Read to Your Children

Every day, I have a prompt on my board that my high school students write about while I take care of attendance and getting everyone settled down. One day, the prompt asked them about listening to books versus reading books, and the first question was: Do you have fond memories of being read to as a child? I was a little shocked when almost all of my students said to me: “No one ever read books to me as a child!”

I always assumed that all parents read books to their children. My parents read aloud to me. I’ve always read books to my kids. My younger boys get a book or a story or a chapter every night from every reading member of our family (me, their dad, their older brother, and their older sister, grandma, and papa when visiting). In my research as a teacher and school librarian student, I know how important it is to read to your children, especially at a young age. I was amazed that not as many people read to their children as I assumed. I created the following infographic in the hopes that people will take it into consideration when deciding whether or not to read aloud in their home.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you read to your children? What are your favorite books to read to them? What are their favorite books for you to read to them?

Tell Me a Story – Spring Storm

As the monthly “Tell Me a Story” post approached, I began to realize that I haven’t published a blog post in a month. I want to thank you for sticking with me during this busy month. The end of the school year is the busiest time for teachers (at least in my experience) and April brought with it state testing, senior activities, and finishing up my librarian internship. I have a little over three weeks of school left until summer vacation, and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for a break.

In April, I also went on a lovely yoga retreat for the second time in a year and had a wonderful time. The weather at the bed and breakfast was beautiful, but one day we drove to the mountains for a hike. We were met with storm clouds and snow. And, while winter is not my favorite season, we embraced this spring storm as we buttoned up our coats and enjoyed each other’s company through the cold and the wetness. Spring Storm Spring Storm Spring Storm Spring Storm Spring Storm

As we trekked on, the snow got heavier and wetter, so we decided to head back down for some delicious lunch at the bed and breakfast. The area is absolutely beautiful for hikes, so I’m looking forward to heading up to this area with the boys this summer when the weather is more to my liking.

I’m teaming up with some wonderful photographers every month to share our stories through pictures and words. Please take some time to check out Sharon Meyer Photography and then follow the circle until you find yourself back here on my page.

Tell Me a Story – Anchorage Museum

In March, we spent Spring Break with my parents who were visiting from Oregon. We had a good time spending time together and letting them hang out with the boys. While they were here, we visited the Anchorage Museum. We have a family yearly membership that included two guest passes, so we figured it was the perfect time to explore.

Our Spring Break was also very cold. Temperatures did not go above around 25 degrees the entire week, so outdoor play was not really an option for us. The Anchorage Museum, however, was warm and fun with different exhibits to visit as well as the kid’s area to explore. We saw some interesting art while the boys let off some energy.

Anchorage Museum A solo exhibition called “A Man in the Shadows” by Mariano Gonzales had some very interesting pieces. This one was one of my favorites. I like that the little man inside seems to be riding this contraption.

Anchorage Museum

Anchorage Museum Another exhibit I enjoyed was Sami Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People. There were fascinating stories and beautiful artwork by this group from Norway.

Anchorage Museum

Anchorage Museum

After a trip through the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and a browse through the artwork done by local students, we made our way to the Imaginarium Discovery Center, the younger boy’s favorite section of the museum.

Anchorage Museum

Anchorage Museum

Anchorage Museum

What I love about the Anchorage Museum is that there’s always something for everyone to enjoy. Almost every time we go, there’s something new to view. I’m excited for next fall when a new exhibition about Van Gogh is installed called Van Gogh Alive.

I’m teaming up with some wonderful photographers every month to share our stories through pictures and words. Please take some time to check out LUPJi Photography’s trip to his local farmer’s market and then follow the circle until you find yourself back here on my page.

Ipsy Glam Bag Review – March

March’s Ipsy Glam Bag had a theme of “Floral Fantasy.” I appreciate the nod to Spring as I could really use some light and sun lately.  They sent me some fun stuff to try this month. Check out my Ipsy Glam Bag Review for March!

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - March

The bag this month was fun and fresh. Pretty sky blue is the base color and yellow, pink, white, and grey flowers cover one side. A very cute and Spring-inspired print.

