Category Archives: Reading

290 Book Summer

We went to the local library’s summer reading kick off in June and for their summer reading program, they have the kids pick a goal of how many books they want to read that summer and then the kids get prizes when they get to the 1/2 way point and their goal.

At first, Mason told the librarian that he only wanted to read one book this summer (I was a bit embarrassed LOL)and then when I told him we had to read more books than that, he pulled out his favorite number… 288.

I told the librarian that we usually read three books every night, so she did some quick math – 90 days times 3 books equals 270 books. Mason insisted, “No, I said 288!”

I said “What the heck?!” and we rounded it up to 290 books and now we’re looking at reading 290 books this summer. EEK.

So far, these have been his favorites

Anything Elephant and Piggie (author Mo Williams)

The Beginner’s Bible

Superhero books

Tacky the Penguin (a new-to-us find & he’s excited to read the entire series)

I’m not sure we’re going to reach our goal – more so because I forget to track our books more often than not (OOPS) but hey, we’re going to try.

As for me, the best books I’ve read so far this summer are

and while I’m not finished with it, unless the ending sucks, this is my other favorite so far

I’m also enjoying reading two different series by Robin Jones Gunn. I fondly remember reading her books when I was in junior high and I was way too excited to learn that I could read about the same characters in college and after college now. Nice light reading to complement some of the parenting books I’m also reading ūüôā

So, how about you? What have you read this summer? What do you hope to read in the next few months? What are your kids loving! Do tell!

Making Time to Read

I read. A lot. In fact, according to my librarian, I read more than any person she’s ever met. How is THAT for a compliment!?!? In actuality, I probably check out more books than anyone she’s ever met, but I don’t always get to read them all. Either way, compared to most people, I do read a lot.

I question I get asked ALL the time is “When do you find time to read?!” I work full time plus some. I have a husband, pets, and a nearly four year old son. Just reading those sentences, I too can see how it’s hard to believe I find time to read!

But, I want to let you in on a little secret….

I find time to read because I make it a priority. It’s important to me, so I make time for it.

Make Reading a Priority

Just like some people make time to knit or write or paint, I make time to read.

Here’s is how I managed to read 90+ books last year (plus blogs and Mason books)

#1 I don’t watch (much) TV. In fact, I watch very very little TV. Right now, the only shows I’m watching are Parenthood and Raising Hope. That’s about 75 minutes of TV a week when you factoring fast forwarding through the commercials (we have a Tivo) Studies show the average person watches 3-4 hours of TV a day. I’m betting this is where most people’s “reading time” goes.

#2 I read while others ARE watching TV. I read while Mason is watching his two TV shows every night. I read if SuperDad is watching a show that doesn’t interest me. This way, I’m in arms reach for a cuddle or a hug, but I’m not sucked into some show I have no interest in.

#3 I make reading accessible. I always have several books checked out from the library. I have several books waiting on my kindle. I have books I want to read on a shelf by my bed. I even keep a book in my car in case something comes up! I never have the excuse of “I’d like to read but I don’t have anything TO read!”

#4 Along the same lines, I recognize that I’m not always in the mood to read certain things. Sometimes I like light fluffy chick lit, sometimes I want to read a good biography. Having different books around gives me the option to read according to what I’m in the mood for.


#5 I read while Mason is engrossed in activities nearby. If he’s playing with his monster trucks or engrossed in ABC Mouse, I’m often reading. I also read when it’s not my turn to put Mason to bed. We take turns and I’m often in his room “hanging out” when it’s not my turn, but I’m also reading my book.

#6 I read in waiting rooms. If I’m going to the doctor or am getting my hair dyed or doing something else where I know I’ll be sitting and waiting for a while, a book or my Kindle comes with.

#7 Before my favorite little cafe closed down, I would read on my lunch break once a week. Me, a savory crepe, and a good book were often the highlight of my week. “Taking myself on a date” is what I would call it – pure bliss.

