The Penderwicks

I enjoy reading aloud with a book in my hand.

But lately we have been spending a lot of time driving to and fro, getting people to where they need to be.

So, I did the next best thing to reading a book, I popped in an audio book.

Is it still considered a read aloud if I am not doing the reading? 

We are reading aloud or listening together to The Penderwicks. 

The Penderwick family is off enjoy their summer at a rental cottage on a large estate.  The story centers around the four sisters- Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty. The girls enjoy many summer adventures at Arundel Hall where there are friends to be made, a snooty lady to be avoided and lost rabbits?!

This is a charming story that has kept us entertained for miles and looking forward to stop lights- so we can listen for just a few more minutes.

Do you listen to audio books?


How do people find their favorite books? 
There are countless ways, but here is how I found one of mine.

I was sipping a morning cup of tea and scrolling through Pinterest. 
When I saw an Outlander pin and thought it looked readable, so I decided to put it on hold at the library.

Fast forward through the weekend, there are dishes and chaos everywhere but the book is finished, and I have an Outlander Obsessed pinterest board! 

This book is Amazing! 


What is also amazing is that it was written in 1991 and it is still attracting readers. 

Here is a sum up of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

Claire, an army nurse and lover of botanical herbs is the main character. She is on a second honeymoon with Frank, a professor and obsessed genealogist. They travel to the highlands in Scotland after WWII.

After watching a mysterious spectacle at Craigh Na Dune, Claire returns to the spot to gather a plant she saw there. Finding a magical portal, she travels through time to the 1700's.

Claire uses her skills as a nurse to aid an injured man after she is found in a desperate situation. This man, Jamie, will become the standard you will judge all others against, has secrets and a story of his own and befriends this Sassenach. 

Forced to wed to save Claire from a dangerous madman, their relationship is tested and strengthened and will make you believe in a love that can transcend time.

Go and pick up a copy of Outlander . You will be so glad that you did.
The story is full of good writing, wit, suspense, romance, drama, violence, love, friendship, with a dash of history and herbal wisdom to top it off.

Sip a cup of Oolong Tea (pg. 31 ) and travel through time with Claire to the highlands of Scotland.

This book is a Must Read – then watch the mini-series that Starz has produced. 🙂




Time to savor the flavors of Autumn

Theflavors of autumn

Autumn has officially arrived! 

It’s time to sip the crisp flavor of apple cider, perhaps adding a dash of spice and heating it up for a delicious warming treat.

Spiced Chai tea, with its blend of cardamon and cinnamon is a delicious choice for the chilly days ahead. 

I look forward to reading on these cooler days and savoring the flavors of autumn.


The Fringe Hours

The Fringe Hours- Making time for you.  What a great title!

I chose this book from a shelf because of its beautiful navy cover- which just happens to be one of my favorite colors.

I was also intrigued by the title.   Fringe sounds so artsy and feminine.  I learned the meaning of the title later in my reading.



1. Fringe means a decorative border of thread, cord or the like…..2. an outer edge; margin; periphery


1. 1/24th of a day
2. a short or limited period of time3. a particular or appointed time”

This book is about using and developing your “fringe hours” into something useful and beautiful to you.
The Fringe Hours can be read in snippets of free time and is full of useful information that will encourage you to carve out time for your own activities or passions.

I found the author relatable. I also respected the fact that she is a working mother who must search out fringe hours after a busy day. I enjoyed the inspiring quotes that began each chapter & jotted down many of them!

This book has me taking a closer look at my mornings and how I use my fringe hours.

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You is a good book choice for anyone looking to make time for themselves or those wanting to bring balance in their busy days.

**** A companion book to the Fringe Hours with a similar theme is ****

This title was on my annual book list & was full of personal stories and Biblical wisdom. 

The Best Yes will encourage those who may be having difficulty saying no to requests even with  an overwhelmed life and schedule.


Sips of Earl Grey Tea

Most any tea drinker has heard of or has tasted a cup of Earl Grey. 

After all, by some historical accounts Earl Grey tea has been sipped since the 1830’s.


The distinctive flavor that tea drinkers have come to love is extracted from the oil found in the rind of a bergamot orange.

But how does that happen?

There are different methods to achieve this infusion of flavor. 

One method is to blend the flower, fruit or spice with the dried tea leaves, to produce a light and delicate flavoring.

Another method is to spray or coat the tea leaves with extracts or essential oils during the drying process.  This will produce a more robust or flavorful tea.

