Our Literary Advent Plans, 2015

literary advent 2015I’ve written about it before, but each year seems to be slightly different: different ages for the kids, different energy levels for me, a few new books to add to the mix. This is what we’ll be using for our literary advent this year

Not sure what a literary advent is? From December 1 – 24, we read a “new” book every day. Sometimes it’s really a new book, and sometimes it’s just ones we haven’t seen since last year. I’ve even wrapped library books before!

And if you’re counting, and wondering why I’ve got more than 24 books? It’s because I try and have one book for each child each day. Note that I do *not* actually wrap them all – I put them in reusable gift bags, and each day use the same bag again. Less work for me versus wrapping lots of books, although it’s not as impressive looking as a big pile of wrapped books. Go with what works best for you. 🙂

Note: an (L) before a title means it’ll be a library book. These are subject to change based on availability. 😉

    Board Books:

  1. Baby’s First NativityBaby's First Nativity (The First Bible Collection) by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson
  2. BobBob by Sandra Boynton by Sandra Boynton
  3. The Little Drummer BoyThe Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
  4. Tell Me the Christmas StoryTell Me the Christmas Story by Joni Walker by Joni Walker
  5. Who is Coming to Our House?Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff by Joseph Slate & illustrated by Ashley Wolff
  6. Jesus, Me, and My Christmas TreeJesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry
  7. A Star for JesusA Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry
  8. J Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever ToldJ Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever Told by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry
  9. Christmastime Is HereChristmastime Is Here (Little people books) by Ellen Weiss by Ellen Weiss
  10. The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by  Christian Birmingham by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
  11. My Nativity Jigsaw BookMy Nativity Jigsaw Book by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
  12. *Fa La LaFa La La (Leslie Patricelli board books) by Leslie Patricelli by Leslie Patricelli
  13. Picture Books

  14. The Very First ChristmasThe Very First Christmas (The Beginner's Bible)
  15. I’ll Be Home for ChristmasI'll Be Home for Christmas (Toot & Puddle) by Holly Hobbie by Holly Hobbie
  16. The Littlest Christmas TreeThe Littlest Christmas Tree by R. A. Herman, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers by R. A. Herman, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers
  17. Hilary Knight’s The Twelve Days of ChristmasHilary Knight's The Twelve Days of Christmas
  18. Mortimer’s Christmas MangerMortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
  19. Bear Stays Up for ChristmasBear Stays Up for Christmas (The Bear Books) by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman
  20. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian StoryThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
  21. S Is for Star: A Christmas AlphabetS Is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet (Alphabet Books) by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, illustrated by Pam Carroll by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, illustrated by Pam Carroll
  22. Christmas in the Big WoodsChristmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef
  23. Christmas in the BarnChristmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode
  24. The Jolly Christmas PostmanThe Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allen Ahlberg by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
  25. The NativityThe Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas illustrated by Julie Vivas
  26. Only a StarOnly a Star by Margery Facklam, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter by Margery Facklam, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
  27. The Christmas StoryThe Christmas Story by Jane Werner, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin by Jane Werner, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
  28. Christmas in the CityChristmas in the City by Loretta Krupinski by Loretta Krupinski
  29. The Parable Series: The Pine Tree ParableThe Parable Series: The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs, illustrated by Nancy Munger by Liz Curtis Higgs, illustrated by Nancy Munger
  30. Humphrey’s First ChristmasHumphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer by Carol Heyer
  31. The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for ChildrenThe Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Francois Roca by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Francois Roca
  32. (L) The Christmas Tree ShipThe Christmas Tree Ship by Carol Crane, illustrated by Chris Ellison by Carol Crane, illustrated by Chris Ellison
  33. (L) Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of TinselCobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Jane Manning by Shirley Climo, illustrated by Jane Manning
  34. (L) Polar ExpressPolar Express by Chris Van Allsburg by Chris Van Allsburg
  35. (L) Llama Llama Holiday DramaLlama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney by Anna Dewdney
  36. (L) Madeline’s ChristmasMadeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans by Ludwig Bemelmans
  37. (L) Christmas OrangesChristmas Oranges by Linda Bethers, illustrated by Ben Sowards by Linda Bethers, illustrated by Ben Sowards
  38. (L) The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center TreeThe Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel, illustrated by Jim LaMarche by David Rubel, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
  39. (L) Christmas Day in the MorningChristmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, illustrated by Mark Buehner by Pearl S. Buck, illustrated by Mark Buehner
  40. (L)The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan ToomeyThe Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P. J. Lynch by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P. J. Lynch
  41. (L) Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho!Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
  42. (L) The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout FishThe Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish (A Pout-Pout Fish Adventure) by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
  43. (L) Goodnight, MangerGoodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman
    by Laura Sassi, illustrated by Jane Chapman
  44. (L) Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas CandyLegend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin
  45. (L) An Orange for FrankieAn Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco by Patricia Polacco
  46. (L) Christmas TapestryChristmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco by Patricia Polacco
  47. Chapter Books

