I've been reading several homeschooling books as of late and they have me doing much reflecting on my past and current methods of homeschooling.

In short, the three books are these:


All of the above books really are must have's in my personal opinion.  ESPECIALLY if you are looking at wanting to educate your child in a relaxed setting with high standards.  If you need to learn about teaching from rest, look no further than Sarah's book.  Her insight on what true rest is, is uplifting and spot on.  And if you are looking to understand the methodology of Charlotte Mason and the why's behind  this methodology, thus far (I admit, I haven't finished this one just yet) Susan Schaeffer Macaulay  does well in explaining that our education that we give our children really CAN be a joyous celebration of life and prepare them for life in a fashion that will far exceed what most are able to procure from the public school setting.

While I have finished the first two mentioned above, I am torn between wanting to tear through "For The Children's Sake" as I thirst for more (I'm in the third chapter of 6) to going back and rereading  what I have covered thus far and just let it simmer.  There is much to glean and reflect upon.

I have a feeling I will do both.  I am eager to see what else she has to say... and then, I believe I'll go back and use Charlotte's own methodology and just read ten to 15 minutes... reflect, perhaps do a written narration and just let it soak a few days before moving on.

In the meantime, I'll share with you what I have highlighted so far (well, some of it... I have gotten a bit carried away with the highlighter in this one!).

"Parents need to evaluate their priorities.  They need to consider why they respond, "We wouldn't have tie to read a book together every day.  We don't have time to hike/camp/paint/talk with our children."  What is really important?"

"Look well at the child on your knee.  In whatever condition you2015-10-12 10.32.39 HDR find him, look with reverence."

"Charlotte Mason rejects the utilitarian view of education and the conventional standards of her day.  She challenges us instead to identify the child's actual needs and capacities; to serve him as he is, on the basis of what is right and good for him as a person."

"By being allowed to learn at their own speed, the children taught by Charlotte Mason were happy with their mastery of skills.  They did not 'fail' or 'pass'.  They learned how to read and write accurately.  A high standard was expected, but at a level appropriate to the child's ability.  It was like climbing one's own private ladder.  It was not to be like a race."

There's much more I could share  but I will leave it as this for now.  there is much more highlighted words  I'd like to write about but have no time to write a novel today!  Okay, maybe it won't be a novel, but I'm sure I have many more posts waiting to be written in the back of my mind....but I must reflect a bit more before writing them.  So for now... read over what I have written above.  Mull it over and then share with more your reactions.  What are your own thoughts about Susan's words above?  In the meantime... I have more reading to do!




Wrapping It Up:  September

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I've been able to get a few extra  stolen moments downstairs in my "office" to try to get out a few posts this month.  I  would love to say this is my new habit but I have no idea what each day or week to come will hold for me so I'm just taking it one day at a time....and hoping for the best- whatever that may be.

My Writing World

It's been sparse but it has occurred, at least in my blogging world.  I haven't touched a manuscript, though they still linger in the back of my mind.  I haven't conversed with any of my writing critique friends either and that does weigh heavily on my mind.  But I'm ...continue reading "September Wrap Up"

Living Books are the core to any child's education, especially if you are using a Charlotte Mason approach.  I wrote a post some time ago titled, " Homeschooling With Living Books".  When I wrote that post I was barely skimming the surface of Charlotte Mason.  While I would still consider myself a newbie and most definitely still learning, I feel that I have an even greater depth of understanding of what Living Books are now and what a critical role they place within the home and school setting, regardless of your school choices.

So while I start posting more on our adventures into learning using the Charlotte Mason method, I felt I should revisit the importance of reading with Living Books. It's really of utmost importance to read to your child and read often.  I can't possibly stress this enough. If you accomplish nothing else in your day of time spent with your child- whether you homeschool or not - it should be time reading aloud to them. It's more important than the reading 'lesson' and phonics 'lessons' themselves!  The abundance of  emotional connection and, yes, academic excellence your child benefits from this is astounding!  Especially if you are using Living Books!