  1. Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Creme Oil – I haven’t tried this product yet, but I can always use a good product for my frizzy hair. I’ve heard good things about this brand, so I’m happy to try it.
  2. NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick – I really wish we could leave Ipsy some feedback for our future bags. If we could, I’d tell them to quit sending me these awful bright pink lip colors. They look retched with my skin color. The color I received is called “Little Susie,” and I’d like to send it back to whoever Susie is. I won’t be using this product.
  3. Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter – I don’t usually use a highlighter, but this one was creamy and a beautiful color. I’ll try it on my eyelids when I’m putting on eyeshadow for work. I’m excited to see how it works.
  4. Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion – I really enjoy the light lemony smell of this product and the way it went on smoothly. It was thick, but not greasy. I’m skeptical of anything “anti-aging,” but I like a good facial lotion.
  5. Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow – I am loving all the eyeshadows that Ipsy sends me every month. They’re a fun way to try something new. I still am not sure I know what I’m doing with all of them, but I’m still enjoying them. This eyeshadow came to me in “Lucky Penny” which is a bright copper color. I think it’ll pair well with other eyeshadows they’ve sent me.

Overall, a fun Spring bag, even if there’s no way I will use that lipstick. Everything else is something fun I’ll try out and gladly wear. I am still loving trying new products every month. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral link so I can gain some points. Are you already a subscriber? What did you get in your bag this month? Or leave a link to your Ipsy Glam Bag Review.

The Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! Actually, this is my second nomination, but I didn’t get around to the first one due to being overwhelmed by several things in life. I would like to start by thanking Ana at It’s Been Delicious and Stephanie at Love My Life with Twins for nominating me and including me in the fun. The Liebster Award

This special award is given to get to know a little bit about newer bloggers who are hoping that more people will visit their blogs and join conversations. Here are the rules:

Liebster Award

Stephanie’s Questions for Me

  1. Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in order to create a creative outlet for myself. You can read more about why I started blogging here.

  1. Pick one word to describe yourself.

Sarcastic.

  1. If you could change something about yourself or your life, what would it be?

I’d love to move out of Alaska. The cold and the dark really affects me.

  1. What is your favorite food?

Chocolate. I seriously have a problem and no self-control.

  1. What is the last movie you saw in theaters?

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Last week was Spring Break, and my parents flew up for a visit. We took the younger boys to see this movie at the discount theater in town. What fun!

  1. What is something that most people don’t know about you?

I’m very lazy. I’d sit in my pajamas on the same spot on the couch day in and day out if I didn’t have other responsibilities. 

  1. What is your favorite quote?

I love too many to choose a single favorite. One of my favorites though is by Albert Camus: “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”

  1. What does a typical day look like for you?

My day depends on several factors – weekend or weekday, summer or winter, etc. A typical working day includes waking up by 6, showering, heading to work to teach for 7.5 hours, picking up both younger boys, cooking dinner and eating, relaxing a bit, preparing for the next day, putting the boys to bed, heading to bed myself, reading for a bit before crashing.

  1. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

My answer to this question changes quite often. For now, I’ll go with France for the history and the art.

  1. What do you do when you have a day to yourself?

A day to myself? What’s that? My ideal day would include doing some yoga, eating a wonderful meal, and spending lots of time reading a fantastic book.

  1. What do you value most in life?

Family. I couldn’t imagine being alone in the world without them.

Eleven Random Facts About Me

  1. My brother isn’t even a year older than me – he’s about eleven months, three weeks older. My mom cried when she found out she was pregnant with me.
  2. My husband is twelve years older than me.
  3. I’m currently studying to become a school librarian. I am working on an internship and then just have one class left.
  4. My parents called me “Lazy Lisa” because I’d do anything I could to avoid housework. I even dropped a vacuum cleaner down the stairs (accidentally – on purpose) to get out of ever vacuuming again.
  5. I was very skinny growing up. My middle school nurse weighed me every day for a week thinking I had an eating disorder. I did not.
  6. I never wanted kids growing up. Then, I married a man with two.
  7. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I never considered any other profession; however, I discourage people from going into teaching now because of the politics.
  8. I was in JROTC for four full years in high school, but I never, ever considered joining the military.
  9. While I’d love to travel in the future, I don’t see it as a possibility in my lifetime.
  10. I have very vivid, very intricate, very strange dreams almost every single night.
  11. I almost minored in Art for my BA but decided to double major in English Literature and History instead.

Blogs I Nominate for the Liebster Award

  1. We Three Crabs
  2. Idlewild Alaska
  3. Dabblings and Ramblings
  4. Hey, What’s for Dinner Mom
  5. Northern Lights Mama
  6. A Mom at Work
  7. Does This Couch Make Me Look Fat
  8. Scissor Saving Sarah
  9. A Little of This and That
  10. My Life Cookbook
  11. Amber Kristine

Eleven Questions for the Nominees

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
  2. What do you do for fun?
  3. If you could choose any profession in the world, what would you do?
  4. Where would you move with your family if you could go anywhere?
  5. What’s one thing you wish you had done before kids or when you were younger?
  6. What’s something you look forward to later in life?
  7. What’s one of your favorite books?
  8. What’s one goal you have for your blog?
  9. Why did you begin blogging?
  10. Who is one person, living or dead, you’d love to meet?
  11. What’s your absolute ideal weather?

