Merry Monday – Christmas Crafting

Merry Monday - Christmas Crafting

Hi everyone! I hope you are all enjoying this time leading up to Christmas. I know my family has been in full holiday swing. In fact, we spent several hours this weekend creating new Christmas ornaments — several for our own home and a few to give as gifts. I thought it would be fun to share our creations with you today. I hope you enjoy seeing what we made and maybe even feel inspired to do a little crafting of your own.

Each of the ornaments below was created using clear plastic ornaments, acrylic paints, and various other additions as noted.

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This first trio was painted by me.  Every year we create or purchase one new ornament per family member. We write the date somewhere discrete and add it to our tree. The two landscape scenes will be the ornaments added for myself and my husband this year. The snowman will be hung from white paper chains which we drape around our great room. 
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These snowmen were all created by my children.  They also stuffed the “snowballs” in the back. Stuffing materials vary from clear tinsel to “tiny fake snowballs” to that clear plastic confetti they sell as “fake snow.” The tiny fake snowballs were found at our local Dollar Tree and were the easiest to stuff into the ornaments, but the other two stuffing items were my personal favorites (despite their staticky resistance to being crammed into a small hole) due to their reflective qualities which gave them an ice-like appearance.  All of these ornaments will be hung from the white paper chains in our great room this year and will be brought out for similar purposes year after year from now on. I’ve added their names and the year to the bottom of each. 
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My children chose the faces from a photo I found on Pinterest and they chose the sock hats from an assortment I picked up at our local Dollar Tree. The rest I did myself. These four will be their contributions to our tree for this year. 
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These three snowmen (shown before and after candy stuffing)  were painted by me and will be given away at a children’s gift exchange. 
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Lest the previous pictures have you thinking I some sort of crafting genius, let me assure you, I am not! Exhibit A:  My complete failure to create what so many have touted as the world’s easiest DIY ornament – inside-out espsom salt ornaments. I used Mod Podge and epsom salts inside these 8 ornaments hoping for beautiful snowball-like results and wound up with snowballs that looked like we’d made them from that snow parents warn their kids not to eat. (They look even more yellow in person.) I made myself feel better about this by sticking digital stickers all over them to express my feelings on the matter. LOL Eventually I am thinking to salvage them with a combination of white paint and clear glitter on the exterior, but I have yet to work up the nerve energy. We’ll see. 

If you’re looking for snowman face inspiration, you can try this photo and this photo.

If you want more details on how to make the sock-hatted snowmen (& other fun ornaments), this is a good video to watch.

Pro tip:  Make sure to use paints specially designed for plastic and consider adding a clear coat on top to protect your artwork.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our holiday preparations. Being creative always reminds me of our Creator and how He has blessed us with the fruits of His creation. Spending the time listening to Christmas music and crafting with my children is a blessing I cherish.

To see more of my holiday craftivities, follow me on Instagram @KathleenDenly!

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Also, don’t forget I’ll be releasing a free short story exclusively for my KRC Members this week! So if you’re not already a member, sign up today!

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Let’s Chat!

Do you enjoy holiday crafting? I’d love to know if there is a craft you do every year or if you’ve recently discovered a new craft that you’re excited about!

12 Days of Christmas for Book Lovers +SPECIAL OFFER!

12 Days of Christmas for Book Lovers - 2018

If there’s an avid reader on your gift-giving list this year, you’ve come to the right place! Today I’m sharing 12 days of unique gift ideas for those whose passion is in the written word. PLUS I’m sharing a SPECIAL OFFER! Keep reading for more details!

You will notice two obvious gaps in this list:  books and bookmarks. Yes, those are great gifts for book lovers, but they are so beyond obvious, it didn’t seem necessary to add them to the list when there were other, less obvious ideas wanting a spot there. So I left them off.

Since these items are from many different shops, I’ve provided links to purchase each item and with prices ranging from under $3 to over $700 there is sure to be something in your price range. (BTW: None of these are affiliate links.)

Note: Always check pricing before finalizing a purchase. Prices listed were current as of this writing but are subject to change. Today is Cyber Monday, so several of these items are discounted TODAY ONLY! An asterisk (*) indicates a discount was being offered at the time of this writing. Prices below do not reflect Cyber Monday pricing. See shop for discounted pricing.


SPECIAL OFFER!!! 

Literary Book Gifts has generously provided a discount code just for my readers!!! Use code:  KATHLEENDENLY20 to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times


Happy shopping!

(Click on photos to visit listing pages.)

