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Read- Alouds for Little People

We’re slowly getting settled into our new home after moving on the weekend, internet was hooked up today and thus I can share this post with you. We just got library cards for our new library and I can’t wait to read more with my girlies. 


Last month my four year old and I accomplished a quiet goal for mine for this year.

Read More to my Children.

Specifically read chapter books.

We started Charlotte’s Web last summer but due to my lack of consistency and perhaps her age, we only made it to chapter ten.

This fall our routine is going to have a little more structure as we start a more formal education at home. For this year. We’re huge fans of reassessing each child’s needs for each school year and making our decisions for home or day school based on that.

read-alouds for little people

The backbone of this year will be literature based and I’m excited about introducing some old favourites to my girls. Our debut novel was The Secret Garden, the Great Illustrated Classics edition. It’s a great way to simplify the story for younger people without sacrificing too  much of the story.

Here are some of the books on our list this year:

The Little House Series  by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Wind In The Willowsby Kenneth Grahame

Charlottes Web by E.B. White

Peter Pan (great illustrated classic edition) by J.M. Barrie

A Bear Called Paddington by Michal Bond

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

A Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett

The Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace

I’ve started a Pinterest board to keep these and other titles close at hand, find that here! 

Some of these will have extension activities like hot cocoa and marmalade buns (name that book!). We may even make marmalade as a further extension activity. We may decorate hats ala Fancy Nancy  and then make an apple pie but not travel the world after we read this book.

read-alouds for little people

This list is geared for my older daughter who will be five later this winter. For individual book time and read-alouds for my younger daughter, I’ll be referencing the Five in a Row and Before Five in a Row books.


What are your favourite stories from your childhood?


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5 Ways I Find Time to Read

I love to read. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that. It’s one of my favourite leisure activities and I honestly feel lost if I don’t have a couple books on the go.

I’m a mom of two little, busy girls and up until this fall, was the wife of a full-time student and orchestra sub. I’m still the wife,  his job description has changed. Just so we’re clear on that.

I don’t have a lot of free time to read but I do read a lot. Here are five ways I find the time to read. I’d love to hear what works for you so let’s chat in the comments!

5 Ways to Find Time to read for busy people 1. I make the time. A chapter or two before bed. A few pages while the girls play happily in the bath. As much as I can during afternoon quiet time. I try to reach for a book before reaching for my phone to browse instagram or some other time-sucking activity. I don’t have a lot of time or mind space for other hobbies right now, and so when I have spare time I will read or write. I try not to reach for my phone or computer when I have a few minutes but rather reach for a book.

2. I always have a book with me. If we’re running errands as a family, I’ll stay in the car and read with the kidlets while Jared picks up the milk. If I’m waiting anywhere, I read a few pages. I’ll take the girls to a park or a favourite trail and let them go play while I read, stopping to give more under ducks on the swings or see how fast they can roll down the hill.

3. I use my library, Good Reads and friends’ recommendations all the time. I have an ever-growing list of books to read on good-reads and also on my phone. Recommendations that come up in conversation, from other books or from the shelves at Chapters. I request books all the time from my library, it saves me browsing the shelves looking for something decent and helps me read what I actually want to read. I talk up books with friends, swapping titles and discussing our thoughts. 5 ways to find time to read for busy people 4. I always have several books on the go A good fictional read for bedtime and moments to decompress. A non-fictional on varying subjects- to help me grow in my faith, as a mom and as a person.  Sometimes I read a ton of travel memoirs, sometimes a lot on food. And I love a good biography or retelling of an historical event.

5. I don’t always finish the book.  If I’m not enjoying the book at all, if the content is just too much or too little or I can’t follow the essence of the book- I put it down. Sometimes I return it without finishing it or just pick it up at a later season. Reading something that requires slogging doesn’t make reading an enjoyable or refreshing activity. And I would prefer to read the good ones rather then a string of duds. (head here to read some of my recommendations!)

How do you make the time to read?


An Apple Picking Day (38/52)

One of the things I love most about this Valley we’ve called home for the last two years is its produce! We eat mostly local everything- meat, milk, eggs and produce. And all of it happens within 100 miles of our home. I feel so very lucky to be able to walk down to the farm market and choose which apples we want for the week. I never say no to the BOGO sales on peaches and peppers and plan our menus around what’s in season.

apple picking in nova scotia

apple picking in nova scotia

apple picking in nova scotia

This weekend we took a little time out from the packing and decluttering to pick apples. It’s one of my very favourite autumn traditions. We filled up a 20 lb bag full of Cortland apples and snacked on the nearby Macs and Gravensteins. They’ll be gracing our breakfast oatmeal along with a dash of cinnamon. Served up for snacking with chunks of cheddar cheese or dipped in peanut butter. And there will definitely be some baked treats, after we move and I unpack my baking pans!


apple picking in nova scotia

apple picking in nova scotia

What are your favourite autumn traditions? 


linking up with Jodi for Project 52 


5 books to start the reading habit again

I read a lot of books.