Tell Me a Story – Early Spring

I’m most likely jinxing myself here, but in Alaska we’ve been experiencing an early Spring. I know some other parts of the United States are experiencing extreme amounts of snow, cold, and nastiness, and I don’t mean to rub it in your face, but here in Alaska, we’ve had an unusually mild winter.

Even though I live in the arctic, I don’t enjoy winter. I’m not a fan of snow sports, I don’t like the cold, and I’d rather be on the beach. A mild winter is perfectly fine with me. While others here are complaining about the short ski season and the constantly melting ice, I’m giggling with glee.

And, I’m sure the minute after I post these pictures, the skies will open with a snowstorm to exceed all records. We’ll be stuck in our house for days with very few groceries, no power, and only the heat of our collective bodies huddled under every blanket we own. Early Spring was fun while it lasted.

Tell Me a Story: Early Spring

Tell Me a Story: Early Spring

Tell Me a Story: Early Spring

Tell Me a Story: Early Spring

Tell Me a Story: Early Spring

I’m teaming up with some wonderful photographers every month to share our stories through pictures and words. Please take some time to check out Beth Williams’ trip to Vienna and then follow the circle until you find yourself back here on my page.

Stitch Fix Review

I had put my Stitch Fix on hold for quite some time, because I am attempting to save money this year. However, after our tax return came in, and I was sick of all of my work shirts (does this happen to anyone else?), I decided to give them a chance to perk up my wardrobe. I requested some tops for work that were comfortable but work appropriate. Check out my current Stitch Fix Review.

(Disclaimer: These pictures are terrible. The lighting wasn’t right and, while I am quite pale, I think these photos wash me out even more than normal.)

Pixley Benzer Plaid Layer Sweater

Plaid Layer Sweater

The Benzer Plaid Layer Sweater by Pixley was comfortable, but strange. See the layered plaid shirt underneath? I don’t like that it doesn’t continue at the top. If I were actually wearing a plaid shirt under a sweater, the collar would be coming out the top. The sweater material was also itchy and thin. At $64, this top went back.

Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top

Dolman Sleeve Knit Top

I literally said, “EW!” as I pulled this Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top by Market & Spruce out of the box. The list claims the color is “Olive,” but it looks like a poor representation of camouflage. I am not a fan of camo in any color, and while I liked the fit of this top, there was no way I was going to wear it in that hideous color. The price was $58, and this top went back as well.

Brixon Ivy Atticus Pointelle Knit Sweater

Knit Sweater

I am sucking in my muffin top HARD in this picture. Why? Because this Atticus Pointelle Knit Sweater by Brixon Ivy was dumpy and highlighted everything I hate about my body – muffin top, slumped shoulders, overlong arms. I’m also not a fan of this bright coral color with my skin complexion. No way was I going to pay $58 for this top, so it went back as well.

In all three of the pictures above, I’m wearing the Amalia Pull-On Skinny Jean by Just Black. I didn’t think I’d like these or that they’d fit me as I pulled them out of the box. I’m not usually a fan of skinny jeans. However, these are more like leggings and are super comfortable. They fit tight, but with a long top, they actually look pretty good on me. I paid $78 to keep these pants.

Octavia Henry Birds on Branch Infinity Scarf

Infinity Scarf

I love a good scarf, especially big infinity scarves. I also love birds, so this Henry Birds on Branch Infinity Scarf by Octavia was super fun. At only $28, I decided to keep this piece as well.

Considering what I really wanted were new work tops, I was disappointed in this box. I kept two items. Together, they were $106. Check out Stitch Fix for yourself. Sign up to try some new fashion sent straight to your door. And check out the last box I received here.

Ipsy Glam Bag Review – February

Jumping into the spirit of February the Ipsy Glam Bag theme for this month was “Ipsy Love.” Pretty pinks and pastels showed up in my bag this month to focus on some girly love. Check out my Ipsy Glam Bag Review for February!

Ipsy Glam Bag Review

I like the cute diamond pattern on the bag. The bag is mostly hot pink with white and brown accents.

