What I read in December

What I read this month

Happy New Year!! I can’t believe Christmas is over, let alone that it is a new year already. :sigh: Fall is my favorite time of year and now I have to wait forever for it to come around again.. Alas, I have high hopes that 2017 is going to be a great year! 🙂 Did you make your Goodreads goal this year?? I passed mine by quite a bit, I was surprised! I don’t think I will up it this year, because who knows, we may get a placement or something and I won’t have as much time to read. We will see! Well, let’s get with it! Here is what I read in December! I would love to know your favorite books of 2016!!


The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas – Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.When Celaena’s scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes–and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches–and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . .A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling–and deadly–world.Included in this volume: “The Assassin and the Pirate Lord””The Assassin and the Healer””The Assassin and the Desert””The Assassin and the Underworld””The Assassin and the Empire”

What I thought: We all read this for the kids book club book. It was kind of odd having a bunch of shorter stories mixed in, but I think it worked. They were well written and got our attention!


Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty – ix responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

What I thought: Well, it was definitely interesting, in a weird way. It was a little all over the place, but sometimes that is just how the characters are, or how the writer is…I guess it worked. I liked it. I guess I am surprised that SO many people loved this book though…


Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand – Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor?

What I thought: Hmm, another pretty random book…lol. I liked it well enough, but the whole thing seemed kinda pointless in a way. It took me ages to read through…and was glad to have it finished.


I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella – Lisa and Francesca are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This six book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron. Delia Ephron said of the fifth book in the series, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, “Lisa and Francesca, mother and daughter, bring you the laughter of their lives once again and better than ever. You will identify with these tales of guilt and fall in love with them and fierce (grand) Mother Mary.” This seventh volume will not disappoint as it hits the humorous and poignant note that fans have come to expect from the beloved mother-daughter duo.

What I thought: As much as I like Lisa Scottline for her mystery novels, I am so happy that I like the more humorous stuff. I wish I could be her friend..lol. I love the mother daughter stories and how well they mesh together. Good short stories that are an easy read…

So, that’s what I read in December. It was pretty lackluster for me, but I was happy to end it on a happy note. I did finish one one book already this year and I loved it, so that’s a great start to the year! You will have to read next month to see what that is… 😉


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My 2016 in seconds every day

My 2016 in seconds every day

As most of you know if you follow me on Instagram, I do a daily picture of the day. I follow a prompt given by a group on there and find something throughout the day that goes with that word. I love it because it gets me taking pictures of things that I normally wouldn’t take a picture of sometimes. For 2016 I decided to do a little video. One second of every day of the year. Mostly just daily life, things around the house, nothing fancy. I want to look back on it down the road and just remember how life was. Sometimes these little clips show more than a picture could, and vice versa. So, that is why I am going to continue both into 2017. Does anyone else do either of these? If you are curious, here is my 2016 in seconds every day.

I love the silly thumbnail they picked out, I mean, come on now, lol. Our lives are pretty easy going and revolve a lot with our birds and other animals. I think this little video portrays that pretty well!

I also love the show of seasons a little bit. I am hoping we get snow this year, just for some variety in my little seconds! Or maybe another beach trip. Or…goodness, who knows! I do think that 2017 is going to be an interesting ride. So many possibilities at this point! It’s rather exciting and we are curious as to how it will go!

My favorite part is when I load up the Timehop app and it shows what happened on that day in the past with my pictures. I can nod my head and remember it exactly! And with the little video clips I can sometimes hear a voice or song in the background, something that will bring me back to that place also!

Please let me know if you are doing a picture of the day on instagram or the one second a day thing! I’d love to follow your journey if you post them!


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3 Seeds by Chara Games {Review}

A while back I did a review for a board game from Chara Games called Commissioned. You can read that here if you’d like… In the review I mentioned that they were coming out with another game called 3 Seeds, and sure enough they did! I was very happy to get this game as I think they have great products!
3 Seeds by Chara Games
With Commissioned, that was a pretty involved game that took a while to set up, had a pretty thorough set up time and play time was on the longer side. With 3 Seeds, it is a card game and there aren’t that many pieces in the little box at all!