It’s my sanity. It’s my way of decompressing. It’s my way of exploring the world, both past and present. (All those who can relate, say hey!)

It’s how I never stop learning. It’s how I want to model time management to my girls.

I’ve had several conversations with friends over the summer about what books to read and how to find the time to read again. To me, it’s a matter of having books on hand and having good books that you want to read.

We’ll talk about finding the time on another day, for now, let’s talk about the books!

getting into the reading habit again

Here are five of my picks for starting the reading habit again.

For a page-turning novel, good beach read and one that may have you staying up a little later, start with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

It’s a love story but not the kind you think and not the ending you expect. She had all the time in the world but no real passion for life. He had lost all desire to live and couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to travel and dream big, if they could.  Inspiring, hilarious and tear-jerking.

Other good reads by Jojo Moyes: The Girl You Left Behind and Honeymoon in Paris: A Novella 

For historical fiction, set in England and compelling word pictures, start with The Secret Keeper: A Novel by Kate Morton.

Her mother has dementia and she realizes that she has just a brief window to find the answers to the mysteries that have been part of their family history. The story goes back and forth between present-day and the 1940s in a fascinating tale of life and love and all things not as they seem.

Other good reads by Kate Morton:The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton: A Novel

For a great young adult read that is captivating for all ages (and has great cover art), read the The Mysterious Benedict Society Collection

This reminded me in part of a Roald Dahl story, part Harry Potter and mostly fantastic. I loved the quick witted story-telling, the engaging writing and the power of a story to captivate.

getting into the habit of reading again

the stack of books we acquired on a month’s visit to Alberta- we all love books and bookstores!

For an inspiring read to put wind back in your sails of being mom, start with The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart of Eternity by Sally Clarkson

I read this book this summer and it was just what I needed to give me inspiration and vision in this busy season of mothering. It’s easy to lose sight of the big goals when some days all I can do is wait for bedtime. This book is encouraging, practical and speaks to the heart of mothering in a gentle and realistic way.

For a book that will challenge your thinking and inspire you to live more, start with Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

review from Amazon (because I don’t know how to sum this book up either then to tell you to just.go.read it!)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth—and trust—in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.”

What books would you add to this list?



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a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

It’s a blustery Monday, just the sort to curl up with a big mug of tea and an engaging book. I’m fighting a head cold and allergies which means all I want to do is to grab that mug of tea and collapse on the couch but my little energetic girls weren’t too excited about that prospect.

I enlisted their help to pack some boxes of books which they were super happy to assist me and they couldn’t help but get engrossed in the stories.

I asked on my personal Facebook for read-aloud book recommendations for little people. So many good recommendations and so many favourites from my childhood. From Roald Dahl to the Betsy, Tacy, Tib books to Winnie the Pooh (the original) to the Little House on the Prairie series. We’ve started with Charlotte’s Web and I think we’ll go to The Little Princess next.

What books are you reading in your home this week?


Ten on Ten (September 2014)

Joining in with Rebekah of A Bit of Sunshine to look for the beauty in the ordinary, day to day. Ten pictures over ten hours on the tenth of the month.















And that’s it! A little glimpse into our day, hope it inspires you to look for the beauty in the ordinary. The textures, the flavours, the snuggles and all the important things that you did get done. 






a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

We took a break from the decluttering and packing and headed out to the little park up the street. The girls rode their bikes and I followed behind, watching them. We’ve entered into a whole new phase of independence and I love it.

Sometimes we go to the park to play all together and sometimes we go to the park so they can play by themselves.

But I always watch them. 

We’ve been in this home two years and it’s an easy measure of time to see the changes in my girls from when we first moved in.

They play together more frequently, pushing each other on the swings or making rock cakes in the shade of the slide.

They play separately- my older daughter seeking to explore her surroundings. The long grass, the forest, the flowers. My younger daughter dresses herself- sometimes getting the shoes on the right feet. Sometimes I take a picture before switching them just so I can remember what she is like at three.

And I’m glad I remembered to stop and savour this day, a perfect autumn day.


Embracing the Crazy (35/52)

35:52a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

We’re home! Back in our cozy spot, reunited with all our favourites and settling into new routines.

New routines for just a month when we move into the City.

This year has been one unexpected experience after another. It’s been good and hard and beautiful and coloured with so many memories. I’m grateful. 

But I’m also exhausted and empty.