  1. CARGO Cosmetics Mini Lip Gloss – The color they sent is called Anguilla and is absolutely atrocious. A very light, almost white pink so that when I put it one it looked like I had cotton mouth all day. I will not be wearing this lip gloss. It was also way too thick and sticky.
  2. Hey Honey Take it Off! Exfoliating Honey Peel Off Mask – I haven’t had a chance to try this product out yet, but the smell is heavenly. I enjoy new facial treatments, so I’m excited to try this one. However, I am a little bummed at the small sample size. Two or three uses are the most I’ll get out of this one.
  3. Luxie Beauty Large Angled Face Brush – I love a good makeup brush, and this one is perfect. This brush is super soft and works great for blush. The brush alone was worth the cost of the subscription for the month.
  4. ModelCo BLUSH Cheek Powder – I wasn’t sure about the “Cosmopolitan” shade that was in my bag as I was afraid it would be a little too pink. I usually wear more of an orangish shade of blush. However, this blush didn’t look bad once I put it on. It was light and just the right amount of color.
  5. Rob Scheppy for ‘Tini Beauty Eyeshadow – The shade of this eyeshadow, Pearl Fizz, is a perfect base shade. It pairs perfectly with the eyeshadow I received last month. I’m always excited to try new eyeshadow.

This month’s glam bag was definitely worth the ten-dollar subscription fee. I especially love the makeup brush. I’d love to see more in upcoming bags. Thinking of signing up? Use my referral link so I can gain some points. Are you already a subscriber? What did you get in your bag this month? Or leave a link to your Ipsy Glam Bag Review.

How to Answer the Dreaded “When are You Having a Baby” Question

After you’ve been married awhile or when you’ve been in a serious relationship, they ask, “When are you having a baby?”

After you’ve had your first child, they immediately begin asking, “When are you going to have another?”

And once you have two or more, the question changes to, “You’re done, right?”

People are nosey, especially about babies. They want to know when you plan on having a baby or when you are done having babies or why you are not having babies or how many babies you plan on having and they want to know now. Here’s a handy guide to answering these dreaded questions when people cannot seem to keep their questions to themselves.

When Are You Having a Baby

If you’re newly married or have been in a relationship for some time and someone asks, “When are you having a baby?” try these responses:

  • When I feel like it.
  • When pigs fly.
  • When I damn well please.
  • We decided to enjoy some time alone first.
  • Never.
  • None of your business.

If you’ve already had one child and someone asks you when you’re having the second one, try these responses:

  • When you write me a check for five years of childcare.
  • When the first one gets off the tit.
  • When this one is old enough to take care of the second one.
  • Once my uterus heals up from the last one that took residence.
  • Never.
  • None of your business.

If you already have two or more and someone asks you if you’re done having kids, try these responses:

  • Nope. I’m trying to beat the Duggars.
  • Insurance is the same price no matter how many kids I have, so why not keep going?
  • No. I love being broke.
  • Yes, because the ones I have are terrible enough as it is.
  • I haven’t decided yet.
  • None of your business.

When you get the “when are you having a baby” question, you’re now prepared. Are you asked this question several times? Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me?

Book Review: The 30 Day Marriage Challenge by Becky Moseley

The 30 Day Marriage Challenge is a book written by Becky Moseley of the blog Tales of Beauty for Ashes. She’s releasing the book for kindle on Monday, February 9, but was kind enough to give me a copy in exchange for my review. Marriage is such hard work, I think we can use any help we can get, and Becky provides some wonderful tips and activities in The 30 Day Marriage Challenge. (This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure.)

The 30 Day Marriage Challenge The thing about self-improvement books is that they can become very cumbersome quickly which usually leads me to leave them unfinished. What I love about The 30 Day Marriage Challenge is that each tip includes a short introduction with an example from Becky’s own life, a bit of reasoning behind her tips, and suggestions on how to implement each of the challenges in your own life. Easy-to-follow, quick to read, and fun challenges make this book worth the read.

While I haven’t taken all of the challenges yet, I did read all of them. Each challenge made me appreciate my husband a bit more. Becky asks you to give grace and remember what you love about your spouse so that you can not only appreciate them more, but you can learn how to show them that you appreciate them. I think it would be fun to take this month-long challenge without telling your spouse to see how they respond to the attention they’re receiving. If they notice, you can share the book with them so they can participate as well. Whether your marriage is just starting out or (like me) you’re celebrating ten years together this year, this book is a great reminder that marriage requires hard work every day.

Please consider purchasing the book here as an instant download and visiting Becky on her blog to tell her I said hello!