Monday, November 17, 2014

Real Life With Books Week 1

How was your life with books last week? Ours was filled with books of one kind and another...(and then something happened to my computer and I was unable to post the week in review on Friday)

My son insisted all meals be brought to his room because he did not want any breaks in audio book listening (I think this was Tuesday)

Bedtime stories one night. I avoided the Bears Nature Guide. So annoying to read that one aloud. Also, from the Magic School Bus reading my son now thinks the word "Venus" is the funniest word ever because it rhymes with.....YEP. Weird because he has heard this word before. Guessing its a phase.

We chose lots of books at the library. Once we were home, they were strewn about the house and my son had to look at every one.

I would love to see and hear about your week with books!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Best Thrifty (Audio) Book Nook with @GoodwillSA

My son's room is always changing. Sometimes its because I move the furniture...other times its because he moves the furniture. The walls are beige, the curtains are white, and we have lots of books. It is the ultimate blank canvas and there is always room for improvement.

Step 1 to improve any room: Thrift for the space, of course!
Here is what I did to make a cozy, calming audio book nook for my son, complete with artwork and a straw PIG.
The space first took shape with this awesome rolling book cart found at Goodwill for $20. As luck would have it, the cart fits perfectly at the end of my son's bed.

I felt like the space needed something on the wall....and I found the great framed Van Gogh poster for $4.99!! The great thing about this find is that it is a plastic frame and has clear plastic instead of glass. Perfect for a kids room!!
My favorite (and newest) accessory from Goodwill is this pig basket that I bought for $9.99. A. pig. basket. I almost didn't buy it because I was unsure how my son would like it. He ended up loving it at first sight and filled it with random toys and keeps talking about his pig. We all think this is hilarious and I am just hoping no one tries to ride on the pig.

Most of our books come from the thrift store, I was able to buy this storytime favorites with audio cd for 99 cents. I gathered all of our audio books/books with cd's and placed them on the cart for easy access. Now both my son and daughter can listen to a story without my help. It makes me so happy to see how excited they are to play the tapes and cd's by themselves. Also on the cart: Thomas Jefferson book and casette (Goodwill, $2.99 for a classrom boxed set), Cd's on the right are a mixture of our Putamayo collection and a 5 cd classical music collection from Goodwill.
On the bottom shelf, we have 2 cases filled with Disney cassettes and corresponding books that I thrifted at Goodwill a while back for $2.99/case.

As a finishing touch, I added a huge pillow (I found the pillow cover at is Pottery Barn, linen, and was $1.99!) and my son's favorite chair.

He really likes his "new" space and I can't wait to see what other thrifty treasures fit here! There is always something useful at the thrift store. For a Goodwill San Antonio location in your neighborhood, check out the list here.
This post sponsored by Goodwill San Antonio.

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Series: A Peek Inside Real Life With Books

Dear Reader, if you are even remotely acquainted with my blog, you are certainly aware of my passion for books. Whether I borrow them from the library or buy them from a bookstore, these prized possessions always bring me great joy.
Books do more than tell a story. Books bring people together, help preserve memories (books we purchased on vacations always bring back wonderful memories), teach us lessons, and force us to slow down. In this household, they have tamed my 5 year old's sometimes difficult behavior. My son can be in the WORST mood, displaying the WORST behavior, but if we cuddle up and read a book, all aggravation is reversed. Because my son is not one to sit down for homeschool lessons, books are my ultimate teaching tools. Books are unassuming, non threatening, demand nothing and wait for attention.
In the past, I had been pulling together a weekly basket of books to ensure we enjoyed a more well rounded selection. (My friend Melissa over at Lone Star Signers and I use the hashtag #weeklyreadingbasket, will you join us?).  After my third child was born, I had such a hard time feeling better that I couldn't read aloud. This broke my heart because we all missed our reading together time. A couple of weeks of this and I instituted family bedtime reading and enlisted my husband's help. We had always read books before bed, but never as a group. So now, everyone climbs on my bed, we turn all the lights off and read 4 books (each child gets 2 selections) with a book light. This has done amazing things for our nighttime routine and for closeness as a family. Even when I was unable to read, I was still there to enjoy the stories. Now that I am feeling better, our bedtime gathering has continued and our #weeklyreadingbasket is back! Daytime reading has been revived and we are so happy to have this back in our routine.
I really want to share our books and experiences with you even more than ever before. I am starting a new blog series called "Real Life with Books". You are invited to follow along every week on Friday to see what we read and what reading aloud did for us. Did my daughter sleep surrounded by 12 books? Did one book go from the library to the playground through the house and back? What were our worst book selections? What did my kids love and I hate? I can't wait to share our real life with books and I encourage you to share with me on Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to post on my wall what you are reading or use our #weeklyreadingbasket hashtag everywhere!

