Friday, December 1, 2017

My 25 Favorite Christmas Books for 2017 {picture book, book list}

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I love Christmas!  I love picture books!  I love reading them by myself as well as with my kids.  Reading Christmas picture books is the best!  

May My Favorite 25 Christmas Books this year bring you some happiness as you read and enjoy them, but if you are a natural overachiever you can check my previous Christmas Favorites.  Links are found at the bottom of this post. Enjoy! 




My 25 Favorite Christmas Books of 2017
My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
1.
A sweet story about gifts, a father, and a son.
Best for 1st through 4th Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
2.
Spiders and Christmas don't usually go together, but that's what makes this story so fun and unique.  Boris may be the only spider I could get along with.
Best for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
3.
If you combine a simple Christmas story with a seek and find interactive book, then you will get this fun read you can enjoy over and over again.
Best for Toddler through 2nd Grade.  

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
4.
This is one of my favorites this year.  Red and Lulu are cardinals that nest in the same large evergreen tree.  Though, one year their tree is moved for something bigger and better, and Red and Lulu begin a new adventure.
Best for Kindergarten through 4th Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
5.
This Pig the Pug Christmas book is fun.  The story has great rhythm, miracles occur, and being greedy is never encouraged.
Best for Toddler through 2nd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
6.
The traditional song written in a fun and updated way.  The illustrations and the details found throughout the story make it that much more fun.
Best for All Ages. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
7.
Jingle Bells the song is written out with such gorgeous illustrations.  This book alone made me miss snow, and recall the white Christmas's I've seen in my past.
Best for All Ages. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
8.
This is the story of the nativity told in a 'Twas the Night Before Christmas format.  I adore this book, the illustrations, and the concept of the true meaning of Christmas told in this recognizable Christmas format and rhythm.   
Best for All Ages. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
9.
I love Wordless books b/c pictures tell the story and any age can "read" these books.  This wordless book is beautiful for telling the story of a girl and boy's first time enjoying The Nutcracker.
Best for All Ages. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
10.
Rinker wrote one of my son's favorite books, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, and this book is one of his favorite Christmas books b/c it combines Santa, Elves, and building cool things.  The book is a little long (so the young and kids with short attention spans may struggle with this book), but the story is so fun.  Boys and kids who love to build will love this book.
Best for Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
11.
Another story about a large tree heading to the big city for Christmas.  However, this story has a beautiful take on the importance of taking care of our earth.
Best for Kindergarten through 4th Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
12.
This classic story hasn't been changed, but the illustrations are updated and absolutely gorgeous.
Best for All Ages. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
13.
Idle, author and illustrator of Tea Rex and Flora and the Flamingo, writes and illustrates another fabulous book.  The illustrations are gorgeous and simple in this holiday Rex book, yet the story has depth and teaches a good message.  However, only the mature and older audience will truly "get it."
Best for Kindergarten through 5th Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
14.
Santa is an awesome Ninja, and this story is simple enough for toddlers, yet fun for kindergartners.  Ninja fans will love this book and be anxious for their own pair of "Ninja Slippers."
Best for Preschool through 3rd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
15.
This book is for the reluctant reader in your life, or the child that loves to learn the most random facts.  These Weird but True books are so fun, and the facts in this Christmas version is pretty great.  A fun read for adults too!
Best for 2nd Grade through 5th Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
16.
An early reader/beginning chapter book about the Grinch and he's baking with friends.  It's definitely a fun read if you have an beginning reader in your home. 
Best for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
17.
A fun Pete the Cat story with good rhythm and a repetitious phrase about doing your best. 
Best for Toddlers through 2nd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
18.
Another fun ninja Christmas book, but this one is an early reader/beginning chapter book, Fly Guy. Definitely a fun read, especially for those beginning readers.
Best for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
19.
Beautiful story that will tug at your heart strings and make you smile.
Best for Kindergarten through 4th grade.

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
20. 
This book made my previous Christmas book list, but it is such a great book and we're all about the Christmas books with characters we love from previous books. This book is fun for kids and adults alike; though, it's a little long.
Best for 1st through 3rd grade.

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
21. 
I love this classic Christmas story, and my kids do as well.  Since, I took my kids on the Polar Express here in Arizona, I figured it was only fitting this classic makes my Best of Christmas list again. This story is touching, and the movie is fun as well. 
Best for Toddlers through 3rd grade.

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
22. 
I love Turkey Trouble, and this fun Christmas version is just as fun.  This book is great for reading aloud and lessons using recalling sequence of events.
Best for Toddlers through 2nd grade.

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
23. 
The Gingerbread Man books by Murray are fun, interactive, have great rhythm, and all around great reads.  This Christmas one has a great message as well.
Best for Preschoolers through 4th grade.

