Archive for Books

The 4 Best Picture Books about Farming & Gardens {Read-Aloud Thursday}


So I stopped doing the LOTW with Itty Bitty for school because she started getting really bored with it. What she does love is to read books. I took our Flowering Baby Curriculum for ages 3-4 and pulled the book lists. In March, two of the topics were Farming & Gardening and we discovered a few gems at our library.


First was Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert. It really is a simple book. It has large letters of the alphabet with varying numbers of bright & simple fruits & their names. It has a similar feel to Eric Carle illustrations and for whatever reason, they loved it. I’ve never heard two children so excited to read about vegetables. They literally screamed anything they recognized. Needless to say, we bought a copy.


We also bought a copy of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. His books really are great. This one is a great story about a tiny seed who floats on the wind and avoids all these obstacles that kill other seeds before finally landing on hard ground. He takes forever to grow but then ends up GIANT! As always, the story is well told and beautifully illustrated.



We also read The Carrot Seed for the first time. Another classic by the author of Harold & the Purple Crayon, The Carrot Seed a short story of a boy who lovingly planted & tended a carrot seed. No one thought it would grow, but he took care of it anyway. Then it sprouted into a giant carrot all at once, just like he knew it would. Very cute.



Bonus: The Big Red Barn. A friend gave us this as a board book and it has been a favorite for years. The rhyme is awesome and it has a great lyrical quality to it.

By the big red barn
In the great green field
A little pink pig
was learning to squeal.

The pictures & story are fun & enjoyable. There are animal sounds, counting, bedtime. & more. I think 4 of 5 people in our house have it memorized–the 5th doesn’t talk yet.


What are you favorite books on farming or gardening?

Jen S.




Print Friendly

Finding the Spiritual in the Ordinary – Mom Seeks God {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


It’s funny how you can judge a book by its cover. Or even the first chapter or two. And then totally change your mind. That’s what happened when I read Mom Seeks God: Practicing Grace in the Chaos by Julia Roller. I was surprised at the number of Catholic spiritual experts that she referenced, without mentioning it (Henri Nouwen & St. Ignatius of Loyola, to name two).

Now, I have to admit that I can be a little pompous about my Catholic faith. As a result, I always wonder why whoever can’t just come back into the Catholic fold, especially when I see they are open to such wonderful pieces of it :). So when she was mentioning such Catholic bigwigs as St. Ignatius of Loyola and pieces of his Ignatian spirituality, I got up on my little horse and figured I’d have to pick it apart.

But I really grew to like Julia. She is very like me, from the spiritual pompousness to the very limited vocal range. Even how she wants to do things and then her introverted side talks her out of it. It’s uncanny, really.

Mom Seeks God is part how-to and part memoir about a year-long journey she undertook to meet with God amid the chaos of everyday life. Even how she came to take that journey was eerily similar. She read a ton of books and picked 12 spiritual disciplines, one for each month.

UNlike me, however, she got to most of them. Even while pregnant, she accomplished 10 which is more than I think I would have gotten to :). The spiritual practices she chose were:

  • Prayer
  • Fellowship
  • Submission
  • Study
  • Simplicity
  • Silence
  • Worship
  • Failure & Fasting
  • Service
  • And Celebration

She did a great job of illustrating how it is possible to meet God in all these places. In fact, me being me, in the middle of the fellowship chapter I stopped to add a play date invite to my calendar so I wouldn’t forget.

I really enjoyed her conversational and somewhat self-deprecating tone. Her stories, goals and even (especially?) her tips for each practice could have come straight from my world. The only thing I REALLY wanted to know, was what the other two practices were that she didn’t get to. Because then, I’d be able to try the while thing myself & see how it worked for me :).

Overall, I was somewhat surprised to find that I enjoyed this book immensely. A fun read, I’m contemplating checking out her source(s) for forms of spirituality and picking a few of my own for this year. Mom Seeks God does a great job of making spirituality very practical for busy moms. If you are feeling dry in your spiritual life (or are desperate to get it back!), go read Mom Seeks God. You might find a new perspective that helps you find God and nourish your soul.

*   *   *   *   *

Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller offers a highly relatable story and useful advice to help new moms grow in their faith as they address life changes with grace, patience, and prayer. As readers discover ten essential faith practices, they’ll learn that motherhood itself is a spiritual discipline and can be God’s most effective technique for forming a more Christ-like life.

Julia is celebrating the book’s release with a fun giveaway and connecting with moms during a live Facebook author chat.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle HDX
  • Mom Seeks God by Julia Roller

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 1st. Winner will be announced at “Moms’ May Day” Facebook Party on May 1st. Connect with Julia for an encouraging discussion on spiritual discipline and finding joy in the middle of motherhood. Win prizes, connect with other moms, and be inspired.

So grab your copy of Mom Seeks God and join Julia on the evening of May 1st for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 1st!

Good Luck!!

Jen S.

Print Friendly

The Single Best Geography Resource for PreK to Early Elementary


So we’ve had geography on the brain last month, thanks to the Poppins Book Nook.  I’m so loving the accountability to do fun stuff with the kiddos.  I found one of my favorite resources ever for geography for tots to early elementary thanks to Carrie @ Reading to Know.


