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The Freedom of Maintaining Less Stuff

You’ve probably noticed it takes time to update software on your new computer, to wash your (or your child’s) massive laundry pile, to organize your cluttered closets, to read about how to use, clean, upgrade and store your newest insert latest gadget here.

Simply put: it already takes an awful lot of time to maintain what we own – so why do we keep purchasing more things only to add to this burden?

Because we think these things will simplify our lives.

Reality check: They generally don’t.

My new watch should make it simpler for me to work out (just go outside and run). That new kitchen appliance will make it easier for me to bake that perfect cake (a bowl and spoon should do). This new toy is aimed to keep my child occupied for at least 10 minutes (or we could read together).

And at what cost do we continue to add to our pile of products? The cost isn’t necessarily the money – considering most of us continue to make more of it every day.

It costs us time and energy we could be spending in a more meaningful-to-us way.

That is, precious minutes doing things we actually enjoy like reading, playing music, perfecting a creative endeavor, hiking, or spending time with loved ones.

So before you purchase that next “oh my goodness that looks amazing there’s no way I could live without it – it would make my life SO much easier!” thing, consider the time it’ll take to purchase, unwrap, learn about, maintain, clean, store, use, troubleshoot, use again, stare at for an undetermined about of time, teach others how to use, upgrade, continue to clean/upgrade/store/use – while the cycle repeats itself – or consider the mental burden you’ll carry knowing that thing is just cluttering your kitchen counter/shelf/desk for a long period of time unused.

Nothing gained –
but time, money and energy drained.

Obviously, our modern world offers its benefits: A car gets you from point A to B. Your computer helps you get work done. A refrigerator keeps your food cool so you don’t die from some strange bacteria.

We just have to do better at keeping life simple in the simplest terms.

Because we all deserve a life with less worry about how to maintain the things we purchase and instead, the freedom knowing we didn’t purchase stuff we didn’t need in the first place.

With Love.

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5 Easy Ways We Simplified Our Lives

Once upon a time our family chose to intentionally pursue a more simple, less chaotic life – we wanted to slow down, spend more time as a family and do the things we’re individually most passionate about.

But this didn’t happen overnight. Things like having a small home, moving back to Oregon where it’s easy to explore the outdoors and homeschooling are all massive life changes.

But simplifying life means different things to different people.

In fact, writing down what a more simple life looks like to you and your family is well worth the few minutes it takes to do it and will give you the vision necessary to carry out your wishes.

It’s been over a year and a half and we’re still not where we want to be but we’re getting closer. We can finally see in our near future the place where we live intentionally, naturally, peacefully, and invested in each other and our desires every day.

Of course, we want to help inspire others to do the same, if they feel they’re called to do so. To start, here are five easy things we did to help simplify our lives:

    1. We chose one day (which later turned into 2 and then sometimes 3 days) on our calendar and cleared it completely, making it a “zero obligation” day. We started spending it doing things we’re passionate about, mainly at home, or simply did nothing at all and enjoyed the space to think clearly. I realize this is a lofty endeavor for us parents but as we implemented this on a regular basis, our kids started catching on and joined us in a slower paced day at home doing  what their hearts desired as well. We watch the sunrise. Drink tea. Read poetry. Take walks. Read books. Nap. Bake. Journal. Play games. Do crafts. Play music and sing songs… whatever our happy place looks like, we do that instead of what we think we “should” be doing, barring any family emergencies. For us Christian folk, this day does not include our day of rest, usually Sunday. Put simply: these days we do our best to let go all things that really don’t matter in the big picture.
    2. I personally turned all notifications off on my phone for emails, news, apps and anything else that doesn’t add value to my already limited time. Instead, I schedule specific parts of my day to check said forms of communication and leave it at that.
    3. We chose to start investing our time researching what it means to be minimal. (Again, we’re not completely there yet). We started reading minimalism books like this and following minimalist blogs like this, subscribing to newsletters like this, and watching documentaries like this – now available on Netflix. We were instantly inspired to start minimizing our belongings and to slowing our consumption which opened up breathing room in our home and offered us time to do the things we care most about.
    4. We simplified our meals by:
      1) Eating the same thing for one meal a day, and
      2) Set up a delivery service for items we use daily (if you live in an area where this is possible, I highly recommend it). For example, we eat eggs, oatmeal and fruit every morning for breakfast so we get them delivered biweekly (sigh, until we get our own chickens). We also have a box of local, organic ingredients delivered each week to make five healthy, homemade dinners. This saves me time from planning, budgeting and shopping for dinner every freaking day. It’s also less expensive for us – such a weight lifted.
    5. I left Facebook and chose one social media experience that adds value to my life – Instagram. Sorry guys, but this has changed all our lives in the best way. (Yes, my posts are automatically shared on Facebook but I haven’t looked at the site in over 8 months). So instead of spending hours or my precious time here on earth scrolling through a meaningless-to-me feed where I was involved in people’s lives without actually being involved – (kind of pointless if you ask me), so much of my time is now freed up. I know what you’re thinking “But what about the messages and groups and all the events you’ll never read or hear about?!” I respond by saying “good riddance.” If people aren’t close enough to us to text or call, to send us a personal invitation via email or snail mail, then it makes RSVPing much simpler and has only simplified our calendar, time and life even more.

      So, while some of these things might be easier said than done for others (and that’s OK!), they were easy for us because we want to simplify our lives.

      Once we realized how much time we truly have in any given day, we stopped  complaining there isn’t more time available to do what we really want to do.

      We forced ourselves to settle into the uneasy yet liberating feeling that now comes with open mornings and afternoons, more open space and less belongings to clean and organize, limited social feeds to keep us distracted, and just started to go with what God calls us to do as often as we can.

      Have you been intentionally trying to simplify your life as well? Would love to hear what has helped you and your family in your journey.

      With Love.

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The Truth: Our Simple Christmas Explained

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There’s a beautiful story I have no choice but to share with you – one that should be shared with everyone you care about. You may have heard it before but it’ll change the way you think about Christmas (hopefully).

But first, it’s no secret – once our little family started growing along with the obligations to spend holidays with extended family – we quickly tired of advertisers’ push to consume and rush around to purchase last-minute gifts to try and please a slue of different individuals.

So the last few years our little family of three, and then four, tried to lead by example in slowing down, spending less and making handmade gifts. But it still felt like too much.