We opened the box and followed the set up directions as given. There is even a suggested layout that we pretty much adhered to once we saw that. I will admit, I thought it would be easier to figure this game out since it was a card game, but there is also strategy involved, so it takes a little bit to figure out how to play.

We watched the gameplay video on the website and that definitely helped. Some of the kids were unsure of exactly what they were doing still, but we decided to just try it and see what happened. That is usually how we learn to play games anyway, ha!
3 Seeds by Chara GamesWhat you see in the picture is basically all of the stuff that comes in the box. Mostly cards, a scorecard, directions, and some scoring pieces. That’s it! Very little set up at all, mostly just separating the cards, which if you put them away nicely, they are already done. Setup takes just minutes once you do it the first time.

Everyone basically has a set up like this one in front of them. The cards are different for each person so the game is different every time. The phrase for the game is Reap where you sow, and that is basically the theme of the game as well. When it is your turn you have to figure out where you are going to play your cards: Time, Money or Labor. You can play them on your card, or any other game members cards.

This is where the strategy comes in.. If you time it right, it could be great…but if you time it bad, you could give your neighbor the opportunity to win. It doesn’t even stop there! Some of the other cards are in play as well in the game, and after, so as you are adding up points, you may be surprised at who the winner is!
3 Seeds by Chara GamesAll in all, I was very surprised that this small little card game had as much strategy as it did. Everyone that was playing was having a great time as we were playing.

Like Commissioned, it is a Christian game, but there isn’t really much in the way of Christianity in 3 Seeds as much as the other one. I do like the general idea of the game though. You can purchase it on Amazon for around $18. I think that is a great price…

I am going to keep my eye out for future games released by this company, I think they have a good thing going! 🙂

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What I read in November

It is December 1st!! I can NOT believe that. This year has gone extremely fast. I guess since it is my birthday month it just seems exceptionally fast as I feel that I *just had a birthday. Ah well. I am already at 80 books read for 2016. I am contemplating on what I should set my goal for next year… If we have a foster placement I may not have as much time to read. I might just keep it the same as I had it for this year. Anyway, here is what I read in November. 🙂


The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss – Following a wild and raging storm, the Swiss family Robinson are stranded at sea. But the thundering waves have swept them off to a tropical island, where a new life awaits them. Their ship is laden with supplies and the island is packed with treasures, so they soon adapt and discover new dangers and delights every day . . .

What I thought – Well, first of all, I can’t believe that I hadn’t read this book before! But I really enjoyed it! Pretty sure that if you or I were to have the same misfortune, we wouldn’t be so lucky, but you never know, lol.


A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison – The summer before college, Hannah swears she’s finally going to find The One. And for five perfect minutes, Hannah does find him. He’s cute and makes her laugh like crazy. She just wishes she’d caught his name, because Toilet Boy Cinderella really lacks sex appeal.

For Sam, the summer is off to a bad start for a million reasons. But for five minutes his luck changes: in a fancy restroom painted purple like it belongs in a Bond villain hideaway, Sam falls head over heels for some strange and hilarious girl. Of course, he doesn’t know her name. With his luck, he’ll never see her again, and he’ll remain a girlfriendless, moony-eyed virgin. Forever.

But another chance meeting brings them together, only to have a chance misunderstanding drive them apart . . . and then the cycle starts all over again. Madcap mishaps, raunchy hilarity, and deep romance follow these two wherever they go. For two people so clearly destined for each other, they sure have a hell of a lot of trouble even getting together.

What I thought – This was a pretty cute book. Girl and guy meet, have a sort of Cinderalla situation going on, finally see each other again. It’s cute. 🙂


Lord of the Flies by William Golding – When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole survivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.

The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.

What I thought – First of all, I am glad that I hadn’t read this before…or had to read it in school. I just didn’t like it at all. Blah. 😛


The Memory Book by Lara Avery – They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.

What I thought – I really enjoyed this book. It was wonderfully done in my opinion. I don’t know how I would feel knowing that my memories would soon start going away like that. I guess I would want to keep a book going too, or something!


