I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

What We're Reading in January 2018

What a #homeschool family of 7 is reading in January

I'm only two days in, but I think it's safe to say that my 2018 reading game is gonna be strong. The weather man has pretty much sentenced all of us here in the near-tundra to house arrest for the next few weeks. The thermometer continues to flaunt numbers like -26 with wind chills that feel as cold as -70 at times. (Yes, you read that correctly. -70. Make it stop!) What else can one do but sturdy up in all-the-layers and read? Then, read some more?

Honestly, if I didn't like reading so much, I'd be casually offended by the weather report.

Oh, who am I kidding? This cold snap is getting on my last blessed nerve. It feels like a hostage situation. Even our car refuses to start in this kind of weather. (Does anyone have a Florida time-share they can gift me until mid to late April?)

To make matters worse, anytime I actually attempt to venture out in this cold, the skin on my face flares to a bright red, rosacea-like color. Believe me when I say I that look like a dead ringer for Lady Elaine Fairchilde right now. But I digress...

Since the kids and I are being forced to sit and read against our wills (Is that even a thing?), we might as well read books worth reading, right? Here's what we've got on our shelves right now.

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Read Aloud- everybody

The Ostrich and Other Lost Things- This one doesn't come out until February. But, I was lucky enough to snag an advanced reader copy of it last summer. I read it then and I'm reading it now. Only this time, the kids are joining me.

Modern middle grade fiction rarely ever garners any praise from me. Sadly, most newly published kid lit leans too heavily on cultural controversy, watered-down/crass vocabularies, or sexual/violent content. But this book's different. It has opened up a conversation with my kids about a topic that affects many families but which is often hidden in the secret spaces of society: autism. What I love best about the book is how sincere and honest the author has painted the struggles of each one of the characters. I've watched as each of my kids have slowly formed a natural empathy for all of the intentionally flawed and imperfect characters. And what's more, they've grown (and are growing) a respect and understanding for families with autistic children.

Jamie- that's me!

Of Mess & Moxie- Ya'll, I want to like this book. I really do. Jen Hatmaker's 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess is high on my most-favorite-books list. But somewhere along the writing road, her words turned sour and her theology came unhinged. Sadly, like so many other "famous" Christians of late, it seems like Hatmaker is using her platform to toot her own horn instead of Christ's. This book is filled with so much crass/foul language and loose living that I'm not even sure why it's been shelved as a Christian book. To make matters worse, I'm three quarters of the way through it and I'm still struggling to determine an overarching theme to the book. While filled with quirky stories and loads of funny girl-friend banter, the chapters are disjointed and feel more like a collection of random blog posts on various life topics than a cohesive whole.

All the Light We Cannot See- I'm not far enough along into this title to give it a fair critique--only about 100 pages into the 544. I've heard wonderful things about it from several circles, so I have high hopes. At present, I'm finding it difficult to keep the characters straight in my head, as the chapters jump back and forth between two different storylines. But the writing is great. The author's ability to show the emotional poverty of the two main characters during the start of WWII is impressive. We shall see...

Let's All Be Brave- While I've enjoyed Annie F. Downs' That Sounds Fun Podcast for quite some time (What's not to love about eavesdropping into someone's conversation and coffee?), this is my first foray into her books. I've not even cracked this one open yet, so I can neither confirm nor deny its chops. I'll be diving in very soon.

Sweetie Pea- 9th grade

Graceful- (Mom-assigned book) My daughter's still plucking away at this book from last month. She's enjoying the soft encouragement it gives towards owning her own faith and the gentle nudges it provides towards serving God right now in the teen years. The author, Emily P. Freeman, is one of my new favorites. Although this particular book is written specifically to teen girls and young women, the rest of her books are to adults. I'd highly recommend her offerings to any woman who tends to be a self-critic or who struggles to embrace the mundane pieces of life. 