The blow came with my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer this past August. It came as a shock, as cancer often does, as my younger sisters and I tried to grasp helping care for a mother whose focus was to raise us as independent women. She basically raised the three of us alone (my father traveled every week). She’s a mother who received her pilots license as I entered college and went on to get her Bachelors and Masters degrees once we were old enough to start fending for ourselves. Thankfully yet unfortunately, my dad has spent the first few months of his retirement taking care of her daily needs but done an impeccable job.

My mom (still) never stops her busy schedule but had to, in this case, as she underwent chemotherapy. But one afternoon, while sitting around with our mom in her scarf, medications sitting on the coffee table and energy low, we all gave pause to ask ourselves what this season should, or rather could, look like this year.

Maybe it was her cancer that helped us put our foot down and say “enough is enough.” Maybe it was just time. We’d already been moving in this direction anyway. Or maybe it wasn’t any of this but instead, needing our parents on board with our holidays-simplified wishes. This “opportunity” has now become a finality to the desire to continue trying to show us girls a “perfect” Christmas – which we now know, is a myth.

I’ll never forget watching my mom crumble in tears as we humbly asked her to set aside all the things she’s used to doing this year and just relax. Even our father pleaded her to stop burdening herself with trying to prove or offer us her idea of a magical Christmas atmosphere complete with food, music, activities and a tree spilling out gifts underneath.

I now know her purposeful actions were never a burden but a pursuit to create her idea of happy memories. Every Christmas season she’d keep herself busy rushing around, standing in lines, buying as many gifts as she could to try and keep those childhood memories alive despite us all being over the age of 25.

My dad often reminds us girls of the one Christmas when my mom kept pulling out gift after gift after gift and at one point, one of us looked up and asked “do we have to open more presents?”

Obviously, this was eye-opening but nevertheless didn’t break her habit.

And while I can appreciate her perspective as well as all her hard work over the years, I finally feel like we’ve arrived where we always should have been all along – without the expectations and mountains of gifts and overwhelmed schedule of holiday activities.

Unfortunately, like you hear a lot, it took cancer to get there. 😦

This year, we’ll be sitting by a fire, exchanging maybe one or two gifts, sipping hot chocolate, maybe singing or sharing stories, watching the kids play, reading from the Bible and most importantly – simply sharing this glorious short time on earth we have together.

Now that’s a memory I’ll be sure to cherish…

Finally, here’s the story I told you about. It’s heartwarming and beautiful, but please don’t take it as a suggestion. It’s merely a reminder that keeping Christmas simple and doing what’s in your heart will always be more impactful and memorable than anything a store can offer.

Enjoy. The White Envelope.

Merry Christmas – With Love.

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12 Days of Christmas Books for Kids

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When you have an elementary-aged child as well as a toddler, it’s sometimes hard to find books both not only will sit through but love to listen to over and over.

And during the holiday season, we not only want to focus on the joyous traditions and what it means to enjoy them but also focus on honorable virtues we sometimes forget about due to all the excitement.

With that here’s our family’s favorite Christmas books everyone will enjoy over and over and over again:

Dream Snow

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Bear Stays Up For Christmas

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The Clown of God

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The Little Drummer Mouse

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On Christmas Day In the Morning

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The Mitten

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The Christmas Cobwebs

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The Nutcracker

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The Polar Express

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Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear

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The Little Drummer Boy

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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What do Minimalists Give their Kids for Christmas?

We’ve worked hard the past couple years to minimize our belongings and consumption as well as any obligations or activities outside of the home that don’t fit into our family’s mission to slow down and enjoy life and our passions as individuals.

But what do we do when Christmas comes? Do we give our kids gifts? What kind of gifts to we give? How do we celebrate the season without focusing on the things our society deems we need in order to have the magical Christmas we all long for?

Well, considering minimalism looks different for each family, you’ll still find that our home looks like one in which children reside in. This means there are often a few toys or books strewn about the living room. Just not so many we’re cleaning them up every minute of every day.

And since our children’s lives aren’t inundated with an overwhelming choice of household items as it is, December truly becomes a magical time of year when we’re all able to focus on what matters most: Faith + Family.

So, Christmas in our home looks a bit like this:

Time: Spending time with each other represents our love more than any tangible gift ever could.

Activities: Before December came we sat around the table and discussed what each of us would love to experience during the Christmas season. We then cleared off our calendars (as much as possible) to focus on creating space for these special moments together without rushing around to multiple events. For example, this year my husband really wants to do a horse-drawn sleigh and since we cleared our calendar it was simple enough to book on the days available.

Advent: We’re slowly moving through Advent (not the little chocolate calendar). We’re using the Slow and Sacred Advent by Jennifer Naraki this season and are loving it.

Read-Aloud together: We’re reading as many beautiful, life-giving Christmas books as possible. Although we’re already knee-deep in many wonderful books, this list from Read Aloud Revival is a great one to start with.

At home: We sing songs, read Bible verses, have thoughtful discussions and pray together often throughout the day. We also bake, play music, do arts & crafts, play games and build lots of wood fires to enjoy.

Regarding gift-giving, we just keep it simple:

First, focus on giving to others. Our children were tasked with donating five to ten items to make room for their new season of gifts from others.

Make a list. My husband and I sat down and made a simple list (Pinterest or Amazon works) to offer our extended family to make it easy to locate the best gifts our children desire and could use the most.

Give open-ended gifts: No loud, flashy, plastic toys that require multiple batteries and we ask our family to respect our wishes if possible.

Honor your child’s current season in life: The gifts we do give include things our children want but can also use in their current season of development including but not limited to books, games, musical instruments, craft supplies, make-believe items…etc.

Gift quality over quantity: We prefer high-quality, long-lasting items instead of cheap, quick-thrill toys that clutter up our home. Montessori, Charlotte Mason and Waldorf methods all promote this type of offering.

Experiences over things: Enough said.

Adult gift giving: Somehow we convinced both sides of our family to draw names so we each can focus on one special gift for that one person instead of trying to piece together half-hearted gift attempts last minute for every single adult. It’s just too much stuff and chaos.

Stockings: instead of little trinkets or toys the kids will only play with for a day and then break or pile in the corner of our home, we stuff them with essentials like toothbrushes, socks and colored pencils (we do homeschool so there’s that), as well as a couple fun items they’ll get long use out of.

Treats: We generally stay away from a lot of candy throughout the season so special treats on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are much more appreciated and celebrated. No major sugar rushes and meltdowns needed if you’re trying to deliberately create a calm atmosphere in the home – and I think our dentist thanks us too!

Are you working toward a more peaceful, minimal home with kids? How do you plan on celebrating the season?

With Love.