I happened to catch a sideways mention of a few books she found at a resale shop that she regretted not buying more of from the Disney Small World Library.  Published in 1994 (or thereabouts), the set includes 28 books, from the following countries:

  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • United States of America
  • Kenya
  • Egypt
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Greece
  • Netherlands
  • Austria
  • Japan
  • Peru
  • Spain
  • Norway
  • Great Britain
  • China
  • Israel
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Australia
  • Scotland
  • Russia
  • Argentina
  • Scotland
  • France
  • Denmark


I paid an obscene amount of money for a complete set on eBay without ever having looked at one.  We’ve had great luck with the Walt Disney Fun-to-Learn Library, too.  I had a set as a kid and grabbed the first set I ever found used.  Both girls loved them! When I got the Disney Small World Library, I don’t think they had ever been read.  They were in great shape and these have been just as loved!


Each story is about Mickey & the gang traveling around the world and experiencing the different countries. The final 4 pages tell about several  things the country is well-known for. My daughter had asked if her daddy & I made friends around the world when we traveled.  I wish I could say yes; we will work on doing better next time.  They do a great job of introducing local places, foods, customs & culture with the familiarity of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald & Goofy.  They don’t even know they are learning and that’s my favorite way to do it!


If you are interested in either set, check eBay.  I’ve found individual books on Amazon or Paperback Swap, but I’d rather get them all (or most) at once.  We’ve loved them both!

What books do you use to teach your little ones without them knowing it?

Jen S.




Print Friendly

No More Perfect Kids {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from a PR company in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links; thank you for your support!

Pride goeth before a fall, right? I was reading a chapter by chapter summary of No More Perfect Kids on As We Walk Along the Road when I received an email wondering if I would be willing to review it. Well, of course! As a recovering perfectionist, I was curious to see if I had made any progress.

No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids For Who They Are was co-written by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch, PhD and follows on the heels of Jill’s other best-seller No More Perfect Moms. NMPK is one of those books I wish I had more time to read, review and DO. Because really, I think it might be one of those game-changer books, you know? The book was written to identify and remove the need for perfection from our kids. How? By KNOWING your children, knowing what’s REALISTIC, and encouraging them to be themselves.

They cover 9 specific topics in the book from what is perfection & what happens when it collides with parenting and then goes into talking about questions your kids ask without words:

  • Do you like me?
  • Am I important to you?
  • Is it okay that I’m unique?
  • Who am I?
  • Am I a failure?
  • What’s my purpose?
  • Will you help me change?

What’s funny about this, is that I realized I’m pretty cognizant of their differences & personalities as a personality-type junkie :). I know their learning styles and temperament and mine and how they work together. Or not. So when I started, I thought I was doing pretty well as I sped through the first 80 pages or so, having recently “conquered” the do you LIKE me question as a result of reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and introducing margin into my days.

And then I slowed. And I read. And I reflected. And my husband said, “You’re STILL reading that book?” Because I had been working through it for about 4 weeks which is unheard of for me. A few things which really grabbed me were discussions of childLIKE versus childISH. Ow. And the whole failure stopped me dead for about a week. I expect better from them than I can do. Ouch.

But it wasn’t all ‘bad.’ I found some real hope for inspiring them to greatness in the chapter on purpose and tools to use in the last chapter, helping them to change. I knew that it would be a great book to have and so I bought an extra to share during the book’s launch week. I’m really looking forward to reading How Am I Smart? so I can encourage them better.

Overall, No More Perfect Kids is a great book for all parents; it was written with both in mind. If you feel a disconnect or wonder why in the world God would saddle some poor child with you for a mother, this could help. If you think you are doing pretty well, do your children know all the answers of all those questions above? I mean, really know them? If so, you need to come to my house for a weekend so I can pick your brain! But if you think you could do better, No More Perfect Kids is an awesome book to help you love AND like, the kids you have, not the ones in your head.

Jen S.




Print Friendly

Maybelle in Stitches {Book Review}

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ever wondered about dog food before canned dog food was invented? Me neither. But now I do. It’s funny how a book can prompt odd questions. It’s not something I expected from Maybelle in Stitches.

Maybelle in Stitches has nothing to do with dog food actually. It’s the story of a woman whose husband is in WWII. Like many women, she works in the factory welding & building ships for the war. She lives with her mother and a male roommate until her mother dies. Later, she receives word that her hubby is MIA. As she clears out her mothers things to make way for some roommates, she finds a crazy quilt started.

Her best friend convinces her to finish it as a way to get through her days without worrying about her husband. Despite her lack of (any) domestic skills, several women help her work on the quilt and this is their story.

Maybelle in Stitches is an interesting book in terms of setting. I’ve read WWII books before, but they had never concentrated so much on aspects of home life. AUTHOR went into great detail about roommates, the practical aspects of rationing and how scarce things were. That’s where the whole dog food thing came into play. Every time she described meals, she also mentioned what the dog ate. I think a character sideways mentions that they should make dog food in a can. Future story perhaps?

This was also a unique story in that Maybelle is a domestic failure. I could be Maybelle, except I like to cook. There are rumblings of woman’s lib (outside jobs, no kids), which was a little unusual for that period, though not entirely or the 60′s couldn’t have happened :).

On the whole, I would say Maybelle in Stitches was an okay book. It ended a little abruptly for me and while it was a fun journey, there wasn’t a ton in the way of plot line or emotional struggles. It was very much about setting and waiting for the hubby. The characters didn’t have a ton of depth, but they were nice enough. I just wasn’t able to get that excited about it.

*   *   *

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Maybelle in Stitches, by Joyce Magnin. Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house, she gets the crazy idea to complete it.

Joyce is celebrating the release with a $200 Modcloth giveaway. Enter today for a chance to spruce up your spring wardrobe!


One winner will receive:

  • A $200 gift card
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced on April 21st on the Quilts of Love blog!


Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER.


Good luck!

Jen S.


Print Friendly

Switch to our mobile site