Spring is almost here!! I know technically it’s not spring until the 20th, but we’ve got tiny flowers growing under the tree in our front yard and muddy ground at the park. I would not be too heartbroken if Punxsutawney Phil is wrong this year.

While going from one kiddo to two has not been a terribly crazy adjustment so far (although Oliver isn’t mobile yet!), I’ve been working on getting a good routine going for all of our sakes. It’s important for my own mental health to take time for myself, and to eat healthy and drink lots of water, and to get outside more. I’ve also recently been introduced to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and it has peaked my interest greatly. Lots of outdoor play is central, which is wonderful for Emerald’s boundless energy. And I like that it also encourages the study of art, music, poetry, the Bible, and foreign language. It’s very well rounded yet flexible, but there are plenty of resources to help with scheduling. I’m going to use Ambleside Online’s artist rotation schedule. I’m hoping to be more consistent this month with a schedule, and I will write a post about what is working for us once we get into a rhythm.

Coming up in March, we have Dr. Seuss’s birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, and the spring equinox. And this weather is perfect for getting outside. So excited!


Book Review – Falling Free

It’s taken me a while to finish this book, but it was so good. The author writes about when God asked them to do what seems almost unthinkable in today’s society. Her husband had a great job, they were living their dream in the middle of “God’s country”, and everything seemed perfect. But then God asked them to move, away from what they thought they wanted, and to give up their money and “stuff” to live in the city among those who weren’t very well off. They learned to think less of themselves and more than others. They took in people who were in and out of jail, and help strangers on the street. She challenges Christians to take a look at what God really wants us to do with the resources given to us. She says she is constantly reminded that God loves everyone, and sometimes He gives us things for the sole purpose of allowing us to pass them on to someone else. I found this book made some excellent points and encouraged me to look for ways to give to others even when I don’t think I have enough to do so.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Library Haul – Week of 2-8-17

Elmo Loves You

Elmo’s Daddy

Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop by Anna Dewdney

I Am a Big Sister! by Caroline Jayne Church

Noah, Noah, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson

Another Monster at The End Of This Book by Jon Stone

Curious George in the Big City by Margret and H. A. Rey

Breathe by Scott Magoon

If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle and Cale Atkinson

The Whale In My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan

Troll and the Oliver by Adam Stower

Look and Find Elmo

Elmo Loves You was such a favorite this week, Emmy actually asked for it when we picked out a new book at the bookstore! It has a cute little rhyming poem, and she kissed the Elmo at the end every time we read it.

Elmo’s Daddy was another really cute book this week. Can you tell we reserved a lot of Elmo books a couple weeks ago? I thought it was interesting how Elmo was velvety on each page of this board book, although Em is pretty well past touching the pages as we read.

We also got Another Monster this week because the first book is such a big hit here. She giggles every time Grover says not to turn another page. She seems to prefer it over this one, but she still liked to turn the pages and repeat some of the lines.

We got another Curious George book, and we’re slowly working through the Llama Llama books as well. This one was shorter and more simple noises than a story like the others are, but it was still good. Look and Find Elmo had much busier pages than I expected so we will have to try it again later. Em is learning how to find a few pictures in those type of books, but this particular book is still a bit too far above her current skill level.

Since we’re expecting a new baby in the fall, I’ve started talking more about being a big sister. We got a book this week to try, and we’ll add more later on. I want to mention it enough to get her used to the idea a bit without overwhelming her or making her feel she’s losing too much attention.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is one of her absolute favorites, so I was excited to find a Bible story version to read. We’ve been reading Bible story board books and she recognizes a few of the names.

Breathe is a nice, calm book with very simple text. It has a whale in the ocean and one or two words per page. It is a great bedtime book. We got another whale book as well, and I fell in love with the adorable illustration and fun story of a little boy trying to get the whale out of his pool.

If I Had a Gryphon is awesome for introducing kids to the names of different fantasy creatures. We’ll probably read it again when Emmy is older and shows more interest. There were even a couple creatures included that I didn’t know!

Tons of good books this week! Troll and the Oliver was one of them. I was unsure at first how the author was going to word a children’s book where the child gets eaten, but then there is a twist and the two become great friends. Cute story plus fun pictures is a win in my book.

