Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Something to Read

Every year (for the last four or five years) for Christmas we give our kids and each other four gifts.  I am sure you have seen the idea:
Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear
Something to read

The books are one of my favorite things to pick out.  I love to try to find a book that Colin has never read or possibly even heard about - he is a voracious reader but the kids around him are usually reading the typical books like Hunger Games and Divergent.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy books like that too, but there is just a lot more out there.  I thought I would share what I got everyone this year.

  • Colin, who is 13, almost 14.

Colin has really enjoyed When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy by this same author, so when this book came out, with good reviews, I was excited to get it for him. It was a hit with him. It does involve some teenager situations, but in a cautionary way and I thought he could handle it. 

I went out on a limb and bought this book for Colin based on the accolades it has received.  Colin is pretty open to trying new books and will usually give them a good chance before giving up on them - he has learned from experience that even if a book doesn't appeal to you right away it might be incredible.  He really enjoyed this one.  When I asked him if he thought it would be a good book to read aloud to his brothers, he said he didn't think so.  He said he wasn't sure if they would get it.

So, I loved this book.  I opened it up and drooled over the creativity and itched to get my hands on it.  Colin was very impressed when he saw it......getting him to use it, however, is like pulling teeth.  He doesn't like to sit and write anything while he is reading.  He is reading the Book of Mormon on his own and we are reading it as a family and I have given him the option of using it for either one.  He really doesn't.  He said he will use it next year when he reads for seminary.  We'll see. Maybe I will just snag it for myself. 

  • Gabe. who is 11, and not as much of a reader.  He loves reading when he gets into a series - he went on a huge Harry Potter and Percy Jackson kick.  But he just doesn't give new books as much of a chance as Colin and would rather spend his time doing other things.

Gabe hasn't started this book yet.  I just started last night as our next read-aloud book at bedtime.

I was afraid Gabe wouldn't give this a chance because it is told in a "blend of poetry and prose" but he says it is really good.  I don't think he has finished it yet though. I like this author - if you have never tried her out, I highly suggest you do!

Gabe has a great sense of humor so I think this title drew him in.  I am not sure if he has finished it, but during Family Home Evening he mentioned things he read in it, so...yay!

  • Oliver, who is 8.  He did not really get into reading until the beginning of 2nd grade, and books like these ones helped with that.

Oliver loved the other books in this series, so this was a no brainer.  It does has a different author than the first three, and has received mixed reviews. Oliver read it very quickly and enjoyed it.

This is by the same author as the first three Jedi Academy books.  It has great reviews and I thought Oliver would like it.  He did.

This is a very cool book and although Oliver doesn't really read it on his own, I have decided to use it for Family Home Evening*.  It has 52 family night lessons and activities and I have decided to just keep it simple so we are doing ALL of them this year.  I supplement the plans with coloring sheets for the girls to do while we talk, but so far it is working great!  I am more successful with FHE and family scripture study when there is less prep work involved on my end.

  • Elysée.  She is 7, still learning English, and learning to read.  

If you have ever heard of the BOB books, these are like those. I like this set because there is a sleeve for each book.  There is also a parent guide, with a sticker to book in each book as they learn to read it themselves. Elysée was very excited to receive these books - she can't wait to read - and she has already passed off the first book.

Elysée loves this book, I love this book, we all love this book.  I would highly recommend it!

  • Carina, age 5.  Carina is still learning how to read but loves to be read to.

Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Carina got the first two books in this series last year for Christmas and loves them.  After she dressed up as the Princess in Black for book day at school and Shannon Hale herself commented on the picture, her love only grew.  She has been asking for these books for awhile so it was an easy pick!

The heroes of the Book of Mormon. This one covers Nephi through Alma.  Just like the girl hero one, we love it.  The kids ask me to read it to them.  Not only does it cover the people, it explains doctrine. 

  • Simone, age 5.  Simone is also still learning English and has not really grasped early learning skills yet.  She loves to be read to though.

Simone loves any time I will spend with her in these books. 

Simone loves the pages in The Friend where you find the hidden object.  This book has proven to be a little more difficult.  You need a basic understand of what you are looking for - "The Three Witnesses", "A book in an arch" to be able to find things.  Some of this is over Simone's head. I think the book would have been a little more successful for all ages if there was a one central character to find on each page (like the Where's Waldo books), and then supplemental stories and characters to go with it. It is a fun book, though. I don't regret buying it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017


We didn't get the 4-8" of snow that we expected,

 but we did

bundle up and play
a lot

watch the snow fall from the window

 a little

smile and laugh

make sushi
fried in wonton wrappers

watch Kung Fu Panda 3

"help" "clean" the church

end the evening at Red Robin
gift card + bday burger= yum