  48. The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson by Barbara Robinson
  49. The Family Under the BridgeThe Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Garth Williams by Natalie Savage Carlson, illustrated by Garth Williams
  50. The Jesse TreeThe Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: New Christmas Books

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

Get Yourself Organized for ChristmasGet Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the SeasonGet Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season by Kathi Lipp by Kathi Lipp

There are a lot of Christmas organizing guides out there. I’ve even written about them before. What makes this one different? Lipp doesn’t seem to be trying to create THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO EVERYTHING HOLIDAY. (And that’s a good thing.)

Her focus is on keeping Christmas simple (whatever that means to you – and you’re going to figure it out working through the book) so that you can enjoy the holiday season. Even better, you’ll make it even easier for yourself next year, as you’ll be keeping track of everything you’re doing this year in one convenient place.

If you’ve already got a good handle on your Christmas plans, I wouldn’t bother with this. If you’re trying to scale back, start new traditions, or just figure out a way to make it manageable for yourself, you might give this a look.

It’s written in such an encouraging, you-can-do-this way it feels like you’ve got a friend right by your side cheering you on. And giving you a nudge to make sure you’re working on things a little bit at a time. 🙂

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Have you lost your Christmas joy? Does the thought of jam-packed malls, maxed-out credit cards, overcrowded supermarkets, and endless to-do lists give you the feeling that maybe Scrooge was on to something?

In Get Yourself Organized for Christmas, Kathi Lipp provides easy-to-follow steps to reduce the stress of the holiday season, including tactics for how to

  • put together a holiday binder you’ll use year after year
  • determine a budget that won’t break the bank
  • gather your elf supplies
  • get your gift list together (including ideas for various ages and relationships)
  • collect your recipes and prep your kitchen

By putting into practice Kathi’s tricks and tips, you’ll finally be able to fully enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

Book Details

Title: Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the SeasonGet Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season by Kathi Lipp
Author: Kathi Lipp
Category: Nonfiction
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley for review. I was not required to post a positive review, and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: New on My Bookcase (vol. 25)

New Christmas Books

New Christmas Books 2014Last year I wrote about the Christmas and Advent books I was reading with my children, and my plans to continue adding to our collection. I wanted to get to the point where we could do a literary advent and wrap 24 books, to open and read one a day.

Thanks to looking for used books throughout the year, and a handful of new purchases this month, we’ve got enough books – now I just need to wrap them!

We’ll still use most of the books from last year (and that “baby” mentioned then? That’s H, who was 2 at the time. I wrote that post just before finding out I was having another baby, so those board books I anticipated would soon be dropped from the rotation will be sticking around a few more years. 🙂

Some of the books we’ll be adding to our reading this year that I’m most excited about:

The Jolly Christmas PostmanThe Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allen Ahlberg by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
This one looks like it will be so much fun. It also seems like it might be one that will require a lot of policing. 🙂

1001 Things to Spot at Christmas1001 Things to Spot at Christmas
My kids love these sorts of books, so this might be the first one we unwrap – I can easily imagine them both wanting to look at it day after day.

S Is for Star: A Christmas AlphabetS Is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet (Alphabet Books) by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, illustrated by Pam Carroll by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds, illustrated by Pam Carroll
Beautiful illustrations, and there are two levels of text in the book – a simple entry for each letter, and then a sidebar with more details. I like that structure a lot for a wide age range.