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
24. 
What's Christmas without this classic? It's a bit long, but it's a fun and watching the movie or cartoon after is fun.
Best for 3rd Grade and Up. 

My 25 Christmas Favs for 2017.  The bests Christmas books, and my favorite, this holiday season. Festive. Kid Lit. Picture Books. Read Alouds. Great Read. Fun books. Books for all ages. Great books. My favs. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
25. 
These scanimation books are so cool, and this Christmas version is as fun as the others.
Best for Toddlers and Up. 


I love Christmas books, and if these 25 books, many new to this year, are not enough for you check out my 2015 and 2016 lists. There will be a few repeats, but the repeats are my must reads to be enjoyed this Holiday season.

What are your Christmas must reads?!


Happy Christmas Reading


Monday, November 13, 2017

Fish in a Tree gets 4.5 Stars {middle grade fiction, contemporary}

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt gets 4.5 out of 5 stars for this fantastic must read middle grade fiction.  Inspiring. Emotional. Confidence. Dyslexia. Overcoming challenges and struggles. Inspiring teachers. Great read aloud. 4th grade and up. Powerful classroom or parent/child read aloud. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/


"Be careful with eggs and words b/c neither can be fixed." 

"Great minds don't think alike." 

"Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid." 

Friendship. Bullying. Families. Inspiring teacher. Overcoming challenges. Reading difficulties. Dyslexia. 

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt is full of inspiring quotes and so many deep and powerful topics; it is a great read.  Personally, I think this would be a great book for a classroom read aloud in the upper elementary or middle school classroom.  It would also make for a wonderful parent/child read.  

I absolutely enjoyed this middle grade fiction, and I definitely think readers of all ages could vastly benefit from this book.  I was inspired and educated, and for all of those reasons Fish in a Tree earned 4.5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the character development and the growth Ally portrayed.   She struggled with her confidence and self-esteem at the beginning, and I loved that at the end she said, "I'm having trouble is not the same as I can't."  I feel that statement alone shows a lot of growth.  

All in all, fabulous book that is predictable (hence the slight rating decrease), but it was relatable and powerful as well.  

Fish in a Tree is a fabulous.  Definitely check this book out.  If you liked the book Wonder, which I loved, then I think you will enjoy this read as well.  It'd make a great Book Club book as well.  

Happy Powerful and Inspiring Middle Grade Fiction Reading!


Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Best For: 9 years old and up, 4th grade and up. 

Clean Read: Yes
Worth a Check Out: Yes.
Buy It or Not: Yes.
Read Aloud: Yes.
Lesson Ideas: Friendship. Bullying. Differences. Challenges. Confidence. Dyslexia. Reading. Kindness. Family. Metaphors. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stalking Jack the Ripper gets 4.5 Stars {mystery, historical fiction, ya lit, teen}

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco gets 4.5 out of 5 stars in this historical fiction/mystery ya lit, young adult, teen read.  This book is fun, a fast read, and surprises you at the end.  There is some language, and the story about murders may be gruesome for some.  Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book Great book. fast read. Fun book. Romance. Strong female character. first book in series, new book.  http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

Murder. Surprise. Suspense. Unpredictable. Historical fiction. Mystery. Romance. Girl Power. Family drama. Fast read.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is the first book in a new series that seems perfect for this time of year.  Though, honestly it'd be a fun read anytime of year.  Definitely check this one out.   You may be grabbing for the second (Hunting Prince Dracula) book sooner than you realized.

This new teen/young adult read was so very close to a perfect rating.  Though, 4.5 out of 5 stars is pretty darn impressive, and is definitely worth a read or listen (audiobook) to. Maniscalco truly wrote a unique and fun story that keeps you guessing until the very end.  I loved the story line, and I loved that a historical fiction type story to be inspiring.  I love seeing strong female characters, and Stalking Jack the Ripper is about a girl that is smart, pushes herself to learn and grow, and not afraid to go after what she wants.

This book is fantastic.  It has some language and deals with murder, but overall it's a really fun read.  The only reason Stalking Jack the Ripper didn't get the perfect 5 stars is because of the romance.  At times the love story was cheesy and a bit over the top in my opinion, but otherwise this book is fantastic.

Definitely check this book and enjoy your reading time.


Happy Bone Chilling Fun and Fascinating Mystery/Historical Fiction Reading!

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Best For: 14 years old and up, 9th grade and up. 

Clean Read: Language
Worth a Check Out: Yes.
Buy It or Not: Buy it if you have a young adult or find this time period fascinating.
Read Aloud: No.
Book Club Discussion Topics: The beginnings of forensic science. If you were in Anna's situation with her family, what would you have done? Jack the Ripper, what do you know about him?



