Reading with a Newborn

davidandrubyRuby Joy arrived and she has been such a gift to us! We are obviously still adjusting to being a family of four. For me, this means adjusting to a strange sleep schedule with a lot of late-night-feedings. Besides listening to podcasts and just snuggling with my baby girl, I have enjoyed reading on my phone with the Kindle app. I’ve been reading through Kristen Welch’s Don’t Make Me Come Up There: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms. I think at some point in the past year I had snatched up the copy while it was free.

dontmakemecomeup Kristen is hilarious. She blogs at We are THAT Family.  I don’t understand how she gets into so many predicaments as a mom! As she tells her stories, she connects them to her faith walk and what Jesus is teaching her. Each story snippet also includes a Scripture verse and brief prayer. And the best part – each chapter is short enough to read while I’m waiting for Ruby to finish burping or filling her diaper.

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

I received Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus for Christmas and now, after reading it, I have a lot to think about.

givethemgraceFitzpatrick and Thompson give a refreshing picture of parenting: “When God calls our children to come to him, even if we haven’t gotten it all right, even if we’ve trained little Pharisees or have a house full of prodigals, nothing is impossible for him. He can break through all our flawed methods and redeem all our frail errors” (p. 77).  All too often I put too much responsibility on myself for the choices David makes; there is no magic formula for guaranteeing his obedience.  This book is not just about giving our children grace, but about giving ourselves as parents grace.


Although I really appreciate the message that Fitzpatrick and Thompson presented, I was a little annoyed at one part of their work:  their example conversations when training and disciplining your children.  The explanations seemed so long!  Perhaps my annoyance is because I am currently parenting a toddler and I try to make my instructions as short as possible.  Or, maybe it is because I just finished reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block and 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12, both of which emphasize the importance of being succinct when speaking to children. Either way, this is only a small part of the book, and the rest of the book had a lot of wonderful things to say.

I have a lot to learn about the richness of grace. Grace for me and my family – when things are going smoothly, and when I want to scream. Grace for people who hurt me, and grace for me when I hurt others. I thought I was going to read a book about parenting, but this is a lot broader than that. I shouldn’t be surprised!



15 Minutes Outside (yes, even in the cold)

 David in Snow

One of my recent goals for myself and for my family is to spend more time outside. I know that this is a strange time of the year to have that goal!  Sometimes our “time outside” consists of getting the mail. Or, even worse, opening the door to get a package on our front porch.

15-Minutes-Outside  I found a book at the library that gives some other ideas – 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen.  She’s organized the ideas by month, and January is conveniently the first month.  I love that her ideas are simple, quick, and don’t require a lot of extra materials.  I don’t want to wait until the summer to be outside more, even though I hate the cold. Now that my sprained ankle is healing and David is getting over his cold, maybe we can work at this a bit more.  Any ideas for things to do outside?

This Bookworm’s Christmas Acquisitions

Christmas isn’t just about the gifts, but I thought I’d share some of my gifts that I’m excited to dig into.

givethemgrace Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson. This has been on my to-read list for awhile – it’s officially now on my 2014 Books To Read List.



DehydratorBible_800 The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer Mackenzie, Jay Nutt, & Don Mercer. We love using our dehydrator, but I thought I could use more ideas of things to do with it. The thing I love about this book is that has a variety of recipes, including things to give as gifts, and just-add-water mixes that would be perfect for camping or backpacking.




babyknits  Baby Knits Made Easy by DK. Yes, I’m learning how to knit. I think I should have another hobby besides reading, right? I’m excited to try some of these projects. Technically, most of the things can be made larger so they’d fit David as well. I love how the patterns are cute, but not super elaborate.  There’s a variety of patterns, too, from stuffed toys to blankets to clothing.



quilling  Thrilling Quilling by Elizabeth Moad. Ever since I borrowed a quilling book from the library, I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it. But, I told myself I’d put a book and the supplies on my Christmas wishlist and see what happened. Well, I’m all set to go now once David takes a nap and I have my other work done!




I’ve never included magazines on this blog before, but I received a subscription to Mother Earth News, and I’m excited to read it.  And sometimes as a stay-at-home-Mom, getting the mail is the highlight of my day. Josiah and I are into gardening, cooking, and “homesteading” type things, so it’s a good fit for both of us.


A Book a Day ‘Til Christmas

david christmas books  Just for fun, I wrapped 24 books for David to unwrap in the days leading up to Christmas. Some are Christmas books, and some are winter-related. (Don’t tell David, but most of them came off of our bookshelf.)  It’s a good after-breakfast activity.

