Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Books I Read in 2011

I love to read.  I enjoy sewing, scrapbooking, crafting, baking but if I had to choose I would read before all of my other interests.  For me reading is an escape, a way to grow and a time for me to use my imagination (which doesn't get used enough now that I am an adult).  I generally read two types of books.  The first being along the lines of Fantasy/Adventure/Science Fiction.  I mean, I want good battling evil, dragons, elves and time travel!  I don't have much interest in love stories unless one of them is a vampire, werewolf or a dragon rider.  I also really don't want to read a book that is going to make me cry.  The exception to that is Harry Potter and you would have to be dead inside if you didn't at least get a little choked up when Dobby died.  The second type of books that I like to read I would call soul books.  The ones that you chew on for a bit after you are all done.  I enjoy reading something that challenges me to grow as a person.  Now I do read classics but the majority of the books I own fall into those first two categories that I mentioned. 

I have been sick a lot this year which has lead to a lot more book reading.  I think that this year I have read over 100 books.  (Thanks Goodreads for helping me keep track!)  Out of all the books/series that I have read this year here are my top 10 favorites...

10.  Stardust by Neil Gaiman

9.  The Outcasts by John Flanagan

8.  The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus Series)

7.  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyer, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

6.  The Seven Relms Series by Cinda Williams Chima 

5.  Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

4.  The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

3.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett

2.  Ranger Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

1.  Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

I am not really good at giving a synopsis about books so I won't attempt it here.  My hubby says I am extremely long winded and end up telling too much about the story. So, if you are interested in checking out these books you can look them up on Amazon and see more on what they are about.  They are all wonderful books that I want for my personal library so that I can read them over and over.  Yes, I am one of those people that reads books multiple times:)  Also, if you are a book lover I would encourage you to check out Goodreads.  It is fun to see what your favorite authors and friends are reading!

Finally, here is something that I found and just had to included because it is so true for me:)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Emma Story - A Song Sung in Time Out

I have included a video in this post for those that have not heard of the song that Emma sung in time out.  I am getting a little ahead of myself though.  Let's start from the beginning of this story. 

It all started at the lunch table.  We were having our leftovers from Thanksgiving.  Dawson and Emma were in a pretty silly mood and not really eating very well.  I was getting Aubrey's dinner ready and as I had my back turned I hear Dawson yell out, "Gross Emma!"  I turn around to see what is going on and Dawson proceeds to tell me that Emma had a mouth full of corn and she spit it all out at him.  Emma is staring at me with her guilty face and I tell her that she needs to go straight into time out.  With her head hanging she walks over and sits down in time out.  Dawson and I go back to our business when out of the blue I hear Emma beginning to sing.  As I listen to her I realize what she is singing.  It is a line from the movie Mulan that we rented from the library, "when will my reflection show who I am inside?"  Seriously. 

I had to quickly leave the kitchen because I was thisclose to laughing out loud and she can't hear me crack while she is supposed to be in trouble.  I am once again amazed at her ability to understand and then apply/identify those concepts to her own life.  Is she really only 4?!?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It is Thursday and I am sitting here, after lunch, thinking about what I am thankful for right at this moment.  I just wanted to share so here it is, in no particular order, all the things that I am thankful for on this Thursday.

1.  I am thankful for Dan.  He is my best friend and while I know that life is uncertain I am thankful for each moment that God allows me to spend with him.

2.  I am thankful for my adorable Aubrey.  Her pigtails and squeaky shoes bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart.  I can't imagine a life without her.

3.  I am thankful for being allowed to hear Emma sing along to one of my favorite songs today on the way to school.  It is called All the Miles by Sandra McCracken.  Something about her singing, "this is not make believe" just gave me chills.

4.  I am thankful for a son that is as concerned about the time as I am.  He is always ready and waiting as I am trying to usher everyone out the door.

