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Read. Reading. To Be Read.


I love sharing what we’ve been reading and getting good book recommendations from YOU, so here’s some of what we’ve read, what we’re reading, and what’s up next on our reading lists.

Personally What I’ve Read so Far in 2016:

  • Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova – I really enjoyed this author’s book Still Alice, so I decided to give this one a try. It was a tough read, but one I’m glad I finished. Lots of perspective for family + health!
  • A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner – Loved the parallels in this story and how it all came together.
  • You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan – One of the THE BEST marriage books I’ve read. Really want to go back through this one again and soak up even more.


What We’ve {Re}Read with the Boys: 

They read so many chapter books on their own these days, but we still love reading books aloud at the end of the day.

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  by C.S. Lewis – The boys and Brad finished this one for the second time. This time was even better, as the boys were a little older and able to grasp more of the story.
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd-Jones – I think this is our 4th total time through this book. It’s always fresh and such a cherished read.

What I’m Currently Reading: 

  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – I’m about halfway through this one and still not able to anticipate where it’s going. It had a bit of a slow start, but now I’m really into the characters and anticipating the ending.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – This one has been on my list for some time after so many friends have loved it. I figured it’s the perfect time to dig in as we’re already in the mode of updating and organizing before the baby comes.


What We’re Currently Reading with the Boys:

Here’s what we’ve been reading for nightly devotions… (Here’s more of our devotional favorites.)


And Here’s What’s On My Personal To-Read List: 

I’m fortunate to have friends who are authors. I’ve known them from back when they were “just bloggers” and I’m so incredibly proud of their efforts that have poured onto these pages. Get your hands on these! They can be found at Target, Amazon, your local Christian bookstores, and on best seller’s lists!!!!

  • My Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner – I’ve always admired how Jess balances her roles in life with self-care and creativity – something I definitely want to grow in.
  • Raising Grateful Kids in An Entitled World By Kristen Welch –  I’m anxious to gain more perspective on raising our kids to be thankful and have a greater perspective for what they’ve been given – something we’re constantly working on in our home.
  • Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver – So many lives were touched by Sara’s life, and I’m so thankful that my dear friend Mary could continue to share her story and the beauty of choosing joy regardless of circumstances.
  • Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington – This is an area I’ve really been intentional in growing in, and I’m looking forward to gaining more wisdom from someone whom I admire so much.

What’s On the Boys’ To-Read List:

  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – The boys are looking forward to the next book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.
  • Unbroken (Young Adult Adaptation) by Laura Hildenbrand – Brad and I both were greatly impacted by reading Unbroken and consider it one of our top 3 books we’ve ever read.  The boys have heard us talk about it over the past couple of years, and when Brooks and I found the adapted version at the library, we had to check it out. We’ll definitely preview this one before reading it aloud, but I look forward to the boys getting to hear the astounding story of Louis Zamperini.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madelene L’Engle – I cannot wait to dive into this classic with my dudes!

Now for my favorite part….YOUR turn! What are you reading for fun? What are your reading for personal growth? What are you reading with your kids? Can’t wait to add more books for my “To Be Read” list! 

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a tiny affiliate commission (Diaper Money!!!) – so THANK YOU. Know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to your lives, because I genuinely care about you!
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My Favorite Cookbooks for Answering the “What’s For Dinner?” Question


I LOVE cookbooks!  I especially love when the author shares the stories behind the recipe, the traditions around their table, how they enjoy the meal, etc.

Some of my favorites for this have been Pioneer Woman’s and Shauna Niequists‘ cookbooks. It’s so much more than just ingredients, it’s like sharing the table with them.

On my continued quest to feed my {growing in size and number} family with healthy meals, I’ve invested in a few cookbooks over the past few months that I have absolutely LOVED!  They are new, but they are already getting creased, drip marks, and flagged with post-its.

