Thursday, January 28, 2016

Book Review: You Choose

This one has become a favorite since it arrived a few weeks ago -- for both my boys, ages 5 1/2 and almost 4.  Each two-page spread asks a question like "Where would you want to live?" or "How would you want to travel?" and my boys LOVE to pore over the pictures and choose.  It's a great book for encouraging both speech development and vocabulary, and as an oversize hardcover it's a bargain for only $12.99.  Click here to read more about it or to order.

Monday, November 30, 2015


Probably no one in cyberspace has noticed, but I've been MIA lately...since mid-August, to be precise, when I started selling Usborne Books.  It's been a whirlwind -- but a good one!  I'm still working 20 hours a week at the library, so I've been fitting Usborne in to my "free time" -- if you're a mom, you know there's really no such thing.  But I'm loving it, and I've really helped boost our family's income.

I just wanted to explain where I've been (I'm still here!) and what I've been doing.  I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Usborne Books and More!

As a children's librarian at a public library, I see a LOT of books.  Some are fun. Some are educational.  And some are both!  I recently discovered Usborne Books and hosted a home party.  I was so impressed that I signed up as a consultant so I could get more free books.  My boys love them.  They'll be my new go-to gift for kids.  Usborne is a publisher that began in England, and the books are sold in the U.S. mostly through direct sales (remember how DK books used to be sold only at home parties?).  Click here if you want to learn more about the 2014 Children's Publisher of the Year!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Anchored by Kayla Aimee

Anchored: Finding Hope in the UnexpectedAnchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a beautiful read that brought me some much-needed catharsis; my preemie is 3 now but there are a lot of thoughts and feelings I haven't yet processed from the traumatic birth and NICU experience. I so appreciated Kayla's honesty about her experiences and her faith struggles and when I finished the book I wished I could chat with her over a mocha. I would recommend this to preemie parents especially, but really to any parent who has ever realized how little control we have when it comes to our children's health and safety.

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley for review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Author Interview with Jewell Parker Rhodes

I've been reviewing books for School Library Journal for several years now, and the last book I reviewed was Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  I enjoyed it very much, and SLJ published my review with a star.  Then my editor asked me if I would like to do an interview with the author, and I was thrilled at the chance.  Ms. Rhodes was lovely to work with, and if you'd like to see the interview, it's here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Rave Reviews

I love NetGalley. When I saw that they were offering advanced e-copies of new middle-grade novels from two of my favorite (Newbery-winning) authors, Louis Sachar and Rebecca Stead, I jumped at the chance to read them.  I was not disappointed.  Sachar's Fuzzy Mud is a page-turner about a man-made environmental disaster and personal responsibility.  Stead's Goodbye Stranger explores the connections between friends and family and the challenges of growing up, and even tackles "sexting" in an age-appropriate way.  Fuzzy Mud will appeal to both girls and boys; Goodbye Stranger will mostly appeal to girls.

For more reading suggestions, check out my book reviews on Goodreads!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Favorite Sunday Slow Cooker Recipe

This is my favorite throw-in-the-slow-cooker-before-church meal because it's super easy, yummy, and is one of the rare meals to have earned the approval of my picky preschooler.  (He will not eat beef in any other form.)  I adapted it from this recipe at Menus4Moms to make it even easier (frozen peppers and onions!) and a little broth-ier, and to use mostly Trader Joe's ingredients.

Slow Cooker Mexican Meatball Soup, Trader Joe's edition

1 bag Trader Joe's Party-Size Meatballs (frozen)
1/2 bag Trader Joe's Grilled Peppers and Onions blend (frozen)
2 t. Trader Joe's jarred garlic
1 container Trader Joe's beef broth (32 oz.)
1 16-oz. jar salsa (your choice, but we like mild)
1 T chili powder (or less, if you prefer less spicy)
1/4 t. ground cumin
1 c. Trader Joe's Orecchiette (or other small pasta)

Combine first seven ingredients in slow cooker.  Give it a good stir. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours.  Toss in pasta for the last hour of cooking, or cook separately and toss in right before serving. Depending on your slow cooker, you may want to add a cup or two of water towards the end.

Garnish with sour cream or plain yogurt and shredded cheese.