2016 Christmas Book Favorites

There is something absolutely magical about quality children’s books. The gentle words paired with beautiful illustrations often transport my children and I into another world. I grew up in a household of children’s picture books. When I say “household”, I’m talking about literally thousands of books. My mother, otherwise known as “The Book Lady”, has had a private business selling children’s books for about 30 years. I actually used to be bothered by all the many books around. Now I see what a treasure they are, especially as I have children of my own.

Not only is my mom “The Book Lady”, but she has been a school teacher and a librarian, only recently retiring in 2012. She is the ultimate children’s book expert! She has cultivated the most beautifully classic, quality, handpicked selection of children’s books over the years. I have fond memories of many books she has read and shared with me and have since built my own personal library with her help.

Below is a list of my favorite children’s Christmas books. If you were to ask me just one, it would hands down be “Why Christmas Tree’s Aren’t Perfect” by Richard H. Schneider. The message moves me to tears every time without fail and  my children love it too. To me, it is what Christmas is all about. There are many, many others, though. It was actually hard for me to narrow it down to just fifteen! Hope you enjoy the list I’ve compiled and perhaps you will come across something new you’ve never heard of before. Most books below are linked to Amazon in their hardcover copies. You will usually be able to buy a cheaper version by selecting paperback if you so desire. Merry reading!



Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect Richard H. Schneider
Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree Robert Barry
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt and Tim Jonke (Illustrator)
The Polar Express Chris Van Allsburg
The Mitten 
Jan Brett
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney
Snowmen at Night Caralyn and Mark Buehner
The Legend of the Candy Cane Lori Walburg
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey    Susan Wojciechowski
The Hat Jan Brett
The Christmas Wish Lori Evert
The Crippled Lamb Max Lucado
The Birds of Bethlehem Tomie dePaola
Gingerbread Baby Jan Brett

Fall Fun

I whole-heartedly agree with L.M. Montgomery when she wrote in Anne of Green Gables: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Fall is full of splendor! One of our family’s favorite Fall activities is going to “CornBelly’s” located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. The event and attractions seem to grow larger in both quantity and scale each year. Canvassing the whole area in one evening can be pretty daunting, but oh so fun! Here are some of our highlights of our evening spent there.


Grotto Falls and Payson Lakes

We escaped to the great outdoors for at least one last hurray before winter sets in here in Utah. One thing I have been very remorseful about is that I have not taken more advantage of the majestic mountains. A new world, hidden in the mountains has literally been minutes away from me my entire life. We do not get up there nearly enough.

As we hiked up the Grotto Falls trail, the kids were running circles around us. They loved pretending to be tight-rope walkers as they balanced on fallen tree logs that created the switchbacks for the trail. The hike was very relaxing and quite beautiful. You would think we struck gold the way the children reacted seeing the hidden waterfall at the top of the trail.

Next we ventured further up Payson Canyon to Payson Lakes and walked around the largest lake that has a paved walkway around. The sun was getting lower in the sky and the vistas were absolutely stunning. The kids ran, explored, collected bits of nature and squealed with delight. Such a rewarding thing for parents to watch. I loved slowly pacing behind them with my hand in Jared’s hand. There is something truly transcendental about getting away from your everyday surroundings, into nature, and finding yourself. I am always inspired being in that kind of godly beauty. About this day I hope never to forget the innocence, eagerness and excitement of my children, the companionship of my husband, and our experience as a family.


Big Springs Adventure

The last day of September, I took the kids on what we call “adventures”. Adventures are usually when I’m trying to get something done and need to bring them along with me, (which is pretty much all the time as a mom, right?) but we make the most fun out of the situation. The adventure for that day was to scout out a place for professional family photographs that we were having taken the following day. We headed up Provo Canyon to a park called Big Springs. The moment I stepped out of the car, my breath was taken away and I knew this was the place. We just simply had to capture memories of our family here. On one side there was this big open field with streams running through and lined with the most colorful of trees. On the other side of where we parked,  there were also little rivers and streams, pathways into groves of aspen trees, mossy covered rocks, and trails leading to magical wooded places. It was heaven. The kids were in their element. Nature had captured us and breathed new life into us. The leaves were at their very prime for the Fall season. Magnificent oranges, reds, yellows in all directions.  It was so stunning. As I followed the kids around I had a chance to photograph some precious moments while I myself tried to practice my own photography skills, which are incredibly amateur, but something I hope to develop some day.

Wild and free
Discovery at every turn


The colors!!!
Searching for treasures
This boy, this picture. Melts my heart. Look at that background!
They had to have a stick in hand wherever they went!
Follow the leader
Sibling meeting
Oh, hello beautiful!
Molly was so fascinated with the different layers of bark on a tree
Happy boy.
Ring around the aspen tree
Wherever you go, I will follow.
Lucky they are mine
My tribe
My Molly girl
On a mission
All Stars
Determination wherever she goes
Overalls and Nature