In order to tell what Living Books are, one must also identify

What Living Books are NOT.

They are NOT textbooks.

They are NOT written by a group of authors.

They are not abridged (shortened versions of an original).

They do not have a patronizing tone or feel like the information was 'dumbed down' for the reader to understand.

They do not lead your mind to wandering about other things and feeling an overabundance of boredom.

They are NOT Twaddle -  which is basically a term used to describe those books that are truly junk food reading for kids (like junk food for bellies only without the actual sugar) - in other words- books of no true value for the mind. Need examples? Goosebumps, Scooby Doo, Captain Underpants, etc.

So then,

what ARE Living Books?

Living books, my dear reader, are books that are well written and completely engages and awakens the child (or adult!) to new ideas bringing pleasure to the subject. Living books are the books you wouldn't mind reading again!  You feel emotionally connected when reading a Living Book.  You feel intrigued. They implore your mind to read more about the subject.  They reach out to you, grab you, and pull you in and yes, fill your mind with valuable ideas (not junk)  to fill your mind with wholesome goodness!

A Living Book is one that you don't mind discussing.  In fact, you probably want to share with others and might even encourage them to read it for themselves!

Need some examples?

There are so many!  Be sure to keep following my upcoming homeschool posts as I'm sure to refer to many living books as I share our adventures!  In the meantime, if you are looking for more quality book lists and a clearer understanding of Living Books, check out the following:

Source List for Living Books:

Living Books Library

Ambleside Online

Simply Charlotte Mason

Beautiful Feet

Five In A Row


Newberry Medal and Honor Books

And if you want a book source that lists many quality books according to ages, check this book out (lots of libraries have it too!):

So I hope you'll join me on my adventures in learning more about the Charlotte Mason approach and finding all sorts of Living Books to engage the minds of our children!  I'll be picking one of the Living Books we are reading this year to talk about soon.  Until then, I'd love to hear what some of YOUR favorite Living Books are!



2015-07-16 10.23.53My son is in eleventh grade.


Did I really just say that?  Could that adorable little boy who used to run around the block to watch the garbage truck every Thursday really be a junior in high school? Oh, where has the time gone?

Well at least planning a junior year in high school was easier the second time around.  I've already been through it once with my daughter who is a junior in college this year.  (Don't get me started on those tears again!) I learned from a few more years experience, more research, and yes, from the mistakes I made the first time.

So what exactly are we doing this year in our homeschool for his junior year? Thanks for asking!

In Pennsylvania, the following credits are mandatory for graduation:

  • English -  4 credits
  • Math - 3 credits
  • Science - 3 credits
  • Social Studies -3 credits
  • Arts & Humanities- 2 credits

For English, this year, I decided to focus completely on Literature and a Research Paper.  My son is on the local school district's football team and, as I learned last year, there's a lot of time in his schedule devoted to football so I determined to wait on the research paper until the Spring semester.  He'll be taking an online course - probably here. For the literature aspect, I decided to give him some more of his own leadership this year - which is not easy for me - but I'm thinking it may be beneficial.  Basically, he needs to read about  15-20 books (depending on length; some longer works may count as two books).  I have only made three specific titles mandatory this year:  All Quiet on the Western Front, All Creatures Great and Small and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Yep- that's it. He has to decide the rest for himself - with some guidance of course!  All the books that he chooses must be sound quality literature and NOT considered TWADDLE (he may pick ONE book that I would consider twaddle just for fun if he chooses but one is the limit!).  A minimum of 2 books that he chooses MUST be considered 'classics' by at least one reliable source as deemed by myself. He will be giving both oral and written narrations of all the books he reads (including a few that we will use as read alouds).

For Consumer Math & Finance, we are using a combination of the Abeka Consumer Math curriculum and Dave Ramsey's homeschool curriculum titled Foundations in Personal Finance as well as taking part in the monthly budget meetings held by my husband and myself.

