My 2017 Book Challenge

If you’ve been following my blog for a bit you know I love books.

I’m excited to share my personal book reading goal for 2017 and I’d love for you to join in or at least be inspired to read more than you did last yer.

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It’s hard to find time to read these days. Starting a book club and meeting monthly has really helped me make reading one of my priorities. You can read about why book club is just about my favorite thing here and how to start a book club of your own here.

I was reading at least one a book a month since I started a book club four years ago. Last year was the first time I actually set a concrete goal for myself. My goal was to read 24 books in 2016. 2 books per month. For some, that may not seem like a lot. With all the other things that fill my plate, though, this was going to stretch me a bit.

I almost made it! I read 23 books. Now, I don’t want to set the same exact goal. I want to stretch myself just a tad further.

My Reading Goad for 2017 is to read 30 Books.

That comes out to 2 1/2 books per month. I’ve got two books under my belt and working on number three.

There are certain books I have on my wish list that I really want to read this year. But I’m so excited to see which great books I stumble upon along the way.

Here’s a few of my must reads this year:

*Finish the Harry Potter series. I’ve read the first 3 and have 4 more to read. (The last 4 are quite long, by the way!)

*I have a few books I want to reread. At the top of my list is a book I read long ago and is one of my all-time favorites, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

*I also want to read more classics. 20,00 Leagues Under The Sea and Fahrenheit 451.

*I want to read a biography.

*There are about 50 books on my Amazon wishlist as well!

Too Many Books, Not Enough Time!

(Can I get that made into a T-shirt??)

What are your reading goals? Do you have suggestions on what I should read? How about a biography suggestion? I’d love for you share in the comments.

Happy Reading!

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25 of My Favorite Christmas Books

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know my love of books, right? So, I’ve compiled an awesome list of Christmas picture books that we love and have read (time and again) at our house. Enjoy ! Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!!

(Most of these are available on Amazon and many I’ve requested from the library.)

1::Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson

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2::Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner

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3::The Legend of The Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

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4::The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

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5::The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall

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6:: Good King Wenceslas:: Original song lyrics by John Mason Neale and Illustrated by Omar Rayyan

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7:: The Littlest Christmas Tree by R.A. Herman

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8:: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer

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9:: Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

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10:: Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

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11::The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston  This has turned out to be one of my personal favorites.

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12:: Corduroy’s Christmas by Don Freeman  A Lift – The – Flap Book

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13:: Room for a Little One:: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell

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14:: Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev

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15:: The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Douglas Gorsline

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16:: The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by  David Delamare

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17:: We wish you a Merry Christmas by Merle Solomon; illustrated by Lisa Alderson

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18:: God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren

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19:: J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

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20:: The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

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Some new ones I’m trying out this year:

21::The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth by Dandi Daley Mackall

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22::Santa Clause and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno

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23::The Legend of the Poinsettia retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

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24:: Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean

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25:: The Little Fir Tree by Jim Lamarche

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My Christmas “Do Not Do” List

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I’m big on traditions. I’m a kind of a holiday tradition nut. I’ve blogged about our different traditions several times here on the blog. I’ll link those posts at the bottom of this post if you want to check them out.

As my kids get older and we get busier (and I seem to get more tired!!), I’ve taken a look at our list of traditions and sometimes feel like it’s becoming a list of to-do’s to check off. I’m starting to feel tired just thinking about them.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this time of year and want to make it special for my kids and family. I also don’t want to be an exhausted wreck come December 26th.

So I’m doing myself 2 favors:

1.) I’m staying off Pinterest because hello, Pinterest is partially the reason how we get ourselves in our overextended boats.

2.) I’m cutting back on our yearly traditions and doing just the few that really bring us joy and involve the least amount of work for me:) I might do more next year; but this year, I’m giving myself a break.

Being together, talking, reading Christmas stories, watching Christmas movies, playing games, looking out for how we can serve others during the holidays, taking naps. That’s the ticket.

I read a great article here about what Not To Do during the holidays.

Here are past posts about some of our favorite things to do at Christmas.

Our Ten Favorite Christmas Traditions

Our Favorite Christmas Books and Christmas Movies 

 

Now, go eat some leftovers, put up your feet and watch Christmas with the Kranks.