#8 I read after Mason goes to sleep / before I go to sleep. Sometimes I blog or fart around on the computer, sometimes I read. If I’m reading a particularly good book, I often take it to bed with me and read for another 10-30 minutes before falling asleep. And sometimes I only make it 5 minutes.

#9 I pay attention to how I feel about the book I’m reading. If I’m “into” a book, I pick it up every chance I get. If I’m feeling meh about a book, I let it sit there and sit there and find lots of other things to do instead. Hence why if I read several good books in a row, I can read three books in one week, but if I’m reading a book I’m not really into, it might take me three weeks to get through just that one.

Life is Too Short to Read a Bad Book

#10 I give myself permission to quit a book. I use to slog through a book FOREVER if that’s what it took, but now, if I’m not enjoying it by page 50, I can quit. Usually by then, you can just TELL if the book is going to be one for you or not. This really helps my reading numbers go up because I’d much rather read several books I enjoy than spend the entire month reading just one out of guilt/obligation/hope it will get better.

#11 I only read what interests me. I don’t necessarily read something just because it’s popular or on the best seller list. For example, I’ve never read The Harry Potter Series or the Twilight books. They just don’t sound appealing to me and THAT’S OKAY! I have friends who read only anime or only sci-fi or paranormal or history. Those genres just aren’t my thing and I won’t enjoy the same books they do. I resist the urge to read something that’s popular (or, at times, recommended) unless it’s something that interests me. Because let’s face it, if I’m reading something I don’t like, I might as well be doing something else I don’t enjoy, like scrubbing the shower or vacuuming the stairs. Reading should be pleasurable!

So, as you can see, all of these things are pretty basic, but when put together, they all add up. Ten minutes here, forty minutes there, and pretty soon, you’ve got a book read!

How do you find time to read? Or, if reading isn’t your thing, how do you find time to partake in your hobbies?

Mason Meets Llama Llama

For over a year, we read Llama Llama Nighty Night before Mason went to bed. Every single night. Mason enjoys other Llama Llama books as well (his favorite probably being “Llama Llama Time to Share”) and I’m a fan of the big camelid myself. So when I saw that Llama Llama was coming to our local (bigger) library for the 10000 Books Before Kindergarten kick-off, I knew we had to be there!

The library was set up with several activity stations to pass the twenty minutes or so before the guest of honor arrived.

Mason worked on a puzzle

And worked at the stamping station

He also checked out the gerbils, which were SUPER exciting this day because they were both awake and out “exercising” (aka running on their wheel)

Then along came Llama Llama. Mason wasn’t as excited as I expected (and even twenty minutes into the visit asked “When do I get my surprise!?” #fail) but it was still fun.

They played with Playdough

Llama Llama attempted story time but no one came. LOL

We had to bribe him into giving Llama Llama the world’s fastest hug. This wasn’t the photo I had envisioned but that’s preschoolers for you I guess.

And then Llama Llama and Mason did a puzzle together.


Llama Llama had such personality and she made SuperDad and I laugh way harder than she probably should have

All three puzzles they completed warranted a celebration

We had a great time meeting Llama Llama and are so happy our library offers such fun programs. Have your kids ever met any literary characters?

Currently 1/23/14

I am currently…

reading “Christmas Jars Reunion”. I read the original book right before Christmas and was happy to discover a sequel. I’ve got 12 more books checked out from the library right now and am somewhat worried about where I’ll find the time to read them all!

loving spending time with friends. Last weekend had me out with friends (baby registry planning and a playdate with Mason’s “cousin” Liam) both Saturday and Sunday and I really need to make it a priority to see these ladies more often!

wearing my scrubs. It was a goal of mine to change out of my work clothes every night as soon as I got home but I’m really bad about it. They’re just as comfy as my pajamas, so more often than not, I stay in them until bedtime. I’m fairly sure it drives SuperDad crazy.

avoiding a small list of chores I really need to do such as vacuuming the steps and cleaning out the cat’s water fountain.

laughing¬†at Mason who is so earnest with his manners when he really wants something. It’s amazing how quickly the “Please oh please?!” comes out when it’s something that’s important to him.

