Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Must Reads (Books & Blogs)

I have a fun assortment of things to recommend for you to read this month.  I finished FOUR books this month and really enjoyed most of them.  I also read lots of great blog posts.

What have you been reading lately??

Hope you find something in my list that speaks to you:

The most interesting and inspiring article I've read lately on homework for elementary school kids was 31 Things Your Kids Should Be Doing Instead of Homework.  Wow.  SO MANY parents I talk to are so bogged down with hours of homework for their elementary aged kids.  It makes me sad especially since there is no evidence to prove that giving homework at that age results in gains in the classroom.  It definitely makes me rethink my homework schedule from my teaching days.

I loved Andrea's video post about The Santa Talk and what she said to her oldest about Santa this year.  I'm not sure how long Olive will believe in Santa because this year she asked me if Santa was real at age 4.  I feel like knowledge is power in this department and I want to be prepared to have a Santa talk with her down the road if she asks.

Have you ever gotten a recipe from Skinny Taste???  I've had three people recommend her blog to me this week.  At a quick glance, the recipes look delicious - meal plans, recipes and healthy substitutions!  My friend, Jo, just wrote a HUGE FOOD POST with so many HEALTHY meals.  I'd like to try all of them and love that she food preps a ton on the weekend to set herself up for success.

I loved reading about Lindsey Kubly's Spending Freeze.  Her thinking behind it and ideas are really motivating me to think about ways to implement my own spending freezes periodically throughout the year.  She does it every January to kick off the new year.

Andrea's Chicken Pot Pie looks amazing!!  I've never made a homemade pot pie, but her recipe makes me want to give it a try.

I've talked about my love for The Champagne Supernova for years.  She's smart, funny and I enjoy her writing.  Her recent post How to Lose Your Life was a really important read.  She makes a good case for putting your dang phone down.

Valentine's Day books:
These are our favorite Valentine's Day books for kids.  I added Hug Machine and Amelia Bedelia to our library this year.  The kids always go for these first when we do book club.  My kids FIGHT over who gets to read Hug Machine every day.  It's a cute book with funny illustrations.

Hug Machine link --> it's under $5!!
Hug Machine

A Very Happy Easter Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen is the sweetest Easter book.  It's filled with beautiful illustrations and a great message of thankful prayers.  The story captures all of the elements of Spring - flowers, bunnies, puddles and the animal characters are adorable.  There is so much to look at and talk about on every single page.  The text flows easily and the rhyming is nice.  The pictures depict spring perfectly and this book would be a welcomed addition to any Easter basket.  It's a really sturdy board book that will hold up nicely in little hands.  I'd highly recommend this book.
*I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review for BookLook.

Talking as Fast as I can by Lauren Graham.  I adored this book!  I've been a big fan of Lauren Graham's since Gilmore Girls and I just find myself smiling when I watch her or read her book.  I loved the behind the scenes details about Gilmore Girls.  Her real relationships with the actors was so interesting along with the details of the show.  I am a huge GG fan and I found myself wanting to rewatch all the seasons after reading her book.  Graham also talks a lot about Parenthood so if you are a fan of that show, you'd love the details.  She's interesting, her stories are funny and I couldn't put the book down.  I'm crossing my fingers for another Gilmore Girls series to happen again in the future.

Talking As Fast As I Can link -->
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)

Fierce Faith
I finished Fierce Faith by Alli Worthington this week and loved it.  I'm a big fan of hers after reading Breaking Busy last year.  She's a great writer and she is very relatable.  She's a busy mom of 5 boys.  I love her advice, her wisdom and her perspective.  She really has a compelling story for developing a fierce faith, bouncing back from failures (because they happen to everyone) and she talks a lot about self care.  The text reads like conversation with a friend.  You feel an instant connection and will find yourself nodding along as she addresses fear, worry and anxiety that many women deal with.  I think single women, married women and moms would all enjoy this book.

