20 Best Tips
Teaching Textbooks

What We’re Reading November 2018


Is there a book you’ve read recently that you couldn’t put down and have been telling everyone about? I’ve had a few this past month that I absolutely loved – please leave a comment below and let me know your suggestions too!

When I flipped the calendar page this past week and realized we are so very close to the end of the year, it makes me wonder where all the time has gone this year. In some ways I am amazed at how quickly the time seems to have gone, but then another part of me wonders how wisely I’ve spent all those hours. I suppose that is a never ending cycle, isn’t it? I know there is always more I can do, but it’s finding that balance that is tricky!

There are only a few key books remaining on my 2018 Reading List  and I’m not sure that I will finish them all, but I am definitely going to try hard! Our boys have a swim meet coming up this next weekend and I’ll be the parent on deck, so that means I will definitely have a book in hand while watching between heats. Meanwhile I’m already working on my 2019 list. :) 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for November

*all links are referral links

While I had hoped to finish Fiercehearted last monthI honestly came to a bit of a standstill on that one. It’s had great reviews, but somehow hasn’t quite clicked at this point. I’m going to give it another go though before I decide to put it aside permanently. 

What the Kids are Reading

The boys and I are still working through The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs. While it’s one that we should have finished rather easily, we had quite a few afternoons that involved company, LEGO League, or games, and that’s okay too. So we continue and add on a new book as we do finish it. 

What I Read Last Month (and Quick Thoughts)

I Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul by Lisa Whittle – This is one book that I’m still mulling over. It’s a fairly short/sweet book, but has left me with some questions and thoughts that our small group has been discussing, which I love. (5/5 rating)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – This is one that I borrowed randomly from the library via Kindle because it was available and I wanted something to read. It ended up being a fairly interesting read, following the life of a girl who grew up in the foster system and learned about the meaning behind various flowers. (4/5 rating)

Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah – After reading The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah I didn’t think I’d find another book by her that I liked (I’ve read several others as well). This one started off a bit slower and took me a bit to get into, but once the story began unfolding, I LOVED it. Anything that ties in history and has me look at an era in a different light is one I really enjoy.  (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 


What We’re Reading October 2018

So what have you been reading lately that you can’t help but talk about and have been recommending to everyone? 

We’re back into a reading swing with each other and I love the feel of that. It isn’t perfect, but it’s something everyone has come to expect as a part of each day, and that’s fabulous. Yes, there are sighs some days, but by the time we are about five minutes into reading, the boys have settled down and are (secretly) enjoying the reading.

My 2018 Reading List  is slowly decreasing, and as is typical for me, my Amazon cart is filling with books to read in the future. I’m really trying not to get distracted, but it is SO VERY HARD. 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for October

*all links are referral links

While I had hoped to finish Love Unending – I didn’t get as far as I’d hoped. It’s laid out as more of a day-by-day book, but I’m going to read through instead so I don’t forget about it. There are also so many great non-fiction books to read right now – I really need to stop adding things to my pile (my Amazon cart is filling up as I am earmarking books to read next year). 

What the Kids are Reading

We wrapped up The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt with the boys – and I cannot tell you how much I personally enjoyed this book. I purchased another book by the author for Zachary to read later (focused on a different character in the story), but it had me both laughing and crying. Such a great read!

This month we’re moving on to a new read-aloud, The House With a Clock in Its Walls by Bellairs and considering seeing the movie when it hits the dollar theatre near us. I’ve been reading mixed reviews on the movie, so we’ll have to see. 

What I Read the Last Two Months (and Quick Thoughts)

Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You by Sharon Hodde Miller – Truly enjoyed this one which focuses more on letting go of a me-centered focus and understand how self-focus impacts other areas of our life. (5/5 rating)

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel Rosenberg – I’ve enjoyed past series by Rosenberg and am interested to see where he takes this series. Several of his past political thrillers have centered around the Middle East, and this new series focuses on Russia and North Korea, so it definitely holds some intrigue. (4.5/5 rating)

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna White – Another book that swept me up last month – and I made myself hold off on reading it until I knew I could savor it! This was the last book in a 3 book series by White and wrapped things up rather wonderfully. Each of the books in the series can be read independently, although I definitely recommend reading all three. (5/5 rating)

Below are a few others read: 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 


What We’re Reading – September 2018

What’s one book you’ve read lately that you just couldn’t put down – or still has you mulling parts of it? 

