Books Read in November 2015

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I didn’t get to read that many books in November, just the ones I promised to read and review, but at least I was able to get some reading done. Here are the books I have read:

Books Read in November 2015

Image by publicdomainpictures (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Intentional Living. This book is full of wonderful advice. I took my time with it and I’m glad I did. I gave the book 4 stars in my review.

Your Daily Brain. Sadly, I was not a fan of this book. There was no real depth and it didn’t really give any real insights into how the brain works. I gave it 2 stars in my review.

H3 Leadership. I loved this book! It is full of actionable advice, it is written well, and it has lots of real-world examples that were interesting and relatable. I gave the book 4 stars.

Semi-Serious. This book is interesting and I enjoyed reading how the author went from a school teacher to a truck driver. My biggest issue was in how the book was organized because she kept interrupting her narrative with poems and prayers which, although good in and of themselves, they detracted from the story. I have the book 3 stars in my review.

Books I’m Reading in December 2015

Since we are almost half way through December, I’ve already read a couple of books which I will be including here:

Santa is Coming to the Jersey Shore. This is such a fun book! I gave it 4 stars in my review.

Money Making Mom. If you have read my blog at all, you know I am a fan of Crystal Paine. This is her latest book and I loved it. I gave it 5 stars.

City of Saints. “A Pilgrimage to John Paul II’s Krakow”

T’was the Night Before Christmas. Of course! It is a tradition for us to read this book every Christmas Eve just like it is for many families.

Author’s Quick Guide to Marking Your Book Online and Off. I am not sure if I will get to this because because of the craziness of getting ready for Christmas but I will try!

What books have you read recently? What are you planning to read next? Tell me in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚


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My Top 7 Guilty Pleasures

You have probably heard of Chris Brogan. Right? He’s a pretty popular and well-known blogger. I came a cross this post of his the other day that inspired me to write this post. His suggestion (#40) is actually a top 10 list, but I decided to adapt it to a top 7 for QT. And since I don’t think the list needs any further introduction I’ll just get started:

My Top 7 Guilty Pleasures

— 1 —

Ice Cream. Oh, my. Ice cream is my downfall for sure. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or anytime if I could!

— 2 —

Books. Let me loose in the Library or bookstore for a few hours and I’m a happy camper. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a hundred books on my Kindle that I probably will never read. I’m a minimalist at heart (just ask my husband) and frugal but not when it comes to books! I love being surrounded with books and things to read.

— 3 —

Dark Chocolate M & M’s. What woman doesn’t like chocolate?! I actually wasn’t a fan of chocolate until I grew up and discovered the deliciousness of dark chocolate. Especially M & Ms. When I was expecting Andrew M & M’s was my #1 craving and to this day I still love ’em. ๐Ÿ™‚

— 4 —

Roller Coasters. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’m as far from being a risk taker as they come. Physically I have to be because of my CP, but I’m also rather timid and not one for doing crazy things. But I love me some roller coasters! It’s my one thrill. LOL!

— 5 —

So You Think You Can Dance?. Dare I confess this here?! I’ve stopped watching almost all TV, except for movies that I either rent or tape. Most TV is mindless, moral-less crap; however, I absolutely LOVE So You Think You Can Dance? ! I love all the different styles of dances featured on the show. I love the music. I love the costumes (although the lack of modesty bothers me at times). And I love how they change out the different judges each week, especially in the beginning of the season.

— 6 —

Pinterest. It’s addictive. Not quite as addictive as ice cream or books, but addictive all the same. LOL! It’s a great place to find ideas, to stay organized, to showcase your favorite things. It’s a great place to go for motivation and inspiration. You could also use it for marketing and promoting your own blogs and products. Most importantly, it’s just plain fun! Not a member yet? You can request an invite here. And don’t forget to follow me.

— 7 —

Angry Birds. It’s the dumbest game ever. And Frustrating. And the music is annoying. I have it on my Pandigital and I love it. ๐Ÿ˜ณ What is angry birds you ask? it is a game where you have to swing the birds across the screen to break the fortress of the pigs who have stolen the birds’ eggs. So dumb and yet so fun. I guess that’s what makes it a ‘guilty pleasure.” ๐Ÿ™‚

As I often do, I’m now turning the tables on you. What are your top guilty pleasures? Do share in the comments!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Ten Fun Christmas Books

I’ve been doing a Top Ten Christmas theme the last couple of weeks. First I shared some of our favorite Christmas movies, then I shared some of our favorite Christmas music. Today I am going to share some of our (mostly my!) favorite Christmas themed books.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

1. Twas the Night before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Duh! This has to be number one, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve started a tradition that I wrap this book and allow Andrew to open on Christmas Eve and then I read the book to him before he goes to bed. Well, I’m trying to make it a tradition, but we’ll see if Andrew will allow me to keep it up!

A Christmas Carol

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. None of the versions of the Christmas Carol or Scrooge would ever had been made possible if it hadn’t been for the book!