The Last Time She Saw Him by Jane Haseldine – Julia Gooden remembers nothing about the worst night of her life. Thirty years ago, her nine-year-old brother Ben—the person who promised he would always protect her—was abducted from the room they shared. Try as she might to recall any clue or detail, there is a black hole where Julia’s memories of that terrible event should be.

Now a crime reporter at a Detroit newspaper, Julia tries to give others the closure she’s never found. But guilt and grief over Ben’s disappearance have left her fearful that whoever took her brother is going to come back. Nowhere seems safe—not the city, not the suburbs, not even the secluded lake town where she plans to raise her children. And then, on the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, Julia’s worst fears are realized when her two-year-old son, Will, is snatched from his bed.

Convinced that the crimes are related, Julia tries to piece together memories from her final day with Ben. Are the sudden reminders of her brother clues that will lead her to her son’s abductor, or merely coincidence? Julia knows she has hours at best to find Will alive, but the deeper she digs, the more personal and terrifying the battle becomes, and an undying promise may be her only hope of saving herself and her son.

What I thought – Again, another book that I enjoyed! This had me reading as fast as I could to find out what happens next and next and next. I thought this was done well for sure!


Saving Red by Sonya Sones – My name is Molly. This book is about me.

I’m probably the guiltiest person who ever lived. But I’m not ready to talk about that yet. I may never be ready…

This book is about Pixel too, my almost human dog. And about Cristo, my possible future boyfriend.

Mostly, though, it’s about Red, the homeless girl I met in the part one night. She’s a few years older than me—reckless and wild and more fun than anyone.

But if Red’s survived on the streets these last few months, it’s only been ‘cause of dumb luck. And that luck might run out any second now.

That’s why I’ve made it my mission to get her back to her family. Though it’s hard to save someone when they don’t really want to be saved…

What I thought – This book was definitely interesting. It was a very fast read as it was written in more of a prose form. I was flipping pages pretty quickly. It was done well though. You still got to know the main character and feel involved in the story even though there were less words telling it.


Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst – From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dogs of Babel, a taut, emotionally wrenching story of how a seemingly “normal” family could become desperate enough to leave everything behind and move to a “family camp” in New Hampshire–a life-changing experience that alters them forever.

How far will a mother go to save her family? The Hammond family is living in DC, where everything seems to be going just fine, until it becomes clear that the oldest daughter, Tilly, is developing abnormally–a mix of off-the-charts genius and social incompetence. Once Tilly–whose condition is deemed undiagnosable–is kicked out of the last school in the area, her mother Alexandra is out of ideas. The family turns to Camp Harmony and the wisdom of child behavior guru Scott Bean for a solution. But what they discover in the woods of New Hampshire will push them to the very limit. Told from the alternating perspectives of both Alexandra and her younger daughter Iris (the book’s Nick Carraway), this is a unputdownable story about the strength of love, the bonds of family, and how you survive the unthinkable.

What I thought – This was a different book for me for some reason, maybe the plot.. It kept my interest though and thought it was a good story.

Well, that’s what I read in November. I have another stack of books here to read that have come in the mail and such, but I am also going to the library this weekend, so we will see what I end up with. But I will always take suggestions on books!! 🙂 Let me know your recent favorites!

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Thursday Things..

I don’t remember if I have ever done a Thursday Things on Thanksgiving before or not, but I figured it was a good thing to do! It’s been a somewhat interesting week and feel like it is a good time to look back on what I thought was good about this week. So a Thanksgiving Thursday Things..

Image result for oxiclean

Ryan had his ear thing happen again after ages of it being normal, and blood got over everything. A fellow blogger swears by OxiClean, so I had bought some a few weeks ago. It definitely came in handy! We soaked his clothes and washed them and you can’t see anything! Woohoo!!


Our week went a little wonky and we put off getting a turkey. We were going to go to Trader Joe’s and it just didn’t happen. So, here we were yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving, and still didn’t have a turkey. Or anything Thanksgiving related except for some cranberries. Oops. So we ran out to Boston Market, which was like almost an hour away, and it was right next to a Trader Joe’s. They were out of turkey. Of course. Thankfully I had the Redperks thing that moved to Cartwheel at Target and I had a free turkey waiting for me. And luckily they had fresh turkeys…lol.

