A Favorite Kid Read: Ten Little Puppies

Ten Little PuppiesMy kiddos are both in love with Ten Little Puppies by Marian Harris and illustrated by Jim Harris. The book has wiggly eyes that move as you move the book, which adds to the fun. My kids like the rhymes and the illustrations of puppies doing everything from jumping on the bed to riding on fire trucks. It is a cute read. I took this book to Evan’s preschool class (full of four and five year olds) when I was the mystery reader and it did not disappoint. It is also Madelyn’s go-to bedtime book right now and one of her favorite things to read to her stuffed animals.

Ten Little Puppies and Madelyn

Loving Hibernation Station

My sister-in-law is a teacher and is always giving my kiddos awesome books. One of our latest favorites is Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus.

The first time I read it to Madelyn, Evan was taking a bath and overheard the story. He hopped out of the bathtub and hurried into Madelyn’s room (dripping water on the hardwood floors) so he wouldn’t miss anything. He loves that it is a rhyming book. Madelyn loves it, too. She recently selected it as one of the books she wanted to read to Minnie.

The story and the illustrations keeps keep both of my kiddos engaged to the end and  Madelyn always asks for more and we read it again and again. The best part for me is that it is one of those books that I don’t mind reading over and over and over! I highly recommend it.

Batman + Phonics = Fun

My little guy is in love with the Batman Phonics Fun box set of books. It is awesome! Each book outlines a different sound and highlights the words in the book that use that sound.

Plus, it combines easy-to-read words and superheroes. Yeah! That short ‘a’ sound is so much more fun when it is in the word Batman and don’t even get me started on the long ‘o’ in Joker. Evan gets so excited when he hears the featured vowel sound and he always shouts, “I heard it!” We have had to stop reading the books at bedtime because he gets so into it.

Evan is also learning to recognize words in the books. I love that he is learning to read simply from having fun with the books he likes. As both an avid reader and a writer, I want my kids to associate reading with something that’s enjoyable. That’s what its all about, isn’t it?

Some Weekend Reading

Are you busy weekending? We are, but I still manage to find some time to sneak in my favorite blogs. If you have some time to fit in a little reading, here are some of my favorite reads (either new or new-to-me posts) from the past week.

Do Labels Help or Hurt?

Between my work schedule and my kiddos, I barely have time to read for fun, but I somehow managed to read The You I Never Knew by Susan Wiggs in just two days. This was the type of book that had me sneaking pages any chance I could get. Last night I caught myself sitting on the edge of the tub, holding the book in one hand and washing my kids’ hair with the other. I sometimes feel guilty when a novel takes my attention away from my motherly duties, but I figure that if reading is my biggest vice, my kids have gotten off pretty easy.

My hubby’s grandma gave the book to me It wasn’t until I finished it that I realized the word ROMANCE across the binding.

Yes, it was a love story, but I was surprised to see it categorized at romance. In my mind, it is a book about relationships, and a novel that would appeal to a lot of fiction readers—not just those who favor romance novels. In addition to being a great novel that made me feel like I was at a ranch in Montana (even with Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Wash dripping down my right hand), the book made me think about how books are labeled.

As a writer, I realize that publishers and booksellers need to put books in nice and neat categories. I also know that as I reader I gravitate to the sections of the bookstore that house the types of books I like. But those very tools that are meant to help us find what we want can also keep us from discovering great reads we’d love.

Had it not been given to me, I likely never would have found The You I Never Knew. That would have been my loss as I really loved this book. Susan Wiggs kept me entertained and made the characters and places in the book come alive. Now that I’ve finished it, I plan to go back through and try to figure out how Wiggs worked her magic. I am also going to branch out a little more often and check out books that aren’t necessarily my type. You never know, science fiction could totally be my thing and I don’t even know it yet

A Kid Favorite: Tails

Both of my kids love Tails by Matthew Van Fleet. Evan has been a fan of the book since he turned one and now Madelyn is following in his footsteps. She loves the hands-on textures and gets so excited when she gets the book all to herself. That, of course, only happens when Evan is at school. 

They both love it so much that I’m thinking of buying a second copy!  

A Favorite Blog

Do you read the Nie Nie Dialogues—a blog by Stephanie Nielson? I’m a fan. In case you don’t follow Stephanie, she is a mom, a blogger and a burn survivor. I find her totally inspiring. It could be because my nephew is a burn survivor. I witnessed with lots of love and tears the ups and downs that take place in the burn unit. When I first started reading Nie Nie, all I could think about was my own family’s reaction to those first tragic days and months after my nephew’s accident. Nothing can prepare you for such a life-changing event.

I think the thing I like most about Nie Nie’s blog is that she reminds me of the simple joys we should savor in life. She literally fought for her life so she could hug her little ones and be there to make them lunch in the morning. It puts things in perspective for me. I take for granted how easy it is to give my kiddos a bath or cart them around for a piggyback ride. Check out Stephanie talking about caring for her kids on Oprah. 

Tomorrow night 20/20 is doing a story on Stephanie. Are you planning to watch? I will be. I’ll be thinking of my nephew and what it was like to sleep on a cot in the burn unit by his side. I’ll be thinking of my kids and how happy I am I get to mother them every day, and I’m sure I’ll be crying. 


Favorite Read: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket

Last week, while our pizza dough was rising, my kiddos and I sprawled out in the living room with a stack of books and bowls of Cheerios. There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss took center stage. Any Dr. Seuss book is a favorite in our house, but this one has been especially popular lately. 

We had so much fun munching and reading while we waited for our next job in the kitchen.

I was tempted to sneak away to my computer to catch up on e-mail with the little bit of "downtime" we had, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

I’ve been trying to live in the moment with my little ones a little more. They truly are so much fun to be with. These pictures don’t do our little book fest justice, but let me tell you, we had a blast. So much so that I think I’m going to start trying to plan every meal so we have 20-30 minutes of book time before we sit down to eat. It is optimistic, but it would be great if I could find a way to make it happen. 



An Awesome Book from my Bookshelf

You know those little things that make you smile—like twisting the lid off the jar when no one else could and getting buried under a pile of blankets on a cold night? Neil Pasricha is a genius and compiles them all in his book, The Book of Awesome, and on his blog, 1,000 Awesome Things

My sweet friend Sandy gave me the book last year and it instantly became one of my favorites (hence all of the fingerprint smudges on the cover). I smile every time I read it. I love paying attention to the little things in life and this book inspires me to notice the awesome things all around me.

While the book was gift enough, Sandy took it to the next level and slipped customized notes into the pages of the book. They recount memories of each other—talking on the phone late at night and road trips we’ve taken together. She also let me know she is hoping I can get some much needed sleep! 

A friend that gives you a perfect gift and then makes it even better with a personal touch? AWESOME! Thank you, Sandy, for adding this great book to my bookshelf. I love it! Thanks, too, for being such a great friend.