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My Reading Pile for March 2015 (and What I Actually Read in February)

My reading goals for the month of February may have been a wee bit ambitious based on what was going on in life. Many evenings were full and reading from an actual book vs. my Kindle ended up being a non-event. That said, the books on my February pile that weren’t finished because there is quite a bit of flight time coming up in March as I head to Nashville to speak at Teach Them Diligently – and I plan to pack and conquer several books while sitting in waiting areas. I know that while I am there, I’ll likely get little reading done since I’ll be speaking, wandering, chatting, and having fun with my friend Carisa from 1+1+1=1.

What I (Did) Read in February (and my thoughts)

Hands Free Mama-1

  • Hands Free Mama by Rachel Stafford – a great book for moms to read, especially in this digital age when it is so easy to get sidetracked by the inconsequential rather than focusing on what is right in front of us. (via Kindle)
  • Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey – a great wrap-up to the Alaskan Courage series and book from a fellow homeschool mom. This was one that was sent to me to review. Dani Pettrey reminds me much of Dee Henderson and I have loved the other four books in her series – and look forward to her next series.
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale – just a fun read at bedtime (borrowed on Kindle via library)
  • Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale – another fun read at bedtime (borrowed on Kindle via library)
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg and Sky Jumpers: Forbidden Flats(with the kids)
  • The Bible – My goal for February was to hit 35% read – and I hit 32% (via the app). So close. But I am not through the book of Deuteronomy and on to Joshua and other books in the New Testament. While I check off my reading on the app, I’ve started reading in my Bible instead because it somehow seems so much easier and I can underline things when I want to – and take notes
  • and about 1/2 way through Caught Up in a Story by Sarah Clarkson and Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate

Books in My March 2015 Pile

Books to read in March 2015

That’s what I’m hoping to squeeze in this month – what are you planning to read?

The Forbidden Flats and Other Recent Read Alouds and Audiobooks We Are Enjoying

Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to sit down and read together as a family. Other times I’m so tired after a long day that the kids find me nodding off during our reading time (I know I’m not the only one!). There have been a few books and audio books keeping us busy though the last month and I’d love to share our current read alouds.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

true adventure of homer p. figg

This book has been in our pile for a bit and we are almost done with it! The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg takes place during the Civil War (and I think it’s hilarious). While it’s below the reading level of the older two, it still has been fun to listen to together. Homer’s grammar is a bit off, but that makes it all the funnier, especially since he is a boy who tends to tell very tall tales.

Sky Jumpers: Forbidden Flats

Sky Jumpers Forbidden Flats

All of us really enjoyed Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman, so we were VERY excited when Sky Jumpers: Forbidden Flats released! McKenna was the first to grab it and run off with it, but now the rest of of are having fun with it. This book continues the adventures of 12-year-old Hope as she and members of her small town journey to the Rocky Mountains in search of minerals that will save their town from the dangerous “bomb’s breath,” a deadly gas that sits in the air after World War 3.

We’re about two-thirds of the way through this one and can’t wait to find out what happens. It has brought up some interesting conversations with the kids too as it takes place after current technology and machinery is all non-existent. Things like telephones and vehicles no longer exists – so some food for thought on how you would accomplish things in those circumstances.

In Freedom’s Cause audiobook

In Freedom's Cause audiobook

Another audiobook we’ve enjoyed, from the creators of Under Drake’s Flag, is In Freedom’s Cause by G.H. Henty (there are homeschool lesson plans on their site to go along with the audiobook). This audio drama follows the story of William Wallace and how he played a crucial role in the freedom of Scotland. It also covers Robert the Bruce, the king that eventually gain Scotland’s freedom.

I may also love that one of the characters in the story is played by an actress from Downton Abbey and another the actor who plays Edmund in the Narnia movies. We have absolutely loved the audio theatre from Heirloom Audio Productions and cannot wait for their upcoming With Lee in Virginia release – all about Robert E. Lee!

In Our ‘To Read’ Pile

There are a few books sitting on the bookcase and an audiobook ready for the van. Our library has started their winter reading program, so the kids are sitting down together to read books and enjoying the extra reading time:

What are YOU reading or listening together right now?

Books We’ve Previously Read Together

Here are a few other books that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

Books I Read in January – and Reading Plans for February

Yes. It’s almost the middle of February. I know. January seems to have gone by in much of a sleep-deprived blur. For the most part, reading was in teeny-tiny snatches, and it was a miracle if I didn’t fall asleep reading. Apparently a new puppy will do that to you. Between potty training and making sure that the puppy isn’t chewing, biting, or doing something else, my reading time was in minute increments. (I know. It will pass!) Besides that, there was a lot of hands-free time – playing games, reading out loud – and that is great too!

Somehow I did manage to get a little reading time in, but compared to how much I normally read in a month, it was almost discouraging to me. But – reading is reading and rather than getting in as much fiction, progress was made on my 20 books to read in 2015 list (yay).

