summer book list ♥

I started this blog back in 2011 and i just can't believe how fast time has flown by ...
some of my first posts are about my little ponies and how my girls loved reading Amelia Bedelia ... now they are both teens and reading is still loved, but finding uplifting, beneficial and mainly just clean non-agenda pushing reading material is a little more challenging these days ♥ but with summer upon us, we're going through books like crazy & I've been scouring the interwebs for book lists and thought that it might be helpful to put our favorites up here on my blog - in hopes that maybe it's helpful to some of you & your kiddos as well.

Christy Miller series - Robin Jones Gunn

These are at the top of our list because they are our so loved in our house - the Christy Miller books you see here in this picture, are the books that were mine when i was a teenager oh... alot of years ago :) i remember reading about Todd & Christy then thinking & dreaming about what my future boyfriend/husband would be like - i cherished those books! my older daughter (who's almost 17) read them a few years ago and fell in love with them and we were able to talk together about a few topics that came up in the book (faith + relationships and what it looks like for those to work in tandem) my youngest (13) just finished reading them this past month and we became a club of three T&C die hards. 

(on a sidenote, these books are romance/relationship based - 
but all within appropriate context - in my opinion - and from a faith based perspective)
after this series, the author (Robin Jones Gunn, who has so many other books i love - she writes for grown-up's too!) added to the story with more Christy & Todd college, marriage & baby adventures that i'm linking here ♥ 

Sierra Jensen Series - Robin Jones Gunn

This is a follow up series from the Christy Miller books, she's a friend of Christy's who has her own set of adventures and also from the same author so i highly recommend!

i linked these books on my amazon favorites page here - they are a little harder to get, but still available! also check your local library, ours had some available.

The Jennie McGrady Mysteries - Patricia Rushford

my youngest is LOVING these books right now - Jennie is sort of a Christian version of Nancy Drew :) 
i read books 1-6 when i was her age, and recently discovered that there were many more books in the series that we never knew about - i had to chase these down on different thrift book sites - but a quick google search will help you find them all. (i paid a little under $40 for books 6-15 but all were available)

The Cooper Kids - Frank Peretti

by acclaimed author Frank Peretti (This Present Darkness - have you read it??)
this series is suspenseful & exciting for girls & boys both! i would say maybe for a kids on the younger side (age 8-12) but still fun for everyone - or if you read books together as a family.

Mandie Books - Lois Gladys Leppard

Mandie books are classics! mysteries to be solved & friendships to be navigated all in separate little stories - and there are so many Mandie books, if your kids love these they'll be busy for a while :) Mandie reminds me of another Nancy Drew type of character.

Grandma's Attic Series - Arleta Richardson

i love this series for younger readers (8-12 maybe?) but even reading these out loud with your kids is so fun! the BFF's in these stories are always getting into trouble then scrambling to make it right - think Anne of Green Gables and her bosom buddy Diana :)

Golden Filly Series - Lauraine Snelling

do you have a girl who loves horses? this is a darling series ♥ 
all about a girl, her horse & racing - i love these books!
these books are on the older side and no longer in print, but a quick google search will help you track them down & i believe there's a total of 10 books in the series.

The O'Malley Collection: Danger in the Shadows / The Negotiator / The Guardian / The Truth Seeker / The Protector / The Healer / The Rescuer

 The O'Malley series - Dee Henderson

my oldest is going into her senior year in high school and has just started reading this series - 
it was recommended to me by a friend, so we'll report back once we get farther, but so far it's off to a great start!

Brio Magazine

Brio Magazine - Focus on the Family

Brio magazine comes from one of my favorite faith based resources - Focus on the Family

when i am struggling as a parent to find good advice or resources on certain topics, i head right to their website/podcasts every time. i subscribed to Brio for my older daughter, but my youngest loves it just as much. (ps if your child isn't naturally drawn to reading, put reading materials of 'certain interest' to them in a cute basket somewhere in your bathroom - they'll be sure to pick it up when they're in there ;)

Devos & other books
here's a few books that we love for personal devo time, self help or just as single reads:

a little off subject, but if you're looking for books that touch/teach on the subject of sex & purity - i've personally read to & with my girls from all of these books. i know sometimes it's a tough/awkward subject to approach with your kids but it's a must! if you don't teach your them about sex and everything that comes with - you can be sure they'll hear it somewhere else and long before they probably should :( 
i was determined as a young mother to always teach my girls about marriage & sex in the context of God's beautiful design (always with age appropriate info & materials of course) since my experience growing up was a different one  ... it's so important! i can't say that enough. 

