The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – Audible Review

The Deal of a Lifetime

by Fredrik Backman

36229962.jpg

Blurb:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love. –Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I read two books by Fredrik Backman this year and enjoyed them both. When I saw The Deal of a Lifetime floating around on Goodreads, the cover and author sent me right into an impulse buy and I used an Audible credit to purchase it. I didn’t even read the blurb and assumed I was purchasing a Christmas read. It turned out to be very different from what I expected and my review below might contain something you consider a spoiler if you want to go in completely blind. Although, I don’t feel that I reveal anything more than the blurb does.

The story begins with a father telling his son a story on Christmas Eve about how he killed someone. He’s not disclosing details and you won’t find out until the end of the story what really happens, but basically, he knows he hasn’t been an exceptional father. He explains that he’s been obsessed with his legacy and has chosen what ‘he’ considers success over being a good parent to his son. That’s what’s been most important to him–leaving behind a legacy full of everything he thinks is important–wealth and security. Then he meets someone who’s dying of cancer and he begins to question the decisions he’s made. He begins to question how important life is. Do other people’s lives matter? How important is someone else’s life to you if you don’t know them?

When I first started listening to this I began to feel that I wasn’t going to be pleased with it. I appreciated that the places described in the story were real, taking place in the author’s hometown, but when I started to contemplate that there might be a death, I was thinking for sure that I would hate it. By the time I got to the end, it hit me. Had my husband not been in the vehicle with me for the hour drive, I may have used an entire box of Kleenex and bawled my eyes out for another hour. The story is short and it’s quite expensive to buy, but It’s truly thought-provoking and what a powerful and meaningful message it sends. For that I’m giving this 5*****.

Continue reading “The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – Audible Review”

The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans: Mini Book Review

The Noel Diary

by Richard Paul Evans

35011400

BlurbIn this new holiday-themed novel from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Mistletoe Promise and The Walk, a man receives the best Christmas present he could ask for: the chance to re-write the past.

Bestselling romance author Jacob Churcher hasn’t been home for almost twenty years—not since his mentally ill mother kicked him out of the house when he was just sixteen. When a lawyer calls, days before Christmas, to inform him that his estranged mother has passed away and left her house to him, Jacob returns not just to settle the estate but to try and reconcile with the past and the pain and abuse he experienced as a child. Also, maybe cleaning out her house will be slightly less depressing than spending the holidays alone, watching re-runs of Christmas classics.

But as it turns out, the house holds more than just difficult memories, Jacob’s mother had become a hoarder and he must excavate through two decades worth of clutter. As Jacob digs through the detritus, like an archaeologist, he uncovers many puzzling items including a diary left by someone named Noel, a young woman he has no recollection of, who stayed with Jacob’s family during her pregnancy. That’s not the only echo from the past. Jacob has an unexpected visitor, Rachel, a woman looking for the mother who put her up for adoption thirty years before. United by their quest to make sense of the past and rewrite their futures, Jacob and Rachel begin a search for Noel. Along the way they find more than they possibly imagined, including grace, forgiveness and a chance at love.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read a few Christmas books by Richard Paul Evans and since I enjoyed them, I thought I’d pick this one up. I was surprised that this isn’t truly a Christmas story, but it does occur at Christmastime.

Jacob Churcher is a successful author who’s bitter about his childhood. Growing up with a mother who had mental instability has scarred him. He receives an unexpected phone call informing him that his mother has passed away and he travels back home to a house full of memories as he begins a journey to heal.

The story wasn’t exactly festive or fluffy like I expected, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a fast, light read. I thought the story was believable and it felt real to me. My only issue was the insta-love.

4****

the-noel-diary-9781501172038_hr-back

Continue reading “The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans: Mini Book Review”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl earlier this month. It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it on her blog. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Today is the final day of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. Christmas has come and its already passed. I can’t believe it. I’ll admit that I’m both excited for the New Year, yet saddened because I don’t want it to be over. I love this time of year.

For day 12 the question is: What is Christmas Like Where You Live? 

I live close to Lake Michigan which means Christmas is generally frigid, in fact, it’s near zero degrees this morning and it’s very white outside! Growing up in this geographical location meant a white Christmas nearly every year.

20171224_110429

20171224_165556.jpg

Where I live there are many Christmas activities to participate in. Roughly 30 minutes from our house is a designated area where everyone decorates their homes with stunning Christmas lights. You can simply drive through the neighborhoods or even get out and walk through all the decorations if it’s not too cold. It really is a site to see.

bank-2547356_960_720.jpg

 

A few years ago, we went to Chicago and visited Winter Wonderfest at Navy Peer. That was fun! You get to make a cookie, ice skate, visit all the different vendors and witness tons of Santa’s from around the world. There are even a few rides and a train for the kids to ride. Chicago in the winter is splendid. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing, even though that’s not why Chicago earned that name. 😁

Screen-Shot-2015-11-30-at-10.23.36-AM.png

In our town there are many churches that offer Christmas Eve candlelit services where you can go and sing with others. There’s also a tree lighting where all the different community groups decorate their own tree. It’s so much fun to stand in the park and wait for lights to come on. Then Santa shows up with the parade and you can chat with him. After, everyone gathers at the fire dept. for hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a fun community event.

Christmas-Eve-Candle-Light-Service

At my house, Christmas starts on Thanksgiving day. We put up decorations and watch the parades. It brings in the Christmas spirit and the rest if the month we listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, make Christmas cookies and do Christmas crafts–pretty much everything Christmas. On Christmas day we open gifts, eat lots of food, and enjoy family time together.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 12 – What’s Christmas Like Where You Live?”

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is upon us and I still have 3 days to post on the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge. For days 10 & 11, I’m going to talk about #10 Decorations – silver and gold, or red and green, and also #11 Your Christmas Dinner Menu.


 

#10 – Decorations – silver & gold, or red & green?

I started thinking about this question a few days ago. I realized that our Christmas decorations are pretty much every color under the sun, and yesterday, I shared some of our decorations. I’ve included a link for you here.

