After that it’s time for some Bible reading! At the beginning of the year I read through the Bible in 60 days but these days I’m reading slower and studying and taking notes. I have the CSB Floral Notetaking Bible I usually write my notes directly in my Bible but if I have too much to write I have a composition notebook I’ll continue writing in.
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!
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?
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?
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Last week I asked on Instagram which post out of a few ideas that I had you guys wanted to see on the blog first and my mother morning basket was the most popular response!
I do think it is important to continue learning and growing as adults and making a morning basket for myself has been a way to make sure what I think is the most important learning gets done.
A big key for me has been to start slow. I started with just two things in the basket and have slowly worked my way up to more and I assume once the weather cools down and winter hits I will be able to add more because there is more time for indoor activities than in the summer.
I would recommend starting with just a couple of things in your basket for the first few weeks so you don’t get overwhelmed, then when the morning basket habit is established and when/if you feel ready to add more then you can do so.
WHAT IS A MORNING BASKET?
I thought the term “morning basket” was one all homeschoolers knew but it turns out it’s not as popular as I thought. If you’re new to the term it can actually be called a lot of different things: morning time, circle time, morning meeting, we’ve called ours brain stain/brain box, etc.
The purpose of the morning basket is that it is a time when the family comes together and does some learning as a group, often before splitting off to do their own age appropriate learning. It’s supposed to be a time when you can cover quite a few subjects together in a short amount of time.
So, I decided to take this idea of a morning basket and make it my own by making a mother morning basket with a few different things I want to read/do each day.
WHAT’S INSIDE MY MOTHER MORNING BASKET
Now that we’ve covered all of that, here’s what’s actually in my morning basket. I’ll share them in the order that I added them in my basket. I started with the first few and then slowly added one at a time until I reached where I am currently at. I plan on adding a few morning things once winter comes so maybe then I’ll share my winter morning basket.
I use a traveler’s notebook for my prayer journal and each morning I spend some time in prayer. I have lists of different requests and answered prayers.
I also keep meaning to make one of the inserts a place to just praise God for who He is, I was doing this in a different notebook a few months ago and want to bring that idea into the traveler’s notebook so I have it all in one place.
I made a big realization (for me) in February that there is a difference between reading the Bible and studying it. Not that just reading it is bad but I’m a speed reader and don’t retain a lot of details when I read and it was an ah-ha moment for me when I started to actually study the Bible, I was learning so much more! It takes longer to get through a single book of the Bible this way but it is worth it.
This is where I am writing all my Bible study notes, I’ve written a lot since February and have almost filled it up.
This holds my pencil crayons that I use for highlighting in my Bible and a little mini ruler for the same purpose. As well as highlighters for color coordinating what I underline in my Bible and what I write in my composition notebook and then I also have some plastic page tabs for marking some of my favorite verses.
The following items are ones I’ve been slowly adding over time.
ONE LINE A DAY JOURNAL
I got a five year memory journal for Mother’s Day this year (though I do wish I would have bought this one or this one, I like the hardcover better and didn’t realize the one I bought was paperback until it arrived in the mail) and I do think it will be a treasured possession once it is filled! It already has ridiculous quotes like my son saying “Cat food is my third favorite food.” – that’s definitely going to make me laugh in years to come.
SCRIPTURE WRITING PLAN AND NOTEBOOK
I’ve really come to appreciate writing out Scripture over the year and so I printed out the free monthly Scripture writing passages from Mom Strong International and have been writing out the passage for each day. I write them in this awesome alpaca notebook my husband got me last year that was just waiting for the perfect use (freshly shaved alpacas are my favorite animal).
A NON-FICTION BOOK
I usually have some kind of non-fiction book on the go – usually Christian non-fiction either in the Christian living or parenting categories. Currently I am reading The Life & Faith Field Guide for Parents which fits both categories. The sub-title is: Help Your Kids Learn Practical Life Skills, Develop Essential Faith Habits, and Embrace a Biblical Worldview. I’ve read most of it and would highly recommend it!
The non-fiction book often doesn’t get read at the same time I do the other things, I will often keep it out and pick it up when I have a few minutes here and there throughout the day.
SOME TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR OWN MORNING BASKET
If you just read through all of what I include in my morning basket and also the fact that I want to add more things and were just completely overwhelmed I just want to share some tips that may help you.
KNOW YOUR SEASON OF LIFE
First of all, it’s important to know what season of life you are in and factor that in. Right now I don’t have any babies or toddlers – just two school aged kids, so obviously that makes it easier for me than for some of you.
SET AN EXAMPLE
Originally I started out by trying to get all my morning basket stuff done before my kids woke up but then when I started reading The Life & Faith Field Guide he talked about how children like to copy their parents and the importance of them being able to see you reading your Bible. Since then I’ve decided to do some other work (like writing blog posts) before my kids wake up and then getting my stuff out once they are awake. Now, this does mean there are interruptions but part of being a mom is being okay with interruptions.
CREATE A SIMILAR BASKET FOR YOUNG KIDS
One thing you could do if you have toddler/preschool aged children is create their own morning basket for them to do stuff out of while you do yours and they could snuggle up beside you on the couch and look through a children’s Bible, practice their pencil grip by “writing” in a notebook, etc.
TAKE IT SLOW
I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but just start with a couple of things in your basket and add to it as you feel comfortable.