Friday, October 13, 2017

Clean Pineapple Dole Whip {dessert, healthy, gluten free, dairy free}

Clean aka Healthy Pineapple Dole Whip make this healthy dessert, with no processed sugar, in 5 minutes and remind yourself of Disneyland or Disney World.  Delicious. Yummy. Healthy eats. Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Alohamora Open a Book alohamoraopenabook www.alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com

We're going to Disney World next week.  Yay!  Since I'll be able to enjoy Disney World yumminess all week long I might as well hook you up with a Disney copy-cat.  Don't worry, it's a healthy version b/c that's who I am.  

No processed sugar in this Pineapple Dole Whip, but it has all of the deliciousness.  Seriously, such a yummy clean eats treat.  

Enjoy!


Oh, and b/c I'm going to be living it up with the family on vacay I will not posting all next week.  Though, I have some great recipes, book reviews, and booklists coming up.  You are more than welcome to follow me on Instagram, @alohamoraopenabook, for fun pictures. 

Clean Pineapple Dole Whip
Recipe: Alohamora adapted DashingDish
Active Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Time: 0 or chill time
Servings: 2

Ingredients: 
1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
2 c. frozen pineapple (fresh or a 20oz can diced and drained)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp lime juice
2 Tbsp honey or sweetener of choice

Directions: 

  1. Place the ingredients in the order listed in a powerful blender or food processor.  We have a Blendtec and it's been treating us well. 
  2. Blend until smooth.  Sometimes people need to add a little water to help the blender. 
  3. Serve and enjoy! 
  4. This is a great treat to freeze in a mason jar and save some for later. 
  5. Enjoy
  6. Store leftovers in a mason jar with a lid in the freezer. 

Happy Clean and Healthy Pineapple Dole Whip!


    

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

From Dark to Light gets 2 Stars {picture book, student author}

From Dark to Light by Isabella Murphy picture book published by a student author.  Book review. Planting, watering, and picking pumpkins for a jack-o-lantern. Personification. kidlit 2 out of 5 stars. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/


In 5th grade I was wearing hot pink shorts, with pockets b/c why not, for my elementary school basketball team.  I loved those shorts my mom made!  I remember free-throws were not a strength of mine, okay they still aren't, but in 5th grade my glasses broke.  I had to play my basketball game with very blurry vision.  I was not looking forward to my very blurry basketball game. 

Yet, during that vision impaired game I scored the most points I ever scored in a game in elementary school.  I scored a whopping 15 points.  It was a big game.  I'm not sure why my lack of vision increased my score 10 times from normal, but it probably means I'm not a great basketball player.

From Dark to Light by Isabella Murphy picture book published by a student author.  Book review. Planting, watering, and picking pumpkins for a jack-o-lantern. Personification. kidlit 2 out of 5 stars. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I tell you that above story b/c what I was doing in 5th grade, and what a lot of people are doing at 10-11 years old is not what Isabella Murphy was doing.  Isabella Murphy wrote and published a book.  #wow

Isabella Murphy is a 5th grade student author who wrote From Dark to Light.  This book, with personification aka an inanimate object gave human like qualities, is about a pumpkin who wants to feel loved.  This pumpkin gets planted, grows, and becomes picked by a family.  It's a cute story, but definitely text heavy.  

From Dark to Light by Isabella Murphy picture book published by a student author.  Book review. Planting, watering, and picking pumpkins for a jack-o-lantern. Personification. kidlit 2 out of 5 stars. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

From Dark to Light gets 2 out of 5 stars.  The illustrations are cute, the story given from the perspective of a seed is fun, and the fact that a 5th grader wrote it is cool.  I also love that a story from the perspective of a pumpkin includes the carving of the pumpkins; I personally thought carving would be scary for the pumpkins, but for these pumpkins it is just fun.  There are some great parts to the story.  

Though, I try to be honest, fair, consistent, and critical in my reviews.  This story is obviously an indie book.  The story doesn't quite flow smoothly, and the text could've definitely been condensed. There are many parts of the story that don't add anything to the overall story line and should've been taken out.  I realize this book is written by a child, but I still hope a published book would have better character development.  The character development was too quick; one minute Pumpker is being laughed at and treated cruelly by his sisters and then the next moment they are giggling with him. 


Overall, the story is good, but it isn't great.  I'd purchase this book if I was a 4th, 5th, or 6th grade teacher to show my students they can be an author.  However, the text heaviness and the unrefined writing make this book I wouldn't read aloud in the library. 

From Dark to Light by Isabella Murphy picture book published by a student author.  Book review. Planting, watering, and picking pumpkins for a jack-o-lantern. Personification. kidlit 2 out of 5 stars. Alohamoraopenabook Alohamora Open a Book http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/
    
What were you doing in 5th grade? 

Happy Pumpkin Personification Picture Book Reading!


From Dark to Light by Isabella Murphy
Rating: 2/5 stars
Best For: 6 years old and up, 1st to 3rd grade. 