Mason is currently…

reading “There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow” and “If you’re Cold and Know it Clap Your Paws” These books have been on repeat around here and I definitely like the second one more than the first. Mason, unfortunately, really feels the opposite.

loving ABC Mouse. This kid cannot get enough of ABC Mouse. If he was spending half as much time doing the learning activities as he was re-dressing his character, washing his puppy, or taking his fish in and out of their tank, I would be loving it too!

wearing things that make him happy. Lately, Mason has been super into wearing a certain character. One night, he was wearing his Thomas jammies, so he insisted on wearing his Thomas undies and Thomas socks and the next morning, he wanted to wear a Thomas shirt to school. Now last night, he was super excited “to be a Ninja Turtle” since he was wearing Ninja Turtle jammies. Too funny.

avoiding eating his supper. This boy asks for chicken nuggets EVERY NIGHT. When he was a baby and I lovingly made all of his food by hand and made sure he had VARIETY and VEGETABLES and was SUCH A GOOD EATER, yeah, that all went to crap. Chicken nuggets it is.

laughing at stuff crashing or stuck in the mud. He loves watching “Gold Rush” with his dad or silly YouTube videos and he FREAKS out whenever anyone gets stuck or crashes. It’s fairly hilarious.

2013 Reading Year in Review

In 2013, I read 91 books, not including the 3+ books I read with Mason every night because, well, Little Critter and Llama Llama don’t count.

I love reading (obviously) and I devour books like some people devour chocolate bars or coffee. I unfortunately, don’t remember a huge amount about them after I read them. That’s why I LOVE Goodreads and cataloging what I’ve read. It’s fun to look back on my lists and see the books I enjoyed, many of which I’ve already forgotten about (Don’t get me wrong, if I picked them up again, I’d remember reading them)

Like I said, in 2013, I read 91 books. I rated 2 books five stars, 29 books four stars, 9 books 2 stars, 1 book 1 star, and flat out abandoned 4 books after being at least 30 pages in. There were also several books that I started reading and stopped with intentions to try again later with.

Without further ado, here are my lists:

Five Stars
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
The Repeat Year by Andrea Lochen

Four Stars
Life Without Summer by Lynne Griffin
29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (even though I HATED the ending)
Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them by Randy Christensen, Rene Denfeld
Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Boots My Mother Gave Me by Brooklyn James
The One Good Thing: A Novel by Kevin Alan Milne
Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg
The Chance by Karen Kingsbury
The Week Before the Wedding by Beth Kendrick
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick
Always Watching by Chevy Stevens
Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky
Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews
Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Until I Say Goodbye: A Book about Living by Susan Spencer-Wendel
Silence by Natasha Preston
The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir by Brianna Karp
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women’s Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate
tThe Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

One Star
This Girl by Colleen Hoover

Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
Gold by Chris Cleave
Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline

My ratings are definitely not based on anything scientific. Basically, a five star book is one that I can’t put down and would recommend to just about anyone, a four star book is a one that I flew through and really enjoyed the story and a one star book is one that I really wish I hadn’t took the time to finish it… or even start it for that matter. LOL I am not real critical when it comes to grammar, writing style, etc, except when those things are so horrible it takes away from the story for me.

You can see my complete list of books and ratings for 2013 on Goodreads. But more importantly, what were YOUR favorite books in 2013?! Did we read any of the same books?

Reading Time Tuesday

The time has finally come – Mason is in LOVE with a lot of the same books/characters that I loved as a kid.

We just can’t read enough

Little Critter


Curious George



around here these days.