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10 Children’s Books on Kindness


I love me some book lists. It’s cold outside right now, the leaves have almost completely departed our two large maple trees in the front yard and all I can think about is people who won’t have a home to go to for Thanksgiving dinner.

And so I’m sitting next to our crackling, wood fireplace feeling inspired to offer up our family’s favorite books helping communicate and illustrate kindness to others. They’re not your flashy, new-age crazy books. They’re solid offerings to the young hearts and minds in our smallest humans… during a time in their lives when innate kindness has no beginning, no end and no boundaries until they’re souls are ultimately shaped by the people and world around them.

Books are a great way to encourage kids to continue life with a limitless open heart. Because, in my opinion, you can have the loftiest dreams, desires and goals in the world but if they’re not seeded out of empathy of helping others, none of them will truly make a lasting difference.

I tried to offer an image inside each book so you can see the illustrations as they have just as much to do with the storytelling as the words. 

Each Kindness by E.B. Lewis. (Our personal favorite)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead.


My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (it’s on most of my book lists, just it’s that good and who can pass up a little boy who wants to save a baby dragon’s life?).


Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids 
by Carol McCloud.


Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems.

The Empty Pot by Demi. (Ok, this book is more about telling the truth, however, this is a form of kindness in our home)


The Lion and the Mouse by Carol Jones. (An Aesop Fable)

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Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. (We mustn’t forget the littles)

The Bible is also host to plentiful stories – like the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) – and verses in regards to kindness¹:

Galatians 5:22-23:

“The Bible tells us in this passage that kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. If we are saved, the Holy Spirit is living inside of us, and we can be people who overflow with kindness. This does not mean that we will be kind all the time. But as we come to know God more and more, we change. Kindness becomes part of who we are. With the Spirit living inside of us, He gives the power to be kind.”

Titus 3:3-5a:

“This verse helps us to discover one of the most important things about kindness-God is our example. He is a God of great kindness, and one of the main ways we see His kindness is through His forgiveness.”

Ephesians 4:32:

“This verse commands us to be kind. It tells us to be kind as God is kind to us through His forgiveness. What could we draw a picture of to help remind us to be kind to one another?”

Proverbs 3:3:

We are supposed to bind kindness around our necks and write it on our hearts. This means kindness is supposed to be part of who we are. It is with us wherever we go.”

Micah 6:8:

We are not supposed to be kind just because we are commanded to, but we are to love kindness, to think of it with joy! We are to want to be kind!”

Additional References:
¹http://ministry-to-children.com/kindness-bible-lesson-fruit-of-the-spirit/

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Heed + be Still

Enough is enough already.

Meetings. Money. Appointments. Activities. Go go go.

Have you ever sat back and wondered how your schedule spiraled out of control?  Have you ever wondered how you agreed to do so many things for so many other people? Or how you signed up for so many things?

I’d like to encourage you to heed to the call of your inner voice. Listen to your inner alarms going off telling you that you need a break. Especially if these alarms are going off every single day.

As I sit here in a bookstore, yearning for stillness, silence and space to ponder the words flowing through my head, there’s a meeting taking place behind me in which two mothers – armed with their calendars and to-do lists – sit and decipher which food to make for which activity, who to call, what to organize, what to buy, who they can count on, and who isn’t moving fast enough for their schedules and deadlines. It’s as though they’ve entered this time warp where the only things that matter are checking things off their lists and moving on to the next activity. You can hear the strain in their voices as they try to gather all information over their phones, write down details and speedily make their requests and confirmations known.

This isn’t to say you should never gather and plan. But the schedules we’ve created within our lives have taken over. Instead of the other way around. Our lives should instead reflect the inner voices we each carry – a voice of stillness and rest and spending time with those we love instead of orchestrating their every move.

I’m at fault, of course, of doing all these things. My kids are still young. I still make plans for them, often. We homeschool so this is a necessary evil if you don’t want to spend 100% of your time at home.

However, I’ve been working on heeding to my inner self. Any alarms going off telling me we’re doing too much. My inner voice that often tells me to simply “slow down.”

Our kids don’t care which sandwich they get or which toy you’re so focused on procuring. They care that you’re present with them, in whatever moment they’re in. They don’t care if you’re off planning through next year’s activities and putting them on waitlists and coordinating outfits. They care if you spend time with them.

What are two things you can take off your calendar so you have time to do nothing? Do nothing with your family. I know it seems like a stretch, but it’s really not.

I had a conversation with my sister when she was visiting from South Korea where she teaches English to young children – a society where kids are disciplined by being given more work and withholding sleep – yes, sleep! We were discussing how we choose to spend our time. A close family member, not able to stay in touch as well as she’d like with my sister told her “life’s just complicated.” But I looked at her and just said, “no, life’s not complicated at all – we make it complicated.” She nodded her head in agreement. She’s a person who values spending time with family over most I know… unfortunately, not everyone in our immediate family feels that way. And that’s OK. We have to learn not to allow others’ actions to determine our happiness.

So again, life’s not complicated, people. But we do make it complicated. With our desires to keep up. The money. The meetings. The arrangements. The activities. The “I wants” or the “I’m just too busy.” Because we’re all either trying to keep up because society tells us to do so or avoid what might we might discover about ourselves if we … s l o w  d o w n.

Anyway, so stop reading this and heed to your short time here on earth. Heed to your inner alarms and listen to your inner voice. Find space. Find time (because it’s there, I promise). Find stillness. For yourself. For your kids. For your family. Because in the end – no one ever cares whether the sandwiches were right.

With Love.

 

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Planning This Year’s Homeschool

Everyone in our neighborhood starts school next week. It feels like summer just started so I’m still not sure how I feel about school buses swinging by our home again so soon.

In my last post about getting rid of to-do lists, I wanted to share my process in how I got rid of to-do lists. This doesn’t mean lists altogether. Again, I’m a list person, so there’s that. Which also means I’m making quasi-lists for homeschooling our son this year – his first grade year – and I’m serious when I say he’s growing way too fast.

I’m very drawn to several different types of homeschool styles. Charlotte Mason. Classical Education. Thomas Jefferson. Waldorf…etc. And although we take different pieces of each when necessary, we typically intertwine a strong literature-based yet relaxed approach.

Yes, we do what most would consider Christian Unschool our kids, but that doesn’t mean I throw caution to the wind. Where our children really thrive is when we follow interest-led learning – hence relax, head outdoors and read a ton together. Most of these things offered at a young age allow our children to develop interests in a natural, life-giving way.