White Christmas Pie

3. White Christmas Pie by Wanda Brunstetter. A charming Amish roman fiction novel about a man named Will who is bitter towards his father who left him with an Amish family when he was a young boy. An accident ensues causing a series of events that leads to forgiveness and healing.

The Christmas Shoes

4. The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere. This is the book behind the heart-rendering Christmas song. It was also turned into a movie. (This book is also one of a series of four “Christmas Hope” books.)

the Christmas Wedding

5. The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson. I haven’t read this book, but I have it on my wish list. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not a huge Jame Patterson fan; but, I have thoroughly enjoyed his non-thriller novels, such as Sam’s Letters to Jennifer and Miracle on the 17th Green, so I have a feeling this will be a great book.

The Meaning of Christmas

6. The Meaning of Christmas by Jean Phillips. This is a lovely children’s book (that is out of stock on Amazon) tells the story of Christmas using familiar nursing-rhyme characters and verse.

God Gave us Christmas

7. God Gave us Christmas by Lisa T. Bergren. Another sweet children’s book that brings out the true meaning of Christmas. You will enjoy it as much as your kids. ๐Ÿ™‚

Remembering Christmas: A Novel

8. Remembering Christmas: A Novel by Dan Walsh.ย  This novel, with the familiar themes of hope and forgiveness, will touch your heart and spirit.

Thomas Kinkade's Home for Christmas

9. Thomas Kinkade’s Home for Christmas by Jo Ann Brown. (Also known as the Christmas Cottage.) This is the story of how Thomas Kinkade became the “painter of light” that his now known to be. There is also a movie version of the book.

The Perfect Christmas

10. The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber. I haven’t read many books from this well-known author; but this was a fun, light read. And, although this book is about a single woman looking for love through a professional matchmaker, you don’t have to be single to enjoy this book. ๐Ÿ™‚

And don’t forget to take time to read the most important book of all:

Holy Bible

The Holy Bible. As you know, the book of Luke is the perfect book of the bible to read as we come to the end of our Advent journey and begin the season of Christmas! And so is the prophet of Isaiah. Do try and spend some time with THE WORD this week!

What are your favorite Christmas books and/or novels? Do share!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.

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Our 10 Favorite Current Family Read-Aloud Books

When I wrote my revised curriculum, I promised that I would share some of the books I have been reading to Andrew. A few of the books are repeats from the list I shared a little over a year ago; but, now that Andrew has discovered the world of chapter books, those favorites are slowly being replaced! In another list I’ll share some of the books Andrew has been reading to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are 10 of Andrew’s current favorites:

1. Guess How Much I Love You. Andrew knows this book by heart now! It is a standard read every night before bed.

2. Children’s Book of Virtues. This is another that continues to be a favorite. There are so many little stories in this book that Andrew loves. And I love the underling moral virtues encouraged in all the stories.

3. Picture Book of Saints. This is a book that will remain a family favorite for a long time. Andrew never gets tired of reading and re-reading the lives of the different saints in this book.

4. Get Busy Beaver! This is a about a beaver family that is Quick! Quick! Quick! about building their dam. Except for the brother…who in the end surprises the family in a beautiful way. A sweet story.

5. The Hipponotamus. This is a fun story about a hippopotamus who wants to be anything but! Andrew often giggles and laughs his way through this cute story!

6. The Boxcar Children Series. When I called out for help in getting Andrew to practice his reading, this book came recommended by many moms – and I’m so glad! Andrew LOVES these books. There are over 100 books in this series, so I suspect we will be reading these for a while! (Each book stands on its own, so you don’t have to read them in order; but, I would recommend reading the very first book first.)

7. The Bobbsey Twins Series. These books are a bit above Andrew’s level but thanks to The Boxcar Children books, Andrew has grown to enjoy mysteries and enjoys these books very much.

8. The Flat Stanley Series. My sister-in-law handed these books down to us. Her sons enjoyed theses books and she thought Andrew would enjoy them, too. And he does. These stories chronologize the adventures of Stanley who was flattened by a bulletin board. Fun books.

9. The Magic Tree House Series. These books tell the story of Jack and Annie, a brother and sister team, who discover a tree house that is filled with books. Through these books, they are able to travel through time and place and encounter all sorts of adventures. A couple of books where a little too suspenseful for Andrew, but over all, he enjoys these books very much.

10. The Little Bear Books. I think I love Little Bear as much as Andrew does. ๐Ÿ™‚ You may recognize Little Bear from the popular cartoon series on Nick Junior but; Little Bear started out as a classic book series way before the show. All the stories are heartwarming and enchanting and they never fail to keep Andrew mesmerized.

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.)

Book Review: Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

Book Summary:

A busy businessman finds a dinner invitation in the mail from Jesus. Believing it to be a prank by his co-workers, he goes to the dinner expecting to have a night out with the guys. Instead, he has dinner with a mystery man and drawn into a conversation that changes his life forever.