 

What We Are Reading This Month:: November

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I must admit, I haven’t done as much reading the last couple of months as I had planned. And with all the rainy days we’ve had, you’d think I’d be curled up on the couch, sipping tea with my nose in a book. Truth is, I’ve fallen asleep every single time I’ve sat down to read. It could be 10 am or 2 in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter. And if it’s past 8:30 p.m…… well, just forget it.

So, to not have an extremely short list, I’m including what myself and the kiddos read in October as well as what we plan to read in November.

 

Jen:

I read………

a-man-called-ove-9781476738024_hrA Man Called Ove  by  Fredrik Backman     This was our book club pick for October and it was one of my favorite of this year. I was in tears in several parts. (This is good crying, though.) Love comes in all sorts of unexpected packages. This book reminded me to keep my heart open and appreciate the ones I love-now. It did have some language in it. I feel I have to mention that. For me, it didn’t distract me from the story at all, though. And I liked enough to lend it to a friend.

 

 

97c6c8cdc6b630da79d92086d1b8d44a-harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-1468344278Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowlings As I mentioned in My Summer Reading List post, I’m working through the Harry Potter books. This is the one I’m currently reading.

 

 

 

I’m going to read……….

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Simply Tuesdays by Emily P. Freeman I’m just starting this one and really excited to dig into it during November

 

 

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All the Light We Cannot See by  Anthony Doerr  This is our next book club pick. Because November was too busy we pushed book club out to December and so I have a few extra weeks to tackle this book. Good thing, it’s one of the longer books we’ve chosen. I don’t much about the book; but have heard from several people that it is a really good read. Fingers crossed.

Lily:

She read………..

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Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder  We had already started reading the Little House series and were a couple of books in when Lily started her fall co-op classes. One class is reading through the whole series and doing activities to go along with each book. We are just finishing up Farmer Boy and really enjoying it.

 

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Caleb’s Story by Patricia MacLachlan

 

 

She is going to read……
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By the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 

 

 

Henry:

harry-the-dirty-dog-book-coverHarry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion    There are more Harry picture books we’ve found at the Library like No Roses for Harry! and Harry by the Sea. How did I miss these books? They are absolutely wonderful!

 

 

downloadFroggy Books by Jonathan London     Okay, I’m in love with these sweet little books. There is one for every thing my little guy is experiencing. Froggy Goes to the Dentist, Froggy Plays Soccer, etc. We love these books.

 

 

And of course, there are pumpkin books. I have a list of some of my favorite pumpkin picture books here.

I added a few new favorites this year:

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Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

 

 

 

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Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Town by Katie McKy

 

 

I haven’t really decided what we will read with H during November. I will pick a lot of great Thanksgiving picture books, though. If I come across an especially good one, I’ll probably post it on Instagram or Face Book page.

 

Happy Reading!

My Summer Reading List

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Truth be told, I did not read nearly as much as I wanted to this summer. My stack is short even though I have 2 or 3 books going at once. Lately, every time I stop to read, I fall asleep.

Oddly enough, now that fall is here, I’m actually reading a bit more. I’m still falling asleep a lot, though. Since I didn’t post any reading updates this summer, I’m doing so today.

I want to share my wee little list because I think they were all good reads. I would recommend every one. The first one on my list was my very favorite. Now, if you haven’t reached the golden age of 40, (Say, you are in your 20’s still.) you may not appreciate this first book as much. But, Jen Hatmaker is as funny as they come and I would still recommend the book to anyone of any age.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

The next 3 were read for book club:

The Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

The Testament by John Grisham

From page one I couldn’t put this book down. I really, really enjoyed it. And I have to say, it did not end how I thought. I love the books that surprise me.

Brain on Fire  by Susannah Cahalan

This is the author’s true story of how essentially her body turned on her brain and attacked it. For a month, it was truly like she had gone completely mad. The doctor that finally diagnosed her correctly saved  her life. This book was fascinating.

Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.  So I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies, out of order. But I had never read the books. Boy, was I missing out. I’ve just finished the second one and am about to start the third, The Prisoner of Azkaban. J.K. Rowling’s ability to describe all these delightful details makes it so much fun to read. She really is a great story teller.

I know the books get darker as they go along (because I’ve seen the movies). That is part of the reason I wanted to read them. My 8 year old is expressing a desire to read them and I want to check them out first. For my daughter, I think she is too young to read them now.

In the mean time, as an adult, I am thoroughly enjoying them so far. So, my goal is to read a book and then watch the movie. I’m going to work my way through all of them. It will take awhile; but I’m in no hurry. A girlfriend of mine loves this series and we are going watch some of the movies together and have a girl’s night.

Books I started; but haven’t finished:

1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Simply Tuesdays by Emily Freeman

Have a good book you think I should read? I’m always on the prowl for something new to read.

Happy Reading!

When You Want To Read All The Books!

I have a problem. And I need help.

I have about 20 books I want to read. I just ordered these 3 from Amazon. (One is a hand-lettering book, though.)

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That in itself puts me in a spot because….which one do I read first??

The real problem is that I start a new book and and before I finish it, I’m usually starting another. I can’t read just one book at a time. I have 3 or 4 going at one time, all the time. I have Book ADD!

These are the books I’m currently working on.

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Now, when I find a page turner like The Girl on the Train, I can’t put it down until I’m done. I neglect my dishes, my laundry and let the kids watch way too much T.V. while I’m hungrily turning pages. This is also a sickness, I know.

I just love all the books!! If you follow me on Instagram (and you should!) my  hashtags usually include #bookaddict and #booknerd.

So, I’m pulling out the big guns on myself and practicing some tough love. I am banning myself from reading any of these books

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until these books

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are finished.

And I really, really want to read these books.

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Disclaimer: I read chapter 2 in Jen Hatmaker’s book For The Love because it wast titled “On Turning 40” and it was absolutely hilarious and spot on. It was truth. Every single word. Please read her book and tell me what you think. I love her writing.

If I can hold out and read all my unfinished books before cracking open a new, I might have to buy myself another book as a reward.

Wish me luck.

P.S. Amazon Prime, I love you.

 

What We Are Reading This Month:: February

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I love God, my family, my friends and yes…. books. Let’s see what books we are loving and reading this month.

Little H:

One of our themes this month in Pre-K was dinosaurs and I found some really good books at the library.

514DpM0-pJL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_   How Big Were Dinosaurs? by Lita Judge

This book compares the size of dinosaurs to animals and objects kids can relate to in our world today. Loved this book.

9780778774587 Dinosaur Alphabet by David West

Warning: There are some tongue twister names in this book!

9781422219911100 Things You Should Know About T-Rex by Steve Parker

 

 

Lulu:

We are doing our first biography book report this month and Miss Lulu chose to do it on Amelia Earhart.

51Gbc-+PyAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Who was Amelia Earhart?  by Kate Boehm Jerome and Nancy Harrison

These “Who Was” series (or as I like to call them, the Bobble Head series) are great first biography books. At just over 100 pages, they are just long enough and full of information.

Cover Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

These authors write such beautiful history books for children. Their illustrations are absolutely amazing as well. Lily is captivated by these books (H listens in too.) It is such a fun and easy way to teach History to little ones. Here are the other books we’ve read by these same authors:

Leif the Lucky, Columbus, Pocahontas, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and (We haven’t read this one yet; but will) Buffalo Bill.

Both:

Yes, we’ve been reading a lot of  Valentine Books this month. I’ve already posted my list of Valentine Books here.

My three faves this year (that I tend to read every  year) were Snowy Valentine, The Valentine Bears and The Biggest Kiss. (Actually The Biggest Kiss is a recent favorite.)

Jen:

art-of-hearing-heartbeats1 The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philipp – Sendker

I’m in the middle of this book. This is a love story between two very unlikely characters, one blind and one crippled. The story starts off as a mystery, though. A middle aged lawyer, husband and father to two grown children goes on a business trip, never to return. His daughter, years later, decides to try to find him. What she uncovers is her father’s amazing past and an amazing love story. Very interested to see how it ends.

Happy Reading!!