So this year, I do have some plans I’ve prayed about. Like our weekly, like-minded co-op on Fridays. This leaves us with three to four days at home each week where we get to dive into a few things the kids are interested  in. My oldest is still only entering first grade so there won’t be a ton of structure outside of reading, writing, math and understanding history and geography as much as a six-year-old is able. But we are implementing some classical conversation curriculum (mainly geography, public speaking and history).

One book I just finished devouring called Teaching from Rest was an invaluable guide as I continued tying up the loose ends in planning our days ahead. I don’t want to burn out by November and want leave room for reviewing how our time and curriculum are suiting our needs (yes, my children and I together – mamas need space and time too!), and flexibility and rest within our schedule. I know our family well enough that when we plan too many things we lose sight of what matters most.

We also just received devastating news a few weeks ago regarding a close family member who will need our help significantly more this next year, which also helped me zero in on why we’re homeschooling: Relationships.

So this year, relationships come first. Everything else comes second. Here are a few things I have written down to help guide our planning in our second year of homeschooling:

• Have at least 2-3 days at home with nothing on the calendar to just be (do “school” stuff, read aloud, take walks, love on each other, listen, discuss, dabble in art, write, listen to music…etc.)

• Have 1-2 days devoted to being in nature – God created a beautiful world and this is where I feel our children first learn the most about themselves

• Start each day with morning time / symposium – a beautiful time each morning we get to gather, pray, read devotionals, discuss our thoughts on things like poetry, art, as well as listen and connect with one another before the craziness of our day begins

• Read a lot, aloud & alone – we already do this a ton, so, yeah

• Be flexible with each other and life – Our family is still so young so sickness and other life events are sure to throw us off balance, and that’s OK

Finally – my motto this year is “Love First” – If we love first in our actions, responses and throughout our daily lives together and with others, everything else comes much easier.

What about you? Do you have plans for your homeschool this coming season? Are you still sorting through them all?

I can tell you that planning is awesome because it truly is. It helps us understand where we want to go and the path in which we’ll get there. But please don’t ever lose sight of why you’re homeschooling. Your plans may fall to pieces at some point as God may have other things in mind for you and your family.

So lean in and trust Him. He’s got this all figured out.  And be diligent mamas. But be flexible. And use a pencil!

And most importantly, keep it simple so you and your family can remain free. Free to love. Free to worship. Free to be who you are and do what you love. And free to change the world for the better.

With love.

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No More To-Do Lists

I had a mom tell me the other day that I have it all figured out. I had to laugh because she couldn’t be further from the truth. As moms, especially homeschooling moms, no matter if you’re new or seasoned, we’re all still trying to get it right. The only thing I can say is I’ve created the space to listen to what God desires for me personally and our family as a whole.

You can find that space and time too.

Over the past year our family has been pursuing a simple and free lifestyle, one without unrealistic society expectations, the unnecessary weight of belongings we don’t really need, and with a calendar allowing us to live openly to what He calls us to in the moment – whether it be chowing on watermelon slices alongside the kids on our front porch, reading through piles of great books, hiking in the glorious Pacific Northwest for an undetermined amount of time, or cooking a delicious meal as a family in our humble kitchen.

And here’s the truth: I love lists. Coming from a corporate background, along with helping grow a startup company, checking items off a list was literally euphoric to me. I would make lists for lists. Once a few items were checked off, I’d have to make a new list so it looked cleaner.

It was all silly, really.

Over the past year, however, I’ve been able to not only abolish my crazy list habit but glance at my calendar only to realize how little I now actually rely on it.

But probably most importantly, by going through this experiment (which has turned into a lovely way of life for us) my husband and I have created the loving, calm and respectful family atmosphere I’ve only dreamed of.

So if you’re looking for that time and space in your daily routine along with ditching your list habit, feel free to follow this path below (can you tell I’m trying to avoid using the term “list”?). It will look different for you, of course, but it’s a good start:

Sit down and make a purpose statement. How do you want to feel each day?
Wipe your slate and calendar clean. Start fresh if possible. I wound my calendar down because I was over scheduled. So you can go that route as well… just remember to keep taking things off and not putting things in their place.
Be fiercely protective of your time. If you have a day of rest. Rest. Don’t do anything but REST. I used to be scared of having an open calendar. Now I’m unhappy without it.
Be purposeful with everything you do alone, and together. If it doesn’t make sense for your purpose statement, then don’t commit to it.
Say “no thank you” more often than you say “sure, doing that sounds like a great idea”
Experiment with not using your calendar for, say, a week. If you missed something, maybe it wasn’t something you should have on there in the first place? (Please keep in mind I only have two kids. I can keep track of them much easier than, say, if I have five kids. And we spend a lot of time at home because over time I realized it’s more important now as they need that time to play as often as possible. So, if you have more kids, even one activity each will eat up your free time, so be wise about consolidating them as much as possible).
Take account of things that take time away from the things you love… delete these from your life, if possible. But be honest with yourself.
Enter slow mornings, hot breakfasts and conversing with one another without technology. We have the same breakfast every morning to keep things simple. Eggs. Oatmeal and fruit. Easy peasy.
Simplify by purging and minimizing your belongings. I recommend reading The Less of More by Joshua Becker. You can read my review on the book here.
Simplify meals. We get local, fresh produce and meals with recipes delivered weekly. This is not only a healthier option than running down processed food isles in a grocery store, but cuts down on the time I have to spend shopping and meal planning and cuts our food budget in half considering I don’t have a list I’m deviating from. Put simply, it’s more efficient if delivery is possible in your area. If it’s not, start a garden. You can grow from there.
Live a low-tech lifestyle. If you’re tired of wondering where the time went after you just sat browsing Facebook or Pinterest for an hour, then just stop logging on. It’s that simple. I promise you won’t die.
Foster relationships over all else. This one is probably the most critical. Are you putting more emphasis on activities, to-do’s and other’s expectations? Or letting as much of it go as you can to focus on you, your husband and kids while they’re still in the home? Is it really important you make a meal from scratch for that neighborhood gathering? Or can you just grab some grapes and plop them in a bowl?
Listen to yourself and encourage our children to do the same. Each day, show your children you need a break to just breath. Show them how to do this and how to tune into their bodies (does eating candy really feel good, kids? Or leave you feeling tired and icky?) and when you feel out of balance, use these techniques to pull you back down to earth.
Focus on what’s meaningful. Are the dishes meaningful at this moment? Or would sitting down and playing with my kids be a wiser choice?
Stop the glorification of busy. I was raised with this belief, so maybe it’s why I’m striving for a simpler life now that I was burnt out at an early age.
Be present – put down the phone. Nothing matters more than what’s happening in front of you at the moment. It’s the truth. People can wait unless it’s an emergency.
Play more. Remember more. Savor this short time on earth.
Do what you love more. This will come easier as you minimize your distractions and commitments. But show your kids what it’s like to really have a passion for something other than their wellbeing.
Finally, let go. The laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the stuff that never ends. Feel free to read my article on how to live less with kids. Hopefully it’ll help you and your family too.