I don’t feel like we’ve never gone with a color theme, but we do have more red and green decorations than silver and gold. I truly love decorating with traditional Christmas colors like blue, red, green, gold, and even purple. Gold hasn’t been a favorite, but when I see decorations like these in the following pictures, I want to switch it all up and go with silver and gold forever. These are stunning to me…

71090547913988edbbd5702df893cbc8--xmax-silver-christmas.jpg

42217adc79ecfa837067026f0de22b24--rustic-christmas-trees-burlap-christmas.jpg

 

ccec8d731a953c8f3e7fbe2393998205--christmas-ornament-wreath-silver-christmas.jpg

I’d love to have a tree like this one below next year. What do you think? I love the way they incorporated the blue ornaments.

unnamed-file-6740.jpg

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge – Your Christmas Dinner Menu & Decorations – Silver and Gold or Red and Green?”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Days 8 & 9 – House Decorations & Favorite Christmas Craft

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

I’m catching up, so today I’ll do days 8 & 9. I decided to go with #6 House Decorations & #9 Favorite Christmas Craft.

As far as house decorations, I LOVE to decorate. Growing up, my grandmother would deck out the entire house and I always looked forward to all the beautiful decorations. I believe she is the reason for my love of decorating and I hope that by decorating at Christmas, my kids will want to do the same for their families when they get older.

The Tree:

20171125_174937

Christmas Snow Globes: These are very special to me. I went to this sale in my home town and there was this elderly lady who was selling all of her stuff because she had to move somewhere else. She had the most beautiful Christmas decorations and I found these two snow globes. These are huge snow globes and from the pictures, you can’t really see the size, but I happen to know how expensive these can be because I used to work for The San Francisco Music Box Company in a mall near my old home town. She was asking $5 a piece for them and when I took them up to the counter, she proceeded to tell me how she obtained them. Her father had purchased them for her before he passed away. She turned on the music and began humming the songs. I promised her they were going to a good home and I think about her often. This first one lights up and plays music.

20171221_155256

This one lights up and has a button to automatically blow the snow. I think that’s such a cool feature!

20171221_155334

Poinsettia for the table

20171221_155433.jpg

Christmas records of course! Here’s one of my favorites of all time. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Perry Como.

20171221_160029.jpg

I found this person on YouTube that plays the entire album for you. Here’s a video of side two. I love this first song–just wait for him to start singing.

I truly appreciate that people take the time to make YouTube videos like this. You can watch and listen below if you’d like.

Vintage Ceramic Christmas Tree – This is a favorite.

20171221_155517.jpg

This is a bell spray that my grandmother would bring out every year. The bells twinkle on and off. 

20171222_063053.jpg

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Days 8 & 9 – House Decorations & Favorite Christmas Craft”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 6 & 7 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and Holiday Tradition

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

I totally missed day six yesterday and because I’m a little behind, I decided to combine day #6 & #7 together for this post. I’m going to start with #3 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and then #1 Favorite Holiday Tradition. Tomorrow, I’ll share some of my Christmas decorations!

*Favorite Christmas Cookie*

How can anyone choose their favorite Christmas cookie? There are so many delicious cookies at Christmas time. This year, we made cookies for friends and neighbors. We kept it simple by choosing to make easy sugar cookies, chocolate chip, and of course, baklava! I grew up having baklava for pretty much every holiday due to my Syrian ancestry. My uncle was always the one to make it for get-togethers. Luckily, I expressed interest in the recipe just before he passed away and this is now a tradition to make it every year and sometimes in between. 🙂 I’m so thankful that he shared the recipe with me and think about him every time I make it.

Baklava is made using filo dough sheets and sandwiched in between is a walnut mixture with cinnamon and sugar. You basically butter your pan well and start with a half package of filo on the bottom. You have to butter the sheets well as you layer. You then add a layer of the walnut mixture, then 3-4 more sheets of dough and continue the process until your mixture is gone. Finish with another half package of filo dough and butter well. I like to have some larger pieces and some smaller pieces. Usually I cut diagonals first, then verticals.

20171219_092646.jpg

After you cut the whole pan, you bake it around 325 degrees for about an hour. When you take it out, it’s nice and brown.

20171219_102534.jpg

Now you add the sauce which is made of honey, sugar, and water.

20171219_102625.jpg

20171219_102642

It sizzles up after you add the sauce as the pan is super hot. This is my favorite part! Cool it completely before cutting and keep it in the fridge so you can eat it all week long. 🙂

20171221_114139.jpg

If you’d like my special family recipe for this baklava, contact me and I’ll send it to you!

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 6 & 7 – Favorite Christmas Cookie and Holiday Tradition”

Throwback Thursday: Debbie Macomber – Twelve Days of Christmas – December 21st

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

 

This week’s pick:

Twelve Days of Christmas

by Debbie Macomber

28502761.jpg

Blurb: Continuing in a festive annual tradition, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a new original holiday novel full of romance and cheer—and the magical prospect of finding love in the most unexpected places.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love. – Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I just finished Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber and still have a handful of Christmas reads to get in. This week I’m reading Starry Night which I talked about last week and I’ll be starting this one, Twelve Days of Christmas, after that. I’ve had this one on my TBR for some time! I’ve fallen in love with this author’s writing style and these books are quick reads which are perfect for this time of year. I have no doubt that I’ll be reading Christmas books all the way into January with the amount that I have added! 🙂

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (October 4, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553391739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553391732

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Debbie Macomber – Twelve Days of Christmas – December 21st”

Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber – Book Review

Merry and Bright

by Debbie Macomber

33931111.jpg

Blurb: Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

My Thoughts:

Merry and Bright is a warm, feel-good, clean holiday romance that will get you into the holiday spirit. I was looking for a light, easy, and satisfying read and this one definitely hits the mark.

Merry is preparing for the holiday season, taking care of her family, and working crazy hours as a temp for a job that will soon be completed. She couldn’t be happier because she doesn’t get along with her boss and has plans to finish her college degree. She lives with her mom who isn’t well, along with her little brother Patrick who has down syndrome. Her mother and Patrick wish she could start a relationship because they feel like Merry is lonely, so they get on the computer and set Merry up with an online dating profile, using a picture of her dog so nobody knows who it us. Her profile catches a wink right away, but it’s a mystery who this man is!