Some of my earliest memories involve going to the library and checking out the Curious George books and the accompanying cassette tape with them. And I’m pretty sure Clifford helped get me started on my HUGE love of dogs, especially big dogs! Mason will probably never know what a cassette tape is, but he sure knows who George, Clifford, and Little Critter are.

Totally loving this!

What books are your kids enjoying these days? Have you been able to enjoy any childhood favorites yet?

Reading Time Tuesday

While Mason seems to get more and more obsessed with TV every day (in particular, Mickey Mouse), it’s been harder and harder to get him to sit down and read. But, we’re working on it since it’s SUPER important to me that he grows up with a huge love of books. He’s still totally into reading before bedtime and will happily listen to 10 stories if it means it delays ni-night, of course!

Anyway, we’ve been doing a bit of themed reading again. This week’s library books include:

Be Mine, Be Mine, Sweet Valentine  by Sarah Weeks
10 Valentine Friends : a counting book  by Janet Schulman
The Biggest Valentine Ever by Steven Kroll
Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk
Minnie’s Valentine¬† by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
Bye-bye Pacifier  written by Dorothea DePrisco
No More Pacifier for Piggy! by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams
Good-bye pacifier! by Patricia Geis
It’s Time to Give Up your Pacifier¬† by Lawrence E. Shapiro
Little Bunny’s Pacifier Plan¬† by Maribeth Boelts

Amusingly enough, he’s loving all of the pacifier books (except their endings LOL) and really could care less for the Valentine’s books, with the exception of Minnie’s Valentine of course.

As for me, I just finished:
Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie – was pretty good, different than I expected!
The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts – exactly what I expected LOL
Sh*tty Mom: A Guide for the Rest of Us – amusing
Because I Said So! : the Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to its Kids by Ken Jennings – good but it kind of depressed me and I did a lot of skimming since I just wanted to know the final answer and not the long explanation.

I just started reading Emily & Einstein by Linda Francis Lee and am looking forward to reading¬†Just One Day by Gayle Foreman later this week. I’m still also reading Playful Parenting and Your Money or Your Life in my “Not Just Fluff” pile.

So, what are your kiddos enjoying this week? Have you had the chance to crack open a good book lately? I’d love to hear about it!

Books = Privilege, Magazines = Clutter?

As most of you know, I’m obsessed with books. I’m currently challenging myself to read 104 books in 2012 (you know, on top of raising a toddler, and working 44+ hours a week) and one of my biggest goals in parenting is to raise a reader. As of yesterday, I had 13 books on hold at the library for Mason. Yikes.

I brought half of them home today (and will go back and get the rest on Friday – don’t want them all to come due at the same time!)

I also subscribe to a bunch of magazines. Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Working Mother, a Wisconsin magazine, and I use to get Ladies Home Journal. The only problem? I never. ever. read magazines anymore. Since I started reading books again in the mid-2010, I’ve barely touched a magazine other than to move it from one pile to another. Once I realized this, I stopped renewing them, but so far that hasn’t helped the fact that I’m still getting 4-5 mags every month and I feel too guilty to throw them away without looking at them.

On Monday, I got two magazines in the mail and decided I should make a rule that if I don’t read it in a week, it goes away. I read both magazines last night and one article caught my eye. Did you know that on average in middle income neighborhoods, there are on average 13 books per child in child care centers, schools, and libraries (you know, like the 13 books on hold for Mason at our local library) but in low income areas, that number drops to 1 book per THREE HUNDRED kids.

These numbers totally broke my heart. As Mason and I read several Halloween and Cars books tonight, I thought about how fortunate we are. How we take so many things for granted.

Organizations like and Dewey Donation System help place books in underfunded libraries around the US and Canada and I’m sure there are many other organizations out there. I’m going to dig a little deeper and see if I can find some places closer to home to make a difference. Heck, every month our Scholastic Book Order offers a dozen books for $1 each. Even $5 would bring 5 books to kids who might not have them. Even with limited funds, I can do that!