**I absolutely cannot talk about reading aloud without mentioning Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things. Her podcast series is called The Read Aloud Revival and it is amazing. From her encouraging words to her stellar guests, you will definitely not regret listening. This revival has encouraged me to keep doing what I do with books and then some. Sign up for her Jumpstart Challenge and get great info and printables, included is an attractive read aloud tracker. (I am in no way affiliated with her, I just really, really love what she is doing).**

I hope you have a beautiful week of sharing stories.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Build Your Weight Loss Wardrobe With #Thrifted Finds @GoodwillSA

Have you ever been "in between" sizes? Were you at a loss in regards to what to wear everyday?

I am in the process of losing some weight, and now that I have items for my capsule wardrobe (see previous post here), I can concentrate on RIGHT NOW. Right now I am in between sizes and really cannot see myself spending $$$ on clothes that are just for this temporary stage. Of course, Goodwill here in San Antonio has been a great resource for me to find a nice collection of high quality clothing in my current size for LESS $$$. Win!

Just look at these treasures:
Peruvian Connection (where a plain tshirt retails for $50) black sweater tunic. This is gorgeous in person, and feels amazing. It is made of baby alpaca and wool.

BCBG Maz Azria layered shirt (far left). This top has a sheer silk like top layer and a tshirt material tank attached underneath with a ribbed waistband. So comfy!

Loft black and white top (far right)

Talbots blue tshirt and boat sweater

Gap white tee (not pictured)

Boden skirt (my only wildcard here, not sure what I will pair this with but I love this skirt--it even has pockets!)
 $3.99 each. Ya'll. I repeat. $3.99. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU FIND THESE AMAZING PRICES?!
Notice I kept the color scheme mostly black (I will finally admit it, I love to wear black, especially this time of year), blue and neutral. I am pairing most of this with leggings and a pair of very forgiving jeans I have on hand.

Oh! And I found these very comfy non clunky Naturalizer slip ons for $8.99! They were brand new when I thrifted them, I have since been wearing them non stop.

 What do you think? Go find your local Goodwill today and stock up. You won't regret it. To find the Goodwill near you in San Antonio, check out this link.

I was given a gift card to purchase some of the items in this post. All opinions are my own, ya'll know I love a good thrift store!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Best Fall Book (and more!) Releases with a STEM Feminist Twist?

I have a confession to make: my wish list of books grows by the day. Actually, probably by the hour. Being a Barefoot Books Ambassador gives me the inside scoop on lots of great new releases, which only increases my list. Then there are awesome book blogs like Growing Book By Book and others that keep me in the know too. Ahhh...I need all the books. Here is what is on my Barefoot wishlist, and they are going to renew your confidence in quality, diverse literature for children. All of these can be accessed through my website home page. (Affiliate links used, thank you for your support!)

Space Song Rocket Ride: I know my kids will love the singalong and I can't wait to see the educational end notes, they will definitely help us do a unit on learning about space!

Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words: The illustrations in the previews I saw were amazing and it shows moms babywearing while working, among many other wonderful things.

Dinosaur stickers. Because they are $5 and there are 160. Enough said.

The Beeman: I really thought we had this book, but I can't find it. This book "Told from the viewpoint of a child whose Grandpa is a beekeeper, this rhyming text offers an accessible and engaging introduction to the behavior of bees, including: where they live, how honey is made, and what a beekeeper does" There is even a muffin recipe at the end!

Now, drumroll PLEASE. The two princess stories just released by Barefoot are beginner chapter books.
Kirkus review says of Dara's Clever Trap, "Happily-ever-after with a STEM feminist twist: how very timely." Yes, indeed.
Of The Princess of the Springs, Kirkus starts the review, "Venturing past Disney princesses, here is Ibura, Brazilian Princess of the Springs."