Library Haul – Week of 1/25/17

 Curious George’s ABCs illustrated by H. A. Rey

The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone

Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H. A. Rey

Curious George at the Fire Station by Margret and H. A. Rey

My Name Is Elmo by Constance Allen

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond

Elmer and Butterfly by David McKee

Curious George’s ABCs and My Name is Elmo are constantly at our house. Haha

We got more Curious George this week, of course. I’m excited that she is starting to listen to longer books. I’ve been looking for new books each week that are longer and have new concepts, but aren’t so wordy that she loses interest. It seems best right now if there is a sentence or three per page and then we get to flip to a new picture.

I had to get the Three Little Pigs, of course, after it occurred to me that she hadn’t heard that story yet! We have several copies of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but not this one.

I also try to get a few books that are themed around upcoming holidays or seasons or things we are learning about. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! was not as much like the other “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” books as I was expecting, but it was still enjoyable. Not one of her favorites, but I liked to read it to her all the same.

Another book she didn’t show a lot of interest in was Elmer and Butterfly. I remember the Elmer books from my childhood but I can’t remember which ones I’ve read. I thought the book was really cute, as the butterfly in the story showed that you’re never too little to help out somehow. Maybe later in the future we’ll try another one!

Library Haul Week of 11/18/17

 Lots of Curious George this week! One of the books is one she actually just checked out about three weeks ago and then picked up again last week.

The Three Little Minions: A Not So Nice Fairy Tale 

Monkeys Swing

Curious George Goes Fishing by Margret and H. A. Rey

Curious George’s Opposites by Margret and H. A. Rey

Curious George’s 1 to 10 and Back Again by Margret and H. A. Rey

Daisy-Head Mayzie by Dr. Seuss

The Three Little Minions is the story from the Minions movie that Scarlet tells the minions. Em didn’t really listen to the story as much as she liked the finger puppets on top of the book. But of course, she likes minions but doesn’t want to watch any of the movies either. She does randomly start singing “ba, ba, ba, ba-ba-na-na”.

Em picked out Monkeys Swing all by herself while I was looking through another book. Monkeys are her favorite animal right now, and I love that this book had real photos of monkeys along with some simple text. If she is still interested when she is a bit older, I want to learn the names of the different species of monkeys with her because my knowledge is woefully lacking.

I really like that they have a few of the classic Curious George stories in board book form. Curious George Goes Fishing is the book she read two trips previous. She loved the fish eating cake off the hook when George tried to fish. She wanted to look at the pictures on her own this time more than she wanted the story read to her.

Opposites uses illustrations from other Curious George books to show the difference between words. This one was Emmy’s favorite this week.

1 to 10 also uses illustrations, this time for counting forwards and backwards. She didn’t want to read this one much for some reason, I suspect because she refuses to count anything with me and gives me this rotten look every time.

I actually picked out Daisy-Head Mayzie to read this week because I remember watching a video of it when I was little and I haven’t read the book in years. I’m still trying to instill a love for Dr. Seuss in this child, she doesn’t want to sit still long enough for any of them yet.

Library Haul – Week of 1/11/17

Yeah, yeah. “Week of–” is supposed to start on Sunday. Whatevs. 

We’ve made a few library trips in the past, usually on Saturdays, but Emmy would never look through the books herself and didn’t want to sit for story time. She love to read together at home, but at the library there was too much tI look at.

After we moved we decided to check out the library branch closer to our new house. It’s smaller but we can always reserve books from other branches and have them sent to the one here. Emmy has really been getting more excited about going to the library this month, and picks out a few books along with telling me what she wants to look for. Right now we really like Elmo and Curious George, and I try to find her a book with colors or ABCs or something of that nature as well. Story time is on Wednesdays here and she has also been enjoying it and participating more. We’re still working on sitting down and listening to the story instead of trying to wander off but she’s getting better at it. There’s another little girl her age so she asks when we get there if she will be there for stories.

So anyway. Our week we have books will start on a Wednesday. Deal with it.

This week we picked out the following:

Curious George’s Are You Curious? by Margret and H. A. Rey.

San Francisco: A Book of Numbers (Hello, World) by Ashley Evanson

Nighty-Night by Leslie Patricelli

The Crayon’s Book of Colors by Drew Daywelt and Oliver Teefers

Elmo’s Book of Friends by Naomi Kleinberg

Are You Curious? is of course a favorite. For whatever reason, Em asked to read this one more than any other book this week. She liked to answer the questions with “no, no!” and giggling. Of course she yelled no to “do you ever feel loud?” My kid, loud? Never.

