A Few of My Favourite Picture Books

Since February was I Love To Read Month, and since the majority of the books I’m reading right now is picture books with my kids, I’m going to share some of our current favourite picture books.  Some are old, some are new, but we read these ones quite a bit.

This post contains affiliate links. If a purchase is made through the use of one of my recommendations, I may receive a small commission, which would be a lovely little blessing for my family.

01 // Beauty And The Beast by Ursula Jones
This book is SO pretty!  We received it for Autumn’s birthday, and it’s got a different story than the Disney version.  The artwork is gorgeous, and if you ask Autumn what her favourite book is, this is the book she’ll select from the shelf.

02 // Nobody Likes A Goblin by Ben Hatke
This book is pretty new to our collection but it’s SO cute.  It’s about a little goblin who goes to save his friend from some adventurers.  Andrew is very into Dungeons and Dragons, and he loves this book so much.

03 // i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!  This poem is one of my favourites.  We had my sister read it in our wedding ceremony, and so when I saw this at the book store I knew that I HAD to have it.  The illustrations are adorable, and I love the way this makes the poem about the love between a mother and her child.  I love it, I love it, I love it!

04 // Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell
This is an old favourite for us.  I first read it when I was a nanny, and fell in love with it.  Since then, I’ve tried to give it as a gift to my friends when they have kids.  In more recent years, it’s been tougher to find this version, and I’ve only really been able to find it in board book version, or not at all. It’s such a cute book about a little kitten who wants to give the whole world a hug, so he writes a To-Hug list and goes on a quest to find everyone on this list.  It’s such an adorable book, and I’ve read it to Autumn so many times, I could recite it by heart.

05 // The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield
This book is awesome!  Chris Hadfield is a really compelling writer, and I love that he has a children’s book for kids who might be dreaming about becoming astronauts.  I am currently reading his book for grown ups (An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth).  In The Darkest Dark, he talks about how he realized his dream of becoming an astronaut.  It’s a really cute book.

What are your current favourite picture books?

xoxo,
Alysa

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Christmas Eve Tradition: Christmas Books!

This year, the advent calendar we gave our kids was a new Christmas book under the tree every morning.  We read the book a few times a day, and then put it away so there would be a new book the next day.  It’s been a lot of fun, but I’m especially looking forward to reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas eve.

Sometimes, though, we found that some of the Christmas books were a little too long for the time-frame we had in which to read them.  If one of the children was not interested in reading a story before bed, we would pick a shorter book so we would definitely have time to read it before the tears started.  That’s where this handy infographic comes in!  I’ve teamed up with Personal Creations, who made this awesome visual.  Just select which Christmas book you want to read, and it tells you exactly how long it will take in minutes to read.  So if you’ve got younger kids, like I do, who might not be able to sit through an entire lengthy book, you can pick a shorter one from the list!

Kids Christmas books

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

xoxo,
Alysa

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Easy Advent Calendar for Toddlers

Toddler Advent Calendar Toddler Advent Calendar Toddler Advent Calendar

Over the last year (or so), I’ve been collecting Christmas books and putting them aside for the month of December.  Every morning, my children will come downstairs and find a different Christmas book sitting under the tree!  That will be the book we read all day, and then they’ll hear it before bed at night.  And the next morning, it’ll start again.  The final book will be Twas The Night Before Christmas, on December 24th.  On Saturdays, it’ll be a Christmas movie under the tree for us to watch as a family that day!

I’m super excited to get started.

If you’re looking to do something like this with your kids, here are some tips:
– Start looking in thrift stores
– Check out the dollar store
– Ask your thrift store loving friends to look for you!
– And if you don’t have enough in time, the library is a great place to get any extra books!

Do you do anything for advent with your kids?

xoxo,
Alysa

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Gilmore Girls Viewing Must Haves

Gilmore Girls Must Haves
(source)

The new episodes of Gilmore Girls are going to be available on Netflix TOMORROW and I am SO EXCITED.  I have been waiting for this for 10 years, and several re-watches of this amazing show.  I have the DVDs, but I still watch on Netflix.  I am fully prepared to watch this as soon as it comes available, and I know that there are others who are like me who will be watching it then, too.

