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What I’m Reading (and the Kids too) May 2017

The last few weeks, the front porch has been one of my favorite places to sit and relax. We finally purchased a new cushion for our porch swing (someone picked a hole in the old one) and now the swing is nice and cushy soft. Although there aren’t any flowers in the pots, it’s been fun watching a few birds build a nest in our hanging ferns – more definite signs that spring is here and the lovely weather is here to stay.

Although I didn’t get through quite as much of my non-fiction this past month, I did read a few other books that weren’t on my list that I’m glad not to have missed.  The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines was one of those I added because it was a Kindle deal recently and I was cracking up with some of the back story between those two. A few of the books are still in my pile to continue reading this month, and we have some more car trips coming which hopefully means some reading time (and not fielding disagreements between the backseat passengers). 

I did knock a few books off  my 2017 reading list (and again loving the Good Reads app to help me track my progress), which always is nice. Feel free to join me there and follow along! It’s so much fun to see what others are reading and recommend.

Here’s the list I want to tackle during May:

The Kids are Reading…

The girls have finished up their required reading for the year, so they are taking a bit of a breather in that area. Laurianna is working on other subjects to get caught up and McKenna needs to head to the library soon. Kaleb recently finished his first chapter book and I thought for sure he would pick an easier book to read, but he asked to read the second book in the Boxcar Children series – and I couldn’t be happier! 

What I Read in April

The best two books I read this past month by far were How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig (gave me some great talking points to use with one of our high school lit classes) and also A Fall of Marigolds  by Susan Meissner. I honestly LOVED this last one- cannot say how much, quite honestly. It wove the stories of women from two different eras (early 1900s and 2001) along with their personal losses – and it was just fabulous. 

Books I read…

That’s all for this month! I’ll share what I’ve managed to finish next month with you all. What books do you and the kids have set aside to read this month? 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids too) April 2017

Since the time change this past month, my sleeping has gone all out of whack. For some odd reason, I’ve been waking up around 3am every morning, so every now and then (if I have trouble falling back asleep), I’ll read a bit on my kindle. Between that and two different trips the last two weeks, quite a few books were knocked off my reading list. 

One of the books at the top of my list was Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker. Even though it wasn’t on my 2017 reading list, it’s one of those that I definitely wanted to add the moment I saw it, and I loved it enough to order copies for a few friends who I knew could use the encouragement and words as much as I did. This mom thing is hard, homeschooling adds another layer to that, and protecting the friendships I have is very important to me – I want to BE the best friend I can and also foster healthy relationships along the way.   

March had me making great progress on my 2017 reading list (and again loving the Good Reads app to help me track my progress). Feel free to join me there! 

Here’s the list I want to tackle during April:

The Kids are Reading…

The girls have finished up their required reading for the year, so they are taking a bit of a breather in that area. Laurianna is working on other subjects to get caught up and McKenna needs to head to the library soon.

What I Read in March

Best two books I read this past month by far were Never Unfriended and Growing up Social in the non-fiction category, and Behind the Scenes and The Green Ember (read aloud with boys) in the fiction area. I had high hopes for A Man Called Ovebut honestly sometimes felt like I had to push through it. I’m absolutely loving many of the recipes too in Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking

That’s all for this month! I’ll share what I’ve managed to finish next month with you all. What books do you and the kids have set aside to read this month? 

Creating Lasting Friendships – #NeverUnfriended

This last week I’ve been reading through Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker and am truly in love with it. It’s one that has been traveling around the house and errands with me so I can grab and read during spare moments.

Friendship can be a huge risk – putting yourself out there, being honest and raw at times, and truthfully, it can also be one area that causes pain (trust me, I know). But friendships can also be a source of huge encouragement, joy, and laughter. Those moments are ones we cherish and cling to during tough times and those friends are with us in our toughest times.

Beyond face-to-face friendships, it’s easy for things to feel (or appear) out of whack with the many different venues of social media at our fingertips. We feel slighted when someone doesn’t respond quickly or ‘like’ something. Feelings get hurt. Friendships become fragile. 

As a mom who stays home and is surrounded by kids all day, there are times when I know I do not do enough to grow my friendships, but I also sabotage relationships as well by all the second-guessing, comparison, and plain old craziness. 

I (heart) this quote from the book because it truly sums up my feelings: 

I want to be the kind of woman who makes other women feel welcome. Where they feel seen, valued, and safe. That means that whether or not we have close friends is entirely in our own hands. We simply have to be willing to start.  – p. 84,  Never Unfriended

My heart here is to encourage you all not only in your homeschool walk, but also as you live life everyday. Having the support and care of close friends is so important – and I truly feel this book is one of those “keep on your shelf” for a long time to come. 


Special Pre-Order Offers!

Lisa Jo is offering some beautiful pre-order gifts to anyone who orders the book, either through her website or through Amazon and would like to start reading now. Here’s a little peek at what is in the gift box: 

  • A beautiful, distressed clipboard with 37 art prints PLUS 12 exclusive Never Unfriended quotes from the book (ships to US addresses only)
  • Digital printable of the 12 exclusive Never Unfriended quote cards
  • The Never Unfriended Promise – Digital Download
  • First half of the book (digital download)

Don’t wait for release date. Start reading right now!

If you’ve already pre-ordered (WOOT!!!), you can claim your freebies HERE. Just scroll down and click on the “Redeem Pre-order” form to claim them and you can enter in your information! 


