What My Husband is Reading


I’m so glad my husband is a reader too. We spend a lot of our “together-time” in the same room reading different books (VERY different books!). We do read together sometimes. We started Devotions for Sacred Parenting, and he occasionally reads Little House on the Prairie to me.

He is currently raving about Weeds: Guardians of the Soil by Joseph Cocannouer, and he just finished Catch Me if You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank Abagnale.

He tends to enjoy books about farming, economics, or politics. . . the books that I would be least drawn to. Oh well. It makes for interesting conversations!


My Favorite Books of 2013

I hate when people ask me to pick a favorite book. (Do I really have to pick one?)

But, just to be fun, and to do my first link-up with Modern Mrs. Darcy, I thought I should compile a list of my favorite books I read in 2013.


1)   hotel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. This  beautiful story of friendship gives a glimpse of one Chinese American’s experiences during the 1940’s. Read my post for more info.





2) orphantrain Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I’ve always been fascinated with stories of orphans, and Kline tells a good story.






3) I really cannot pick a favorite of Kate Morton’s works, but thought she was worth a mention. Check out The Forgotten Garden or The Secret Keeper first.


1) toxic charity  Toxic Charity by Robert D. Lupton. Lupton shares a different perspective on helping people in need, giving me a lot to think about.  I share more in this book review.





2) quiet  Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I understand why this book is so popular, and I understand a little more about my  introverted self.






3) onesmallboat One Small Boat by Kathy Harrison. A peek inside the ups and downs of foster parenting, written by a veteran foster mother. Read more here.






4) dressmaker  The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. Lemmon tells the story of a young Afghani woman and her courageous entrepreneurial spirit. Read my book review for my details.





What are some of your favorite books you read in the past year?


Our Library Bag Favorites: Plants, Gratitude, and Jan Brett

I love that David is as much of a bookworm as I am. Here are our favorite picks from this past week:

thankyouforme  Thank You For Me! by Marion Dane Bauer.  I had no idea this was a book that included prayer – a great bonus!  Each night we thank Jesus for things from the day. Recently David has been saying “Thank You Jesus for something.”  This book gives him more ideas.



on_noahs_ark_jacket_300  On Noah’s Ark by Jan Brett. I love Jan Brett, but I had assumed that none of her books would be appropriate for a two-year-old. This was a hit for us. The illustrations are the best for Noah’s Ark that I’ve found. We learned a new animal: flamingo.



updownandaround  Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres. This is the wrong time of year for this book, since it’s all about growing a garden. I thought I’d still include it though so I wouldn’t forget about it for next year.  Ayres describes which plants grow up (peppers, broccoli. . . ), which plants grow down (carrots, potatoes, onions. . . ), and which plants grow around and around (pumpkins, cucumbers. . . ). It’s also super-fun.



This past week I’ve finished reading: Orphan Train, Ender’s Game, A Can of Peas, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I started reading The Red Badge of Courage and The Forgotten Garden.

David’s Library Picks: A Squirrel, A Pony, and Some Fish

Here are some of David’s favorites from the week:

ponybrushesteeth  Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl. The other night David cried because he wanted to read this book. I guess that is a sign of a good book.  And, it is completely perfect for us since we are working at how to brush teeth (besides just sucking the toothpaste off the brush.)  Dahl describes Pony’s teeth-brushing routine, as Pony does everything just like his dad.


The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. tafuri squirrelThis book is PERFECT for this time of year. Squirrel can’t play with his friends because he is busy collecting food for winter: acorns, seeds, corn, etc. David loves finding the spiders and caterpillars on most of the pages. This is totally toddler-appropriate and I love not having to paraphrase!




Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins. This book is full of fun pictures and descriptive language. Perhaps David also loved it because we often visit a local fish/pet store for fun (or to kill time). Maybe it is time for a pet fish?

David’s Library Bag: Demolition, Green, and Penguins

Here are some books that David began to memorize this week:

demolition Demolition by Sally Sutton. My favorite part of this book is hearing David say “demolition.”  He loves seeing the machinery knocking down the buildings, and reciting some of the words with me. I love the descriptive language! Sutton also wrote another favorite of ours – Roadwork.




Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. This is a super-fun book – covering all the different types of green – faded green, forest green, lime green (David likes to pretend to eat the limes EVERY time), jungle green, etc. Once again Seeger does a beautiful job with illustrations and the holes in the pages that David adores putting his finger through. She also wrote First the Egg, which I blogged about here.




