Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hallmark Christmas Movies, A Concert, and Christmas ~ My December Highlights

I can hardly believe that December is over. Tomorrow it will be 2018!!
December has been a good month.

--The month started off with a Christmas concert. I played my violin in the orchestra for the fourth year and enjoyed it very much. I always have a ton of fun, but this year I found out that being in an orchestra is something I would like to do more often. I'm hoping to look into another orchestra so I can be doing it more then just once a year. But I will definitely continue on with doing this Christmas one as well.

--Christmas movies! I had so much fun watching Christmas movies, mainly Hallmark Christmas movies. ;) I watched a lot of great ones. Including the newest When Calls the Heart The Christmas Wishing Tree!!!! It was so good. :)

--I had a girls night with some good friends. We had a ton of fun playing games, watching Christmas movies, including the When Calls the Heart one, and just having a wonderful time together!

--I participated for the third year in the 12 Days of Christmas blog party hosted by Faith. It is always so fun.

--We got snow on Christmas Eve and had a white Christmas!!! It snowed a couple times about the week before Christmas, but we only got a dusting. When it snowed on Christmas Eve we got about 3 inches. I'm so happy! The snow is still here too!

--I went sledding the other day. It was so fun. I got a new sled this year and it works great!

--My family and I made lots of Christmas treats this year. Some years we make more then others, but this year we did quite a bit of baking.

--Some of my family and I went over to some friends house for a a party and ornament exchange. Then the next day my sister and I went to our churches singles group Christmas party.

--Christmas! I had a great Christmas. It was such a nice day.

I read a lot of fun books, most of them being Christmas books!
The Christmas Star by Ace Collins
Tenney: A Song for the Season by Kellen Hertz
Dylan's Story by Rebekah A. Morris
First Christmas in America by Rebekah A. Morris
As in Olden Days by Jesseca Wheaton
Christmas Delays and Other Short Stories by Rebekah A. Morris
Christmas Eve at the Backdoor by Rebekah A. Morris
The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter
Home for Christmas by Rebekah A. Morris
A Christmas Disaster by Rebekah A. Morris
An Amish Family Christmas by Shelly Shepard Gray
Between Heaven and Hollywood by David A. R. White
Stealing Santa by Elizabeth Adams
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber
Return to Sender by Janice Thompson

How was your December?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Bookish Recap Tag

Last year I did a fun end of the year book tag that Faith made and I decided to do it again this year.

// How many books did you read in 2017? (Exact if you know, or approximate if not.) 
I read 105 book this year.

// Did you set a reading challenge for yourself and, if so, did you meet it?  
I wanted to try and read 100 books and I actually passed that.

// What was your most read genre this year? Least read? 
My most read genre was contemporary. I read around 45 of those.
My least read genre is the same as last year, fantasy. I read 1 fantasy book. It actually hasn't come out yet, but you'll be hearing more about that book this coming year.

// What's five of your favorite books from 2017? 
I read lots of great books this year! I couldn't narrow it down to five so here's my top six favorites.
Dandelion Dust by Faith Potts
The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
The Proving by Beverly Lewis
Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn
Salty Kisses by Robin Jones Gunn
Courageous Love by Susan K. Marlow

// What's five of your least favorite books from 2017? 
I really had a hard time picking out five of my least favorite books from this year.
When the Clouds Roll By by Myra Johnson -- This book wasn't a top favorite for me. It was okay, I liked the second book better. I read this with a friend though, so that made it fun! :)
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden -- There's nothing wrong with this book, I just thought it was a little boring.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo -- This book had some stuff in it that I didn't really think was necessary, especially for a children's book.
Brides of Alaska by Tracie Peterson -- I was really looking forward to this book, but I didn't really care for it all that much.
Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber -- This book was made into a Hallmark Christmas movie and I really like the movie so I was curious about the book. Well, I didn't like the book too much. There was quite a bit of stuff that just wasn't very good and I can definitely say that the movie is way better.

// What new favorite author did you discover? (Not necessarily that the author is 'new', but that they became new to you this year.) 
I started reading some books by Janice Thompson. I’ve only read 3 of her books so far, but I’m enjoying them.

// What's five of your favorite book covers from the year? 
The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
Sandy Toes by Robin Jones Gunn
Salty Kisses by Robin Jones Gunn
Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna
Your Hearts Desire by Melody Carlson

// How many books did you purchase for yourself in 2017? (Exact if you know, approximate if not.) 
Way too many! ;) I mean you can never have too many books, but I definitely bought a ton of books. I'm not sure on the exact number, but a lot of them didn't cost much because I got them at thrift stores. :)

// What's the longest book you read in 2017? 
The longest book that I read was The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter. It is 400 pages.

