Category Archives: Children and Family

This category has blogs in it that relate to children and family time, and hopefully, how that relates to reading and learning.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best-For-A-Happy-Thanksgiving

As an adult, Thanksgiving sometimes has put me in a conundrum technically, with both British and American citizenship, as you can imagine why. I am proud of both! For me, I don’t have to be divisive, I’ve always been about the “coming together” of people. And what is thanksgiving if not the joining of others.

That said, I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving here in America as a tradition and time to join with my family for food and rest together and to reflect for all I’m thankful for! I like that we can cook and eat together, play games, watch Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and Mayflower Voyagers, and revel in one of my favorite subjects, the Colonial Era! I remember fondly the time my son and I made “Plymouth Rock cookies” or when all three of my kids and I made turkey “thankful for” books out of paper bags. Laugh all you want, but the memories flood back, especially when my son won’t make it home from college in Washington D.C. this year for the weekend. It’s the first time since before his birth we haven’t celebrated a holiday together. Due to spending time with family, it’s one of my favorite holidays. That and I love pumpkin pie!

I’m very grateful, as always, for all the support of Hook of a Book, and this year, as well, for my own writing and publishing journey. Thank you to all who’ve been a part.

And above all else, I am thankful for my family, friends, love, food, laughter, and books! I’m even thankful for warmth and running water, as so many don’t have these things.

What are you grateful for this year? What will you commit to in order to help others?

In Thanksgiving,

Erin

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Filed under Breathe Breathe, Children and Family, My Writing

Reviewing Books for Young Readers – Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

Today, I have a review of a set of books read by my 11 year old daughter and guest reviewer Addison and myself. These books are great high fantasy or historical fiction for young readers, especially those who are reluctant to read, who like adventure!

Book Review:
Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book Two)
Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend (Book One)

GuinevereDawnofLegend

Over the years, having children who are excessive readers, I’ve been asked to review all sorts of books for all ages in a multitude of genres. I’ve long been a fan of the middle readers, because I am always an advocate for putting books in front of readers at this age that will keep them interested in reading as life evolves and opens to other things around them, especially in this digital age. Currently, I still have an 11 year old Addie, who though she reads at a high school level (that’s what happens when books are like food in your household), she prefers to still read middle readers for enjoyment and content. She was more than thrilled to accept this reading assignment with me.

In looking through Cheryl Carpinello’s titles, the newest release, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is book two, and Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, was book one and published last year. It’s a series on Guinevere, but it’s housed inside a Tales and Legends series. We decided to review both for a better view of the author, but I’d certainly say you can most likely read any of her titles out of order, but as always, you’d gain better perspective on the series as a whole if you read both of the Guinevere books together. I’m almost certain, that like mine, your child will want to read these back to back and it’s probably best that way.

Of course my daughter was first drawn in, when getting them in the mail, to the cover of Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, because it had a horse and she loves horses, but the second cover on At the Dawn of Legend was beautiful too and I explained to her what it represented in history. With a female protagonist, of course they are fabulous books for young ladies, but they are also action-packed and suitable for boys as well, especially reluctant readers of either gender. Personally, I also think it’s important that young boys read books with strong young protagonists who are girls!

GuinevereEve

As soon as she started Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, she was hooked and couldn’t wait for reading time before bed each night. I was happy that she liked tales of Arthurian legend as much as her dad and I! So she was ready to start the Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend almost immediately after. She enjoys fantasy, but they really have to hold her attention (or else she’s off reading mysteries in a cupcake shop) and these certainly did.

Guinevere is a capable, intelligent, and courageous young lady, all traits we wish our own daughters to be so she was a wonderful role model from reading. Cedwyn, the son of a knight, and her side kick, is wise, loyal, and curious. He becomes much more part of the story in At the Dawn of Legend, which is great again for both genders alike, as it give the young men a chivalrous young male to identify with and the young girls, a model for treatment from a male friend. Together, they show that men and women can do all things when combining their talents and personality traits!

From an historical avenue, and not just fantasy, I think it also accurately portrays the time period, giving a glimpse of history to readers as well. It’s not just high fantasy only. The author’s teaching background shines through in a myriad of ways so she hits all the right points of utilizing reading as an aspect of how to support children’s or pre-teen learning in these formative years. I can also see how her own passion for travels and history helps illuminate various time periods in history in her book. I would have ate up these books as a young lady myself.

Both books are marvelous for young readers that will have them sneaking the flashlight under their covers in bed at night or are a great set of books to read aloud to your children. Full of action, suspense, vivid descriptions, teachable lessons, and memorable characters, this is a set of books that will make a great gift to your child’s library.

Addison and I discussed much of what I wrote in this review together, but as her final thoughts, Addie said, “I love them. I think any young girl my age who likes adventure will be happy reading them. I didn’t want to put either of them down and would like to read more in the future.”

The ending was a cliff-hanger as well, so we anxiously await book three!

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Synopsis and Info –

GuinevereDawnofLegendPrint Length: 150 Pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (May 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229441

His one desire…To be a knight.

His future queen…At times reckless.

Best friends…Bound by Friendship and Loyalty.

When their adventure turns deadly & dangerous, Guinevere & Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle.

Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle.

Renegades–foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess–steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger.

As the plan quickly unravels, Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

Excerpt –

With saddened and heavy hearts, they left the gruesome glen behind and rode for the castle.

Samuel followed Guinevere, having chosen to ride beside Aaron. His tears dried, but the anguish not buried with his family. The grief was clearly evident in his hunched body, the anger in his clenched fists on the pony’s reins. Cedwyn worried about the boy’s state of mind.

Guinevere now led the trio, concern for the safety of the castle and the people there were marked by the hard set of her chin. Worry etched lines in her wrinkled brow and deepened her hollowed eyes.

