Coming to a TV Screen Near You!

I’ve long been a fan of Robin Jones Gunn‘s books, so I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review the books in her Father Christmas collection. Though I’d already read all of her other books, for some reason this collection had yet to find its way to my bookshelf. When Robin’s marketing team contacted me asking if I’d review the books in the series in advance of Finding Father Christmas making it’s debut as a movie on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel, I jumped at the chance.

Click on the picture above to get all the info about how you can watch Finding Father Christmas, beginning this Sunday, November 13!

The first two novellas in the collection, Finding Father Christmas and Engaging Father Christmas, have been combined into one volume making it easy to follow Miranda Carson’s story from beginning to end.

In Finding Father Christmas, Miranda is on a search to find the father she never knew. A few cryptic clues tucked in a velvet envelope are all she has to lead her on her search. The clues lead her to a small town in England where she discovers the truth and finds the family she always wished she’d had.

Engaging Father Christmas finds Miranda heading back to England to spend Christmas with her father’s family and her boyfriend, Ian. She has huge hopes that before long, she and Ian will marry and make Carlton Heath their forever home, but troubles abound. Her true identity is made public and the relationships she’s built over the last year are threatened. Will her dreams come true or come crashing down around her?

These novellas were a great way to jump start the holiday season.   From the moment I saw the beautiful vintage-inspired cover, I could feel Christmas magic coming alive. As I read, I found myself feeling like I was strolling the festive, garland lined streets of Carlton Heath alongside Miranda and Ellie. The stories are fun and easy to read, just long enough to tell the story but short enough to read in their entirety in an evening cozied up by the fire with a cup of tea. The characters are quirky, engaging and totally relatable; the relationships real, raw and emotional. This is the perfect book to read to kick off the holiday season and get you in the Christmas Spirit!

Kissing Father Christmas is the latest novella in the Father Christmas collection. Written as a stand alone book, it continues to tell the story of the residents of Carlton Heath that we all fell in love with in the first two novellas.

In this installation of the Father Christmas collection we meet Ian’s cousin, Anna. After traveling to England for Ian and Miranda’s wedding, Anna finds herself enchanted with the town of Carlton Heath as well as one of the town’s residents, Peter. When her family and friends invite her to spend the holidays in England, Anna jumps at the chance. Her time there strengthens her relationships with friends and family, but she can’t seem to figure out what’s going on with Peter. Just when she thinks they have something special, he pushes her away.  She begins to wonder if she ever should have set foot back in England again.

This novella is written in the same spirit as the previous two in this collection, I found myself feeling like I was having

tea with Ellie and Anna. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters a bit more and pick up on where they left off, as well as getting know Peter and Anna and dive into their story. Robin Jones Gunn has a way of writing that just seems to wrap the reader up in the story and include them in it, this book is no exception. As always, the characters and storyline were real and relatable. It’s what keeps me coming back to her books time and time again.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Favorite Fall Cookies – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip

This is the third time I’ve blogged about this recipe. It’s our family’s favorite fall cookie recipe and through the years I’ve tweaked it bit by bit. There’s not much more I can adjust other than the spices and that all comes down to personal preference.  I’m sure they could be replaced with an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice, I just never seem to have that on hand.

Also, there are a LOT of chocolate chips in this recipe. You could always reduce the amount….but why would anyone want to do that??? Haha.

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp. clove
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (we prefer dark chocolate)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Dissolve baking soda with milk and stir into flour mixture.
Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla and stir.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.
After cooling, keep cookies in an air tight container so they don’t dry out.

FREE 14 Day Trial Is Now Available for the Odyssey Adventure Club!

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Think of ways you can enjoy this summer for free:

  • Hiking
  • Visiting parks in your area
  • Swimming
  • Camping in your backyard
  • Visit a public museum or library

Now, add more fun and imagination to your summer through the Odyssey Adventure Club!

The Odyssey Adventure Club will give you streaming access to more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes plus a sneak peek of exclusive audio and video stories, on-line activities and daily devotions you can’t find anywhere else.

Start a free 14-day trial for your family today and make the summer even more fun!

Make Your Children World Explorers

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Give your family summer vacation a makeover this year and turn it into a “staycation.” Have your kids forget their summer boredom, turn off their screens, and instead circle the globe with Focus on the Family’s “World Explorers” summer adventure kit!