// What's the shortest book you read in 2017? 
The shortest book was The Mystery on the Train by Lydia Dyslin and it is 29 pages.

// What's your reading goal for 2018? 
I'm not sure yet! ;)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Between Heaven and Hollywood // Book Review

About the Book:
Between Heaven & Hollywood is David’s inspirational journey from the wheat fields of his Mennonite home outside of Dodge City Kansas, to the bright lights of Los Angeles. This story of perseverance will assure you that your dreams aren’t frivolous. They might be the most important part of your life. 

White has starred in more than twenty-five movies and produced forty films, including the blockbuster God’s Not Dead. He serves as a Managing Partner of Pure Flix, the largest faith-based movie studio in the world. With his signature wit and sidesplitting hilarity, David’s story of faithfulness, grounded in the biblical truth that no dream is too big for God, will inspire you to relentlessly pursue your dreams, and in the process, bring the reality of God’s kingdom a little closer to the here and now. 

God has planted a dream in your heart that is both unique to you and essential to the world. White reminds us that there is no one too common, too uneducated, too poor, too inexperienced, or too broken that he or she cannot be used by God.

When I saw that David A. R. White had written a book, I just knew I had to get it. I wanted it for two reasons. Because it's:

  1. written by David A. R. White and I really like his movies.
  2. about chasing your God-given dreams.

This book is so good! David A. R. White talks about how to go about pursuing your God-given dreams and how to know if they are actually God-given dreams or just your own dreams.
In this book he also talks about his life and his journey to Hollywood. This was especially fun since I really didn't know much about him before reading this book. It was fun to see how he went from growing up as a Mennonite in Kansas to acting and making movies. He went on to talk about getting to Hollywood and his early days there, making his first movie, meeting his wife, and lots of other things all while helping you figure out your dreams. It was also fun to see how Pure Flix was started and what their first movie was. I learned a lot of fun facts about David A. R. White's movies and I also learned how to tell if my dreams are God-given ones.

David A. R. White is also really funny and this book definitely had me laughing several times. Between Heaven and Hollywood is such a great book and definitely one that I would highly recommend.

One quote that I especially like is from p.128 and it says: "A God-given dream is a persistent and clinging thing that will not be wiped from your heart."

I give this book 10 R's out of 10

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!! ~2017~

Merry Christmas!!!! 🎄 I am so excited!!! :D I just love Christmas so much! Also, I was really dreaming of a white Christmas, and guess what? We got one!! =)
Christmas has so many different fun things about it: giving gifts, decorations, Christmas movies, music and books, and most importantly Jesus' birth. God sent His one and only Son down to earth so He could save us from our sins. That's amazing! Let's not forget that.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6 NASB

 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” — Luke 2:8-14 NASB

I have had so much fun participating in the 12 Days of Christmas! Thank you so much Faith for all the work you do to put into this each year!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Beloved Christmas Quilt // Book Review

Today is Christmas Eve!! I can hardly believe that Christmas is actually tomorrow!!
The 12 Days of Christmas blog party is almost over. I've had so much fun doing it once again. :)
I have another book review today.

From the Back Cover:
One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.

Luella’s Promise by Wanda E. Brunstetter
Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.

Karen’s Gift by Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom by Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

The Beloved Christmas Quilt is a fun book. It has three connecting stories in it. I enjoyed all three stories, but I was a little disappointed because the stories weren't exactly Christmas ones. They were all good, I was just expecting Christmas stories.
The first book, Luella's Promise, started out during Christmas time, but the rest of the story was not about Christmas.
The second story, Karen's Gift, was probably my favorite. I enjoyed reading about Karen and her family. She had such sweet little girls and it was just an enjoyable story. The very end of the story took place at Christmas time.
Roseanna's Groom, is the last story and is also the author's first published story. I thought it was well written and I enjoyed it, although there were a few inconsistencies throughout the story.
So I really did enjoy this book, I just wished I had known that it wasn't really a Christmas book.

I give this book 8 R's out of 10

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Finding Father Christmas // Movie Review

Today is the Eve of Christmas Eve!!! I am so excited for Christmas!! I am also super excited because we have snow!!! :D
Today I am doing another movie review.