Science this year will be an Anatomy & Physiology class taken with the local homeschool group. I wasn't thrilled about taking part of this since it would take up our Tuesday afternoons and affects my ability to get my youngest son to swimming lessons but as my older son thinks a science major may be in his future, I felt it important enough to find a class with a teacher that knows more about this subject than me!

One credit will also be given for Home Economics.  I have devised the course myself and have a set number of mandatory hours (120+ total) in a variety of subcategories including cooking, home maintenance, automotive, nutrition, sewing and laundry.  Most of the requirements is hands on participation but some will involve reading articles and other reference materials.  I love the fact that we have recently found a new handyman that would be a great resource to use to teach my son a few things that my husband and are not capable of teaching. I just hope that eventually my son will be here when the handyman is! So far the football season has interfered with that quite a bit!

He will also have two half credit courses this year.  One such course is Economics.  He will be using the well known source Whatever Happened to Penny Candy as well as the Bluestocking Guide Economics and The Money Mystery to complete the course.  All of these books are pictured above with Amazon links!

The other half credit course that I created for my son is Introduction to Christianity.  He will be using the book Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick as well as The Orthodox Way by Bishop Kallistos Ware (Bishop Wares book has actually been used in college Introduction to Christianity classes).  We will be using a Charlotte Mason approach with this class in that he will be giving both oral and written narrations for these book selections in addition to related articles that we find through the year.

Finally, my son will be taking a Study Skills course which I have assigned a full credit as he is using several sources to complete the course and give him a firm foundation in skills essential to success in his college career.  For this course, I have selected College Study: The essential ingredients by Sally A. Lipsky, a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania as well as the other text used by the same university, How to Study in College by Pauk and Owens.  He will also be watching a very old video course that my husband thrived on, Where There's a Will, There's an A.

So there it is!  The plan for the eleventh grade year.  I think it will work well.  But only time will tell!  I’ll keep you posted in other posts this year as well as my monthly updates!



Wrapping It Up

Christ is Risen!

My readers haven’t heard from me much this past month. In fact, the only posts I made were these: Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday; Holy Week Part One and Part Two; and Glorious Pascha. Part of that was due to the attempt at really taking time only for the one thing needful - Christ – during this holy time of year and part of that is due to just not having time for anything else.

It was a busy month – full of church activities, homeschool activities and planning, a birthday, book reading and more….

My Writing World

The posts I listed above are about the extent of it. I didn’t even pull out a manuscript let alone work on one. I’ve come to the conclusion I may need to give up my critique groups – this leaves me saddened as I’ve spent a bit of time with these people and have enjoyed and benefitted from their feedback; however, I barely have time to work on my manuscripts, let along critique several others.

I still have not gotten beyond week 3 of my class with Emma Walt Hamilton which I signed up for back in February….    Thank goodness it’s NOT a correspondence course with deadlines!

I’m not sure what May will hold for me… I’m really wanting to focus on finishing the organization of the house since we’ve been here for 9 months and there are still large areas that are highly disorganized. There is, in fact, a couple of things I haven’t located yet in the boxes still piled in my husband’s newly finished work space area we have dubbed as his ‘man cave’ and I’d like to have all of next year’s general homeschool plans finished before the official begin of our ‘summer’ time-   it will be summer eventually, right?

My Book World

While I didn’t read half as much as I had wanted to, I did do quite a bit.

Most of it’s been online reading…. Ambleside has caught my eye! (Ambleside is an online source for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling)

I am keeping up (barely) with the book I’m reading with my book club- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. While a few things are of definite protestant nature, I am still benefitting quite a bit by the content of this book and am easily able to skim over anything that does not apply- which really isn’t much at all. The concept of self-differentiation keeps coming up in this book as well as several other sources as of late….this is a concept I think I really need to delve into and spend some time on.

I finished The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle and began a fiction book by Anita Shreve…. Testimony… it’s a bit more risqué than her other books and caught me offguard- but I think I’ll still finish it.  Once you get beyond the first three pages or so, it simmers down to Ms. Shreve's usual brilliance in writing and telling a tale that shows the consequences of one's behaviors...