Cedwyn brought up the rear. His eyes noted every movement. Ears tuned to the echoes of the forest, head swiveling at each movement and sound. Fear had taken permanent hold over his body—a feeling he was certain should have been as foreign to him as it would have been to Arthur’s knights. Cold fear tightened its grip on his heart and throat. Those who would kill the gentle monks would stop at nothing. Now the little group rode in the dark, a time when all earthly creatures took on the pallor of ghosts, and hidden danger lurked all around them.

 Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available to purchase on Amazon.com

Awards for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Juvenile Fiction
2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Children’s Literature
2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Fairytale/Folklore/Mythology
2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Juvenile Fiction
Short-Listed for 2019 Chanticleer Int’l Awards
2018 Honorable Mention Purple Dragonfly
100 Most Notable Indies for 2018
2018 Wishing Shelf Finalist
2017 BookLife Quarter Finalist
2017 Apple eBook Children’s Official Selection

Author Cheryl Carpinello, Biography – 

Author Full SphinxCheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.

You can find Cheryl Online –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Addie, Guest Reviewer, Age 11 –

ACA8ADFB-6A63-4F40-AF22-FC01DFA029D4Addison has been reviewing books on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! for five years. She loves books of all kinds, writing, dancing, art, singing, animals, and her friends. She has a soft spot for furry monsters like the Yeti and enjoys books from around the world.

If you’d like to send her a book for review, feel free to ask via my regular review request e-mail.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Children and Family

Addie Guest Reviews: Lemons, Bigfoot, and Kid Lit

My newly 10 year old Addie is back on the site again today as a guest reviewer with a middle reader called Lemons! This book has two children chasing bigfoot, and yet, it’s so much more. Addie was sent this book for review from Crown Books/Random House in exchange for an honest review. I’ll start off with a synopsis, Addie’s review, and my own thoughts after discussion with Addie and reading the book myself. I know you’re going to love this one!!! Cutest cover award, right??

Lemons banner

Lemons, Synopsis –

  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (May 2, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 2, 2017
  • Sold by: Random House LLC

The search for Bigfoot gets juicy in this funny and touching story that’s perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses and Katherine Applegate’s Crenshaw!
 
Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.

Then she meets eleven-year-old Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., who is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all.

“I love books about feisty girls and nerdy boys. Melissa Savage’s astoundingly good debut novel is packed with humor, mystery, friendship, family secrets, and even Bigfoot! I think you’ll love it, too.” —Karen Cushman, Newbery Medalist for The Midwife’s Apprentice

Lemons

 

Addie’s Review –

Lemons was an emotional, yet funny book. Even thought there were sad parts, it kept me laughing almost the whole time. There were some very touching parts of the book, which I don’t want to spoil for other kid’s reading here, but it made it a memorable book for me. I was glad that there were some happy endings and Lem loved her grandpa. Lemonade is my favorite character, because she is a fierce and funny girl, like me.

My favorite part was about how Lemonade was in love with twinkies! I just got to try my first twinkie this year as I was reading this book. I liked the bigfoot searches that Lemonade and Tobin had. It was funny when Lemonade held out a twinkie for bigfoot and he ate it. I think it would be fun to search for a real bigfoot.

Overall, I loved reading Lemons. I recommend it to ages 9 to 12, because I just turned 10, but read in my last few days of being 9. I am a good reader so I think boys and girls a few years older than me would enjoy it too.

Mom’s Notes –

Addie was super excited to receive Lemons from Crown Books in the mail. It was definitely a review highlight for her. Why? She knows all about bigfoot and we can thank my own publicity client and friend, Hunter Shea, for that! Though he writes adult books featuring cryptids, she has always been interested in the work of authors I work with and took to learning about them. She prefers her “scary” creatures to also be cute or friendly in nature, of course, or people unmasked by those “meddling kids.” That’s where her lifelong love of Scooby-Doo also registered to her that a story with Bigfoot might either be a fun adventure or a mystery, both things she likes in the books she reads. So bigfoot intrigued her and the cover caught her eye as well as the synopsis, so she dove right in. Not only did she not want to stop reading, she wandered around reading the book inside the house, out to the car, inside the car….

I would have to say that Lemons is one of the middle readers I most wanted to read as well. I loved that the two main characters, a boy and a girl, were Bigfoot detectives. That made the book adventurous enough for a 9-11 year old. I am always happy when books feature girls and boys as friends as well and articulate that they can do things together too. The bigfoot excursion also brought humor to the book that I know Addie loved.

However, it also dove into deep themes, deep enough that some adults might not think children that age would be ready for, but I disagree. I think they are dealing with more than what we give them credit for these days. Having themes to connect to in books is a positive things for young readers. Life is no longer sugar coated. I asked Addie about the themes in the book even before I read it myself. She didn’t want to give spoilers in her review, but we discussed what some of them were and how they made her feel. Though the death of a parent or grandparent hasn’t happened to her, she could understand it enough and I believe reading these things are what helps her have empathy for others. It’s a great book to discuss with your kids for this reason.

Once I read it myself, I talked to her again. I asked her if she understood the time period of the book or if it impacted her reading, to which she told me she just felt like it was modern day. For readers of this review who don’t know, it was set in the early 70s during the Bigfoot craze and when soldiers were coming home from the Vietnam war. The book dealt with a parent not only being missing from war but also probably PTSD issues. However, for Addie, she knows what PTSD is like as she has seen someone struggle with it. She understands in our society today about people coming home, and sometimes not coming home, from war. She also knows that the Bigfoot hunting craze is back. This means that to her, she still connected so it didn’t hinder her reading being set in another time period. Maybe she didn’t get every reference to type of car or music or other tidbits to create setting, but Addie, and probably every other 10 year old, isn’t going to be bothered by that either. It was the emotion of the story, the characters, and the plot that propelled her reading. And I don’t think it was supposed to be a history lesson. Once we talked about it and I told her about the 70s, she was intrigued as well to learn more. This is a time period not often written about in literature, historical fiction, and for sure not in children’s historical fiction, so I thought it was a great setting myself.

