January 2017 Reading List | What I’m Reading

I really love reading. Non-fiction is probably what I read the most. Well children’s books are actually what I read the most, but when I am reading just for me, I read a lot of non-fiction. Which is fine, but lately I wanted to go back to the realm of stories, told just for fun, or to send a message, stories that are more light-hearted and just a joy to read. Stories that teach lessons through the medium of storytelling. We will see how I do with that goal in 2017, but I wanted to at least write down some of my favorite books I am reading each month and how I liked them.


Girl in the Blue Coat – Set during WWII this story is a mystery and so thrilling. There were some twists and turns and each chapter made me want to keep reading to solve the big mystery and all the small mysteries that were within it. After reading stories about WWII and Nazi Germany I am always a little emotionally exhausted and need something a little more fun, but this book is worth reading if you enjoy history and mystery.

The Crossover – This book is something I would probably never pick up and read, but it won a Newberry and I have been trying to read a few more of those books recently. The whole time I was reading the books I just kept thinking how unique it was and how perfect it would be for boys especially. I really enjoyed the story for myself too, I love when stories can take you on a journey to see the world from a new perspective, and this one did that for me.

In Defense of Food – I have heard a lot about Michael Pollan and his books and so I finally checked this one out. I have been trying to move to real food for me and my family for a while now, but I really loved his common sense outlook and approach. Sometimes I feel like eating healthy has to be extreme or demanding, but I think he does a really good just of keeping it casual and manageable. I also really liked his Food Rules book.

French Kids Eat Everything – Another book that I wanted to read as part of trying to figure out how to feed my family healthfully. I love the way the French approach food. They seem to really understand all aspects of food, the nourishment and pleasure that food can bring, and not in a scientific way, in a very human way. I have been trying to make dinner and all of my meals slower and more intentional as a result of reading this book, and so far it has been a good change for our family.


Teaching My Toddler | The Letter M

The letter M is my favorite letter. I don’t know if everyone feels this way but I think M has been my favorite letter since childhood since my name starts with the letter M. M is for moon, and monsters, and monkeys.


The Letter M Booklist

Love Monster by Rachel Bright-One of my favorite books, I love this cute monster and how he struggles to find his place in the world, and finds a great friends along the way.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff- Classic books, and a perfect addition for learning about the letter M.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires- This book is so cute, and I love the determination of the little girl as she tries to make the most magnificent thing!

The Moon Inside by Sandra V. Feder- This is a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. It is perfect for any child that is a little afraid of the dark.

Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson- This is just a really fun and cute book that is a joy to read.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis- This book is really lovely in it’s writing and message.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans- I remember reading and watching Madeline as a girl, and it was fun to pull it out again to share it with my daughter.

The Letter M Printables

This week we have the The Letter M Notecard and The Letter M Do-a-Dot.

The Letter M Activity

This week for our activity I drew a monster for my daughter to color in. Super simple is what we do, but she loves it and loves showing off her artwork to Dada when he gets home.

The Diary of Mattie Spenser

A few of my closest family members started a little book club last January for fun. We have enjoyed reading a variety of books and discussing the themes surrounding them. It has been good for my soul to have a book to read with others and check in together to discuss and ponder these books.

This month we read The Diary of Mattie Spenser and I just loved it. A fictional story written in journal/ diary format, this book follows the life of Mattie Spenser, as she marries and moves from her hometown to Colorado in the middle of the 1800’s. She overcomes so many things during this time from the harsh environment, to the loneliness, to bearing children and losing children. It had me feeling so thankful that I live in a different time and have so many luxuries that she could never dream of. At the same time, although our lives are completely different, I found myself relating to her on so many personal and emotional levels.

If your looking for something quick and enjoyable to read, I highly recommend The Diary of Mattie Spenser.


Empty | Filled

There are moments in life where I feel empty. Like I have drained my energy, capability, faith, or hope. I feel like I have done all I can do and I am still in a place where my personal challenges and trials still exist. I look for the miracle, a miraculous kind of miracle where every hard thing heals and I am made whole. The kind I hear about daily or at least weekly. The kind where people have sickness or pain or heartache and then they experience the miracle of healing. People able to overcome hard things. And I sit here and wonder, where is my miracle? Why am I still struggling. And my husband wisely tells me to not compare my trials with others and I know this because I have no idea anything besides the fact that they feel like they have had a miracle in their lives. I don’t know the depth of their personal trials. Yes, I should not compare. But can I wonder, why am I still struggling and where is my miracle?

And then I realize that my miracle is not the end of struggling or pain or trials, at least not yet. My miracle is currently the hope that fills me when I am having a hard time. My miracle is the fact that my faith in Jesus Christ is being strengthened every day. My miracle is that I am able to learn new things from the scriptures because my trials give me a new lens through which I see life.

I kind of always hope for the miracle of overcoming, and being free from the trial, and maybe some day I will experience that miracle, but today I am thankful for the miracle of being filled when I feel empty.

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter L

The Letter L! We are halfway there. It has been great and challenging. My daughter is learning so much so that has been awesome!

teachingmytoddlertheletterl_malloryhazelThe Letter L Booklist

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen- I absolutely loved this book. It is so beautifully illustrated and I loved the story that went with it. Plus L is for Lion and Library, so it was perfect for this week.

Ladybug Girl by David Soman- This is a cute story about a little girl dressed as a ladybug, and all the adventures she goes on as Ladybug Girl!

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney- Gorgeous illustrations and an amazing story, this wordless book was a joy to share with my little one.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss- I feel like taking care of the environment is so important, and this story perfectly relates my feelings. I have not read it (at least recently) and I feel like it is such an important story to share with children and adults alike.

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers- Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite authors when it comes to reading something unique or just plain silly. This was a good one.

The Letter L Printables

This week we have the Letter L Notecard and The Letter L Do-a-Dot.

The Letter L Activity

I am always looking to do something simple but meaningful. This week we learned L is for Love, so we wrote a little love letter to leave out for dad. I let my daughter color a card while I cut out the word LOVE out of paper. We glued the letters onto the card and I helped my daughter write a little note about all the things she loves about her dad. Simple and cute, my husband loved finding it when he got home from work.

You Belong Here

I want to share one of my favorite books each week on this blog, and I thought I would start with my very favorite find of 2016. You Belong Here by M. H. Clark, is beautifully written and illustrated. When I was choosing a Christmas present for my two year old daughter I knew this book would reflect my feelings for her and would be a treasure to read  snuggled on our big chair before bed. This book describes the various places animals belong and suggests frequently “you belong here with me.” As I look at my little daughter, I feel so thankful that for this season of my life and her life,  she belongs here with me.

For me, this book is one to have in my personal library. If you haven’t read it, check it out from your local library and then find an occasion to buy it for the little one that belongs with you.


A new year, a fresh start. Hope is high. Changes are coming.

I love that start of a new year. I have been trying to reevaluate my life and gather all the good of 2016 and leave behind the hard things or the meaningless things. A new year is a great time to start again. This year I want to:

Be a better mother and wife.

Live my values.

Nourish my body. Gain strength.

Share my talents.

Share my testimony.

Appreciate and take care of the environment.

Slow down and be more present.

Do things that matter the most to me.

Read good books.

I don’t really know what that all means or will require of me, but I hope to share what I learn in life and motherhood over the next year.