• Our Homeschool Monthly Reading Wrap Up - our monthly read alouds and independent reads
    books,  reading lately

    WHAT WE READ IN APRIL – our homeschool read alouds and individual reads for the month!

    Here’s a wrap up of another reading month.

    Rae read a TON this month!

    My non-fiction reading was everything from a very disappointing read to one I loved.


    Our Homeschool Monthly Reading Wrap Up - our monthly read alouds and independent reads





    Keeper of the Lost Cities – books 1, 2 & 3!



    Keeper of the Lost Cities – Unlocked


    Ramona Series

    The Green Ember

    Bliss Bakery Series

    Nancy Drew Diaries Series



    Life as a Viking

    Isobel Kuhn

    Underground to Canada



    Dyslexia 101

    Awaking Wonder

    The Call of the Wild + Free

  • WHAT WE READ IN MARCH - our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!
    book lists,  books,  mother culture,  reading lately

    WHAT WE READ IN MARCH – our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!

    Today Raeca and I are sharing a wrap up of our reading from the month of March!

    We are chatting about our read alouds and what we read on our own as well.

    There was a combination of some pretty mediocre books and some really great ones.

    We would love to hear what you have been reading lately and if you have any book suggestions for us for future months!


    WHAT WE READ IN MARCH - our homeschool read alouds, what the kids are reading & what mom is reading!





    Here are all the books we read in March, be sure to watch the video to hear our thoughts on them!


    Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The African Safari Discovery

    When a flat skull is discovered in Africa, Stanley Lambchop decides to travel there with his brother, Arthur, and their father, George. Maybe studying the skull will give them clues to Stanley’s flatness. But once in Africa, the Lambchops are in for more adventure than they bargained for. From lions to zebras to elephants, it’s the safari of a lifetime!



    Case Closed – Mystery in the Mansion

    Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. But when Carlos’s mom gets sick with a flu on the morning of an investigation that could save her failing detective agency, Carlos takes on the case.

    With the help of his best friend, Eliza, and her wild little brother, Frank, Carlos must uncover a mystery involving an eccentric local millionaire, anonymous death threats, and a buried treasure. But with tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices, they need your help!

    Can you help Carlos and his friends find the culprit and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed?



    Enola Holmes – The Case of The Missing Marquess

    Meet Enola Holmes, teenaged girl turned detective and the younger sister to Sherlock Holmes.

    When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers—all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?


    The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

    Bronte Mettlestone is ten years old when her parents are killed by pirates. This does not bother her particularly: her parents ran away to have adventures when she was a baby. She has been raised by her Aunt Isabelle, with assistance from the Butler, and has spent a pleasant childhood of afternoon teas and riding lessons. Now, however, her parents have left detailed instructions for Bronte in their will. (Instructions that, annoyingly, have been reinforced with faery cross-stitch, which means that if she doesn’t complete them, terrible things could happen!) She travels the kingdoms, perfectly alone, delivering gifts to ten other aunts: a farmer aunt who owns an orange orchard, a veterinarian aunt who specializes in dragon care, a pair of aunts who captain a cruise ship, and a former rock star aunt who is now the reigning monarch of a small kingdom. But as she travels from aunt to aunt, Bronte suspects there might be more to this journey than the simple delivery of treasure.


    Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls

    A girl discovers her boarding school is actually an elite spy-training program, and she must learn the skills of the trade in order to find her mother in this action-packed middle grade debut that’s perfect for fans of Stu Gibbs.

    After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results.

    But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…


    Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls: Power Play

    After discovering the truth about her spy school/boarding school—and her super-spy mom—Abby Hunter is ready for her next adventure, but what’s about to happen is something she never would have guessed…

    Everyone at The Smith School is obsessed with Monster Mayhem, the latest reality video game craze. But when Drexel Caine, the mastermind behind the game, is suddenly kidnapped, it becomes clear that the kidnappers are playing for more than just special badges.

    After Drexel’s son—who is Abby’s friend, Toby—receives a cryptic message, Abby and her friends discover the kidnapping is part of a bigger scheme that could take down The Center for good.

    With the help of Abby’s frenemy (and reluctant mentor), Veronica Brooks, the group tackles their first official Center Mission. They tangle with the world’s most notorious hacker, get in trouble for the possible theft of the Mona Lisa, and prepare for the ultimate showdown in London. But not before they have to contend with one more hurdle: the agonizing Smith School Spring Formal. Along the way, they discover they are much stronger as a team than they can ever be alone.