I think the themes this book featured were phenomenal in terms of berevement and hope and gave just enough that a kid could connect and absorb, but also race through pages for the sheer fun. I think this is a book to remain on the shelf and will be a definite re-read. Lemons is book I feel will stay with her as she grows older. I was born in 1974 myself, so showing my age, but I remember how Robert Cormier’s I am the Cheese stuck with me all these years due to its deep psychological themes. I recently gifted this book to my 13 year old. Lemons is a tale for a new generation written to touch children of today who are growing up so different from us, and yet, so many themes remains the same. When I saw the below paragraph on Melissa’s biography page on her website, it made me smile and I really love the heart she has put into her work

“Melissa is a writer and a child and family therapist. She has worked with families struggling with issues of abuse, trauma and loss/bereavement. She believes that expressing oneself through writing can be a very healing process when struggling with difficulties in life.  In addition it can be a vehicle in which to honor, celebrate and continue to share the spirits of the special people who have left us too soon.”

I am REALLY looking forward to seeing more books from Melissa Savage! HIGHLY RECOMMEND for summer reading and for the classroom as well.

Lemons

Purchase Lemons

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

GoodReads

Praise for Lemons

“An enjoyable and welcome exploration of sorrow, healing, and friendship.” —School Library Journal

“An enjoyable and comforting middle-grade handbook on navigating new experiences and the heartache of losing loved ones early in life.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Savage injects enough humor, mystery, and lively interaction among the characters to give this two-hanky debut a buoyant tone.” —Booklist

Melissa Savage“[A]pt and accessible for young readers.” —The Bulletin   

Melissa Savage, Biography –

Melissa D. Savage is a writer and a child and family therapist.

Her desire to write purposeful, issue-driven books for young people, coupled with her interest in cryptozoology and the mystery of Bigfoot, inspired her to write Lemons.

Melissa lives in Minneapolis. You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage, and visit her at melissadsavage.com.

Addie, Guest Reviewer –

addieAddie is newly 10 years old and enjoys reading, writing, singing, dancing, art, baking, laughing, sports, gardening, animals, mysteries, and just about anything else – yep she has a lot of interests, especially when they’re fun.

However, she does take her school work seriously, and also strives for great grades. She really into reading stories of all kinds and interviewing authors for a behind-the-scenes look. She’s very happy to review books and wants to start her own blog soon.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Children and Family

Russell James Pens Suspense Tale of the Sea for Kindle Scout – Need Votes!

Hey everyone! My client and friend Russell James, who many of you have heard of through me or know yourself to be a writer of thrillers and horror, has stepped outside that writer’s box once again to bring us a different type of thriller – a Young Adult/New Adult novel that features mermaids, mystery, suspense, and even a little romance that can be read by both teens and adults.

BUT Russell needs our help to get this new novel published via Kindle Scout. We need votes and helping spreading the word for votes in THIS FINAL WEEK to make that happen! Below you’ll find all the information you need to do both. I’ll be continuing to spread variations of this content to as many targeted readers and bloggers as I can over this last week of voting so feel free to us any part of it you might want to as well to help spread the word too! It has a beautiful cover and I can truly say that Russell is an outstanding writer!

Marissa

Marissa Anselmo and the City Beneath the Sea

Marissa Anselmo and the City Beneath the Sea is by Russell James and is up for a Kindle Scout deal for another week! This beautifully written book is a Young Adult novel, but is great for adults who enjoy island and water stories too! The cover is beautiful. If you vote for this book for a Kindle Scout deal it could possibly be published by Amazon. If that happens, and you voted for it, you’ll get a free copy!

Marissa Anselmo and the City Beneath the Sea, Synopsis

Is a mermaid’s life in Atlantis all it seems?

Marissa discovers that her mystery father was a merman from Atlantis. Her hybrid status attracts agents who want her physiological secrets and Atlantis’ hidden location. Guardians from Atlantis whisk her to their city beneath the sea. Eric, her boyfriend, has his own epiphany as his father reveals a heritage pledged to Atlantis’ destruction. Bio weapons and hydrofoil warships threaten to annihilate both sides, and only Marissa can stop the cataclysm, and save the life of the boy she loves.

Want to go ahead and vote NOW?

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/VZLR8ESFELIK

Want to know more first? Read on….

So what is this book about? Russell has answered a few questions to give a better overview.

Q: What inspired you?

Russell: I love visiting the Florida Keys. The islands are low and small, and so I feel like you are close to the sea all the time. It seems like everyone boats or scuba dives or swims and the water is an integral part of life. That started me thinking about writing a story where that might actually be true. What if someone truly lived half in and half out of the water? Well, that led to mermaids.

But the heart of the story is about the impact of family on an individual’s future. Having a rich heritage as a springboard for life is wonderful, but what if it that heritage is dark? I thought of children growing up in societies steeped in hatred for other cultures, or child soldiers forced into militias. Could they break away, alter their future path? Could they bring others along on that journey? Marissa and Eric both find out that they are expected to be warriors for causes they do not understand. How they react drives this novel.

Q: What was your writing process like?