I finally finished Love & Respect (I didn’t have much to go)This book is one that I will definitely keep rereading either with the book or in it’s audio form. My husband has listened to it twice already! If you want to learn more, check out Love&Respect.com.

And of course, there’s been lots of picture book reading! Here's a small sampling.

Our Homeschool World

The best part of our homeschool world this month was attending the St. Emmeilia Orthodox Homeschool Conference held at Antiochean Village in Ligonier, PA. We attend this conference faithfully every year, with the one exception of the year my youngest son was born. There are speakers for adult sessions as well as children’s workshops. Our keynote speaker this year was Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick and he was, as usual, wonderful to listen to. My own husband gave a presentation this year for one of the sessions offering wisdom to homeschool dads. Once again, it was an awesome year and my ‘hats’ go off to the wonderful women who made it happen!

It’s been a calm, relaxed month for actual academic work but a busy month of planning, especially this last week or so. My older son is steadily working at completing his work for the year. He probably won’t be done until the end of May, but has completed Grammar and Vocabulary, and will be finished with Chemistry today! That leaves Geometry, World Studies, Keyboarding, the rest of English 10 ( Literature & The Lost Tools of Writing) and Russian. He went far beyond his 180 hours in Physical Education a long time ago!

My youngest is just going with the flow. We haven’t done a whole lot of academic work lately, but I’m glad the weather has finally turned so we can at least resume our nature walks.  Other than that it's been a little math, bible reading and reading in general.

When we have time, he LOVES the Math U See program I bought a couple of months ago. We started with the Primer Level even though he knows quite a bit of it already but it’s a nice introduction to doing worksheets and working with the manipulatives. We keep the lessons very short but he’s flying through them as I don’t have him do ALL the worksheets for the concepts he has already mastered as that would be wasteful of our time and boring for him. But even math has gone by the wayside in these last few weeks….. and about the only thing we’ve done much of is our bible reading and story reading as much as possible.

Most of my ‘school’ time has been on the planning stages. I’m preparing materials and ideas for NEXT year…. Planning my older son’s 11th grade year! My, how the time has flown! I’m also reading a LOT about Charlotte Mason- mostly online at Ambleside.com and perusing Simply Charlotte Mason and other blogs, etc. that are focused on this methodology of homeschooling. I am HOPING to be able to share a lot of this with you in the future if my writing time will allow……

Our Food & Health World

My husband and I completed our Whole30 (really it was more like a Whole50) at Pascha. We didn’t test as many foods this time…… raw dairy, wheat and corn were about it.   I can’t really count my dairy day and will need to restest it at some point as I was under the weather that day. I didn’t really test wheat either for the same reason. Corn seemed to give me some digestive issues but nothing major.

My husband is motivated and wanting to continue. He’s not being QUITE as strict as the whole30 guidelines but he’s not exactly splurging either! He’s probably following the whole30 guidelines about 97%....and is definitely seeing the results. He’s the lowest in weight that he’s been in a very very long time. I’m so very proud of him. Motivation is key and he really is motivated.

Our Faith World

We celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection at Pascha on April 12th. That is the most glorious celebration for Orthodox Christians. It is the feast of feasts! And our joy doesn’t end there. We are still, for the 40 days following Pascha, greeting one another with our victorious “Christ is Risen!” It is the heart of the gospel. It is what Christianity is about. It is what makes our salvation possible! I am truly blessed to have found the Orthodox faith and to be able to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord in such a passionate manner each and every year.

I’m trying to reestablish my reading/devotion time in the morning. If I get up between 6 and 6:15, I can fit in about 10-15 minutes of reading. This is not necessarily bible time, as my goal is to do that in the evening. Right now it’s a toss-up between finishing An Introduction to God by Fr. Andrew (keynote speaker of the conference I told you about) and the new Introduction to Orthodoxy Book by Frederica Mathewes Green- one of my favorite Orthodox authors. I try to accompany this with a few minutes of quiet time, reflecting on what I’ve read and God’s love and mercy- though that part doesn’t always happen….