So as I help raise a child who loves to read, I hope to reach out and help less fortunate kids have a chance to be surrounded with fun and exciting books too.

What causes inspire you to reach out? What small things make you feel fortunate? And what the heck should I do with 3 years worth of unread magazines?!

This time last year –5 Fingers of Thanks / The Wagon Patch / Buzz Kitty

Two years ago – Mason Goes Geocaching / Mason’s 1st Meal / Adventures with Eating

This post was not sponsored in any way shape or form by any company or charity mentioned herein.

Currently… 7/19/12

Mason is currently…

Looking forward to –¬† Spending lots of time with the Grandmas. He’ll be with Grandma J at our house Thursday and Friday night and then spend Saturday and Sunday with Grandma B and Papa. Grandma J offers lots of singing, playing cars, and tickling and Grandma B has his beloved “traaaac-tor” and more Thomas and cooking paraphernalia than an entire store. No wonder he’s excited

Making – block towers and then knocking them down. That’s been a favorite this week

Working on – potty training. He peed in the potty twice in one day this week. WAHOO!!!

Reading – “Goodnight Wonder Pets” and “Llama Llama Nighty Night” every night before bed. He takes another Wonder Pets book to bed with him, that I refuse to try to read him because it has waaay too many words for Mr. “Turn the Page, I’m Impatient”

Listening to – everyone and everything. The things that are coming out of his mouth these days amuse me to no end and I know he’s just picking up language from listening to everyone around him. The other day I told him we didn’t have a second ice pack and he responded “Mason need two ice. Daddy go to work and make two ice!” Really kid?!

Mason’s Mom is currently…

Looking forward to: RockFest! Today kicks off four days of fun in the sun with my honey while we listen to awesome bands such as Shinedown, Poison, Hollywood Undead, and Papa Roach. Going to see outdoor concerts is kind of our summer “thing” and we’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while. Yay music and a few days off from work!

Making – zero progress on any To Do list. If I liked actually getting mundane stuff accomplished as much as I liked making lists about it, my house would be a lot cleaner!

Working on – Couch to 5k! I’ve always hated running but am continually drawn to this program because they make it seem like ANYONE can do it. I’m super out of shape and wanted to do something that didn’t require videos and weights and two hours a day or something, so I’m trying this. Today I’ll be doing Day One of Week Two, which means it’s the 4th “workout” and officially the longest I’ve ever stuck with any sort of fitness thing. Yay me!

Reading – Just finished Jodi Picoult (and daughter’s) “Between the Lines” and was reminded that I really don’t like fairy tales or anything remotely fantasy. Just started “Some Assembly Required” by Anne Lamott and am 8 books behind on my goal to read 104 books this year.

Listening to: In a few hours, lots of rock music. See above.

So what are you up to? Come link up!

Harvesting Kale

This time last year –First Jeep Ride / 16 Months

Two years ago – Spoke Too Soon? / Playing in B&W / 4 Month Growth Spurt


Reading Time Tuesday

The other day, the house suddenly was very quiet and I decided I better investigate and see what Mason was up to. My heart warmed when found Mason like this….

I’ve always wanted a reader and I definitely have a book lover!

Unfortunately, I think I’ve created a monster. I was eagerly awaiting the day when Mason would seem to prefer books over everything else, but I wasn’t prepared for the repetition. The reading of the same book over and over again. And over and over again.

His usual book commentary includes pointing out any lights, bikes, kitties, or puppies and whether or not characters look happy or sad. “Train sad! Bikes! Lights BROKEN!”

Heavy in the reading rotation right now are “Blue Train, Green Train,” “Thomas Hide and Seek,” and “A Potty for Baby Bear.” The main sentences we hear around here are “Read the train book!” and “Read the bear book!” He’ll bring a big pile of books and sit in our laps and ask to have each book read to him again and again. So cute… the first few rounds. LOL

YAY for reading.

This time last year – Mirror, Mirror