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.)

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 3 of 12
“Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . .
but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!”

How The Crinch Stole Christmas
by Dr. Seuss

This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.comed6ab3f427c0e107b9dcb69aa9a8aeab-edited

The ultimate Dr. Seuss Christmas classic – no holiday season is complete without the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville!

Book Bean: Merry Berry Matcha Freeze
0111-editedAs cold as the Grinch and just as green too!
In a blender add 2 scoops vanilla bean
ice-cream, Matcha powder to taste, one scoop
(or more to taste) of canned cranberry (not jellied, frozen ahead of time if possible.) Blend till desired texture. Garnish with real cranberries and enjoy!

d095ad4bea6df8d433049a8bc12cb70d“Then the Grinch thought of something
he hadn’t before!
What if Christmas, he thought,
doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas…perhaps…
means a little bit more!”

Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas


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

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.


12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1Day 1 of 12:
“Darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”

A Christmas Carol
By  Charles Dickens

Tiny Tim, Ghosts, and of course the infamous Scrooge! This fantastic and endearing Christmas classic is a must read for children and adults. It is a great book for older children to read or for adults to read aloud by the fire with family. There are also a few amazing audible version that make great background ambiance.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Cozy up with this book and a make sure to have a warm drink
to keep out the ghostly chills.

12 drinks of Christmas!

unnamedBook Bean: Cinnamon Cocoa Crunch
Something with a little bite in the spirit of scrooge:
In a large pot add 1 cup milk per person. Once the milk is warm whisk in 1 tsp dutch cocoa powder to 2 tsps of sugar (I use bakers sugar or confection sugar so it mixes smooth)
PER cup of milk! Bring to a low simmer.  Whisk in 1/4 tsp of cinnamon per cup of milk, or to taste. Add in 1 Tbls of cream/half n’half per cup. Top with whip and sprinkle with red hots.

a_christmas_carol.jpeg“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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.
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.
Book Bean:
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.
images (1).jpg

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.
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.
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?
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.

Portland Woodstock ‘08

A420AA7D-E419-4FE3-9476-3D96385B409AThis weekend was Portland’s 2018 book festival Wordstock. The event was held at the Portland Art Museum and featured over 100 authors. Their was books signings and readings for all ages all and numerous historic locations in the area. It was a great day for writers and readers alike.

I came home with lots of information and goodies.
I chose to go the exploratory route and pick just a few random new books.

My 2018 Wordstock spoils:

Arms From The Sea by Rich Shapero

A young sculptor from the State of Salt swallows a poison pill that transports him to a watery heaven, whose monstrous, seductive creator reveals to him what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.

A confusing and interesting read so far, but I haven’t given up on it.

A Doctor A Day by Bernard Mansheim
Under white coats, behind caring eyes, beneath sterile stethoscopes is the human within the doctor. The one that bears bad news, holds pain and mires in a stream of death and the dying. In this fictional story, Dr. James is in crisis as his practice is further burdened by a crushing lawsuit. Unmasking the psychological burden experienced by many practicing doctors this work portrays one physician’s unbearable experience as examined and articulated by a seasoned MD

My choice cafe drink of the week:

Book Bean: Eggnog Spice Latte
98014BCE-D8F0-4832-98A9-C058CCBD4DEBStart with 1-3 shots of espresso to taste (or for the ‘Au Lait’ version try 4-6 oz of strong black coffee, 1-2 oz eggnog, and 1oz milk) stir in a tiny pinch of cayenne and pinch of pumpkin spice. Pour in steamed eggnog mix: 1 part (2-4 oz depending on number of espresso shots) rich creamy eggnog and 1 part non-fat milk (or milk of choice.) Finish drink off with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vampire Boy (Adventures of Alex Vambarey)
by Aric Cuching

I chose this book because, first off books have no age, and secondly it seem like a clever synopsis. We shall see.

It seems it has also won quite a few awards, so I’m hopeful that it will not disappoint 🙂

Which local book events do you look forward to?