Looking for a challenge?

A reading challenge that is! I don’t know what it is about doing a challenge that I love so much. I am, by nature, not a competitive person but I find some challenges really satisfying.

I, myself, have not created a reading challenge, but perhaps one day. I have, however, collected a short list of some reading challenges I have come across.

The first challenge is a 31 day challenge and comes from Sarah Mackenzie at readaloudrevival.com The goal in this challenge is to read aloud to your kids or have your kids read aloud for 10 minutes at least three days a week. Sarah has a wonderful FREE packet containing trackers and reward ideas for your kids. I participated in this challenge last January with my then 5 month old son. This year I am trying to read aloud to him at least 10 minutes but have not yet signed up for the challenge officially. I also really enjoy listening to Sarah’s podcasts and checking out her FREE book lists. She is a wonderful resource for picking great books.

The second challenge is brought to you by Jami Balmet over at youngwifesguide.com. She has created a challenge for women and one for men. I completed her challenge a couple of years ago. She sets up her challenge by picking categories and selecting books for those categories. She also has two levels: 13 books in a year or 26 books in a year. All the books on the list are nonfiction and meant to help you grow in your walk with the Lord or your role as wife and mother. She, too, has a great podcast as well as several FREE resources on her site.

The third challenge is being led by Jessica Turner at themomcreative.com. I first saw her reading challenge on her instagram account @booksnobery. Her goal with this challenge is to get you to read your books you already own! I love that!! My TBR pile is huge and while I focused on reading from it in 2019, I certainly could focus on it for another year. Now, she does specifically say this challenge is NOT a book buying band, but a goal to read more of what we already own. You can sign up for her challenge on her website. I am very excited about this one!

The last challenge is brought to you by Anne Bogel at modernmrsdary.com. I have not done this challenge before but I like that she gives you categories and allows you to find the books for them. For example, one category is to read a book from the year your were born. How fun is that?!? You can sign up and get more information on her website.

All for ladies can be found on instagram as well. Do you plan to take up a reading challenge this year? Let me know in the comments.

Happy reading!

My 2019 Reading Goals: a review

I started 2019 with the goal to read 3 books a month: 1 from my TBR pile, my book club read, and the book for my LM Montgomery Read Along Challenge. I also decided to keep a reading journal for the year to help me keep up with my thoughts on the books I was reading and give me a place to jot down favorite quotes.

I started the year off with a bang completing 4 books for the month of January! February and March were pretty good too. The area I tended to lag in was the LM Montgomery read along, partly because my local library didn’t have the books I needed and partly because my little guy was becoming more mobile and my reading time was being cut short.

The area I consistently succeeded in was my book club book. I was, after all, leading the book club so I needed to be prepared. The books also fit my current life status: mother, wife, and homemaker. Thus, these books held my interest longer and were easily applied to my daily life.

As the year went on, reading became much harder. I was so tired that reading before bed was difficult. I tried reading aloud to little man and that helped some. I also returned to work. If you were to look in my reading journal you would find a direct correlation between J’s mobility, my returning to work, and my decrease in reading. My book club fell apart after I returned to work so consequently I wasn’t pushing to finish those books. In fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish October’s book nor did I open November’s.

The area I was most successful in was not buying any new books in 2019. Ironically! My TBR pile did decrease by several books and I am thrilled about that. I also reread two books in order to complete a series I had read out of order. In October, I was gifted a 3 month subscription to audibles, so I listened to 2 books not originally on any list or in any pile.

I have dealt with a little disappointment in the way my reading year turned out but I have come to two conclusions because of this year: any amount of reading is awesome and read what you really love. I believe it’s good to read books in different genres, but when you find one you really love, it’s ok to read as much in that genre as possible! The last several books I read were Civil War Historical Fiction. I enjoyed every minute of those books and that is what really matters. Not how many books I read, but the fact that I truly enjoyed the time given to those books.

I haven’t set any reading goals for 2020. I did, however, get on Goodreads. So we shall see if that helps me out any. I will continue to keep my reading journal but am not planning to create any specific monthly goal like I did for 2019.