Day 1

Bookish Jewelry

Bookish Key Ring
So Many Books So Little Time Key Ring by The Pendant Emporium $10
Butterfly Book Page Earrings
Origami Butterfly Earrings by The Paper Circus Shop $10.62
Mr Darcy Cuff Bracelet
Jane Austen Fabric Cuff Bracelet by DSP Davey $32
Many Lives Bookish Pendant
I Read Books Necklace by Unicorn Culture $12.95
Go Away I'm Reading Pendant
Go Away I’m Reading Necklace by Belle Regalia $25.43
Flower Book Ring
Flower Book Ring by Epik Creations $15
Bookish Badge Pins
Book Lover Badges/Pins by A Rose Cast $3.98*
Got Books Charm Bracelet
Got Books Charm Bracelet by A Likely Story $39.95
Book Nerd Leather Bracelet
Book Nerd Leather Bracelet by Laurel Denise $24.00*

Day 2

Bookish Perfumes

Jane Austen Library Perfume
Jane Austen Library Perfume by Wicked Good Perfume $6.99
Jane Austen Perfume Collection
Limited Edition: Jane Austen Perfume Collection by Little Bits $85*

Day 3

Teas & Mugs

Literary Teas Gift Set
A Collection of  Literary Classic Love Stories – Teas by Literary Tea Company $2.99
Novel Teas
Novel Teas – English Breakfast Tea Set (with literary quotes from the world over) by Bag Ladies Tea $13.50
I had a lot of things I was going to do Mug
I Had A Lot of Things I was “Going” to Do Then I Picked Up a Book Mug by Hey Shabby Me $18.99
Go Away I'm Reading Mug
Go Away I’m Reading Mug by Mirkwood Scribes $16.50
Just One More Chapter
Just One More Chapter Mug by Tiny Zen Co $15.87*
Many Lives Bookish Mug
I Read Books Not Because I Don’t Have a Life But Because I Choose to Have Many Mug by Hippo and Kelpie $12.90
Obstinate Headstrong Girl Mug
Obstinate Headstrong Girl Mug by Ivory Paige $16.99

Day 4

Clocks

Bookworm Clock
Book Lover Clock by Vinyl Shop US $34.99
It's Never a Bad Time To Read A Good Book Clock
Engraved Book Clock “It’s Never A Bad Time To Read A Good Book” by DesignsbyPhil.com $40
Pride & Prejudice Clock
Pride and Prejudice Book Clock by My Booklandia $50.00
A Christmas Carol Clock
A Christmas Carol Clock by Literary Art Designs $30

Day 5

Greeting Cards & Book Stamps & Bookplates

Austen Book Plate
Bonnets and Bows Adhesive Bookplates by From The Library of $20
Book Plate Stamp - Read Love Return
Read It, Love It, Return It Personalized Library Book Stamp by Fall For Design $26.99
Embossing Book Plate
Custom Seal Embosser Bookplate Stamp by Red Cloud Studio $31.25*
Literary Greeting Cards
Bookish Greeting Cards Multipack by A Rose Cast $5.31*
Self-Inking Book Stamp
Literary Book Stamp – Self Inking by Rubber Stamp Press $25*

Day 6

Book Flowers & Wall Art & Ornaments

Book Page Ornaments
Sphere small – Book Art hanging Ornament by Paper Statement $19.43*
Book Rose
Book Page Paper Flower by Rachel Emma Studio $15.92
Winnie the Pooh Book Flowers
Book Paper Flowers – Winnie the Pooh by Literary Blooms $18*
Louisa May Alcott Wall Art
Louisa May Alcott Little Women Literary Quote Art Print by A Rose Cast $6.64*
Books Wall Art
Book Lovers Alphabet Photography Sign by Simpson Hill Designs $11.99*

Day 7

Pillows

I declare Jane Austen Pillow
Jane Austen Pillow by The Pillow Geek $22.95
Just One More Chapter Pillow
Just One More Chapter Pillow by Tiny Zen Co $26.40*

Day 8

Bookish Gift Sets

Bookish Gift Set 1
Book Lover Bundle by Storytale Decor $46.48*

Day 9

Hats, Scarves, Socks & T-Shirts

Bring me a book Socks
Funny Socks by Totes Burlap $16.99*
Gray Read Beanie with Puff Ball
Customized Bookish Hat with pom pom by Booklover Pullover
Red Book Lover Beanie Hat
Custom Book Lover Hat by Booklover Pullover
Jane Eyre Scarf
Jane Eyre Shawl by Universal Zone $39
Pride & Prejudice Scarf
Pride and Prejudice Scarf by Universal Zone $39
Pride & Prejudice Butterfly Scarf
Pride & Prejudice Scarf by Enjoy The Traffic $45
Alice in Wonderland T-shirt
Alice in Wonderland Women’s T-Shirt (avail. in multiple colors) by Literary Book Gifts USE CODE: KATHLEENDENLY20 to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times
Jane Austen T-Shirt
Pride and Prejudice Women’s T-shirt (avail. in multiple colors) by Literary Book Gifts USE CODE: KATHLEENDENLY20 to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times

Day 10

Purses & Tote Bags

Emily Dickinson Tote Bag
Emily Dickinson Tote Bag by Literary Book Gifts USE CODE: KATHLEENDENLY20 to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times
Pride & Prejudice Tote Bag
Pride & Prejudice Tote Bag by Literary Book Gifts USE CODE: KATHLEENDENLY20 to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times
Library Tote Bag
Book Lover Tote Bag by Bookish Stuff $22*
Pride & Prejudice Purse
Pride and Prejudice Literary Handbag “You have bewitched me body and soul. ~Mr. Darcy~” by Enjoy The Traffic $72

Day 11

Junk Journals & Altered Book Journals (handmade)

