New Favorite Christmas Books for Children


Today was St. Nicholas Day! In our house, that means new Christmas books and new pajamas. Growing up we always celebrated St. Nicholas Day, that’s what happens when you’re a second generation German American. Of course, our St. Nicholas Day mornings looked a bit different than my own children’s; it usually involved copious amounts of chocolate and a new book or movie.


I was up until 10 last night finishing up the new pajamas; the girls’ I had finished up a few weeks ago, but I still had to finish the boys pants (which still ended up being too long and a bit big in the waist) and wrap all the goodies.


What I really wanted to share with you all were the books that I had picked out for gifts. I’ve been listening to the Read Aloud Revival, which seems to be getting me into a bit of trouble with my Amazon credit card.


I have to admit I am an absolute sucker for Children’s books, an even bigger sucker for CHRISTMAS children’s books: I want them all! As it is our Christmas book stash is going to be taking up two boxes after this Christmas.

First up…

A Christmas Carol by Gibbs Smith
I had seen the BabyLit collection in one of my book groups on facebook, and I was immediately smitten! The premise of the series is an early introduction to the classics, but in board books geared toward little ones.

A Christmas Carol is a color book, going through the different characters from Charles Dickens classics tale. For us it has been a great way to share the story for all of our kids, without getting to deep in the actual story.

I was deeply grieved though when I realized just how expensive these books are, they’re your standard priced board books, so anywhere from $8-13. By chance I found out that Costco had a special on the boxed set, $22 with shipping, so I promptly ordered two sets (as of my publishing this, they are still on sale…so HURRY!)

The Baker’s Dozen by Aaron Shepherd
This is one that was mentioned on the Read Aloud Revival. The premise of the story is that a very honest baker is called on the carpet by a women, on St. Nicholas Day, that a dozen is actually 13. The women refuses to accept anything less and walks out. From that day forward everything goes wrong in his bakery, until a year later.

The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! The added bonus for us is that we live in the Central New York region in which this story takes place, so it gives us some interesting historical perspective into our state. You also get a fun telling of how a baker’s dozen came to be 13.

Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
The illustrations in this one were fantastic!  The entire story reminded me of Little House on the Prairie. A little girl’s favorite apple tree falls during a storm and she is devastated at the loss of her “studio”. All of her Christmas spirit seems to have died with the tree, until Christmas morning when she discovers that her Papa realized just how much that tree meant to her.

I think so often we feel like no one realizes just how much something means to us or why, and this story just gives us all hope that someone will notice the important things to us.

The Christmas Tree Ship by Carol Crane
There was a very simple reason for my getting this book…it was about ships, and as Matthew used to work on ships and went to school for Marine Transportation, I have a soft spot in my heart for any books about ships.

This book especially has a soft-spot, because it’s based on a true story about the ship that brought Christmas trees to Chicago and it’s sinking, and how the captain’s wife took it upon herself to continue the tradition after his death.

The illustrations are beautiful done by Chris Ellison, the colors are all just fantastic.

The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
I love the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City! If I could, I would visit it every year, and it’s my dream to someday ice skate beneath it. The Carpenter’s Gift is a beautiful story about the struggles of life and how one small thing can become so much more than we could ever expect.

This story of course left me sobbing through the end, all the good books do, and gave me all the feels. The words and pictures beautiful meshed together in such Christmas-sy glory. For us, again, this book really hit home this Christmas as this year’s Rockefeller Center tree is from nearby Oneonta, NY.

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden
I have to be honest, the one reason why I bought this book was because the illustrator is Barbara Cooney, whom I love. Yes, I do buy books sight unseen, based solely on who the author or illustrator is.

Again, I admit, I cried through the end of this one. It’s the story of a doll that want’s a little girl, a little girl who wants to be loved, and a husband and wife who long for a child. It is the pinnacle of all things that tug at my heartstrings. The story is beautifully written and, of course, the book is beautifully illustrated as only Barbara Cooney can.

We had a few other St. Nicholas books sneak in after the fact, that I’ve yet to look at, but I can guarantee you there probably just as wonderful as the ones I’ve listed above, particularly The Miracle of St. Nicholas.

What are some of your favorite new Christmas book additions?



Peter 17 Months

Oh my…this boy is just growing up in leaps and bounds! I’m sure having older siblings really doesn’t help. Just today I was looking at him and he doesn’t even look like a baby anymore…it really is the little boy peeking back at me.


  • We have a solid 12 teeth now.
  • Running and climbing absolutely everywhere
  • Does a great job of throwing balls…he can actually kind of play catch.
  • Loves being on the trampoline (as long as no one else is bouncing him)
  • Loves hugging the dogs
  • Keeps coming out with new “words”. He now says “Where you?” “Everybody”
  • LOVES music and dancing. Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is his JAM!
  • Throws temper tantrums…but they’re really funny. He slowly lays himself out on the floor and looks at you…doesn’t flail about or anything, just lays there.
  • Loves blankets…he’s quite content to curl up on the couch (sometimes) and just cuddle, as long as he has a blanket and his thumb.
  • Occasionally he’ll lay on the floor and wait for you to get the idea that he wants his diaper changed.


What I’ve Been Reading – November 2016


Visit HERE to find out more about what I’ve been reading.



