Christmas Book List

The Christmas season is my favorite reading season. Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite Christmas reads!

I enjoy both holding a physical book in my hands as well as earbuds listening to a story while folding laundry, cooking dinner, or blowdrying my hair. Some books though are just better to hear. Of the books I’m listing, I share which I feel you should listen to rather than sit and read. Plus you will fit in more Christmas books!

I highly recommend Audible and Scribd memberships. I have them both and use them both for our entire family. Here’s a link to try a month or more free on each.

 

This book is a fantastic Audible listen. You will be swept up in this love story and never want it to end. Historical Fiction meets Christmas meets love story meets beautiful accents. A lovely read!

“August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know we all know the story of A Christmas Carol. But this Audible original is fabulous! It makes a wonderful family listen. I’m a big fan of capitalizing on car time and sneaking in extra stories with my family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Max Lucado story is a perfect family read aloud or listen. It’s short and powerful. Definitely add to your list!

“Was the birth of Jesus a quietly profound event? Or could it have included heavenly battles, angel armies, and a scheming Satan? Come along as Lucado takes us on a journey into his imagination-pulling back the curtain as we see what might have taken place on Cosmic Christmas.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love every Richard Paul Evans book. He is by far my favorite Christmas author. His books are heartwarming and delightful in every way. I already pre-ordered his latest release The Christmas Promise

The Noel Letters is a short, fast read and delivers all the Christmas feels. It is Book #4 of the The Noel Series. Start with book 1 if you are new to Evans books!

“After nearly two decades, Noel Post, an editor for a major New York publishing house, returns to her childhood home in Salt Lake City to see her estranged, dying father. What she believed would be a brief visit turns into something more as she inherits the bookstore her father fought to keep alive. Reeling from loneliness, a recent divorce, and unanticipated upheavals in her world, Noel begins receiving letters from an anonymous source, each one containing thoughts and lessons about her life and her future. She begins to reacquaint herself with the bookstore and the people she left behind, and in doing so, starts to unravel the reality of her painful childhood and the truth about her family. As the holidays draw near, she receives a Christmastime revelation that changes not only how she sees the past but also how she views her future.”

 

 

 

 

Ok, this book is 100% light, fluffy, and full of giggles. The main character is absolutely lovable as she finds herself in awkward situations repeatedly. I listened to this via Audible and highly recommend. The English accents are to die for and honestly it was simply refreshing to listen to something so light that actually made me chuckle throughout the book.

I WILL be reading more of Sophie Kinsella. This is book 9 of 11, but I read it without reading any others and fell in love with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years ago, I read this aloud on a road trip over Thanksgiving. I fell in love with this story. It’s beautiful and makes the perfect Christmas family read aloud. Also there is a movie!!

“Imagine a Victorian England village in the Cotswolds where very little out of the ordinary ever happens . . . except at Christmas time.

This year, Edward Haddington, a lowly candle maker, is visited by a mysterious angel. That angel silently imparts a precious gift—a gift that’s bungled and subsequently lost. The candle maker and his wife, Bea, struggle to find the gift.

And when they do, they have to make a difficult choice. Who among their community is most in need of a Christmas miracle?”

 

 

 

Sitting on my nightstand are 2 Christmas books I’ll share on Instagram after I’ve read them.

 

 

No excuses – Go Grow

2 Peter chapter 1 held me captive today. Verse 3 begins with a punch, “His divine power has given you everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” I read this as, “You have no excuse for why you can’t live a godly life. You have His power!”
Grow on purpose. Sometimes we grow what we don’t want on accident. We allow bad patterns and habits to form, which will grow something. What do you want to grow?
In verse 5-7 Peter instructs us to be intentional in growing goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, affection, & love.
Why? Because it prevents us from being useless in this world. We were created to have purpose. Too many people live without knowing this.
Don’t forget who you once were and who you are now in Him! Don’t forget you are forgiven IF you’ve asked Jesus to forgive you and surrendered your life to Him.
Prepare for your eternal entry. How do you want to enter Heaven? Verse 11 tells us if we follow these instructions our entry into eternity will be richly supplied. Do you want to limp in or do you want to experience the VIP treatment? The choices we make today impact our eternal living.
I read a commentary in Enduring Word that said this, “Will your entrance into heaven be like that? Will you enter it, save so as by fire, or to receive a reward? Will you come unrecognized and unknown, or be welcomed by scores and hundreds to whom you have been the means of blessing, and who will wait you?” (Meyer)”
Whoa!!! I don’t want to limp in unknown. I want to live today in a way that impacts how I experience my eternal home.
Go read 2 Peter chapter 1 and be blessed!!

 

Why we shouldn’t fear – a video devotion

A little word of encouragement from my time reading in 1 Peter, which has become my favorite book of the Bible!!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Renee Robinson (@reneedrobinson)


Watch a 3 minute video on remembering not to fear and instead to become people who can laugh at the days to come!