Altered Book Journal
Vintage Shabby Altered Book Journal by SnS Dragonfly $35
Dream Junk Journal
Altered Book Journal “Dream” by Rosehart Studio $39.84
Fabric Bible Themed Junk Journal
Cherish Bible Journaling Collection Junk Journal by Pleasant Creations Co. $179.99
Junk Journal Green
Junk Journal by Christy Sich Designs $86.75*
Mini Junk Journal
Mini Junk Journal (3 3/4 x 5 1/4 inches) by Breezy Blessings Co $18.50
Rose Altered Book Journal
Handmade “altered book” Journal by Rethink Paper $31.87*

Day 12

Book Sculptures

The Tree of Love Book Art
The Tree of Love – Book Art by Malena Valcarcel $765.25
Where the Wild Things Are Book Art
Where The Wild Things Are – Book Art by Malena Valcarcel $523.90
Treasure Island Book Art Greeting Card
Treasure Island Greeting Card (printed with image of an altered book sculpture) – by Days Fall Like Leaves $2.66
Jane Austen Book Sculpture
Pride & Prejudice book sculpture by Days Fall Like Leaves $398.41
Jane Austen Book Sculpture Greeting Card
Pride and Prejudice Greeting Card (printed with image of an altered book sculpture) by Days Fall Like Leaves $2.66

 


Don’t forget the SPECIAL OFFER from Literary Book Gifts!!!

Literary Book Gifts has generously provided a discount code just for my readers!!!

Use code:  KATHLEENDENLY20

to receive 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and can be used unlimited times


 

And in case you were wondering: No, I am not affiliated with Literary Book Gifts or any of the shops listed above. I simply love bookish gifts and great deals.

Don’t forget to share this list with all your bookish friends and those who may be shopping for your gifts this holiday season! 

TWEETABLE:

Check out this great list of bookish gifts + a SPECIAL OFFER! @KathleenDenly https://bit.ly/2Sf1Dtc

 

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Grand Finale – His Frontier Christmas Family by Regina Scott


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
His Frontier Christmas Family
By Regina Scott

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you can see snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch – Note from the Author

Snow, homemade ornaments on the tree, family gathered round in faith—what better way to celebrate the Christmas season! Family and Christmas form the heart of my December release, His Frontier Christmas Family, part of my Frontier Bachelors series from Love Inspired, set in pioneer Seattle…

hope you have a wonderful holiday this year. Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of His Frontier Christmas Family and a set of rustic Christmas decorations.

Merry Christmas!

Regina Scott

underneath the covers – Excerpt

The forest was still, as if everything was waiting. In defiance, she bent and picked up another diaper, hanging it alongside the others. It didn’t matter who was watching or why. She had one goal: to keep her, Frisco, Sutter and Mica safe until Adam returned. She’d protected her family most of her life, starting with her younger twin brothers after her mother had died of influenza, now with them and Mica. She knew what she was doing.

Still, this feeling was too much like the last time she’d lived on the gold fields, five years ago at the Vital Creek strike in the British Territories. At fifteen then, she’d just started getting her womanly curves. Most of the miners had noticed.

“You don’t strike it rich, Murphy,” one had told her father, “you let me know. I’ll buy your daughter off you.”

Becky on Books – Review

“…Callie and Levi’s story in His Frontier Christmas Family is a feel-good story that both puts you in the holiday spirit and inspires you to want to hold your own family members just a little bit closer–a perfect read for this time of year! Callie, Levi, Sutter, Frisco, and Mica are all highly likable characters who it’s easy to root and cheer for (even when those twins are getting into mischief!)”

Author Kathleen Denly – Review

“This story was a slow, steady burn. It didn’t hurry me through, but it didn’t put me to sleep either. The characters were unique, sweet, and unpredictable enough to maintain my interest in what happened next in their lives.”

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

Now Callie frowned. “You were at Vital Creek?”

“To my sorrow,” he admitted. “Scout Rankin and I had a claim at the opposite end of town from yours. I met Adam in a card game at Gillis’s. He cleaned me out.”

Just when she wanted to trust him! “Now I know you’re lying. Preachers don’t gamble.”

He smiled, and something inside her bubbled up as warm as a hot spring. “I wasn’t a preacher then.”

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Promo

Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt

The handsome stranger moved closer yet, carefully, as if unsure whether she’d hit him or snatch up the baby and run. She considered doing both, but he was close enough that she could see the lines fanning out from the corners of his eyes. Worry lines, Ma had called them, and she’d had her share. What worried this man?

“That’s a heavy burden,” he murmured. “I can see why your brother Adam wanted me to help.”

Heidi Reads… – Review

“This has been a wonderful series and I’ve enjoyed following the Wallin family as each member finds love. Levi’s story is one of redemption as he tries to make up for the mistakes of his past and learns about forgiveness. His match with Callie is perfect as he partners with her to care for her brothers and baby niece, and they grow to depend on each other emotionally as well.”

Jorie Loves A Story – Excerpt

Even if he’d been a minister eight years instead of eight months, Levi thought he’d have stumbled telling Callie Murphy what had happened to her brother. Adam had been so alive, so feisty, so determined to strike it rich. It was hard for Levi to believe all that energy had been snuffed out.

“Are you sure?” he’d asked the two grizzled miners who’d stopped by Wallin Landing with the news and to bring him Adam’s belongings and the note to the Murphys.

