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If you subscribe to our newsletter, you might guess that some of our group here at 3 Winks have had the chance to travel lately! One of those is Alicia and her family who have traveled down to Ecuador to visit with my SIL's family. So, I am happy to get to take over her feature this week of What to Read Wednesday.
The Perfect Birthday Gift:
Another fun fact is that Alicia left on the day of my mother's birthday. My mom just turned 96 years old! She is amazing and one thing that she loves to do is read. That fact has probably greatly contributed to her still being of sound mind at this time of her life. Not only that, she always shared her love of reading with me and my siblings throughout our lives and I am so grateful for that.
Well, one series of books that she absolutely loves is the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. My mom and my sister attended a book club with ladies from church. At Home In MItford, the first volume in the series, was one of their selected books for their club a number or years ago. They both loved the book so much that they sent it to me and I fell in love with it as well. I have since read the nine books in the series, plus the spin off books, for lack of a better word and I just discovered 2 volumes that I haven't read yet! So, guess what I sent to my mother for her 96th birthday? She hadn't heard about or read them either! She was so excited! Let me tell you, it is hard buying gifts for a 96 year old! Last year I sent her a gift card to a restaurant that I thought she would love and then found out that they don't even have that restaurant in my home town! Birthday gift fail! When I found out about Come Rain or Come Shine & To Be Where You Are, I knew I had found her the perfect gift!
Here is What is So Great:
Mitford is a small town in North Carolina and is the fictional creation of the Author, Jan Karon. The people in the town are hard working, God fearing, mostly good people and the main character is an almost 60 year old bachelor Episcopal Priest named Father Tim Kavanagh. The descriptions of the town and how it looks are amazing. There is even a map of the town in the front covers of the books. In the first book, we read as Father Tim is adopted by a giant dog, then he adopts a boy from a troubled home and he meets his future wife! Not only that, we are introduced to wonderful characters like Miss Sadie, Louella, Dooley, Puny, Percy and the lunch crown, Uncle Billy, Miss Rose, and many more. All of these people find themselves in one way or another indebted to Father Tim throughout the books as he selflessly serves them and in the meantime he learns more about himself.
One of the enjoyable things about this series of books is the way Ms. Karon can turn a phrase that keeps you either chuckling or feeling inspired. For example, the aforementioned dog that adopts Father Tim has a long way to go before he wins over the parish secretary. When she first meets him, she says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a _______," and you would expect her to say horse where I left the blank, right? But, no! She says, "That wasn't a dog! That was a Buick!" It was just so unexpected! There are so many similar moments as we listen to Father Tim's thoughts throughout the books. I love how the author gave Father Tim such a charitable heart. In one instance, close to the beginning of the book we learn about this heart. The sweet octogenarian of the town, Miss Sadie visits him at the rectory to tell him of her old housekeeper's plans to visit her. Father Tim offers to bake a ham for her for the occasion. "Why bless your heart,' says Miss Sadie. 'Don't even mention it!' he said, feeling his heart blessed already. " I just loved that, and there are so many more moments that don't come across as preachy but just sweet ways that inspire me to be kinder to my neighbors.
Another thing that I love about the Mitford Series is that Father Tim loves to read not only the scriptures, but Blake and Wordsworth as well. There are many wonderful quotes and references throughout all of the books. As a matter of fact, the Buick sized dog responds to commands given in the voice of scripture or eighteenth century poetry. When there are problems in the books that seem almost insurmountable, Father Tim always prays the prayer that never fails, "Philippians four-thirteen, for Pete's sake." (You can look it up in the New Testament yourself.)
There are descriptions of comfort food in the books that so many fans have wanted to know how to make, like the Orange Marmalade Cake, that Jan Karon finally published a cookbook. I have tried many of the recipes and have found them delicious! You can find the book on Amazon here.
So many of the stories in the books are hilarious, (I've read those parts to my husband many times, not being able to keep them to myself), or sweet and poignant, that they can stand alone, outside of the books. So, there has also been published The MItford Bedside Companion that is a compilation of many of those stories that helps you not to have to search through every novel to find a certain moment. It also contains author reflections about the stories.
The interesting thing is that while Mitford can seem idyllic, It actually takes place in the modern world when there are also problems with addiction and abuse and poverty in this little town. But, in these books we read of ways of using love and kindness, perseverance and faith, patience, prayer, long suffering and forgiveness to overcome many of life's trials. These books filled me with hope and compassion. If you haven't read them, I recommend them with all of my heart. They are such a favorite of mine. If you read them, or have read them already, be sure to let me know what you think! And I will let you know how my mom liked the last two volumes, (and how I like them as well).