It’s been about two months since I shared what I was reading and now that we’re back in the swing of school (sort of), sharing what the kids are reading as well is part of the list. 

One of my goals this school year is not only reading aloud with the boys at least 4 days a week, but making sure that I personally set aside 20 minutes of reading time for myself 4 days a week (no interruptions). This doesn’t include my “fall asleep holding the Kindle” reading time – this is reading something with a little more depth, or at least taking time to rest and regroup.

My 2018 Reading List  is slowly decreasing, just maybe not as fast as I’d like, since I keep finding great books to read and I have a hard time NOT adding a new book to my pile. I’m guessing I’m not the only one with this problem? 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for September

*all links are referral links

So far, I am LOVING Love Unending and the quick “talking points” each chapter provides.  There are also so many great fiction books to read right now – I really need to stop adding things to my pile!

What the Kids are Reading

I have to tell you all, our current read-aloud is cracking me up and also almost made me cry this week. IT’S FICTION YOU ALL! 

The boys are rolling their eyes, but I’m absolutely loving this author’s writing style and having so much fun reading it with the boys. 


What I Read the Last Two Months (and Quick Thoughts)

A Family Shaped by Grace by Gary Morland – This was one that came up on Amazon and grabbed my attention. I had no idea it was written by the dad of someone I know personally, which made it so much better once I realized that. 

The beginning years of this family’s life was truly rough. The dad grew up in a very dysfunctional family and their family legacy was only changed by the grace of God. This isn’t a step-by-step solution to a peaceful home, but gentle leading/nudging and encouragement that is well-worth re-reading and keeping on hand. (5/5 rating)

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – Oh my heart, you all. This book was both heartbreaking and engrossing. Having never heard of Georgia Tann and the scandal with the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, this was so saddening to read at times.

The overall story is fictional but based on real-life happening of children that are essentially stolen from their families and then adopted/sold to other families in the late 1930s-1940s. It is unbelievable to realize how many lives were impacted by one woman and her reach, and even more that it went undetected for so long. (5/5 rating)

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees – Another book that swept me up last month. A young baby is found in the snowy woods and brought home by a young girl. The family is very wealthy, but the girl is not embraced by the parents and has difficulty fitting in with the staff and other members of the household. Her only friend is the young heiress who rescued her.

Years later, when the heiress dies young, Amy is left out in the cold again, but sent on a treasure hunt with a single clue left to her by her recently deceased friend.  (5/5 rating)

Also read the following (July/August): 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 


What I’m Reading – July 2018

It’s been a bit since I’ve shared what’s in my reading pile. Sitting by the poolside in the summer is often one of my favorite times to get some light recreational reading. Focusing on anything that requires more brain power is hard with the kids running (well, walking…) around and wanting to spend time chatting with friends. 

My bag was full of books to read on our trip overseas, but we were fairly busy during our time there, so I didn’t read as much as I expected, especially since the kids were with me on the plane. I have read a few great books lately (see below) and have a few I’d like to finish up as well. 

My 2018 Reading List  has had several books added to it. I’m still slowly working through the books I wanted to initially read, but there have been some newly released books I immediately added to my “must read” pile. So technically, I’m doing well! I absolutely LOVED both Just Open the Door and Raising World Changers. Both books offer much discussion around the dinner table and their focus is right where my heart is at the moment. 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for July

  • Prison Letters by Corrie ten Boom
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
  • Comfort Detox by Straza
  • A Family Shaped by Grace by Morland
  • Eve by Wm Paul Young
  • Cherish By Gary Thomas

So far, Comfort Detox has giving me some great “thinking points” on what I turn to when things get tough. I’m also determined to get through Cherish this month – it’s good, but I keep leaving it all over the place and forget about it! 