About the Movie:
Christmas for Miranda is a painful reminder of the family she never had. Her mother died when she was young, never revealing the identity of her father. But, three days before Christmas, she unexpectedly receives a clue as to the whereabouts that takes her to a beautiful New England town where she meets Ian, a young man who helps with her search. As the clues lead to her father's identity and Miranda discovers the possibility of love in Ian, and she learns that her father lived in the small town and now she knows his family (her brother and her biological father's wife). She faces a terrible decision... Should she share the truth and risk losing the family she has just found, or leave and keep the secret forever? This Christmas promises to be life-changing for Miranda with a new chance at life and love.

Finding Father Christmas is based off of the book by Robin Jones Gunn. I haven't read the book yet. I really want to though, especially now that I've seen the movie! This is a pretty good movie. It isn't my top favorite, but it was good. There is also a sequel, Engaging Father Christmas, and I did like that one better than the first one, but it would definitely be best to watch Finding Father Christmas first.

I give this movie 7.5 R's out of 10

Have you seen Finding Father Christmas before or read the book?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Rocky Road Fudge Recipe

Rocky Road Fudge is another one of my and my family's favorite Christmas treats. It is super good. My mom and brother usually make it each year together. I've helped with it before too.

1 12oz. package of chocolate chips
1 12oz. package of butterscotch chips
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 10 oz. package of miniature marshmallows
1 cup salted peanuts

Mix together chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and chunky peanut butter and heat in a pan until melted.

Add peanuts. Mix. Let the mixture cool a little bit so the marshmallows won't melt then add marshmallows. Don't let it cool so much that the fudge starts to harden. Spread the mixture in a greased 9"x13" glass baking dish. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy!!

(This recipe is taken from the Holiday Favorites cookbook.)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Movies!!

4 days until Christmas!!!! Can you believe it? I'm having a bit of a hard time believing it, but I am excited!!!
I really enjoy a good Christmas movie!! I'm going to be sharing a couple favorites with you all.

Rosemary and Lee have returned from their honeymoon to reside in their new row house next to Elizabeth, who's busy helping her students mount a nativity play. A traveling peddler, Sam, is mistaken for Santa by the kids...and then mistaken for a thief by Jack! But Elizabeth is stunned when word arrives that the supply train has derailed. Without costumes for the play, food for the feast and presents for the kids, Christmas will be ruined!It takes a lot of faith, spirit, and the cooperation of friends and family to show Hope Valley what Christmas is all about!

When Calls the Heart is my very favorite show! I love this Christmas movie that came out last year (and I'm super excited for the new one!). This one is part of season 4.

Based on a novel by Debbie Macomber, this yuletide movie tells the story of Ashley Harrison and Dash Sutherland. She is a crafter based in San Francisco who is desperate to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle and Dash is also in a rush to get there. When Ashley inexplicably encounters a problem with her reservation at the airport ticket counter, she turns to Plan B and attempts to rent a car. But there’s just one vehicle left and Dash beats her to it. Reluctantly, Ashley takes him up on his offer to join him on the road trip. As the pair heads north, their adventures include car trouble, adopting a puppy and being secretly tailed by federal agents, who believe Ashley is up to no good. With a hint of romance gradually filling the air will these two fall in love or will their journey bring about an unexpected road bump to romance?

I watched Dashing Through the Snow for the first time last year and I loved it! It's a new favorite of mine now. It is a funny movie, but it also has its sweet moments. 

A self-defined Grinch, Stephanie begins her stay at Snow Valley Lodge immune to Christmas sentiment. But as the lodge's festive traditions provide the Christmas Stephanie never had growing up with her distant father, Stephanie finds herself enjoying every minute. To complicate her professional duties even further, the combative feelings she felt toward Brady turn into romantic ones. With Stephanie's newfound Christmas spirit and unexpected holiday romance, she begins to question Falcon's overhaul. As her Christmas Eve deadline approaches, she's faced with a decision: should she transform the lodge into a new winter hot spot or embrace tradition and let it snow?

This movie is great. It takes place at a Christmas lodge and it's a great snowy movie. 

Shop owner Alice Chapman is nervous to meet her future in-laws at Christmas, especially because she is arriving ahead of her new fiancé, Will Mitchum. Alice's trip becomes more stressful when her luggage is lost and her phone is damaged, leaving her no way to find Will's family! As fate would have it, she meets her future brother-in-law, Matt Mitchum, at baggage claim and is happy to get a ride home with him. As Alice meets Matt's doting family, mom Penny, dad Joe and Grandpa Charles, she falls in love with their festive holiday traditions and warm welcome to their home. And when unexpected romance comes calling as Christmas approaches, Alice must decide if her “Merry Mix-Up” will actually turn out to be her destiny. 