Russell: Writing this book was a lot of fun. I could keep all the fast-paced elements I love to do in my paranormal thriller stories. And while my novels usually have something unreal happen in the real world, in this novel I had the freedom to create unreal worlds: the mermaids’ underwater city of Atlantis and the shadow society of the satyrs. I researched the world of ancient Greece, the time period where sorcerers had altered both civilizations, and fixed that as the building block for their cultures. It was exciting to create how the Atlantisians, consciously shunning technology, would realistically live under the sea, scavenging from wrecks and harvesting the ocean for food.

Most of all it was great to go back to explore the purity of love, of experiencing the thrill of sharing of one’s soul with another. That power fuels Eric and Marissa’s belief that against long odds, they can make their relationship work. After writing a lot of dark stuff, it was nice to write more in the light.

Q: How does this compare to the other genres you write in?

Russell: I’ve had seven novels published and they were all paranormal thrillers, usually lumped into the horror category, I don’t see Marissa Anselmo and the City Beneath the Sea as being in a different genre as much as being in a subset of the same thriller genre. There is still a lot of action, still cliff-hanger scene endings, still plenty of suspense. There are just a lot fewer decapitations. In dialing back the horror, I also made the whole story family-friendly, with milder language and softer violence than you’d see on network TV. That left more room to explore the characters.

Want to vote NOW?

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/VZLR8ESFELIK

Thank YOU!!

Russell James Biography –

Headshot Erin Marissa Kindle ScoutRussell James grew up on Long Island, New York, surrounded by water from an early age. Despite many weekends spent on Long Island Sound, he never saw a mermaid. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida. He spent five years flying helicopters with the U.S. Army.

A technical writer for a Fortune 50 company by day, he spins fiction at night. He has written seven paranormal thrillers, several novellas, and has been published in six science fiction short story collections.His works have been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, and the Midwest Review of Books. Dark Inspiration was an Amazon #1 Best Seller.  Q Island was selected as the Editor’s Pick in Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

Visit his website at http://www.russellrjames.com and read some free short stories.

Follow on Twitter @RRJames14, Facebook as Russell R. James, or drop a line complaining about his writing to rrj@russellrjames.com.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD QUICKLY TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

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Read Across America/Dr. Seuss Day, March 2 + Favorite Quotes

Today was Read Across America Day AND Dr. Seuss Day in honor of his birthday! I’ve always loved Dr. Seuss. I fondly remember having a subscription to the books..you know, where once a month a couple appeared in the mail? It was always such a thrill. I still have my collection and now my children have read them!! His creative spirit is admirable as well as his huge heart for humanity and the environment.

I’m glad he still is enjoyed by each generation. My 7 year old found some pencils, erasers, and bookmarks with Dr. Seuss characters on them at the store on Friday night, so she was more than prepared to celebrate for the entire year, not just the day!

What Dr. Seuss book inspired you? Which books do you love? 

Dr. Seuss never gets old in our hearts!! Here are some fave quotes, perfect for anyone:

“Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.

“It is better to know how to learn than to know.

“Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

MARCH-2nd-Read-Across-America-Day-dr-seuss

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Filed under Children and Family, Feature Articles

St. Patrick’s Day Family Fun, Plus Book and Movie Suggestions, Articles, Photos!

We enjoy St. Patrick’s Day so much in our house (don’t worry we celebrate every time there is a chance to celebrate) that I’m not even getting my second St. Patrick’s Day post up until almost midnight! I hope the Leprechauns won’t mind, as I really don’t want them playing tricks on me!

StPatricks-Day-Seal

The girls and I made Shamrock sugar cookie cut-outs the night before, with homemade mint buttercream, and they took to their classmates.  This kicked-off our celebrations!

2014-03-16 19.38.07

While they were at school, we went out and grabbed Reubens for lunch.  Then after school, homework, and me putting on a big pot of my Irish Stew, the kids and I went out and got some McDonald’s Shamrock shakes (how could we not, plus the six-year-old was begging), some St. Patrick’s day party stuff like glasses, mustaches, straws, and we came home and watched the animated “The Secret of the Kells” which is a 2009 movie set in the eighth century (see synopsis below).

Secret of the Kells

I mixed up my Irish Soda Bread dough and popped that into the oven as the stew simmered and we set-up our annual Leprechaun hunt. My middle daughter always makes tiny Leprechauns on paper and we stick them to bags of mint M&Ms and money and hide them all over the house. Then, the kids try to find the pesky fellows and have a lot of fun. We enjoyed our stew, warm soda bread with butter, and 7-UP with lime sherbet to drink out of straws shaped like Shamrocks.

Before leaving you with an array of photos from our day, we have a few suggestions for books and movies if you have a love of the Irish.  Or let us know your favorites in the comments below. We’ll also leave you with a few older posts, including a post from another one of my blogs that features my recipes.

Books (4 for children and 1 adult option)~

fiona's luck cover1) Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 – 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge; New edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English

The greedy Leprechaun King has locked away all the luck in Ireland and the whole country has fallen in to despair. Through clever charades, Fiona outwits the Leprechaun King and restores luck to the land.

Luminous illustrations add to the magic and wonder of this original folktale.

depaola st pat2) Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What’s this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (P) (February 1994)
  • Language: English

The story of Patrick’s life, from his noble birth in Britain, to his being captured and taken to Ireland by a group of bandits, to the “dreams” that led him to convert the Irish people to the Christian faith. DePaola also retells several well-known legends, including the story of how Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland. Full color.