 

Our Favorite Lasagna

Cooking is not my favorite thing. I often find myself procrastinating starting dinner so it takes me much longer than it should to make a meal. I get tired of the same meals, yet I have little time to scour the internet or cookbooks.

Lasagna is a meal I rarely make because in my mind it takes way too long to prepare and far too many ingredients. However, several nights ago I found myself craving lasagna and decided to simply go for it without a recipe, combining what I’ve used in various recipes we’ve enjoyed.

Pioneer Woman and Joanna Gaines make amazing lasagna recipes, which I’ve used for the last several years. But when I made lasagna recently my family requested that I never make any other lasagna than this one.

When I realized how much they enjoyed it, I quickly wrote down a recipe because I knew I’d never remember what I did.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 TBS Italian seasoning

1 TBS garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pepper

4-5 garlic cloves minced

3 cans Italian diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 block cream cheese

8 oz cottage cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs

Fresh mozzerella cut into small pieces

lasagna noodles

Brown meat, add spices, garlic, tomatoes.

In a large bowl mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, and 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.

In a cast iron dutch oven (I’m convinced this makes the best lasagna) layer meat, noodles, cheese mixture, fresh mozzarella cheese. Repeat for 3 layers. Top with 2 cups shredded cheese.

Cover and bake 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours. Uncover 10-15 minutes until browned. Let sit to firm up at least 30 minutes.

Even better as leftovers. Cast iron is the only way to cook. And did you know you don’t need to boil lasagna noodles? Simply throw those babies in and they will cook up perfectly!! I wish I had known this the last 20 years I’ve made lasagna. You don’t even need to buy “no bake” noodles.

Family Movies in the Teen Years

One of our favorite family activities are movie nights. When we bought our home in Nebraska, the room that sealed the deal was the theater room.

When they were younger, they’d watch anything we put on. We did lots of christian movies, the really cheesy ones even, and they loved them. However, once they are teens, those movies don’t fly. It’s so hard to find movies the entire family can enjoy equally.

Recently, we’ve watched 5 movies as a family that we all really liked. Definitely these suggestions are not intended if you have young children. Our youngest is a month away from 13, and all these movies are PG-13. Also there may be some language, so be aware of that. I can’t tolerate much language, but it’s almost impossible to find movies with zero.

Each of the movies I’m sharing were suggested by our teens that already watched them with friends.

5 Movies to watch with teens on family movie night

  • Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio

“A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O., but his tragic past may doom the project and his team to disaster.”

This was a really great movie. My family followed it better than I did. It’s super confusing. I can’t follow the Bourne movies, and this had that feel to me with lots of complication and fast paced action. I don’t typically like Sci-Fi but enjoyed this one.

  • Knives Out

“A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.”

Definitely kept you trying to solve. No humor, but not scary. Just a classic mystery, which I totally appreciate. Also very little language. Just a few words.

  • Murder Mystery with Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler

“New York cop and his wife go on a European vacation to reinvigorate the spark in their marriage, but end up getting framed and on the run for the death of an elderly billionaire.”

What an underrated movie. A big cast, a fun plot, some definite laughs. And obviously a murder to solve.

  • A Quiet Place with John Krazinski and Emily Blunt

“In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.”

I never watch scary movies. And anything in the horror genre I’m out on. While this is classified as horror, it is no more horror than Gremlins, but without the cheesy humor. It’s incredibly suspenseful and a few jump scares. No bad language. Actually not much language of any kind as they are mostly silent.

I can’t give anything away in this movie, but if you follow me on IG or FB, you saw my spoiler alert. I made a very strong Jesus correlation in this movie that brought me to tears.

  • A Quiet Place 2

“Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.”

We enjoyed part 1 so much, we watched part 2 the following night. Again very suspenseful and not realistic, but well done and easy to enjoy with our teens.

Go make some popcorn, grab some candy, and cozy up with your teens! Happy watching!

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I thought it would be fun to share a recipe with you today. It’s different than my normal posts, but I slightly miss the days when I blogged some randomness now and then.

Also, I’m on a bit of a cooking streak. When it hits, it hits. Andrew commented, “I love it when you are in a cooking phase. We all benefit from it.”

My kids requested my homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this week. It’s a modified version of a recipe a woman gave me when I was pregnant with Andrew. While I’ve tried many versions, this remains a family favorite.

Side note: I tried to take some shortcuts this week and buy some healthy box muffins and healthy box energy bites, assuming they would be enjoyed more than my homemade versions. All family members requested I not do that again. Box is never better than made from scratch.

Double side note: I had a lot of words I wanted to write in this post, but what drives me bonkers about food bloggers is how long it takes me to get to the actual recipe. If you feel me, I hope you appreciate today’s post. Hugs!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Wet ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 can pumpkin

Dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup honey (or sugar) (original recipe uses 2 cups, but I think that’s crazy)
  • 3 TBS cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup choc chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine wet and dry. Grease muffin tins, fill muffin cups. Bake 350 for 15-16 minutes.