Other Parts of Life

My daughter celebrated her 20th birthday this month .   I’m so proud of the fine young lady she has grown to be. She has the best smile but I’ll respect her probable wishes NOT to show it here.  My sister came up from Virginia to share Thea's birthday as well as having some great game time and seeing the new house!

It’s Spring! I’m sooo glad to see the sun shining (at least occasionally) and the flowers blooming and the buds on the trees getting bigger every day! This is truly my favorite time of year as far as seasons go.

So that about wraps things up for me.

What did YOU do during the month of April?


2015-03-27 21.11.36March is Read Aloud Month.  I can't believe I almost missed this opportunity to blog about what I consider to be THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do for your child's educational success!

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I'm a HUGE advocate of reading.  Anyone that has seen the stacks of books I bring home from the library or that are on my own bookshelves knows this.  One of my favorite times of the day is the time I sit down with my sons to read.  Yes, I read to the older one as well as the youngest.  I will read to my oldest son for as long as he will allow me and I enjoy the coziness of cuddling up with my youngest on the couch under a soft blanket and all the giggling that ensues. So when I hear or read about other parents who say they just don't have time to read much to their kids, it boggles my mind.

The importance of reading aloud is often overlooked as parents sometimes miss the role that reading to their children plays in the child's development.  Only 48% of kids are read to daily in the United States. Yet research has shown time and time again that reading aloud to your child is actually the single most important thing you can do to prepare him or her for reading and other learning.  Not only does this social time offer a chance of emotional connection with your child, but it promotes vocabulary, literacy skills and improves the child's overall language development and reading ability.

Furthermore, it's important to KEEP READING to your children, even AFTER they have learned to read on their own. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends reading to children beginning at birth.  This is wonderful, but lets not forget to keep reading even after the child develops the skills to read for themselves.  Studies have actually shown that those children that are read aloud to will read for their own pleasure more than the kids who are not read to.

Sharon Younger of Chicagonow.com wrote an article describing 7 reasons why reading aloud to older kids is important including enjoyment, life lessons, building of vocabulary and the fact that children LISTEN on a different level than what they READ on. When you read to them at a level above their own reading level (in other words, at their LISTENING level), they will get excited about the plot which is more complicated than he or she can read for themselves and this will further their hook for reading.

Reading aloud to your child is a true predictor of their success in this world.  Success in reading which leads to success in life.  Take time to read aloud and expose your child to not only the story knowledge of a quality book, but rare words and ideas that you truly do not always cover in your day-to-day conversations. Take time to read aloud and give your child this quality time to practice listening - a skill that is of utmost importance not only for academic learning but to prevent YOU from having to repeat things over and over .  There is SO much skill provided in just sitting down and reading to your child each day.

So turn the TV off or yeah, even the LeapPad in my own home, and read to your child.

One of his favorites!
One of his favorites!

Readaloud.org states that just 15 minutes a day can have a HUGE impact.  Check out their information on this@http://www.readaloud.org/15minutes.html

I challenge you!!  Read to your child today for 15 minutes.  Then do it again tomorrow.  Then do it again the next day, and the next and the next......


What Book(s) Did You Read To Your Child Today?






Study Finds Reading to Children of All Ages Grooms Them to Read More on Their Own

7 Reasons Why Reading Aloud to Older Kids is Still Very Important

Reach Out and Read

Read To Your Children


Wrapping It Up

The month started off with a toast.     celebrate-311709_1280


I shared this toast with my sixteen year old son(Yikes! He’s 16. I can’t believe it). And I actually got a kiss at midnight as well (That’s quite remarkable coming from him)!