StPatDay13) A Fine St. Patrick’s Day by Susan Wojciechowski (Author) , Tom Curry (Illustrator)

  • Age Range: 3 – 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 2
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English

WELCOME TO THE rival towns of Tralee and Tralah, where the annual St. Patrick’s Day decorating contest is under way. Every year, Tralah defeats Tralee. This year, though, little Fiona Riley has a wonderful idea that will help Tralee win the contest for sure. But neither town has counted on a stranger arriving—a funny little man with pointed ears and boots trimmed with bells—who will turn the contest upside down!

st. pat from the black lagoon4) St. Patrick’s Day from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler, Author and Jared Lee, Illustrator

  • ISBN-13: 9781614792079
  • Publisher: ABDO Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/2014
  • Series: Black Lagoon Adventures Set 3
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 8 – 12 Years

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and Hubie needs to find something green to wear for the big class parade. Leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, pickles – how can he possibly make a decision with all these great options? He better decide quickly, because there’s a rainbow out and everyone is looking for the pot of gold at the end of it.

Here are some festive bookmarks for you to download and print:

St Patricks Day bookmarks (click here for .pdf)

St. Patrick's bookmarks

And a series of books for the adult historical reader…..

5) Check out Michael K. Reynolds, author of historical Irish novels! His series, Heirs of Ireland, is pretty amazing.  See the ad below with the books and check out his website at: http://www.michaelkreynolds.com/

Reynolds irish history

Movies~

The movie we watched, “The Secret of the Kells” is so amazing. It gets 5 stars from us, but even on a site like Rotten Tomatoes (movie review site), it has a 91% approval rating and it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Picture! It’s on NETFLIX streaming right NOW, so don’t miss out!

The Secret of the Kells (2009)

The SEcret of the Kells movie photo12-year-old Brendan battles Vikings and confronts an ancient serpent god on a mission to locate a legendary crystal and complete the mythical Book of Kells. Brendan lives in a heavily fortified medieval outpost known as the Abbey of Kells, where the ongoing threat of Viking raids causes the peaceful monks to live in a state of constant fear. Along with his uncle, Abbot Cellach, Brendan labors to fortify the abbey walls daily so his people will be protected from invading forces.

When the mysterious Brother Aidan arrives at the abbey carrying an unfinished tome filled mystical secrets, Brendan becomes illuminated, and his dormant talents are awakened. The book must be finished, but accomplishing that mission will be no simple task. As the Vikings close in, Brendan ventures into the surrounding forest and prepares to confront his darkest fears. Accompanying him on his dangerous mission is Aisling, a half-wolf/half-human fairy whose powers will help to guide Brendan through this enchanting yet dangerous new world. (Synopsis from movies.com)

IMBD site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485601/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_of_Kells

Other movie recommendations for adults include:

Magdalene Sisters (2002): Slavery never ended for the women sentenced to work in Catholic laundries for sins like getting raped or looking too attractive.

Michael Collins (1996): Liam Neeson embodies the “Lion of Ireland” who rose as an IRA leader and fell when his detractors thought his Irish Free State betrayed the cause of independence.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006): Like Victor Hugo said, all wars are civil wars because all men are brothers. This winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or shows two brothers torn apart by war.

The General (1998): The strange but true story of gangster Martin Cahill is like an Irish “Sopranos” with art theft, the IRA, and bigamy thrown in.

In the Name of the Father (1993): Seven Oscar nominations and an all star cast of Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, and the late Pete Postlethwaite are two good reasons to watch this top Irish movie of an Irishman wrongly sentenced for life after an IRA bombing.

Previous Posts from the Archive~

St. Patrick’s Day on Hook of a Book 2013

St. Patrick’s Day 2011 on my Breathe Beauty Art and Photography blog (in hiatus), Recipes Included!!

And if you missed it earlier, 3 Stories by my 3 kiddos for St. Patrick’s Day

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How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Spread St. Patrick’s ideals of treating others with kindness?

We’ll leave you with some photos…enjoy!

addie and em decor st patty's cookies

addie lepy

lepy hunt

isb

2014-03-17 19.41.13

 

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Three St. Patrick’s Day Original Stories by My Children!

LepymushroomThe kiddos of Hook of a Book have written stories to entertain you and bring you rainbows of joy for St. Patrick’s Day! The prize is even bigger than a pot-o-gold at the end of this post, the winnings are reading fabulous unique fiction of aspiring writers of a young age. I gave them the challenge to write a story and within an hour, this is what they came up with.

If you’re so inclined, please leave them comments in the appropriate section and I’ll be sure they read them! This St. Patrick’s Day post is fully centered around the kid’s, Addie, age 6, Emma, age 10, and Nassem, age 14, stories, so be sure to check the blog later in the day for our annual “all things St. Patrick’s Day post as well.

Enjoy!!

AddieA Leprechaun Named Saint
by Addie Busbey (unedited)

Once upon a time there was a lepracon named St. and he was so excited because St. Pacherecs Day was coming up. His name was named after it. He couldn’t wait to get a big pot of gold for St. Pacherecs Day. St. was excited because he got to pick 4 leaf clovers. All his freinds were happy and they knew that it was always going to be a happy day but they didn’t know that there was a villen whaching them.  The villen was going to make it all damp so he wouldn’t have to whach them any more but what he didn’t know is that it was only going to be damp for one day.  Then it was nighttime.  Then when it was morning the lepracons saw that it was all damp but then two trees went down and they saw a naste castle and they thought the person that lived in there might have done it so they all went to the castle. They talked to the villen about it, who lived in the castle, and then the lepracon and the villen which is no longer a villen became freinds.

Mom Note: Always sweet when villens and lepracons become friends, right?

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EmmaThe Day I Was a Leprechaun, or Was It Just a Day….
By Emma Al-Mehairi (unedited)

The day I was a Leprechaun was a strange day. When I was 7 years old, I would think about what it would be like to be a Leprechaun and that is all I would think about. I always thought that if I became a Leprechaun everything would be so cool and I would be treated the same. Now I am 18, and it’s not the same story.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I saw a shooting star and I wished to become a Leprechaun, which I thought was just another wish that never comes true, but I was wrong.