Humphrey’s First ChristmasHumphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer by Carol Heyer
Lots of humor, and yet the focus is still on Christ. I think my kids will get a kick out of the camel’s expressions.

I’m really excited to try some of the new-to-us books with my kids this year – last year while we had several that they really enjoyed, a number were just so-so. Hopefully we can continue to develop our collection until it’s filled with nothing but hits. And I know I’ll continue to add books as they get older and can appreciate other titles more. 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Two More Christmas Ebooks

Two years ago I shared about two Christmas-focused ebooks. We’re well into Holiday Planning Season, so I’ve got two more I recently read that I recommend if you’re in the market for their specific topics.

101 Days of Christmas101 Days of Christmas101 Days of Christmas: 101+ Recipes & Crafts for a DIY Holiday by Mandi Ehman by Mandi Ehman

Why read it? If you want a ton of DIY ideas for Christmas. Crafts, gifts, food – it’s got almost anything you could want.

There are some delicious sounding recipes, and I appreciated that most of the crafts included full instructions in the text, rather than requiring you to click through to the website. It drives me crazy when ebooks do that – I disabled internet access on my Kindle, and want all the specifics included in the book itself. Extra info? Sure, include a link, but don’t force me to click through. There were only a couple where the full procedure wasn’t included, and for more crafty people, that might not be necessary at all. I’m not very crafty so I tend to need lots of details, and pictures are helpful too. 🙂

The ebook is a compilation of two years of Christmas-themed posts, so the content isn’t original. However, it’s all organized into a useful structure, so it may be worth buying even though you can find it all online. And if you can’t get enough of DIY Christmas, she runs the 101 Days series every year – 2014’s is going on right now.

You can get it in either a PDFor Kindle101 Days of Christmas: 101+ Recipes & Crafts for a DIY Holiday by Mandi Ehman version. While I usually love Kindle versions as they’re easier to read on my actual Kindle, in this case I like the better printing-capability of the PDF version.

A Simpler SeasonA Simpler SeasonA Simpler Season by Jessica Fisher by Jessica Fisher

Why read it? Because it includes ideas for the entire holiday season – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Planning sheets, recipe ideas, and more.

If you’re looking for a book exclusively focused on Christmas, this won’t be the one for you, but I enjoyed the coverage given to Thanksgiving and New Years as well. There are lots of budget-friendly ideas, and the book is much longer than a typical ebook – over 200 pages! I liked the planning pages and kid-focused ideas, and I especially liked the recipes and menu planning suggestions.

Surprising no one who knows me, my other favorite part of this book was the list of children’s holiday books, and suggested activities to do after reading those books.

This is also available as a PDF or KindleA Simpler Season by Jessica Fisher version, and there is the option to buy the printables only if you’ve bought the PDF (it’s priced to take that into account as well.)

(And if you’ve got young children, the Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands devotional I mentioned previously is still the best, easiest thing I’ve found to use. I was too miserably pregnant last year to do it with my kids again, but this year I’m getting the printable ornaments and will make it easy on myself. I love this devotional!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

What the Kids are Reading: Christmas and Advent Books

Christmas and Advent Books CollageI’m working on building up our collection of Christmas and Advent books – I’d love to get to a point where I could wrap them for the kids to enjoy one “new” on each day of Advent. We’re not quite there, but I was so late at even pulling them out of storage (thanks to house guests through the first part of the month) that it didn’t really matter. I do have additional books to work into the rotation once my children get somewhat older too, but by the time they’re ready for those I’m sure they’ll be done with some of the board books. Or I’ll be done with reading them. 🙂

And, I’d love to know what book you consider to be must-reads for the season – let me know what we’re missing!

What we’re reading this year:

Board Books:

Christmastime Is HereChristmastime Is Here (Little people books) by Ellen Weiss by Ellen Weiss
One I’d like to retire because of the Santa emphasis (we don’t do Santa in our family), but they like lifting the flaps so much I haven’t done so yet.

Baby’s First NativityBaby's First Nativity (The First Bible Collection) by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson
Will probably be retired at some point once my baby is older, but it’s fine for now.