Image result for raising hope

I have been working on our yearbook pictures for our homeschoool group and there are over 100 kids. I have finished a few different shows while working on these and wasn’t sure what to watch next. I perused Netflix and saw this show on there. I hadn’t ever heard of Raising Hope before. So after watching an episode of The Crown I flipped this on. It is so funny…and easy to edit to. Nothing that I need to concentrate on. Even Jeffy likes it when he catches it on. 🙂


I have been eating more salads lately. I have tried some from all sorts of stores. I definitely have some favorites! But of course I went through the chick fil a drive through last week and ordered their grilled market salad. So good. Probably not as healthy as the other ones I have been having, but definitely tasty. 🙂

I thought this was so cute how it played out. I know I usually put a song here, but I just wasn’t feeling the music this week. Everyone is playing Christmas music and I am just not ready…lol.

So, that’s my Thursday Things for this week! Hope you have had a great week! Let me know what you liked about it!!

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Commissioned by Chara Games {Review}

One thing we enjoy doing as a family is playing board games. In fact, on our school shelves along with our books you can find all sorts of board games stacked in between. They come in handy when we need a break or just when we want to have a little fun! We recently tried out a board game from Chara Games called Commissioned.

Commissioned {Chara Games}
One of our favorite boards games that we have played for a while is more of a cooperative game, where there isn’t really a competition, but all the players either win or lose. That is how Commissioned is which was exciting for us because there aren’t that many choices on the market for games like that!

We took it out of the box and I was impressed with the quality of the game pieces! The cards were thick which makes them harder to bend. Even the box was thick. I was very impressed with the quality. There was only one sheet of things that you had to punch out and they came out easily, and didn’t catch and tear like some other games have done.

The night that we all decided to play, I made sure that everyone had looked at the directions and other included information before we started. The game is suggested for 14 and older which made so much sense now that we have tried playing! But just reading the directions had us second guessing a few things and so we made sure to watch the informative video that goes through an example show of a couple turns in the game.

Commissioned by Chara games

The game took a little bit to set up, and it changes every time you play, depending on the amount of players and also the game that you choose to play. So you need to make sure that you set the game up correctly. We followed the directions for the suggested first time playing and it was easy to follow. I think after doing it once that it would be easier to figure out on each subsequent game started.

Commissioned by Chara games

Even with reading the rules and watching the video, we messed up one part of the game the first time we played. We were wondering why our games were going away so quickly, but realized that we didn’t play one round correctly. It mentioned that we had to repeat a certain part three times, but we thought it was a different part. Once we caught on, it made much more sense and we felt silly for messing that up. Ah well, happens to the best of us…hehehe.

Commissioned by Chara games

It didn’t take long for us to get into the routine of the game once we figured everything out and played it correctly. We started laughing and getting into it and had a great time! Although the game is Biblical in nature, you don’t need to know anything about the Bible in order to play. It is just a themed game that you can win together with a little thought process and maybe a little luck. 😉 The whole goal is to get churches in each city on the board. We have made quite a few attempts but haven’t won yet. I just know we will win the next time we play though..We’ve got a system. Well, at least I think we do..ha!

They have another game that is coming out just in time for the holidays and it is called 3 Seeds. I am excited to try that when it comes out too! That one is a card game and it does have just one winner. I enjoy this company and their new games. Even though they are from a Christian standpoint, you don’t need to know anything about it in order to play or win. It is a great idea to play with all sorts of people! But definitely a little older for the Commissioned game! It can be tricky!

If you want to hear what others had to say about their time playing Commissioned, feel free to click the banner below!

Commissioned {Chara Games}

Commissioned by Chara Games

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Thursday Things

Soooo, it is November and I realized that I haven’t done a Thursday Things in quite a while! I’m sure there are so many things that I could pick, but I will stick with my normal five things! I always love looking back at these and the things I have liked in the past. Let’s get right to it then!

