2017 Reading List

Every year I make a goal to read a certain amount of books. There have been years that I did great. I met my goals. Then there are years that I did horrible. 2016 was one of those years. I barely read any books. This year I resolved to change that. I LOVE reading and while I can say that I don’t have time for reading the truth is that I wasn’t prioritizing it. While we’re not that far into 2017 I’ve already been doing better. I suspect I’ll read more books this year than I did in the last three months of 2016!

Reading List 2017


I’ve Read


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

On My Bookshelf

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson

Parenting with Presence by Susan Stiffelman

The Witches: Suspicion, Betrayal, and Hysteria in 1692 Salem by Stacy Schiff

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell Me She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman


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Can You Hear What I Hear?

Late last year as my friend and I walked with our kids to the local college football game it became apparent that Mason couldn’t hear me the way he should be able to hear me. He was running far ahead of me but when I called out to him it was clear that he couldn’t hear me. At first I thought that maybe I was imaging things. But when I brought it up to my friend she thought the same thing. I mentioned it to B but he brushed me off–“He can hear, he’s just not listening”.


Then one night while I was putting the girls to bed, B and Mason were playing cards. When I came to get Mason to put him to bed B called me downstairs and told me “watch this”. He began saying things to Mason that he knew would make Mason upset and Mason had no reaction at all, because he couldn’t hear him and he was just a couple of feet in front of him. While I know I shouldn’t have, I couldn’t help but say, “I told you so”.

The very next day I made an appointment for Mason. I wanted to see what was going on. I was worried, I won’t lie,  I immediately started thinking the worse–permanent hearing loss. I didn’t have to wait long to find my answer. When the doctor arrived in the room it didn’t take him long to tell me that Mason’s ears were “a mess” thanks to ear infections and that “of course” he had hearing loss but it was only temporary.


While everything ended up just fine for other family members in different circumstances it wasn’t just fine. There is hearing loss, permanent hearing loss. When it’s your loved one who starts to experience hearing loss it may be hard for them to accept at first. It’s hard to show physical signs of becoming older. When your family member is starting to experience hearing loss it’s important to be supportive of them. One of the ways you can be supportive is knowing the signs of hearing loss so that you help your loved one get the help they need with little suffering.


If you or anyone you know is showing signs of hearing loss you can direct them to take a quick and free online hearing test. If it turns out that they are experiencing hearing loss Miracle-Ear can help. Getting the help your family members need can make all the difference in the world for them and for your interactions with them.

Do you have any experience with hearing loss? Have you taken an online hearing test before? 

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STEM Holiday Gift Guide

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about “love languages”. I’ve taken the quiz before and my love language is *not* gift giving but around the holidays I feel like it is, especially for my children. I love getting them stuff and seeing the look on their faces when they open their gifts on Christmas morning. If I had an unlimited budget I’m fairly certain the gifts would be as high as the tree. I wouldn’t be able to help myself.

This year my favorite person to shop for is Mason, he gave me a great list to work from and then of course I could come up with some other ideas that I knew he would love. Mason is a huge fan of STEM toys and so am I. Not sure what a STEM toy is? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. So a STEM Toy is basically incorporating any of those things into a toy for kids. There are so many awesome STEM toys out there so I created a STEM holiday gift guide to help you narrow it down from all the amazing options available to us.



  1. GeoSmart Lunar Rover: The GeoSmar Lunar Rover comes with 5 different geometric magnetic tiles and wheels for your child to create a Lunar Rover. There are two different designs they can make. I love that this STEM toy gives you variety. Your child can make different types of Lunar Rovers or use the geometric shapes to build without the wheels. GeoSmart makes quite a few toys including the Mars Explorer. I also love that the names encourage imaginative play. Creating vehicles to explore space is pretty exciting stuff! lunar-rover-cars
  2. Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set: This activity introduces children to the fun of coding and puzzle solving. Children will code the mouse to follow the maze that they created.
  3. Jumbo Magnifiers: Never underestimate the power of a simple toy. These magnifying glasses will give kids endless fun. Pair it with a bug kit and they’ll have hours of play in your backyard!
  4. Sum Swamp: Perfect for kids who are learning math, kids will add and subtract their way across this fun, educational board game!
  5. Osmo Coding: Osmo has a bunch of STEM related activities that work with your iPhone or iPad. Osmo Coding will introduce kids to coding while teaching them logic and problem solving skills.
  6. Amaze n’ Marbles: Love the idea of STEM toys but want to give the special kiddo in your life something that isn’t too techy? Amaze n’ Marbles is the toy for you. This is a classic toy that gets your children building and problem solving to make sure they can get their marble to the end of their maze!
  7. Volcano Science Kit: What kid doesn’t want to make something and then watch it explode? This Volcano Science Kit will sure to be a crowd pleaser, especially if you offer to do it with them!
  8. Microscope Lab: The Magic School Bus has an entire line of educational toys but this one caught my eye. The kids comes with lots of things to check out under the microscope but it also enables you to put your own slides and stuff you find around the house under the microscope!
  9. Get Slimmed!: I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love slime. It even includes a worm maker.
  10. Tasty Science: Most kids love helping in the kitchen and this set will help them understand why cakes rises and soda pop fizzes. This set will bring out the scientist in all of them.

With so many awesome STEM toys to choose from it’s hard to pick just one. Of all the STEM toys we looked at I picked up the GeoSmart Lunar Rover set for him and added Amaze n’ Marbles, Microscope Lab and the Volcano Science Kit to his wishlist. So many of these options are in stock NOW and available to ship by Christmas if you order today and have Prime. Grab it while you can and have a Happy Holiday!

Which one would your kiddo love?

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In the Kitchen


Slow Cooker Southwestern Chicken

After two years of Mason being the pickiest eater ever he's finally starting to eat the way he used to eat. He's finally willing to try just about anything that we put in front of him. Now of course Kyla has taken Mason's place as pickiest eater but I know that in due time she will see the light ... read more