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15 Must-Own Picture Books


Some books are just timeless. Must-own, beloved by all. The sad truth is we run out of space in our homes. I am out of space for books at my house. Some books are must-owns, and others are great to check out from the library every so often. Here is my list of must-own picture books.

In this list, I have not included books I listed in the Great Picture Books for BoysGreat Picture Books for Girls, Best Board Books to Own, or Great Books for Back to School posts. Why? Because I can be terribly indecisive and this way I get to recommend those books while still having a list here that is not a million miles long. This post contains affiliate links.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.


This is a rhyming book that teaches letters. This is a classic that is often used in preschools at the beginning of the year to help introduce letters to little ones. Bill Martin is an author who has made other lists of mine, so be sure to check out all of his books.



Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Breidwell


This is an absolute classic series. We have several Clifford books, and my kids have all loved them. Brayden read one so often that he had the entire book memorized before he was two years old. You must own at least one. 




Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
One way you can tell the first book was amazing is by how many books follow. Duck & Goose has a whole lot of books that follow behind it. These books teach about sharing and cooperating and explore the complexities of friendships.





Dr. Seuss books by Dr. Seuss


You have to own Dr. Seuss books. It is a definite must. What other author has an entire week dedicated to him/her every week of every year? You can buy them one by one, or you can buy a nice boxed collection. I like these better than the big fat book that holds every book ever written just because it is easier for little kids to handle the smaller, individual books without ripping pages. 


If You Give a... by Laura Joffe Numeroff


These "If You Give..." books are fantastic. The genius of these books is how much they capture the essence of toddlers and preschoolers. Let's be honest, it is all of us! It is human nature! We bought a back of these from a scholastic book order one year, and that is a great and inexpensive way to go about getting a bunch of these books. All of my children have loved these books.


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
This is an amusing tale of a little toddler and her lovie. It takes us through the horror of little Trixie losing her lovie and what her parents will do to get it back. It is relatable on so many levels. Children read it with much angst, imagining what they would do if their lovie was left behind. Parents read it all too knowingly, either recalling that time they moved heaven and earth to get the lovie back or knowing full well that is what they would do in the same situation. 

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney


This is another timeless series with a lot of follow-up books. They have only been around basically as long as Brayden has been alive, but even in that short time, they have become classics. The author sadly passed away this year, so there won't be more from her. But she left behind plenty to enjoy!


Love You Forever by Robert Munsch


This is a sweet story about the love of a mother toward a child and a child toward a mother. It is a super classic book that has been making people cry for a long time :).





Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

This is a sweet book. This is a Caldecott winner and has been a favorite for generations. It has been labeled one of the best picture books ever, so it is a must on this list of must-own picture books.





This book is one that will make your children giggle. It is a book with rhyming text. The message of this story is that the grass may seem greener, but maybe life as you have it is actually quite perfect.



No David! by David Shannon


This is a Caldecott honor book. I love this book because it captures what children might often feel--that life is full of "nos." It really helps us adults to remember what childhood is like from the perspective of a child. 



Nursery Rhymes


A book of nursery rhymes is a must-own for every household. A nursery rhyme is a nursery rhyme, so the book you choose only matters based on what illustrations your child likes. McKenna was obsessed over one from Lucy Cousins. Brinley preferred one from Roger Priddy (pictured). 


Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen


Hands down, this was Kaitlyn's absolute favorite picture book for many years. This is a great story about choosing your own attitude. This book has great repetition in the text, which is very valuable to have in a book.  




Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton


Splat is a character who has taken off and been embraced by children everywhere. There are a lot of Splat books to enjoy. The books are humorous and at the same time teach good lessons. Splat isn't the only character this author has written about. He is also the author of the Russell the Sheep books, which are also very fun!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


Caldecott medal winner way back in the 60s, this book has been a classic for very long time. Any book that can remain a favorite and a classic that long is surely a book worth owning and a book that is timeless.



That is my list! Do you have any that you would add? Any must-own books? Any you would absolutely buy again if you had it to do all over?


You will also enjoy:

best board books

books for boys


books for girls

back to school books

gateway chapter books




Onion Slicer {Friday Finds}


Kitchen space is limited. I get it. There is a do-dad and special kitchen gadget for just about every fruit, vegetable, and cracker out there. When I walk around a kitchen specialty store, I have to stifle my laughs while simultaneously wondering if much of it ever gets purchased by real people.

With that said, some of those weird specialty products prove themselves to be well worth the space they take up in your kitchen. And I have a fantastic one today. This post contains affiliate links. 

I first saw this Orblue Onion Slicer on a sponsored ad on Facebook. I have already expressed how I feel about having a special kitchen gadget for everything, so I watched the video more with the intention to laugh at it and shake my head at people. I have a knife. I have a cutting board. I have hands. That has always been enough to cut onions.

But it looked pretty awesome. 

It stayed on my mind for a couple of days, so I finally looked it up on Amazon. At $12 dollars, I decided I could risk it to see if it was worth it. Plus I can often talk myself into trying certain things out in order to be able to report awesome things to you all.

It looked awesome.

