One of my new favorite lines! Fairy Mom says my messy house is USEFUL

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I’m reading Fairy Mom and Me by Sophie Kinsella to #2 (she’s almost 6). She has actually laughed out loud at this book and asked me to read – something she’s only ever done with the Mercy Watson/Tales from Deckawoo Drive chapter books, so this is big. So far I think it’s a cute book, nothing amazing but super silly and perfectly written for its audience. I do appreciate books as a reflection of reality, and I think I have just found one of my favorite books lines! This made me laugh out loud – and I’d like to tell you that according to Fairy Mom and Me, my messy house is actually useful:

Our house has lots of useful things, all just where you need them. Like Ollie’s toys all over the floor and a pile of coats on the bench in the hall. There are books everywhere, because you never know when you might want a book. (pg 51-52)

For your entertainment, I have included some photographs (taken this morning) illustrating just how readily available I keep these useful things in my house:

Toys all over the floor:

toys all over

A pile of coats on the bench in the hall:

coats on a bench

Books everywhere:

So no, I will not be winning any awards for a tidy house – but look how easily the kids and I can find what we need!

2018 Reading Recap and Welcome, 2019!

2018 was… busy! Most importantly, my family gained a new member in my wonderful son, who is now three months old. His birth and the many, many hours spent nursing (and my stint on bedrest) enabled to me to read A TON, but not review a whole lot. Here are the stats:

Goodreads Challenge: Goodreads tells me in one place that I read 75 books, and in another that I read 79. I’m not going to go back and recount so… I read somewhere between 75 and 79 books. I had set my goal for the year at 20 so I far exceeded that, go me!

Reviews here on The Edifying Word: Out of those 75-79 books, it looks like I reviewed somewhere around 20 books, and some of them I had read in 2017… yikes, that’s a poor showing for a book blog! I’m going to try my best to get more reviews up this year – though I’ll have to start by backtracking to some of those 2018 books!

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So what’s in store for 2019? Well, I’ve already read two books! Granted, one was a kids chapter book and one was a short story – but that’s still two books. I’m thinking this year that I’m going to include kids chapter books and middle grade fiction in my Goodreads total because I read A TON OF THEM aloud with my kids. If I included every picture book I read, though, it would be an overwhelming total so I think I’ll hold off on those (unless they’re picture books I’ve received for review or that I just found to be amazing). Hmm…maybe I should rethink my Goodreads Challenge goal of 30 books. I’ll have to recalculate what I think is reasonable now that I’m including the reading I do with the kiddos…

I’m also thinking about some more thematic posts and some shorter reviews. Thematically, sometimes I read a bunch of books in one genre that would be better suited to discussing as whole on the blog and reviewed separately via short reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Shorter reviews because 1) I want the reviews to actually happen, and 2) I usually only read short reviews on those sites. Actually, I’m more likely to pick up a book based on a compelling tweet than a drawn out review, which has me rethinking my strategy here… So, hopefully 2019 will bring more frequent posts and a few positive changes on the blog side. The editing/betareading side is another issue altogether 🙂

This year’s books both earn five stars, and deserve posts of their own. For now, just take a look (pictures link to Goodreads)! I hope to be back soon with more to share. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Munchkin Monday: What I’ve been reading with my (almost) 5-year-old

Obviously, I love to read. I always have. I apparently taught myself to read at age 4, and my oldest daughter has done the same. People keep asking me, “How did you teach her to read?” and I wish I could say I taught her, but I didn’t, at least not really. Of course, I’ve encouraged her every step of the way. On her first birthday, she could recognize and say the letter “W” – but we didn’t push it on her! I distinctly remember my husband holding her in the hallway of our apartment on her first birthday and her pointing to each letter on his GW t-shirt and asking “what’s that?” So, he answered. And she learned “W.” We’d take her to the zoo and she was more interested in the signs than the animals. At age 2, we’d lay in bed with her each night and “talk about a letter,” meaning we’d say a letter and she would tell us words that started with that letter… Basically, she’s just always been interested and she’s super smart and a fast learner. Over the past 6 months or so, she has progressed from recognizing individual words to reading on her own.

So, now what do I offer her to read? About a month ago it became apparent that she could pick up any picture book we own and read it. So then what? I got her some books at a yard sale and she amazed  me by reading even the books marked as being at a second grade level. So then we went to the public library and got some more. She’s excited that there’s a whole new shelf from which she can pick out books to read, generally those marked “Early Readers.” Here’s a sampling of what she reads, on her own or aloud to her sister, or to us:

  • Fancy Nancy books, such as Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (an I Can Read Level I book). These are fun because Nancy uses “fancy” words for things, introducing lots of new vocabulary.

Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (I Can Read Level 1) by [O'Connor, Jane]

  • Are You Still Mad? This is the second-grade-level book I mentioned above. The librarian tells me the reading levels are all assigned by the publishers and there’s lot of variation, so who knows whether this is true.

Are You Still Mad? (Reader's Digest) (All-Star Readers) by [Weiss, Ellen]

Then we have our read-aloud time, too. Of course, sometimes I read the above books to her, but she has really enjoyed me reading chapter books out loud to her. Our most recent read was an abridged version of The Wizard of Oz from the Great Illustrated Classics series (pictured below). We’ve also been reading some of the Magic Treehouse books (just yesterday we started Pirates Past Noon for the second time), and even The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (is this appropriate for a 5-year-old?)! I have to say, I am truly enjoying this! It’s a little hard, because my 2.5 year old is NOT into the chapter books, but I love when we can snuggle up on the couch and read together and talk about the story! Soooo fun 🙂

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I’m looking forward to many more years of this, with all of my kids!

What do you read with your kids? Do you have any suggestions of what to read (or NOT to read) with a curious 5-year-old?