Throughout the next two months, travel our colorful, diverse world, visiting 27 different countries on six continents. Part of the fun will be figuring out where the next stop is, using five clues that reveal interesting facts about the next country. Once you’ve determined where you’re going, use the games, activities and faith lessons to give your kids a glimpse into that country’s unique culture.

Click here to sign up and receive your free summer adventure kit.

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.

Adventures in Odyssey Summer Challenge 2016

This summer, you can join Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine and help children in the Middle East go to school and learn English. It’s Adventures in Odyssey’s Clubhouse Magazine Exercise to Educate summer challenge!

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The Problem

Nearly 7,000 miles away from the United States, there’s a war going on in the country of Syria. Many families have been forced from their homes. Parents have had to leave their jobs, and children have had to leave behind toys and friends.

Many of these families now live in refugee camps in nearby countries. They have tents instead of houses. Clean water is hard to come by. This war has put 2.6 million children out of school – some for more than four years already.

The Solution

Our friends at Focus on the Family Middle East know many families who don’t have the money to buy a school uniform and pay for their children to go to school. They also know people who would love to teach children English in local churches.

You may not have a lot of money to help, but you probably have time, energy and excitement. Here’s what you can do:

1. Go to to Whitsend.org/summer.

2. Print a sponsor sheet and exercise to earn points. You can do it for a week or the whole summer – just remember, the more you exercise, the more points you’ll earn!

3. Ask your family and friends to sponsor your efforts.

4. Beginning in July, tell us how you did and receive a digital bundle from your friends at Adventures in Odyssey and Focus on the Family. The deadline to submit your information is August 31, 2016.

For participating and submitting your information, you will get a free Adventures in Odyssey episode from Album 51. You will also get 101 Surefire Ways to Strengthen Your Child’s Faith – eBook and the audio book of Imagination Station #1, “Voyage with the Vikings.”
Make the most of your summer—exercise for your health and help other kids in need while you do!

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with over 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.

Book Review: Room for Hope

Room for Hope
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Neva Shilling is used to being a part-time single mom.  Her husband, Warren, travels every other month in order to buy items to stock the mercantile they own in Buffalo Creek. When Warren suddenly passes away, Neva is in for the shock of her life.  It turns out that Warren was leading a double life, those months he supposedly traveling he was actually living with another wife and children in a nearby town. His dying wish was that Neva raise his other children as their “Aunt Neva”. When a deputy shows up with a wagonload of Warren’s belongings, as well as his three other children, Neva has a choice to make. Can she find a way to love and raise these children as her own or will she send them away to life in an orphanage? Her own children and the residents of Buffalo Creek don’t make her choice easy, but it’s not long before she realizes she might just have room for hope.

Room for Hope is another fantastic novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer.  I really enjoy the way to she’s able to intertwine historical fact with a captivating story. This book is no exception.  Neva’s story is an interesting one and it’s told in a way that draws the reader in. it’s as if you find yourself right there with the characters feeling their emotions and joining in their story. Readers of historical fiction will not regret adding this book to their shelves.

Disclaimer:
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Buy the Book:
If you’re interested in checking out this book you can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as many other retailers.

Nourish Your Family’s Spiritual Health this Easter

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If your family is like most, breakfast is rushed to get everyone out the door. Lunch is spent at school or work. So where does that leave dinner? Nourish your family’s spiritual health as you eat supper together. Adventures in Odyssey and Odyssey Adventure Club want to give you a free resource to help you begin your new dinner tradition of making the most of your family mealtime, beginning this Easter season. Simply head to this page and fill out the form to receive a free sample of Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions.

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Want new resources to continue to build your family’s faith, even after Easter is over? Consider signing your family up for the Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC). It offers safe and free content for everyone in your family. Membership to the OAC costs just $9.99 a month — or even less if parents make a six-month or one-year commitment. Enrollment provides more than enough content to keep kids engaged throughout the year:

  • Access to exclusive content and first looks at books and select Radio Theatre dramas.
  • On-the-go access to the OAC app for both iOS and Android users.
  • 24/7 streaming access to nearly 800 AIO episodes.
  • A new, members-only AIO episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine, and more.

To learn more about the Odyssey Adventure Club, visit www.oaclub.org, Facebook, Twitter. and Pinterest.