I woke up the next morning to get ready for school, and my brother Jack started to scream the first second he saw me. I had no idea why he was screaming, but I didn’t worry about it because crazy and annoying is his personality.  The thing that got to me however, is that my mom screamed too. That was weird, because my brother gets his personality from my dad.  My brother is nothing like my mom. I knew something was up so I went upstairs to look in the mirror and I was a Leprechaun! Right away, I got on my computer and looked up all of my ancestors to see if any of them had any Irish in them.  None of them did!  I was a Leprechaun. This would change everything….

Part 2

I couldn’t go to school looking like this. I had to figure out a way to fix this or my life would be ruined.  I couldn’t go to school because of Mandi, the mean girl, who would destroy me. I had to convince my mom to let me stay home.

I got to stay home from school that week. I was walking out on the sidewalk in disguise and I tripped over a big rock and fell flat on my face. The square in the sidewalk that I fell on started to glow.  I stood up and it opened! I went down the slide that lead into a portal and it was a place like no other. It felt magical. There were potions, pots, and magic books. I almost felt like I was in a fairytale! I opened one of the magic books and it started to talk to me!  It sounded like the sound effects they used in a the horror movies, but once it started to talk, it was actually very nice.  It asked how I had gotten there and what I needed help with. I told it all the information and it offered to guide me through everything to help me get back to my normal self.  It helped me find the right potion and the spell I had to cast on myself to turn me back to normal.  I was really nervous because if I didn’t do it right the first time, I would be a Leprechaun forever! I was ready.

I cast the spell, then I drank the potion and I turned back.  I was so happy and so thankful because without the book I probably would have been stuck like this forever.  The only problem was trying to figure out how to get home. I looked for hours and then I found a door. It was glowing and I opened it. It was swirling, like a time machine, and I had no idea where it would lead me to, but it was my only hope to getting home. I jumped in and I couldn’t see anything. It was twisting and turning me around, but I flew out and I was right in front of my yard. I was happy to be home an back to normal. I ran inside and my mom gave me a big hug and asked me where I had gone. I told her all about it and Jack heard too. My mom believed me because she was into the fantasy world and believed anything could happen if you just believe!

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2013-09-14 16.32.45An Irish Snake Parable
by Nassem Al-Mehairi

So, you are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? You know, I had a role in it. Oh, you do not believe me? Let me show you.

My name is Serpens. I am a snake, an Irish one. I lived in a little village named Dundalk, in northern Ireland. Back then, we called it Hiberia, the Latin name for my island, my home.

There was one day, in my memory, that changed the course of my life. I was living in the trees outside Dundalk, where I was away from the humans. I remember hearing marching, people cheering, shouting. I slithered quietly out to the side of the trail, the green leaves covering my body.

I saw a man, a man with a short black beard and a wooden staff in his right hand, walking toward the center of Dundalk. People surrounded him, asking him questions, he staying his tongue. I quietly followed them until they reached the center of town.

The bearded man stood on a wooden cart, and as the townsfolk listened intently to him, I did so as well.

He boomed, “Hello, my fellow brothers and sisters, born of God. I am Patrick, and have come here today to save your souls! Your immortal souls, I will cleanse them and help you become God-fearing people!”

People suddenly began to change in their composure. Some vocally began to boo Patrick, some threw rotten foods at him. Hiberia was not Christian, not very much so anyway, then. He said, dodging nasty looking vegetables, said, “I will go to the top of that hill, and if I survive for 40 days without food, you must agree to hear me out!”

The leader of Dundalk came to the front of the crowd, and said, “Yes, we will agree to that. If, or I should say when, you die up there, we will bury you properly.”

Patrick sighed, and began the trek up the hill.

***

34 days had passed, Patrick still up at the top of the hill. No food, how was he surviving? I decided to go up the hill and see for myself.

When I got up the hill, I saw the man with the black beard. I hid in the tall grass, as he sat and prayed. I wondered if this was all he did, during the time he was up here.

I looked around myself, and realized that there were other snakes here. Many. They slowly, in unison, came up to Patrick. They hissed, and he opened his eyes. He looked down upon them, and said, “Why are you here, little snakes?”

They swarmed around him, ready to attack him. He said, toward the heavens, “Help me, good Lord. Deliver me.”

Just soon enough, the other snakes, but not me, began to rise, and as they rose into the blue sky above, Patrick called out, “Lord, do not harm them!”

Dundalk is a coast town, so the snakes were dropped into the sea. Patrick cursed God, never wanting to hurt the snakes. He got up, and walked over to go down the hill, too depressed to stay up there any longer. When he looked down, his eyes met mine. He smiled, and said, “Hello, little snake.” He picked me up.

“Oh, you are very beautiful. You are also a very special snake.” He took me, and made me his companion.

***

I went to all the places Patrick went, spreading the word of God. You see, he felt bad about all the other snakes being banished, so he adopted me. He never wanted to chase the snakes out of Hiberia. He was a kind soul, one who loved all the people and the animals alike. I wanted to clear his name, and as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, remember the kindness he showed me, and begin to show more of it in your own life.

END

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! 

Note: These stories are of full ownership by the authors and Hook of a Book Media. Copyright applies.

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My Son’s Short Story and Encouraging Creative Writing in Young Adults!

My son, Nassem

My son, Nassem

At the end of this week, we were made excited and proud writing parents when we heard that our son, Nassem Al-Mehairi would be advancing to the District Tournaments for the State of Ohio program called POWER of the PEN!! He had taken part in a school assessment that included observations by his English teacher and his writing based on several writing prompts.

I immediately shouted my pride through a Facebook status and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were as encouraged as I. Tim and I both feel it’s so very important to encourage writing and literacy skills in young people! Though we’ve known our children to have writing and reading talents, we we’ve been thrilled to see Nassem blossoming on the creative spectrum.