I thought San Francisco looked really cute, and it has numbers as well as cartoon drawings of popular things in San Fransico such as the cable cars. There are apparently others that have Paris, London, and New York. However, Em showed no interest in this one so we probably won’t look for the others for a few months.

Nighty-Night is also going on our list of favorites. I love Leslie Patricelli’s books. They’re very simple but adorable and quirky (I actually just learned today that the character is called Baby-Toddler, which made me laugh). We received another book entitled Tubby back when Emmy was born, which is about bath time, and she didn’t seem as interested in it, but this one is new and I wanted to look at it. It worked out, she literally asks for me to read it again three or four times every time I read it once.

The Crayon’s Book of Colors says it’s from the creators of another book with crayons, which I havent read yet. I personally laughed at several pages, but Em didn’t show any interest in this one either. Pity.

I was surprised Elmo’s Book of Friends wasn’t picked up more. She picked it out and asks for Elmo most days, but she usually decides to read Curious George instead after we go to get the library books out. It’s a bit wordy so I don’t like it as well as some of the others we’ve read. She did learn about “Hola” (and “Adios”) from the page with Rosita.

I’m excited to see what we find next week! This week we’re going to start looking at a letter of the week, so I want to look for something for “E” since we’ll start with her name first.

Book Review : Finding Your Voice

Anone who listens to contemporary Christian music has heard of Natalie Grant. She has a wonderful, strong singing voice. She founded an anti-human-trafficking organization. She herself admits to being caught up in her accomplishments. 

In her book Finding Your Voice, she talks about her singing career and how she has learned to look past that and realize that she has worth to God outside of just that. She encourages readers to find out what their God-given passions and gifts are, but to not base their worth on those along. She recounts a time when she lost her voice, and how that made her question her focus. Even when you think you are failing in life, God may just have another plan that what you expect.

I found some good points in this book, although I did not make a personal connection.

I recieved this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review – Semi Serious

Semi Serious is a nonfiction book written about the author’s decision to quit her teaching job to become a truck driver. She writes about the things she saw while driving, such as animals she passed and weather conditions, and how they helped her grow in her faith.

While my summary sounds dreadfully boring, I actually really enjoyed the book. It wasn’t filled with monotonous details, but included small things that the author took a big lesson from. She talked about selling crosses that her daughter made, and giving away some, and how they reminded her to pray for the people she met around the country. She learned practical lessons as well as spiritual ones, and between each chapter she also shares poems that she wrote during her stops. The book was easy to read, and good for evenings when I wanted to sit down and rest but not have the cliffhangers of a fiction book. It is good for when you want to read a few pages and be able to stop and start whenever. I would recommend the book for someone who wants to read on occasion without being greatly emotionally invested in a book.
I received this book for free from the publisher (in ebook form) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions here are my own.

Book Review – Southern Spirits

Southern Spirts covers the history of alcohol in the southern US states. The first colonies imported a lot of their alcohol, and created very rudimentary methods of making their own locally. This book takes a look at how these processes changed and improved over the years as people wanted better quality, easier access, or something new altogether.

It has taken me a while to read Southern Spirits, but it was definitely because of personal time restraints and not the content of the book. It is a fun niche read even if you don’t drink. It was interesting to see another aspect of history that isn’t talked about in text books. Most, if not all, of us know about Prohibition and moonshiners and settlers using alcohol to trade with Native Americans. But it is less common to read about how the different types of alcohol got their names, or how social views have changed back and forth over time. It is an easy read, and yet very informative. I have to point out that the recipes are not something I am interested in, nor do they use ingredients that are very common. So I cannot speak to that part of the book. Otherwise the book is great!
Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, all opinions here are my own.

Book Review – One Small Donkey

I know, it’s way too early for Christmas books, and believe me, I know. I’m a Halloween girl, myself. But, this book showed up in an email I got from BookLook Bloggers and it looked too cute to pass up.

I’m glad I requested it! The book tells the story of a little donkey who was chosen to carry Mary to Bethlehem where she would give birth to Jesus. It uses a simple rhyming pattern and is quite adorable. I got the board book version because I know how rough Em can be on books, and the pages are actually even sturdier than I expected. Em loved the illustrations, and actually took the book from me at one point so she could stare at one of the pages. This book will definitely be going in our rotation in December and I see it becoming a favorite.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions here are my own.