Here are a few things you must have when you watch the Gilmore Girls revival:

  1. Coffee Coffee Coffee
    How could you not?  This is practically a staple in the Gilmore house.  All the Gilmore Girls love coffee.  And drink lots and lots daily.  It would not be a Gilmore Girls party without coffee… or, as Lorelai orders it “coffee coffee coffee!”  That does not mean THREE coffees at once, it means bring me coffee fast!  Coffee.  And, if you’re going for the Emily Gilmore aesthetic, drink your coffee out of your china.
  2. Junk food, and lots of it
    When Gilmore Girls watch things, they grab a wide variety of junky food from Doose’s Market and Luke’s Diner.  I won’t be able to go there, but I can get a large amount of candy, cookies, pizza and burgers from around here.  It’ll almost be like watching it with the real Gilmore Girls.  Now, if only I could also have their metabolisms… 😉
  3. A buddy to watch with
    Bonus points if it’s someone you can talk really really fast with, or your mom.
  4. PJs
    Bonus points if they’re plaid, or have various pictures of Jackson in wrestling poses on it.  Alternatively, you could have your hair nicely brushed and you could be wearing lip gloss, making Paris Geller’s life seem really unfair.
  5. Books
    There’s definitely not going to be time to read said books, what with all the Gilmore Girls to watch.. but it’ll probably make you feel better knowing that they’re on hand anyway… just in case 😉

Hope you enjoy watching the revival! I know I will

xoxo,
Alysa

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Baby, Baby! Book Review & Giveaway

Baby, Baby by Diane Stortz

I am so excited to be able to review the board book Baby, Baby! by Diane Stortz!  It’s a perfect little book for  both of my babies.  It is absolutely adorable.  It describes all the thing that babies do in the sweetest little rhyme.  It also explains how much God loves babies, and how much God loves the reader!

It finishes with a mirror, and there’s a place where mama or daddy can write their child’s name.  It’s so cute that it can be personalized to the child reading the book.  God loves us all, and children benefit when they are included in the story.

I also really love that it is a board book.  My daughter loves reading, and she’s been able to turn pages on books since she was about 6-7 months old, and I hope that my son will have the same passion for reading as well.  Board books are a great way for little ones to learn how to turn pages in books, without accidentally ripping them.  Plus, the interactiveness of the mirror is a lot of fun for little ones.

Baby, Baby by Diane Stortz

My daughter especially loved to look at the little mirror at the end of the book.

This is a really fun book to add to our regular rotation!

I also have a copy of the book to give away! Just do the activities in this rafflecopter to enter.  I will announce a winner here in one week.  Giveaway is open to Canada and the Continental U.S.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, if you’d like to purchase the book, you can do so here!

xoxo,
Alysa

I received this book at no cost to me in exchange for my honest review, all opinions stated here are my own.

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Five on Friday

It has been quite the week this week, so I thought I’d share a few things that have been exciting or brought us some happiness!  It’s been super busy, but all in a good way, and I’m excited to see what April will bring!  There’s still lots to do before the baby comes in May, but the fact that it’s now April really lights a fire under my butt to get some of these things done.  Here are 5 exciting things about this week:

ONE: HARRY POTTER MIDNIGHT RELEASE PARTY!
If you know me, you know that I love Harry Potter.  And you probably also partied with me at a midnight release party before, but if you haven’t, now is your chance!  McNally Robinson is having a midnight party for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I NEED to go!  You can find more information here, but it’s going to be a blast and I can’t wait!  I will bring a 2 month old baby with me, don’t think I won’t!!

TWO: CELEBRATE BY LAUREN CONRAD
I’ve been waiting for this book for a couple of months now, and I’m so excited that it’s finally here and that I have it!  It came out Tuesday, but McNally didn’t have it in stock until Thursday, but it doesn’t matter because it’s in my hot little hands now and I am really enjoying reading through it!