It’s been a full month. There’s been lots of activity. Not as much writing as I’d like, but quite a lot of activity elsewhere. But it's hard to believe there are only two days left to January!  But alas, here it is, so here's the WRAP-UP 🙂

My Writing World

Like I said, not so much writing this month (except I did complete a rough draft and revised another!). I have written a few blog posts that I’ve been happy with and the number of views have picked up since the beginning of the month which was quite slow. The top posts(according to views) from this month have been:

I rejoined the 12 x 12 writing group that is headed up by Julie Hedlund. I’m hoping to be a more active participant this year than what I was last year and use the generous resources available to us.  I attended my first webinar with the group just this past Wednesday!  Unfortunately, some of the members of my old 12 X 12 critique group left the group so we’ve added 3 new members. Hopefully we will all participate monthly and make this year’s critique group shine – offering all of us encouragement and support through the challenges(and fun!) of writing for children.

My Book World

I have been reading quite a bit. It helps that we went away one weekend and with my husband loving to drive (Thank Goodness because I REALLY do not!) I was able to read a lot in the car. The books I’m currently most active in reading are (see links below): ...continue reading "January Wrap-Up"


Book Title:  Sam & Dave Dig A Hole

Author:  Mac Barnett

Illustrator:  Jon Klassen

Genre:  Picture Book, Fiction

Publisher:  Candlewick (October 14, 2014)

  • ISBN-10: 0763662291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763662295

Pages: 40

Age: 4-8

Why Did I Choose It?  I saw this one in another book review; I'm sorry I don't know which one!  But I was quite intrigued - enough so to buy it for a Christmas present! I was also recommended the title by one of my followers here on the blog! ...continue reading "Book Review Wednesday: Sam & Dave Dig A Hole"



Can you believe that 2015 is upon us?  WOW. It really doesn't seem possible, yet looking back it's been quite a long year with a lot happening.  Here's a somewhat brief review of my own highlights!


2014 - A Year In Review

I started out with some resolutions . Some I succeeded with; some not so much - more on that in an upcoming post!  Later in the year, I talked more about goal setting and really thought about priorities- which will affect my thinking when setting up resolutions or goals for 2015!

2014 was also a year of learning a lot about the Paleo eating style and we really sunk our teeth into it during Lent when my family took part in an extended Whole30. If you didn't catch that and are interested, start with this post- and be sure to look for all the ones in-between that first one and this recap.  I'm thrilled to say our health did benefit and I am still not quite the sugar addict I used to be - though I'll admit, I could do with some tweaking again so another whole30 may be in store for us!

We moved from our home in Steam Valley to a beautiful house in the woods much closer to Williamsport.  That was quite the challenge as we discovered that the 'professional packers' didn't exactly do the professional job we had hoped and planned on. However we area all feeling at home and are totally in love with the trees surrounding our house!

Another highlight of our year was our son participating with the local school district in footballfootball! This was his first official football experience and we were so delighted in his progress and the team's undefeated season!

I did a LOT of research into Charlotte Mason!  I'm really drawn to this style of homeschooling and have done some experimentation with books, nature study, word making ( Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason), music and art appreciation, and more.

Charlotte Mason - Image by Wikimedia.org

I also attempted to  submerge myself into my writing and reading.  While I didn't carry out exactly what I set out to do (see this post), I do feel successful with both.  PiBoIdMo 2014 certainly helped! I'm hoping to do even more with both of those categories in 2015- and my children were kind enough to get my book pile started at Christmas!  This is my current fiction piece!

The blog didn't do too badly this year-  only 4,787 views but I did increase followers and got some interactions with comments- but it didn't quite get to where I had hoped for.  I think things slowed down a bit after switching to WordPress.com.  Other bloggers tell me this is a common problem so I'm hoping after making some other changes, things will pick up again in 2015! I did have several posts that seemed to do much better than others.  Here are some links in case you missed them:

Those People Who Always Smile - This continues to be my most read post since I originally published it after suffering a loss in 2012.  I keep thinking I should do another post on this topic.

St. Emmelia and the Orthodox Homeschool Conference - This post was about the conference held in 2014 but remains to be a highly viewed post.  I'll be sure to write another post this year when I find out the details for 2015!

