikes, stretch the muscles, pack a couple rolls of quarters and dollar bills for parking.

Oh… If your parking meters runs out before you return from cruising the city on Segway, your windshield may be decorated with a parking ticket. Or, you may get lucky with a kind-hearted Parking Meter Attendant who just leaves you a Warning Ticket.

-Gina Metallo Shell (Nick’s mom)
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Dear Holly: Minnie Mouse is Your Best Friend and Elmo is Your Boyfriend

1 year, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

I guess I am learning that every Valentine’s Day at our house is like a “mini” Christmas morning. And speaking of Minnie, she was part of your gifts from Mommy and me:

Pilot Minnie, which includes a pink purse and a pink suitcase.

It is my assumption that little girls your age are equally obsessed with Minnie Mouse and Elmo, with the same mania that teenage girls went crazy over Elvis in the 1950s or The Beatles in the 1960s.

Here is how I perceive things with you right now:

It’s as if Minnie Mouse is your best friend and you want to be just like her. So it’s no surprise to me that yesterday, you clutched her tightly in your hand for both your morning nap and for bed at night. It was like a sleepover.

You just think Minnie Mouse is the coolest girl ever!

And as for Elmo, well… I’m starting to think he’s more than just a friend.

Each time I read you the Little Golden Book, Elmo Loves You, and finish the last page, with a big smile on your face, you lean down and kiss Elmo right on the face: “Mmmmmwhah!”

It’s not like anyone gave you this idea. You just immediately did this the first time, and every time, I have read you the book.

Mommy and I have learned to be careful about even saying Elmo’s name in front you. Because often when we do, you get caught in a trance:

“Elmo? Elmo. Elmo? Elmo! Elmo. Elmo. Elmo. Elmo!…”

At that point, I have to either give in, and take you upstairs and let you watch one of your Elmo DVDs, or I have to find a clever way to distract your train of thought.

So yeah, I convinced: Minnie Mouse is your best friend and Elmo is your boyfriend.

Love,

Daddy

New Book: Unstoppable God by Tracy Goodwin (Which Answers the Question, “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?”)

I met her back in April when my son was invited to her son’s 6th birthday party. Then just a few weeks later, when our sons both won achievement awards in their Kindergarten class, I needed a seat in the bleachers for my wife and I as the ceremony was about to begin. It was then that Tracy Goodwin mentioned to me that she had a book coming out this summer; about how it’s a miracle she’s even alive.

Flash forward to last weekend, as our family was driving back from visiting my parents in Alabama. My wife sat in the passenger seat, reading Tracy’s book, Unstoppable God. Meanwhile, I drove up Monteagle Mountain with tears in my eyes; tears which I hid from my wife.

It is impossible to hear Tracy’s story and not be grateful. I think Unstoppable God is an instant cure for anyone is starting to feel jaded, asking the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Tracy’s book is, by default, the answer to that question.

To see Tracy with her wonderful family, you just would never guess what all she has been through. It is always inspiring to see a person choose to praise God during times others would question or curse God.

Unstoppable God is not a book about Tracy Goodwin. It is a book about how God worked through a person’s life who refused to give up on Him.

Like I always say, you have to either choose to victorious or you end up allowing yourself to become a victim.

Tracy chose to be victorious, through God’s divine intervention. Had she chosen to see herself as a victim, I don’t know that she would still be alive to tell her amazing story of overcoming impossible odds.

I am so grateful Tracy shared her story with me.

And to the first person who leaves a comment on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog advertising this post, you will receive a copy of Unstoppable God, as well!

New Children’s Book: “Words” by Elle Grey (An Introduction to Emotional Intelligence, Of Sorts)

This week my son and I got to read a new children’s book about how it’s always our choice to use words that either help or hurt other people. It’s called “Words” by Elle Grey. The book explains that ultimately, when we use words to hurt others, we then attract negativity back to ourselves.

I truly believe this to be true. It’s part of the process of developing emotional intelligence. I have even mentioned before here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog how much better of a person I became (just a few years ago) when I stopped allowing other people to emotionally control me.

In other words, I took away anyone else’s right to “offend” or “insult” me. I did this by taking control of my own emotions instead of letting anyone else control them for me. But before ever getting to that point in life, a person must first learn to choose how to choose their own words and begin to understand how they positively or negatively effect others.

So yes, this book fundamentally teaches a concept I live by.

Congrats to Matt Wright, who was the first reader to comment, and therefore win a copy of Words!

About Author Elle Grey

Daughter of a US Air Force family stationed overseas, Julie was born in Ely, England about an hour outside of London. Her family moved to the United States when she was 6 years old. Following a successful career in financial services, where she co-authored the book “Live Rich, Stay Wealthy” which sold twenty-five thousand copies in the first 90-days, Elle decided to devote her time to her young daughter. The Elle Grey Stories were created to teach her daughter values, principles and morals, all the things that are important for our children to help guide, shape and protect them as they grow.

