Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gratitude, Grace, Gobbling, and Strawberry Jello Salad


We can always make room for gratitude in our hearts!  We certainly find room for turkey in our tummies, eating lightly throughout the early part of the day in order to gobble up all the yummy foods from our Thanksgiving tables.

How can we help our kids maintain an "attitude of gratitude" throughout the year, and not just at Thanksgiving?  I think the best way is by remembering to constantly thank God for all we have. 

An easy way is to "say grace" every day at our tables before we eat our meals.

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise by Tomie dePaola

"Grace" comes from the Greek word kharis.  And that leads me to another important meal of thanksgiving... many Christian families participate in the Eucharistic meal of Holy Communion. 

"Eucharist", in Greek eukharistia, literally means ‘thanksgiving’; it comes from the Greek word eukharistos ‘grateful’ - eu ‘well’ and kharizesthai ‘offer graciously’ (from kharis ‘grace’).

H is for Holy by Nika Boyd

B is for bread.  Jesus called Himself the "Bread of Life".  The Bread of Holy Communion is Christ's Body.  Jesus died and rose from the dead; His Resurrection gives us eternal life.

The Eucharist teaches us and helps us to have an unceasing remembrance of God.

Today as I prepared my contribution for our extended Braun family Thanksgiving meal, I remembered especially our Matriarch who passed away this summer.

We all love Grandma's Strawberry Sour Cream Jello Salad!  

Since my kitchen is being demo'd next week, most of my baking things, pots and pans and dishes have been packed up. So it was especially poignant that one of the last things I made in my pared down kitchen was her family recipe.  We miss her so!

Meals are important vehicles of love and grace!  May we all remember to give to those in need out of our abundance, and remember to give thanks to God not only for food, but for all things during this holi-(y)-day season.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


The Nativity Fast - Orthodox Advent - has begun, with Western Advent soon to follow.  In preparation not only of Christ's birth, but also His Second Coming, Advent is a time of fasting, repentance, and almsgiving. If you would like some fun ideas of how to involve your children in this special time of preparation and anticipation please go here.

Click here for my Christmas and Advent Resource Page

On to my giveaway of Emilia's Post St. Nicholas Bundle.  Thanks to all who participated! (There were 78 entries!) It's still not too late to buy the bundle for a little loved one (remember, 50% of the proceeds go to IOCC).  Go to Kelsey's etsy shop, Emilia's Post, here.

I'm happy to announce that the winner is...
Congratulations, Roxie! Please send me your mailing address so I can notify Emilia's Post. You can message me on my Good Books FB page or send it via email : wendyb[spam]1963@sbcglobal.net by 11/21/16.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Good News: Early Giveaway for St. Nicholas Day!

Giveaway sponsored by Emilia's Post ($50 value)
Thank goodness November isn't just for elections!

We've got Thanksgiving to look forward to, and - if you're an Orthodox Christian - Advent is just around the corner too, starting on November 15th!  

Advent is about anticipation. It might seem early to be talking about St. Nicholas Day (celebrated on December 6), but with the election behind us, I'm sure we can all use some saintly wisdom and a fun giveaway to help families celebrate his day while also anticipating Christ's birth!

Children, I beseech you to correct your hearts and thoughts, so that you may be pleasing to God. Consider that although we may reckon ourselves to be righteous and frequently succeed in deceiving men, we can conceal nothing from God. Let us therefore strive to preserve the holiness of our souls and to guard the purity of our bodies with all fervor. Ye are the temple of God, says the divine Apostle Paul; If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. 
+ St. Nicholas of Myra  

I'm so excited to be hosting this amazing St. Nicholas Bundle Giveaway from Emilia's Post again this year.  My talented friend and Etsy-artist-Mama, Kelsey, has put together an even bigger bundle than last year's, and it's all ready to be delivered to your doorstep to help your family, godfamily, and friends celebrate St. Nicholas Day!

In the spirit of giving and St. Nicholas, Kelsey decided to develop the Bundle as a fundraising effort for IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities). She gives 50% of the profits from the sales of any St. Nicholas Bundles directly to IOCC. (If you'd like to order one or two of these bundles for someone special, hurry! Last year she sold out within two weeks and raised a very good sum for many in need around the world!)


  • 1 "Celebrating St. Nicholas Day" Print 
  • 8 St. Nicholas Illustrated Postcards from Emilia's Post 
  • 1 St. Nicholas Illuminated Prayer Print from Emilia's Post  
  • 1 copper, Ukrainian Bishop Cookie Cutter from St. Nicholas Center 
  • 1 Traditional St. Nicholas Cookie Recipe Card 
  • 3 small children's books from Potamitis Publishing (Saint Nicholas and the Three Poor Maidens, The Nativity of Christ, and The Gifts of the Magi
  • 1 sachet bag of 15 half-dollar sized, milk-chocolate gold coins

The Bundle ($50 value) comes packaged with paper and string inside a sturdy, cardboard literature mailer.


  1. Please leave a comment with your first name and last initial here on my blog post anytime between November 9-16, 2016.
  2. You can also enter for a chance to win this Bundle by leaving a Facebook comment on my Good Books page giveaway post, here.
  3. A third way to enter is by liking Kelsey's Emilia's Post Facebook page and leaving a comment there about the giveaway. Go here.

Bundle will be mailed to winner as soon as he/she emails me at wendyb1963@sbcglobal[dot]net, with their mailing address.
This is a time-sensitive giveaway, so if the winner does not contact me by 11/21/16, another name will be chosen.