Reading has always been super important in our household. We’ve read to Eleanor at least once a day since she was born. I will admit that I felt pretty ridiculous reading to a 2-week old baby, but we did it.
The experts say you should talk to your baby – A LOT. Well, I found that harder than I expected. All I wanted to do was tell her how cute she was and kiss her teeny tiny fingers and toes. So I knew I was going to be too repetitive and at some point my husband was going to get tired of hearing me. I was getting tired of hearing me!
So, I read.
We built up our book library by asking for inscribed baby books instead of cards at my baby shower and we also put a lot of books on the baby registry. I still find myself in the habit of picking up a book when I’m out shopping. It’s great and before I knew it, we had a bookcase full of children’s books.
But, that brings me to my next point. We definitely like some books more than others. I recommend reading the books at the store before you bring them home because sometimes they end a bit differently than you expect. Lesson learned.
Reading them first is not always the easiest thing to do online thought so here’s a list of our top 10 favorite children’s books in our household to date (Eleanor is currently 2). Some of these are probably familiar, but hopefully you’ll find a new gem or two on here that you didn’t know about before.
I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince – We received this book from a friend that already had kids. She said she and her husband liked it and didn’t get too bored when having to read it over and over again. The book focuses on Jack who works the switch on the railroad track. One day an ant is about to go smack into a train unless Jack can get the track switched in time. There are great “-ack” rhymes on every page and it’s definitely one of my husband’s favorites.
Isabella, Girl on the Go by Jennifer Fosberry – Two reasons I love this book – it sparks curiosity in beautiful places around the world and it encourages girls to be brave, strong, artistic, and smart. The illustrations are very clever too and I love how her stuffed animal mouse morphs into iconic images in each of the locations Isabella travels to in her imagination. It’s also great that there is a write up about each of the places she mentions at the back of the book.
Go, Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman – This is one of Eleanor’s favorite books and we had to read it every night before bed for at least 90 days in a row. Of course that means I know it by heart. When I first read it, I thought it was really strange, but I can see how the short descriptive sentence structure really helped advance her speaking. Eleanor even names the dogs at the “Big Dog Party” after members of our family. Ask me if you want to know who everyone is.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess – I absolutely love this book and it was great to read to Eleanor when she was really young because of the bright, vibrant images on every page. She would just gaze at all the amazing things going on, while we got to read an uplifting and inspirational story. Now, she’s a little too fidgety for a book of this length, but we bring it out to read a few pages here or there.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman – This is a really sweet book, but every time I read it I think of the line in Wedding Crashers where Isla Fisher’s character says to Vince Vaughn’s character, “Don’t ever leave me because, I’d find you.” That said, the illustrations with a different wild animal on each page is darling and the overall message of love is endearing.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees – The story focuses on Gerald, a clumsy giraffe who is terrified about the upcoming Jungle Ball where all of the animals get together for a big dance. He basically gets booed off the stage, but finds that when he listens to his heart he is able to find his own song. A great message and good rhymes make it a fun read.
Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children – This is one of the few books we took with us when we traveled for 6 months. Eleanor loves the photos of babies from around the world and the story talks about everyone’s beauty no matter what we look like on the outside. Another plus is that the proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization Global Fund for Children (which in name sounds totally like the Human Fund on Seinfeld, but it’s not, promise).
Sweet Child of Mine by Caroline Jayne Church – Another sweet loving book to read to your children. The words are a nice poem talking about when the reader loves the child throughout the day and through all the seasons of the year. The artwork is well done and Eleanor loves the little stuffed animal doggie the girl in the story carries with her on every page.
Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino – A modern classic, this book follows a young llama named Lloyd as he talks to six animal friends about their mamas. Sweet rhyming riddles lead you to discover each type of animal and their mamas. We also love how the last animal describe can be seen in the background of the next animal. Look for them next time you read it.
Way Out West Lives a Coyote Named Frank by Jillian Lund – This was a gift from my parents because they retired to Arizona and live “out west”. It’s a cute story of Frank the coyote and what he likes to do with his coyote friends. Eleanor loves to playfully scream when she sees the rattlesnake and howl with the coyotes at the end of the book. Great for anyone that lives in the desert, has family there, or has taken a trip “out west”.
What are your favorite children’s books? I’d love to hear about them in the comments so that we can continue to grow our library. Thanks!
When I wrote some of my first posts on this blog back in 2010, one of the things I posted was my life list. There were only 20 things on it so it definitely was not an all inclusive list. However, now that I’m a mom I figured it was a good time to look back at the 20 things I wanted to do in my life to see what’s changed.
- Learn a foreign language
- Still on my list. My spanish is still rusty even though we have travelled to 4 spanish speaking countries.
- Travel to 6 continents
- Back in 2010 I still had 4 to go. Since then I checked Europe off the list (twice!) but, I still have Asia, Australia, and Africa left to visit.
- Grow veggies
- Now that I’m in a house, I have easily grown tomatoes and herbs. I guess I can say that I checked this off the list, but I am sure this will be a staple as long as I have a yard.
- Hike the Grand Canyon & a 14er
- Never did complete either one of these and I’ll admit they are probably no longer on my top 20. Maybe someday I’ll get the urge to do this again.
- Have a food fight
- Not completed yet. Maybe we can do this with Eleanor some day.
- Ride a motorcycle up the California coast
- I so wish we would have done this before Eleanor was born. There is still plenty of time though.
- Go white water rafting
- Shoot. We didn’t do this while in Colorado either.
- Learn to fly a plane
- I now no longer wish to do this. How about just flying business or first class everywhere?
- Live in a foreign country
- Check! We lived in Europe for 6 months so I am checking this off the list.
