Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brayden Preteen Summary {9.75 Years Old}

Brayden got first in his heat on Freestyle and won this coupon for a giant cookie.
Pretty exciting for a boy ;)
This is a summary for Brayden from 9.5-9.75 years old.

EATING
Eating is going well. Brayden eats a lot more food on swim days than on non-swim days. 

SLEEPING
Brayden is continuing to do well with not getting out of bed after we put him to bed. That makes 6 solid months of him doing well. Hurray! 

EXTRA ACTIVITIES
Brayden still takes piano lessons. As he gets older, I come to see more and more that he really has a strong passion for music. He is also still playing the viola with the school orchestra. He had his first orchestra concert in this period and he thought it was amazing. He loved hearing all of those instruments playing around him (they combine the children from all of the elementary schools in our valley for the concerts--it is really quite impressive!). 

Brayden is also still on swim team. He went up and down on how he felt about swim team during this period. His swim teacher he has had since he was very young was his coach for about 6 weeks, and he loved that. Then she had to stop because of conflicts with her schooling, and for a while he really did not like swim team. Then he had a swim meet where he felt like he did quite well, and he decided it likes it again. 

During this period, Brayden has been playing rec basketball. He has really taken to basketball this winter. He plays it at every recess at school and he has really enjoyed the rec season.

He is also in the musical I am directing at the elementary school. We are doing Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and he is playing Mike Teavee. That has been a lot of fun.

Brayden is still involve in scouts. He has a super amazing scout leader right now who puts so much effort into the program. That makes a huge difference in how much enjoyment a boy has in scouts. 

Brayden with his overall trophy for the latest swim meet


GIFTED 
Brayden is in the gifted and talented program at school. I have been slow to grasp onto that title--gifted. I am not sure why. I guess I recognize that as his parent, I think he is quite amazing, but I don't know how much of that is bias and how much is me seeing reality. His teacher this year and his teacher last year, however, have both been very blunt about how gifted he is. So I finally purchased a book on raising gifted children. It is fascinating (you know I will be reporting on it when I am done! But the authors recommend reading only about one chapter a week so you can process things appropriately, so it will be slow). It is A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children

BOOKS
Here are some books he loves (you can see more and keep up on books he reads and loves on my Chapter Books for Boys  board. I also have one for girls):

  • The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. This is his favorite series right now.
  • Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms) by Brandon Mull. This is a close second for him. Side note, Brandon Mull came to our school a couple of years ago, and that visit really impacted the interest Brayden has in his books. If your school has the opportunity to have an author come visit, I highly recommend pursuing it!
  • Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans is the third series is he way into at the moment. 
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
SCHEDULE
Brayden's Schedule. Something to notice with older kids, as they get older, you allow them to have more of a say over how their time is spent:

7:00 AM--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get ready. Practice piano and viola. Do morning chores. Read scriptures. 
Then go to school.
4:00 PM--Home from school. Homework. Free play.
5:30 PM--Dinner. Then time with family.
7:00 PM Start getting ready for bed.
8:30 PM--in bed 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Macro vs. Micro Cleaning


Nate and I hadn't been married for long when some good friends of ours were telling us about how they were opposite cleaners. One was macro and one was micro. I found it fascinating. Nate and I are opposite cleaners, also. Over the years, I have found most people have never heard of micro vs. micro cleaning. Understanding the concept can really help a couple understand hopes and expectations of cleanliness of the home.

It is quite simple. 

A macro cleaner is someone whose first priority in cleaning is all surfaces are clean. Everything you can see is picked up and out of eye-sight.

A micro cleaner is someone whose first priority in cleaning is in the details. The surfaces are not as important as what is behind the cupboard or in that drawer. 

A micro cleaner will not clean the nightstand off unless all of that stuff can be neatly put away in organized locations, where the macro cleaner would rather shove everything into the drawer than have the night stand be a complete mess. 