Julie is a wife and a mother of two adult sons and a 3-year old daughter. In addition to spending as much time as possible with her family, she enjoys going to the gym, writing, doing pilates, running, painting, ceramics, crocheting, knitting, cooking and reading.

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

My son Jack was excited to see we received a new book in the mail: Almost a Minyan, by Lori S. Kline. Granted, when I first read him the title, his eyes lit up as he looked for a picture on the cover of a “minion” from the Despicable Me movie series…

But as I read the book to him for bedtime, he was still very intrigued despite realizing that “minyan” is also a Hebrew word. As I read him the story, he learned about a tween girl from a close Jewish family.

After regularly seeing her father and grandfather regularly attend their town’s minyan (a public worship group of ten adults), she and her father experience a character arc after her grandfather passes away.

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

On the verge of her 14th birthday, she realizes she can be the one to qualify as the 10th adult necessary to keep the minyan going.

For Jewish families, this book will surely reinforce and further illustrate the traditions of the Hebrew faith.

For families outside the Jewish fold, this book will surely still engage the reader, as it introduces a new (yet ancient) culture.

Thanks for reading my book review today. I will close with basic marketing information of Almost a Minyan:

Almost a Minyan: Jewish Children’s Book Review (A Coming-of-Age Story of a 13 Year-old Hebrew Girl, Dealing with Her Grandfather’s Death)

Release date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Sociosights Press

Price: $17.99

Kindle Price: $7.99

Pages: 40

Distribution: Itasca Books, Amazon/Ingram

eBook Distribution: Kindle, Nook

Website: http://www.sociosights.com

Big and Small, God Made Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

It is definitely one of my life goals to write a children’s book and eventually my own series.

Therefore, I am happy to see my friend of a decade, Ben Wilder, have his first book published. It is called, Big and Small, God Made Them All.

A couple of weeks ago, Ben visited my house and we made this video together to promote it:

Before the book was published, Ben asked me to write a quick synopsis for the back cover. I feel honored.

Here’s what I said:

“How do you begin to legitimately introduce the gospel to a young child? You present them with God’s creation of the universe. Then you explain that this same God loves them too. That is exactly what Ben Wilder has done here.”

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

In addition to being able to write an inviting children’s story through poetry, something else Ben did a great job of was finding the right illustrator; who happens to be Laura Watson. The pictures are very well matched for the story.

I am so proud of Ben’s new book. And… one lucky reader won their very own copy just from reading this blog post.

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

Congrats to Heather Tucker, who was the first to go on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog, where I advertised this blog post about Ben’s book, and leave this comment:

“Did I just win a copy of Ben Wilder’s children’s book, Big and Small, God Made Them All”?

(When this blog post was live for the first 24 hours, Heather was the first to respond to the then open giveaway. This giveaway offer is now closed.)

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I believe Ben Wilder has a bright future in writing children’s books. The main thing is, the word just needs to get out about his first book.

If you’re possibly interesting in purchasing the book, go here to Ben’s website.

And thanks for visiting Family Friendly Daddy Blog today.

Big and Small, God Loves Them All: My Friend Ben Wilder’s New Children’s Book

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!

In the new book The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! by Kevin DeYoung, and illustrated by Don Clark, the historic story of Christianity is brought to live in an overview “storytelling” format, beginning with Adam and Eve, and ultimately ending with the role of the modern day church.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a children’s Bible storybook anything like this before. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like a children’s minister explains how the stories of the Old Testament characters of the Bible are related to Jesus coming to Earth for the salvation of His people.

But the whole time, there’s this festive, Hebrew-ish artistic backdrop. The illustrations are simply amazing and unique.

Being exposed to this book actually reminded me of just how Jewish the Christian faith is; considering that 2/3’s, not half, of the Holy Bible is the Old Testament; the other half obviously being the New Testament.

This book explains how the Christian faith was ultimately born from the Jewish faith. It helps bridge the Old and New Testaments in a way children can begin to understand.

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! is intended for children ages 5 to 11.

I recognize that with my son being 4 years, 9 months old, the content of the book is a little above his comprehension level; though he is definitely intrigued by the mystery of it.

However, I definitely look forward to my son growing into this book.

*Congrats to Matt Wright, the winner of my giveaway of Family Friendly Daddy Blog, who will have a hard cover copy of The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden! sent to hishouse.

He was the first person to go the Facebook wall of Family Friendly Daddy Blog and ask this question:

Did I just win The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden!?

OFFICIAL HASHTAGS:  #BIGGESTSTORY and #FLYBY

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”