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for the love of reading

One of my biggest goals as a mother and homeschooler is to raise readers. I grew up in a “reading family.” We didn’t watch much T.V. but we had unlimited amounts of books always available to us to enjoy. And I can safely say with the exception of maybe one sibling we ALL are pretty avid readers. I.LOVE.TO.READ. I easily read one book a week. Seriously, nothing makes me happier that sitting down with a good book. However, in this day and age with so many avenues of entertainment available to kids it makes raising readers a bit more challenging. I am constantly reading blogs, checking Pinterest and searching the discovery page on Instagram for new and exciting books to share with my littles. But I find that sometimes it’s not just the content of the book itself that gets my kids excited but more so the event and/or environment surrounding reading time. It’s amazing how a cup of hot chocolate or tea, a cozy blanket and roaring fire can turn reading time into a cozy event, or a comfy patio chair, sunshine and a glass of lemonade can make reading a reward after a morning of school.

We also do a read aloud as a family. Last year we read the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

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It was lovely, through By the Banks of Plum Creek. My kiddos enjoyed hearing about Laura’s adventures with her sisters and life as a pioneer family. Well all that changed when we hit By the Shores of Silver Lake…

WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD

When we returned to Plum Creek my kids where devastated to find out that Mary was now blind, Jack was dead and they had to leave their lovely home on Plum Creek because poor Pa, bless his heart, just couldn’t produce a fruitful crop of ANYTHING. It was upsetting to say the least. We had to take a step back from the Little House Series because I thought, “well kids if you think this is bad wait till we get to the Long Winter!”

Anyway, this year we are doing the Harry Potter Series.

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Which is a ton more fun because after we finish each book we have what we call a, “Harry Potter Party” watch the movie and have themed snacks and drinks! I know what you are thinking, if my kids couldn’t handle a blind girl and a dead dog how in the world are they going to process the trauma that is the Harry Potter Series? First of all(“through God all things are possible. Write that down.” – Always Sunny anyone?), since Harry Potter is clearly fictional my kids see it as merely that, a fun FAKE story about a wizard boy and his wizard friends but we will see how they feel when we get to the end, YIKES!

It takes us quite a bit to get through the books because our short attention spans only allow us to read a chapter a school day but we finished The Chamber of Secrets(book 2) this past week and enjoyed Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets on Friday complete with…

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and of course

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This has become such a fun tradition for our family and it gets them so excited to keep reading.

What do you do to inspire reading in your kiddos? Comment below with ideas or tips you would like to share as well as books you think we might enjoy!

Happy Sunday!

the picky eater

Do you have picky eaters at your house? Mine does and he goes by the name of NoeyTom. Uhhhhhhggggg, I know on the scale of serious issues this isn’t that far up there but DAMN I find this problem to be one of the most frustrating.

I grew up in a large family where you ate what you were given and you were thankful for it. There was no complaining or mom scrambling to make chicken nuggets or a peanut butter sandwich when someone was less than pleased with the dinner served. I have carried this mentality over to my family and I would like to report it has been less than successful. And I would like to come clean now and say I am guilty of making Noah a special meal, not every night but a few times a week #momfail. Every time I do it I am torn between my feelings of failure and pure relief that the child is eating something!

I would also like to state for the record I am not making elaborate meals for my family. Have you heard of #dictatorlunches? Yeah, we aren’t even close to that. Think chicken, rice and a veggie, spaghetti and meatballs, tacos. Is it too much to ask for my 9 year old to eat pasta with meat sauce? Seriously, I am asking? Last night Noah spent the entirety of dinner sulking over that EXACT dinner.

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I’m starting to feel like maybe you all will think that the kid is starving and mall nourished. While his diet is lacking in SEVERAL areas he does have a handful of things that I know he will eat and are hopefully filling in the gaps. I try to always have these things on hand yogurt, celery, strawberries, green apples, cheese, almonds. My aunt used to say, “as long as they have a glass of milk and a banana a day, they are good.” Well what do you do if your kid will only drink milk if it’s in a milk shake or frappuccino and he HATES bananas? This is what you do, you make sure he eats a yogurt, a nice generous portion of cheese, any and all fruit you can get into his belly in one day, throw your hands up say “fix it Jesus!” and call it a success.

I am not writing this because I want advice or tips. I have read the books, the blogs, listened to the podcasts tried all the tricks you can think of and guess what the kid still eats like shit. I am simply writing this because if there is another mom out there struggling to get their kid to eat ANYTHING healthy I see you, I understand, lets have coffee or wine and chat about our failures.

I will leave you with this to hopefully give you something to hang on to, Corey grew up in a “chicken fingers and fries” house, eating mostly an all beige diet. Fun fact, he ate his first salad when he was 21, let that sink in a minute… twenty-freaking-one! And now he will try anything at least once and honestly eats anything I put in front of him. So ladies it is possible for a tiger to change it’s strips it just might take a while, like till the age of 21.

learning to read

First of all I’d like to start out by saying I AM NOT A TEACHER. Anything I share in this post or any others about teaching my children at home is not in anyway to be taken as “expert advice” and merely the sharing of methods and products that have worked for my kiddos. I am also not being paid to share ANY of these products #Ipaidforthis.

Anyway, like I said before I do not have a degree in education, I am actually fun fact, a beautician. But I will say I am the single most invested person in my children’s academic progress. That fact plus the unending supply of resources and products available to me(and you!) online, at the library or in your local bookstore make me perfectly qualified to teach my babies anything really but today we are talking about reading so lets chat about that….