It turned out it was and is awesome.

And it is worth $12 FOR SURE. 

If you find yourself often chopping onions, this is a gadget you will love. If you don't chop onions, I wouldn't really go for it. Maybe for a tomato (though I honestly have never used it for a tomato). I tried it once on a cucumber and decided it just slowed me down.

For the onion, however, it is worth it. It makes the process faster for me. Above all, the size of the onion pieces once chopped are very uniform. This is especially handy any time I am using the onions raw (like in a pico de gallo or in a summer salad). 

Love! 

This would make a great stocking stuffer for you. Just sayin'. 




My favorite finds

Favorite Fall Recipes


I love fall! I love the colors of Fall, the sights of Fall, the smells of Fall, and I super love Fall food. Here are my favorite, must-have recipes each Fall.

Pumpkin Recipes 
I obviously love Fall enough that I have already talked to you about great pumpkin recipes. We are talking cookies, latte, ice cream sandwiches (YUM!), shakes, and Alfredo.

Pumpkin Recipes

Butterbeer
Last year was our first time making Butterbeer, and it was so fantastic! It is a new tradition for us to have this around Halloween. We have this one from Princess Pinky Girl. There are warm versions on Pinterest if you want to search it out and find one you love.

Butterbeer recipe
Apple Dip
Apples are in season this time of year, which means you can buy a lot for a little, which means having apple dip just makes sense. See? Logic. If you have read many of my recipe posts, you know I love Our Best Bites. This post contains affiliate links. In their first recipe book, you will find their Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip. They also have it on their website, lucky you. 

fruit dip recipe

In their seasons cookbook, they have a Homemade Dulce de Leche, which is fantastic with apples.  They also have this on their website! Also in that book is my favorite pasta for Fall, Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce. Seriously amazing. That is not on their website, so if you want it, you will have to get their cookbook. Which is fantastic. 

Soups
Another thing I love about Fall is that I can add soup to our weekly menu. I do a different kind of soup each week. To be honest, my kids HATE soup. Really. This is despite the fact that we have it every week all Fall and all Winter. That is 6 months of the year. A soup is a success if they say, "Hmm..this actually isn't terrible." We actually have a couple of soups they do like, and I will share one below. 

Despite them hating it, I make it every week. I always include a bread of some type because they all like breads. I don't mind them having to eat something they don't love. I think it builds character--haha! We will see what they decide to do with that experience when they are parents. Soup is usually pretty fast and easy and can often be done in a slow-cooker if needed, plus Nate and I love it. Our Best Bites has a great variety of soups on their blog and in their books. I have shared a couple of soup recipes on this blog in the past. Click on the picture to go to the post. 

Autumn soup recipe

Beef Stew


Potato Cheese Soup
This recipe has a special place in my heart. My Grandmother made this for us every time we visited her. I liked it as a kid and it is one soup my kids like. You will see why. It is simple :)


Ingredients:
  • Potatoes (number depends on how much soup you want. My recipe calls for 4 large potatoes. I use about 10 medium potatoes for my family). Peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Water (enough to cover potatoes)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (or more--it depends on how cheesy you like it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley to taste
Method:
  1. Put diced potatoes and onions in your stock pot. Cover with water. Simmer until tender.
  2. Once potatoes are tender, melt butter in skillet. Add flour and heat slowly until it bubbles. Stir in milk and continue stirring and cooking until thickened. This is a roux.
  3. Add roux into potato mixture. Stir in. Bring to a a boil.
  4. Add cheese. Simmer until thickened.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Add parsley if desired. 
  7. Eat! 


Today the BFBN is posting on meal ideas. Here are all of the posts for you to check out and enjoy!

How to Establish Safe Media Standards For Your Family


As I sat listening to the older, seasoned women in the room talk, I came to the horrifying realization that we were alone. My generation of parents were the pioneers in learning how to parent children in the digital-crazed, media-filled modern day. On most parenting topics, we can turn to people who have been there, done that. Even if the world is a bit different, we can glean wisdom because the basic problems faced are the same.

But the digital world has changed that.

We don't have previous wisdom to tell us what age is wise to allow a child to get a cell phone. We don't have data to show the impact of too much social media, or even too little media. I mean, we are living in a digital world; will children be able to grow to be adults who can function in society if they are simply banned from digital media throughout their childhood?

That horrifying realization was about ten years ago. We knew very little then. We could postulate and hypothesize. We did not know for sure, though.

Ten years is a long time, and we now have some evidence of what media is doing to our world. We are starting to have young adults come into society having a hard time interacting face to face; they are used to interacting over things text and SnapChat. Granted not all early 20-somethings are that way, but it is prevalent in society.

The concern goes beyond concern for social skills, however. It goes deeper than that. It goes to concern for moral skills. 

When children and teenagers (and even adults!) have the Internet at their fingertips 24 hours a day, they do more than surf and chat with friends. Many times, they chat with strangers and end up in morally compromising situations. Many times, they find themselves caught up in pornography

So how do we protect our children from this pitfall?

Remember when I said even if the world is different, we can glean wisdom from those who have gone before us? Even in facing the digital unknown, we can apply that principle.