They’d hung their heads, avoided his gaze.

Deal Sharing Aunt – Excerpt

Callie Murphy was either the most suspicious woman he’d ever met, or the wisest. She was also plenty brave, ready to lay into him with that stick. Having been raised in the gold camps and now living so far out, she probably had to take precautions. He hadn’t intended to look dangerous, but then, he’d used his boyish charm too many times in the past to think that danger couldn’t look pleasing.

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

“Your sister has done a good job,” he said, gaze moving from face to face. “But even Callie has to get tired once in a while.”

How did he know? She’d been so careful not to let her brothers see it. Neither of them knew the nights she broke down and cried, trying to think of a way to change their circumstances. She was up before they were, in bed long after they climbed to the loft. There weren’t enough hours in the day for tending to the claim let alone all the washing and cooking and cleaning.

Adam and Pa had both promised better things.

Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang! – Excerpt

He took a step closer and spread his hands, as if intent on making his case. He had nice hands, strong-looking and not too soft, like he could wield a pick or shovel if he needed to. He was slender for a man, but those broad shoulders and long legs seemed made to crouch beside a stream for hours panning.

And when had she started judging men by their ability to hunt for gold!

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“His Frontier Christmas Family is delightful in every way. It will hit you in all the feels and leave your heart cozy warm and Christmasy. Swoony romance, adorable kids, and a large lovable family make this the ideal wintry weekend reaad!”

Paulette’s Papers – Excerpt

“I remember how it felt to lose my pa,” Levi said, in a quiet, thoughtful voice that was respectful of what they were feeling. “I was eight when he was killed in a logging accident.”

So maybe he knew a little about loss. Her little brother Frisco didn’t respond, but his twin Sutter raised his head. “What did you do?”

“I relied on my family and friends,” he said.

Now Frisco looked up at Callie. “You’re family, Callie. What do you think we should do?”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

“I love the characters in His Frontier Christmas Family as well as the story. Like I said, Christmas books are my favorites. They make you feel warm and cozy inside. I definitely recommend this to all sweet romance lovers.”

I Am A Reader – Excerpt

Callie took a step closer to Levi. Her hair was parted down the middle and plaited to hang on either side of her face, making her look sad and worn. But even if it had been pinned up like most ladies wore it these days, he thought she’d still look sad. She certainly had reason.

“Did they give him a good burial?” she asked.

If someone from Seattle had asked him that question, he would have extolled the wisdom of the minister who delivered the eulogy, numbered the attendees who had honored the deceased with their presence and described the casket and the flowers. After watching men die in the northern wilderness, he was fairly sure what Callie was really asking.

Tell Tale Book Reviews – Review

“His Frontier Christmas Family was such a sweet historical romance and a totally fun read! Regina Scott has crafted a delightful tale of love and family, of finding forgiveness and finding a place to call home. I truly fell in love with the heroine’s precocious little brothers as they provided some real laugh-out-loud moments with their crazy antics.”

Backing Books – Excerpt

“A man I knew at Vital Creek was fond of saying that life is for the living,” he murmured. “What do you want to do with your life, Miss Murphy?”

She made a face. “Not so much a matter of wanting as what must be done. Frisco and Sutter need to go to school, learn a trade. I won’t have them dying with a pan in their hands, too. And someone has to raise Mica.”

Locks, Hooks and Books – Review

“His Frontier Christmas Family is book seven from Regina Scott’s Frontier Bachelors series. I have read several of the books in this series and I believe this one is my favorite. It is a sweet and heartwarming story. I do have to admit I was like Callie and not sure what I thought of Levi at first but that quickly changed when I kept reading. I enjoyed watching Levi and Callie grow throughout.”

Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader – Excerpt

“You don’t believe I’ll take care of you all,” he said aloud.

She shrugged as if she didn’t believe much of anything.

He released her shoulders. “I want to help you, Miss Murphy. Adam supported me when no one else would. I want to honor his wishes.”

Janice’s Book Reviews – Review

“The book kept getting better and better the more I read of it. Love the children in the book, especially the twins. . . . Loved his family, his sister trying to play matchmaker for Callie to different ones. Loved that there was a Christmas play in the book.”

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven’t already…

His Frontier Christmas Family
(Frontier Bachelors #7)
by Regina Scott
Christian Historical Romance
Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
December 1st 2017 by Love Inspired Historicals

A Family Made at Christmas

After taking guardianship of his late friend’s siblings and baby daughter, minister Levi Wallin hopes to atone for his troubled past on the gold fields. But it won’t be easy to convince the children’s wary elder sister to trust him. The more he learns about her, though, the more he believes Callie Murphy’s prickly manner masks a vulnerable heart…one he’s starting to wish he was worthy of.

Every man in Callie’s life chose chasing gold over responsibilities. Levi—and the large, loving Wallin family—might just be different. But she can tell he’s hiding something from her, and she refuses to risk her heart with secrets between them. Even as they grow closer, will their pasts keep them from claiming this unexpected new beginning?