KNOW IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DONE IN THE MORNING
We have a large kitchen table so that is where I like to do my morning basket, I’ll have my stuff on one part of the table and if I get interrupted I can just leave it there and get back to it when I have a few minutes. There are some days where my stuff doesn’t get done until after lunch and because I don’t have unrealistic expectations for my “morning” time that’s okay with me.
Okay, I think that is everything about my mother morning basket, if you have one (or will after reading this) I would love to hear what you include!
I am really excited about today’s guest post because it is on a topic I have been sharing about a lot online over the last number of weeks over on my personal blog (An Intentional Life) and my personal Instagram. The subject? Mother Culture!
I first came across the idea of Mother Culture in A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. I didn’t think much of it at the time but now that I have two little ones, I really see the value of Mother Culture. After a little bit of research and reading through some PNEU articles on the Ambleside Online website, I’ve come to a definition for Mother Culture that’s simple to remember.
MOTHER CULTURE A Charlotte Mason inspired idea where a mother takes at least 30 minutes each day to focus on growing herself and learning what she wishes to learn.
Through my desire to create me time and my own Mother Culture, I’ve developed a commonplace book for ideas and inspiration. Before looking into Mother Culture though, I’d never heard of a commonplace book. But now I write in it at least once a week.
COMMONPLACE BOOK A place to store all beautiful & inspiring quotes, things I’m learning about or wish to learn about, striking thoughts on books, poetry, etc., or yummy recipes.
I’ve written recipes, quotes from tea tags (yes really!), lists of books read or books to read, quotes I’ve read in books and from the internet, cool days or months of the year (October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month while May is Homeschooling Awareness Month) and most importantly, a list of things I wish to pursue on my own.
Basically, anything you desire to keep track of can be written in it. I choose to use it for my Mother Culture, though that wasn’t its original purpose. It’s your commonplace book so you do what you want with it.
A few things I want to learn about that I keep track of in my book:
READ: This one has been my top and I’ve definitely been getting it done! I used to be an avid reader and it has led to me becoming a writer as well. Nowadays, I’m only able to read a bit here and there, but I have multiple books going at one time, something I saw suggested when reading up on Mother Culture. I’ve read over a dozen books this year and technology has made much of this possible. When I can’t read a physical book, I use my Kindle for ebooks and the Hoopla app for audiobooks and ebooks.
NATURE STUDY: I haven’t been pursuing this as much but not on purpose. I do take a closer look at nature than I used to and I’ve taken pictures of flowers, birds, a caterpillar and have even done some nature journaling since starting Mother Culture! If it’s something I want my girls to pursue and love, then I have to model the habit first.
POETRY: Poetry has definitely increased around here. I read at least one or two poems every day out loud to my girls and my oldest loves hearing it. One of our favorites is Poetry Teatime Companion edited by Julie Bogart & Nancy Graham.
BAKING: I used to bake cookies and muffins, bread and pizza dough all the time and would love to start doing this again. This one though I’d like to do with my oldest when it has some easy steps like mixing or pouring in ingredients, she loves to help me around the house.
Thinking it over, I do little snippets of time here and there versus a solid 30 minutes. I’ll listen to an audiobook while I do the dishes, read devotions or an ebook while I nurse my youngest, read poetry in the morning during breakfast, and try to bake something about once a week. I look closer at the clouds now, wonder what kind of plants go by as we drive down the highway, and listen quietly to the birds in my neighborhood (even when I don’t recognize any of their calls).
Whether you’re a mom of just one child or many, spending time learning on your own is a worthwhile goal to pursue daily. If a love of lifelong learning is something we wish for our children to develop, then we must model it for them.
Modeling the pursuit of knowledge is important of course, but the main focus of Mother Culture is to better ourselves and not lose our uniqueness in motherhood. Don’t get me wrong; I adore being a mama. But I don’t want to lose myself. I want to have goals and pursue them. I want to have interests and learn about them. Even if I don’t get a solid block of time to myself, I’ll take what I get when I get it.
If you have young children, like I do, you may have to get creative with your Mother Culture time. I find getting up early helps, even if I need to take a short nap with the girls in the afternoon after lunch. Then I can do my devotions and some housework early so that I have time to pursue things later on in the day. If you’re not a morning person, staying up after your children go to bed is another idea if you need an uninterrupted time to pursue your Mother Culture.
However, there is nothing wrong with learning a few minutes here and a few minutes there. There will come a season when you won’t have tiny fingers pressing the caps lock or a nine in the middle of your sentence as you type or trying to climb in your lap as you read a book. They will one day be old enough to leave you alone for thirty minutes so you can journal or bake a cake or take a bath while you read. But for now, take what you can get and enjoy their littleness. Even though it’s hard, they need to see you pursuing your interests and growing your mind. Taking time on your own and being present with your children are both important enough to not allow one to suffer over the other. A mama with a full tank can more readily pour into others.
I recommend reading the PNEU article on Mother Culture on Ambleside Online’s website if you need more convincing. Let’s not stay stagnant. Continue to grow. Pursue what you love. Draw the tree in your backyard in full bloom while your kids draw with chalk in the driveway or on the porch. Read a chapter from each of your books, even if you have to split them between the morning, afternoon, and evening. Take that cake decorating class because Mother Culture is not inclusive to what you can do at home. If you’re learning, it’s Mother Culture and a worthwhile pursuit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kayley Higgins is a Christian stay at home mama of two little girls. She loves her best friend more now than when she married him. She loves coffee, tea, dark chocolate, writing, reading, and family time. As a former homeschooler, she enjoys sharing good books with her girls as well as the wonder of God’s Creation.