He’ll go next Saturday to Districts and then we’ll see if he’ll move on to Regional and then State Tournaments, where even at State several hundred students compete! Either way, we are very proud of him and so happy they offer such writing programs in our State. If you don’t know what POWER of the PEN is, you can go here:  http://www.powerofthepen.org.

And with that announcement, I thought I’d post below a creative historical short story he wrote for his English class, in which he had to write a suspense story in a limited amount of words. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, please encourage him in the comments!! You can also check out his writing and book reviews and interviews at http://www.nassemalmehairi.wordpress.com.

Congratulations, Nassem! Keep writing!!

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Independence is to be Done on this Continent
by Nassem Al-Mehairi

“You are late!” I heard this from outside my windows and got up as quick as a roadrunner, put my ear to the window, and listened.  “I am sorry, William…” That is my brother’s name!  “But General Howe, that son of the devil, would not approve. We are now going rogue.”  William said, as sly as a fox, “I plan to slip across Valley Forge, and when I reach the eastern hill, I shall stab General Washington with, no less, a British-forged knife.”  How could William do this to me?? He knows that I have supplied the cause of freedom!  how the bloody hell could he do this to me?!? I lay back down, feeling my tears roll down like dice across my dark, weary cheeks as I fell asleep.

I awoke the next morning. I walked down the stairs, trying to suppress my emotions from last night.  I first see my father, a Frenchman who owns a merchant’s guild. He once, 16 years ago, got a little “lonely” after his first wife left him like the colonies are leaving England.  He then had a daughter with his slave, and that girl is now me.

“Good Morning, Father.”

“Good Morning, Cecile.  You look as beautiful as the moon, just like your mother.”

This fills me with the frustration that comes with being from two worlds and not belonging to either.  I tell him to have a good day and he promises to bring home my favorite French chocolates.  He always wants to just pamper me instead of having a real relationship. I respond with “thanks” and run up to la salle de Bain to freshen up.  When done, I run into William. I become very stoic, and it takes all my might to not blow up like a cannon at him. He says, “Hello, Cecile. Ca Va?”  I respond simply with “Bien, Merci.” We part ways.

The smells, sounds, and sights of the Philadelphia harbor are beautiful.  But I hardly notice as I follow William across the pier. I crouch behind barrels of French wine as William and the man speak.  “He is to be killed by my hand tomorrow,” said William.  “Oh my God,” I whispered as I ran away back into the crowd. I start to remember the days that he used to defend me from the other people who called me “mulatto” and “a sad accident.”  Now, though, he had been corrupted.  “They will never attempt it again is idle and visionary, we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a year or two undeceived us.” I must kill him.

“You cannot escape your fate, William,” I yell as I chase him across the snow-covered ground that is Valley Forge. He takes out a pistol and fires a blind shot. It goes wide and I keep after him through the burning pain in my legs. I keep inching toward William as Washington’s command tent comes into view.  As the great General walks out, William pulls out the knife and yells “God Save the King!”  But before the assassination, I felt my knife enter William’s back.  He asks, “Why, Cecile?” and I respond, “You became corrupted.  You sought to make all oppressed. I love you, though.”

As I got up, I found five Continental soldiers standing with muskets raised.  I was hit three times and as I felt myself fall, I heard the General yell that I had just saved his life. I saw my world fade away, my part and destiny in it finished.  The chocolates, so delicately made, wait for their consumer, who shall never come.

The End

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Five Children’s Books for Chinese New Year, Crafts, and Our Fave Chinese Heroine!

Happy Chinese New Year 2014! It’s the year of the horse! Since I love all things history, culture, or steeped in tradition, we liked celebrating the holiday yesterday for fun at our house. We like to remind ourselves what animal year we were born in, then see if our personalities are matching up as we learn and grow. Quite honestly, there is also a part of me that just loves all the reds, yellows, oranges and the dragons…..oh, I love the dragons. The kids and I watch some of the parades online and it’s amazing how intricate some of the people dragon trains are designed!

chinese new year 2014

We make crafts and read books and this year my six-year-old and I watched Mulan, one of our favorite heroines.  I leave in this post for you some links and images to help you celebrate or to see how we enjoyed our evening. Be sure to check out a list of books that your family might enjoy as well!

For good fortune, please stop by in the comments tell me what animal you are!

chinese-new-year-animals-meaning_1390018012

Here is an article with some predictions for the year of the horse (if can’t click, copy and paste into your browser): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/chinese-new-year-2014-what-the-year-of-the-horse-means-for-you-9096775.html

FIVE BOOKS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN THAT WE ENJOY!

Dragon Dance Book1.) Dragon Dance Lift-the-Flap~
Author Joan Holub and Illustrated by Benrei Huang.

It’s Chinese New Year and there are so many fun things to do!

Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year’s dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year’s parade!

Introduce the customs of Chinese New Year to even the youngest readers with this festive new lift-the-flap book.

2.) Ruby’s Wish~
by Shirin Yim, Author and Sophie Blackall, Illustrator

RubysWishRuby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage.

3.) Year of the Horse: Tales of the Chinese Zodiac~
by Author Oliver Chin and Illustrator Jennifer Wood

year of the horse book2014 is The Year of the Horse! Hannah the horse has a wonderfully talented family and a very special friendship with a boy named Tom, but she wants more than that. She yearns to have special skills like those of her parents and relatives. When Tom offers to take his art teacher s newest painting to the governor in a far off capital, Hannah jumps at the chance to show a little horse can have a lot of courage.