THREE: GETTING THE BABY’S ROOM READY
This week has been filled with getting the decor and stuff ready for the new baby’s room, and I’m so happy with the way it’s been going.  We’re not going to have a crib in there for a while, but we’ve got the bassinet in there for now, as well as the dresser/changing table.  I just need to do a few canvas pieces and then hang everything and it’ll be done! This is so nice because we didn’t really have a “theme” for Autumn’s room beforehand, just a colour.  It’s nice that this is coming along and it’ll be a real room even before this little one gets to sleep in there

April Declutter Challenge
FOUR: APRIL DECLUTTER CHALLENGE
My declutter challenge starts today! If you’re wanting to join, make sure you share the things you’re getting rid of on instagram and use #aprildeclutterchallenge.  It’s such a great time to get rid of a bunch of stuff.  It’s a nice excuse for me to do some spring cleaning at the same time, and it frees up space as well!  When my husband and I moved into our house two years ago, the H-word got thrown around a little bit by one/some of our friends (*whispers* hoarders) and ever since then I’ve been trying to purge the useless things in our lives as much as possible.  I’ve gotten rid of things between last April and this April, of course, but my MAJOR purge is in April.  This is the second annual declutter challenge I’ve done, and I’m looking forward to it. (And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @Alysalovely 😉 )

FIVE: SELF-HOSTED WEBSITE!!
You’re probably wondering why my site looks like this right now.  It’s because I’ve been in the process of transferring it over to being totally self-hosted for the last week and a half… and believe me, it’s been a process!! It finally got fully transferred over last night (yay!!) so I’m going to be prettifying it later on today when it’s not 1:00am with a baby crying to be fed at the same time.  I’m excited that it’s all there though and that I can go forward and make the website even more me!  🙂

xoxo,
Alysa

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Books of 2015: September

I can’t believe it’s the end of September! Once again, I feel like I haven’t read very much this month.  There has been a lot going on though, so I don’t really feel that bad about it.  I did read two books (or, most of two books) this month, which is a vast improvement over last month!

its good to be queen

24. It’s Good to Be Queen by Liz Curtis Higgs
I love reading books about the women from the Bible.  There is usually not very much written about women in the Bible, and so I really enjoy reading embellishments on what is in the Bible.  I had high expectations for this book, but I was sadly disappointed.  I don’t know why I thought this, but I was somehow under the impression that it would be more fictional, like from the Queen of Sheba’s perspective.  There were parts that were like that, but it mostly wasn’t.  Mostly, this book picked apart the short part of the Bible that mentioned the Queen of Sheba, and picked it to death.  Picked it apart to the point where it was no longer enjoyable.  I couldn’t finish this book because I was dreading reading it, and I kept looking to see how long was left.  It felt very long.  I really wanted to like this, but it wasn’t what I expected.
I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a review, but the opinions here are my own.

25. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I read this years and years ago, and had started reading it at the cabin last month but left it there.  So I borrowed a copy from a friend of mine and was able to finish it.  I LOVE this book!  It was so much fun to re-read it.  I’m definitely going to have to continue with the series 🙂

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

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On My “To-Read” List

books

I’ve read barely anything this month.  Between getting back from our road trip, getting ready for being at the cabin, and getting ready for weddings, there just hasn’t been any extra time for reading.  I started something at the cabin, but left it there.  I started something the other day, but haven’t completed it.

So, here is a list of books I’d LIKE to read:

  1. The Harry Potter Series
    I like to re-read Harry Potter every few years.  It’s been quite a few years since the last time I read it (I can’t remember exactly, but it’s entirely possible that I last read them before I even got married… so it’s been a while).  It’s fun to re-read, I always get something new out of it.
  2. Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling
    I don’t know if this book is even out yet, but I’m SO excited to read it!  I loved her first book, so I’ll be very happy to read her second book.  TBH, I don’t even really care what it’s about.  If she wrote it, that’s all I need to know.
  3. Anne of Green Gables
    Again, I have read this before, but I’d really like to re-read it.  This was what I started reading at the lake, and I was really enjoying it.  I just need to find my copy though haha

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

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Books of 2015: July

20. I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
I honestly did not enjoy this book at all, so I didn’t finish reading it.  I figure that there is no point in finishing books if you’re not enjoying reading them, so I stopped.  I got it from the library so I’m not upset I didn’t like it.  The main thing I didn’t like is that I was expecting a book with lots and lots of stories about event management from the get-go… but it started with her describing, in detail, her very very violent attack and the aftermath of that.  It definitely sucked that it happened to her, but I’m not interested in reading about it.  Especially when I was expecting a light book about event planning!  Too heavy for me.