If You Were a Penguin by Wendell and Florence Minor. This is the book that David has mostly memorized (which means no skipping pages for me!)  It was also featured as PA’s 2009 One Book Every Child initiative, which is no surprise considering the adorable penguin illustrations and easy-to-read informative text.



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.

Book Nerds Links

No book reviews this week. . . I have too many books I’m reading at the same time, so none are finished. I thought I would share some fun sites I’ve found, though.

2 blogs: The Modern Mrs. Darcy (this is just the book section of her blog – she does other types of posts as well) and The Deliberate Reader

And, Real Simple (love that magazine!!) has a No-Obligation-Book Club that’s kinda fun.

Here’s a site that you type in a book you’ve read recently (can’t be too obscure), and it will give you suggestions. I found it to be surprisingly accurate most of the time. What Shall I Read Next?

And finally, here’s a photo of my little man who I LOVE to hear reading to himself. (Although I still do lots of reading with him.)


2 Authors I’ve Discovered Recently

Have you ever found a writer you like and then immediately need to devour everything they’ve written?  I’ve just discovered two authors I’m into: Kathy Harrison and Jodi Piccoult.

onesmallboatI just finished Kathy Harrison’s One Small Boat. I found this one even more interesting than Another Place at the Table (my post here). . . probably because this book is more focused on one particular foster child. I love Kathy’s heart for children and her incredible honesty with her fostering and adoptive journey. She needs to write another book!! (I see she wrote one about preparedness, but I’m not as into that.)



Another author I discovered is Jodi Picoult. jodipicoultNow, there are aspects of Picoult’s work that I don’t appreciate – such as some language and sexuality — and perhaps I will find more of that the more I read of her work. But I have loved the stories she’s decided to tell, and how she’s told them. My first read was My Sister’s Keeper. I can’t believe that they didn’t stick with the story when they made the movie! I read House Rules next. Because of my interest in Aspergers, this was a fascinating read for me. I just checked out Plain Truth from the library and we’ll see how I like it. I feel like I’m doing a dance between wanting to read novels that make me think . . . and novels that make me wonder if I should be reading them, let alone blogging about them. I’m just so tired of “Christian” novels that are about girl meets boy with a little bit of church thrown in.

How do you decide if a book is something you should be reading, (or shall I use the term “appropriate?”)


In Which I Join A Book Club

I joined a book club. Before you tune me out because you think I have gone too far in the nerd realm, let me explain.

There is a wonderful site called meetup.com that puts you in contact with groups in your area. It is not a dating site. Obviously I’m not interested in that. So, for instance, right now I am a part of three meetup groups – a crafty one, a moms one, and a book club. I went to my first book club meetup last night and I had a blast.

I didn’t know anyone and that was the best part. Normally when I go somewhere and I don’t know anyone, I freak out and forget that I am able to talk to people that I don’t know. But in this particular situation, most people didn’t know each other, and we had specific things to talk about – such as the food we were ordering and eating and the month’s book selection: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  where'dyougo

All the women were so different from each other. I need more of that in my life! I tend to run around in the same circles, and since I’m not working outside the home, I rarely come into contact with new people. (Besides all the people that talk to us in grocery stores because I have a handsome toddler who ALWAYS behaves himself.)  Last night was refreshing and fun. And I came away with a bunch of scribbled notes: books to read, bookstores to check out, events to go to. . .

And Where’d You Go, Bernadette?  It was a fun read. Not necessarily a book that I’m going to recommend to all the readers I know – I was disappointed in some aspects of it – but some parts are laugh-out-loud-hilarious and that is good for something.

In Our Library Bag – June 22

We have had a busy week/weekend this week. Fun, but busy. We’re hosting this weekend, so I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get in.

When I went to the library this week, I found out that David is old enough to do the summer reading program. I just have to read 30 books to him (that will take me all of one day), and then he gets several gift certificates. Works for me. Here is a small selection from our library bag for this week.

David’s pick:

eatingthealphabetEating the Alphabet – Lois Ehlert. This is especially a fun book for this fresh-produce-all-the-time-season. David’s learning some letters too.



I ordered for David:

beepbeep Beep Beep – Petr Horacek. David loves this book – cars and grandma’s house – what is not to love?





For me:

a week in winter A Week in Winter – Maeve Binchy. Haven’t started reading it yet. . I’ll let you know if it’s a hit.  I found it on the new book shelf while David was chatting with the library ladies. I have to be quick before he starts running all over the place.




Hopes Boy Hope’s Boy – Andrew Bridge. Loved it. Read about it here.