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

You know, when you find your genre, you can’t help but read everything in it!! I was gifted 3 months of audibles for my birthday. Let me tell you, the pressure to use my credit well was intense. Who wants to waste a credit on a poorly written (and poorly read) book? (Side note: you can return audbile books!) Anyway, I took to instagram to try and find the best book for my credit. And let me tell you… I DID!!

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker is a superbly written and extremely well researched novel. Throughout the entire thing, I kept wondering and hoping that the main character was real… and she was! (Which I learned in the author’s note section.)

As a former history teacher, I don’t want some fluffy novel that just happens to be set in an historic time period. I want the history woven with the story. Jennifer Chiaverini did just that. She included historic details and her character’s insights into those details. You can tell she put a lot of time and effort into her research and the creation of her novel. Personally, I think the tell-tell sign of a great novel is when the content inspires you to read more about the topic. I am looking forward to reading the memoir written by the dress making, Elizabeth Keckley.

Awesomeness:

  1. This novel is well-researched. The accuracy of the history is it’s best selling point!
  2. The characters are extremely well-developed.

Cautions:

  1. It is a Civil War novel and as such the issues of slavery will be addresses. In some cases, slave experiences are recounted. Nothing very distasteful, but real nonetheless.
  2. The difficulties faced by runaway slaves and freedmen in the north are mentioned. Nothing extreme, but if a younger audience is reading, you will need to be prepared to discuss contraband camps and the fugitive slave law.

The Secret in the Cliffs

The Secret in the Cliffs documents the adventures of a boy and his best friend. Kyle, a lover of archeology, spends his spare time exploring the caves in the cliffs above the beaches in his town. There, he makes a discovery that motivates him to explore deeper and deeper into the caves. The desire to explore increases when Kyle realizes that he is being watched… and followed.

Kristin Tucker takes her reader on an archeological expedition of monumental proportions. Through her use of detail, she allows the reader to join Kyle & Kaitlin as they climb, dig, and swim their way through the caves. She invites us along as they make known the secret in the cliffs.

Awesomeness:

  • This is the first middle-grade novel I have read where the main character is so into archeology.
  • There is a lot of really good upper-level vocabulary (My hubby says I’m a sucker for vocabulary!)

Caution:

  • Kyle doesn’t ever reveal his adventures or the dangers to his parents.

Lesson Plan Ideas:

  1. Watch an archeological dig on youtube or the history channel.
  2. Look up examples of hieroglyphics in a book or online.
  3. Create a treasure hunt/ archeological dig for your reader.
  4. Write a dialogue between a news reporter and Kyle.
  5. Create a poster for the museum advertising the skeleton display.

*The author reached out to me to review her book and supplied the novel.

How I’m making time to read

Reading is, by far, my most enjoyable past time. Once I got married, I realized that I had significantly less time to read and then when baby boy came along, that time pretty much didn’t exist! So what was I to do?

I have been reading the Bible out loud to my son pretty much his whole existence. So I decided that I should do the same with my novels. Jonathan makes for a great audience. He really thinks that I am talking to him and I try to make eye contact periodically so he feels included. He is happy to lay on the ground and play while I read. Now, I will say I only have the one and he isn’t mobile yet! But I am hoping that reading a loud will continue to be a way I can read the books I love.

I also try and read a chapter or two right before bed. It helps that my hubby is a reader as well. You wouldn’t believe how much reading one can fit in at night.

Lastly, I have started allowing myself the first 25 minutes of his nap time to be my reading time. Specifically I am using that reading time to research health topics and read books about health. But I set my timer and read. It’s amazing how much the timer helps. I am more likely to ignore my phone and read because I know the timer is ticking. If someone calls or texts I know that I can get back to them in 25 minutes. That has been so helpful.

Currently, I have finished 2 out of the 3 books that make up my monthly goal. (More on that in the next post.) Try reading aloud if you have kids and see how it works!

How do YOU make time to read?