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Tour Schedule

December 4th:
Launch
underneath the covers
Becky on Books
Author Kathleen Denly
December 5th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Book Lover in Florida
Heidi Reads…
Jorie Loves A Story
December 6th:
Deal Sharing Aunt
Hearts & Scribbles
Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!
December 7th:
Reading Is My SuperPower
Paulette’s Papers
Christy’s Cozy Corners
I Am A Reader
December 8th:
Tell Tale Book Reviews
Backing Books
Locks, Hooks and Books
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
Janices Book Reviews
December 9th: Grand Finale

Other Books in the Series


About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, she got serious about her novel writing. The Unflappable Miss Fairchild was her first novel to be published (March 1998).

Besides her novels, Regina Scott has had published three Regency novellas (“The June Bride Conspiracy” in His Blushing Bride, “Sweeter Than Candy” in A Match for Mother, and “A Place by the Fire” in Mistletoe Kittens). Two of her novels, A Dangerous Dalliance and The Twelve Days of Christmas, have been translated into German. A Dangerous Dalliance and The Incomparable Miss Compton have been translated into Italian. Starstruck and Perfection have been translated into Dutch.

Regina Scott and her husband are the parents of two sons. They reside in the Tri-Cities of southeast Washington State and are members of the Church of the Nazarene. Born in 1959 and raised in the Seattle area, Regina Scott is a graduate of the University of Washington. She comes by her writing talent naturally–both her parents are excellent writers in their vocations as teacher and electrical technician. Her mother envisioned the plot for “Sweeter Than Candy,” the novella which was written as a tribute to her.

Regina Scott is a devout Christian and a decent fencer; owns a historical, fantasy, and science fiction costume collection that currently takes up over a third of her large closet; and has been known to impersonate an independent consultant specializing in risk communication.

WebsiteBlogGoodreadsFacebookPinterest

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will win an autographed print copy of His Frontier Christmas Family along with a set of rustic burnt-wood Christmas decorations the Wallin family would be pleased to own.
US only
Ends December 13thEnter Here Button

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Thanks for stopping by today! Which part of a book tour do you most enjoy?

 

 

First Line Friday – 12.8.17

first-line-friday-3

Welcome to First Line Friday! Each Friday I pick a book and share the first line with you. In return, I hope you’ll share with me a first line from whatever book you have at hand!

This week I am sharing the first line from one of the novellas in a collection I am currently enjoying, The Westward Christmas Brides Collection.

Westward Christmas Brides Novella Collection

This first line is from The Reluctant Runaway, by Melanie Dobson:

Lavinia Starr twisted her embroidered kid gloves in her lap as she waited for the morning train to depart Union Station.

 

About the book:

Take the journey into the American west alongside nine women who are chasing their dreams—Cynthia, for security; Beryl, for a new family; Adeline, for freedom; Molly, for marriage; Beth, for a new start; Belinda, for a place to heal; Suzette, for adventure; Juliet, for peace; and Caroline, for a future for her children. Celebrate Christmas alongside these pioneers as love finds them in nine distinctly different romances penned by leading Christian fiction authors, including New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter.

I’m only in the middle of the fourth novella, but I am very much enjoying this collection so far, if you are looking for another Christmas themed historical romance this season.

Now it’s your turn to grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating:

12 Days of Christmas – For Book Lovers!

12 Days of Christmas for Book Lovers

It isn’t quite December yet, but I’m willing to bet most of you have begun your Christmas shopping. Just in case there is a book lover in your life, here is my list of top twelve gifts for book lovers:

The Bookshelf Quilt . . .

Bookshelf Quilt Image

I’m a quilter myself, but I haven’t attempted anything like this yet. Don’t you just love it? I know I do! This amazing quilt is available at DoorBeeDesigns.

For the little ones in your life . . .

Read to me tshirt

It’s important to pass on our love for all things literary to the next generation, but it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of time. This t-shirt will help us busy parents remember to pause and read to our little ones. It’s available at FlorHildaDesigns.

For those who appreciate the benefits of going digital but miss the look of paper books . . .

Kindle Book Covers

My poor Kindle has been dropped more times than I can count and is in desperate need of a protective cover. These beautiful Kindle Covers are available at KleverCase.

Because this is SO much nicer to look at than a boring plastic desk organizer . . .

Books Pencil Organizer

I have so many pens, highlighters, and pencils! Right now they are all standing in this sad little purple plastic divided squarish thing on my desk. *sigh* Just think what a smile this would bring to your beloved bibliophile every time she/he reached for a pen? (It also looks handy for holding unused bookmarks . . . assuming there is such a thing.) There are a couple different versions of this holder available on Amazon.

For your crafty book lover . . .

Book Washi Tape

I have no idea what I would use this for, but I am POSITIVE I could come up with something!  It just makes me smile. 🙂 Available on Amazon.

Appreciating the convenience of an ereader, doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten our first love . . .

Antique Books

If this candle truly smells like antique books, I’m going to need a year’s supply. 😉 Available at WertherAndGray, the candle has fantastic reviews.

Click to Tweet: A Book Lover’s Christmas Wishlist!

For those who need to bring their library with them, or those who like to bring the library home . . .

not hoarding if it's books bag

You know it’s true! This bag is available at MinnieandMaude.

We’ve said it many times, but now we can just hold this up and keep our eyes on the page . . .

Just one more chapter necklace

So the laundry needs changing, the dishes need washing, and the pharmacy is closing in an hour. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it . . . after just one more chapter. 😉 This necklace is available at PaperHeartDaily.