Here’s the list:

1)  First Picture Book of Christmas Carols – illustrated by Mary McClain

2)  The Christmas Story – Pingry

3)  Who is Coming to Our House? Slate & Wolff

4) Baby Jesus is Here – Holley Gerth

5)  Winter is Here – Weinberger & Dubin

6) One Night in Bethlehem – Lord

7)  Touch & Feel Christmas – Henning

8)  Jingle Bells – illustrated by Darcy May

9)  My Very First Christmas – Rock

10)  The Little Drummer Boy – Keats

11) Come and See – Mayper

12) The Snowy Day – Keats

13)  The Story of Christmas – Pingry

14) This is the Stable – Cotten

15)  The Story of Jesus – Pingry

16) The Friendly Beasts – illustrated by Ruth Sanderson

17) Where is Home, Little Pip? -Wilson & Chapman

18) Christmas in the Manger – Buck

19)  A Star for Jesus – Bowman

20)  A Christmas Goodnight – Buck

21)  The Colors of Christmas – Phifer

22)  The Christmas Pageant – Winthrop

23)  The Snow Bear – Moss

24)  Song of the Stars – Lloyd-Jones

Camping with Kids

We’ve been wanting to take David camping before it gets too cold. . .and after skimming through this book, I’m even more excited by the prospect:

The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures & Connect Kids to Nature by Helen Olsson. camping

To be honest, I didn’t take the time to read this book thoroughly, but what I did find was informative, helpful, and  fun. Helen includes recipes, game ideas, nature crafts, packing lists, resource lists, and general tips. I grew up camping, so a lot of the information was not entirely new to me, but I did appreciate the focus on how camping changes with little ones. One suggestion Helen gave was to have a small “play tent” that the kiddos can wrestle and play in, instead of getting the sleeping tent all dirty and rumpled. I also love how she includes a list of camping-related picture books to read before the trip.

At the Library

David loves the library. Unfortunately, this means that he uses his (very) loud voice to express his excitement. We walk run past the people sitting studiously at the computers, and when I ask him to use his “quiet voice,” he gets terribly offended and screams “NOOOO” even louder.

We haven’t been kicked out yet.

Here are some highlights from our bags:

For David: Boats on the River by Peter Mandel.



I am getting a little tired of dump trucks and bulldozers. I picked this one out, in hopes that David will expand his interests to include boats. So far he has enjoyed counting how many people are on each boat.



For me:

Quilled Flowers: A Garden of 35 Paper Projects Quilled-Flowers-coverby Alli Bartkowski

After drooling over this book, I decided I’m going to have a new hobby.  Quilling looks fun and inexpensive . . and perhaps it will be something I can get into. I’ve bought some cards at Ten Thousand Villages that were quilled, but little did I know that that is what the technique was called. I decided to go quilling-crazy on Pinterest.  We will see if my “new hobby” gets any further than that.



Naturally Fun Parties for Kids: Creating Handmade, Earth-Friendly Celebrations for All Seasons and Occasions by Anni Daulter

funpartiesMost of this book is geared towards older children than my two-year-old, but I still had fun looking at recipes and thinking of ways to celebrate living in each season of the year. I really want our home to be a inviting place for others, and as David grows I want his friends to have fun playing at our house. This book made me dream a little bit in color of what that might look like.

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches

What a title. Some days I love love the little years (don’t grow up so fast, David!) and on other days everything seems to be going sooooo slowly. (Must we have a complete conversation after every step down the stairs?)

lovingthelittleyears Rachel Jankovic captures a lot of this in her book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. This was a quick read for me (instead of a Sunday afternoon nap).  But even if you aren’t a fast reader, the chapters are very short and can be read sporadically and you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Rachel shares hilarious stories (especially from what it is like to raise twins) and some helpful wisdom. I love how she taught her daughters about emotions: she compared emotions to a wild horse that the daughters have been given to ride. “The goal is not to cripple the horse, but equip the rider. A well-controlled passionate personality is a powerful thing. . . But a passionate personality that is unbridled can cause a world of damage.”

Here’s to bridling my emotions as I teach David how to handle his emotions!

Raising Financially Confident Kids

I’m trying to finish my stack of bought, unread books before I go to the library. We’ll see how long I last.

financiallyconfidentkidsI just finished Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt, founder of Debt-Proof Living. I picked it up at Ollie’s last month (a great place to find books!!!). I know money management is important, but I feel almost at a loss for how to teach David financial matters.

I enjoyed reading how Hunt and her husband gave their boys a monthly “salary” from which the boys could choose how they’d spend their money. (This was essentially the money that they had been spending anyway on their boys.) Each year, the boys would receive more money, but also more responsibility (more areas that they’d have to pay for – clothing, school supplies, etc.)

Hunt also included very practical tips such as ways to work with children and money at their developmental ages. She recommends that when going shopping with your preschool children to always use cash instead of a card, so they don’t get the idea of a “magic card” that gets you whatever you want. This is something I will have to work on. I always seem to be without cash.

Some parts of the book were a little long-winded and repetitive for me, but there was enough practical food-for-thought for me to keep this on my bookshelf.


Another Place at the Table: A Story of Shattered Childhoods Redeemed by Love

Finally. I had been looking for a book like this for years: Another Place at the Table.


Kathy Harrison shares from her experiences as a foster parent. This is not an easy book to read; the children came into the Harrison home from very difficult pasts. I’ve read multiple books written by previous foster children, but this is the first book written by a foster parent that I’ve been able to get my hands on.  Although the individual stories are obviously different than the stories of the children that have been in our home, so much of Harrison’s story was the same as mine.


The love for the children. The difficulty.The broken heart from hearing their stories, and the broken heart from saying good-bye. The phone calls and quick decisions. The relationships with biological parents. The meetings with therapists and life-altering court decisions.

Not knowing if you can handle another child from the system, and not knowing if you can handle NOT having another child from the system.

This is part of the journey Josiah and I are on. We’re glad we don’t walk alone.