Clean Read: Yes
Worth a Check Out: Yes.
Buy It or Not: No.
Read Aloud: No.
Lesson Ideas: Personification. Pumpkins. Seed to plant. Family. Student Authors.


I received this book from Pink Umbrella Books in exchange for my review and honest opinion.  All of my thoughts, opinions, and words are my own.

Monday, October 9, 2017

One for Sorrow gets 3 Stars {middle grade fiction, ghost/horror}


It's October.  That means ghosts stories are in order.  A lot of the time people will think a good ghost story when they hear the author, Mary Downing Hahn.  Hahn is well known for her ghost stories, and this new one is no exception. 

One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn is her latest ghost story published just this year.  It's set in a small town in America during WWI when the Spanish Influenza was spreading.  This book has some interesting parts and a lot of frustrating parts as well.  

One for Sorrow gets 3 out of 5 stars in my book review.  This book was probably one of my least favorite Hahn ghost stories.  I think a ghost story is a fun read, but this one was less ghost and more evil and mean.  I liked the information on the influenza, and the feelings people had about WWI.  I found it fascinating to know that Hahn was inspired by her mother's experience of visiting homes with her friends of those that died, and then they actually came to a home of a classmate that had, unknown to them, died. 

The major issue I had with this book is the fact that I didn't like any of the characters.  Not one.  There were a lot of mean girls, girls with low self-esteem, and bullying.  The bullying wasn't resolved in a good manner, and the girls only changed after a mean ghost bothered them extensively.  The ghost was as likable as a ghost as she was in real life; which that is not saying much.  Honestly, One for Sorrow felt more like an evil mean girl book than a ghost story.  I was bothered that Annie couldn't talk to her parents, but she couldn't stand up for herself either.  I had wished for more character development in that area.  

Overall, it's not a bad ghost story, but Wait Til Helen Comes is probably my favorite Mary Downing Hahn book.  Here are some other fun ghost story chapter books if you only plan to read 1 Halloween-ish like book, and want some more options.  I'm also sharing Halloween books on my Instagram account as well. 

What is your favorite middle grade ghost story? 

If you do pick up this book, or any Hahn ghost stories...Happy Middle Grade Fiction Ghost Story reading!


One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn
Rating: 3/5 stars
Best For: 10 - 13 year olds, 5th through 8th grade

Clean Read: Yes
Worth a Check Out: Yes, if you like ghost stories
Buy It or Not: No
Read Aloud: No
Lesson Ideas: Spanish influenza. Bullying. Life in America during WWI.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Skinny Mini Pumpkin Blender Muffins {recipe, gluten free, dairy free}

Skinny Mini Pumpkin Blender Muffins. Super easy to make in your blender. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, processed sugar free, and oh so delicious.  Mini Muffins are fun for breakfast, snack, kid friendly and healthy. Homemade. From Scratch. Simple. Easy Baking recipe. Alohamora Open a Book alohamoraopenabook http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/

I'm one that waits until October to start going full force pumpkin flavors.  It's hard to wait, but I feel apples and September need their glory moments too.  However, to be completely honest, I like to wait so I don't OD (overdose) on pumpkin before Thanksgiving.  Honestly, I'm not the only one who ODs on flavors or foods, right?   

Now that it's October I have already enjoyed the delicious Pumpkin Steamer at Starbucks (aka steamed milk with pumpkin), and made multiple batches of these Skinny Mini Pumpkin Blender Muffins. Mmmmm both are oh so delicious!  

These muffins are so yummy, gluten free, and has no processed sugars.  Add the fact that all you have to do is push a button on your blender to combine everything.  As my first grader and kindergartner would say, "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy." 
  
Skinny Mini Pumpkin Blender Muffins. Super easy to make in your blender. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, processed sugar free, and oh so delicious.  Mini Muffins are fun for breakfast, snack, kid friendly and healthy. Homemade. From Scratch. Simple. Easy Baking recipe. Alohamora Open a Book alohamoraopenabook http://alohamoraopenabook.blogspot.com/


Skinny Mini Pumpkin Blender Muffins
Recipe: Alohamora adapted from instantloss.com
Active Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 dozen mini muffins with liners, 16 w/o liners. 

Ingredients: 
2 eggs, large
1/4 c.  maple syrup, grade A
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. oats (regular, quick, or steel cut)
1/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (add up to 1/2 tsp more if you love it)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line the mini-muffin tin. 
  2. Add all of the ingredients, in the order listed, to your blender. 
  3. Blend all of the ingredients until smooth. 
  4. Fill each muffin approximately 2/3 full.  
  5. Bake for 8-10 muffins or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. Store muffins in the refrigerator in an airtight container. 
  7. Enjoy!

Happy Healthy Mini Pumpkin Muffin eating!