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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?


    Books I Want to Read this November

    With the year wrapping up soon, there are a few books on my 12 Books to Read in 2014 list that I need to finish up. ‘Need’ may be a strong word – maybe compelled would be better. The books that are on the list, so they have to be completed. (grins)

    November Reading Pile

    Overall, my non-fiction reading has been so much better than in years past (I’m at least happy with all I’ve been reading), but I have learned that I need to be a whole lot more flexible with my initial list. There are SO many great books that are released over the year, and often I’m not a patient waiter. I like to read it right NOW, which then results in my getting frustrated because the pile of books grows and grows.

    Am I alone in this?

    My reading pile for November has a little bit of everything in it – reading for fun, for homeschooling (the lit class I’m teaching), for learning and growing, and to keep ahead of books that our kids may read in the near future and develop a thought process (yay/nay). Inevitably other random books are thrown into the mix because I fall asleep reading every single night, but we’ll see how I do this month.


    Books I Hope to Finish in November

    Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain – this is for the lit class. I read it years ago and loved it, so reading it again will hopefully be as enjoyable.

    Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster/Cline – I’m about 1/3 of the way through this book and while no parenting method is perfect, there are some helpful tips that I am taking from it so far. Looking forward to the rest of the book.

    Start: Punch Fear in the Face by Jon Acuff – ironically the book I started months ago, but put down. Loved what I read, just need to finish it up.

    Four by Veronica Roth – this is a part of the Divergent series (which Laurianna hasn’t read yet – my call is to hold off on it for her at this point). But since I’ve read the other three books, I *have* to read this one, right?

    The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp – I’ve heard some great things about this Advent book based on the Jesse Tree. Although it may be a bit early (and I may carry this over into December), I definitely want to start it soon.

    Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp – really looking forward to reading through this with the kids this Advent season!

    Six Ways to Keep the Good in Your Boy by Dannah Gresh – the other books that I’ve read by Gresh have been practical and given some great tips (and they are typically quick reads too).

    A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd – I’ve loved her other books and definitely can wait to read this one!


    Books finished in October

    Here’s the short list of books that I finished reading this past month.

    What books have you read lately and enjoyed? I’d love some suggestions on what you’re reading!