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Well, last week's Friday Faves Favorite Things Party didn't have the overwhelming response I had hoped for. If you forgot about it or just didn't have time to comment, you still can and I will love you for it!
One wonderful thing did come out of that party though. A fellow grandmother blogger, Nana Kelly at What's Nana Making, introduced me to a great fabric resource! The website is called Connecting Threads and I have fallen so in love with it that I have applied to be in their affiliate program. (I am not an affiliate yet, but Nana Kelly is, so that is her link to the site!)
Connecting Threads is a site made for quilters, but of course you can use their fabrics for whatever projects you would like. Their prices are wonderful. If you are like me, I always head straight to the clearance section to shop first. Did you see those fabric samples in the collage above? They are all from the 30 PAGES of clearance fabric that are on Connecting Threads. The prices start at $ 2.79 per yard! Then, when you go to the regular fabric page, there are about 50 something collections of fabric. That means, in each collection there are groupings of fabric that coordinate with one another. This makes sense when you are selling to quilters and crafters. The regular prices start at a reasonable $4.19 per yard. All of the fabric I have looked at is 100% cotton and 44 inches wide. They also have flannel and Luxe fabrics. When you first sign onto the page, you get a 15% discount off of your first order!
Besides fabric, Connecting Threads also has (obviously) thread at a great price and kits for a myriad of items. Here are some of my favorites. Click on the gallery to get a good view of them:
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Welcome to the party everyone! Have you ever been to or even heard of a Favorite Things Party? I have only read about them, (check out those 2 links), but the idea sounds pretty appealing to me. I mean, we all have things in our lives that we absolutely love to use, the shirt that is the most comfortable, the appliance we use everyday, the cosmetic that makes us feel beautiful, the book that spoke to us. Things like that. And, when I have something like that, I love to tell people about it so that they can enjoy that awesome thing as well. That is the idea behind a Favorite Things Party.
Most Favorite Things Parties are celebrated in person, where guests come together and share the things that are their favorites with the other guests and everyone gets to take home either one of each of everyone else's favorite thing, or at least one of the favorite things. The Host can provide a gift bag to hold everything and specify a price limit so that guests can bring enough gifts for each of the 4-5 people invited, or the party can be a little larger and run like a white elephant exchange where you don't know exactly what you will be getting because everyone just brings one item. But, it will be something that someone highly recommends. Then, there are refreshments and chatting and just a lot of fun together with a small group of friends.
Well, since today marks Friday Faves #90 we thought it would be fun to have an online Favorite Things Party with all of you! Every Friday we tell you some of our favorite things that fall under various categories. This week we are turning it into a party! We would like you to tell us 1 or 2 of YOUR favorite things, in any family friendly category that you would like and think that we would love also. Give us a link to it! If it is an affiliate link for you, that is great! We will be pinning this party for everyone to see and definitely checking out your links to see if we want to make some of your favorite things become our favorites as well. As a matter of fact, next week I will feature some of the things that you share that catch my eye. So, leave pictures and I will use them and link them to you if you are a blogger. (By participating, you are giving me permission to use your photos on my blog to promote you and your favorite thing!)
I thought about doing this party as a linky party, but I want my readers who aren't bloggers to have an easy time participating, so we are using the comments section for your links. So, go ahead, what are a couple of your favorite things right now? I know! It is hard to chose just 2 things, but if this party turns out to be a success, we will do it again when we hit the Friday Faves 100 mark!
Helen's Favorite Things
This was a hard decision! Well, #1 was easy, but #2, I was torn between a few things. But, I won't break my own rule. I am only sharing 2 things... this time! Just click the image to go to the link.
Two years ago, my family got together and bought me my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer! I love this thing. It has changed my life when it comes to baking. Things seem to mix up so much more quickly. It is so powerful. It is beautiful and looks great on my counter where it resides constantly! I always wanted one, but I was unprepared for how wonderful it really is to have it!
The next favorite thing is less expensive and I think it was either Maddy or Alicia who recommended it to me. It is Full and Soft Mascara by Maybelline. I have tried other mascaras in between using this one, but I always end up going back to Full and Soft. I love the wand size, the way it covers and the look of my eyes when I use it.
Now, go ahead! Head on down to the comments and add YOUR favorite thing! The party will be open all weekend! I can't wait to see what you love!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to ten and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!
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