Might as well put the confession in writing at this point . . .

Read past my bedtime necklace

Overslept, bloodshot eyes, begging to nap at three in the afternoon . . . the signs are all there. This necklace will save us from having to explain them. Like the necklace above, this one is available at PaperHeartDaily.

Because what could make a book lover smile more than favorite book memories available at a glance?

Favorite Books Bracelet

RuckusPop will make any book lover their very own custom bracelet featuring their favorite books! (I am happy squealing here!) I happen to think this is just the best idea ever!

To go with the necklaces and because it’s true . . .

So Many Books earrings

I definitely need a pair of these. You can find them at GirlPowerPendants.

This last one should go without saying, but just in case . . .

Meme - Say it again I bought you books

Yes, that’s right. We have a stack of unread books taller than the Statue of Liberty, but we still adore receiving more! (If you are concerned, please refer back to gift idea number seven.) If you need suggestions as to which books to buy, may I suggest you peruse my reviews?

I honestly hope this list has been helpful for someone, but if you think this post is just a thinly veiled attempt to help my husband with his Christmas shopping . . . you wouldn’t be wrong. 😉 (Not that he doesn’t do just fine on his own.)

What do you think of my list? Anything making you drool? Have suggestions for adding to it? Let me know in the comments below!

TWEETABLES:

What I Want For Christmas! #bookworm #books

A Book Lover’s Christmas Wishlist!

12 Days of Christmas for Book Lovers!

 

A Tale of Two Kitties – Part 2

Ana watches Athena from a distance while Kathleen Denly pets Athena. Photo by Kathleen Denly

If you haven’t read Part 1, you may want to read that first as this will make more sense if you have, but for those in a hurry I’ll put what you need to know into a boring nutshell:  We brought home one cat (Ana), then 2 years later brought home a second cat (Athena). (Trust me, the previous post is much more interesting.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, our boys were over the moon with excitement about the newest addition to our family. Ana… not so much.

Bringing Athena Home

When we first brought Athena home we took her immediately to a bathroom where I had set up a litter box, food bowl, water bowl, and small cat tree just for her. We shut the door and I sat in there with her while the boys took turns coming in to visit her. This would be her sanctuary room for the next 24 hours.

When it was time, I went and found Ana who was sleeping on the other side of the house and hadn’t yet noticed the new arrival. I picked her up and carried her over to the closed bathroom door where she could see Athena peeking through the crack at the bottom.

It took Ana a moment to notice her, but I knew exactly when she did. Her ears perked up and she immediately tensed.

I set her down next to the door and waited to see how she would react. By this time Athena was mewing up a storm at having been left alone in the bathroom and was reaching intermittently under the door with her paw trying to gain attention. When I set Ana down Athena stopped pawing and mewing.

For a tense few seconds, the two cats smelled each other under the door. When Athena mewed again Ana flinched but kept smelling under the door. Then the lonely, playful Athena made a strategic mistake:  She reached a paw toward Ana.  Ana immediately hissed and tried to run away. I scooped Ana up and tried to soothe her but she was having none of it and kept hissing so I let her go.

Athena seemed completely unphased by the event, although she was still unhappy with being alone in the bathroom.

Of course, I went in and pet her for a while, but I couldn’t spend the entire day sitting on a linoleum floor petting the world’s softest fur ball – no matter how cute her purring and nuzzling.

Ana Is Less Than Thrilled

Over the next several hours Ana made it abundantly clear that she was NOT happy about this new addition to our home. In fact, she was quite angry with me in particular and would hiss anytime I went near her.

Clearly she blamed me for Athena’s existence.

Ana kept well away from Athena’s bathroom. She wouldn’t even go into the hallway near it. Most of the time she literally stayed as far away as the limits of the house would allow her.

Eventually, Athena had settled in and it was time to let her explore the house. So we let her out but kept an eye on her to see how she interacted with her new environment and to watch for her first encounter with Ana.

About two hours after we let Athena out, she was playing in the living room when Ana wandered in… and froze. Then hissed and immediately ran away. Athena, again, seemed unphased and simply resumed playing. This was typical of their interactions for several hours. So we decided to help things along a bit and brought out two new cat toys. One I used to play with Athena. The other my husband tried to get Ana to play with after he brought her out from hiding.

Ana did not want to play. She wanted to run away.

This time, however, my husband held her firmly, but gently in his lap and stroked her and spoke to her in soothing tones while I continued playing with Athena about ten feet away. Occasionally, Athena would try to approach Ana to play, but I made sure to keep her from getting too close. Eventually, Ana relaxed a little in his lap and sat watching Athena play, still alert for danger. Thus began a new phase of their interaction.

At night we kept Athena safely tucked away in her sanctuary. During the day, my husband and I would take turns interacting with each cat once Ana decided to forgive me for Athena’s presence.

It was a remarkable success the first time we convinced Ana to play with the other new toy in the same room where Athena was playing with her new toy. Gradually we lured them into playing incrementally closer together until they were playing side by side. Still, Ana was tense and alert for signs that she needed to run away and would often stop playing to watch Athena suspiciously.