Why I Refuse To Support Homeschool Diploma Programs -  This is a post I found really necessary to write.  There is so much misinformation out there on these programs and not much out there on the other perspective.  I've had a lot of support and positive feedback among fellow homeschoolers for writing this post.

12 Ways to Eat Healthy Without Going Broke - It's so important to place the food you put into your body as a high priority.  For some families this is hard- I know.  But there are ways to do it.  If your health is a priority (as it should be) there are ways to make healthy food an option instead of giving into 'foods' that aren't really 'food' at all....and cause more damage than good.

And while it hasn't hit the numbers for top posts over the year, a recent post that I wrote is viewed rather often too:

9 Steps to Become a Morning Person

Facebook has been my top referring site- so PLEASE- if you follow me on Facebook be sure to SHARE  your favorite posts and bring more tot he site.  If you don't follow me on Facebook and would like to -  there's a handy little follow button in the column on your right!!!

My personal favorite of the recent months though was this one:  Answer the Phone

Here's some photo highlights of my life this year! (I love looking over photos!)

Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.
Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.

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Greg's Wedding3



This is Maggie.  :)   She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!
This is Maggie. 🙂 She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!


Overall, it's been a good year.  I certainly didn't include everything in this very brief synopsis as my time to write today is short and , well.....

Now it's time to PLAN!

I want the blog to do better and I'm looking for feedback!  So please take a few minutes if you can and let me know-

What do you like reading here?  What are your favorite topics?  Why did you choose to follow this blog and what keeps you coming back?  I'd love to hear so I can keep those thoughts in consideration as I make some plans and changes in the upcoming months!


Who doesn't love books?

Okay, I realize there are a few but those are just crazy people....lol... actually, I believe  those people were just  never given the right books!  My true passion for books started with this one:

That's  how I started my post from last January in which  I made a list of the books I wanted to read  in 2014- you can see that list here.  With the end of the year fast approaching, I wanted to review my list- determine if I still want to read the remaining books that I never got around to reading or finishing, and make a new list for the upcoming year.

All of the  books from my 2014 list have been the main photograph of this blog all year. I went through and marked off all the books I actually did read- here they are:


And I just finally started reading last year's winner -  Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo!



  • Writing Picture Books: A Hands on Guide From Story to Creation by Ann Whitford Paul (Still Working on this one!)
  • 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
  • A Family of Readers - The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Still Working on This!)
  • Honey For A Child's Heart - The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life  (Still Working on This One Too!)


  • The Orthodox Study Bible - yes, I've already read it 🙂  But the bible is a daily must no matter how many times one has read it
  • 2014 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints (Fasting Calendar by The Orthodox Calendar Company)- I've used this periodically, but failed, I'm afraid, in reading it daily as intended.





Of Course, I DID stray from the list.... 

  • The Busy Mom's Guide to Romance by Heidi St. John
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
  • Clutter Free With Kids by Joshua S. Becker
  • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter  -  I'll be honest- I haven't completely finished this one either- but I do LOVE what I've read thus far and highly recommend this informative read.
  • The Emotionally Healthy Woman - I haven't finished this one either - I'm reading it with a wonderful group of women and thoroughly enjoying it.
  • Love and Respect - another one I've recently started.
  • Unglued - a great book by Lysa TerKeurst that I am actually rereading as I've mentioned in some posts.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiabn (a reread for me, a read-aloud with my son)
  • A Christmas Carol - Our Current Read-Aloud that we are sure to finish within a few days!

I have truly loved most of them.  There was only one or two that wasn't necessarily what I hoped it would be.  And I'm eager to finish the ones I'm reading now and move on to more.  So I'm thinking of starting a list now for 2015 - not that I think I NEED one to read- I just like having an idea, something to keep me from buying EVERY SINGLE BOOK I SEE that interests me- because if I don't have a list- It's very tempting to do just that.

books-389392_1280 book store
I would never bypass a good bookstore though-booklist or not 😉


What Was Your Favorite Book This Year?

Are there any that fall into my categories above?  Are there any other books that you would recommend for my To Read list for 2015?