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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Amish Sweetshop: A Book Review

Today I'm sharing a fun new Amish fiction novel with you. Actually, it's a few short novellas put into one book by a few great authors who are new to me. I always love finding new authors to add to my TBR lists, so I was excited to read these stories.

Read on below for a bit about this book, and my review of each little story. Enjoy!

Just to let you know: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley  in exchange for my review.

Book Synopsis
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the busiest time of the year at Beechy’s Sweets, where the Amish gifts of love and faith are even sweeter than the home-made candy. 

THE SWEETEST COURTSHIP National Bestselling Author Emma MillerAt age thirty-six, Jacob Beechy is a rarity—a master candy maker, and a bachelor. His mother, however, still hopes for grandchildren. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, she convinces Jacob he will need extra help in the shop and interviews a string of applicants—for his future wife . . .  

THE SWEETEST TRUTH  National Bestselling Author Laura BradfordSadie Fischer has accepted that she will never marry. Her scars from a barn fire are a daily reminder of why. So when she receives mysterious gifts leading up to Valentine’s Day, including chocolate from Beechy’s, she’s bewildered—yet curious. Sadie may not think she’s pretty, but there’s a young man who sees only sweetness when he looks at her . . . 

NOTHING TASTES SO SWEET Award-Winning Author Mary Ellis Pregnant and suddenly widowed, Hannah must give up the dreams she once had. But when she learns that her longtime English employer plans to sell his hardware store, she’s determined to buy it. She doesn’t realize that will mean following a clue from Beechy’s to clear a man’s name—and finding a partnership in work, faith, and love . . .


My Review
When it comes to reading Amish fiction, a few things about a story are really important to me. First of all, the author does his or her research. I know there are tons of different Amish districts with many different rules, but there are a few general ones that most districts do follow. There's nothing that frustrates me more than reading a book about the Amish where the author has obviously not looked up much about them. Not only does it make the story hard to believe, but it makes the characters lack depth too.

You'll be happy to know that in this book, all of the authors have definitely studied the Amish lifestyle. I especially loved how all of the characters come together at some point in the stories, so you get to know them from another author and character's point of view.

Each story had it's moments and storylines that stood out. In The Sweetest Courtship, it was fun to read about a male Amish character for a bit of a change. In The Sweetest Truth, we watch a young woman overcome her fears and insecurities to reach out to someone else. And in Nothing Tastes So Sweet, there's an exciting story about Hannah, who almost defies the rules she's brought up in and cares so much about.

If you're a fan of Amish fic, or sweet romance stories that have depth but don't get too steamy, then I just know you'll love reading this book!  So here is how to get a copy...

Get it On Amazon You can get a free preview on Amazon, too.
Get It On Barnes & Noble
Get It At Indie Bookstore


Monday, February 18, 2019

Little Red Riding Hood Storybook Playset

Dramatic Play Little Red Riding Hood Playset And Busy Book


I am super excited about this new product I've made for you all!
Especially because my own kids have been enjoying it so much!

It's a full printable storybook and busy folder or puppet playset. Just take a look at how we set ours up below.


In this set, you'll find a cute little storybook! SOmething I'm so proud of. 
It's filled with simple vocabulary, a few sight words on some pages, and is easy to co-read with beginning readers.

You'll also get a fun little playset to act out the story with afterward.
It includes:
  • 2 background scenes (outdoor forest and Grandma's House)
  • All the story characters
  • Decorations for the scenes



There are a lot of fun ways you can play with this set too! You can set it up as a busy folder like we did above. I put both background scenes on one sheet, laminated them and put them in a folder. 

I then put little velcro dots on both inside covers of the folder to hold the characters and decorations.
Here's a look at the first side..


You could also hang the background scenes up on the wall and glue popsicle sticks to the characters to make a fun puppet theater.

And the BEST PART? The WHOLE SET is just $3!

You can grab this fun set now for just $3, which includes both the storybook and the playset.
Get it on Etsy or TeachersPayTeachers for $3

I really hope you love it!
Remember to post a pic using it on social media and tag me (see my socials--->)
I'll be sure to send a freebie your way ;)


Get it on Etsy or TeachersPayTeachers for $3!









Monday, January 28, 2019

Valentines Day Sight Words Delivery Game

Valentines Day Dolch Sight Word Printable Set


Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I love how that one day can brighten up a cold, dreary February, don't you? All the lovely reds and pinks surrounding you - whether in your classroom, at home, or both, it's a fun day to show people that you care for them.



It's also a fun way to sneak in some "fun-school" style learning! I love printing out Valentines Day themed worksheets for my kids, getting books about love from the library, and of course coloring in Valentines Day cards for the family. That's why I made this fun sight word activity that you can use throughout January and February...
In this printable set, you'll get all 220 of the Dolch sight words separated into grade levels (pre-primer to third-grade). I've included adorable clipart of kids holding hearts with the sight words on them and valentines cards with matching words to "deliver" to the right kids.




My girls have been having a blast using them. I cut the kids out in strips on the wall and put little velcro dots on the hearts (you can these Vkey velcro dots super cheap on Amazon!). They take turns sticking the cards to the matching kids.
You can also make a busy folder, something else I love to do. Just laminate the pages with the sight word kids and put them into a duotang or binder. Use the velcro dots to stick them onto the pages. You can also store each pages matching cards in a little mini snack bag.
You could also hide the cards around the room and have the kids find them and then match them, or tape the sight word kids to the wall in different places of your classroom or home, and have your kiddos take a card and search for the right sight word kid.