Image result for natalie's strawberry lemonade

I have always liked strawberry lemonade..especially fresh with strawberry puree. I know I can’t always have that but I found this at the store the other day when Jeffy and I decided to have dinner there. It has just basic ingredients. It is two servings though and quite a bit of sugar..but pretty tasty!

Image result for bj's restaurant

I am so so so excited about this.. We were going to drive 3-4 hours to go to BJ’s and I went to Google map it and one popped up an hour away.. What!?! Yes, one opened up within the last month only an hour away! We went right away and had our pizza and pizookie!! 😀

operation christmas child

My friend invited me to pack up boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We took the family and we were done in no time! There were more added to the pile as well! I am hoping that they put smiles on the kids faces! 🙂

friends silly pic

I found this pic and I just laughed and laughed. I shared it on facebook and everyone just thought it was too weird and didn’t like it, lol. But the more I look at it, the more I love it. Maybe I am just weird…haha!

Ahhh, have you seen this!?! I watched it and then lost it and thankfully someone linked it on facebook again so I could include this here. It is so cute, I always love these little Pixar shorts. The faces are always so cute. 🙂

So, those are five things that made me happy this past week! What are some things that made you happy this week?

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Christmas Comes to America from Homeschool Legacy {Review}

Y’all know that I love love love unit studies! With our schedule so crazy with Ryan’s college classes, we just haven’t been able to do as many this year as we normally do. So…I was excited to be able to use a Once-a-Week Unit Study from Homeschool Legacy. They have numerous titles of unit studies, but the one we did was Christmas Comes to America which is all about Christmas!

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

The weather had finally started cooling off when we started this, so it was perfect! I am not normally one to rush through fall, as it is my favorite season, but since this was school related, I figured it was ok. Plus, it gave us an excuse to start thinking about what we are going to do around Christmas!

It is mentioned in the welcome letter that came with the downloadable PDF that this particular unit study is a little less intensive than other titles, because we all know how busy the holiday season is! I love that, because it is so true! And since we take the fall off school, it doesn’t feel like so much ‘school’ but more fun. One reason I love unit studies so much!

Included is also a suggested schedule to work in your unit study. I would have loved to follow that, but with Ryan’s schedule, it just wasn’t possible. So, our biggest study days were on Wednesdays and Fridays, which was fine since that allowed us to have more time and we weren’t rushed. But it is a great schedule that is included and it allows time for fieldtrips and other excursions.

The unit studies are geared to a wide variety of ages so the whole family can do them together. That is noticed in the book title lists.. There are some listed for non-readers as well as for kids that do read. Since it goes all the way up to grade 12, there is a large selection of books! It is very book intensive though, so make sure you follow the suggestions! It will let you know what is necessary vs what is a suggestion. There are also suggestions for books, videos and music. What I love about Homeschool Legacy is that their book lists are set up so that you can easily find these things in the library.

This Christmas Comes to America unit study is broken down into four weeks, four topics. The first one is The Dutch! This week talks about the origin of Santa Claus, so keep that in mind if you have little ones. There are Bible verses in the family devotional section for this week, a supply list, and it also suggests you start collecting Christmas Trivia for a family game at the end of the study.

So many things are covered this week, History, Geography, Language, Traditions/Culture, Life Skills/Gift Giving, and music. There are also tips on research, fieldtrips and movie nights! Now, one of the activities this first week was to make hot chocolate and marshmallows for gifts! Totally a favorite with my kids. We usually just get pre-packaged hot chocolate, so this was fun. Even though it was made with Nesquik, it just had a more homemade flavor to it. The marshmallows we very interesting, I had always wanted to try to make some! We made an evening out of sampling it all outside…with some added muffins, because why not?


Week two was The English, week three was The Germans, and week four was An American Christmas. All were very informative and full of activities to go along with that week!

Towards the end of the unit study there are some extra trivia questions to add to the ones you collected so you could play the family trivia game. There are also some More Fun Christmas Ideas listed that will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit as they are all wonderful suggestions.