Jayson is Merry’ s boss and he’s truly not a person who’s in the Christmas spirit. He has struggles in his relationship with his father which is far from perfect. It’s bad enough that he simply doesn’t want to see his father anymore. They don’t get along and Jayson’s sort of bitter about everything. He has his best friend to lean on and he’s truly a good person at heart, but just needs a little help opening his eyes.

This was my first Debbie Macomber book and I personally loved this story. It was such a fast read and kept me interested until the end. The narrative is believable and the characters were written perfectly. I didn’t feel that it was super predictable until I got closer to the end because every time I thought the story was going one way, the course seemed to lead to a different outcome. This book is lovely and I’m positive Debbie Macomber is going to be a favorite author.

5*****


Find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399181229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399181221

Continue reading “Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber – Book Review”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

 

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

For day 5, I’m going to choose #4 – Your Christmas Wish List

As far as physical things, there isn’t really anything that I want for Christmas this year. I’m happy just to be here to celebrate with my family, but there are some things that are always on my wish list. I’ve listed them below…

jane-goodall-prayer

Here’s my Christmas wish list – 4 things that I wish for in no particular order.

1- Peace and happiness amongst mankind- I know there’s love in this world, but the hate is almost more than I can bear. Christmas time feels so full of joy and people begin to express more kindness to one another. Why can’t it be like this all the time? Sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and everyone would love and accept one another, or for once, I could turn on the news without being exposed to someone bashing someone else. Is it too much to ask that we try to love and accept each other no matter our likes and dislikes? Why not offer assistance to someone? Say something uplifting to someone just because. Rather than point out someone you think is negative, help them find a positive. There are many small steps we can take to try and make this world a better place. I’m far from perfect, but I am trying to heed this advice myself.

2- The complete eradication of cancer – We just received news that another one of my uncle’s has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The vast majority of the cancers in my family are rare and hard to treat and I can’t help but fear it myself. It’s taken so many members of my family and caused so much suffering amongst people everywhere. I pray that one day there will be a cure to end all cancers.

3- The end of animal abuse worldwide, including animal endangerment – It would be wonderful if we could live on this planet along with all the animals in harmony. Every week, my good friend Nel@Reactionarytales posts about an endangered animal and many, if not most times, these animals are endangered because we’ve done something to destroy their habitat, or they’re simply killed. In addition, there are countless animals that endure cruelty and neglect from humans worldwide.

4- For every child in this world to be safe and free to have a normal and healthy childhood – I read recently that childhood cancers are on the rise and also that millions of children have suffered from malnutrition in 2017 alone because they don’t have enough food to eat. This year there were so many child abuse cases in my general area alone, let alone all the cases worldwide. There is a massive child refugee crisis right now as I type this and children have been uprooted from their homes and exposed to danger, including war. Every child deserves to learn and grow in a healthy environment and to have their needs met. They deserve to be safe.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge Day 5 – My Christmas Wish List”

Music Monday: Scott Weiland “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday


 

This Week’s Pick:

Scott Weiland

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

When Scott Weiland came out with a handful of classic Christmas songs, I just about flipped out. I couldn’t believe it and fell in love with all of the songs. For those of you who aren’t sure who Scott Weiland is, he was the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and a few others. If you were listening to the radio a lot in the 90’s, you might remember “Plush”, “Interstate Love Song”, or “Creep.” Many of his songs are still played on 90’s stations today.

If you get a chance to watch the actual music videos for these Christmas songs on YouTube, you’ll see that they gave them a traditional vintage feel which I thought was so unique. Plus, he had an awesome voice in my opinion. RIP, Scott. I really miss you!

I thought I’d share his cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for today’s Music Monday. Below I also shared an interview with Scott regarding the song. Hope you enjoy!

 

Lyrics:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on your troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on your troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest place

So have yourself a merry little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
So have yourself a merry little Christmas


 

Interview with Scott Weiland:

 


Continue reading “Music Monday: Scott Weiland “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas””

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Day 4 – Favorite Holiday Destination

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

For my 4th day I’m going with #5 – Your Favorite Holiday Destination.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” by Perry Como. In fact, I was just listening to it yesterday while playing my old Christmas records.

Lyrics:

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!

I met a man who lives in Tennessee, and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania folks are travellin’
Down to Dixie’s sunny shore
From Atlantic to Pacific
Gee the traffic is terrific!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you wanna to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly day
I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin’ for
Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania folks are travellin’
Down to Dixie’s sunny shore
From Atlantic to Pacific
Gee the traffic is terrific!

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!
For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!


I personally love being home for Christmas, but if I were to go somewhere else for Christmas I would choose a cabin in the snowy woods like the one below.

cabin-1082063_960_720.jpg

I’m happiest in the winter when everything is white and love the snow.

deer-2133424_960_720.jpg

For me, snow makes Christmas extra special and I’m really hoping for a white Christmas this year.

Bowie is sure enjoying it!

20171209_071534[1].jpg


What’s your favorite holiday destination? Do you like the snow? Feel free to share your thoughts below. ❤

Shabby Sunday: Christmas Trees and How They Grow by Glenn O. Blough – 1961

collage-2017-08-10 (5)

Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


 

Today’s shabby share is:

Christmas Trees and How They Grow

by Glenn O. BloughJeanne Bendick (Illustrator)
20171217_154815.jpg
Blurb: The characteristics of the various kinds of trees used as Christmas trees with information on where they grow and how to make a Christmas tree for the birds.

My Thoughts:

This is such an interesting book for kids to read about Christmas trees. The beginning narrative tells about a family who are out looking for the perfect Christmas tree and along the way the children learn facts about which trees are best, how they grow, the different types of Christmas trees and how to sprout pine tree seeds. The book contains interesting illustrations throughout to help kids identify the different types of trees.