What I Read the Last Few Months (and Quick Thoughts)


The Lost Vintage – A friend handed this off to me as some poolside reading, and I finished it in about 24 hours. For me, that’s a great read. :) Lately I have been loving books that flip between present/past and intertwine the stories of a present day family with the past – and keep you guessing until the end. This story follows a present day wine maker in France and had flashbacks to their family during WW2 and the secrets that have been hiding for over sixty years with their involvement in the war – both good and bad. (5/5 rating)

The Life-Giving Parent – Another great book from the Clarkson family. This one is written more by Clay Clarkson, but offers some great wisdom for parents. (5/5 rating)

Just Open the Door – So many words of encouragement and gentle nudges to help us get over our fears of inviting others into our spaces and sharing the gift of hospitality. It doesn’t have to be a scary and overwhelming thing! Jen shares practical insights, each chapter is full of heartfelt advice and ways to “elevate the ordinary” in our hosting adventures. I love that it is chocked full of honest looks into their family (mistakes and laughter), making it relatable and do-able. So many great ideas and ear-marked pages and inspiration to invite others in. (5/5 rating)

Raising World Changers – One of the things I love most about Kristen’s writing is she doesn’t shy away from sharing about the struggles that exist in situations – she is real. Authentic. Something I struggle with (and many other families do as well) is finding that balance in protecting/sheltering our kids and preparing our kids to do GREAT things – and be in situations that are tough. At times that means going against the “norm” in making a difference. Throughout the book, Welch offers practical advice and activities for family members to get started serving (and get out of your comfort zone) to make changes in the world around you. The books doesn’t leave you with an overwhelming feeling of judgement, but rather inspiration. Raising World Changers is a book that will leave you mulling thoughts, revisiting passages, underlining a lot, but most importantly – raising world changers. (5/5 rating)

Also read the following: 

  • The Hiding Place – Corrie ten Book (5/5 rating – I cried)
  • The Lost Girl of Astor Street  (4/5 rating)
  • On Mystic Lake – (4.5/5 rating)
  • Giver of Wonders by Roseanna White-  (5/5 rating)
  • The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah Ladd – not my favorite by her by far. Actually a bit disappointing since I have loved her other work. (3/5 rating)
  • The Summer Before the War – a new to me author (not Christian), but fairly clean and sweet (4/5 rating)

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 


What I’m Reading (and the Kids too)

What have YOU been reading this month? 

This month I did branch out a little genre-wise, but also ending up adding some last minute finds to my book stacks. I’m a sucker for a soft cover, great title, and authors I love! 

Despite traveling this month, it wasn’t a huge chance to read since I was driving 9 hours each direction. I will say I miss plane flights with uninterrupted time to read! :) And lately – sleep is my buddy and I’m falling asleep within a few pages of reading. 

One of the books (All the Light We Cannot See) has been great, but somehow seems to be a bit long. It could be because I keep falling asleep while reading (with my Kindle). I’m honestly not sure how I found the book, but it is set in WW2 time and two different countries (France and Germany) telling the story of two different individuals. I haven’t quite figured out where it is headed yet, but seeing the war from two opposing perspectives has been interesting as well. 

Even though I haven’t put as big of a dent in my 2018 Reading List,  I’m adding a few books to the stack – I’m telling you, I’m a sucker for a new release! I’m also excited to be a part of the launch teams for both Just Open the Door and Raising World Changers. Both of the authors are ladies I know (and love), so reading and hearing their heart makes the books even more special! 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for April

  • Just Open the Door (finishing)
  • Raising World Changers
  • The Lifegiving Parent
  • The Great Alone
  • All the Light We Cannot See

I’m very much enjoying Just Open the Door so far, and really can’t wait to dig into Raising World Changers and The Lifegiving Parent

What the Kids are Reading

I’m so looking forward to finishing up reading with Kaleb – not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it will be such a huge milestone for him. Zachary and I also decided to change our read-aloud this month to include The Hiding Place, since we are hoping to visit her home when we visit the Netherlands in May. 

Read aloud – The Hiding Place

McKenna – The Importance of Being Earnest

Zachary – A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck (we got sidetracked with another book last month)

Kaleb – All About Reading Level 4  (we’re halfway thorugh!!)