    And with a little luck, they might just save the world.


    Keeper of the Lost Cities – Legacy

    Sophie Foster wants answers. But after a lifetime of lies, sometimes the truth is the most dangerous discovery. Even the smallest secret comes with terrifying new responsibilities.

    And Sophie’s not the only one with blank spots in her past, or mysteries surrounding her family. She and her friends are part of something much bigger than they imagined—and their roles have already been chosen for them.

    Every clue drags them deeper into the conspiracy. Every memory forces them to question everything—especially one another. And the harder they fight, the more the lines blur between friend and enemy.


    The Great Cake Mystery

    Have you ever said to yourself, Wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective?
    This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious.
    When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, a traditionally built young boy is tagged as the culprit. Precious, however, is not convinced. She sets out to find the real thief. Along the way she learns that your first guess isn’t always right. She also learns how to be a detective.



    The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

    Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn’t turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller’s students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. Miller’s unconventional approach dispenses with drills and worksheets that make reading a chore. Instead, she helps students navigate the world of literature and gives them time to read books they pick out themselves. Her love of books and teaching is both infectious and inspiring. The book includes a dynamite list of recommended “kid lit” that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.


    Love-Centered Parenting: The No-Fail Guide to Launching Your Kids

    Do you worry that you’re messing up your kids? Do you get stressed when you think about their futures? New York Times bestselling author Crystal Paine knows how you feel. A mom of four, Crystal has struggled with anxiety over parenting. She wanted to parent with grace, instead of a system of rules where kids are expected to do all the right things. She wanted to be a safe place for her children, and she definitely didn’t want to be remembered as the sort of mom who yelled, wounded her kids with words, or worse, cared more about her reputation than her kids’ hearts. 


    Awaking Wonder: Opening Your Child’s Heart to the Beauty of Learning

    Sally, what is your secret?

    For years, parents worldwide have asked beloved author Sally Clarkson how she and her husband have ignited a love for learning and a deep faith in their children. They want to know how the Clarksons launched their children to live such vibrant, flourishing lives as adults.

    Awaking Wonder is Sally’s answer to those questions. This book is thirty-six years in the making and provides a deep dive into Sally’s most profound legacy: nurturing and guiding her four children into a wonder-filled life.

    If you are idealistic and hopeful about the process of raising your children to be healthy and vibrant, you will find encouragement through the Clarksons’ story. If you are exhausted, confused, ill equipped, or unsupported in your journey as a parent, you will find relief through the countless ideas in this book.

    Awaking Wonder will inspire you, delight you, provide laughter, and bring tears through the heartfelt stories of four lively children and the wondrous life they grew up in together. 

    Journey with Sally toward

    · cultivating wonder all around you, alongside your children
    · understanding how to open your children’s hearts and minds to the grand design, beauty, and goodness scattered throughout the universe
    · laying a foundation for spiritual formation and a robust faith in God
    · nurturing your children to live into their capacity in intellect, faith, and relationships 

    If you long for a holistic, spiritually foundational approach to parenting and education, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.


    We would love to hear what you have been reading lately and if you have any book suggestions for us for future months!

  • MARCH HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY HAUL - a variety of books we've recently checked out from the library
    books,  library haul

    MARCH HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY HAUL 📚 a variety of books we’ve recently checked out from the library

    I always have fun sharing the books we got out from the library. Here’s a recent stack of books we’ve check out!


    MARCH HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY HAUL - a variety of books we've recently checked out from the library




    The Great Cake Mystery

    Case Closed – The Mystery in the Mansion

    Thirty Days Has September – Cool Ways to Remember Stuff

    Cool Flexagon Art

    Jambo Means Hello – Swahili Alphabet Book

    Curious Lists For Kids – Human Body

    Stormy Seas – Stories of Young Boat Refugees

    Hip Hop Speaks to Children

    The Dark Ages and the Vikings


  • Kids Reading Challenge - a month long readathon for kids - with a giveaway!
    book lists,  books,  reading challenge

    KIDS READING CHALLENGE & GIVEAWAY 📕 a month long reading challenge for kids with a giveaway too!

    I recently hosted a readathon and my kids wanted to get in on the fun by hosting their own month long readathon.

    Oh, and of course we’re doing a giveaway as well.

    Watch the video for the details and then read on below for how to join!


    Kids Reading Challenge - a month long readathon for kids - with a giveaway!



    Here’s how to join the Reading Challenge

    #1 Go to Hey Reader and make an account

    #2 Join the Kids Hey Readerathon.