Christmas Trees and How They Grow is very educational and might even teach adults a thing or two. Do you know how to find a pine tree’s seeds? How can you grow your own Christmas tree and how long will it take? How to people around the United States celebrate their Christmas trees? How can you set up a Christmas tree outside for the birds in the winter for feeding? Pick up this book to find out and settle in for a journey to learn about our truly amazing Mother Nature. Children will appreciate trees and forests  and understand how important they are after reading this book.

My edition is from 1961 and apparantly the only edition that’s available. It’s a previous library book, but it’s in fairly good shape for it’s age. It has a hard fabric cover. I ended up picking this up from a library book sale and what a find it is! You can find some real gems at sales which is why I love going to these sales so much. You never know what you’ll find.

20171217_154518.jpg

20171217_154610.jpg

20171217_154632.jpg

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Christmas Trees and How They Grow by Glenn O. Blough – 1961”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 3 – Tree Topper – Angel or Star?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

For my third day I’m going with #8. Angel or star tree topper?

Growing up, my grandmother always put a star on our Christmas trees. She used the same one here in this picture below.

2b445369ccadffbebddeb79e57ceb929--christmas-tree-star-vintage-christmas-trees.jpg

I love that the star on top of the tree symbolizes the star of Bethlehem from the Nativity and we’ve always stuck with it. I do adore angels on trees whenever I see them and we might try doing that for a change one Christmas.

Every year since 2006 I’ve had LED lights on my tree. We are huge energy conservationists, but last year, our LED star took a dump and lost half its color. So, this year, I ended up purchasing a basic incandescent lighted star. Here it is below.

20171216_065035.jpg

I have to admit that I’ll never lose my admiration for traditional Christmas lighting. It has the most beautiful glow. This year, I cheated and added in some clear traditional along with red LED lights and LED color changing globes.

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 3 – Tree Topper – Angel or Star?”

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge: Day 2 – Favorite Christmas Movie

 

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

This is my second day and I’m going with #7.

7. Favorite Christmas Movie

This has to be one of the most difficult questions because there are so many awesome Christmas movies that we watch every year. I’m going to give a short list and then list my absolute favorite of all time.

  • Elf
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (Mickey Rooney)
  • Home Alone
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • A Christmas Story
  • A Christmas Carol (Original and Disney)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Polar Express
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Rudolph, Frosty, Santa Claus is Coming to Town (you know, all those animated classics you used to have to wait for on local channels over the holidays).

There are so many wonderful Christmas movies and it’s hard to choose just one. This was a toss up between It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and Prancer. Because I’ve talked about It Came Upon the Midnight Clear before, I’m going to choose Prancer. This was filmed near my hometown and it’s always been dear to my heart. Little Jessica reminds me so much of my childhood and the movie itself takes me back in time. It’s such a beautiful movie I think anyone can enjoy.

Prancer (1989)


 

So there are some of my favorite Christmas movies. What about yours? Feel free to comment below or jump on board to participate in this amazing 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge. Spread some Christmas cheer!

12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Real or Fake Tree?

I came across this wonderful 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge over at Abbey’s blog threecatsandagirl.  It was originally introduced by abbeycoseattle when she presented it earlier this month. As soon as I saw this, I knew that it would be so much fun. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to share some Christmas cheer on my blog. I’d like to say thanks to both of these wonderful ladies!

christmas-blogging-challenge.jpg

~Rules~

  • Link back to Abbey’s original post here so that way she can see who all is joining and she can follow along.
  • Link back to any one of my posts in the challenge so that way I can follow along too
  • Save the image and join in for the fun!

12 Days of Christmas

I’m starting a little late so I may not follow these days above in the exact order. Today I’ll start with:

2. Christmas Tree – Real or Fake?

I love this question because it’s been a little bit of a dilemma in recent years for my family. Growing up, my grandmother always bought a real tree and an artificial tree wasn’t introduced until I was nearly in high school. So now that I’m an adult, I’d like to get a real tree so that my kids can experience the fresh Christmas scent and tradition. The issue is that we burn wood in our home for heat and my husband informed me that it just wouldn’t be possible because the tree would be in the same room as the wood burning stove and would dry up in no time.

Now, being my normal stubborn self, this year I really wanted to give it a go. I put up our artificial tree which you can see below, but I bought a real wreath from Costco to hang in the entryway to my home just to see how it would do.

20171214_112047.jpg

I’ve been spraying it daily to keep it moist and it’s already starting to turn brown in many spots just after two weeks. It doesn’t look bad in this top photo, but if you look closer…

20171214_112058.jpg

You can see how it’s turning brown and crispy and this isn’t even close to the stove! So, I guess he was right. He explained again that the issue would be a half brown-half green Christmas tree which would be no fun because I like to leave our decorations up from Thanksgiving day until January 14th, Orthodox New Year.

So, for now, we will stick with our artificial tree which I still love so much!

20171125_174937

Continue reading “12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge – Real or Fake Tree?”

Throwback Thursday: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber – December 14th

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday


This week’s pick:

Starry Night

by Debbie Macomber

17910542.jpg

 

Blurb: ’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

My Thoughts:

I have so many Debbie Macomber books added to my TBR, so when I saw this at my local library, I couldn’t resist. I fell in love with the cover and after reading the blurb, I knew it was one I had to try. I haven’t read anything by Debbie Macomber and after seeing that she’s one of my good friend Noriko’s favorite authors, I’m even more intrigued! You’ll have to read her wonderful review of this book on her blog.

So, I thought I’d start out with a few Christmas reads. Along with this one, I grabbed a few others by this author and will be starting them this week! I’m trying to get as many Christmas books in as possible and there simply isn’t enough time to read them all!

Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Printing edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345528891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345528896

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber – December 14th”

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! We are reading all of our favorite Christmas books and introducing some new ones as well. We had the pleasure of reading Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy over the last few days and I have our official review for you and an interview with the author as well!

collage-2017-12-12

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy

28239851.jpg

Blurb:

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen.
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge!
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life!

My Thoughts:

This is the first book of three in the ‘Reindeer flying Academy’ series. I read this with my children in one sitting and we all enjoyed it very much.