For an excerpt of this book you can go to the publisher’s Scribed page here.

My Thoughts:

This book was an easy read and I was able to finish the book in one sitting – an hour to be exact. I enjoyed this quaint story and appreciated the premise. I’d love to have have a sit down dinner conversation with Jesus. I’m sure many of us would.

What I liked:

The main character, Nick, thought that the invitation was a joke or an advertising trick from a local church. He didn’t easily believe it was Jesus and came at the conversation with skepticism. I appreciated this because I’ve read fiction in the past where the characters immediately believed and was all “sappy” and in awe, which made those stories unbelievable and annoying.

The character of Jesus (wearing a business suit) was intelligent and also very believable. He was natural and spoke with profound simplicity and directness. You could see why Nick was drawn into a conversation with him.

I also liked the way the book flowed and felt the book was engaging. I wouldn’t say that book was a “page turner” but it kept my interest and I was eager to go from one topic of conversation to another.

What I didnโ€™t like:

My biggest problem with the book was some of the topics could have been fleshed out a little more. The book was almost too general and did not discuss any of the topics in depth. I wish the book had been a little longer so that some of the topics, such as the discussions about world religions and faith could have been delved into a little more.

I also wish the talks were more personal in nature, particularly Nick’s relationship with his wife and baby. You learn enough toย  know there are some issues between Nick and his wife, and the discussion between Nick and Jesus offers enough to know that Nick needs to be a better husband, but there are no suggestions on how he can do this on a practical level. (And I like things practical! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

My rating:

I give this book 3 stars.

Speaking of ratings, would you do me a quick favor and rate my review? It only takes a second and will help increase my review points. Thank you so much!

Review Copy Disclosure:

I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Multnomahah blogging for books ( book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionโ€™s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( : โ€œGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Our Family’s Top 10 Children’s Books

Fav books

Books, books, books! We LOVE to read in our house! If Andrew had it his way, we’d sit and do nothing but read all day! So, inspired by Crystal’s recent read-aloud series, I thought I’d share 10 of the books Andrew loves the most. Enjoy!

1.The Children’s Book of Virtues. I’ve mentioned this before, but this is hands-down one of our favorite books. It is a conglomerate of short stories, tales and fables that teach many valuable lessons.ย  Andrew’s favorite story, of course, is “St. George and the Dragon!”

2. A Small Child’s book of Verse. Like the above book, this is a conglomerate of known and not-so-known rhymes and poems. Some teach a lesson and some are just plain fun! They are a great way to begin instilling a love of verse in your children.

3. A Child’s Treasury of Bible Stories. This is a large, picture-filled beginner’s bible. The bible stories are short and easy for little ones to understand and there are big, colorful pictures to reinforce the stories. As expected, David (and Goliath) and Jonah are Andrew’s favorites and I love how they easily portray the stories of Jesus.

4. Picture Book of Saints. This is the perfect book for learning about some of our great Saints. The biographies are short and include the opening prayer for the saint’s feast day mass. We often read this at breakfast time on each saint’s feast day; but, also, Andrew likes to pick up the book anytime and look through the pictures and “read” about them himself.

5. Thunder Cake. This is a sweet, true story of a young girl who was afraid of thunderstorms and how her grandmother helped her overcome her fear by making a “thunder cake.” There is even the grandmother’s recipe for the cake in the back of the book. (I’ve never made the cake yet – maybe someday!)

6. Guess How Much I Love You. This tender story is our ultimate-favorite bedtime book. Little Nutbrown Hare tries to show bid Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him. We often expand on the story ourselves trying to top each other in expressing how much we love each other. We usually get pretty silly doing this and ending up laughing up a storm!

7. McDuff and the Baby. This tells the story of a family who brings home a baby from the dog’s perspective. It is a short, very cute book. Very well illustrated.

8. Goodnight Moon. This is, I believe, a well-known classic. Need I say more. ๐Ÿ˜›

9. My Special Dinosaur Adventure. This is a personalized book that was given to Andrew a couple of Christmases ago my an Aunt. His name, address and three of his cousins are written into the book. There are several “My Adventure Books” but in this particular story, Andrew is taken back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. This is a fun book that Andrew loves me to read over and over again!

10. My Big Rescue Book. This is a large picture book with colorful images of emergency vehicles, trucks, boats and people in uniform. The perfect book for a little boy! Andrew will spend up the 45 minutes looking at each picture and talking about being a fire fighter, police officer, etc.!

11. BONUS 1! Spot Goes to the Park. Andrew is learning to read and can recognize many of the words in this simple story. The print is very large and the images are bright and big.

12. BONUS 2! Green Eggs and Ham. Andrew specifically asked me to add this in! Who doesn’t love this classic story? “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am!”

I had a real hard time picking and choosing the favorites of our favorites. I may have to do a part two post! What books do you love to read to your children? Do share in the comments! I am always on the lookout for new books to read!

(This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)