Here are three that are becoming some of my most loved in my collection:


The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime

This is my favorite PDub Cookbook so far! I love that it’s practical meals and ideas for what I struggle with most: “Whats for Dinner????” I also like that she included lots of 16 Minute Meals and Freezer Meals recipes too! My favorites so far that I’ve tried: Classic Pulled Pork, Potato Soup, and Fudge (what Fudge is TOTALLY dinner food!).


100 Days of Real Food

I’ve found recipes on this blog in the past, but I really enjoyed it in cookbook form. Although we are already on board with a lot of the real food movement, it furthered my understanding and how to navigate making healthy choices for our family. I like that the recipes aren’t difficult or made with crazy ingredients just because they are healthy. Favorites so far: Cinnamon Apple Chips, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, and Homemade Chicken Nuggets.


Great Food Fast

I became an Instant-Pot Head this month. Have you heard of an Instant Pot? I hadn’t either until several friends started posting about their obsession with theirs and all of these recipes they had made in 1/2 the time. You can make hard boiled eggs in 6 minutes that peel perfectly!

It’s not your grandma’s pressure cooker, plus it holds in the flavor much better than a slow-cooker. It’s super simple to operate. Here’s what mine looks like:


I’m still definitely still an Instant-Newbie, but I’m looking forward to this cookbook to help me figure out some weekly dinner favorites that I can make quickly! Ones I’ve heard great things about and can’t wait to try: Perfect Pot Roast, Best Ever Macaroni and Cheese, and Real-Steel Cut Oatmeal.


How about YOU? Any cookbooks you can’t live without? Do you have these three? What’s for dinner at your house this week? 


*The above has links to Amazon affiliates. If I make any loose change off of your purchases, it will go into the diaper fund, so thank you! 


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Favorite Devotionals for Kids


We aren’t doing a lot of things right around here, but one thing I don’t think we’ll ever regret is reading the Bible to our kids.  We’ve made it part of our nightly routine, and I KNOW we have all benefited from it. We’ve read a variety of books to them at night from biographies, to devotionals, to kids Bible’s, to just reading Scripture, and I thought I would share some of our favorites with you.  Sometimes it’s hard to find a good devotional for your family that covers a range of kids, that is solid theologically, and that is on their level. Here’s our favorites so far…

Favorite Devotionals for Kids:

esv bible

1. The Bible. Yes, kids can comprehend the Bible straight from the pages. Pick a book like John, Genesis, James, etc and start going through it verse by verse. You might need to stop and camp on some verses and explain things, but you’ll be surprised what their child-like faith can grasp. . It’s never to early to start memorizing Scripture with your kids. Our boys learned ones from the ABC Bible Verse book at a very early age.  (PS It’s FREE on Kindle.)


2. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I’ve shared this one many times and will continue to do so…outside of the Bible, this is my very favorite kids Bible. I love that every story, both Old Testament and New points to Christ and the “secret rescue plan”. The illustrations are captivating and the stories are engaging for ages 1 through adult. As you can tell, ours is well-worn and loved.


3. Hero Tales by Dave and Netta Jackson. I recently finished up reading this book to the boys about heroes of the faith. I learned so much and it deepened my own appreciation of the sacrifices and boldness of so many in the history of our faith. I would love to get the next volumes in this series.


4. God’s Promise by Sally Michaels I recently got introduced to this Children’s Desiring God series by Sally Michaels, and we are already loving the first one we’ve opened. Love the questions at the end and it’s a great one for multiple ages. My assistant pastor’s wife let me borrow several in this series: God’s Names, God’s Providence, and God’s Wisdom – so we’ll all set for a while.


5. God’s Mighty Act of Salvation by Starr Meade. This was another one recommended by my friend, Erin. She said “this really nailed down the concept of what salvation is and what it is not” for her family. That’s definitely something we want to impress upon my boys’ hearts. It goes through the book of Galatians. Another one that I’d like to read aloud to the boys by this author is God’s Mighty Act of Creation.

I’d LOVE to hear what you have been studying with your kids?  Have you found it hard to find a time to have a family devotional together? What works for your family? 


Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a tiny affiliate commission – so THANK YOU. Know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to your lives, because I genuinely care about you!

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