inspiration

Best of 2017

I reached my personal reading goal of 52 books for 2017!  Here’s the Best of 2017:

The Best Nonfiction: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser with Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Ina May Gaskin’s guide to Childbirth a close second and third. dscn6455

 

Best Fiction (adult): Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin. Guided by Virgil, Lavinia tells her story. Le Guin beautifully blends history, tradition, myth, and poetry into an elegant work of fiction. 

Best Children’s Story Book: The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Graham Pictures by Ernest Shepherd.  Whilst trying to fulfill my children’s desire for more dragon stories, (My Father’s Dragon was a hit) we stumbled upon this wonderful book at our local library. It is a classic, a new favorite of ours. Runner ups: Snowflake Bentley and The Mousewife by Rumer Godden

Best Children’s Chapter-book Fiction: We read a lot of Chapter-books this year and so it’s hard to choose but  The Secret Garden was the best. We also Loved: A Little Princess, The Princess and The GoblinBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Best Spiritual Reading: Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Phillippe. This book is an excellent Spiritual guide to Peace and easy to read. I read it in a few days but it would be a good slow read or daily devotional.

Best Book of Poetry: One of my all time favorites, Christina Rossetti’s Sing-Song.  

What were some of  your favorites from 2017? Have any reading goals for 2018?

My Complete Reading List is here 

Advertisements

Gifts Ideas (That Have Been A Hit) From A Wanna-Be-Minimalist, Mother of Four.

Here’s A List of Gifts That have been a hit in our home :

butterfly

Butterfly wings, Simple, inexpensive and my girls still play with them  three years later people-  three

 

Product Details

Flash lights again practical, simple and my children love them. For older children Reading lights.

tooth brush

 

Battery Operated Toothbrushes I know, it’s terribly practical, arguably worse than socks, and maybe my children are odd but they love getting these. I also buy my girls new hair ties, clips, brushes and the men in my life may get combs & shaving supplies (lame or genius? You decide).

 

Water Colored Coloring pencils   for the older children and Crayons for the younger ones.  I also get new pencil sharpeners and They usually get a coloring book or a new notebook to go with them. Cute Bookbags and pencil cases are always nice to have (I love goldfish) I found this at TheCrownedRabbit (I love etsy):

Blocks, and if you already have blocks (most of us do)  just sneak some of the old blocks from the toy room, take a sharpie, and make them into buildings, and ta-da new blocks!: here's an EXTREMELY easy way to personalize some plain wooden blocks: grab a sharpie and decorate them with architectural details / window frames / etc.

Balancing toys. I love balancing toys and so do babies, toddlers and older children. The great thing about them is you can just store them with the blocks. I have bought a few sets in the past and I found these on etsy:

so cute, admittedly pricey, but cute! There are lots of other (more affordable) on etsy. (Be careful when buying online sometimes it’s hard to tell the scale and they turn out to be choking hazard size. )

Sugar Lulu Sweet Savings Bank SetPiggy Banks. The piggy banks I bought last year are still in use. I like the ones divided up into save, spend, give. You can put little treats inside too.

These Holy Heroes CDs are really wonderful for boys or girls, all my children love listening to them, and I’ve learned a lot too.

Still got nothing? What activities are they in? My girls are in gymnastics so new leotards, silly scrunches are always welcomed. Movies are also fun to get and of course, Books, I always get them Books. But that’s for another post . .

 

And for the record,  socks make a great gift.

 

-Mrs. Karl T. Cooper, Jr.

Books Babies Love

198a4124ce82a9bef3b8ec8f75c385c9

Lullabies (with pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Many mother and baby pictures, that little ones identify with easily, from various parts of the world are included. It’s also fun to “find” people from our extended family in the paintings.

The World of the Polar Bear (nature photography related to their interests)

This is a great one, if your toddler likes polar bears. Lots of amazing shots of mothers and cubs. Not limited to bears either; meet muskoxen, seals, walruses, belugas, and arctic foxes.

Corduroy and Goodnight Moon

These classic picture books never get old. Not even after ten consecutive repetitions 😉

A is for Altar, B is for Bible

Build a basic religious and liturgical vocabulary and begin (or enrich) the most important conversation you and your child can have. This Montessori-inspired alphabet book is a beautiful aid to handing on the faith, communicating the love of Jesus, and bringing even the youngest children into dialogue with the Word of God. (Catholic or High Church Anglican specific.)

Write Your Own Book! (or “Wreck This Journal”)

writing-projects-for-kids1

In our blank book, we draw and name basic shapes, illustrate favorite nouns, explore with crayons and colored pencils, paste stickers, favorite greeting cards, and pictures, and practice fine motor skills with colored tape. Give your toddler freedom to scribble, rip, and experiment to his heart’s content but don’t be surprised if you like some of the pages so much that it becomes difficult to do that!

-Mrs. Aldertree

They Changed My Life

You’ve often heard books praised as life-changing. And every book we read must inevitably change our lives, for good or ill. We can’t measure the impact of a book and books that outwardly have no effect may be the ones that cause internal seismic shifts, unfelt.

However there is a handful of books I’ve read in the past few years that had a very definite effect on my daily life.

the-lost-traveller

The Lost Traveller by Antonia White. Reading Antonia White’s Clara quartet was a vindicating experience: just to see emotional and situational territory I’d felt alone in expressed so precisely in printed words. But one passage from The Lost Traveller gave me insight into my daughter, rather than consolation for myself. Clara never tells her mother how much she longed for siblings, especially brothers. I’d never been able to quite kill the hope that I might have another child or more children, a sibling for my daughter. Reading this passage, I was able to fully recognize my own maternal desire, for another child, yes, but also for the blessing a sibling could still be for my firstborn. This passage silenced the inner voice that was always droning “too late.”

13616638

The Far Cry by Emma Smith. It was a quote from dialogue on the very last pages of this book that dried up my discouragement toward the beginning of this year. I won’t quote it because it gets its full impact from everything that comes before. But I was able to accept a failure that threatened to cripple me with remorse and instead use that dead body as a stepping stone into a new pattern of life. What was this new pattern? I will say that another book that helped me into it was The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd.

51t6ghazyul

A truly life-changing read from several years ago was Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book was one of the catalysts of a new founding at a point of profound personal crisis. It helped me make, with painstaking care, a new synthesis of life directed by the Virgin Mary. The Seven Sorrows rosary was key in that reconstruction. And this book made me *want* to pray it.

-Mrs. Aldertree