While you can drive each other crazy if you are opposite types of cleaners, it can really be good thing if you both have some attention to the opposite things. If you are both a certain type of cleaner, the good thing is you can live more harmoniously as far as how clean the house is or isn't. The bad thing is one thing can become severely neglected before you really notice.

I am a macro cleaner. 

Nate is a micro cleaner. 

Luckily, we both like things overall clean, but our focus is on different things. If I walk into a room and there is clutter, I feel like the house is in shambles. Nate doesn't mind the clutter so long as the drawers, closets, and cupboards are organized.

Someone who is a micro cleaner can feel like the house is messy when everything you see is cleaned with no clutter, but the closets are disorganized. A macro cleaner, however, is pretty good with things so long as it is out of sight (out of sight, out of mind, after all). 

For some people, it can stop there. For others, it can be more complicated. I am, of course, more complicated. 

I really like my drawers, cupboards, and closets clean. A lot. I like everything organized. But I know I am a macro cleaner before a micro cleaner. I have spent some time analyzing this beyond the, "I am just OCD and like everything clean" conclusion that I could draw.

I like my closets, drawers, and cupboards organized because that means my surfaces can be clear. If everything has a place, I know the things will be put into those places rather than sitting out hoping to be shoved into a home some day. By keeping things clean on a micro level, I am more easily able to ensure my first priority, macro, is taken care of. 

And just because someone has a micro as a first priority doesn't mean that person won't also appreciate when everything is put away (neatly). 

Take a moment to figure out what sort of cleaner you are and what sort of cleaner your spouse is. It can really help you understand each other. If you are a macro cleaner who works hard to keep the house clean, only to have your spouse agitated because things are a mess, there is a good chance your spouse is a micro cleaner is and is overlooking the beauty of your clean surfaces and stewing over the tornado of the coat closet. 

If you are a micro cleaner who spends a lot of time making sure your little spaces are perfectly organized (and that type of cleaning does take a lot of time!), you might be confused as to why your macro spouse feels like the house needs some attention just because there are piles here and there. You are going to get to them at some point, right? As soon as that closet is ready for the things to be put away just so.

It should be noted that both types of cleaners can be driven insane by children. The micro cleaners can never win because no child will have that level of detail, and some children actively work against that detail. So you will either clean everything up yourself to ensure things are just so, or you will be feeling that stress of knowing your closets are messy. The macro cleaners probably don't go quite as crazy because it is just easier and faster to clean on a macro level, especially when children are helping to clean. Children will make a macro mess every day, but it can be cleaned up. 

No matter which side of crazy you are on, just don't try to follow them around cleaning all day. You won't get anything done other than cleaning and re-cleaning their messes. At some point in my earlier years of parenting, I realized I had to pick 1-2 points in the day that would be clean up time rather than cleaning every time there was a mess. 

We clean up at transition points. We always pick up before bed. I like to have them clean up at the end of independent play because I feel like it helps them learn to clean up after themselves. We clean up at the end of any sort of art project before moving on to something else. I also usually require a full clean up before something like TV or video games are turned on.

No matter what kind of cleaner you are, require your children to help clean up after themselves when it is time. I know it takes (WAY) longer with a toddler than it does by yourself. The day does come that the child does a pretty good job. It is very worth the extra time and effort it takes you to teach them and make sure they do it. 

Knowing your preference can help you just know yourself that much better and understand what makes you tic (and what ticks you off!). 

So, what are you? Macro or micro?


Friday, February 27, 2015

February's Parent/Child Date Accountability Report


Two months into the new year and we are going strong on our dates with our kids! For February, I had Brayden and Kaitlyn and Nate had McKenna and Brinley.

I took Brayden out one evening to do grocery shopping and get a treat. Okay, I know grocery shopping does not sound like a fun date, but it is something he needed to do for a goal for scouting. We planned the meals for the week, made the list, and then discussed how to do things like compare prices and get the best deal. He did enjoy it. He also enjoyed getting a doughnut the size of his face. 9 year old boy who is a swimmer...yeah, he likes food.