This latest adventure in the Tales from the Chinese Zodiac follows The Year of the Snake (2013), Dragon (2012), Rabbit (2011), Tiger (2010), Ox (2009), Rat (2008), Pig (2007) and Dog (2006). Each book features a unique cast of a dozen creatures. In the Chinese lunar calendar, a special animal represents every year. Each creature symbolizes unique qualities and has a personality that people identify with.

4.) Chelsea’s Chinese New Year~
by Lisa Bullard, Author and Katie Saunders, Illustrator

chelsea's chinese new yearChelsea’s family is celebrating Chinese New Year! Chelsea gets to stay up late. She watches fireworks and a parade with a dragon! She and her family have a big feast. Find out the different ways people celebrate this special day!

5.) Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan!~
by Lauryn Silverhardt, Adapter, Jason Fruchter, Illustrator and Aka Chikasawa, Illustrator

Kai-lanJoin Kai-lan for a Chinese New Year celebration!

Kai-lan and her friends get to carry the dragon costume in the big parade – but can they work together to make the dragon dance?

I had to add this book of Kai-lan, my six-year-old has always loved her and actually knows many Chinese words from watching the show!

Happy Reading!

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WHAT ELSE WE DID TO CELEBRATE: MOVIE

-Mulan-(Two-Disc-Special-Edition)As I mentioned before, we watched one of our favorite Disney heroines, Mulan! What a great story of a young girl who transforms herself into a warrior to save her family, her Emporer, and her country while defying the norms that a woman should only prepare herself for marriage.

Plus, it’s SUPER funny. The red dragon with the voice of Eddie Murphy is hysterical and the cricket is so cute!

As of the date of this post, Mulan  and Mulan II are also on NETFLIX!

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WHAT ELSE WE DID TO CELEBRATE: CRAFTS

We found a wall hanging craft on Pinterest…(where there are lots of pins for Chinese New Year crafts and books and so forth for families!). We made it by painting popsicle sticks red and gluing into a square, then we looked up Chinese symbols. Emma drew the symbol for tranquility and Addie drew one for peace. We glued it into the middle of the square and glued a penny (for a Chinese coin) onto the right hand corner for monetary luck! A ribbon was glued to the back so we can hang them up! The girls adore them and I think they are pretty cute too.

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Then, Addie and I made a paper dragon. We just came up with it as we went on our own. We cut a head, a tongue, pointy fur and found some googly eyes for the face. Then we cut out a bunch of colorful circles and glued them in twos behind the head to make a body. We used a red tail. On the circles of the body we drew black lines to create a scale texture. She loves it!

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It’s not too late to celebrate the year of the horse in 2014. 

May luck, good fortune, love, and peace be upon all of you!

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Merry Christmas and Joyous Season to Everyone: What Books Did You Get?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays (which includes if you are having a holiday such as a vacation)! I hope you have been enjoying the magic and love of the season, no matter what you have going on in your life, how you celebrate, or if you have to work.  Whatever you case is in life at the moment, I hope you have had or get to enjoy some time to relax. It’s the small moments that count and the memories that last.

Merry Christmas sign

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my kids while they are on break from school. We had a wonderful Christmas and we are enjoying our holiday time connecting with each other. To me, this is the most important thing in my life, so I’ve not blogged, put most work and writing aside, and limited my time to them. It’s why my holiday message to you, readers and friends, is somewhat delayed! I’ve been busy baking, reading, cuddling, making bracelets, coloring with Sharpies, and playing with Monster High dolls.

I do wish all of you much joy, happiness, and love during the hustle and bustle of this end of the year time. I hope you are taking precious moments to enjoy your kids or grandkids, give to those less fortunate, count your blessings and think on your positives. I hope you embrace the feelings that come from having a heart two sizes too big.

We have some special traditions that I look forward to every year. The kids and I have been busy baking sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. The latter we make from my great-grandma Emma Bryan’s recipe, which is hundreds of years old. We talked about our ancestors and connected to our past as we rolled the dough. We talked of our past and of our futures together. We made wonderful memories. We recorded our cooking baking process on Instagram (Erin Al-Mehairi) and Twitter (@ErinAlMehairi). The pictures are really cute if you want to check them out.

We also have watched our Christmas favorites on Netflix and on DVD, such as The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rise of the Guardians, Peanuts All I Want for Christmas is a Dog to name a few, and some other movies for fun as well. We made homemade hot chocolate that simmered all day and then drank it while we watched The Polar Express. We’ve cooked together our favorite foods, decorated our tree and remembered each memory from almost each ornament we pulled out, and read books such as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Nassem read to his sisters and me in his best Grinch voice), The Nutcracker, and Madeline’s Christmas. We read of the birth of Jesus and set-up our Nativity scenes under the tree.

And not to be forgotten, we are excited each year to write letters to Santa and put them in the red Macy’s mailbox under the BELIEVE meter, pick out a Yes, Virginia ornament to hang on the tree, then hang our past Virginia ornaments while watching the Yes, Virginia animated story. Happily, Netflix streams this favorite version. Next year, I think I’ll splurge for the picture book.

We’ve had a great time carving out special minutes together. I know when they are older this will be what they will remember, not any high-priced gift that quits working or goes obsolete in a year. Listening to the Nutcracker Ballet while hanging ornaments and eating homemade cookies will be what they tell their own kids that they did each Christmas. I hope they even pass down our traditions to their families.

I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday as well. What are your Christmas traditions? Have you made time for reading like us? Did you get any good books for Christmas? Feel free to leave your comments below! I’d love to hear.

In the meantime, I’ll be reading and working on catching up on all the Fall reviews I owe (I really own a huge backlog), some great new ones for January, and some super interviews I have coming up!

Love to you and yours! And I’ll be back with more posts soon!

Kids making cookies

Baking and Frosting Gingerbread People!

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