21.  The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
I also got this from the library and I’m so glad I did!  While I didn’t try all the recipes in it, I tried a few, and they made me feel way more comforable and confident in the kinds of foods that I’m giving Autumn.  For example, when I’d make something with onions in them, I took them out of her portion..l this book showed me that I can give her onions, and it turns out that she actually likes them!  Great book to get you started with baby-led weaning for sure.

22. Paper Towns by John Green
I think this was my favourite book of his!  I’ve clearly been on a bit of a John Green kick, but I had been interested in reading this book ever since I saw that they were making it into a movie.  I put myself on the list for the book at the library, and was very disappointed to discover that I was number 100 on the list 🙁  Luckily!  I was able to borrow it from a friend.  This book was SO much fun to read! There are parts where it’s creepy, parts that are hilarious, and parts that made me think.  I really enjoyed reading this book and I am so glad that I did!  Now I am even more excited about the movie, and I’m curious to see what they do with it in movie-form.

23. I’m Happy For You (Sort of… Not Really) by Kay Wills Wyma
I’m Happy For You (Sort of…Not Really), is kind of a “how to” style book about not comparing yourself with others.  It’s got a lot of personal stories from the author about her experiences with friends and her family.  It has a little bit of spirituality in there, too.
There were parts of this book that I enjoyed, and other parts that I really didn’t enjoy at all.  A lot of it was kind of a bummer.  I know that I do compare myself with others, so it’s not that I didn’t relate to the book totally, but I didn’t feel that she really gave many solutions to the problem of comparison.  I really enjoyed the specific personal experiences and stories that the author shared about her family and friends, but the rest of the book was almost depressing.  Additionally, I was under the impression that this book would be more spiritual than it was.  The Bible and God were barely even mentioned, and I thought that this book would include more aspects of Christianity in it.  Overall, I would say that this book was okay.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review, but the opinions here are my own.

What have you been reading lately?

xoxo,
Alysa

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Books of 2015: June

June Books

This month I read a lot more books than last month!  It really helped that I spent a week at Victoria Beach with no wifi and no tv.  😉

11. Daddy Hugs by Nancy Tafuri
This was a cute little book.  For this month, I wanted to get books for Andrew to read to Autumn, so I picked mostly “Daddy” books.  This one was really cute.  There are little animal noises and it was super cute when Andrew would read those parts, too.

12. The Newlywed Cookbook by Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss
Lately, I’ve been borrowing cookbooks from the library to find new recipes! Pinterest is great, but I love being able to go through a book to pick things out.  This book had a lot of really fun ideas and I can’t wait to start making them.

13. Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos
I LOVED this book! Nia Vardalos is absolutely hilarious, and I love reading her writing.  She talks about how she got My Big Fat Greek Wedding made into a movie, and how she got her start in comedy, which I loved reading about.  The main topic of the book was about her struggles with infertility, and how they adopted a 3 1/2 year old girl.  Such an amazing story.  I recommend this book highly!

14. Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss & Tell by Rob Thomas
The next installment in the Veronica Mars story, this book was even better than the last one, imo.  Mostly because Logan is actually IN the book.  With the last one, I had been disappointed that he wasn’t in it.  I love Logan.  I read this one fairly quickly.  It’s a real page turner 🙂 I enjoyed it!

June Books

 

15. A to Z of Wedding Style by Kate Bethune
This was a pretty interesting read.  Fun to read, too.  I read it cover to cover, as you would with a novel.. and I eventually skimmed and just read the things that I was interested in.  I liked the history in it, and the quotes from different people.  It was fun!

16. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Eh.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this honestly.  Mostly because I didn’t really like the main character.  I like John Green as a writer, this just wasn’t my favourite of his.

17. A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth
This was so much fun to read!  I love how positive Kristin is, and her writing style is great.  I really enjoyed reading this book and would definitely read it again.  Plus, it had recipes in it, too that I can’t wait to try.

18. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
This book was also eh.  I don’t know what it is… but it wasn’t really that enjoyable of a read.

19. Looking for Alaska by John Green
I’m on a bit of a John Green kick right now.  I like this one.  It was a sad story though. I wasn’t expecting it to be sad, and then it was 🙁 well written though!

What have you been reading this month?

xoxo,
Alysa

 

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