Monday, October 23, 2017

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

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Pumpkin spice and everything nice, right?  With each new fall, it seems that more and more things are being made in pumpkin spice flavoring.  While I enjoy some pumpkin things, I am not someone who jumps on the pumpkin spice bandwagon normally.  But the turning of leaves and the crisp chill in the air (for many of us) definitely helps to put me in the mood for fall activities.  And there is no denying that there really are pumpkins everywhere this time of year.

My favorite part of fall is pulling out some of our family’s favorite children’s books like The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano.  There’s something wonderful about how this colorful picture book helps children understand that it is okay to stand out and be different, that this can actually be an asset to others.  I have enjoyed reading this book to my first graders for years now.  The animated film based on this book takes some liberties with the plot, but Spookley the Square Pumpkin DVD + CD SETis also fun to watch, especially after reading the book.

My family also loves The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis.  This picture book is a rollicking rhyming tale that is a fantastic read aloud for little ones. Even reluctant readers may want to join you in repeating the fun repeating phrases.  This book is perfect for starting conversations about onomatopoeia and word choice.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams is another favorite!  This is another great read aloud because of the rhythm of the language and the many repeating phrases.  

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White is fun to read when you are thinking of starting some pumpkin baking projects.  Rebecca Estelle, the main character, is a pumpkin curmudgeon who accidentally finds her yard infested with pumpkins.  She becomes obsessed with getting rid of them and makes many different pumpkin goodies to share with her town, and she gets transformed into a pumpkin enthusiast in the process.  While it is a picture book, this book has one or two paragraphs to read per page, making it great for all elementary age students.  Caution—this book may make you hungry!  So be ready to make or buy some pumpkin goodies afterwards.

Live it Out

There are so many activities that your family can do with pumpkins!

After a quick trip to a local pumpkin patch, we brought home a pumpkin, carved a jack-o-lantern and saved all the seeds.  I usually roast the pumpkin seeds the same day, but I was not able to do that this year.  Instead, I ended up soaking the seeds for a few hours and this really helped to clean them more quickly.  Then, I drained them and put them in an air tight container in the fridge until I was able to roast them.  We made them two ways this year—garlic flavored and curry flavored.  I have to say the spicy version was the adults’ favorite.  Just dry the pumpkin seeds as much as possible, add your favorite spices, and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.  Make sure to shake the pan every 5 minutes or so, or else the pumpkin seeds will start to burn.

Other quick ideas to do with pumpkins:  Painting pumpkins is a fun and easy way to decorate your pumpkin.  It can definitely be messy, but your kids will love the opportunity to add their artistic spin to their pumpkin.  And of course, bake with your pumpkin!  So many yummy recipes out there to try.  Get creative!  Put on some Light Up LED Halloween Pumpkin Glasses / Shades and make up songs about pumpkins.  Your children will love it!

Hope your pumpkin season is delightful!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: The Lifegiving Table by Sally Clarkson

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The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time by Sally Clarkson is the much anticipated sequel to her previous book The Lifegiving Home. This book extends the great work she started in the previous one, showing how the table can be the center of a nurturing home where all family members are showered with love and children are discipled in daily life. If you have heard Sally speak in the past, you may have heard her talk about some of her favorite recipes. This book includes some of her most beloved recipes with ideas how to use them in your own home. I love how Sally shares her gifts of hospitality and how practical and simple she makes hospitality for her readers. I rarely read numerous nonfiction books by an author and I rarely purchase hard copies of books these days. But I have deeply enjoyed many books by this author, and this one does not disappoint! Also, I am so glad that I purchased a hard copy of this book so that I can use it frequently in my kitchen. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to create a loving home that welcomes all who enter. All of Sally Clarkson’s books are worth savoring and revisiting often.

Book Review: Enjoy by Trillia J. Newbell

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If God gives us all things to enjoy, why do we feel guilty when we stop and rest? Trillia J. Newbell writes in her new book Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God's Good Gifts, “We enjoy because we know that the gift is given by God for our enjoyment.” I read this book recently and found it so freeing and full of grace. Trillia gives a Biblical framework for enjoying all aspects of your life simply as gifts from God to enjoy. It sounds so simple—and it should be. The book is thoroughly researched, citing many Scriptures and other sources. It can be slightly academic in its tone, but overall, Enjoy is a great reminder to “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Review: English Lessons by Andrea Lucado

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“Sometimes faith comes naturally, and sometimes everything we have ever believed is suddenly thrust under a microscope and we are forced to examine it.” People that grow up in church are often afraid to question their faith, or at least afraid to talk about it. Growing up as Max Lucado’s daughter, Andrea Lucado had big shoes to fill and a strong background of faith. I am so glad she wrote English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. In this book, Andrea is vulnerable and real and explores the questions that pushed her into a lonely life far from God as she studied overseas at Oxford. This book is Andrea’s story of finding a faith that is truly her own. At the same time, this book explores the very real cultural differences between American and British life. I tend to gravitate towards fiction books, but I found this book to flow so well as it tells the story of Andrea’s faith journey. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you Waterbrook Press for the opportunity to review this amazing book!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Welcome to Livin' Lit!

Looking for a way to connect with you child and inspire a love of reading?  Are you looking for great reads too?   Livin’ Lit is a place to discuss books for all ages and really make books come alive for young readers. 

Welcome to Livin’ Lit!  I am so glad you found this site.  My name is Michelle and I am passionate about reading, learning, and having fun doing both. I have always been a bookworm—as a child, I was known for walking with a book while my mother shopped!  Now, as a mom and a teacher, I created this website to share with you some of my favorite children’s books and some easy corresponding activities that you can do to connect with your child and make books come alive. I will also be sharing some of my favorite books for grow-ups, because it is important that children know adults are readers, too!  My book-based activities are great for supplementing your homeschool curriculum or for doing once your child comes home from school.  Bond with your child over interesting books and make them come alive!  Getting children excited in this way will motivate your child to read for themselves.

    Book Review: Lakeside Retreat by Marci Seither About the Book   Book: Lakeside Retreat Author: Marci Seither Genre: Devotional gift bo...