The book touches on very relevant topics like parenting, social media, friendships, relationships, jobs and real problems that women face every day.  You'll find yourself flying through this book and taking notes in the action step sections at the end of the chapter.  This would be a great book to do in a book club or as a Bible study.  Worthington is regularly quoting scripture, Biblical character references and always tying her message back to the Gospel.  She makes the Bible characters come to life and seem very relevant today.  You find yourself wanting to turn to the Bible to refresh yourself on some of the stories she recounts.  I'd highly recommend this book.

Fierce Faith link -->
Fierce Faith: A Woman's Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry, and Overcoming Anxiety

A Life Beyond Amazing by Dr David Jeremiah.  It was the perfect book to read to kick off the new year.  I appreciated his insight on the source of true joy, thankfulness, generosity and compassion.  His writing is very compelling and motivating.  All of his suggestions are simple things that you could easily implement into your daily lives.  I loved his thoughts on the importance of humility and the idea that a person should never stop learning and growing.  I found myself underlining and taking notes throughout the book.  I would have loved to read this with a friend or my husband because it's filled with great discussion topics.  The chapters make you think and reassess the ways you are giving back to/serving the people you encounter every day.  You'll finish chapters and definitely be motivated to make real changes in your life.  I loved the way the book was organized.  It was a quick read with a mixture of practical tips and tools, biblical characters and stories you'd likely hear in sermons and real life examples of his ideas.  This was my first book to read by Jeremiah and I very much enjoyed it.  I'm excited to check out his other books.

A Life Beyond Amazing link -->
A Life Beyond Amazing: 9 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life Today

Finding Selah by Kristen Kill was fine.  It wasn't life changing or super interesting.  I found myself not wanting to pick it up and finish it or skimming chapters.  The idea of the book is great - the simple practice of peach when you need it most - but I found the book hard to connect to.  There are tons of music vocabulary and phrases.  I'm not a musical person so I found them distracting.  I liked the stories the author ties into the book, but found that she got in the habit of starting stories without finishing them.  I'd flip back to see if I missed the ending and it wasn't there.  The message of the book is one I wanted to get behind, but the book left me wanting more.  I appreciated her passion for finding true rest and enjoyed the sections that addressed that.  She did reference Bible stories, Bible passages and drew connections to rest from the Bible.  Those were my favorite parts.  However, I wouldn't recommend reading the book since I had a hard time connecting to the majority of the book.
*This book was gifted to me to review for Booklook Bloggers for my honest opinions.

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  1. Darn it anyway you just added to my bedtime reading and I just haven't been fitting it in lately :) I want to read Fierce Faith and I missed Breaking Busy too! xoxo ERIN

  2. I haven't read Graham's book yet. I am not a huge fan of her, but loved Gilmore Girls... I'm weird, I know.

  3. My son’s school has a no homework policy for K-4 (it is a K-8 building). I have loved not dealing with homework as we made the transition into school. He really naturally practices a lot of what he learns in school due to just having time to play, read, or do art after school. I loved reading this article though because it gave more information on why the school started this policy a few years ago.

  4. You rounded up some great posts! Thanks for sharing that healthy recipe round up - I pinned two new recipes from her recommendations. I discovered Skinny Taste last year and love her recipes. One of my favorites is the Taco Chili Mac - it's actually on my menu for this week. How funny that your kids fight over a book about hugging. LOL! :)

  5. Thanks for all the reading tips. Totally agree on "losing your life." I recently unplugged from Facebook, and I don't miss it at all. I still love Instagram, but don't get so sucked into the comparison game on that platform. I'm going to put Fierce Faith on my library list.

  6. After I read Talking As Fast As I Can I read her novel and loved it too. You should definitely give it a try. It is just as fun and quirky as she is. Hope y'all have had a great week Whitney.

  7. Thanks for sharing about books. I am an avid reader too, so always looking for the next good book for my book pile, which is never ending.


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