And give yourself grace, lean on God. Find out why you were born into this world by simplifying. I promise you won’t regret it.

With Love.

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100+ Great Books for Kindergarten Boys

I love books because books are amazing. And I believe I’ve passed this love on to our kids at an early age (hooray!).

There was a point in our homeschooling journey where I started separating the good books from the great, inspiring, educational and life-changing books BUT never forgetting to have a little fun, of course – it’s not ALL about shoving info into our child’s head.

And I read aloud to my kids a lot. I mean, more than one probably should. It’s seriously a problem. But it’s a good problem to have – or so says our librarian. We’ve maxed out our lending limits more times than I can count and I’ve started to wonder if the world has made enough books for the Wiley family.

Alas, there are more out there we could ever devour, let alone want to. I even asked my husband to open a library account (thank you love!) so I could add even more books to our stack by using three different library cards at one time. And the first time my son signed his name was on the back of his library card – *tears*, I’m telling you. Just mama tears over here people. I also have a children’s book/series in the works, sending it to publishers and keeping our fingers crossed so we can at least contribute a drop of literary art to the ocean of amazing books available out there.

That being said, my list is a little unconventional. This is partly due to the fact I’m saddened by many of the books being published today. Our children are being raised to expect immediate results to their bigger-than-life questions, so most current popular books tend to have overtly easy-reading vocabulary, too high-action and/or encourage destructive behavior.

I’ve also noticed we’ve placed lower and lower expectations for children’s literature. Just take a look at books written 50 years ago versus today. It’s really not that long ago and society has changed so much. So I urge you to read books that use more complex and challenging vocabulary aloud to your children, because they can comprehend more than you think (statistically children can understand terminology one to three grades above where they’re at in school when you read them aloud). And when they don’t understand a word or thought, implore them to ask questions! This is how they learn about the real world… not by dumbing down their literature.

And although I personally appreciate many of the classics featuring female characters recommended by so many homeschooling curricula, my son does not stick to them as much as I’d like him to. Sigh. But I’m dying to read them to my daughter in the near future (ie: Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables)

So please keep in mind, this list was made after pinpointing which books both our family loved. And although I also have a two-year-old daughter, I can imagine her list will differ slightly when she reaches Kindergarten age.

Some of these books have won national awards. Most have not because we don’t follow the crowd nor do I always agree or see all the hoopla behind the awards given. No worries, again, we’re a bit unconventional, and we like it that way. I’m not perfect nor is this list so if you see an error or disagree with something, please extend some grace…

This list is not recommended as a curriculum although many have come from other curriculum lists. I have listed a few list referrals below if you’re interested in digging deeper after reading mine.

Lastly, I would also suggest purchasing any books your kids end up loving (we’d be broke if it weren’t for the library), because you’ll find your child gleaning new information each time you read them.

I hope you and your family enjoy.
With Love.