The Maker’s Diet

This blog post is long overdue and will certainly be out of my norm. I really haven’t had a lot of time to read let alone blog. Back in November my site crashed because of malware… so that took some figuring out. On top of the, lately I have been reading mostly health and diet books. Not really the kind of content I post here. If all of that wasn’t enough, I have my sweet baby boy to look after! (Which of course is the greatest and most rewarding use of my time!)

With all of that said, if you are looking into dieting or getting healthy for the new year, I would HIGHLY recommend The Maker’s Diet by Jordan S. Rubin. Jordan was diagnosed with Crohn’s at 19 and spend the next two years of his life and thousands of dollars trying to find a permanent healing solution. This book is the culmination of what his journey taught him.

I was gifted this book by my father after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I eagerly dived into this book and followed his 40 day challenge. I lost several pounds and felt so much better after the challenge. I have actually decided to go back to Phase 1 and hang out there for several months because it made me feel so good.

If you’re trying to start 2019 off on a healthier foot, then check out Jordan’s book. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Heaven Shining Through

I am super excited to present to you Joe Siccardi’s debut novella:  Heaven Shining Through. This novella was sent to me by the author for a read and review. To learn more about Mr. Siccardi and his upcoming work, visit his website.

Heaven Shining Through is a 64 page novella that centers around Samantha’s reflections on her life. Visiting her ailing mother, whom she never really got along with, Samantha is sent into a reverie of her past. She walks the reader through her teenage years and into her current life situation. Through her reflections, Samantha comes to realize that life really is unpredictable and perhaps her mother loved her more than she had ever realized.

Awesomeness: 

*As my hubby says, I’m a sucker for vocabulary. This book has excellent vocabulary. I circled 59 words that I would turn into a vocabulary lesson(s).

*The ending is a happy one in which broken relationships are healed.

*It is a short read and could easily be finished in an  hour depending on the strength of the reader.

Cautions:

*The word whore is used at one point.

*The S word is also used.

*Fondling is discussed and the main couple do experience a moment of intimacy out of wedlock.

*Several characters die. One from cancer- that could be a trigger for anyone having had that personally affect them.

*At one point, Samantha compares the Bible Church she is attending to her Catholic experience. There are not derogatory remarks against the Catholic faith, she is just merely reflecting on the differences.

Lesson Plan Ideas:

*Use context clues to define unknown words.

*Write an alternative ending to the story.

*Create a character map of Samantha. What is she feeling? Thinking? Doing?

Where have I been?

Hello dear readers!

I finally have a few free moments to jump on my blog and catch y’all up. I am currently listening to book number 6 in the Anne of Green Gables series. Why listening you ask? Because on July 31, 2018 I had my precious baby boy.

Jonathan came into the world just one day early. I have been focusing on him the last two months and haven’t had much time to pick up a book. Unless it’s a board book. Little Blue Truck anyone??

 

Anyway, I hope to be back in full swing soon. Until then, happy reading!

The Mission of Motherhood

I think I have made it my mission to read all of Sally Clarkson’s books. Many people might assume that when one woman rights over 20 books, mostly centered on home and family, they’d become repetitive, but this isn’t so for her.

I began reading The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity because Sally was doing a summer series on her podcast over it. I am so glad I decided to read the book and not just listen to her podcasts. It was so insightful. I underlined and stared so much stuff! 

As someone who is, quite literally, preparing to take on the role of mom any day now, I found this book to be very encouraging and inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on being a servant mother and a teaching mother.

One of the many things I like about Sally is that she never assumes to have all the answers. She also doesn’t pretend that her life has been perfect and her family without fault. She is writing and speaking from a place of experience and I think we’d all do well to listen to what she has to say and apply what we can to our current stages of life.

If you are unfamiliar with Sally Clarkson, I suggest you check out her website sallyclarkson.com and her podcast At Home with Sally. You WON’T be sorry!

 

PS. I  just really love what this woman’s ministry is all about! Check out my post on her book The Life Giving Home as well.