I took Kaitlyn to see the musical Little Women. Kaitlyn really enjoys going to musicals. Kaitlyn and I read this book together last year. It is one of my favorites and she loved it when we read it, so this musical has a special place for the two of us. 

Nate took Brinley to our local duck pond to feed the ducks. They took a whole bunch of bread and Brinley had a great time feeding the ducks who were ravenous. 

Tomorrow, Nate is taking McKenna to an indoor rock climbing house to do some rock climbing. McKenna is very strong and loves to use her muscles. Last summer, we had a small local fair in our town where there was one of those companies that brings in a climbing wall for kids to climb. McKenna was our first child to get to the top (she inspired the others to try a little harder and make it up, also). She loved the experience and is very much looking forward to doing it again. 

Once again, I am updating date info on this page: http://www.babywisemom.com/p/dates.html. It will be a running list to help give you ideas if you need them.

Don't forget to check out the eBook I co-authored. Go here for more info:


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Outside Toys Worth the Investment (All-Star Toys)

Outside weather is coming! It is! I know some of you will find that very hard to believe, while some of you are in it...and some of you are actually approaching winter. Despite your weather situation, let's talk outside toys.

Top Five All-Star Toys

Sidewalk Chalk
Sidewalk Chalk is very enjoyable for all children. It is also very handy for creating fun outdoor learning games. While some chalk is better quality than others, I really just go for whatever is inexpensive. Sometimes the better quality chalk is less expensive than lesser-quality. Chalk gets abused. Some kids basically sit and rub one stick over and over until it is in just a nub. Sometimes chalk gets left out and rain water or sprinkler water soaks it (and then kids decide to soak it intentionally once they realize how cool it is to write with wet chalk). The chalk gets spilled and shatters no matter what brand it is...

This doesn't mean I allow my children free-for-all or offer a never-ending supply of chalk. I plan on buying one container of chalk each spring and let them know that is what they get until the next spring. They can decide how to treat it from there.

Bubbles
Bubbles are loved by pretty much every child out there. Bubbles are great because they work as an outside toy whether you have your own yard or not. You might not be able to go draw sidewalk chalk at the park or all over the sidewalks at your apartment complex, but bubbles will work. You can even blow them inside if you want to. I buy these Bubbles and pour them into smaller bubble containers when they run out. We often buy bubble blowers (or the kids get them as birthday gifts from friends). They have all been lots of fun and a great way to save your breath, but they always break within the same season we got the blower. Just don't expect a bubble blower to last very long.

Some Sort of Bicycle
There are a lot of versions of bikes. You have the Tricycle, the Bicycle, the Balance Bike, the Scooter, the PlasmaCar... There are so many possibilities. They all have their merits and all have their time that your child will favor that particular item. Think about what your storage space capabilities are and what you think your child would like best. I keep trying to think of what is the BEST and I just can't do it. My kids really love the plasma car, and it is easy to ride on from a young age. A bicycle is a must at a certain age--probably by 3. Scooters are a big hit in our neighborhood. My neighbor lives for his balance bike (but Brinley is scared of hers).

Water Table
I did not buy a water table until Brinley's first birthday. Anyone with a water table is likely thinking "What?!?!?" I know! Once we got it, I realized what a huge hit it is with kids. It is such a fun toy. It is a great toy to have outside, especially when it is hot outside. Now, if you don't have space or means for a water table, you can easily make your own version by filling up a large bowl or tote with water and putting it outside to play in. Add some measuring cups from the dollar store and you have a party.

Sandbox
I have a love/hate relationship with our sandbox. I love it because it is an absolute favorite toy in the yard. I hate it because sand gets everywhere. There is always a trail of sand in the house. The hours of fun they have with it make the hate worth it in my life. We made our sandbox, but you can buy them for a reasonable price.



Large All-Star Toys

Swing Set
A swing set is a very fun object to have in the yard. It is a worthy investment. We purchased ours from Swing Kingdom. We have had it for almost six years and we have loved it! We have never regretted it. A fun thing is that they are sturdy enough that adults can use them. There are a lot of nice swing sets out there. Before we got our nice one, we had a basic swing set left behind at the house we bought and that worked great for our kids while they were smaller.