The Little Drummer BoyThe Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
I’d also like to retire this one from the rotation once I get additional books. It’s not my favorite, although I do really like the illustrations.

BobBob by Sandra Boynton by Sandra Boynton
Totally silly, but in a way that makes us all laugh. While I wouldn’t want all of our books to be like this, I don’t mind a few completely secular ones.

Who is Coming to Our House?Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff by Joseph Slate & illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Still another one that I don’t see lasting that many more years, but it’s cute for now. Some of the rhymes are clunkier than I’d like which is why it’s not one of my favorites.

Tell Me the Christmas StoryTell Me the Christmas Story by Joni Walker by Joni Walker
I think it’s cute, but the kids do not find it that interesting.

Jesus, Me, and My Christmas TreeJesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry, A Star for JesusA Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry and J Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever ToldJ Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever Told by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry
I like her books and their focus on Christ, and the kids like them too. A few of her rhymes are more forced than I’d prefer, but not so much that I look forward to retiring the books.

My Nativity Jigsaw BookMy Nativity Jigsaw Book by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
Awesome book for puzzle fans, but not always the easiest one when you have more than one puzzle fan, if you get what I’m saying. Also, the puzzle pieces can be hard to put together, and yet hard to keep together at the same time, so the idea works better than the execution at times. It’s still a huge hit this year. My biggest complaint is that the wise men are shown arriving to see Jesus while he’s still in the manger. That’s so common, but it annoys me.

The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by  Christian Birmingham by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Our other Santa book, but this is such a classic story I don’t mind it as much.

Picture Books

The Christmas StoryThe Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
Eloise Wilkin illustrations remind me of my own childhood, so even though I never had this book while growing up, the book still makes me somewhat nostalgic thanks to her familiar artwork.

Christmas in the BarnChristmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode
Sweet illustrations.

Christmas in the Big WoodsChristmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef
Hopefully whetting my children’s appetites for the full Little House series. 🙂

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian StoryThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
So far this one doesn’t do much for my kids, but maybe they’ll appreciate it more next year.

The NativityThe Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas illustrated by Julie Vivas
Love the text – excerpts from the King James Version, but I’m not crazy about the illustrations, specifically how she depicts the angels.

Chapter Books (that we’re reading):

The Jesse TreeThe Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey
We’re not actually doing a Jesse Tree this year, but I think we’ll try it next year. I think this book will work well as a part of it if we decide to attempt it.

Chapter Books (waiting to be introduced):

The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson by Barbara Robinson
I debated reading it to my children this year, but decided that they were more likely to get inspired by the bad example set by the Herdmans, rather than catch the bigger picture message conveyed by the story.

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for AdventJotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide, Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for AdventBartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide, and Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for AdventTabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide by Arnold Ytreeide
Had read some good reviews on these, and found a great deal on them, so figured they were worth a shot.

A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens
This is probably the one that’ll be waiting the longest to get into our reading routine.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family

Joy to the WorldJoy to the World: Advent Activities for Your FamilyJoy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family by Kathleen Basi by Kathleen M. Basi

(Yes, it’s late for this year, but I’m still going to share about this advent book, because I know I’ve been adding books to my library list / Amazon wishlist for next year, and doubt I’m the only one doing that.)

If you’ve been doing Advent activities for a long time, none of the information in Joy to the World may be eye-opening for you, but I am very new to Advent, and I got a lot out of reading this. I loved her idea of a personalized Advent calender – it’s so obvious, and yet I never thought of it.

Basi is Catholic, and there is definitely a Catholic slant to some of the material, but there was very little that I felt wouldn’t work for my Protestant family. I especially liked her simplified Jesse Tree readings – we’re halfheartedly reading a book about The Jesse TreeThe Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey right now, and while in later years I’ll likely prefer that one, for a 4 and 2 year old? Her entries are a lot shorter and keep their attention better.

The book is very short – that’s not a complaint, just a heads-up. It’s actually nice, because it makes it very easy to get through quickly, and not feel like you’re bogged down in millions of details. I really appreciated her way of explaining Advent, and her emphasis on explanations and activities for younger children. If you’ve got older children in your family, the book might not do as much for you. For me though, it was just about perfect for this stage.