This is such a funny movie!! I really can't say much about it without giving it away, but it's definitely a fun romantic comedy. 

Two New York City-bound travelers find themselves inextricably linked when a snowstorm reroutes them to an airport hotel in Buffalo. Ever the eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, Paige desperately needs to find a way back home to meet her fiancee’s parents before her forthcoming wedding. And it’s somehow up to fellow passenger Dylan MacKenzie, who is permanently soured on romance following a recent heartbreak. Yet Dylan somehow rises to the occasion to become Paige’s chivalrous helpmate. The pair are joined on this misadventure by an older couple named Frank and Maxine trying to get to Connecticut. As their madcap journey ensues, our foursome will find plenty of surprises in store. 

I really enjoyed A Christmas Detour. For some reason, I always like movies when the two main characters don't really like/get along at first.

Ad executive Melanie is teamed up with uptight coworker Donovan to come up with the ultimate Christmas commercial for a new cell phone. To complicate matters, Donovan is also Melanie's Secret Santa recipient in the annual office gift exchange. Keeping her identity secret, Melanie sends him emails from "Santa" to determine the perfect gift for him. When Donovan mistakenly assumes another co-worker is his Secret Santa, Melanie must work to show Donovan that she’s the only Santa for him. 

With Love, Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas movies that I've watched this year. It was super sweet and just a really enjoyable movie.

As you can probably tell from this post, I really like Hallmark Christmas movies. ;)
What is one of your favorite Christmas movies? Have you seen any of these?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Book Recommendations ~ Christmas Books

I just love a good Christmas book!! Today I am going to be sharing with you some Christmas books I enjoy.

Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. At Christmas, the final decoration Marge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering. 

Yet a message delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery letter found in a Bible put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.

This is a great book that I just recently read with a friend! I also just reviewed it here.

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy. 
When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind. 
As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy--and Amos, too--that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

I really like the cover of this book! :) Christmas at Rose Hill Farm is a nice Christmas book. It wasn't my most favorite book, but it really wasn't bad either. It follows Bess Riehl and Billy Lapp from the book, The Search book 3 in the series Lancaster County Secrets. You can read this book without having read The Search, but if you have read The Search it gives a nice setting to this story.

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 
In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 
Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 
The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

This is a fun Christmas book that has three stories in it.

Christmas had lost its charm and wonder. Mrs. Rush hated the feeling but was powerless to fix things. Traveling to visit relatives for the holidays, the Rush children pass the time with their eyes glued to the screens of their devices. That is, until the flashing lights of a State Highway Patrol car bring their trip to a sudden and unplanned-for stop.

The Christmas She Wanted is a fun, short story. It was also a good reminder that we shouldn't spend so much time on electronics, but to spend time with family and to enjoy being around those we love.
I enjoyed this fun Christmas story, although I wish it had been just a little longer.

Rachel Milligan never imagined that she and her seven-year-old niece would spend Christmas on a quaint Amish farm in Ohio. But with so many unexpected occurrences of late, perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised.
With her young niece Holly in tow, Rachel anxiously makes her way from Chicago to Ohio's Amish Country. As love begins to blossom, family secrets emerge, and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.

While this isn't my top favorite Christmas book it, wasn't my least favorite either. ;) I didn't think it had the best ending, but it was okay. 

If you want to see some other Christmas books that I like you can see my post from last year on some Christmas recommendations here.

What are some of your favorite Christmas books?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Christmas is in six days!!! I am so excited!!
For me, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year! Today I will be talking about some of my favorite things that always get me in the Christmas spirit!

~Christmas music. I really like listening to Christmas music and playing it on my violin.
Some of my favorite songs are: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, We Need a Little Christmas, What Child is This? and many more!

~Snow!! It snowed a couple days ago, but it wasn’t much and it’s already gone. I really hope it snows more soon though!!

Our first snow this season

~Christmas cups. I love festive cups. I usually just drink water out of them, but they’re still fun. ;)

~Christmas treats. I really enjoy having and baking Christmas treats like fudge, cookies, and little marshmallow snowmen!

~Christmas lights. I really, really like lights. This year I decorated my bedroom and I am really happy with how it looks.

~Christmas books. Reading a good Christmas book is lots of fun!

~Christmas movies. I love watching a good Christmas movie! Especially Hallmark ones because, this girl loves Hallmark Christmas movies! :)

What's one thing that's sure to get you in the Christmas spirit? :)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Where Treetops Glisten // Book Review

From the Back Cover:
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana. 