Ana watches from a few inches away as Athena plays with a toy. Photo by Kathleen Denly
Ana watches from a few inches away as Athena plays with a toy.

Ana Is Scared

One time, Athena pounced immediately in front of Ana before I could catch her, scaring Ana. Ana hissed, swatted at her, and growled. We noticed, though, that Ana did not use her claws but kept them retracted. Ana was not aggressive. She was defensive. She was making sure Athena knew she did not want her that close.

Eventually, Ana graduated to climbing to the top of her cat tree in the living room and staring down at Athena as she played. Athena wanted to climb up, too, but we kept her down. We brought in a second cat tree and Ana wanted that one to be hers, too, but we made her share that one with Athena by ensuring they took turns using it.

The Pivotal Moment

As time went on, Ana would allow Athena to come closer and closer to her. On the morning of the third day, I caught the two of them nose to nose smelling each other for a few seconds before Ana hissed and ran away again. It was a pivotal moment.

By the next day, you could see that Ana had accepted Athena’s presence and would no longer freak out any time Athena approached her. By day eight they were chasing each other playfully around the house.

On day ten, I walked in to find this:

What I Learned From My Cats

When Athena first came home Ana was completely terrified of her. Now they are best friends. I think this is a beautiful example of the way God sometimes works in our lives. Ana wanted nothing to do with Athena and would have gotten rid of her if she had the means to do so. Yet now they spend much of their days playing, sleeping, and hunting bugs together. I think this shows that although we may be terrified or unhappy about (to say the least) certain events in our lives, we may after time and with a little trust, discover that God has worked it out for our good.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

~Romans 8:28

This message seems especially appropriate at this time of year as we pause to consider the gift of Christ’s birth. One of the most beautiful and touching songs of this season considers His birth, life, eventual death and resurrection from the perspective of Mary, His mother. I encourage you to take a moment and put yourself in her shoes, with all the struggles she faced as the mother of Christ.

Being the mother of three boys myself, it is both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking to consider what she went through from seeing her son perform miracles to watching his death on the cross. Yet, God had a plan more intricate, precious, and full of blessings than any of us could have imagined.

Ana & Athena lie beside each other on the bed, looking up at the camera. Text reads,
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get two cats to look at the camera at the same time?

What do you think?

Have you ever experienced something that at the time seemed truly terrible, but in the end, God used it for your good or the good of others?

Please share your story in the comments below. I’d love to read about it!

Grand Finale & GIVEAWAY! – A Family Under The Christmas Tree

Well, the book tour for author Terri Reed’s latest book, A Family Under the Christmas Tree, comes to an end today with this Grand Finale. I hope you’ve had a chance to visit each stop along the way, but if you haven’t, below you’ll find snippets from each stop. There are also links for those of you who’d like to read more (I highly recommend it. There are some really interesting things to learn!). And of course, don’t forget to ENTER TO WIN the GIVEAWAY!!!


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Launch for
A Family Under the Christmas Tree
By Terri Reed

David and Sophie don’t even know the gift they need to find the most under the Christmas tree this year, but an unexpected meeting between a little boy and Sophie’s dog might lead to just that. We hope you enjoyed coming along with us as we get to know more about their story on this tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now…

Launch – Author Interview

2. What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope readers will see the beauty of letting go of expectations and embracing new circumstances. That sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want and that’s okay because the unexpected sometimes is more than we could have hoped for.

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed is sweet and romantic and heartwarming. Troy and Riggs, as well as Sophie’s grandma, add moments of humor and make the story all the more endearing. This is an ideal read for fans of Hallmark Christmas movies or for anyone looking for a quick and uplifting escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

“I adored Grandma and her puppy, Riggs. When you add that handful, Troy, to the mix, the story is definitely entertaining and fun. They are each catalysts, in their own ways, to bringing this couple together. I do love a story where the characters undergo some change, especially in their outlooks on life. There are some good elements to this story and it is a sweet Christmas read.”

Falling Leaves – All-Time Favorite Christmas Movie

My all-time favorite Christmas movie is A Charlie Brown Christmas, released in December of 1965. This is the longest-running cartoon special in history, airing every year but this classic almost didn’t make it on the air. The studios hated it, No television networks wanted to play it. They didn’t like the religious theme running through the story or the contemporary jazz score. It was criticized for not having a laugh track, and for using voices of real children (except for Snoopy, who was voiced by the show’s animator Bill Melendez). The creator of the show, Charles Schulz, wanted the central meaning of the show to reflect his own beliefs of Christmas. With his clout, Schulz managed to get his little animated cartoon to air…

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Author Interview

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or is it purely all imagination?

I like to add a bit of real life to my stories. There are several scenes in A Family Under the Christmas Tree that come from personal knowledge. The setting of Bellevue Washington is where I have family so I was able to describe it from having visited the city. In the story, the characters visit a Christmas tree farm, which I patterned after a local tree farm here that we’d visit often when my children were young. It was fun to remember back to those days with my kids.

Bookworm Lisa – Review

“I enjoyed the sweet message of the book. The characters were well written and easy to like. The book is a clean romance with kissing. This is a great Christmas time read to cuddle up with.”