    #3 Add the books your kids want to read for each challenge.

    #4 During the month of November encourage your kids to read the books they picked and when they finish each book head back to Hey Reader to mark the books as read.


    ** For every book your kids read they will get an entry into the giveaway! **

    The giveaway winner will be announced on Hey Reader after the Reading Challenge is over.

  • A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books

    A Look at Our Bookshelves

    We recently did some rearranging in our house and kind of accidentally ended up making a book and reading corner.

    Previously our books were kind of spread all throughout our house in different bookcases but now they are mostly all together.

    The only exceptions are that my son has all the picture books in his room, I may end up moving those with the rest of the books at some point. And then we have a few books used as decorations throughout the house as well as our collections of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I have this leatherette collection and my husband has a set that I can’t find online. Plus I have a really cool copy of The Two Towers in hardcover that I found at a library sale earlier this year.

    Oh, and then there are the various books we have on our currently reading or to be read soon piles on our nightstands.

    Other than that I think this is all/most of our books.

    I always like seeing other people’s book collections when I go to their houses and I know there are at least some others like me out there, so think of this as being able to look at my bookshelves without having to actually come to my place!

    If you came over I would offer you a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate so feel free to grab a cup so you can get the whole experience.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    I asked over on Instagram if you guys would prefer to see this in one enormous post or if you wanted it broken down into two big posts but the more I thought about it the more I was leaning towards two posts, and then I remembered that we have pretty much all our homeschool resource books in a closet in our hallway and I knew you guys would want to see those, thankfully you guys voted for two posts anyway!

    Today I am sharing the big bookcase which are mostly my books, all sorts of adult (mostly) fiction and non-fiction and then next I’ll show the rest of the books!


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    First, here’s a look at the whole space. This is in our newly finished basement but we made sure it’s nice and bright so it doesn’t feel like a basement and there is good lighting for reading, though honestly, even though I intentionally put the couch by the books, I prefer to read upstairs close to the fireplace.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    One day I may get another big book case and just have the two big ones but for now this is what we have. The big bookcase is an Ikea look-alike that I got from Jysk since the closest Ikea is six hours from me.

    The big bookcase holds mostly adult books, with a few exceptions, and then the smaller bookcase and the shelf on the wall are our elementary and middle grade novels.

    I wanted to show how I had them organized as well as a few favorites from each section.

    Just a word of warning: we have not read every book we own, so just because it is on here does not necessarily mean I recommend it. Generally I have heard good things about it from others before buying it or it had a pretty looking cover (just being honest)!

    If you saw the way I had previously organized this bookcase I mostly just grouped books of the same color together, but this time I wanted to do something different, so I tried to organize by genre.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books

    At the top of the bookcase is a collection of some of our games. I have one post that shares some of our favorite games for the elementary age, you can check that out here.


    This top shelf is the mystery section. Prior to this year I definitely would have said that mystery is my favorite type of fiction to read.

    So, on this shelf we have our Nancy Drew collection (just need a few more to have them all!), my daughter got most of these for Christmas from my parents a few years ago, she’s still not at the point where she is reading them yet (they are a little too scary) but I know she’ll be there soon.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    We also have a couple of Hardy Boys books (I plan on starting to collect those next) as well as a few Trixie Belden – now, I had never heard of Trixie Belden before I have since heard so many people rave about them. My daughter has read most of these and she loves them. So, we’re also collecting that series but they are a lot harder to come by.

    I also have one lone No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book. I came across this series earlier this year and read a few of the books and was happy to stumble across one for sale at my library. Set in Botswana it is the perfect mix of Africa and mystery.

    I also have a full cube dedicated to my Agatha Christie books, she is one of my favorite mystery authors. I haven’t actually read all of these yet but now that the weather is getting cooler it feels like it’s time to pick another one up. I tried to decide which of these were my favorites and couldn’t narrow it down to one though I will say that I do prefer Miss Marple as a character over Hercule Poirot.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    The next row is my classics row. I have probably only read about 50% of these. I’ve been trying to read more classics in the last few years but I try to slowly intersperse them between my other reading. One of my classic favorites this year has been The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery and on the LM topic, I am apparently collecting all the editions of Anne of Green Gables, or, I had a copy and then I kept finding really pretty copies that wouldn’t let me leave them behind.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    Another classics favorite has been Wuthering Heights. I absolutely did not go into it expecting to love it but I did. And honestly, I think why I love it so much are the descriptions of the English moor. I lived in England for a few months after high school but I was on the south coast, now I want to go up to the moors.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    This corner of the bookcase is mostly the fantasy corner. This genre has really taken over as my favorite in the last six months. It already was my husband and daughter’s favorite fiction genre for a long time so it only seemed right that I get on board. If you read my monthly what we’ve been reading wrap ups you’ll see some of the fantasy I’ve been enjoying.