Note: I was sent an advanced copy of this book to read, but have already purchased a copy for a friend. Because I absolutely love it. And I may have wanted the freebies as well. :) 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

I know – you are probably thinking, “that looks like a real page turner!” While cookbooks aren’t typically on my reading stack, I have a few that I am reading through to see if there are tweaks and changes we can make to Laurianna’s diet (and ours) to help her out. The last few months have seen a bit of a learning curve, and the words “quick and easy” may have caught my eye. A friend let me borrow her book, and it is laid out much the way my brain thinks, so it moved right on up to the top of my pile. 

Reading glasses though. This past month I finally had to admit that my almost 44 year old eyes needed a little assistance, especially in the early morning or late night. My hubby is having a grand time with this fact (mainly because I have given him much grief over the years about his own – so I’m getting it honestly). :) 

Some of my books that were on my February pile made the shift to March, but for the most part I am making progress on my 2017 reading list (and again loving the Good Reads app to help me track my progress. Feel free to join me there! 

March will have me traveling quite a bit, so hopefully between airports and downtime I’ll have some time to knock out both fiction and non-fiction that is amassing on my Kindle and nightstand. Here’s what I’m hoping to read this month. I know the pile looks huge, but several I’ve already started and am a few chapters in (and honestly I have a little of everything depending on my mood).

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in February

February was the month I FINALLY wrapped up a book that has been on my pile for what seems like forever. Fervent has been one I’ve picked up, read and contemplated, and then needed to process a bit more than others. It isn’t exactly light and easy reading, but that’s a good thing. Honestly, much of what I read this month, was exactly what I needed, right when I needed it – and that’s a wonderful thing. 

That’s all for this month! I’ll share what I’ve managed to finish next month with you all. What books do you and the kids have set aside to read this month? 

What I’m Reading (and the Kids Too)

I had been hoping to read more last month with my mom having surgery (and spending several days in the hospital with her), but honestly, reading was really hard to focus on and I ended up binge watching a show on Amazon in the wee hours of the morning between resetting all the crazy alarms that continued to go off during the night. Reading normally is something relaxing for me, but I needed something that required absolutely zero effort on my part other than pushing the play button. Shallow, but true. 

This month though, I really do want to get a few books knocked off my stack and have some picked to hopefully fly through, while several (including Ferventare part-way done and I need some focused time to concentrate and absorb the content since they are a little ‘heavier’ in nature. 

The Kids are Reading…

What I Read in January…

Years ago I read the 5 Love Language of Children book and the bulk of our kids were so little it was hard to really put them in a specific area. This time it really was much more fun to read and have the kids take the quiz as well. I’m planning to also read the teen version of the book. 

As far as fiction reading, What She Knew was a very interesting read, and although there were some parts I skipped in Seven Sistersthe overall plot really pulled me in. I am definitely enjoying the Uncommon Heroes series from Dee Henderson as well. They’ve been on my shelf for years and I’m finally pulling them down to read! 

That’s it for this month! What are you reading for yourself or together with the kids? Leave a comment and share. :)

My 2017 Reading List


Reading is a love of mine. And over the last several years I’ve really tried to push myself to reading more books for personal growth, instead of glossing over that section and going straight for the “reading candy.” You know – the stuff that you can’t get enough of, but it really doesn’t fill you up quite like a book that makes you stop and think a bit. :)

Last year I almost made it through my 2016 Reading List – and even read several of the books on my “if there is time” pile, but overall I read a total of 84 books. At the bottom of this post, I’m sharing a few of my favorites from the year. 

Incidentally, I’m LOVING the GoodReads app to track what books I want to read, have read, and love see ing what others are reading.  

The Main Books of 2017

The first book on the list is one I started, but didn’t have time to finish last year (a few fiction books may have gotten in the way of that), but otherwise, this is the main pile I would like to tackle.As I did last year, I’ve mentally sorted the books into stacks of why I want to read them (for personal growth, parenting, marriage, or just for fun). I am infamous for having several books going at a time, because sometimes topics don’t overlap, or I’m in the mood for something different. 

“If There is Time” Pile

Fiction Books/Series to Look At

One thing I’d like to note in this area: while a lot of my books typically tend to be Christian historical fiction, I have been branching out a bit into teen lit (to read before my girls) and some other contemporary fiction. I personally have been a bit picky about much of the stuff I read, because for me too much language or other graphic stuff is a ‘trigger’ for me – so I tend to err on the side of books that aren’t raunchy or full of whatever. Last year there were a few that I read (JoJo Moyes) that were out of my comfort zone in some ways, but overall not bad (language mainly) – but generated conversation on topics in the books with friends for sure. All that said, I haven’t vetted all of the below series, so they may be complete busts! 

 Favorite Books from Last Year

There were several books that I absolutely loved (and highly recommend), one of which wasn’t on my list, but I picked up after seeing it in a few various feeds. Below are my four favorite non-fiction picks for the year. 


Hands down, Unoffendable by Brendan Manning was one book that impacted me the most this past year. It’s one I will keep on my shelf to read again, but there are so many nuggets of truth and it’s one book that will have you walking away with a different viewpoint on all those “rights” you feel you have. :) 


Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie – if you homeschool, just put this book in your Amazon cart right now. Trust me.

The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson

The Life-Giving Home by Sally Clarkson – I’m so thankful for the wisdom and insight from Sally Clarkson. Her books are always such an encouragement to me, and this one did not disappoint! 

Raising Grateful Kids

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch – You all – please just read this. Parenting is tough work and encouragement along the journey is such a breath of fresh air, especially when it is tied in with balancing giving our kids what they need versus what they think they need.

That’s all for now! I’ll be sharing any additions and thoughts throughout the year every now and then. What books do you have in your stack for the year?