My girls spent the morning playing with art supplies and creating new outfits from all their clothes. They emptied their dresser promptly upon arrival home and it’s not a hill I’m going to die on. I’ve spent the morning decluttering and asking myself just how much I want to keep something?

It’s the perfect mindless activity as I make the transition from living with my inlaws for the last month and out of a suitcase to being manager of my own home again and surrounded by all our lovely stuff.

I’ve taken hardly any pictures lately, a pretty good indication to me that I need to stop, slow down and refuel. I’m making this one of my girls count for one of both of them.

I have posts I want to share with you about finding time to read (it’s my sanity right now!), a little kindergarten reading list and staying sane while life is crazy because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one adjusting to new routines.

What keeps you sane when life is crazy? 


Keeping It Real in a Pinterest World: the Wedding Edition

Jenn from A Simple Haven and I are exploring what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.  Online, the message seems to be that we can do it all. The truth is we cannot do everything.

We’re two moms on a journey toward being ok with this and fully embracing the season of life that  we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations. 

Once a month,  we’ll share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes”  and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life. Will you grab a  warm cup of something and join us?

keeping it real pinterest edit

We attended a family wedding earlier this month, which if you follow me on instagram you know this because I may have shared a few pictures of my girlies aka the adorable flower girls. They were also the feature of last week’s Project 52 post because it’s not everyday my girls wear purple tutus and cowboy boots.


It was a beautiful day and clearly not out of my mind because I’m blogging about it again.

Today ‘s post is all about the reception. All I knew previously to attending it was that the gathering would be held in a potato barn and that the mother of the bride was an amazing decorator.

I am not. I like to feather my own nest and can give opinions on decor but to come up with the original idea is not my forte.

I stepped into the cool of the barn and just stopped. It was beautiful and perfect for the couple.


There were twinkle lights (with which I am now obsessed with and want them everywhere) woven over the tables, creating a magical roof of sorts. The walls were made of  wooden potato bins and adorned with little mason jar candles, making the whole room twinkle.


After I looked around at all the details and established my girls at the fabulous kids’ table, I found the bride’s mum and complimented her on a job done so beautifully.

She said what I had been thinking.

“It’s straight out of Pinterest.”

From the burlap to the lace to the twinkle lights to the mason jars to the cookies and milk bar to the galvanized tubs holding cold bottles of water- it’s all on Pinterest and it’s all trending.

But she also said something else that I found inspiring. She said they had the vision for what they wanted the barn to look like for the reception, they went to Pinterest to find the ideas and then they stopped browsing. They used it for the good and then infused it with their life.

They fit the decor to their unique style, including adorable farm animals featuring their initials in a brand. And it was all perfect.


As magical as the barn looked before the guests arrived, I think I loved it more when we were gathering to go home.

The little painted animals had been used to entertain restless babies, the kids’ table was a mess of beads, pipe cleaners and army guys arranged for battle. The cookie stands were empty and most of the candles had burned out.

The conversations, the first dance, the laughter and the tears- these can never be pinned. Pinterest offers inspiration, ideas and a visual escape but then we still get to go out and infuse it with our own life and creative twists.

Have you been to any weddings inspired by Pinterest?




It’s been an interesting summer. Not what I envisioned it’s been harder and more beautiful then I expected. We’re spending this month of August in Alberta and next month my husband makes the transition from full-time student to full-time work with school on the side. We’re also going to be moving. Moving within our beloved Nova Scotia but moving nonetheless.


The dementors came in force the other day with their fear of the unknown and doubts and stress of all.the.things.

Sometimes I eat chocolate when they come or after I fight them but more often then not, I go outside.


There was a baby calf to investigate in the barnyard and the girls were most happy to go outside with me. And then our visit to the barnyard turned into an expedition of sorts. 

There’s a hint of fall in the air, enough to give a delicious tang and just enough wildflowers left to make the ditches pretty and to be collected by the little people. 

The dog and the goat came with us and my big girl picked flowers for her Grandma and clover for the goat.

My littlest brought her doll along and kept lagging behind. When I stopped to watch her, she was helping her ‘daughter’ pick up rocks and showed me all the treasures she had collected. 


I let my girls set the pace and found myself becoming more thoughtful and considerate of what they would like to do on this expedition. Their thoughtfulness and consideration made me want to do the same. 

We took a turn through the pasture and all collectively caught our breath when we saw the neighbour’s herd of at least fifty horses. They were half-wild, not used to human interaction and just as curious as the little girls on the other side of the fence. 





We stayed until the horses all had names and the white horse came over to say hello.

When we were out there, nothing else mattered.

It was obvious I could nothing about the worries and I let them go.

I soaked up the quiet, the fluffy heads of plants gone to seed and the calm that comes from an hour outside.