Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Book List for 2014

I normally don't read many books since I can't read a little bit at a time so end up doing nothing but read until it the book is finished.  This year, I managed to read quite a few books, however!  Most of the books were for reviews, but not all of them were.  This also doesn't list children's books that I read ☺


"Once-A-Day Country Faith"
"The Husband Hunt" by Karen Kirst
The Healer's Apprentice" by Melanie Dickerson
"The Fairest Beauty" by Melanie Dickerson
"The Merchant's Daughter" by Melanie Dickerson
"Claiming Mariah"  by Pam Hillman
"If You Believed In Love" by Staci Stallings


"Dreams by Starlight" by Staci Stallings
"Reunion" by Staci Stallings
"The Ultimate Guide to Kindle Publishing using Microsoft Word" by Allen Smith
"A January Bride" by Deborah Raney
"A February Bride" by Betsy St. Amant
"A Work in Progress" by Staci Stallings
"Princess Ever After" by Rachel Hauck
"A December Bride" by Denise Hunter


"A Little Piece of Heaven" by Staci Stallings
"A March Bride" by Rachel Hauck
"A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Meant to Live" by Emily Freeman
"An Amish Garden" by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, & Vannetta    Chapman
"A Light in the Darkness" by Staci Stallings
"A Place to Call Home"  by Merrillee Whren


"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver
"At The Edge of a Dark Forest"  by Connie Almony
"Lucy's Mansion" by Deanne Durrett
"An April Bride" by Lenora Worth


"The Queen's Handmaid" by Tracey L. Higley
"The Heart's Pursuit" by Robin Lee Hatcher
"Bluebonnet Bride"  by Colleen Coble
"The Midwife" by Jolina Petersheim
"A Lady's Honor" by Laurie Allice Eakes
"Unfailing Love:  Psalms in the Key of my Life Volume II: Psalms 51-100" by Carol Shelton Moye
"A May Bride" by Meg Moseley
"Amish Forever" by Kate Lloyd
"Huckleberry Summer" by Jennifer Beckstrand


"Isn't it Time for a Coffee Break?" by Amelia Rhodes
"It Had to be You" by Susan May Warren

 "The Amish Blacksmith" by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner

"Four Weddings and a Kiss" by Robin Lee Hatcher, 
"A June Bride" by Marybeth Whalen
"When I Fall in Love" by Susan May Warren


"A July Bride" By Beth Wiseman
"Grace for the Good Girl" (part one) by Emily Freeman

"Whisper if You Have To" by Staci Stallings
"Lainey Sparks" by Laura J. Marshall
"An August Bride" by Debra Clopton

"Prelude for a Lord" by Camille Elliot
"Evergreen" by Susan May Warren
"The Perfect Blend" By Deanne Durrett
"A September Bride" by Kathryn Springer

"Palace of Darkness" by Tracey L. Higley
"Grace for the Good Girl" (parts 2 & 3) by Emily Freeman
"An October Bride" by Katie Ganshert
"Smitten Book Club" by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter
"An Amish Christmas Quilt" by Charlotte Hubbard, Kelly Long, and Jennifer Beckstrand

"Honor" by Lyn Cote
"Huckleberry Christmas" by Jennifer Beckstrand
"Courting Emily"  by Amy Lillard
"Handcarved Christmas" by Cynthia Hickey
"A November Bride" by Beth K. Vogt
"Sadie's Gift" by Niki Turner

"The Princess Spy" by Melanie Dickerson
"Love at Mistletoe Inn" by Cindy Kirk
"Always on my Mind" by Susan May Warren

Book Review: "Sadie's Gift" by Niki Turner

I won a copy of "Sadie's Gift" from Overcoming With God and was gifted a Kindle copy from Carrie Pagels.  

"Sadie's Gift" is set in 1921 Colorado Springs.   Sadie Hubbard is a nurse in the Preventorium for children who have been exposed to Tuberculosis.  Her heart is burdened for their happiness, especially as Christmas draws near.  As she sets out to make sure they have their share of Christmas joy, she inadvertently causes Nathan Wells to have an accident.  He angrily demands she pay for the repairs, which adds more for her to worry about.  As their plans for Christmas are suddenly thrown together, will they find a way to move past the hurts they both carry to find their own Christmas joy?

Sadie's Gift covered a topic that I was not very familiar with--TB.  I did not realize that they had Preventoriums for those who were most at risk for contracting TB.  I think that Niki Turner did a good job in covering the topic and both Sadie's and Nathan's reactions to the disease.  The characters were real and had pains and heartaches that they needed to deal with.  Sadie had a quiet strength that others relied on.

It was a fun, quick read that I would recommend to others who like Inspirational romances.

Sadie's Gift is available for Kindle:
  • File Size: 4295 KB
  • Print Length: 61 pages
  • Publisher: Grass Valley Publications (August 31, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N73HEV0

Book Review: "Yuletide Ice Cube Fair" by Karen Poth

"Yuletide Ice Cube Fair" by Karen Poth is a VeggieTales book.  It has all the characters and crazy antics that you've come to know and love from the VeggieTale movies.  It is told as a fable or legend of what happened long ago when the town held their Yuletide Ice Cube Fair.  My kids laughed as each entry was revealed in the ice sculpting contest of what Christmas meant to each character.  We enjoyed the colorful artwork and the message of the book of what Christmas truly means --  Jesus' birth.