Ronaldo is a reindeer who dreams of being just like his hero Vixen–part of the North Pole Reindeer Team. Only the best reindeer will be chosen by Santa for the team. When it comes time for the Endurance Challenge during Saturday’s Flying School, Ronaldo dreams to win. He remembers his grandad’s advice,

“Don’t just think it! Imagine! See it, feel it, believe it!”

Will Ronaldo win the challenge and receive the Golden Wings?

Ronaldo has strong family support and a best friend named Rudi who became one of four favorite characters. Everyone could use a friend like Rudi! Ronaldo is nearly reluctant to heed his families advice at times, but may learn that they’re smarter than he thinks!

I thought this book was very inspiring and appreciated all the important lessons that influence young readers about standing up for yourself, trusting your loved ones, following your dreams, and believing in yourself. The story is well written, cute, and comical. The illustrations are perfect and offer breaks in the reading. When paired with the short chapters, this makes it an easy read for early chapter book readers.

Overall, I personally found this to be an encouraging book for all ages that my children adored. We’re looking forward to reading the other two books including the full-color illustrated edition. 4****

4-stars

 


 

  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Publisher: Maxine Sylvester; 1 edition (December 16, 2015)
  • Publication Date: December 16, 2015
  • Ages: 5-10
  • Grades: 2-5

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read this book for free!


 

Author Interview with Maxine Sylvester

befunky-design3

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A: I wrote my first book in the Ronaldo series, The Reindeer Flying Academy, three years ago. I followed up with The Phantom Carrot Snatcher one year later, and self-published Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza a few months ago. Some reviewers for the first book commented that they would have preferred colour illustrations. I liked the suggestion so recently published a second edition of The Reindeer Flying Academy in glorious colour. I think children will love the colour illustrations. The book is a perfect Christmas read.

(Click the covers to find these on Amazon)

33245990

36260394

36649132

Q: What made you decide to write children’s books?

A: I’m still a child myself! I get as excited as a five-year-old every time a new Disney film comes out. My illustrations are inspired by animation. My niece says I am in touch with my inner child. I think it’s an advantage as I naturally write for children.

Q: What are some of your favorite childhood books? (or one favorite)

A: My first reading books were Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, and Paddington by Michael Bond. As I grew up I read anything by Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I also loved The Railway Children by E. Nesbitt.

Q: What influenced you to write Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, and are any of your books influenced by your childhood?

A: I have to admit, I stole an idea from A.A. Milne! He wrote about the toys in Christopher Robin’s playroom. I wanted a reason to illustrate so decided to write a short story. I looked around my bedroom, and my favourite toy was a plush reindeer. I took it from there. Some incidents in the book were inspired by my childhood. Ronaldo has a different name to all the other reindeer and gets teased because of it. I was teased about my name. He also has to wear a hideous hat. I had one of those as well. Furry and with pom poms!

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

A: I have written three Ronaldo adventures, but there are four books. Two editions of The Reindeer Flying Academy are available, one has colour illustrations, the other has black and white.

I think my favourite book is the last one, Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza. The characters are well-developed now, and I had a lot of fun with them. The book still makes me laugh even though I know what’s going to happen. I also have a soft spot for the ending of The Reindeer Flying Academy.

Q: What do you think makes a great children’s book?

A: I think values should be in there, but it’s important not to preach. Children are smart; you never want to talk down to them. I try to get a message across in a fun way. Ronaldo is a good role model for children. He’s kind, conscientious and brave, but never boring. He also has to overcome adversity and I think it’s good for children to see how he handles things. Needless to say, the stories need to be entertaining with lots of laughs and fun illustrations. The Ronaldo books have heart and I hope that children feel they are picking up a friend in a Ronaldo book. You never know what is going on in a child’s life, and books can provide comfort and inspiration.

Q: Do you create all of your own illustrations?

A: Yes, they take longer than the actual writing of the story. I trained in “cartoon art’ and was mentored by British cartoonist/, caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. I did further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist/illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.

Q: What’s the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?

A: As a self-published author on Amazon, it was quite easy; especially as my partner Mark does most of the technical stuff! I am hopeless. He say’s Facebook and Twitter are great tools for reaching people. We have had varying success with promotions. A lot of it is trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Do you like to read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors and are there any that heavily influence your writing?

A: I read every night before going to sleep. I read all sorts! I’ve read all of Sidney Sheldon’s books and most of Lee Childs, Jack Reacher series. If ever I feel anxious or wracked with self-doubt, I read Dr. Wayne Dyer. His gentle words always encourage me. I think he’s a must for anyone in this industry!

I loved the Harry Potter books; they were like picking up old friends. I have so much respect for J.K. Rowling. The whole world waited with baited breath for her books and she never disappointed.

I am a total Disney geek and have just finished a book on Walt Disney. What a visionary! Walt Disney has always been my biggest inspiration. I think my stories come from a lifetime of watching Disney movies.

Q: Are you working on anything now and do you have any future projects planned?

A: I have just started writing the fourth book in the Ronaldo series – The Vixen Pederson Workshop. It will be ready by Christmas 2018.

Q: Can we expect more books in this children’s series?

A: Absolutely. I find as one book evolves, ideas for another book come to the surface. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is limitless!”

I’d like to thank Maxine Sylvester for participating in this interview.

thankyou

Continue reading “Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy – Book Review & Author Interview!”

Music Monday: Sting “I Saw Three Ships” Live from Durham Cathedral

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday

This Week’s Pick

Sting

“I Saw Three Ships”

I fell in love with this song the moment I heard it. My daughter’s dance teacher used it for one of the group’s Christmas ballet performances and I was amazed! The album version is considerably slower and not as busy, but this version here is even more special because of the plethora of instruments. It’s like a huge jam session. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

LYRICS
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three?
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
And what was in those ships all three?
On Christmas day in the morning.

Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady
On Christmas day in the morning.

Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Pray, whither sailed those ships all three?
On Christmas day in the morning.

O, they sailed to Bethlehem
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
O, they sailed to Bethlehem
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the angels in heaven shall sing
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
And all the angels in heaven shall sing
On Christmas day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
And all the souls on earth shall sing
On Christmas day in the morning.