Trampoline
I know a lot of people worry about having a trampoline. My husband was one and I went along with it for many years. When I was pregnant with Brinley, however, I put my foot down and declared we would be purchasing a trampoline. I was about to have a new baby and McKenna was going to be home without siblings and I wanted something I knew would keep her busy and get exercise at the same time. We have loved having it. We got one similar to this.

Our Current All-Star Toys

Basketball Hoop
Last year, we put a basketball hoop in our backyard. This is currently Brayden's favorite thing to play with outside (age 9). This is where he spends most of his time. It is my favorite, also.





Jump Rope
A few years ago, we found several of these jump ropes at a garage sale for less than a dollar a piece. These are awesome jump ropes. Jump rope is what Kaitlyn does most outside right now (age 7). A good jump rope makes all the difference in whether or not the child will be interested in using it. Cheap dollar store jump ropes won't cut it.


Rollerblades
Hands down, McKenna's favorite thing to do outside is rollerblading (age 5). She is in love with it. She wants to do it at every opportunity. Decent roller blades help in the child's enjoyment. McKenna got these rollerblades for Christmas and they have been awesome. I didn't think she would be able to wear them for months since we live in Norther Utah, but I knew they would be her favorite gift, so I got them. We have had a very mild winter so she has been able to use them quite a bit!

Cozy Coupe
Wondering about Brinley (age 2)? She really has a very varied "favorite." She loves to draw with chalk. She loves bubbles. She enjoys plasma cars. The water table would be loved if it wasn't winter (she does ask for it, though). The sandbox is covered for winter, but it is a favorite when it is out. She loves to swing and jump on the trampoline. The thing in addition to what I have talked about that she loves to do is drive in her Cozy Coupe.


What are your all-star outdoor toys? Anything I missed? Anything I need to try out? Today is the BFBN Pinterest day, so check out our Pinterest page. Check out the other ladies for their fun ideas today, too!



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Poll Discussion: Potty Training


Today's poll is on potty training! This is definitely a topic people love to hear tips on and know what experiences people have had. It is easiest for me when compiling the results if you copy the questions, along with the numbers, and paste them into your comment. Then answer the questions. If you do not have an answer to a question, you can just put "N/A." Thank you!

1-How old was your child when you started potty training that ended successfully?
2-Did your child have a hard time learning to pee in the potty?
3-Did your child have a hard time learning to poop in the potty?
4-Did you ever use pull ups? If so, when?
5-How long did it take your child to stay clean and dry in underwear relatively consistently?
6-How did you have your child dressed from the waist down during potty training? (i.e. bare-bum, underwear only, fully dressed, pull-up...)
7-How long after starting potty training could your child take a nap in underwear?
8-How long after starting potty training could your child sleep at night in underwear?
9-Did you do a "dreampee"? If so, for how long?
10-Any tips for potty training parents?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Newborn Sleep Patterns

Despite the fact that we all sleep daily, sleep is not necessarily "intuitive" for us. There are many facets about sleep we don't understand in ourselves (What time is best for you to go to bed? What time to wake up? How many hours are best for you? Do you sleep better with or without socks? etc.). Figuring out the sleep of your new baby can be quite the project.

Newborns usually have a regular pattern to their sleep, and understanding that can help you in understanding what is going on and what you can do to help facilitate great sleep.

1-Newborns Make Noise Often, But That Doesn't Mean They Are Awake
A brand newborn is usually super noisy when first born. They make all kinds of grunts, sighs, "huh's"... They couple these noises with eyes fluttering open and often smiles. It is adorable! It is fun to watch, but do not get baby up every time you hear these sounds. This is just a noisy part of the sleep cycle. Let baby continue to sleep unless it is time for baby to be eating anyway. 