The book is written in rhyme which keeps the pace of the story going and the kids engaged in the words.

The recommended age range of the book is 4-8 years, although I think younger kids would enjoy having the story read to them as well, especially when they are familiar with Bob and Larry and the rest.

You can purchase "Yuletide Ice Cube Fair" in paperback

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Series: Big Idea Books / VeggieTales
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031074623X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310746232
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 8 inches

I received a free papaerback from ZonderKidz for me to review through their ZBlogSquad.  All the opinions are my own honest thoughts.

Book Review: "The Christmas Story for Children" by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill

"The Christmas Story for Children" by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill is a nice version of the Christmas story.  I like how it starts out telling about the promised Messiah that the Jews were waiting for and how when the time was right, God provided special people to welcome His Son.  The subject of the virgin birth is covered in a way that young children will understand ("How can this be, I'm not married yet.")  This story covers how an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him that the Holy Spirit caused Mary to be pregnant.  There was the usual trip to Bethlehem on a donkey and the inn keepers telling them there is no room in the inn.  As is also usual, Mary gave birth the night they arrived in Bethlehem (see my pet peeves about Nativity stories here)  I liked the angels that appeared to the shepherds and how their wings were almost invisible (and were clearly male).  This book doesn't cover the wise men coming at all.  One thing I really liked about "The Christmas Story for Children" was that it covered Jesus' baptism and the beginning of his earthly ministry. The artwork in the book is very colorful and clear.  They look like watercolor paintings. ;One picture that I did not like was when Jesus was being baptized, it has him only mostly submerged with John pouring water on His face.  There is also a LOT of curlicues.  It made the sheep look more like goats with the long curly fur.

"The Christmas Story for Children" is available in paperback:
  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031073598X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310735984
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.1 x 11 inches

I received a free paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own..

Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: "The First Christmas Ever" by Dennis Jones

"The First Christmas Ever" is taken from the Read With Me Bible with illustrations by Dennis Jones.

The pictures are bright and colorful and reminiscent of a comic book with skinny arms and legs and big chiseled jaws for the guys.  They looked familiar to me and then I realized that Dennis Jones had done the illustrations for the NIrV Super Hero Bible I'd reviewed before!  

Overall, I thought the book was a cute book for young children.  I tend to have some pet peeves about books of the First Christmas.  
  • Jesus was born the night that they arrived in Bethlehem (I'm thinking that they were there for awhile before he was born as it would have been difficult for Mary to travel at full term)
  • Angels portrayed as females
  • Shepherds seeing the "Natal Star"
  • Wise Men visiting Jesus in the manger
And these don't include the "we don't know" factors of how they traveled to Bethlehem (usually portrayed as Mary riding a donkey), what the inn keeper said, how many wise men there were (portrayed as 3), etc.

This book has 2 of my pet peeves, those of Jesus being born the night they arrived (I've never seen a book that didn't show this) and the shepherds seeing the star.  I am very glad that it does at least show the wise men visiting when Jesus is a young child as that is what the Bible says.  

These things didn't keep me from reading the book to my kids, but I did discuss the things that differed from the Bible.

"The First Christmas Ever" is available in paperback:

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310740835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310740834
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.1 x 7.5 inches

I received a free paperback copy of this book from the ZBlogSquad in exchange for my honest opinion.

School Christmas Parties

I helped with the 3 oldest kids' class Christmas parties (Andy's class watched a movie and didn't want helpers).




School Christmas Program

The boys had their music program this month (the girls will be in the spring).

Andy's group-Pictures:

Movies of Andy's group:

Will's group-pictures:

Movies of Will's group:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

As usual, we let the kids do their stockings and a small gift on Christmas Eve.

This was the weather we had on Christmas Eve!  And it documents the gas price at the time! 

Family Christmas:

From Andy:

From Will:

From Emily:

From Sarah:

Family Gifts:

From Mom and Dad:

Andy got his full sized Bible this year since he's in Kindergarten ☺

From Dan

From me

Tile that Will made

Mace that the boys made for Emily (not sure why!)

The girls have had "Raggedy Andy" on their wish lists for years.  I finally got some made for them.
They got to pick the color of yarn for the hair (hence the reason they're bald in the picture!)
 More Family Gifts:

The kids have been playing the Minecraft Demo on the PS4 and have been wanting the full version, so we surprised them with it for Christmas.  It took a while to sink in that it was what Will opened.  It would have been cute to have on video, but I have to make do with the short series of pictures I got:

A minecraft video?

No?  What is it?

Oh!  It's the full version of Minecraft!!

My poinsettia did have a few red leaves for Christmas!  They look so sad compared to when I brought them inside in October! 

Extended Family Christmas:

We gathered in our church's Fellowship Hall which made it really nice!

Our family

My sister's family

My brother's family

My mom and dad

Grandpa reading Luke 2

Our lights on the house (no flash)

Our lights on the house (with flash) And, yes, that is green grass and NO snow!!