Then let us all rejoice and sing
On Christmas day, on Christmas day
Then let us all rejoice and sing
On Christmas day in the morning.


Continue reading “Music Monday: Sting “I Saw Three Ships” Live from Durham Cathedral”

Shabby Sunday: The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore 1983

collage-2017-08-10 (5)

Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

The Night Before Christmas

by Clement C. MooreLeonard Weisgard (Illustrator)

20171210_102733.jpg

Blurb: Not a creature was stirring when jolly St. Nicholas came down the chimney…except the narrator of this well-loved rhyme. His eyewitness account of the arrival of the toy-filled sleigh and eight reindeer is beautifully illustrated by Leonard Weisgard’s warm and glowing pictures, while soft-to-touch pages make this book as special as the season.


 

My Thoughts:

This is one of my most treasured Christmas books to read over the holiday season, particularly on Christmas Eve. I believe most people already know the classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore, and I couldn’t tell you how many different editions we have of this one, but what makes this edition so special to me are the classic vintage illustrations by Leonard Weisgard that take me back in time to my childhood. I think I cherish this version more than my kids do for that reason alone.

20171210_102814.jpg

My edition is the 1983 printing by Grosset & Dunlap. The cover is in bad shape and I’ve had to hot glue the pages back in already.

20171210_103121.jpg

20171210_102833.jpg

The pages, however, are in near perfect condition! They’re crisp and clean for their age and the illustrations are still as vivid as ever.

20171210_103003-e1512924899307.jpg

20171210_103040.jpg

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore 1983”

Throwback Thursday: Let it Snow by CJ Carmichael – December 7th

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick:

23643858.jpg

Let It Snow!

by C.J. Carmichael

Blurb:

Let It Snow! (Christmas Anthology)

Snowbound In Montana (novella)
A broken heart and the need to find peace compel Eliza Bramble to sign up for a Nordic ski holiday at Baker Creek Lodge, Montana. When a blizzard traps Eliza in the remote mountain hideaway, along with rugged ski guide, Marshall McKenzie, and a group of discontented skiers, Christmas looks like a write-off. But Marshall has a special touch with people…and with Eliza in particular. Soon she realizes Marshall isn’t just fixing Christmas—but her broken heart, too.

A Cowgirl’s Christmas (novel)
For years Callan Carrigan has been her father’s right hand man, so when her dad’s will names city slicker Court McAlister the new owner of The Circle C Ranch, Callan feels betrayed on every level. Then she and her sisters find their mother’s diaries, hidden from them by their father since their mother’s accidental death 18 years ago, and the shocking revelations explain a lot. When Court offers her a deal—if she agrees to be foreman at the Circle C for one year, he’ll deed fifty percent of the ranch back to her and her sisters—it seems too sweet at first. Until Callan realizes Court has his eyes on something she protects even more than her family’s land—her heart.

The Gift (short story)
What would you do if a child in need showed up at your door on Christmas Eve? Amy Gold, Bandit Creek’s kindergarten teacher, is not the sort of person to flout the law. Especially since she’s dating the local deputy, Gray Cassidy. But an unexpected Christmas gift is about to change everything–not just Amy’s plans for a traditional Christmas, her her entire future, and Gray’s as well.


My Thoughts:

I’ve been wanting to read this one for some time now. It’s a collection of three Christmas stories by CJ Carmichael–Snowbound in Montana, A Cowgirl’s Christmas, and The Gift.  I took a chance and purchased a copy on Amazon last week because I couldn’t find this Christmas edition anywhere. I’ll be starting it this week.


 

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing Group (November 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940296978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940296975

Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

 

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Let it Snow by CJ Carmichael – December 7th”

Music Monday: Bing Crosby and David Bowie “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy”

-Music Monday-

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song that you really like and share it on Monday. I’m having so much fun with this meme and look forward to sharing a new song every Monday!

musicmonday

This Week’s Pick

Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy

This song is always overplayed on the radio over Christmas and I still never tire of it. David Bowie and Bing Crosby are two of my favorites. I grew up listening to my grandfather sing Bing Crosby all the time and he could sing just like him. I can still hear my grandfather when listening to Bing. I’ve always loved this song and what makes it even more special to me is that it was released in 1977, my birth year. This full version is my favorite. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Lyrics:

David: Hello…… you’re the new butler?
Bing: Hahaha! well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been the new anything!
David: What’s happened to Hudson?
Bing: I guess he’s changing.
David: Yeah, he does that a lot, doesn’t he? uhm… oh, I’m David Bowie, I live
down the road.
Bing: Oh!
David: Sir percival let’s me use his piano if he’s not around. He’s not around, is
he?
Bing: I can honestly say I haven’t seen him, but come on in! Come in!
David: But uh…
Bing: Come on in!
David: Are you related to sir percival?
Bing: Well, distantly…
David: Oh, you’re not the poor relation from America, right?
Bing: Ha! gee… news sure travels fast, doesn’t it? I’m bing.
David: Oh, I’m pleased to meet you. You’re the one that sings, right?
Bing: Well, right or wrong, I sing either way.
David: Oh well, I sing too.
Bing: Oh good! what kind of singing?
David: Mostly the contemporary stuff. Do you eh… do you like modern music?
Bing: Oh, I think it’s marvellous! Some of it’s really fine. But tell me, have you ever listened to any of the older fellows?
David: Oh yeah, sure. I like ah… John Lennon and the other one with eh…Harry
Nilsson.
Bing: Mmm… you go back that far, uh?
David: Yeah, I’m not as young as I look.
Bing: Haha, none of us is these days!
David: In fact I’ve got a six year old son and he really gets excited around the Christmas holiday-thing.
Bing: Do you go in for anything of the traditional things in the… boy, household, Christmas time?
David: Oh yeah, most of them really. Presents, tree, decorations, agents sliding down the chimney…
Bing: What??
David: Oh, I was just seeing if you were paying attention.
Bing: Haha!
David: Actually, our family do most of the things that other families do. We sing the same songs.
Bing: Do you?
David: Oh, I even have a go at ‘White Christmas’.
Bing: You do, eh!
David: And this one. This is my son’s favourite. Do you know this one?
Bing: Oh, I do indeed, it’s a lovely theme.