Each manufacturer will use a set method and ratio of flavoring to produce their brand of Earl Grey tea. 

That means each cup of Earl Grey will differ slightly in brew & taste.

This statement is very true. 

I have sipped many cups of Earl Grey tea and each one is different.

Keep your eyes on the blog for a comparison of my favorite Earl Grey tea brands!





Ivy and Bean Series

I check out piles and piles of books for the kids at the library and hope that one or two of them will become a “get lost in a book” kind of read.

I check out stacks more hoping to find read aloud books that will have even me saying one more chapter!

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, was a title I grabbed and thought it looked okay. 


Imagine my surprise as I sat down to skim a chapter but ended up reading the whole book, laughing at the antics of these characters!  This book was a delight.

I read it to the kids that night & they loved hearing all about Bean and the trick she plays on her older sister, & how a girl across the street turns into a friend, even when they think they have nothing in common.

That first Ivy & Bean (Book 1) (Bk. 1) led us to read the entire 10 book series. 

Girls ages 8-12 are sure to enjoy this dynamic duo & will love the mischief that occurs in these stories.

That being said, my son thought they were highly entertaining as a read aloud. But I doubt he would have pulled them off the shelf for himself.
So if you want a read aloud that can handle multiple ages and be fun for boys and girls- Ivy and Bean is a winner!



Reasons to Read Aloud

I will be sharing quite a bit about reading aloud with my kids and our favorite read alouds.  It is a subject near and dear to my heart.  

The kids and I began curling up with good books when they were in diapers. And the book adventures have not ended!


“Story-time with Mama” by Breezy Brookshire, 2011


Reading aloud is vital to children’s language development and in many other areas as well. 
And I am not the only one who thinks so!  ( It’s nice when others agree with you, isn’t it?! )

Here are three articles that discuss it further.

Reading a book to a child not only builds literacy, it bonds you together as you share stories and time together.

When attention spans were short, we would pull out a simple picture book and read it before bed.

Then as attention spans grew, chapter books captured our attention & had them begging for “one more chapter!”

Now with my trio all in double digits and able to read themselves, there is a lure that brings us all together at read aloud time.

All it takes is a great book. 

Do you read aloud to your children?



When in doubt go with Black Tea

I am going to start a new saying, “ When in doubt, go with black tea. “

Black tea is robust, tasty without being bitter,and has an array of nutrients and antioxidants. I find it has the right amount of caffeine kick to shake off morning or afternoon sluggishness.

For years my go to Black Tea has been- Twinings English Breakfast. 


This tea bag is not just for breakfast, it is a delightful afternoon tea when paired with a tea time treat. 
The decaffeinated version is just right for those who do not want the effects of caffeine or if you are sipping later in the evening.

Tea bags are convenient for the morning rush or when you do not want a lot of fuss. However there is much to be said for a loose tea.

When you take a few extra moments to add loose leaves to a tea ball or infuser; you not only have tea, you make an occasion.

Currently, my favorite loose black tea is by Two Leaves and a Bud. 

Loosetea2 Collage

This tea is a sip & savor treat for me. 

It is ideal on mornings or afternoons when there is no rushing about.  

No matter if it steeps from a tea bag or a tea ball, black tea is a must have in my Booksipper tea stash.


A Minecraft Gamer’s Adventure Series

Minecraft.  You may have heard of this block building phenomenon. 

My kids love to play minecraft. On the computer, ipad, phone, on any device, really.

I would much rather my kids read than play video games. So imagine my joy when my son tells me there was a fictional Minecraft series he wanted to read!


From a mom stand point, the books have a so-so plot line.  My gamer son thought they rocked!

However, I was pleased with the vocabulary in the stories.  For example instead of using the simple word “inside” the author used “interior”.

There are four stories in this series by Winter Morgan.

 The Quest for the Diamond Sword: An Unofficial GamerÂ’s Adventure,Book One

The Mystery of the Griefer’s Mark: An Unofficial GamerÂ’s Adventure, Book Two

The Endermen Invasion: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Three

Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure, Book Four

The suggested age range on the back cover is 7-12.  Unless the seven year old is an amazing reader-these books may be a little challenging to read alone.
These titles were just right for my 9 year old, with chapter length, wording, and plot.

Minecrafters will enjoy following Steve and his treasure hunting friends on their adventures.   Moms will enjoy that the kids not gaming but are happily reading.