Summer reading

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I always look forward to summer reading, the relaxed pace, the lounging about with a good book.  I always look forward to that, but that never happens.  Since I am a mother of three with one on the way, my summers are not that relaxing, and I don’t lounge around with my favorite book.  I read when the moment comes that I can.  I read at the park in between pushing kids on the swing, at the library while they are looking for books, at the occasional outing for myself and before bed, for about 5 mins before I fall asleep.

As much as I think I want to be the kind of person that reads one book at a time, I have come to accept that I am not.  I always have at least two books going at any given time, and usually more.  This summer I am reading books from four different genres.  This summer my genres are; parenting, adoption, cooking and fun reads.

Parenting books:

This summer I am revisiting a series of books that I read when Ewan was younger.  They are great books and I go to them when ever I feel that I need tip on how to handle behaviors or just want to feel normal about what my child is or is not doing.  The author is Louise Bates Ames and here are a few pics of what the books look like.

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These books start at the age of 1 year and go up the book “Your ten-fourteen year old”.  All of the books are layed out very similarly if not the same which is helpful for navigation.  They are older books but I find the information relevent and useful.


Adoption books:

I have a lot of books in this genres.  I always find them useful and insightful but I also find them overwhelming too.  They are packed with information and often times tough subject matter, which can be hard to slog through.  This summer I am tackling two books; “The Connected Child” by Karyn Purvis and “Brothers and Sisters in Adoption” by Arleta James.


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This is a fun genres and I love cooking so for me it is really fun.  Cookbooks are great reading because there is no story to follow and there is no pressure to understand or finish the book.  You can pick it up for 5 minutes or 45 minutes and it doesn’t affect your experience much.  Cookbooks are a great escape, a great motivation and a challenge to experience something new.  They can also provide freedom, especially in the case of a specialized diet or food allergies.


The cookbooks I am reading this summer have a lot to do with my gluten free/dairy free lifestyle but also the Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle of which I have recently entered.  I will say that I am choosing to eat vegetarian because my body does not seem to handle meat protein very well and I feel 100 times better when I eliminate it from my diet.  Vegan cookbooks offer great recipes for even those who are not totally vegan but perhaps vegetarian and dairy free, like me.  Here’s what I am reading:  Mark Bittman’s “The Food Matters Cook Book” and “Kitchen Express”.  Terry Walter’s “Clean Food”, “Learn to Bake Allergen-Free” by Colette Martin  and Kim Barnouin’s “Skinny Bitch, Ultimate Everyday Cookbook”.


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Fun Reads:


I have only one fun read lined up for the summer, I am hoping that will change but so far my fun read is getting little attention.  Here is it, Patrick Taylor’s “An Irish Country Doctor”.


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There you have it, my summer reads, at least that is the plan!

What’s on your summer reading schedule????



2009 in review

A review of the last year


Ethiopia- to pick up Esuyawkal

Galena, IL- for my sister Meghan’s wedding:)

We did not travel to a lot of different places but the places we did travel we did so for great reasons!

Books I read:

  • The twilight series- in record time, all 4 books in 6 days:)  I know I am a geek!
  • The Host
  • Eldest, and Brisinger
  • Unconditional Parenting

I read more books this year then last year but still not that many, I have started more then I have completed.  Maybe 2010 will be a banner year for reading- but I doubt it:)


  • Star Trek- loved it!
  • Avatar- loved it!
  • New Moon- hated it:(
  • Watchemen- hated it:(
  • Wolverine- liked it.
  • Monsters vs aliens- liked it.

Can you tell I go to the movies to escape:)

The Good and the Bad

  • Bought our first mini van.
  • Began homeschooling for the first time.
  • Brought home our third child.
  • Said goodbye to two of my grandparents.
  • Welcomed two new brother-in-laws into my family.
  • Attended my sister Theresa’s 18th birthday party!
  • Witnessed the beauty and glory of Ethiopia first hand!
  • I grew in my faith, and came to understand God better.
  • I know myself better, and love myself more:)
  • I got my first tattoo.
  • Made a lot of friends this year, here and abroad.


  • Turned 6 my baby is growing up!
  • Became a master with Legos.
  • Started reading, and loving it!
  • Started doing math- likes it sometimes but most of the time is frustrated by it even though he knows what he is doing.
  • Became a bigger brother!
  • Loves to cook and do science experiemnts.


  • Turned 3!
  • Became a big sister- mostly she loves it, but sometimes she really wants to be the baby again:)
  • She has really developed her interest in princesses, although some how her love of princesses is balanced by her love of Star Wars- go figure!
  • Is a little dancer and a wonderful singer.
  • Is sassy and a little diva sometimes.
  • Was a really big girl and survived our trip to Ethiopia with flying colors.
  • Falls down more then any other child I know- I hope she grows out of that:)
  • Gave herself bangs- thankfully she did a good job but the scissors are now hidden from her:)


  • Turned 1!
  • Started crawling.
  • Is walking along furniture and behind his push toy.
  • Is thriving and growing like a weed.
  • Saying a few words- uh-oh, more, and hi.-  we are so proud of him:)
  • Shakes his head no, and yes.
  • Sleeps like a champ- really loving that:)
  • Is so cuddly and happy- he is amazing!