Mommabears Book Blog – Favorite Christmas Moments

My favorite Christmas moments are unpacking the decorations and hanging them on the Christmas tree. When my husband and I were first married, we had no decorations of our own. At the time I worked for a mall department store in Sacramento California, so with my employee discount I bought a few ornaments—a set of diamond shaped mirrors, a box of round colorful bulbs and a pretty tree topper that sparkled. Not very many decorations for the four-foot tree that fit nicely in our snug little apartment….

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Reviews

“What a heartwarming story. . . . I would recommend this story to all readers, especially ones who love Christmas time as I do and enjoy a good love story.” – Vickie

“WOW! I literally could not put it down until I finished it! It is such a “cleanly” delightful read! I am certainly glad it isn’t any lengthier than it is, or I would not have enjoyed the company of my spouse in the evening!” – Lu Ann

Jessica and Gracie’s Tree – Review

“Set against a winter backdrop during Christmas, this is the perfect fluffy novel for a cold night. . . . This writing is great, the characters are developed, and the romance is believable. I highly recommend this novel. Add it to your Christmas list!”

Mel’s Shelves – The Characters



The characters of A Family Under the Christmas Tree are very dear to me. I really liked David, Sophie and Troy. As well as Grandma Louise and Simon. I enjoyed developing them because they surprised me the more as I dug into them. I had this germ of an idea—I wanted to do something along the lines of Scrooge meets Mary Poppins. As part of developing the story I find photos of actors that resemble how I see my characters. Having the visual helps me in my descriptions as well as makes them more three dimensional in my own mind.

Kathleen Denly – Author Interview

I noticed in the bio on your website that you spent ten years working as a model in your life-before-writing. How did that experience help with developing the character of Sophie Griffith?

Having worked in front of the camera for many years afforded me an appreciation for photography. I was able to glean the art it takes, the time and patience as well as the technical know-how for a well-done photo shoot. I enjoyed putting my knowledge to work for Sophie.

Getting Your Read On – Review

“This book is all sweetness and Christmas goodness. If you are looking for a cute holiday romance then you should check this book out. . . . It was a little slow moving, but the characters were likable and brought a smile to my face. Christmas stories during December are always fun to read!”

Paulette’s Papers – Cranberry Sauce

Who says Cranberry sauce is only for Thanksgiving? Our family enjoys cranberry sauce for all special occasion meals, including Christmas dinner. In fact, for us Christmas dinner is the same menu as Thanksgiving. We’ve long done the canned jellied or whole cranberries and been perfectly happy. But this year my nephew decided we’d try a homemade version. And my, is it delicious.

Kindle and Me – Review

“I might have shed a few tears at the tender moments in the book. So, if you like a little cry, opening up your heart, books with loss, puppies, Christmas, snowflakes, serving others, finding love and having a family that loves you then this might be for you!”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

“This book was very cute and a quick, fun read. It’s everything a sweet Christmas romance should be. It has a meddling, matchmaking grandma, a mischievous little boy, a puppy, snow…what more could you want? . . . All of you sweet, clean romance lovers are going to want to add A Family Under the Christmas Tree to your TBR piles!”

Tell Tale Book Reviews – Christmas Cookies

For me the Christmas season isn’t complete without Christmas cookies. . . . In my story, A Family Under the Christmas Tree, my heroine Sophie and her grandmother help young Troy bake and decorate cookies. A tradition I’ve done with my mother when I was young and one I have continued with my own kids.

Don’t forget to enter the fabulous giveaway below…

A Family Under the Christmas TreeA Family Under the Christmas Tree
by Terri Reed
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 340 pages
October 4th 2016 by Howard Books

In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog—but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom.

David Murphy never knew much about kids. But when his brother dies unexpectedly, David is granted custody of his six-year-old nephew, Troy, who he’s only seen once a year since he was born. He already has his hands full running his business, and he has no idea how to help the grieving boy. When Troy runs off one day, David finds him at a park playing with an adorable and rambunctious Bernese mountain dog—who leads him to Sophie.

Sophie Griffith has spent her life travelling around the world as a photojournalist. She has never stayed in one place for long, and her new assignment—helping her grandmother for a few weeks—is just temporary. Once Christmas day comes, Sophie is off the hook and can leave for a new adventure. Caring for her grandmother is a piece of cake—but caring for her new Bernese mountain dog, Riggs, is a different story. It doesn’t help that Riggs strikes up a friendship with a lost little boy one day at the park—and leads her to David.

Neither David nor Sophie have time for romance. But as they spend more time together, they start falling for each other even though they know it can’t go anywhere. Sophie will be gone after Christmas, and the last thing David needs is another distraction as he tries to comfort Troy. But as their faith and growing love for the boy and dog unites them, they wonder whether it’s more than a holiday romance…and maybe Troy might finally get his Christmas wish for a family.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publishers Weekly top 25 Romance and Publishers Weekly top ten Religion Fiction, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine, More To Life Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine, finaled in RWA’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest, ACFW’s The Carol Award contest. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing with her dogs.

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Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a copy of Love Inspired Classic 2 in 1, Love Comes Home and A Sheltering Love, a light up angle ornament, a Santa bookmark, A Family Under the Christmas Tree bookmark, a manicure set, and a Tule Book Girl book bag (US only)
1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
– Ends December 22nd

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