[Verse 1: Bowie and Crosby]
Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
A newborn king to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum
Rum-pum-pum-pum, Rum-pum-pum-pum

[Verse 2: Bowie and Crosby]
Peace on Earth can it be?
(Come they told me pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
Years from now, perhaps we’ll see?
(A newborn king to see pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
See the day of glory
(Our finest gift we bring pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
See the day, when men of good will
(To lay before the king pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
Live in peace, live in peace again
(Rum-pum-pum-pum, Rum-pum-pum-pum)
Peace on Earth
(So to honur him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
Can it be
(When we come)

[Bridge: Bowie and Crosby in unison]
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

[Verse 4]
I pray my wish will come true
(Little baby pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
For my child and your child too
(I stood beside him there pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
He’ll see the day of glory
(I played my drum for him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
See the day when men of good will
(I played my best for him pa-rum-pum-pum-pum)
Live in peace, live in peace again
(Rum-pum-pum-pum, rum-pum-pum-pum)
Peace on Earth
(Me and my drum)
Can it be

[Outro: Bowie and Crosby in unison]
Can it be


Continue reading “Music Monday: Bing Crosby and David Bowie “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy””

Shabby Sunday: Welcome Christmas! A Garland of Poems Chosen by Anne Thaxter Eaton – 1965

collage-2017-08-10 (5)

Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Welcome Christmas

by Anne Thaxter EatonValenti Angelo (Illustrator)
20171203_091326.jpg
Blurb: A collection of fifty Christmas poems, old and new, chosen for their ageless spirit of the season.

My Thoughts:

I chose this book for Shabby Sunday because it’s one of my favorite Christmas books to bring out and read over the holiday season. I ended up finding this at a local library sale years ago and what a find! I get so excited whenever I find vintage Christmas items and this one is truly special. My edition is a 7th printing hardcover from 1965.

This is a delightful compilation of fifty poems for Christmas written by various authors including Christina Rossetti, Martin Luther, Walter de la Mare, G.K. Chesterton, Anne Thaxter Eaton (author), and many others. The book includes illustrations by Valenti Angelo which give a warm feel to the book and complement each poem perfectly.

Some of my favorites are “Carol” by Christina Rossetti, “Earth and Sky” by Eleanor Farjeon, “Nowel” by Walter de la Mare, “The Ending of the Year” by Eleanor Farjeon, and my most favorite “The House of Christmas” by G.K. Chesterton.

Many of the poems are spiritual in nature, but anyone can enjoy this gem of a book, including children and adults. I’m happy to have this on our Christmas shelf.


The House of Christmas

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.

This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

–G.K. Chesterton


Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The Viking Press (September 16, 1955)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067075708X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670757084

Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Welcome Christmas! A Garland of Poems Chosen by Anne Thaxter Eaton – 1965”

Flower Friday: Poinsettia for December 1st!

I learned about Flower Friday from Lorilin@Bugbugbooks and have been having fun sharing some flower pics! Please check out Lorilin’s blog if you haven’t already.

collage-2017-09-22.png

 


 

It’s December 1st! I thought I’d share a picture of beautiful poinsettia blooms for Christmas.

easset_upload_file473_157387_e-800x800.jpg

 

It’s Christmas time!

Continue reading “Flower Friday: Poinsettia for December 1st!”

Throwback Thursday: Christmas In Cornwall by Marcia Willett – November 30th

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee @ It’s Book Talk. This meme is an awesome way to share old favorites that were published over a year ago or even books that you’re finally reading after much time has passed. I have plenty of those to share! If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, and you’re welcome to use Renee’s pic as well. Please link back to her@It’s Book Talk.

throwback-thursday

This Week’s Pick:

Christmas in Cornwall

13721551.jpg

Blurb:

“We’re all pilgrims,’ he said thoughtfully. “One way or another, aren’t we? Always searching for something.”

Twelfth night – time to put away the Christmas angel. A new year dawns, and everything seems to be falling into place for Dossie. Her son Clem and his adorable five-year-old son Jakey have moved to Cornwall to be closer to her. She runs her own successful catering business. All she needs now is some better luck in her romantic life.

Complementing Dossie’s rather unconventional family set-up is the wonderfully eccentric Janna: a warm-hearted, generous woman who looks after the quirky nuns of the local convent – and little Jakey. With humour, kindness and the support of friendship, they form a tight bond.

But the Sisters’ life as they know it is thrown into doubt when an avaricious property developer starts prowling around their beautiful, historic home. Will this close-knit unit who so depend on each other still be together next Christmas? And what will they have learnt about the true meaning of family, and about having somewhere you really belong? Find out in Marcia Willett’s touching and timeless holiday tale, Christmas in Cornwall.

My Thoughts:

I’m so excited to read Christmas books this season because there are so many I didn’t get to read last year. It seems like Christmas comes so fast and it’s gone before you know it, so I’m starting now to get as many reads as possible. This is one of them that I’ve had my eye on for some time and I plan to read it over the holidays this year. I was instantly attracted to the blurb and cover and went ahead and ordered it. I hope to finally get to it soon!

You can find this on Goodreads and Amazon

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003709
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003706

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Christmas In Cornwall by Marcia Willett – November 30th”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

I picked up three new wordless picture books this week. I can’t express enough about how much I LOVE viewing books like these with children. It really makes them think and use their imagination.

If you’d like to add any of these on Goodreads, just click the title in the review…

Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day

808529.jpg

Carl’s Christmas is a story about a dog named Carl and a sweet little baby. Carl is left to be responsible for the baby on Christmas Eve and they go on a little adventure together. This book has text on the very first page and the rest of the book is strictly pictures.

20170607_130937.jpg

What I liked about the story was the idea of a dog taking care of a baby. It’s unrealistic, but so adorable. Carl knows how to care for the baby and their adventure consists of strolling around town visiting stores, carolers, and finally a visit with Santa.

20170607_131003.jpg

We really enjoyed the classic painted illustrations and couldn’t wait to find out how the story would end. Follow along to see if Carl receives a gift of his own this year.