2-Sleep Cycles Change Every 45 Minutes
A newborn goes into sleep in REM sleep (See Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child page 59). About 45 minutes into a nap, the baby will transition into non-REM sleep. These transitions happen about every 45 minutes. At the 45 minute mark, your baby will stir. Your baby might make noise and might even open her eyes. Your baby might just shift slightly. Do not mistaken transitioning for waking up. Let your baby move into the next sleep state. 

3-Body Temperature Influences Sleep
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child talks about biological rhythms starting on page 50. One influence on sleep is body temperature, and this remains true even up to adults. There isn't a way for you to really measure or respond to this, but know that as a baby gets to about 6 weeks, baby's temperatures start to get closer to what is best for longer night time sleep. There are biological factors out of your control that will impact how well baby sleeps at night. 

4-Melatonin Impacts Sleep
Melatonin is a hormone that comes from your pineal glad. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. A newborn is born with "high levels of circulating melatonin" that came from the mother while in the womb. That is present for the first week. This is when you should sleep ;). 

After a week, all of that melatonin wears off and the baby is left with...not much. Around 6 weeks old, "melatonin begins to reappear as the baby's pineal gland matures" (page 51). The levels are "extremely low" until 12-16 weeks old. 

You can see from those numbers that they coincide with ages that babies start to sleep better. 6 weeks, followed by about 12...sound familiar? 

And do not decide to give your baby melatonin to induce more sleep. It has not been tested on babies. Also, I have to think there is a reason babies were designed the way they were designed by someone smarter than we are, so don't medicate or supplement your baby against what every healthy newborn baby naturally does--decrease melatonin levels. 

5-Newborns Do Not Stay Awake Long
Your newborn will be up for a very short time before needing to nap again. Your newborn will be awake anywhere from 30-60 minutes, including feeding time, before it is time to sleep once again (see my post Optimal Waketime Lengths to figure out how long your baby should be awake). Do not fight your baby on this. Let your baby sleep and your baby will sleep better overall. Overly tired babies start to sleep very poorly. 

If you want more time with your baby, you can absolutely hold your baby sometimes. It is wise to be aware of the amount of time since baby fell asleep. Do not try to put baby down in her own bed right around the 45 minute mark. This will likely wake her up since she is transitioning. Put her down before or after the transition if you are going to. If you hold your baby through the transition, do not try to wake the baby up during the transition. Let baby get into the next sleep cycle. 

I hope this information helps you understand the sleep of newborns a bit better.

Helpful Related Posts:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Surviving Colic



Thank you to all who contributed to sharing how they survived colic. I hope you will find ideas and comfort here.

Time

Katie said: "Time. Knowing it was a season, knowing that all babies cry and they're okay."

Do What Works

Sallie said:  "Hang in there...my first was an easy, baby wise compliant baby but my second was anything but. Do what works in this season. Study your baby. You will see what he/she needs from you, do that. Lots of baby wearing, swing sleeping (if you call it sleep), and standing swaying. I tried to stick to a regular breastfeeding schedule and the sleep and crying part eventually worked its self out. My boy sleeps wonderful for naps and at night now. It's rough but it won't last forever, even though it feels like it will" 

Jessica said: "Moby wrap, rocking chair and singing...and an iPad to read one once she fell asleep on me!" 

Katie said: "Letting them do some crying on their own when I couldn't take it anymore. The swing for naps if they'd take it. Swaddling of course. Extra feeds sometimes."

Hiring/Accepting Help

Katie said: "Hiring mother's helpers for cleaning, watching other kids whenever I could"

Ellen said: "Asking for help! Having babysitters just so momma can get out of house for couple hours. Now he's 2 1/2 and that seems like a thing of the very distant past. Hate being away from him now."

Treating Gas and Reflux

Jennifer said: "Probiotics, tummy massage for gas, Zantac for silent reflux and doing what you need to get them to sleep!(swaddle, rocking, sound machine, keeping upright, holding them, sshing, dark room)"

Kim said: "My son is 11 weeks old and we just got over the hump of dealing with colic. Our two lifesavers were gripe water and Gerber Soothe Colic probiotic drops. We found out later that he has reflux and issues with dairy. He is now on medication and a hypo-allergenic formula and is like a different babe! Hang in there, mamas!"

