Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Wrap-Up

As near as I can tell, I read and reviewed 74 books in 2014. Of those, 2 were DNF. That's the least amount of books read since I've been reviewing. Even the year I had major surgery I read more. I had quite a few gaps in reading for different reasons.  It will be interesting to see what 2015 brings.

Some of my favorites this year:

These two are my top books for the year.

Tim Crachit's Christmas Carol

A Beauty So Rare
Singing to a Bulldog

Where Treetops Glisten
Simple Faith

Lost Lake

A Bouquet of Love
The Nightingale Girls

Some not so favorites. The list is short this year!:

Beyond Coincidence
The Imaginary Life

What about you?  Any favorites?  No so favorites?

Thanks for stopping by this past year. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Here's to a fantastic 2015 and many more good book discoveries!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

He is the Gift

The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift given by a father to all his children, to us. He gave us His son, the Christ. He is the gift.

Merry Christmas!

Have a joyful and blessed holiday.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekend Reflections 12/20

Looking outside....it's rainy and gray.

Listening...it's quiet. The Doctor is at work, The Artist is on the computer and The Boy has gone to the hospital to turn in the 24 hour heart monitor he finished wearing.

Loving...my boys. They aren't perfect, but they are amazing. They're patient with their little cousins most of the time, they love their Mom and they show it. I am blessed. 

Thinking...that it's been an incredibly challenging week.  I am emotionally and physically spent. 

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now and I have no idea about dinner tonight. That takes too much effort to think about right now.

Wearing...red penguin pajamas and a black turtleneck.

Needing...to clean out my pantry. I thought I smelled a rotten potato last night, but when I went looking, I found a flattened, dead mouse. I have no idea how or when he arrived and I have seen no signs anywhere else in the house. 
Not the greatest end to a difficult and challenging week.

Reading...No idea. I haven't picked up a book for three weeks.

some much needed family time.

Hoping...for for a quiet weekend where we can all recoup and be ready to enjoy Christmas next week.

Planning...I still need to get gifts wrapped and pick up some stocking stuffers. 

Gratitude...for medical professionals. For a nurse 16 years ago, who noticed my newborn son's color wasn't good and suspected a heart problem; an observation that ultimately saved his life. For pediatric cardiologists who look after his health and who care and support and encourage. For a doctor husband, who can understand a situation and reassure me. For that strong, handsome son who is such a joy to me.

From my world... 


What about you? What are you reflecting on? How has your week gone?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Angels We Have Heard on High

This is beautiful. Please take a moment to listen to it. I love The Piano Guys and this version of Angels We Have Heard on High is gorgeous. I absolutely adored the live nativity, too!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mailbox Monday 12/15

It's time for another Mailbox Monday which was created by Marcia at To Be Continued.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week... Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish list

My mailbox has been kind of sporadic over the last couple of weeks, but here is what has shown up.

Love Gently Falling by Melody Carlson, for review from Hatchette Book Group
A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor, for review from TLC Book Tours

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund, for review from Bethany House
God Doesn't Write with a Pen by Christi Pauline, for review from the author

The Wealth of Jamestown by Barbara N. McLennan, via Netgalley
Saving Jimani: Life and Death in the Haiti Earthquake by Rene Steinhauer, RN, for review via Netgalley

What about you?

What new books did you receive?  Check out more Mailbox Monday posts here.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weekend Reflections 12/13

Looking outside....it's sunny, but cold. But, when the sun is shining, I don't care how cold it is!

Listening...it's quiet. The Doctor is at work and the boys are just getting up.

Loving...that my Christmas shopping is done. I just need it all to arrive so it can be wrapped.

Thinking...that the new bifocals aren't working and will need to be returned. When I wear them, I get angry and swear, I have headaches and get nauseous. I do like the bifocal contacts though.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now and my early family birthday dinner at my Mom's tonight.

Wearing...red penguin pajamas, a black turtleneck and red and white striped fuzzy socks.

Needing...to do a load of laundry and take some time with The Brother to get his room cleaned.

Reading...No idea. I need to start a new one. It's been a slow couple of weeks for reading.

Today...odds and ends and family time.

Hoping...the Doctor won't have to work long this morning. 

Planning...to attend a live nativity with all the family after my early birthday dinner. We did that a couple of years ago and my boys loved walking through the replica of Bethlehem, the inn, the stable. It was such a great way to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and it was all at the level of children. I think my nieces will really enjoy it this year. 

Gratitude...for a teenage boy who decided he wanted to learn to play the violin, has diligently worked and practiced and who performed amazingly well at his first recital after only 2 1/2 months of lessons.

From my world... 

Shiny! The newest addition to our Christmas tree this year. 

This post was shared at 2 Kids and Tired Cooks

Friday, December 12, 2014

A boy reading

Niño Leyendo by Lucie Geffré born 1976 in Bordeaux, France living in Madrid, Spain


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Little Things Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day...Review

About the book:
What it is your fondest childhood memory?

​As digital devices take over family life in subtle and seductive ways, what will happen to child development and childhood memories?

You may remember taking adventurous bike rides, playing Monopoly, or building a birdhouse with a parent. Today’s children, however, are more likely to have stronger recollections of their iPads and cellphones. They spend more time with screens than they do at school or with their parents.

Susan Newman, Ph.D., social psychologist and author of 15 books in the family relationships field, just released an updated edition of her 1993 bestseller, Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day. She asks your audience to take a trip down memory lane to understand the developmental risks of “screens” and why most families need a “digital detox.”

Think it adorable when a 4-year-old masters a tablet before she can dress herself? Think again. “In some families, technology has become a parenting tool,” she says and notes, “Devices, not necessarily siblings, are competition for parents’ time. But, there is no substitute for parental time and attention in terms of a child’s development whatever a child’s age.”

Newman’s “little things” can be incorporated into family life without busy parents feeling as if they need to constantly entertain or occupy their children, or spend money they do not have. Divided into convenient time​ f​rames, the activities in Little Things Long Remembered range from simple gestures, to a minute or two, a half hour, over the weekend, and every holiday—big and small; from Valentine’s Day through New Year’s. Each is designed to feed a child’s memory bank and encourage a basic appreciation for interacting and learning outside of the mesmerizing glitz of electronic screens.

The ideas underscore findings from a recent Harvard study: Don’t underestimate the impact of the mundane things you do with your children, especially things that seem commonplace or unexciting. Over time, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

While I am not one who feels the need to manufacture memories or experiences for my children, I did like this little gem of a book. It made me reflect on the things I already do with my children more than anything else. The book is full of little suggested activities or gestures that you can do to make a memory and strengthen a parent/child relationship. Ideas like, "attend the same fair or carnival every year" or  "pitch a tent in your own backyard" and "write a short letter to your children each year on their birthday". There are sections with suggestions for things you can do when you're away from each other, or when you have 5 minutes or less.

Much of the book is really just common sense and you'll probably find that you already do or have done many of these suggestions. However, it's always nice to be reassured that you're doing a great job as a parent.

The book is short and would be a great little gift or stocking stuffer for someone.

Thanks to Laura with iRead Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Susan Newman here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 12/14

* * * **
5/5 Stars