**All links go to GoodReads or Usborne unless one isn’t available. I am not affiliated with either.

This is my Home, This is My School: Such a cute yet appropriate book taking you inside the four walls of a homeschooling family. Love it.
Library Lion: The head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. I’m not sure if my son loved this book so much because sometimes we all have to break the rules, or because he loves lions, or both.
My Father’s Dragon: A classic. We read through the three stories twice in two years because he loved it that much. Yes, it’s on many other lists because it’s awesome.
The Tale of Tricky Fox: Clever and funny; “Old Fox uses his sack to trick everyone he meets into giving him ever more valuable items.”
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Such a fun one to read before bed, as we often do. Make sure you get the original, as with all of the books listed here… not movie or TV adaptations.
Least of All: Even though the main character is a girl, my son related with her as she’s too small to do most chores on the farm but surprises her family when she’s the first to learn how to read.
Story of Ferdinand:  I remember reading this classic often as a child myself as not following the crowd and being different is more often than not a good virtue.
The Velveteen Rabbit: My son still thinks his stuffed animals come to life when he’s not looking thanks to this classic, heart-warming tale.
Wheelnuts (series): My son says these are his favorite books. I can usually read through each in one sitting in just under an hour and coming up with all the character voices was fun for me. Strange races through strange courses mixed with crazy characters and bold graphics.
Twenty and Ten: This was the first time I read a chapter book about WWII aloud but he listed with rapt attention and asked a lot of great questions about the children and their fate.
The Story of Ping: Every child can sympathize with a dawdling duck who wants to avoid a spanking, and share his excitement and wonder as he sails down the river.
Horton Hatches the Egg: Your heart just goes out to Horton as he watches over another animal’s egg… but the best part is watching your child empathize right alongside you.
Magic Tree House (series): My son continues to obsess over these adventure stories – we’re currently on book #40. Fun and easy to read aloud.
Smurfs (graphic novel series): I remember these blue goofs from watching the show as a child. My son, however, will always remember these whimsical and cute comic books as how he first learned to read – spending hours upon hours sifting through each one multiple times over. We finally purchased the Anthologies for him because our librarian kindly requested we return the books for others to enjoy after almost a year of hoarding them and one too many renewals.
The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth: Join the Earth and the boy in this epic tale as you learn together what it means to stand still for just a moment and find joy every step of the way.
Little Toot: There was a small collection of books my husband and I ended up recording ourselves reading aloud for our son to listen to as a gift, and this was one of them.
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat: Although we love all the Llama Llama books, this is the one he gravitated to the most, conjuring up several conversations about bullying.
Big Bad BruceBill Peet charms us every time with Bruce, a bear bully, never picks on anyone his own size until he is diminished in more ways than one by a small but very independent witch. We love Bill Peet’s books but you don’t hear about this one to often.
The Sword in the Tree: In the days of King Arthur there stood a mighty oak tree within the walls of a castle. Peace reigned in the castle until the fearsome night when Lionel, long lost brother of Lord Weldon, returned to cause trouble and unhappiness. After reading this book our son actually acted it out in his own version of a play!
The Complete Adventures of Curious GeorgeI know, it’s another well-known collection of stories but we’ve not only read through these several times but our son has pulled out the audio CD in the back and listened on his own multiple times.
Dick and JaneI personally find these short, easy-reader books a bit old-fashioned yet wholesome. But my six-year-old was hooked at three thanks to their simple silliness.
The EggGeorge finds more than he’d bargained for under his mother’s favorite chicken. But when a dragon hatches from the egg he knows it’s his motherly duty to teach the dragon dragony ways.
A Year at a Construction Site: Such a great introduction into how buildings are made, showing a birds-eye view of each stage with something funny to find on each page.
Archeologists Dig for Clues:
 In this information-packed Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book, Kate Duke explains what scientists are looking for, how they find it, and what their finds reveal.
The Chocolate Touch: It might be worthwhile to discuss King Midas before reading this book to your child… but even if you don’t your kid might learn that too much of a good thing isn’t so great at all.
Puff the Magic Dragon (audiobook): My son kept asking for this book for Christmas, and I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t love the age-old song and the sweet, sweet dragon.
Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf (audiobook): This is THE best way to introduce your kids to classical music, in my opinion. Different instruments depict each character and Peter Malone’s paintings have the luminous quality of old Russian masters… After reading this several times through, we then went on to read all the different versions of Peter and the Wolf yet this one remains our favorite despite how this retelling is kinder to the animals in the end.
Fly Guy (series): These are also books my son wanted to read on his own and although my mother thinks they’re “utterly gross,” my two-year-old is now also obsessed with them.
Mercy Watson (series): This is another series we literally flew through once we started them and again, my two-year-old begs me to reread them. Great illustrations and stories.
Berenstain Bears BibleOf course we love most of the (original) Berenstain Bears stories. And if your kid breezes through bibles like mine, this one’s a fun one to read. There is an audiobook version, which is what my then 5-year-old listened to several times through, and then re-enacted all the stories for me to record on video. (I don’t go into each Bible’s theology as we have many of them around the home and I’m simply finding it fascinating watching my kids devour them – thus I’ve chosen to offer multiple versions instead of limiting them).
A Child’s Book of Prayer in Art“Looking at art is one way of listening to God.” ~Sister Wendy Beckett. I couldn’t agree more. This was one of those garage sale finds that ended up transforming many mornings in our household as we discussed art intereperation, art history and our faith.
How Much is a Million? My son loves numbers and often asks what a million, billion, trillion and google actually is. So when I stumbled on this find, it was an instant hit.
Dragon Masters (series): Such a fun series to read aloud, some suspence and although this book is more on the modern end of the spectrum, what Kindergartener doesn’t love dragons, a Dragon Stone, a king, a wizard, and magic?
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub: My son thought this was just a hilarious story (and so did I). Everyone tries to lure King Bidgood from his cozy bathtub, but he won’t get out! Will anyone be able to solve this problem?
Three Bears in a Boat: You guys, I love it when I love a book just as much as my kids do. This sweet, sweet book was read over and over again. I love the illustrations that tell the story of three bear siblings who break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one.
Lu and the Swamp Ghost: A little adventure, a little mystery but a lot of southern culture and heart. We loved this book and the meaning behind it: “You’re never poor if you have a loving family and one good friend.”
Little Bear Adventures: These five classic stories are on many lists out there and if you haven’t read them yet, you’ll learn why after you do.
Sneetches and other StoriesThese stories hopefully take you, as the parent, back in time. Great moral lessons yet crazy, unforgettable characters and rhyming stories.
Shakespeare Collection (by Usborne): Usborne has done it again (I actually considered selling Usborne books at one point because they’re pretty awesome)… But These five stories are retellings of ‘Macbeth’, ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘Hamlet’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for early readers. If I remember correctly, Macbeth and Hamlet were my son’s favorite and we blew through these in one coffee sitting, what was nice (because they’re Shakespeare), but provided a perfect introduction to his timeless works.
Pirate School (series): When our son turned four, we held an epic Pirate Birthday party for him. It was during this time I seet out to find fun pirate books and landed on these chapter books. They teach comraderie, overcoming bad situations, fears and bullies.
Ninja Red Riding Hood: This is another pretty modern book in my collection of favorites but we enjoyed reading this clever telling several times over.
The Knights’ Tales Collection: These books were a hit not only with our Kindergartener but with my husband. He loved reading these aloud (and it takes a good book to keep him interested). And it looks like there’s a fourth one out, yay!
