Cozy Christmas Reads

I love snuggling up with a book at Christmas time. Gathering by a warm fire and/or twinkling lights, sipping something hot and getting lost in a cozy wintery story.

Here are some books I really enjoy reading at Christmas time:
 (Click the pictures and/or titles for more info.)

Miracle on 34th Street
You have probably all seen the movie, but it does not compare to the book (as usual.) I like the movie and actually the book is a nice extension of it. I was fortunate enough to have read it after the movie, which I think helps. It is a delightful book. The character of Kris Kringle is so enjoyable and jolly, you can’t help but love it. The story is wholesome and teaches us so many important lessons. If you have not read it, I urge you to do so, I think you will be happy you did.
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Book Bean: Eggnog Mocha
Your basic mocha but made with 1/3 parts eggnog 2/3 part milk (or to taste if like it extra sweet.) I also only use about half the amount of normal chocolate.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The wonderful classic story by Dr. Seuss. He is so brilliant in his creation of such a horrendously likable creature. We love and loathe the Grinch. Which is why the story is so compelling, and why the ending is so fulfilling. The Grinch has become iconic, he is like Scrooge a symbol to be used for those less keen on Christmas spirit.
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Book Bean:
Nutcrackerccino
A cappuccino sprinkled and swirled with nutmeg.

A Christmas Carol
Speaking of scrooge. This book has to be the most timeless Christmas story of ever told. Everyone one knows the tale, and it has been made in to countless shows and movies. The book is fantastic and I wish more people actually took the time to read it. A Christmas Carol is a hauntingly beautiful book.
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Book Bean: Cinnamint Tea
Mint tea with a dash of cream sprinkled with cinnamon and/or a cinnamon stick.

rudolph_book_coverRudolph The Red -Nose Reindeer
Oh the wonderful story of Rudolph. I love this story. I love the idea of a character being different and then overcoming the struggles and pain that can come from it. I got my anniversary copy of this book at a black-Friday door buster, back when it was still a sane thing to do. This is a great story and the book is lovely.
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Book Bean:
North Pole Cocoa
Rich hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes for stir sticks.


The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe
I hope you are not sick of me mentioning this book yet. How could I not at Christmas time! This is one of my favorite books to read in general, but I especially love to read it at Christmas. It is a wonderful winterland story, that all ages will enjoy. I think it is a great book to read aloud in a group.
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Book Bean:
Spiced Orange Chai
Your favorite Chai with a dollop of marmalade and a sprinkle of spice if you dare (mix while very hot.) You can substitute marmalade for orange liqueur.
Twas The night Before Christmas
A wonderful classic poem that has been made into a beautiful book. The poem alone is great, but adding such detailed and amazing illustrations makes it so special. The art work is stunning.
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Book Bean:
Gingerbread Steamer
Add hot milk and crushed gingerbread crumbs to blender, blend until frothy.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

What books do you like to cozy up with for Christmas?
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Fun Fact: According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

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12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 5 of 12
“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed,
it fell silent for all of them..”

The Polar Express
by Chris Van Allsburg

1986 Caldecott Medal Winner

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . .

Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.
Rated  4.7 on amazon.com

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lowsynhotchocolatedrinkBook Bean: Hot Choc-o-Late!
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Made from scratch with cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, milk and cream. Yum. OH yeah and with marshmallows of course.

Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me,
as it does for all who truly believe.” 
Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

 

12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 4 of 12
“That’s pish-posh…” “Sheep are sheep. They cannot look happy.” 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
by Susan Wojciechowski
Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.commiracle-of-jon-toomey-carving-edited-1This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger
Rev. Dr. Charles Quail. I am very thankful because it is a wonderful book. It is a Beautiful story with gorgeous pictures and it very sweetly depict
the healing power of Christmas (and kindness.)

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Book Bean:
 Cinnamon Coconut Chai
Make chai to your preference. Add in steamed coconut milk and/or coconut cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon and coconut flakes (if you like) Garnish with anise and cinnamon sticks for stirring fun 🙂

12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 2 of 12:
Candy Cane Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

The Legend of the Candy Cane
by Lori Walburg & Richard Cowdrey

This charming and pious story about the origins of the candy cane is definitely a change of pace.
A stranger arrives in town one dreary November and begins hammering and sawing away at his newly rented storefront.


When a small girl offers her help, she’s in for a childhood fantasy-come-true, as it turns out all the shelves and counters are being built for a candy shop. After offering young Lucy gumdrops and lollipops, Mr. Sonneman launches into the history of the candy cane.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Candy Cane Cream
In a sauce pan heat up milk and vanilla extract. Add white chocolate and candy cane pieces (or candy cane Hershey kisses work marvelously.) Whisk together until smooth. d2bbd5ab8d46516ae7d69e94998c9279-edited
Add mixture to blender and blend until frothy. Add in a dollop of whip and blend (you can also whip up your own whip cream which is double delicious.) Serve with a candy cane to swirl in extra yum.

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Mid-week Meet n’ Greet

Lets get to know each other:
Share about your love of books and/or coffee/tea!
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Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet:

Coffee Alternative

Heaven forbid you should need to stop drinking coffee,
tumblr_nm27bktiG71saq5fro3_500or
find yourself
without it!
However, if you had to drink something else, or if you just like to mix it up, what would you choose?

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A Brief Origin of Coffee

images (1)The earliest origins of coffee are from Ethiopia. There is not an exact history about how people started roasting and drinking “coffee” only legends and myths. However, it was originally viewed as a food. The Ethiopians chewed the plant for it’s obvious stimulant properties, and also ate the fruit raw (the pulp is sweet and caffeinated.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They also pounded coffee cherries and mixed it with animal fat to mold into pellets. There are records that show the cherries were also used to make wine.

artists_thumbnailThe earliest use of coffee as a hot beverage entailed roasting the entire hull over an open fire and then mixing with boiling water for 30 minutes until a yellowish liquid came through.

9The drink stayed a green drink until aprx. the 13 century when they began to first dry the beans. With more  experimentation, the process was adapted further, and the practice of roasting formed.

22adf105-ebf0-4ca9-a446-e7a2789166dc Once coffee became the dried, roasted, and brewed drink we know it as today, it was mainly used for “medicinal” purposes and in religious practices. However, once it became increasingly popular, and a demand grew, the original coffee houses started opening.
Coffee-House1Persian cities became known for having stylish and elaborate coffee houses. They were reputed for serving coffee quickly and efficiently. They became famous social spots, where people gathered not just for coffee but also music, talking, and even dancing.

Turkish-CoffeeGradually the coffee house trend made its way to Turkey. The Turkish however drank just as much coffee in home as at coffee houses. This increased popularity and demand. By the 1600’s news spread and export and trade began throughout the Middle East; supplying Venetians and Europeans with beans.
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Eventually the coffee tree made its ways to the East Indian Dutch colony of Java. From there plantations started sprouting in neighboring colonies; Sumatra, Timor, Bali, and Celebes.

ExploreWithEd_FoodThrough the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.

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The coffee economy was therefor set in motion and began to adapt and increase  more and more, as it is still increasing even today.

A beverage as black as ink,
useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. It’s consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.

— Léonard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German)