There are so many ways to use them, and they're all tons of fun!

You can grab the entire set of sight words in this pack for just $2 in my Etsy  or my TPT store.








Monday, January 21, 2019

Printable Smoothie Shop Pretend Play Set

Printable smoothie shop set for dramatic play, classroom fun and more!


For months now my littlest little (who just turned 5) has been pretending to make smoothies. I don't know why - we don't really drink smoothies around here often - but for some reason she loves them! She has actually been taking her little alphabet magnets off the fridge, dropping them into cups and pretending to make all sorts of drinks - cute, right?

And while I love her imagination, I wanted to make her a set that she could play with that would be a little more fun, and that her big sister would enjoy too. Enter my Printable Smoothie Pack!

I've included everything you'll need to have fun making pretend smoothies with your child - whether you want an all-out smoothie stand, or just to print out the fruits and shakes to play with.



It's also a great learning opportunity to talk about healthy eating, get to know fruits, vegetables, and colors, and even practice some counting, addition, and subtraction.


You'll get a cute little blender (that comes in 3 color choices) to blend your smoothies in.
We hang ours on the wall and the girls pretend to drop the fruits in it.



I've included menus with both made up prices and no prices so that you can enter your own. This would be great for practicing numbers you're working on, skip counting by 2's, 5's, or more, or money with cents included.



Kids can even have customers make up their own smoothies with the "make your own smoothie" card. One to hang up for a menu, and one to have the "customer" write on.
That's great for creative fun anf number writing practice, as my 5-year-old did below...

I love their writing practice at this age❤


But that's not all! There are also these fun recipe cards kids can use to make up the drinks on the menu. It's a great way to practice counting! And they can also make up their OWN recipes with the "make your own recipe" cards...


There are blank cards with little cutouts they can stick on. You can laminate these and use velcro dots to stick them, or you can leave them as plain paper if they want to save their recipes.

These recipes are great for addition, and even subtraction with the included coupons...



And of course the open and closed signs, and name tags!


We had so much fun playing it this past week!




The best part? You can grab this entire set for just $3! 

Get a copy in my Etsy shop here (no signup required) or my TPT store here (free account required)
Or pin for later...




I really hope you and your kiddos enjoy it as much as we did!












Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Free Printable Alphabet Phonics Sprinkle Flashcards

Free alphabet flashcards with a fun sprinkle theme to use in your classroom, homeschool, or for play learning fun!



Happy New Year everyone! I hope that your holidays and family get-togethers went well and you're all rested up now (or recovering!) for 2019!

We're into full swing here enjoying our morning baskets, lessons, and all the snow!

My littlest one is learning to read and already sounding out her CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. We've also been practicing sight words and reading longer books together - her favorites are the Mercer Mayer Little Critter books. But we've also been really enjoying this one by Sally Sutton...


But more about that in another post soon...

But to start off the new year right I wanted to review letter sounds and upper/lowercase lette
rs with her. She sometimes gets her b's and d's confused, and we still need to review letter sounds together sometimes. Especially the whole confusing vowels make 2 sounds bit. So I made these fun and colorful flashcards for us to use - and I'm sharing them with you!



I know there are a lot of printable flashcards out there, but if you've managed to stop by my little corner of the web then I hope you enjoy these! They have colorful "sprinkles" on them, a bright blue frame, and three different colored letter options to choose from - black, blue and pink!

Just scroll down to download...
And remember to subscribe to my blog (in the right sidebar) to get more freebies and fun in the coming weeks. Enjoy!



Monday, January 7, 2019

Searching For You by Jody Hedlund

Searching For You
A Jody Hedlund Orphan Train Series Novel


*I received a free copy of this book to read through Bethany House & Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

If you've ever read a book review on my blog then you know how much I love historical fiction. Not only is it interesting to read back on how people lived during different times in history, but it's fun to look at different authors takes on it.

In Searching For You, Jody Hedlund takes us back to the 1850s and a young orphan girl named Sophie...

Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.
Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.
Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he's in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?

I honestly had never read one of Jody Hedlund's Orphan Train series of books, but I will admit that after reading this one I bought the first one too! She actually has a free first novella to start with (you can get that here)

Not only was Searching For You a well-written story that brought tears to my eyes during a particular chapter, but it brings you to a place not often written about in History.

A tenement apartment from the 1850s - unknown


The book starts out with a thrilling scene that brings Sophie into danger right away, so don't expect it to be easy to put down straight from the start. I'm not going to give anything away here, but I will say that although there are chapters in the book where things slow down a little, Sophie's anxious thoughts, feelings and memories keep you reading through the book.


If you've read the previous books by Hedlund in this series, then you'll easily recognize all the characters mentioned in this book, along with a few new ones (some that you'll love and some that you'll despise!). I was saddened to read that this will be the last book in the series, but am happy to have found a new author to follow - she had quite a few novels and series out so I've added them all to my TBR list!

You also might be happy to know that the book is  clean romance, though there are a few passionate encountersđŸ˜—



You can grab a copy of this book here on Amazon. You can also check out Hedlund's other novels, as well as begin with her first FREE Novella in this series, An Awakened Heart here.