Sherri said: "Laying him on tummy or across arm on tummy can also help move gas.....hang in there, mom, he'll grow out of it in a few months."

Alyssa said: "Get a baby carrier and use GERD meds if applicable." 

Amanda said: "Swaddling, Zantac for reflux, & Nutramigen formula"

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water is my favorite!

Maintain Schedule/Pattern/Routine as Best You Can

Jennifer said: "Also, keeping the eat/play/sleep cycle helps as well. Even if they are crying straight through the play and sleep cycles, they are learning that when it is light they are awake and when it is dark it is time to sleep. I believe this helped our little guy have good sleep habits once the colic period ended."

Carrie said: "I've had two babies now with reflux and the best advice I have is to follow the routine of EWS instead of a schedule by the clock. Sometimes smaller, more frequent meals feel better on the tummy."

Sarah said: "Walking with baby tightly wrapped in Moby, gas drops, Zantac, maintaining an eating schedule as Jennifer said."

Chiropractor

Tiffany said: "My first had severe colic. 

It didn't go away until she was 6 months old... after being treated by a chiropractor."

Food Changes

Ashley said: " If breastfeeding, an elimination diet. If formula, change it."

Misty said: "Diet diet diet!!!! Colic Ease off amazon, moby wrap, swaddled, my third we finally figured out she wanted a super early bed time 6:30 and then no dream feed plus no dairy or high acid foods. Usually diet is causing the reflux so meds are just bandaid for underlying problem"

Medicines

Savannah said: "Colic-Calm works really well! And lots of baby wearing!"

Melissa said: " A combination of things: outside support, the 5 S's, essential oils, and something called colic calm."

Rebekkah said: "Probiotics! Colic is often a yeast infection in the gut!"

Emilie said: " Probiotics! Gerber soothe is magic!!!"  Find it here: Gerber Soothe Colic Drops

Jeanine said: "DigestZen essential oil!"

Vaneska said: "Baby wearing, probiotics, bouncing on a Swiss ball, incline crib,"

Lindsey said: "Colic calm! Cluster feeding, outside time, baby wearing."

Beth said: " I agree! Colic calm and baby wearing saved us. And, ASK FOR HELP!"

Bowen Treatments

David said: "Bowen treatments worked, only 1-3 sessions. too long to explain what it is, but really, look it up, its amazing."

Swing

Catalina said: "My kid slept in a swing for 5 months!"

Alyssa said: "Also establishing daily alone swing time from the start. Calmest 20 minutes of my day." 

Swaddling

Good Advice

Shea said: "This is @Shea 'Sims' Moses here- my 2nd daughter suffered through this severely. If I could go back and tell myself some helpful tips I would say 1. Be consistent with feeds and wake times to the best of your ability, but forget all the other rules. Whatever comforts the baby during this time, do it. 2. It will end, and the consistency you provide will be helpful in getting a "late" full start on babywise once this time has passed. 3. They can still be happy infants. It may take longer for them to understand and comply with routine, but it does happen!!" 

Savannah said: "Colic calm works really well! And lots of baby wearing!"

Lydia said: "Accepting help!
Moby wrap
Patience

And letting housework go for a bit"

Jennifer said: "I want to second the iPad or some kind of device easy to read in the dark! I also listened to podcasts when rocking for what seemed like hours at a time "



See Also:

Surviving Witching Hour


Friday, February 20, 2015

Feed Me Friday: Slowcooker Lasagna


I always try to have one slowcooker recipe in my meal plan for each week. A slowcooker recipe is fantastic for busy evenings. You can make the meal in the morning hours and have it to eat in the evening hours. This is one of my husband's favorite meals of all time. The lasagna doesn't come out pretty, but it comes out delicious.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (my husband likes at least 4 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 29 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces of no-cook lasagna noodles (though to be honest, I have used no-cook and cook and both work fine)
Method:
  1. In a skillet, brown beef with onion and garlic.
  2. Once browned, add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, and oregano. Mix well. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses.
  4. In a 5 quart slowcooker, spread about 1/4 of the meat sauce (this isn't rocket science; just eyeball it).
  5. Arrange 1/3 of the noodles.
  6. Spoon 1/3 of the cheese mix over noodles. 
  7. Repeat meat sauce, then noodles, then cheese.
  8. Again, repeat meat sauce, noodles, then cheese.
  9. Top with remaining meat sauce. 
  10. My husband likes to add more mozzarella cheese over this final layer of sauce. 
  11. Cook on low until noodles are tender. My recipe says 4-5 hours, but I have found 4 hours is too long. I like 3.5 hours. 
Serve With:
This goes well with some sort of bread--french bread, baguettes, bread sticks... I also always serve with a green vegetable such as green salad, peas, or green beans.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Books for Mom


I often share what books my kids love to read, but what about books for mom? I love to read. I have always enjoyed reading. After years of finding it difficult to fit reading into my life as a mom, I decided to give myself a day each week that would be my "reading" day. My main task on my list of things to do every Thursday is to read. It is awesome!

It can be hard to sift through newer books and know what is worth the time and effort to read, however. I love places like Amazon or Good Reads where you can see how things are rated. A difficult thing with a book, though, is that we all have different tastes and we all have different standards. 

Here I share my favorite books. Know that I like clean books. I don't like profanity and I don't like to read details about sexual relations even if the characters are married. These are all books I would say are worth your time and effort to read.

Classics
Classics are my first love when it comes to literature. If you have a way to read eBooks, these are awesome because you can get versions of them for free. Here are some of my favorites.
Modern Classics
These books are more modern--meaning published in the 1900s. 
  • The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you asked me to name the greatest book ever written, I would say The Lord of the Rings (it is actually meant to be one book, so I can). I think it is pure genius. If I could only ever read one book again for the rest of my life (outside of scripture), it would be this one.
  • The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1) by Lois Lowry. This is another amazing book. Reading all four is worth your time, but the first book is the best by far. 
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman. This book is every bit as enjoyable as the movie and then some. 
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. If you want a book to inspire you to be a better person, this read is for you.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • 1984 by George Orwell
Modern Books
  • The Complete Harry Potter Collection by J.K. Rowling. Initially, I would not read these books. I was sure they were some cheap attempt to fabricate the Lord of the Rings, and you know how I feel about those books. My friend talked me into it. These books are completely amazing! 
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford
  • I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies Book 1) by Pttacus Lore. Though I must say, the first book was delightful, and the other books have been nice, but the series is still being written--there are 5 so far! To me, this is just kind of stretching things out more than they need to go. If you do decide to read it, you might want to wait until they are done being written...if that day comes.
Dystopian Novels
Dystopian novels seem to be my favorite genre right now, which is handy because people like to write about it now. I tend to read young adult novels because they are usually clean (though not always, sadly). 
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Legend series by Marie Lu
  • Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) by Marissa Meyer
  • The Selection series by Kiera Cass. (this is really more "love" than dystopian)
  • Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I read the first two books before the third was released. I thought these books were so well done...until I got to the third. I hated the third book, and not for the reasons you think if you have read it. I really sincerely wish I had just read the first two and then finished the series in my head. 
Mysteries
I also really enjoy mysteries
  • Deception Point by Dan Brown. I enjoy all of Dan Brown's books. Deception Point is my favorite. If you decide to read them, do not read them all at once. He has a predictable writing pattern and you will ruin the fun of the mystery if you don't give yourself space between the books.
  • John Grisham. I don't think I have a favorite by John Grisham. I think I enjoy his older books the most. He is the same as Dan Brown, do not read them all in a row. And while most are clean, some are not. 
I would love to hear from you on books you have loved reading!

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