    As a result most of these fantasy books are not mine. My daughter loves Harry Potter and Redwall, she hasn’t read the Funke books yet but I think she’ll enjoy them when she gets to them.

    Obviously we are collecting a few editions of The Chronicles of Narnia as well. My daughter and I have read them all and continue re-reading them.

    My husband has read some of the Wheel of Time series (I have more books from the series behind the first book) as well as the first few books in the Eragon series.

    The Hunger Games and Divergent series are both dystopian, a genre I can really enjoy (when done well).

    I have a feeling the fantasy genre will be expanding the most in our shelves in the next few years.


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    I have a couple shelves in the Christian genre. The one cube mostly holds biographies and the other is more the Christian living shelf. Some of my favorites from here include The Hiding Place, the Christian Heroes Then & Now series, You and Me Forever (and really, anything Francis Chan writes), and Women of the Word (this now has a new edition out which I am think of adding to my to-buy list even though I already have the first edition).


    A Look At Our Bookshelves and Favorite Books


    And the bottom few shelves are kind of a mish-mash of parenting, homeschooling, Bible commentaries and handbooks, history books and contemporary books (mostly novels).

    Some of my favorites here are The MacArthur Bible Commentary – my husband got this for Christmas years ago and I think I may have stolen it from him. I also like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Sherlock Homes – due to the color and size of the book this one didn’t end up in the mystery shelf but it is one of my absolute favorite mystery books.


    And that’s a look at our one bookcase, aka, mostly my books! If you saw a book in the pictures that I didn’t mention that you are curious about my opinion on let me know in the comments below. Now that you have a general idea as to my taste in books I would love to hear if you have a suggestion for what I should read next.

    If you like books and you are not yet subscribed to my book-ish newsletter I would recommend that you do so! I like to share all sorts of book-ish things over there.

  • What We've Been Reading Lately in our Home and Homeschool - books for mom, middle school and elementary kids - picture books, audiobooks and chapter books
    books,  reading lately

    What We’ve Been Reading Lately – September

    So, apparently when the weather changes here I start reading more.

    In June and July I only read one book a month and this month I read something like twelve books!

    Other than the cooler weather I also think Scribd has a lot to do with my increased reading. I’m not even a full month into my free trial and I’ve already read/listened to seven books on there with a couple more on the go and some of the ones I read at the beginning of the month pre-Scribd are available on there as well. I’ve personally been very impressed by the selection.

    Not sure what Scribd is? Think of it like Netflix but for books (so, way cooler). If you use my Scribd links in this post you can get your first two months free!

    It’s not just me though, the kids have been turning to books more this month as well, something my mama reader heart likes to see.


    What We've Been Reading Lately in our Home and Homeschool - books for mom, middle school and elementary kids - picture books, audiobooks and chapter books





    Like I said, this was a really good reading month for me. I did a good combination of listening to audiobooks, reading ebooks and reading paper copies. Books in all formats!

    In the last month or two I’ve really come to realize how much I enjoy the fantasy genre, something I never read as a child and the idea that I like the genre is still a little new to me. If you have any fantasy recommendations I would love to hear them!

    I started out this month, actually, I think it was the end of last month, devouring Flight of the Raven. It is the second book in The Ravenwood Saga, a Christian fantasy series, if you remember I raved about Mark of the Raven last month. I wouldn’t say book two was as good as one but I really did like the references to light and dark. Book three is supposed to be coming out in February (I believe) so I am looking forward to finishing the series up. I do think it is so far my absolute favorite book series.



    From there I went on to read Fawkes, a historical fiction crossed with Christian fantasy. If that sounds like a weird combination I totally understand, but that being said, I really enjoyed it (also, the cover is gorgeous). I was an au pair in England after high school and was there over Guy Fawkes Day so that made the book a little more interesting as well.

    One of the BookTubers I like to watch (YouTuber’s who like to talk about books), often recommends the Steel and Fire series and this month I listened to books one through three: Duel of Fire, King of Mist and Dance of Steel. I really enjoyed book one and the others were okay. I think I generally don’t like book series’ though, I’m more of a fan of standalones.