5.  I am thankful for my new book called Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.  Reading is one of my greatest joys and I love getting a new book.  Especially one that I have been waiting to come out for 2 years!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mommy's little helper

I just wanted to share this video of Aubrey.  I took it while she was helping me unload the dishwasher.  She is so adorable as she waddles back and forth from the dishwasher to the silverware drawer.  I also adore how each time she is done putting the silverware in the drawer she turns to me and waits for me to praise her for her hard work.  This will be great to show her someday when she is older and complains about unloading the dishes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A book was dedicated to me

This week Dawson brought home a book that he made at school.  As he was eagerly showing it to me, he proudly announced that he had dedicated his book to me.  He was so excited to read it out loud to all of us.  He wrote and illustrated this book himself.  

If You Take Frankenstein to a Football Game by Dawson Westfall

"See Mom?  This is where I dedicated the book to you."

If you take Frankenstein to a football game

He will ask for a football.

And if you give him the football it will remind him of cotton candy.

It reminds him of a juice box.

He sees a player going on the field so he wants to too.

And when he's done he is sleepy so he dreams of football.

And when he wakes up he sees his football and chances are he wants to go to a football game.  The End.

I have put this book in his memory box.  I try and keep his fun projects and put it all in a container to save for him when he is older.  This one was especially enjoyable for me because I am such a bookworm. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun 2011

The last two weeks have been crazy at the Westfall house.  It was filled with two Halloween parties, two birthday parties, two school Halloween parties, a school party prep night, Dan working a lot (but being able to be around for the fun stuff), pumpkin carving, doctor appointments, trick or treating and it was all in addition to our regular insanity.  I am pretty tired today.  It was a lot of on the go for me but I really enjoyed our family time together. 

Dan was able to go with us to a family Halloween party on Saturday.  We all dressed up and had fun celebrating with our friends.  The kids thought it was awesome that Dan and I were wearing costumes too!

We carved pumpkins like we do every year.  Somehow I ended up carving Emma's which of course she picks the more complicated design.  We enjoyed hanging out together though and the kids were excited about the finished product.

Emma digging in to get all the insides out.

 Dawson making his "gross" face.

 Emma and her kitty design.

 Our pumpkins all aglow on Halloween night.

The day of Halloween I made krautbugers for dinner.  It is one of our favorite "fall" meals.  Here is the recipe if you want to try it out yourself.  It is a little time consuming but completely worth the effort.  They also freeze wonderfully!


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
2/3 white sugar
1 1/2 TB active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 small white onion, diced
1 TB ground mustard (do not leave this out) 
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter (melted)

To make dough: In a large bowl, mix the sugar and yeast in warm water.  Allow yeast to proof until foamy (about 10 minutes).  Mix in salt and oil.  Mix in flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough has formed.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in a well-oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).  On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and knead for 2-3 minutes.  Divide dough into balls (about the size of a lime).

To make filling: In a large pot, brown ground beef and onion. Drain.  Stir in salt and pepper, ground mustard and shredded cabbage.  Continue cooking until cabbage is tender (approximately 7-10 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll each bread piece out into a 5" square.  Place about a 1/3 cup of filling into each square.  Bring up sides and pinch together.  Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise 10 minutes.  Bake krautburgers in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately brush kraut burgers with melted butter.


We had a great time getting ready for trick or treating.  Emma decided to be a witch and wanted me to paint her face green.  She was worried that people would think that she was a real witch with her green face.  She decided that they would know it was fake because she didn't have a broom.  Silly girl!

Dawson ended up going as a football player this year.  He didn't like having his face all painted like Emma did so instead of Darth Maul he went as a Bears football player.

 At the family Halloween party Aubrey dressed up as a mouse but it was a little big and poor girl could hardly see out of the hood.  So on trick or treat night we dressed her up as a little bumblebee.  This was Emma's costume when she was this age.  Aubrey was such a cute bee! 

After we walked around the neighborhood we checked out the stash that the kids scored (way more candy then they will ever be able to eat) and then snuggled down together to watch Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I am so thankful for the time that we had together and all the memories that we are making.  God has truly blessed us.