What are some core values we can look to? What can we do with our children even from a young age to help protect them against media pitfalls down the road? How can we possibly manage this without years of wisdom to guide us? Here are some ideas.

1-You are the parent, and therefore in charge
Always keep this in mind. You are the parent, so you are the one in charge. That means you get to set the rules. That means you get to set the limits. That means you get to set the limitations. Keep this in mind from the time your child is young and on up. Your child has one set of parents, but many friends. Do not neglect the parenting role in order to try to fill the friend role. Have the Courage to Be a Parent.  See also:
2-Start as you mean to go on
Start as you mean to go on. We talk about this with sleeping and with simple discipline rules. Do the same thing with your media and technology rules. Do not start something with a toddler or preschooler that you don't want happening with a teenager. Always keep prevention in mind. It is easier to prevent problems than to fix problems. Now, this doesn't mean you can't ever change a rule or update a rule. Just be aware of habits you are allowing to form and precedents you are setting and be sure they are habits you are okay with. 

3-Limit the amount of time your child is using technology
Keep your child plugged into the world around her. Do not let her only interact with the online world. Have her interact with the people around her, also. It is okay for you to have a time limit on how much technology can be consumed in a day. It is okay to just not allow any technology on certain days. I have a friend who doesn't allow any television or video games at all except on Saturdays. We do a three hour video game limit per week at our house. There are a lot of ways you can go, and there isn't one right way for every family or for every season. If the precedent is that there are limitations, then even when the limitations change, your child will understand that limitations exist in your home. For more on this topic, see Balancing Technology and also Digital Overload and What to Do About It.

With that said, technology is part of life. Do not try to just banish it from your family's life. You want to teach your children to learn to manage it. Help them learn to use technology for their own good and for helping others. What you want to avoid is your child letting technology use them. 

4-Keep technology off at certain times
Today we have smartphones and tablets. When I was a kid, it was the television. While we have 24 hour finger access to technology, the idea of technology infiltrating the home is not new. Having the phone ring on the wall isn't that different from your phone beeping to alert you of a text. What is the wisdom from those who came before us?

Have times when technology is not turned to. Have family dinner without interruptions from the television, Facebook, or texting. Choose other times to just have the phones and devices put away. Make a policy. Make it a tradition. Make it what you do. Do it now so it is just the way it is when your children are teenagers. 

5-Do not allow electronics to be taken into the bedroom
When my children are second graders and really grow into being avid readers, I get them a Kindle Fire  (affiliate link) for Christmas. The perk of the Fire is that you can watch movies on it and play games on it, which is great if you are going on a long car ride and don't have a TV in your car. 

As my children got older, however, I became increasingly uncomfortable with them taking the Internet to their bedroom each night. They were reading books, but as they got older, the possibility of them using the Internet and having something pop up became more and more of a concern. They say that it is not a matter of IF your child will see something in appropriate on the Internet, but WHEN. I don't want that when to be in their bedroom alone at night. 

Computers are not new to the world, and a long-standing piece of advice for families has been to put the computer in a common area in the home so that people can not use it privately. That is the wisdom I have to look at from those who came before me. Keeping that same idea, it made no sense to send the Internet into my child's bed each night.

With that realization, I literally purchased (affiliate link)  Kindle Paperwhites for Brayden and Kaitlyn the next day. I don't love spending money, especially when I basically already have the item. They both had Fires already. They read on their Fires. But the cost was low in my mind. I got them each a Paper White without the special offers. I didn't want them getting advertising. They are not allowed to take the Fire into their bedrooms. They can take their Paperwhite with them to bed to read at night.

I know a lot of families have a common charging station in the kitchen or other public area. Everyone plugs their phones and other devices in at the charging station each night. That way you can be sure
devices are not being taken to the bedroom.

6-Always have a policy that you can check any device, any time
Make a habit to check devices. Monitor what has been going on with the device. What texts have been made, what phone calls have been made, what websites have been visited? Now, sadly the world of technology changes constantly and apps are created to be able to do things untracked. That leads us to...

7-Stay aware of trends
It is wise for you to find someone to follow who is on the up and up with technology. Unless you are an expert, you won't be able to keep up. Find people you can follow who will keep up for you. Two ideas for you are Common Sense Media or The Cyber Safety Lady. Remember, technology changes more often than you changed your clothes when you had a newborn. You have to choose to be aware. What is the latest app being used? Be friends with your child on any social media site she is on. You might even require that you have the password as well. 

8-Be an example
Parental example is always the first place a child looks to learn about life. Be an example of wise media use. Do not let your phone rule your life. Interact with your child and not your phone. Let that text message wait until after dinner. Resist the urge to pull the phone out every time you are bored. For young children, your example is the most profound teacher in life. 

Conclusion
Enough time has now passed that we do have parents to look to with advice for technology and students. We don't have to fly blind. We also can look at basic standards that have stood the test of time and apply them to our families and technology use. We don't have to navigate this blindly, and we don't need to be horrified at the task before us. We can do it if we only try!

See also:

how to teach our children about pornography