4-stars

 


Sector 7 by David Wiesner

29313.jpg

Sector 7 by David Wiesner is one of the most imaginative wordless books I’ve read. A boy takes a school trip to the Empire State Building and winds up taking a whole different trip to Sector 7, a cloud dispatch station in the sky. He’s taken there by a little cloud who becomes his friend. He has ideas of his own for what he thinks clouds should look like and he isn’t afraid to share them.

Children will love this picture book as it’s easy to follow with beautiful illustrations. We loved it and talked about it for quite a bit of time. We were surprised to see this author again as we recently read Free Fall. This is definitely a keeper.

stars


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books

This week I have four different wordless picture books to share with you that we really enjoyed. Like most, these are all perfect wordless picture books for parent child reading and enjoyment.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-10927-1396591666-14.gif

You can read on to see my reviews on each. If  you’d like to view last weeks picture books and learn some benefits to reading wordless books, you can see my previous post HERE. If you’d like to add some of these wonderful books on Goodreads, just click the title.


The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

489972.jpg

Blurb: Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have “the hazy softness of air in snow.” A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

My review

The Snowman is a wonderful wordless book for children. The story starts with a young boy who sees the snow outside and rushes out of his home to build a snowman. As the boy sleeps, the snowman comes alive and is welcomed into the boy’s home to discover what it’s like inside. In return, the snowman will show him his home as well. A dream to be remembered forever.

This book is packed full of sketched illustrations in color. This is a beautiful Christmas book that can be read by all ages and any time of the year.

stars

Check out this short movie based on The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. It’s introduced by David Bowie!


The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert

13236900.jpg

Blurb: In this follow up to the magnificently inventive Ice, Arthur Geisert once again charms us with his porcine world. This time his pigs must get creative when a volcano destroys their home. Fortunately they got busybefore trouble hit by planting a huge mysterious seed, for it’s the seed plus imagination, as well as a good dose of can-do spirit, that save the day! Illustrated with inventive, sensitive, and unusually lovely etchings that seem to come from an old cherished album, The Big Seed is a worthy successor to Geisert’s Ice.

Award-winning children’s book author Arthur Geisert‘s pigs are legendary in the world of children’s books. They carve ice sculptures, teach Roman numerals, create ingenious machines, and get up to all kinds of antics. Did Arthur grow up on a farm? No. He grew up in Los Angeles and claims not to have seen a pig until he was an adult. Trained as a sculptor in college, Geisert learned to etch at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. He has published just about a book a year for the past thirty years and every one of his books has been illustrated with etchings. In 1996 (as well as once previous to that) he won The New York Times Best Illustrated Award. Geisert lives in Bernard, Iowa.

My review

The Giant Seed by Arthur Geisert is a story about a community of pigs that live near a volcano. They are blessed with the arrival of a giant dandelion seed which they decide to plant and grow. Little do they know, this seed that will soon grow into a new plant just might be a life saver for them all.

We loved the author’s adorable pig illustrations. The ending was left wide open which made me think there might be another book to continue the story, but I haven’t found one yet. This is the first book we’ve read by this author and I’m definitely interested in reading more about this pig community. This one strikes up a lot of conversation!

4-stars


Here I Am by Patti Kim – Pictures by Sonia Sanchez

17658592.jpg

Blurb: Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city in this dazzling wordless picture book. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world. A poignant and affirming view of the immigrant experience.

Because this book is based on the author’s experience, here is some author information: Patti Kim was born in Pusan, Korea, and immigrated to the United States on Christmas of 1974 with her mother, father, and older sister. At the age of five, she thought she was a writer and scribbled gibberish all over the pages of her mother’s Korean-English dictionary and got in big trouble for it. Her scribbling eventually paid off. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. She lives with her husband and two daughters who give her plenty to write about every day.

You can visit her blog HERE

My review

Here I Am is a wordless children’s picture book of one incredibly inspiring story of a child’s immigration to the United States.

A child and his family leave their home and move into a busy city in the United States. This is difficult for him and he struggles getting used to his new life in the city. He has a new school, new house, and is surrounded by new people. In his hand he carries a keepsake from his homeland which helps him along the way. He accidentally drops it out of a window and down into the street. He realizes in order to get it back he’s going to have to go outside and explore which might just be the best thing for him.

This is a story about starting a new life and overcoming fear of the unknown. We enjoyed all the rich, detailed illustrations and the author’s note at the end.

stars


Continue reading “Wednesday’s Wordless Picture Books”

Lessons from Grandpa #1

My grandfather was a very prominent figure in my life as I was growing up. He was a teacher, school principal, and father to five children. Everyday I learned something from him whether it be something I should eat, something I should do, how I should act, or how I should think. He always had something interesting to say.

me and gp
Me and GP just before my baptism

My grandfather was a serious conservative. He lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is, just put some duct tape on it!” I’m not even joking. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and witnessed how Toula’s father would put Windex on everything? Well, that’s my grandfather, except with him it was simply, “Put some duct tape on it.”

windex.jpg

I remember one day he came home from the golf course and when he pulled up in the driveway, his car was missing the driver’s side mirror. I asked him what happened and he told me, “I think I sideswiped a truck.” I couldn’t believe it and I know that if he had that mirror in his hand, he’d be duct taping it back on.

Another repair was on his left boot. He had visited a doctor for hip pain and learned that one of his legs was longer than the other. He brainstormed about how he could fix the issue without having to wear a brace of some sort. He wound up making a platform for the bottom of his boot and duct taped it on. Voila! When the zipper broke on one of his other shoes, he taped that too. He would put duct tape on vacuum hoses, tools, shoes, furniture, and even books. He didn’t care what anyone thought either. When I was a kid I thought it was silly. Now that I’m older, I love that he was like that and wish that I could be more carefree about what people think.

The one duct taped object that I have from my grandfather is his Bible. He read his Bible every day. Once the binding started to break down, he fixed it so that he could use it for many years to come.  It’s a large print and fairly big Bible. Here’s a picture of it here with his tape repairs.

20170523_114335

20170523_114405

Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #1”