    The Secret Garden was my classics book club read for this month. I remember reading it years ago and enjoying it more then than I did this time, but I do think it’s a classic for a reason.

    I listened to Tuesdays at the Castle to see if my daughter would like it (she would). It’s a pretty good fantasy story for middle grade.



    Since I enjoyed Morgan L. Busse’s Ravenwood Saga I wanted to continue on and read her previous books. I read Tainted and then Awakened, they are the two books in The Soul Chronicles, a steampunk, Christian fantasy series. Honestly, I had no idea what steampunk was before this month, I’m not sure if I would enjoy other books in the genre but these were done really well.

    I didn’t read as much non-fiction this month, which is probably why I read more, non-fiction always takes longer to read for me. But I listened to Friend-ish, a book about biblical friendship, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I found it very interesting, it talked about some of the problems of clinging to friendships too tightly, a side of friendship often not talked about, what I’ve read on friendship in the past has been more about how to be a better friend.

    Next I moved on to another Morgan L. Busse series, and I think the first one she wrote (I pretty much read her series’ in reverse order). I read book one in the Follower of the Word series; Daughter of Light. Reading her books all so closely together I can definitely see how she has grown as a writer. This series contains three books and I do plan on reading the second and third books soon.

    And the last book I finished for the month was another non-fiction, The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder, this one was mentioned and recommended in one of our foster care training sessions the other weekend and I happened to find it at the thrift store for $0.50! It was very informative and helped me to realize that one of my kids definitely has some sensory processing struggles. The book isn’t so big on how to help with them but once you have names for them there are tons of ideas on Pinterest, this has already helped me have a few Christmas gift ideas for my sensory seeking kiddo.


    Okay, that was a lot of books, wasn’t it?! Those are just the ones I finished, there are more that I am in the process of reading! I will hold out commenting on them until I am done but here is what I am currently reading: Start with the Heart: How to Motivate Your Kids to Be Compassionate, Responsible, and Brave, Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family (I have been wanting to read this book for awhile so I was really excited to find it on Scribd!), You Who: Why You Matter and How to Deal With It (we are going through this in my church book club).


    Okay, well, if that wasn’t a novel in itself! I think those are all the books I read/am reading right now, time for what the kids have been reading . . .



    THE GIRL (8)

    My daughter is close to finishing with her first book from the list of independent reads for grade 4 that I created for her, her first book she chose from the list was the third Harry Potter book. Honestly, she could be done the book by now but she doesn’t want to read it in the evenings, she prefers to read lighter books before bed so they don’t give her bad dreams, plus this is the longest book on the list by far, after she’s done it she’ll probably cruise through a few within a month.

    This month she also listened to the entire Green Ember series and has plans to read book one with two of her fellow homeschool friends in a book club they are starting (how adorable!).

    Was anyone else addicted to the Baby-Sitters Club books as a child? I sure was, so I’ve intentionally tried to steer her away from them but I picked up a Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel and she didn’t move from the couch until she had finished it and then promptly asked for more.

    One of the mini units we will be studying soon is spies so I picked up a few books on the topic, she has been reading Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls for the last few days. It sounds like a book I would have loved as a child.

    Another book she has been reading in the last few days is book two in the Grimmtastic Girls series, they are based off of the Grimm’s fairy tales and from what she tells me it follows the girls (this one is about Red Riding Hood) after the fairy tale.

    I am personally happy to see more diversity in her reading than there had been in the previous few months!


    THE BOY (6)

    My son re-listened to the first book in the Green Ember series this month. I’m not sure if he will continue on with the series yet or not.

    His reading is slowly coming along, this month has included more easy readers as well as some Elephant and Piggie.

    I’m definitely looking forward to him getting beyond this easy reader stage (he is too), it has felt like he’s been here for a long time and he wants to be a reader, it’s just something he has to work harder at than some other kids.



    We finally finished North! Or Be Eaten! We will be continuing on with the series soon. Originally I was going to wait until Christian Audio had their next sale but then I realized the series is on Scribd so I think this week we will continue with book three.

    We also finished the Christian Heroes story of Cameron Townsend – Okay, I love the Christian Heroes series and think Cameron Townsend did some amazing stuff but this was my least favorite book in the series, it just did not hold my attention. We usually listen to one of these books in less than two week and this one took us six. I’m looking forward to something different next!




    It’s migration season here in Saskatchewan, so I got a book from the library aptly called Migration. The book not only has great information but also beautiful illustrations. The butterfly page is my absolute favorite.


    Any suggestions for what we should read in the next month?

    If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for the book-ish newsletter!