One of the suggestions made me laugh… It said if you lived near Western North Carolina to go to Old Salem and try some Moravian Cookies and/or go to Grove Park Inn’s Gingerbread House Competition. We have been to both places and love them! We barely missed the Gingerbread House Competition when we went, as they were just started to get ready for Christmas. Maybe this year… 😉 Hey, it’s school!! hehe…

Even with a ‘lightened’ unit study, there is still so much to learn in this Christmas themed one. All of the others are a little more in depth but with good reason! If you use any four life science or history-based unit studies will provide your students with the material necessary for a full course credit in those subjects. You can also earn Boy Scout and American Heritage Girl badge requirements doing these studies!

These are such an easy way to ‘try out’ unit studies too, if you have never done one but were interested! If you want to check out what unit studies others used, feel free to click the link below! Another great one is Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims, what with Thanksgiving coming this month and all. There is still time to get that one and work through it!! 🙂

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

Christmas Comes to America from Homeschool Legacy

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What I read in October

Ok, this year is just going wayyyy too fast, do you feel that way too? I didn’t get to enjoy my October as much as I like to, so maybe that is part of it. I’m really hoping that November is a tad slower. Jeffy has two weeks of travel left and then nothing for the rest of the year…hopefully. I’m just not ready for January to come… I am wondering how many books I will read the rest of the year since I have already passed my Goodreads goal! Anyway, here is what I read in October!


The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis – The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family–and addressing their special needs–requires care, consideration, and compassion.

Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, “The Connected Child” will help you: Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened.

What I thought: This was recommended by so many people that I thought I should just go ahead and read it. I thought there was a lot of good information that would be helpful for all families, not just adoptive families…the beginning was slightly repetitive, but there’s a point to that…


Enclave by Ann Aguirre – New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters–or Freaks–who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight–guided by Fade’s long-ago memories–in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Ann Aguirre’s thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world–facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

What I thought – I thought this was a different take on the whole dystopia style books, but it had some similarities to others I have read. Good combo I guess, lol. I enjoyed the characters and was curious as to where the story was going to go. I could see reading the next one…


People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper – Everything was fine fourteen years after she left New York.

Until suddenly, one day, it wasn’t.

Emily Morris got her happily-ever-after earlier than most. Married at a young age to a man she loved passionately, she was building the life she always wanted. But when enormous stress threatened her marriage, Emily made some rash decisions. That’s when she fell in love with someone else. That’s when she got pregnant.

Resolved to tell her husband of the affair and to leave him for the father of her child, Emily’s plans are thwarted when the world is suddenly split open on 9/11. It’s amid terrible tragedy that she finds her freedom, as she leaves New York City to start a new life. It’s not easy, but Emily—now Connie Prynneforges a new happily-ever-after in California. But when a life-threatening diagnosis upends her life, she is forced to rethink her life for the good of her thirteen-year-old daughter.

A riveting debut in which a woman must confront her own past in order to secure the future of her daughter, Kim Hooper’s People Who Knew Me asks: “What would you do?”

What I thought – I was fascinated at this story. I thought it unbelievable but then I thought maybe it was believable after all! I kept reading and it went in ways that I wasn’t expecting. The ending could have been a little better, but I liked it overall!


Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn – Make a wish…

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

What I thought – This was a fun book to read. Kinda silly.. I liked it for a quick read. I wasn’t expecting the book to be the way it was, but it was enjoyable.


Lost On a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler as told to Joseph B Egan – Based on the true account of a boy’s harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains, Lost on a Mountain in Maine is a gripping survival story for all ages.

Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his Boy Scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, a minute is all it takes. After hours of trying to find his way back, a nervous and tired Donn falls down an embankment, making it impossible for him to be found. One sleepless night goes by, followed by a second . . . and before Donn knows it, almost two weeks have passed, leaving him starving, scared, and delirious.

With rainstorms, black bears, and his fear of being lost forever, Donn’s journey is a physically, mentally, and emotionally charged story told from the point of view of the boy who lived it.

What I thought – This was a great story of a boy lost in the woods. It was hard to know that it was a true story. There wasn’t much ‘feeling’ in the story, but it told a lot of what was going on. I would like to know more about how much he was feeling or something more personal. I can’t imagine being that young and in that position though…


Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake – Jill Lassiter’s three-year-old daughter disappears from a playground only to return after 40 frantic minutes, but her mother’s relief is short-lived–there’s a tiny puncture mark on Sophia’s arm. When doctors can find no trace of drugs in her system, Jill accepts she’ll never know what happened, but at least her child is safe.