What I Read in January (and my thoughts)

Own Your Life quote on perfection

  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson – you all, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you haven’t taken the plunge and ordered it, just do it today. It will challenge you, encourage you, and was a great way to start of my year. There are dog-eared pages, underlined passages, and lots of notes. This is a book that I’ll keep and re-read in years to come. Or refer to in the meantime!
  • The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith – Why I didn’t read this sooner is beyond me. I have this as a Kindle version and really wish I had the full-sized color version because the pictures of Myquillin’s home just can’t be done justice on a black and white Kindle screen. I am one of those that feels decorating-challenged and this book really encouraged me to just DO something and not worry about the nail holes or perfection. Nail holes can be filled (or covered). I’m happy to say I pulled the hammer out and hung a few things up! Baby steps!
  • The Bible (reading via the She Reads Truth app) – Although I’m on the year-long reading plan, I’m hoping to finish closer to six months. My goal for January was to hit 20% read – and I hit about 17% (via the app). Can I just say – the book of Leviticus makes me want to repeatedly shower. All the talk of infectious diseases (shudder).

Books in My February Pile

february book pile

    Book Giveaway: Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson

    Own Your Life Book

    A book that has meant so much to me and has touched my heart on so many levels is Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I mentioned earlier this month that it should be the first book you read this year. And I mean that.

    It will challenge, encourage, and push you to be more of the woman that God created you to be. Sally shares what it means to live your life in a meaningful way, follow God in all you do, and gives practical guidance to build a life that is intentional.

    Win a Copy of Own Your Life

    Own Your LIfe book giveaway bundle-1

    Sound like this is  something you need right now? I would LOVE to give one of you a copy of Own Your Life and also include a boxful of other great books from authors like Jen Hatmaker, Mary DeMuth, Crystal Paine, and Priscilla Shirer! (see note below)

    If you’d like to enter to win this stash of books, just follow the directions in the widget below.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Note: Own Your Life is a brand-new copy. All other books are in gently-used, loved condition. Some are duplicate copies, and a few may have one or two dog-eared pages or a few underlined passages. This giveaway is not sponsored by anyone, but is a book that I am personally providing to a reader.

    Recent Audiobooks We’ve Enjoyed

    Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

    Our library has an amazing audiobook section (huge score for us). Every now and then we find a new author or book that we just love. Equally, there are a few that we try so hard with, but they just don’t click.

    Trips in the car are made much more enjoyable when an audiobook is running. Typically that means peace and quiet as everyone listens along, compared to the arguing over what music to listen to or who gets to sit where (Side note: My kids are just like yours. Unless your kids don’t argue. Then they aren’t just like yours, and we need to chat sibling dynamics).

    But I digress….

    Audiobooks We Recommend (or maybe don’t)

    Here’s a quick look at what we’ve been listening too, age recommendations, and a little blurb about the story/plot.

    A-Year-Down-Yonder-by Richard Peck

    Last month we started listening to A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (read by Lois Smith), and we fell in love with Grandma Dowdel and her crazy antics. We laughed and practically cried at some of the things she puts her neighbors through. The story follows a 15 year old girl who moves to live with her grandmother  – and the happenings in their small town. All of our kids enjoyed this one so much that on our next trip to the library we bulked up with a few more audiobooks by Peck. Recommended ages 9 to 13.


    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    Next up for the CD player was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (read by Hope Davis). Years ago (back in my 5th grade year, and we won’t talk about how long ago that was), our teacher read the book aloud to us as a class. Either I have fond memories of another book (or just the read aloud time), because we were only able to get through about two of the six disks before we called it quits. Quite honestly, even though we listened to that much…I’m still lost on the story.  Maybe it was the weird way some of the characters were read, but we just had a hard time getting hooked. (Makes me sad, but on we go.) Recommended ages 10 to 14.


    Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck

    Our 7 year old picked out the next audiobook, Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck (read by Jayne Entwistle). This fun story about a family of mice traveling to  England with their human family. Super cute book that made us giggle at their trouble with the ship’s cat and love Peck even more. Recommended ages 9 to 14, but I think 7 and up based on content.


    A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

    Have I mentioned how much we loved Grandma Dowdel? Next up for listening was A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck (read by Ron McLarty). In this adventure set in 1958, there’s a new pastor in town and his family moves in next door to Grandma Dowdel. While it seems like the last place on earth they want to be, the small town quickly becomes home. Recommended ages 9 to 14 – there are a few things that would definitely stick it close to this age range, especially the outhouse scene (funny, but might need some explaining – nothing bad!).

    Other Audiobooks We’ve Enjoyed

    That’s what we’ve been listening to lately, but below are a few other audiobooks that we’ve loved and recommend. Click on the cover to find out more!

    What audiobooks are YOU listening to?