Now, these books made me think. Can you imagine what they will do for our children?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekly Reading Basket Volume 5 #weeklyreadingbasket

We have had lots going on around here. Lately I have really been lax about reading aloud time with my almost 5 year old and I see a difference in behavior with my son--not for the better. He still spends hours looking at books by himself, but he really does need the closeness and calming effects that reading aloud creates for us. My daughter and I have been reading a lot more than usual and it seems to help her concentrate better when she is perusing books independently.
Our audio book use has gone up, up, up in the past couple of weeks. Madeline has been on repeat...much to my chagrin. While I love the story, the audio version we got from the library this time is quite annoying to me with the two narrators and the cheesy songs..but the kids love it. We all absolutely love Barefoot's new release The Wheels on the Bus (affiliate link). I was hesitant about this book, but as usual its another success from Barefoot. It is set in Guatemala and my daughter loves, loves the pictures (even when the cd is off...although she has figured out how to make the song play repeatedly).
We have very much enjoyed the Grouchy Ladybug, the kids ask each other "hey, wanna fight?" and then burst into laughter. The rhythm, repetition and artistry in this book are just wonderful, its one of my fave read alouds. The Richard Scarry book literally provides hours of entertainment in itself, (although reading it aloud is a challenge, we just read bits and pieces). I want to make sure we read the Kissing Hand this week, we have never read it before. The Little Red Hen  (affiliate link) is amazingly told and illustrated...the illustrations are BREATHTAKING!! "This lively version of the classic tale is given contemporary treatment with dynamic, textured illustrations which consist of collage hung from wires then photographed by artist Kate Slater." Ah! Can you imagine the creative process there?
The Tale of Three Trees is filled with beautiful art and is not too long, sometimes beautiful books recommended by Catholic Mosaic are too lengthy. We have not read it yet this week, but I hear it is a moving tale of three trees whose destinies are not what they wished for but are what God wills for them.

In other book news, last week I saw this TWADDLE being toted around the house, the Lego book from the library and the Grover book from our pile of books. Both are oddly worded, hard to read, confusing stories. The Grover story seems cute but at first I thought it was missing pages because the story just ends abruptly, and the Lego one is a bit better. These books will be removed ASAP. I am all for letting the kids pick their books but these are just not beautiful, or even have worthwhile plots.

What are your kids reading this week? Use the #weeklyreadingbasket on social media so we can all see!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Capsule Wardrobe Dresses With @GoodwillSA #thrift

As you might know from this post and this post, I am on a mission to have a small, wonderful wardrobe. Most of the clothes in my closet are from Goodwill. Because I change my mind so much and the prices are so great, (I never pay more than $9 for ANY CLOTHING ITEM), I can't resist shopping at Goodwill here in San Antonio before anywhere else.
I have long been searching for the perfect, classic chambray dress. I found it!! For Texas, I feel that the mid weight of the fabric and the cut of this dress are perfect for wear year round. The silver metal buttons, the sleeve detail and the self belt are perfect touches to a classic shape. This was $5.99 at Goodwill.
You can see more of the dress here. Also, I found the bias cut dress from Old Navy, this will be in my storage closet and I will wear it next spring. This dress was also $5.99.

 I have seen that grey is still going to be in this fall, so when I found this soft To The Maxx brand dress with the deep vneck, I knew it would be perfect for fall. Not too short and not too long, this dress hits me at the perfect length. Also, note the sleeves and how they are 3/4 sleeves (perfect for my short arms!) It is a perfect dress to layer with or without leggings, and to add a great statement necklace.

Here we have a sleeveless olive green Gap dress made out of one of my favorite fabrics...rayon. The buttons at the front are great for nursing access and the dress is perfect for one of my special cardigans (I love cardigans). The black and white silk Banana Republic dress is a maybe for my fall capsule. Its tag indicates that it is a summer dress and it is very lightweight. But the colors are timeless and season-less! The dresses were $5.99 each.

So here you go, 3 dresses that will be in my fall capsule wardrobe for sure, and 1 maybe. What do you think? Do you have a classic, versatile dress like the chambray one? What do you think of these awesome prices?!

*I was given a gift card to Goodwill in exchange for this post*