Except Sophia isn’t. Someone is watching the Lassiter home in an affluent Pennsylvania suburb, infiltrating the family’s personal and professional lives. While Jill struggles to balance building her photography business with parenting high-spirited Sophia, and David is distracted by pressure to make partner at his law firm, both of them are holding on in a marriage that’s already been rocked by loss.

Three months after the incident at the park, Sophia disappears again, but this time Jill and David become the focus of police and media scrutiny and suspicion. Facing every parent’s worst nightmare a second time, Jill discovers that someone doesn’t just want Sophia for her own, she wants to destroy the entire family.

What I thought – This book kept me guessing for quite a while! I had thought the book would go one way and then it went a different way or two and then it went back to the way that I originally thought, lol. Even the ending was surprising!! I loved it!


The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood – An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets, friendship, and the healing power of literature, by the bestselling author of The Knitting Circle.

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.

What I thought – I really enjoyed this book. It is told by two characters pretty much and it was interesting to hear the two different lives throughout the year. I totally had guessed the ending, but I loved it anyway…

Well, that’s what I read in October! Let me know if you have read any of these or have any favorite books! 😀

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CrossTimber {Review}

Did you know there are only eight weeks left until Christmas?? I know I just remember seeing something on facebook that there were ten weeks, but nope, now it is down to eight! I am always looking for some different gifts for people throughout the year. A few weeks ago I was introduced to CrossTimber. They have a Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse that I found somewhat fascinating!

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

At first, I wasn’t quite sure who this would be perfect for and then it hit me.. My friend recently adopted a little boy! I wasn’t sure if they knew what his name meant! It wasn’t a very common name…

I emailed the company and got a reply quickly back with so much information about the name I inquired about! He also did my name just for fun! I was definitely impressed. And, he also gave me tips about my email settings in the process, lol. I couldn’t seem to get my font size correct, but it ended up getting fixed…

Anyway, once I read what his name meant, I knew that it would be perfect to give to him! I went to the website to pick out a frame. I was a tad overwhelmed by the website as it is busier than I am used to, but once I spent a few minutes looking around I got the gist of how it was set up. I was able to quickly pick out the look that I wanted along with the frame, and I was done! Easy Peasy!

Right before I was going to submit my order I saw something about adding on a necklace or bracelet. I wasn’t sure what that was about, so I spent a little more time looking for that information. Apparently the family that runs the business is also saving up money for adoption fees! Well, you know how I feel about that! So, of course I added on a bracelet as well as a necklace to my order!

It took a short time and then I got notification that my order was shipping…and bam, it was there quickly after that! I was very happy to see that there was a book mark included, as you all know how much I like to read!! 😉 But it matched the framed print exactly, which I thought was a nice touch. Check it out!


That description is so him… I was hoping to give it to them this afternoon when I saw them so I could get a picture of him with it, but plans changed and I won’t be seeing them until this evening and it will be too dark. Dang! I hope they love it as much as I do!

I did notice that there wasn’t a necklace or bracelet in the box of my order.. So I emailed again and got a response back that his daughter actually crochets these items and that they take a little time and that’s why they weren’t included. I love that! I told him that there is no hurry at all, and that I will look forward to receiving them on another day! Plus, one more day that there will be something fun in my mail, right? 🙂

So, if you are at all curious about the meanings of any names in your life, feel free to email them and they will come right back with a meaning! I am curious now if they have ever been stumped by one…ha!

CrossTimber 2016 giveaway

Also, they are having a great Christmas Giveaway on their site!

Grand Prize: The winner may choose between a: Personalized Mug OR a Name Plaque or 8×10 Plaque! –> Plus 9 more prizes: $10 Gift Certificates

Giveaway ends on Dec 4th, at this url: www.Meaning.Name/giveaway.html

If you want to see what others ordered, feel free to click on the banner below! I have seen some mugs and other things that are pretty cool!

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews


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