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help. 

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart. 

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

I read Where Treetops Glisten for the first time last Christmas season. It is a fun, heartwarming book. There is actually three stories in this book. They are all connected though, and I really enjoyed that.  All of the stories take place during World War II.
I also really like how snowy and Christmasy the cover is. :)

I give this book 8 R's out of 10

Sunday, December 17, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Tag

8 days until Christmas!!!! :)
Today I am here with a super fun Christmas Tag that was created by Faith. Also, definitely be sure to check out Faith's blog to see her fun post each day as well as the list of other bloggers.

– Link back to the 12 Days of Christmas blog party or use the party graphic
– Answer the 10 questions
– Have fun!


1 // Christmas is the season of hope, joy, and light. What’s your favorite thing to make this season bright? 
Decorating the house, listening to Christmas music and playing it on my violin, making cookies, giving gifts, snow. There's a lot of stuff that makes my Christmas season bright!

2 // Reading of the Christmas story, lighting the tree – Which tradition is most special to you? 
The Christmas traditions that my family and I do on Christmas morning are really special to me. We read the Christmas story, open stockings, have homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and open presents. Another really special tradition is our family Christmas party.

3 // Festive old hymns or glorious new tunes – What are you listening to on repeat? 
I just love Christmas songs! Two songs that I've been listening to a lot are I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and We Need a Little Christmas.

4 // Fiction and nonfiction, classics and contemporary – Which Christmas books do you love so much that you just have to re-read every year? 
I really, really like A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I am not reading it this Christmas season though, but it's definitely a favorite! It is definitely a great book to get you in the Christmas mood. It's a super snowy book.

5 // Trees and nativities, bells and bows – Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration? 
I decorated my bedroom this year and I love it! The Christmas tree is always a favorite as well as the lights on the banister.

6 // From the prophets to the gospels, the timeless story is woven. Which Bible passage that speaks of our Savior birth holds a special place in your heart? 
I've always enjoyed reading the Christmas story from Luke 2.

7 // Glittery snowflakes and shimmering balls to angels and one-of-a-kind creations. Do you have a favorite tree ornament? 
Yes, I do! I have a lot of fun/special ornaments. One of my favorites is my baby's first Christmas one from my parents. It's a stork carrying a baby in a basket. :)

8 // Red and green, silver and gold, even purple and blue! What's your favorite color scheme this time of year?
Definitely red and green! Those two colors have always been my favorite Christmas colors.

9 // Between the old and the new, the classics and the cartoons, which Christmas movie do you come back to year after year? 
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, The Christmas Card, and A Christmas Snow are three of my favorite movies that I always try to watch each year.

10 // Pies and cakes, cookies and sweets. What's your favorite Christmas treats? 
I love sugar cookies and chocolate chip peppermint candy cane cookies.

If you would like to do this tag, go right ahead! I'd love to read your answers.
What's one of your favorite things about Christmas?

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Welcome everyone to the third day in the 12 Days of Christmas blog party! I hope you all have been enjoying all of the Christmasy fun that's been going on! 
Last night it started snowing for the first time this season!!!!!!! :D :D I am just SO excited!! I'm hoping for lots more snowy days and I'm dreaming of a white Christmas! ;)

Today I am here to share a recipe for chocolate chip peppermint candy cane cookies! This is actually a recipe that I came up with and I am really happy with how they turned out.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract
chocolate chips (around 1 cup)
some crushed candy canes (about 4 candy canes)

Stir flour with baking soda and salt. In a large mixer bowl, cream butter with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and peppermint. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Next, drop dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake for around 10 min. at 375 degrees (F).
After the cookies are done baking and and you've pulled them out of the oven, keep them on the cookie sheet and sprinkle the crushed candy canes onto the cookie. Put the sheet back in the oven for about 1 min. so the candy canes can melt a little. Pull out of the oven, put the cookies on a wire rack, and let them cool for a bit. Then enjoy!

If you try these cookies I'd love to hear what you think of them! :)

What's one of your favorite Christmas cookies?

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Christmas Note // Movie Review

About the Movie:
Having just moved back to her hometown with her young son but without her serviceman husband, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. She discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in a quest to find the neighbor’s sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they’re no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives.

The Christmas Note is a really great, sweet movie. It isn’t your typical Hallmark movie where two people meet and fall in love. I do enjoy those types of stories a lot, but it was fun to see something else too. The Christmas Note has a unique story-line and it is just really good!

I give this movie 8 R's out of 10