What I Read in March (and Quick Thoughts)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Oh MY WORD. Written with so much humor, description, and at times sobering views, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society gives readers a glimpse into a post WW2 community after a German-occupied English island shares their stories with Juliet, a writer contemplating her next book topic. As the letters travel back and forth between the members of the society and Juliet, readers are drawn into life on the island as well as the back stories of the various characters. I honestly had no idea what to expect reading this book, but as I finished it I found myself wishing the story would continue. Literal laugh-out-loud moments while reading. (5/5 rating)

Blessed are the Misfits – Hansen writes in such an approachable way that his books are easy to read, digest, and apply practically. So much food for thought in this book – and even if you aren’t sure you are a “misfit” – it’s likely you are. So many dog-eared pages in the book I need to go back to and re-read. (5/5 rating)

Orphan Train – Some tough content at times, but an interesting look at the life of an orphan in “modern” times paralleled with an orphan from about 80 years prior. The friendship between an 18 year old with a troubled past and a 90+ year old with hidden secrets develops and blossoms as the story progresses. (4/5 rating)

Also read the following: 

  • Romancing Daphne – sweet story and love this author (4/5 rating)
  • The Innkeeper’s Daughter – newer to me author (3.5/5 rating)
  • The Truth According to Us (by one of the authors of Potato Peel Society) – not worth the read. A disappointment after the other (2/5 rating)
  • My Sister’s Intended – a new to me author (not Christian), but clean and sweet (4/5 rating)

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month? 


What I’m Reading (and the Kids too) – March 2018

What have YOU been reading this month? 

I’ve been trying to branch out some in my reading genre (i.e. I’m a huge historical fiction fan and tend to get stuck in an era or genre). There are some books coming to movies and also a few that people have been raving about, so I added a few of those to my February reading list. 

One of those, The Girl on the Train, is a title I read incorrectly, and consequently read The Girl  FROM the Train first – and the two are very, very different. The second title was a translation and I believe there were some things a little lost in translation. Overall it wasn’t bad (and honestly I enjoyed it more than the one all the fuss is about), but when I realized I’d read the wrong book – oy. 

I honestly don’t feel like I read a lot during February (in comparison to my normal book intake), but overall finished six books – five fiction and one non-fiction and started a few others.  While my Kindle is my “go-to” at bedtime, I’ve literally been falling asleep almost as soon as I’m in bed, so reading is a moot point. For this upcoming month, I’ve picked one additional book from my 2018 Reading List to focus on along with finishing one I started last month, and have at least two non-fiction books I’d like to read as well. 

Feed readers can click here to see my books for March

  • Blessed Are the Misfits
  • With All Due Respect
  • Just Open the Door
  • Eve
  • Romancing Daphne
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I’m very much enjoying Blessed Are the Misfits so far, and really can’t wait to dig into Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt! 

What the Kids are Reading

Something has truly “clicked” with Kaleb over the last bit and reading has been less of a struggle – which is beyond thrilling (really, truly). February had us going back and forth a lot in the afternoons, so we didn’t accomplish a lot of reading aloud at all, hence the reason we are still reading Gregor together. :)

Read aloud – Gregor the Underland Chronicles

McKenna – Ivanhoe

Zachary – A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

Kaleb – All About Reading Level 4

What I Read in February (and Quick Thoughts)

Godspeed by Britt Merrick – This book still has me mulling over so many things. The overarching theme is that we are called to “mission” in our lives – and it doesn’t necessarily involve a going out all over the world, but can mean little things (mission vs. missions). It isn’t that it’s super earth shattering, but it’s practical and presents topics in a way that you really stop and re-think the why behind some of your beliefs. Honestly one of my favorite books read to date. 

For Love or Honor by Sara Eden – if you love period dramas, this was another fun book in the Jonquil brothers series by Eden. I read it in a little over a day and a sweet story. Not my favorite in the series, but still fun to read and see past characters. 

The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley – fourth book in the series of six adopted sisters who lost their father. Each book chronicles the life of one sister in the months following their father’s death as they search deeper into their birth heritage. This has been a really interesting series as it flips back and forth between present time and back sometimes a hundred years or more to share history (one included Beatrix Potter). This one had a little more ‘edge’ to it, but nothing explicit. 

I’m trying to balance out my reading genres a little, but bedtime is typically my “pick up a piece of fiction” time, sometimes via Kindle and other times a good ol’ paperback book. Here are links to four of the six books I read in February. 

You can follow along with me via the Goodreads app where I share my reviews and additional thoughts. What have YOU been reading this month?