- Find a signature drink
- Does knowing which wines I like count?
- Read one non-fiction and one fiction book each month
- Reading has become so much harder now that we have a toddler. I actually read a ton during her first 6 months when I was nursing all the time. My tablet was a huge helper there. But, Brett and I have committed to reading more and I am in the process of reading 2 books right now – Yay!
- Learn to be comfortable by myself
- I can say that being alone is not really an issue for me anymore. Kids make you realize how nice it is to be with your own thoughts every now and again.
- Break the rules sometimes
- I’ve gotten better at this as I’ve become more comfortable with myself and don’t care what other people think as much, but it’s still an issue for me. Trying to live in the gray area a bit more and walk to the beat of my own drummer. We’ve done a lot of this, but I want to be more comfortable with it.
- Own my own company
- Check! RentMonitor is still up and running and we are continuing to build it up.
- Go on a yoga retreat
- Maybe someday, but a beach vacation would be ok too.
- Get in really good shape
- Ha ha! Really must work on this. Regular exercise would probably help, right?
- Be quiet each day
- Meditation, quiet time or whatever else you want to call it, I want to sit and quiet my mind for at least 10 minutes each day. Still on the list.
- Learn how to defend myself
- I should ask Brett for Jeet Kun Do lessons. You never know when that might come in handy.
- Find the good in everyone
- I think I have gotten better at this, but it’s always a work in progress.
- Learn how to ask for help
- Getting better, but I think I will always be a DIY’er at heart, which makes me want to do pretty much anything on my own.
So what’s changed the most? The need for adrenaline fueled by extreme adventure. There will be a time and a place for motorcycle rides, white water rafting, and flying, but now that I have an amazing daughter my goals trend toward self improvement and enjoying life with her. I guess you can say that I have less tolerance for risk now and have a better appreciation for what’s really important in life.
What about you? Any of these things on your “Life List”? Have something different on yours? Let me know in the comments and help inspire us all to be our best selves!
I love a good DIY furniture makeover and this dresser redo is no exception. When we moved into our apartment in Boulder we had a few more rooms to fill and thus needed more furniture. However, I’m not a big fan of purchasing new furniture. Instead, I prefer finding used pieces because it’s more eco-friendly and they have more character.
The trouble with that is they are usually super ugly to begin with. Take this dresser for example.
Wow, fire engine red! It’s like we were immediately transported back to the late 90’s. The good news was the dresser had great bones and was in good condition (with the exception of the offensive color). The drawer pulls had even been replaced so that was a big plus too. Hardware can get pricey, but paint is cheap. The best part was the price tag. I was able to negotiate the sellers down to $20.
That’s when the real fun began. I removed all the drawers and hardware and started sanding down the finish. Since I planned to paint the dresser white, I did sand off most of the pant. This turned out to be unnecessary, but it was one of the first furniture makeovers I tried so I went a little overboard.
There was a lot of sawdust, so if you do this, don’t forget to wear a face mask and glasses. You really do not want to breath this stuff in or get it in your eyes.
Once I was done sanding, I went to town with the white paint. I painted every surface with a primer (some people are particular to one brand, but I find any quality primer will work). Once the primer was dry, I painted everything except the raised details with white high gloss paint that we had left over from painting the bedroom trim.
Next, I covered all of the parts painted white with newspaper, taped it in place and used bronze spray paint to paint the raised detail and hardware.
To give it a more aged look, I used the same can of polyurethane that I used to finish our table and thankfully there was just enough stain residue mixed in to gently tone down the white.
The side panels were covered with a beige linen fabric. I used homemade “mod podge” (equal parts Elmer’s glue and water – yep, you read that right!) to make the fabric stick. Since the edges were not perfect, and there was not enough contrast to the white, I added a dark brown ribbon trim around the edge using the “mod podge” again.
I’m not going to lie, it was A LOT of work, but I am thrilled with the results!
This turned out to be one of my favorite projects! I love how it turned out and it cost less than $30! ($20 for the dresser, paint from around the house, $3.50 for spray paint, $2 for ribbon, and $3.25 for fabric). Plus I was able to keep something out of the landfill.
Do you have a project that makes you smile? Have you ever taken a hideous piece of furniture and made it beautiful again? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And of course, make sure you pin this so you can reference it later.
Do you love breakfast? I do! There’s just something about savory eggs, greasy potatoes, and sweet syrup drizzled over a stack of pancakes that makes me oh so happy. I have to admit that since having a baby, we rarely go out for breakfast anymore and since our kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, it’s hard to make a big meal. So, on a recent trip to visit my parents I made sure my mom and I carved out some time in the kitchen to make this awesome blueberry cream cheese french toast recipe.
You see, cooking and baking with my mom is one of my favorite things to do. I remember us baking pastries for Christmas and cooking a big meal on Thanksgiving, often starting while my dad and sister were still fast asleep. Those mornings were so magical. It’s honestly one of the things I so hope to share with Eleanor some day.
Ok, back to the french toast recipe. I’ve had this idea for blueberry cream cheese french toast pinned for a while, but the recipe was just so-so. The pinned version suggested using frozen french toast as the bread. I guess this was their way of keeping it quick and easy. I’m all for taking short cuts when it doesn’t matter, but this was so easy to whip up there really was no need to cut corners. And the cinnamon bread tasted divine! (Thank my mom for that stroke of genius.)
We made these up super fast one morning and loved them so much we made up another one to split. (I might have used the excuse that I needed another photo for this blog…hee hee). Anyway, this french toast recipe is perfect for a lazy weekend morning, brunch with the girls, or a quick sweet treat any time you need one. Bonus, they are kid-tested and approved.
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