When Gracie was learning to read I was obsessed with researching and purchasing the BEST tools to help her and guess what? All those super amazing kits/tools I bought spent the majority of their life with us in a box on a shelf and now they live in a beautiful magical place called, The Goodwill. These are the things that worked best for my kiddos and honeslty made the whole process much easier for me.

First, letter magnets. We have had several different kinds but these are the ones we are using right now.

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And they are by far a crowd favorite over here. Also, spoiler alert I found them in the dollar spot at Target. These magnets live on our fridge and honestly they are already becoming obsolete because Eliot has mastered letter recognition. My kids spend a majority of their time at my feet while I am in the kitchen so every time I was doing dishes or cooking dinner we would go over the letters just a few at a time until they knew them all and could put them in order.

Another fun toy that was often played on the kitchen floor is this letter puzzle by Melissa and Doug.

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This one in particular is perfect for introducing letter sounds and they are self correcting which I am all about anything that does a little bit of the work for me, am I right moms or am I right?

This book was recommended to me by another homeschooling mother recently and I love it.

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It focuses on letter sounds and putting them together and it gradually moves on with simple, short lessons that can be completed 10-15 minutes. I did not have this book when I was working with Gracie and Noah and damn I wish I had because it is so easy to follow and all you need is the book, kindergarten lined paper and a pencil.

My absolute FAVORITE products for teaching your child to read is hands down the BOB book series.

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Gracie and Noah both used these books and I just added this Sight Word box for Eliot.

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They are perfect for building confidence because they follow simple phonics and are perfectly short and kinda funny which is key for keeping your littles attention.

I’m linking an Amazon list I created here with all these products if you are interested in purchasing any of these items for your little student. Also, comment below or send me an email if you have any tips/tricks/tools/products you used and LOVED or HATED for teaching reading.

everything e

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Last but certainly not least our sweet Eliot Rose aka Ellie, Elle, Ellie Rose, Elgin, Elgy and E. Eliot is our little bonus baby. After I had Noah, Corey and I decided no more babies! Not only is it difficult for me to stay pregnant, pregnancy in and of its self is HORRIBLE for me. Like seriously next level sh!t. Think puking all day for 9 months. Imagine the worst hangover you have ever had, you know the one where you need to be horizontal or else you will puke? Yeah thats me for 9 months, good times good times. Anyway, cut to Noah turning 3yrs old and I was literally DESPERATE for that third baby. After much discussing convincing Corey finally agreed and then there was, Eliot Rose.

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If you know Eliot you know she is a pretty chill kid, easily entertained and pretty much always just happy to be included. She has spent the majority of her life either at a soccer field, ballet or in a crazy long carpool line waiting on her bigs. Don’t let her fool you though Eliot was quite the challenge as a baby. She spent the first six weeks of her life crying. THAT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION! What we didn’t know at the time was she was allergic to dairy/dairy proteins but once we figured that out it was smooth sailing and it has been that way pretty much ever since. Corey used to say, “If all our babies where like this we would have so many!”

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Besides her go with the flow attitude Eliot is a pretty freaking funny kid. She keeps us laughing all day long with her funny one liners and her infectious giggle.

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Sometimes when I look at her I catch myself gritting my teeth so hard because all was to do is take a bite out of her!! Is that normal? Actually, don’t answer that. I could go on and on about how I’m obsessed but I’ll spare you all the weird details of my love for her but in all seriousness could she be any cuter??????

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Photo Curtesy of : Angie Lipscomb Photography
https://www.angielipscombphotography.com/
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Photo Curtesy of: Angie Lipscomb Photography

https://www.angielipscombphotography.com/

Love you forever Elgy.

XOXO

Mama

same but different

Hi Everyone! It has been a hot minute since I last blogged, like 6 or 7 years HOLY SH!T. If you did not know I used to write a little blog, also called My Life in Sweats about my life with Corey and the kiddos(we only had two then). It was basically a journal and photos of the cute, funny, sweet, not cute, not funny and not so sweet things my babies did. Here is a little visual to give you an idea…..

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I am honestly not sure why I stopped. I am guessing it had to do with the fact that as they got older and busier we traded days of playing in our basement, riding bikes in our cul de sac and swimming in my moms pool for soccer games, ballet class and homework. And while I miss the days when I could solve their problems with a sucker or a snuggle the ages they are right now is so fun! Added bonus, I can not tell you how nice it is to live in the land of no diaper bag, sippy cups and strollers. Oh and PRAISE BE(Handmaids Tale anyone?) I traded in my mini van for an suv! Besides moving on from baby/toddlerville there have been a TON of changes to our life since I left off so let me get you up to speed……

We added a kiddo to the mix in 2013, Eliot Rose.

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Adopted the BEST pup in all the world, Sam.

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We moved into a beautiful 1930’s colonial in 2014 and have been fixing it up room by room.

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#itsaredbrickcolonial

Corey started his own business Cincinnati WebTec and works full time from home.

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Cincinnati WebTechttp://Cincinnatiwebtec.com

And I started homeschooling our kiddos last year.

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It’s been crazy and wonderful and so so fast. This blog will be pretty much the same as my old one just prettier(thanks corey) and more content because my life does not consist of diapers, naptime and popsicles and looks more like this ….

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Same but different.

So be sure to subscribe so you can follow along and leave a comment below with ideas of what you would like me to share!

About Me

Hi! I’m Joanna, a wife and mom of three. I was born and raised on the West Side of Cincinnati Ohio and Corey and I are now raising our kiddos here. Our life isn’t all that glamorous or exciting but it’s ours and I’m obsessed.