1. God's design for sex series - Stan & Brenna Jones

2. The princess and the kiss (has a work-through book too) - Jennie Bishop
3. The way home princess story - Max Lucado
4. The garden wall (i love this one!) - Jennie Bishop

now, what are YOUR family's favorites? let me know in the comments below!
i'll try to add more books to the list as time goes on and as we find/read more but for now this is a start - and i hope it's helpful to you!
much love ♥


our favorite chocolate chip cookies

it's national chocolate chip cookie day &
i couldn't let this day pass without sharing our favorite chocolate chip recipe!!
I've tried so many recipes over the years and have had many favorites along the way ...
but this tried & true recipe (that I've adapted & tweaked just a tiny bit) from a bountiful kitchen has stuck with us for a few years now and is on speed dial in my recipe book :)

my husband and I met in college, we actually started talking because one day in class i was telling my girlfriend about a care package i had received from home that contained cookies (up until that day he was only known to me as the cute guy who sat in front of me in Bible class) his head spun right around when he heard 'chocolate chip cookies' ... the rest is history ♥

we're celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer and the guy still loves his chocolate chip cookies ... even at Christmas time that's his primary request.
 we sound something like this:

me: babe gonna make Christmas cookies this week

babe: oh ok, chocolate chip right? and oatmeal butterscotch?

me: no. babe those are regular during the year cookies
i'm making Christmas cookies now...

babe: oh ok. whatever. 
sooooo can you make chocolate chip for me. for Christmas. 
you know cause that's what me and all the guys in the office like. 
oh and we like sugar cookies too. with no sprinkles. please.

me: no sprinkles = blasphemy
but ok babe. sure.


a few things i always do when i make these and pretty much any other cookie recipe ...

1. i ALWAYS use parchment paper - it makes for a more evenly baked cookie 
and prevents sticking, it's magic.

2. i ALWAYS use a cookie scoop - i mean i don't even know what people did before the cookie scoop. 
it makes for less mess, uniform cookies & is pretty much an overall game changer.

3. for this recipe i use bread flour instead of regular flour - this substitution really happened by accident one night when i ran out of flour and only had bread flour on hand, i used it since i was in a pinch and it turned out to be the best accident ever! since the bread flour has a higher, more dense gluten composition, it makes for the PERFECT cookie - soft & chewy in the middle, slightly crispy on the outer edges ... YUM.

4. i ALWAYS use milk chocolate chips - it's really whatever your chocolate preference is, but if you like semi-sweet or dark ... i'm not sure what your problem is.

if you make these cookies, pop into the comments below & let me know!
i'm pretty sure you're going to have this recipe saved to your favorites too.
oh! and if peanut butter is your jam - this is my go-to peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe!
these are MY personal favorite ♥

the recipe page i created from Si's recipe with my minimal changes can be downloaded  below
again, to read her original recipe you can find it here.  print this page for your recipe binders & books and pop it into a clear plastic sleeve - enjoy!

mailcarrier appreciation day - free printable

February 4th is national thank your mailcarrier day!
i couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging it
since so much of what i do - being a small online shop owner - depends on the mail!

that last one is circa 2014!
when i first launched the stitching the states kits - crazy stuff.

cut to size and attach to candy, cookies, or even a gift card for a cup of coffee,
then leave it in your mailbox with the little flag up.
one simple little kindness can completely change someone's day - in this case your mailcarrier's!

happy national thank your mailcarrier day friends! xo
(cute artwork for printable is provided by DigitalArtsi on etsy ♥)

Christmas 2018 ♥

popping in to say it's here! Christmas has arrived in my etsy shop
everything is just so bright & colorful & HAPPY!

Merry Christmas Darling planner / purse charms with jingle bell & tree charms

one of my favorite new releases this year, is this 7 card Christmas story set 
designed to tell a different part of the nativity story with the flip of each card

this & all card sets in my shop can be purchased 
with a mini wooden easel to be displayed in a child's room, 
a desktop or maybe even near your coffee maker :)

matching nativity animals stickers for your Christmas cards

deer and bunnies and bears oh my! ;)

if you loved last years vintage cars & carols scripture cards - you'll love this new set 
with bright colors, new carol quotes & vintage bug car designs

and matching stickers too! they come in 3 colors to match the cards 
and can be purchased with envelopes for all your holiday snail mail needs

don't forget matching gift tags too!

this cute Christmas girls & dresses design comes in cards / envelopes / gift tags as well

 and there's still a few surprise craft boxes & mini books left in my etsy shop

the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for that one person you know who loves to craft or bible journal
... or maybe just for yourself ♥

i hope you find something you love in my shop this year
 i pour tons of love and a little bit of me into everything i create & sell so happy shopping!

our tree is actually up VERY early this year - only because i was hoping to cross a few holiday 
to-do's off of my list and try to be ahead of the game this time around?! hopefully.

if you follow me on instagram, 
you know we did a little shuffle in some of the main areas of our home
this is the before & after!

i keep telling everyone that was my fun creative house - and this is my 40's grown up house :)

what do you think? before or after?

i'm loving the after. it just feels so peaceful.
and as much as i crave color & happiness, there's just something about the quiet & simple

starting the week off with a big cup of tea and a very long to-do list
hope you found somthing here that inspires you or helps tackle your Christmas gift list ♥
Merry Christmas Darlings!

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