Jumanji (audiobook): I love the illustrations in this timeless, exciting story – and although we wouldn’t normally have read something this thrilling to a 5-year-old, he loves games and therefore, absolutely got hooked on this book and version.
Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall GorillaIf you want to build empathy as a character with your little tykes, this book is a wonderful way to help do it.
Finding WhinnieBefore Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie and this book tells this story, thoughtfully. Be prepared to shed a tear… and enjoy the historical images.
The Giving Tree: Although this is another regular on many other Kindergarten lists, there’s a good reason. Reading this story to your child elicits fond, warm thoughts of loving someone endlessly, no matter what.
Grasshopper on the Road: As Grasshopper travels down the road he meets several characters, many of them embodying different types of people many of us meet in our life.
The TreasureIt was so fun reading this book and watching my son connect the dots. It’s simple and sweet but carries a big lesson.
Rufus the Writer: Well, this one might be on here because I love writing but it’s a fun way to give your kid a glimpse of what creative writing might look like… and entrepreneurial skills all in the same book.
The Littles (series): We love how this classic series speaks to the smallest child in an adventurous manner with enough images to keep them hooked through each story.
Nate the Great (series): If your child likes solving problems then he or she will love the Nate the Great books. Each one brings you into the world of this little detective helping solve his friend’s cases and eventually, showing them how to solve their own mysteries.
A Grain of RiceMost parents who read this story to their children see it as a life lesson… my son was excited about the math in the story when Pong Lo, the main character makes a surprising request of the emporor to help save his daughter, asking for a single grain of rice, doubled every day for one hundred days.
Elephant + Piggie (series): I know, I know, this series is extremely popular but it’s one of the many books my son was delighted to read on his own, immediately upon receipt.
The Best TrickA great beginning chapter book, created by another homeschool mom. We’re not opposed to competition in this house, so this was a cute and creative book.
The Bravest Dog EverWhat a great re-telling of the true story of Balto, my son still recognizes any other references to Balto because he loved this version of the story so much, and it’s fascinating as an adult to go back in time to Alaska.
The Monster at the end of this Book: My husband mentioned this book as one he’s read to our son a bazillion times.
The Jungle Book: A Pop-up Adventure: (So I found this treasure, along with the next book on our list, randomly at a consignment sale, and my husband still praises me to this day because we all think these are such amazing books to look through and read and will probably never get rid of them despite our minimalistic ways – they are extremely elaborate pop-ups); In this stunning retelling of a phenomenal classic, honor is tested, battles of good over evil are waged, and the importance of family reigns supreme. True to Rudyard Kipling’s original story, tree branches literally draw the reader in to this tale of Mowgli the Man Cub exploring the ruins of the Lost City, riding atop thundering elephants, and facing a fierce tiger attack!
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up (see explanation one book up as well): Robert Sabuda has created a resplendent pop-up version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the original publication. This glorious edition is told in a shorter version of L. Frank Baum’s original text, with artwork in the style of W. W. Denslow. With sparkling touches of colored foil and Emerald City eyeglasses, this classic tale is certain to find an honored place on the family bookshelf. Amazing, guys, simply amazing.
Catwings (series): I was extremely hesitant to even begin reading these books to my son, however, to my delight he ate them up just like I did when I was young (but it wasn’t until middle school that I was introduced) so we’ll probably come back and read them again when my daughter is a bit older so they can both enjoy them.
A Fish out of WaterI find it rather comical that we wanted to include this on our list, but it’s such a fun story and shows what could happen if we don’t listen to people who know what they’re talking about! And now that my son chose to purchase a fish of his own, it’s all that more appropriate.
Angus and the Cat: We love Angus and the sweet story of his daily rituals being disrupted.
A Pet Named SneakerYes, I like this book due to the morals it teaches (that although an animal may not be everyone’s favorite, they were made for a purpose!), I like also love books with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning, making it easier for kids to read through on their own.
How I Became a PirateHere we go again with pirates, I know. But these are great books with fantastic illustrations (there are more than one by this author); a lavish tale of a young boy who learns what it means to be a pirate but, at the end of the day, still needs his mom.
The Book with No PicturesOk. So here’s the deal. I’m not a fan of reading this book. Nor is my husband BUT it’s on my list because my son cracks up every. single. time we read it. And seeing the joy on his face is so worth it (and we just send it to the grandparents house almost every time he spends the night!)
It Could Always Be WorseYiddish folktales are great but they’re all over book lists as it is. The reason I included this specific one on mine is because it’s a classic telling of how, well, things could always be worse, in a classy, non-haughty manner.
What Do People Do All Day? Make sure you have about 45 minutes on hand to go through this book with your child… it’s extremely detailed but enlightening, spawning questions of all sorts as they read along with you.
The Big Balloon RaceWhat kid doesn’t love races? Let alone a race in a hotair balloon? Even better, a girl and her mother are the main characters showcasing a real ballooning family of the late 1800’s.
The TitanicThis is the perfect way to introduce your child to the Titanic. I was pleased to discuss life and death with my son during this book, and watch his fascination blossom in that wasn’t supposed to happen in a world where anything can happen.
Hill of FireWe love historical fact (and fiction) around this house. This one happens to be completely true  – a volcano growing out of the ground in a small Mexican village where the main character’s father says “nothing ever happens.” One reviewer said this book was a main inspiration for him becoming a geologist. Crazy but I can totally see why.
Noah’s Ark: The bee and the fox, the sheep and the ox–two of each kind trudged aboard Noah’s famous vessel. Peter Spier uses his own translation of a seventeenth-century Dutch poem about this most famous menagerie.
Ben Draws Trouble: SUCH a great story… I love this author’s ability to show how although a child may not be “obeying” in school, it’s not necessarily because they don’t love learning, it’s because they’re passionate about something other than what the teacher is teaching. This delightful story was read many times over because 1) my son loved reading it and 2) I loved the truth and courage behind the characters (and the illustrations).
Snowmen at NightPerfect for grabbing some hot cocoa and bundling up around a fire to read… learn why snowmen look the way they do the morning after they’re built. So cute.
Amelia BedeliaI have to admit, most of the jokes in these amazing books are way over my son’s head unless I take the time to describe each and every one, but he still loves them nonetheless, and I do too.
Swirl by Swirl, Spirals in Nature: Just, the beautiful illustrations depicting spirals and how prevalent and useful they are in nature.
Greg’s MicroscopeI doubt our son is going to be a scientist, but he’s fascinated (again) by the world God made. Therefore, this was a great book to describe how having a microscope might show him the smaller details of His living creatures.
Pompeii…Buried Alive! Great book illustrating what happened in Pompeii. Again, we love history and this was a fun way to read about this historic event together.
Mary on Horseback: Once again we’re in love with history. This book tells a very well-written account about Mary Breckinridge (who had been a nurse in WWI) and how she learned in 1923 about the nonexistent medical facilities in Appalachian Kentucky, and founded the Frontier Nursing Service. My son was full of questions before, during and after we finished this book. We went on to watch an informational video (black & white without color) about Mary and her work.
Wild Ideas: What a fascinating way to look at problem solving and idea generation taken from the animal kingdom in the midst of what nature throws our way. The art and illustration in this book is different than any other book out there.
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: As much as I love historical fiction, when my son picked this one up at the library I wasn’t so keen. But after reading it more times than I can remember, it turned into such a heartwarming story about Abe Lincoln and his best childhood friend with intruiging illustrations both my son and I will never forget.
Mirette on Highwire: To me as a mother, this book illustrated something important – overcoming your fears. Although my son is fascinated with how one would walk on a tightrope anyway, this book set in the 19th century helps him see past even his own physical limitations.