This year had had a lot more good then bad and for that I am grateful!

Your six year old…

Have you ever read this series of books- Your 1-year-old, two-year-old, three-year-old, etc.

I have several times, for several different ages.  Of all of the books that I have read these books are the most helpful when it comes to understanding where your child is developmentally at what ever age you are reading about.  I really love these books and when I start feeling like I have no idea what to do for my children I get one of these books out from the library and everything starts to become clearer.

I recent picked up Your six-year-old, Loving and Defiant, as Ewan is now six and has been having a difficult time.  There are a lot of things that have been happening lately that are not “normal” for Ewan but as it turns out are “normal” for six-year olds.  The section in these books called Characteristics of the age is my favorite section and where I find the most useful information.  The author does a really good job at explaining the ups and downs of the age, and why certain behaviors crop up.  She also gives some good advice on how to help your child through the rough developmental times in their life.

I find it so wonderful when I open up a book about children and read something that describes my child exactly I guess I like feeling like I am not the only one with a cranky, hard to please, ambivalent, pushy 6-year-old:)  My Ewan is totally loving and sweet and also a little defiant and it is nice to know that it is totally normal for his age.

It is easy to start thinking that a little misbehavior is a glimpse into your child future, I know that sometimes I feel like that, but that usually because I am in the beginning of a developmental change and haven’t quite caught on yet that my child is changing.  Sometimes I go weeks not understanding why I don’t feel like I know my child.  I know my oldest is 6 you would think that I would have caught on by now- but sometimes the changes happen slowly, they just sort of sneak up on you.

There are lots of sections in these books, some I find to be good while others I don’t find that useful.  There is a section in the back that talks about what kind of birthday party to have for a child of the age you are reading about.  While I have not really used that section I think that it is neat that she writes about that subject.

And now here is a picture of my 6-year-old whom I love all the way to the moon and back:)

This photo was taken by my friend Mary Karen- I love it!

Hop on Pop



Last night while brian was reading to Ewan I decided to pop in to see how it was going, mostly I wanted to see if Ewan was asleep yet.  I opened the door and found Ewan reading Hop On Pop and Brian asleep.  So I layed down behind Brian and listened as Ewan continued to read his book.  I was really glad I had checked in on him, because had I not I would have missed this milestone.  This morning Ewan read the book again to Brian while he was getting ready for work.  What a moment when you witness your child read their first book, and love it!!!!


I have been teaching Ewan to read for about a year now, we have been using a book called; How to Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.  For the most part I really like the book and I think that it uses a good method.  The further we get in the book the harder it gets to keep Ewan engaged though.  The stories are kind-of lame and like a lot of kids the smaller the print gets the more worried Ewan gets.  


Reading game:  This is a game I made up that Ewan and I have been doing since he was probably 2 years old, he really loves it. Harkening back to my days as a cheerleader, we won’t even go there;)


Here is how it goes:  

You call out letter like you would in a cheerleading chant.

Parent– Give me a: C                                      Child says back to you– C

Give me an: A                                                  Child says back to you– A

Give me a: T                                                     Child says back to you– T

Parent asks– What’s that spell?                 Child says: CAT, if they don’t know the word then the  

                                                                                                   parent answers for them.


You can do this with any word you want.  Also you can reverse who is giving the word.  Ewan likes to shout out the letters and have me tell him what word they spell.  A lot of the time they spell gibberish but I think that it is good for him to understand that not all letters that are put together make a word.


The other game that we play is MAD LIBS.  This is great for helping your child understand basic parts of speech, verbs, nouns, adjectives.  He is learning without even knowing it, and it is hilarious:)


Basking in the glow of the beginnings of literacy, certainly is worth the time and effort you put in teaching your own:)

What we are reading

Here is what we have been reading as of late:



– Java Books

– Grails books

– How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk



-We have been reading the The Tale of Despereaux at night.       the-tale-of-despereaux

-The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe



What ever book she happens to pick up gets read to her.



– Eldest

– Brisinger

– Unconditional Parenting

– I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla




Read a good book lately?



I am looking for some good book recommendations!  I just finished the Host by Stephanie Meyer (which I really loved!), and am at a loss for what to read next.  So, if you have any suggestions please let me know, I am desperate for a good read:)



Devotional for kids

Brian and I have always had a sit down dinner with our kids and we always pray before dinner, but we wanted to incorporate a devotional into the time as well.  I had looked at several devotionals and been unable to find a good fit and then I found these two devotionals.  We love them and they are exactly what we were looking for.






The stories are simple and almost all about animals, they hold my kids attention really well and my kids are eager to answer the questions that are at the end of the story.  They both ask for the book every night as we sit down to dinner, it has been a joy to share this time together each night.

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