Friday, December 30, 2011

Great Books for Beginning Readers

Recently, my sister told me about the author Margaret Hillert.  She writes children beginning readers and I am thrilled with her books!

 I have been frustrated with the different levels and step books that are ridden with words that are far from basic.  My daughter Hannah who turned 5 in October is almost finished with our reading program Headsprout and she can buzz through the Margeret Hillert books only having  trouble with a few of the words.  The books are long and very repetitive which is perfect for the beginning reader.  My daughter is so proud of herself when she finished these books, it is very exciting for both of us!

So far she has read the following books:

Let's Go Dear Dragon
The Cookie House- she loved this one it is based on Hansel and Gretel
The Birthday Car

I plan on going to the library's website and getting as many as these books as possible!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lindy's Book List 2012

I am not a huge book reader, other than the hundreds I read to my children.  I don't often read for myself...I usually blame it on the fact that at the end of the day I am totally exhausted, but I think if I have a goal and have the books in my possession I am more apt to actually start reading them.  So here is my list:

Book List 2012
1.  Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz - This is a love story, but also includes lots of violence, which isn't my favorite thing to read.  It had some beautiful points that I pray I remember, one sentence that really was meaningful to me was when the Apostle John said, "The only thing more powerful than hatred is love."  Overall, I would give this book 5 out of 5, it was a really great book. I find myself reflecting on the characters frequently.   I'm glad I read it and would recommend it.  

2.  Of Mice and Men- by John Steinbeck

3.  Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God- I am going to take a couple excerpts from this book that I really liked.  "Jesus didn't command that we have a regular time with Him each day.  Rather, He tells us to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind....the results are intimate prayer and study of His Word and our motivation changes from guilt to love."........

Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough or loving enough to take care of what's happening on our lives
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others or our tight grip of control.  

4.  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

5.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett- I loved this book, I'm really glad I read it instead of seeing the movie.  I read it in two days!

6.  The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children by Sally Clarkson- favorite excerpts....I try to be mindful that, to God, relationships are always a top priority.....(not homeschooling, not a clean own words added)
...Perfection is not a standard He requires of me as a mother, for his grace extends to me as well as to my children....
As I look to the hearts of my own children and seek to teach them about the grace of God.  I realize my love and service to them must come before any of my great word, my teaching and training.  My time, my attention even when I am tired or have other "important" things on my mind--is what builds our relationship and prepares them to listen to what I have to say.  Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God's grace finally make sense.  

7.  The Pact: A Love Story by Jodi Picoult- I am removing this from the list I thought the topic was to negative.

9.  A Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall

10.  The Core by by Leigh Bortins

11.  The Moonlit Cage Linda Holeman- I really liked this book and I sort of had a negative bias towards it before I even started reading it.  Once I got past the first chapter I was captivated.

12.  The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls-  This autobiography was unbelievable, at first I thought I was reading a really far out fiction book, then about half way through I realized it was a biography.  It was an amazing story, I do recommend this book.

13.  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Ann Voskamp (Author)

14.  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

15.  The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash your Spending, Pay Down your debt, Streamline Your Crystal Paine

16.  Don't Make Me Come up there!  Quiet moments for busy moms- by Welch, Kristen-  a humble book about giving yourself grace when you make mistakes as a mom.

17.  Parenting with Love an Logic- by Jim Fay AWESOME book, probably my favorite parenting book yet, I just ordered the toddler version

18.  Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The by Julie Klassen- I give this book four starts, I would recommend it if you are trying to unwind :)

19.  The Apothecaries' Daughter by Julie Klassen - I also give this book four stars, I just like some nice romance novels that don't cross the line

20.  Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin- I just haven't found a Lynn Austin book I don't enjoy- I give this book 5 stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Veggie Burrito Wrap

Here is my latest invention in an effort to eat healthier.
My husband called it the Veggie Burrito so I'll stick with that name.
You start out with a flour tortilla, I like the Mission brand
Cut up some cucumber and lay it down the center of the tortilla
Next get a normal sized carrot and peel it on top of the cucumbers
Layer some spinach, green peppers, tomatoes if you like...
The key to this actually tasting really great is the guacamole
Get an avocado and 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves and squish them together, top it off with some lime juice if you have any.  Then finally spread a nice thick layer of guacamole over all the veggies!

My husband looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told him what I was making.  He did agree to eat it and LOVED it.  He said later on that he felt really good and energetic vs the usual after lunch low.

I am a super picky eater and I really love this too!  Try it :)

Tzatziki Sauce with Pitas

Tzatziki Sauce

2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t white pepper (we used black)
1 c Greek yogurt
1 c sour cream (friend used fat-free)
1 large cucumber, seeded, peeled: 1/2 diced for sauce, 1/2 sliced for inside pitas
1 t fresh dill (careful, easily overwhelming; we used dried)

Mix EVOO, garlic, salt & pepper until well combined. Blend with yogurt & sour cream. Finally add finely diced cucumber & dill.

Possible ingredients for pitas:
humus, kalamata (Greek) olives, feta, sliced peppers, tomatoes, avocado, whatever... and top with tzatziki sauce. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

God's Provision Isn't always what we expect.

I had a message left on my answering machine yesterday from a dear friend, her message was something like this, "Melinda, I am in the hospital I am getting my appendix out please pray."
I immediately started praying and left a message on her cell phone.  When I did end up speaking with her the next day she reminded me that her husband was out of town.  She has 2 young children.

Our pastor preached on joy and on finding it in all circumstances.  As my friend and I were discussing her sad situation.  I remembered the sermon, how can we find joy in this?  Well,  it turned out that two girls who lived next door who are usually at college were home on Christmas vacation and were able to babysit for my friend.  Thank God.  My friend was miraculous able to drive herself to the hospital.  She was given one of the best surgeons in our area to do the operation ( I am a nurse and knew her surgeon when she told me his name).  And finally, her favorite hospital meal (she loves baked chicken, and remember it from when she had her children at the hospital) was served to her this afternoon.

This was not the ideal situation, she probable would have preferred having her husband or mother be there to support her during this crisis, however God did fully provide for her and her family!

Sometimes, the people we want to be there to support us aren't available for different reasons.  But we need to remember that God is always there, and He will provide what and who we need when a crisis hit.

When you pass through the water I will be with you,
And the waves they will not overtake you.
Do not fear for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name.
You are mine.