The Empty Pot: WOW. Just WOW. I could go on and on about how wonderful this book is. It may not look like much with it’s subtle, almost dainty illustrations, but the message it tells is huge and I immediately saw how this book impacted my son in real life immediately after reading it.
Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State BuildingMy husband once again, not a big book reader himself, thought this was a fantastic book as he read it to our son as it provides a riveting brick-by-brick account of how one of the most amazing accomplishments in American architecture came to be.
Bright Ideas! Benjamin Bear (graphic novel series): This is a seriously hilarious book with simple graphics that not only make your child laugh but make him think. A favorite for us.
Go Dog Go!Easy to read. Simple. Timeless. And bonus – my son loved reading it over and over and over again to his 2-year-old sister.
The Day-Glo Brothers: The true story of how two brothers created neon colors during the Great Depression. Also discusses one’s dreams and attaining them in a different way than you might image.
The Emperor’s New Clothes: My son consistently talks about this story… although I’m not sure he understands the meaning, this on is the classic fairy tale, illustrated in 1949.
The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems: We didn’t get all the way through this book as it’s still in our home library, but the poems were short and sweet and span from nature to daily events and ideas, and are perfect for grasping the ideas. We’d then go and work with PlayDough to create whatever came to mind after reading these poems.
The New Adventures of The Little Prince (graphic novel series): This is my one exception to my own rule about adaptation… These books are an adaptation of a TV show about the character of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 illustrated novella The Little Prince. Although I believe many of these storylines were above my son’s head, he read through each and every comic book, and I remember grabbing over twelve different ones from the library.
Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book: We focus on raising children with character being at the foundation… so this was a no-brainer and a great read.
See Inside Your Body (a lift-the-flap book): This is a great book for introducing your children to what happens in our bodies and how it functions on a daily basis. And the information sticks more because of all the information they obtain via lifting each flap. But usually, if my son has a bodily function-type question, this is the book I pull out for now. 
Petunia: I think both my son and I loved this book so much because we love books and what we gain from them. In this, the first of the series of classic books featuring the silly goose, Petunia finds a book—and, deciding that if she owns a book she must be wise, dispenses hilariously mistaken advice to the other animals in the farmyard.
Danny the Dinosaur:
Any of the Danny the Dinosaur books are fun to read alone or together. 
Morris and Boris
: I’m not exactly sure why, other than the humor, my son became addicted to reading these silly books with me but they do provide comical relief to both kids and adults.
One Morning in Maine: The author, Robert McCloskey, also wrote classics such as Blueberries for Sal and Time of Wonder – both books on many, many booklists. So I chose to include One Morning in Maine because of the timeliness – a loose tooth!
The Lion and the Mouse: This is a simple retelling of the Aesop Fable… but it’s on my list simply because it was the first book my son ever read aloud to me at the beginning of his Kindergarten year. Sweet, sweet memories… that’s all.
Read with Me BibleOnce again, we have another Bible on this list. This is mainly because God and the word of God comes first in our family before all other books. This one made it on here because of the fantastic graphics that first drew my son to it. And secondly, the stories are short and easy to understand. This version contains 106 Bible stories based on the New International Reader’s Version. We sat down and read a few stories each morning before homeschool began after we had finished our devotional Leading Little Ones to God (which we’ll repeat this 1st grade year coming up), and is a devotional I highly recommend.
When I was a Boy… I DreamedMy parents actually purchased this book for my son at an expo so we got to meet Mark Ludy, the author, who is incredibly talented. Unlike many authors we’ve read and let go, this one has stayed a favorite bedtime story for us.
Bink and Gollie (series): Although this book features two girls, it’s the same author who wrote the Mercy Watson books (as well as The Tale of Despereaux we just haven’t gotten to that book quite yet) so it’s an easy read with whimsical illustrations and quite silly short stories.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art “Can You Find It?”: Another wonderful book inviting your child into the world of art, and helping them peruse for a while and look at details. With major works from the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, this book offers a close look at works from early Egyptian to 20th-century American.
StuckAnother book that seems to be “stuck” on our shelf. Ever since our son was two this has been a favorite – a silly boy who tries to get his kite down as it’s stuck in a tree.
The Giant Jam Sandwich: He loved this lyrical, rhyming text showing the industrious citizens of Itching Down knead, bake, and slather the biggest wasp trap there ever was.
The FlyThere’s never a dull moment in this funny, beautifully illustrated tale depicting a pesky fly in a whole new light.
Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure: I have to admit the bubbly illustrations made me smile but my son loved, loved, loved this cute story so we read it many times through.
The Biggest Bear: We cheated a bit with the audiobook version of this story but my son loved retelling it to me in great detail. If you’re not afraid of how humans used to trap and kill animals to obtain food then this will delight. The text is relatively simple, with usually one to three sentences on every other page and the sepia-toned illustrations are beautiful.
Parts: The same guy that wrote the Fly Guy chapter books write about one boy who thinks he’s actually falling apart due to silly things happening to his body. My son actually held this book up for his aunt to read to him over video chat from South Korea.
Fox in Socks: A tongue-twister book, make sure you’ve drank enough water before starting it… next, challenge your kid to read it all the way through.
The Hole Story of the Doughnut: Do you (or your kids) know how and where and by whose hands doughnuts started? This tells the “hole” story. Mmmmm
Get the Giggles: A First Joke Book: My kid loves jokes. He loves (trying) to tell them. This book is easy enough for him to read (and thus memorize) some great, easy-to-tell jokes.
Secrets of the Rainforest: A great non-fiction book about the rainforest in which you read it alongside your child as they use a flashlight to discover hidden animals in wild.
I Feel Better with a Frog in My ThroatBefore modern medicine doctors relied on things like mummy powder, moldy bread, electric eels and mustard. This is such a fun way to discover some of history’s strangest cures (and learn which ones are still in practice today!)
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves: It’s autumn, and Fletcher’s favorite tree is slowly changing colors and losing its leaves. Fletcher is very worried. Sweet, whimsical and picked up more than one time to read.
Happy Birthday, MoonFunny enough, I grabbed this book at the dollar store last-minute before a road trip with the kids. Never in my right mind did I realize what a fantastic book it is! My son also loves reading it with me to his two-year-old sister. The illustrations are a bit interesting but the story is sure to delight.
Creatures of the Desert World (National Geographic pop-up): This is such an intricate and therefore fun yet informative book about desert animals. Library addition for sure as your kids will go through this multiple times over.
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always: Delightful short stories about two friends working out life’s questions and problems, together.
Dr. De Soto: I’m not sure any kid enjoys going to the dentist (although ours is stellar it’s still a cruddy way to spend one’s afternoon. But this book about a Dentist mouse is delightful and witty.
The Skunk: Delightfully odd, a book you never want to end and one you and your child will giggle through. A skunks follows a man… what on eart does he want?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (a pop-up book): Just reading this classic story to my son would have offered plenty of fun but read it together with this intricate, interactive pop-up book is sure to concrete the story in memory forever. A favorite in our home library.
Free Fall: When he falls asleep with a book in his arms, a young boy dreams an amazing dream-about dragons, about castles, and about an unchartered, faraway land. And you can come along.
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What’s next on our list for 1st Grade? Too many to count but lots of history by Beautiful Feet Books and more classics, starting with the Chronicles of Narnia – in order by which they were written:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
Prince Caspian (1951)
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
The Silver Chair (1953)
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
The Last Battle (1956)

A few book list references I refer to often, have invested in and/or recommend include:
Sonlight
Good and Beautiful Booklist (Jenny Phillips)
Exodus Books
Read Aloud Revival
What Do We Do All Day