My favorite fiction from the past 3 months would have to be Together at the Table (you can read my full review here). I just loved the story and the food, especially the food. It was one of those books that’s perfect to curl up with on a crummy fall day and disappear for a few hours. Since I’ve already waxed poetic in my review of Together at the Table, I’ll be picking a second favorite.

My second favorite would have to be Finding Fraser. It was nothing spectacular, but it was a quick, fun read. If you’re looking for more a beach-book, this is it. I managed to read it in less than 24 hours, because it was just that enjoyable.


Obviously, this is going to be a limited category this month, as I’ve only read one non-fiction: Teaching from Rest. It was great though! I still need to go through and transfer my notes and favorite things to my notebook. It had a lot of solid advice and really interesting thoughts on how to make homeschooling less of a chore and more of a blessing.


King Solomon’s Mines. A friend and I started a back to the classics book club in which we focus specifically on the “literary classics”. There were parts I really liked about the book, but generally speaking this book just left me flat (even more so than Frankenstein).  I think maybe if I was actually reading the book rather than an audiobook maybe it would be different. The only way I can get through most of the classics though is through an audio book (on 1.25x speed). It allows me to do something while listening.


What have you been reading?

I’m trying in the next 3 months to get more of the non-fictions, that I have piling up on my desk, read. There are so many good ones! I just started Lysa Terkeurst’s Uninvited, which when I was reading it I couldn’t put it down.

Avelyn Turns 7


My oldest baby just turned 7…that’s just way too close to 10, and then 20. :-(

If you’re new here let me give you the rundown. Every big birthday (or month for Peter) I’ve written a post about the the birthday girl or boy. I never did baby books for the kids, but this has been my way of documenting what and who they are. Feel completely free to skip right over these posts if they’re not your cup of tea.img_9094

Ave has been asking for a kids party for a couple of years, but honestly the whole idea of it was not something I was up to. Every day of my life is a kids party. We decided that 7 was the perfect age to have your first kids’ party, and it was! It was such a fantastic day for her. She was so excited to have her friends over, to have time with them to play, and the presents were just the icing on the cake!

The guest list will give you a bit of an idea how varied this girl is; none of the 4 little girls who came knew each other. Avie had our neighbor, a friend from playgroup, and the daughters of two of my oldest friends. They all had so much fun playing together (we even had 2 little sisters join us). It was so fantastic to see 4 girls playing together nicely without any nastiness or drama.

My parents came over on Sunday to do her birthday (we didn’t do any family party this year…my ILs are in Hawaii and it was just easier). On Tuesday Daddy popped in before unloading trucks in the evening and she got her big birthday present, the Barbie Glam Getaway House. My goodness! She was thrilled to no end!


On to Avelyn!

  • Measuring 50″ tall and weigh 53lbs
  • Wears a size 1/2 in shoes and an 8 in clothes
  • Still very particular about her things, especially projects she’s working on
  • Loves music and is constantly swiping my phone to listen to Ellie Holcomb (she even got her own headphones for her birthday)
  • Still not reading. She definitely understands and knows how but is really just not interested in gaining any sort of fluency with it.



In her own words:
1. What is your favorite color? Purple and Indigo
2. What is your favorite toy? Barbies
3. Favorite thing to play? Barbies
4. What is your favorite fruit? Barbie…hahaha…bananas
5. What is your favorite TV show? Documentaries
6. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Turkey sandwiches, with a slight hint of avocado, a teensie bit of mayo, a slice of turkey, on rye bread.
7. What is your favorite outfit? Play clothes that are dressy an comfy
8. What is your favorite computer game? I don’t really have a favorite computer game, but I like playing on Barbie website
9. What is your favorite game? Barbie
10. What is your favorite snack? Oranges and apples
11. What is your favorite animal? All of them
12. What is your favorite song? Ellie Holcomb
13. What is your favorite book? I don’t really have a favorite
14. Who is your best friend? I have quite a few: Esther, Kahrin, Teagan, Meghan, Reagan, Claire C, Clare my cousin, Natalie, Madison, Ellie, and Lilly
15. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit cereak
16. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Run around
17. What is your favorite drink? Pink Lemonade
18. What is your favorite holiday? The holiday we’re in today, and yesterday (her birthday and Halloween)
19. What is your favorite vacation we’ve taken? Uncle B’s and North Carolina, because we were on the beach for a week (which was in 2015).
20. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? George
21. What is your favorite breakfast? Eggs and Bacon
22. What do you want for your dinner birthday? Pigs in a blanket and squash soup
23. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mommy with 10 million jobs like you.


Peter 16 Months



  • Has 11 teeth (8 in the front and 3 molars)
  • Weighing 28lbs (Henry was 33lbs and James was 29lbs)
  • Giving and blowing kisses
  • Lots of running and climbing
  • Starting to move to only one nap a day (totally going to throw a wrench in my day)
  • Waving bye-bye
  • Lots of mimicking…not a ton of actual words. He does say Mama, do (dog), uh-oh, Dada, la-lu (love you), Tank-ee (thank you) and some others.
  • His new trick is climbing along the back of the couch and climbing through the pass through into the kitchen.
  • Avie loves his cheeky little piggy smile: James loves his laugh: Ellie loves when he snores: Henry loves playing with Peter.