Publisher’s Description:
Here’s a treasure trove of exciting ideas that will enable your family to focus anew on preparing for the holy time of Advent and Christmas! With a fresh, lively set of suggestions that will attract young and old alike, Joy to the World will help lay the foundation for long-lasting family memories.

“Joy to the World” takes a three-pronged approach to the season:

The Advent calendar, where daily activities are organized into four categories of Service, Spiritual Growth, “Homebody,” and Pure Fun

The Evening Ritual, incorporating the Advent wreath and the Jesse tree, and featuring simplified Scriptures that young children can readily understand

The “Good Deeds Manger,” which puts the family’s focus on preparing their hearts for the coming of Christ

Book Details

Title: Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your FamilyJoy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family by Kathleen Basi
Author: Kathleen M. Basi
Category: Nonfiction
My Rating: 3.5

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

E-book Review: Simple Scrubs to Make and Give

Simple Scrubs to Make and GiveSimple Scrubs to Make and GiveSimple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen by Stacy Karen. (available as a PDF download or Kindle versionSimple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen)

I can be a bit of a dreamer as far as “wouldn’t that be a fun idea? I could totally do that. Or that. Or even that.” And then I turn around and I’ve run out of time to do anything, let alone the fun ideas I thought of.

Why do I bring this up? Because it’s early November which means Christmas is getting close, but there is still time to make some homemade gifts (assuming they’re easy ones). For once I am maybe even thinking about it in time!

This year I’ve also started using essential oils, which is what lead me to DIY scrubs, which led me to this e-book.

what do I like?
  • The recipes are simple. The presentation ideas are simple. I don’t need to be super crafty to end up with something nice to use, either for myself or as a gift.
  • The book is arranged well. I’ve seen a lot of e-books where the layout isn’t done well. Karen was also thoughtful about readers wanting to print parts of the book, and has it structured so that’s easy to do without having to print lots of images as well, by having the end of the book include printing-friendly arrangements of the recipes detailed earlier. This might sound like a minor point, but I appreciated it.
  • She includes sourcing help. No idea where to find the items listed? She’s got most of them linked to a few sites. No worries about tracking down unusual ingredients. Actually, there aren’t any ingredients that I’d call unusual.
what do I not like?
  • To make it easier to present these as gifts, a label template might have been nice but that’s about the only thing I can think of that I missed seeing in it.
  • If you’re looking for an exhaustive book with thousands of specific recipes, this isn’t it. However, she’s got plenty of ideas, and the base recipe can be tweaked into endless variations depending on the combinations of ingredients or scents you choose.
  • If you’re experienced with making your own scrubs, this will likely be too basic for you. For beginners or those with limited experience, it’s helpful.

I can’t speak to every recipe being a winner, but I tried her basic sugar scrub, and added some citrus essential oils to it. I also made a salt scrub with peppermint for my feet. Both of them were super easy to do, and have been nice to use.

With lots of Googling, you can find free scrub recipes online easily, so it may not be worth it to you to buy this ebook. Sometimes I like having everything in one place and easy to find. She does a great job of describing some of the different oils you can use, and scent blends that will give various effects, and that’s nice to have consolidated together.

I got this e-book as part of a bundle, but it’s usually $4. Honestly, I doubt I would have ever bought it on its own, thinking instead that I could just find what I’d want online. Having seen it though, I’m glad I have it in this format and would recommend it if you’re interested in the topic, or are thinking about making some homemade gifts for this holiday season. [Read more…]

Two Great Christmas eBooks

Christmas Ebook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little HandsIf you have young children, Amanda White has written the very helpful ebook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands.

It’s got 24 days of Scripture reading, ornament crafts, talking points and extension activities. Plus fun printables and templates!

This year she’s also added printable ornaments as a separate download. I haven’t got those, but if they’re at all like the ebook, they’ll be fun and very doable, even to a non-crafty person like me. I really appreciate that the ebook makes it all very clear, and that she includes a separate shopping list. I also appreciate that it’s possible to do the other stuff and skip the crafting. No, that’s not really the way the book is designed, but if it were only possible to use the book if you did every. single. craft. I would never manage. Instead I can pick and choose what I tackle with my kids. 🙂

[Read more…]