The Day the Angels Fell- (Just-for-fun book) I took quite a risk with this one. Admittedly, this fantasy is a bit darker than some of the books I normally allow my teen to read. But there is definitely a reason why this Wrinkle-in-Time-esque book garnered Christianity Today's 2018 book of the year award in the children and youth category.

Super Boy- 6th grade

10 True Tales of World War II Heroes- This book made its way into my son's Christmas stocking this year. He had checked it out of the library several times in 2017. I thought it was time he owned his own copy. Giving a plot summary here would be redundant. The title of the book gives a clear enough picture. It is 10 true tales of World War II heroes. Really. 

Blonde Warrior- 5th grade

Classic Starts: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- My son is a bit too young at this point for some of the darker, edgier parts of the classic Sherlock Holmes, but the abridged version suits him perfectly. He spent most of yesterday in bed, turning page after page.

Greased Lightning- 3rd grade

Centerburg Tales- (Mom-assigned book) My son really enjoyed reading Homer Price last year. So, I knew he'd enjoy the sequel. Consider this one a continuation of the misadventures of Homer and the other slightly off-center personalities of Centerburg.

The Dude- Kindergarten

The Boxcar Children- My youngest and I are continuing to slowly work our way through this one from last month. Our daily reading time has fallen off the tracks more times that I care to admit. So we're only about halfway through with it. But, I've been amazed to see how well he is retaining the story from reading session to reading session. If you're looking for a first chapter book read aloud, I'd highly recommend starting with this one or these others>>>

Scholastic Ready Readers (Books 25-36)- This past week, I cracked open a new-to-him box of emergent readers for my boy. He flew through the first few boxes which focused on short vowel words, and now he's tiptoeing into some books that feature special sounds. 

What books will you be reading in January? Titles please! 


  1. I'm currently reading the 12-Week Year. I just bought the Scarlet Archer from Kindle to read aloud as a family (written by a friend's granddaughter with the cover art done by her daughter), and I have the Life-Giving Table by Sally Clarkson waiting for me on Audible.

    1. I've heard so much about the 12-week year concept, but didn't know it was a book. I'll have to look into that. It sounds interesting. I loooooooved The Life-Giving Table and have used several of the recipes in it already.

  2. All of us: Little House in the Big Woods

    Mom: (most notable) Caroline, a new book that offers the Ingalls’ classic journeys from the viewpoint of the mother. Full of beautiful moments.

    1st grader: Boxcar Children (not sure which one she’s on now)

    1st grader: Boxcar Children (again, not sure which one)

    1st Grader: Berenstain Bears

    Preschooler: What Do People Do All Day?

    1. I've seen Caroline floating around. It has me intrigued. What Do People Do All Day is a favorite around my house. I can't tell you the number of times I've read it out loud to my littles. Good picks!

  3. Sounds like a good month for reading in your neck of the woods! We started back to schooling yesterday and here are our new reads:

    Freshman daughter- We are going to attempt to tackle "Romeo and Juliet" for literature. Here's hoping that I can remember how to interpret Shakespeare from my own high school days. It's been awhile! :) She is also reading "Daring to Hope" the sequel to "Kisses from Katie".

    5th Grade son - He is reading "A Wrinkle in Time". We just started into it today. It seems to be a bit higher level than usual for him, so I'm hoping he does OK with it.

    Read aloud with older two kiddos - "The Hobbit". This is a first time for all of us with this book. It was a book I saw recommended for her level, but since she's not big into reading fantasy-type literature on her own, I thought it might be better as a read-aloud. My son loves listening to fantasy books, so I thought he would enjoy it too. We are one chapter in so far. :)

    Preschooler - He really loves hearing stories from his new 5 Minute Star Wars stories book that he got for Christmas. We are getting ready to make a trip to the library to get books to go with this month's themes - snow, snowmen, winter, etc.

    Amidst all my other reading last month, I am still trying to finish Steven Curtis Chapman's book. I am very close though! I haven't picked my next personal read yet, but I have many unread books on my shelf from which to choose! :) LOL!