Monday, December 29, 2008

Year End Book Review

I've kept track of how many books I've read each year for the last 4 years now. I went from 43 in 2005 to 57 in 2006 to 67 in 2007 to this past year's whopping 29. I don't know if adding a person to our family had something to do with it or maybe that it took me about 5 months to read one of the books. I thought I'd compile a list of the top ten of the year, so I went down my list and marked ones that stood out to me with the intention of going back and narrowing down my big top ten. I shouldn't be surprised to find that I had only marked 9 because throughout the year I kept having a sense that I just couldn't find a good book. So here are my top 9 reads of 2008.

  • The Breastfeeding Cafe by Barbara L. Behrmann~ The old saying goes that sex, religion, and politics are subjects that are off limits. Breastfeeding should be added to that list. With my very first newborn whenever asked if I was nursing or bottlefeeding I felt like asking, "Who wants to know?" It seemed there were few who didn't fall into one of two groups: the lactivists and the bottle feeders who have all been scorned by the lactivists. In all the hub bub surrounding how I fed my baby, this book was an encouragement filled with stories of many moms in their nursing ups and downs. Of course there is a strong lactivist bent (I believe there was a reference to formula as "crap in a can"), but it served as additional humor to me along with the anecdotal struggles in the moms' stories.
  • What is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer~ Edith Schaeffer is a personal favorite of mine so I eat up anything she writes. The title is pretty self explanatory. This is a good companion book to another one of hers, The Hidden Art of Homemaking.
  • A Light Affliction by Maureen Hay Read~I don't miss a day of writing in my journal, so the format of this book resonates well with me (it's mostly her journal entries). I also found it very interesting because the author was my high school English teacher. She journals through a time of sickness when I was her student. I remember her taking a long leave of absence and knew she was very sick, but had no idea the horrors she was going through. The rest of the book, covering a span of about 10 years, is encouraging and challenging as she faces the trials and struggles of everyday life.
  • Mistaken Identity by Newell Cerak, Whitney Cerak, Susie Van Ryn, Colleen Cerak, and Don Van Ryn~ It's one of those books where you feel like you're invading someone's privacy, a People magazine cover story, but they wrote the book and it's an amazing story. God sure does work in mysterious ways.
  • The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg~ No, not everything did come naturally as a new mother. I had my intincts about some things and stuck to them and I had situations where I wasn't exactly sure what to do. This book helped give some direction and steady ground on those issues I was a little unsure of.
  • To Own a Dragon by Donald Miller~ It's about growing up without a dad. I grew up with a dad, but just wanted to read it because Donald Miller wrote it. As expected he didn't disappoint. You'll just enjoy chewing on his thoughts.
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp~ This is one I want to own and keep as a reference for all time. Probably one to read once a year. I mean, sheperding your child's heart; what a responsibility and privilege! Wow, I have a high calling.
  • To Train Up a Child by Michael Pearl~ A good companion book to Tripp's above. This one is more about training your children in the first year(s); training vs. discipline which is covered more in Shepherding a Child's Heart.
  • Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben~Highly recommended to anyone who is sick and tired of the rat race of the holiday season and is seeking something simpler. Our family is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas this year as a result of this quick little read because it's not all about the big day of presents. Don't worry, it's point is not to abolish gifts altogether, but to get you to think about the kind of traditions you want in your family for this time of year.
So there you have it; the 9 books I read this year that I truly enjoyed. What was your favorite read of 2008?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Egg Nog Tea Cookies

If you love egg nog and all 440 calories per cup, you'll love these cookies.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Precious China

For the first time today, I shall post a video. I recently had to rearrange some things in my kitchen because of the antics of my son. We decided to capture his mischief and let him go at it since the plan to revamp was in place. We don't have a formal dining room in our house, so no hutch to put my china in. I rarely use it, but love it none the less, and had it stored in the corner cupboards; out of the way I thought. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stocking Stuffers

This year my hubby and I decided to make origami coupons for each other's stocking stuffers. It's something we could make together yet not know what the other is writing. If you're not familiar with giving coupons as gifts, you write on a piece of paper something like "Free back rub" or "I'll do the dishes for a day", etc. The recipient then turns in the coupon when he/she wants it redeemed. We decided on origami because it fills up the stocking more than a coupon book. There's nothing like a full stocking and spending $0 to get it that way.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A New After Picture

As you can see from this previous "after" picture, there's something missing to the left of the refrigerator; shelves! Well, no shelves no more! My hubby's handy juices were flowing and he put up the shelves that I've been longing for.

Zane seems to like the addition as well.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Calling All Bread Makers

If you live near me and would like an Amish friendship bread starter, I'll be ready to divide and distribute on Tuesday. If you're really interested and miss this time around I will always keep a portion for myself, so maybe you can catch me on the next round. Or the next.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Santa

As some of you may know, every year around Christmas time Oprah Winfrey hosts a special episode of her show where she gives away her favorite things to every member of the studio audience; Oprah's favorite things. If I were to do such a thing for my readers this is what I would give to you all. Two differences between Oprah's favorite things and Bethany's favorite things: 1. Oprah actually gives things away, I would just really like to give them away. 2. Oprah gives away things that she personally owns and loves, whereas the one qualifier for this list of things I'd love to give you all is that they're all things I want! So enjoy perusing this list of prizes you would get if I were rich and if you're looking for gift ideas for a certain thirtysomething, crafty girl....

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crock Pot Macaroni

Here's a recipe for the easiest, best tasting macaroni and cheese ever! Well, that could be disputed but I sure like it.

3 Tbs. butter, chunked
2 cups uncooked macaroni
2 cups shredded sharp cheese
24 oz. small curd cottage cheese
2 cups boiling water

Place butter chunks in bottom of crockpot. Add next 3 ingredients and pour boiling water over all. Do Not stir. Cover. Cook for approx. 2 hrs. Stir just before ready to serve. Can be baked in 350 degree oven for 1 hr. (I sprinkle macaroni with salt). Enjoy!