Tag Archives: books for moms

A sneak preview of summer survival fun

Tick, tick, tick.

Summer is rapidly approaching. Are you ready?

Earlier this week I mentioned that I would be sharing the phillips family’s summer schedule next week. Until then, I wanted to give you a little sneak peak into one of my summer survival tips:

Reading Programs.

Last summer, the children and I participated in two reading programs. One at our local library and one at a Half-Price Books retail store. Through these programs, the children earned free kids meals to local restaurants, free ice cream, small toys and a stack of $3 gift cards. They also (unknown to them) learned accountability, responsibility and the pride in completing a task. Miss E. completed the programs as a “listener” while her brother completed them as a “beginning reader.” This year, E. will be able to do a combo of listening and reading while Isaac will be a full-fledged, chapter book-loving reader.

Interested in getting your children plugged into some great reading programs? Check out the list below.






  • Pizza Hut: This reading program is for kids in K-6 grades. It offers kids a chance to win a large sweepstakes once they have met the reading requirement. Although winning a sweepstakes is not going to happen to every reader, the website for this contest is a valuable source of book suggestions, literacy activities and fun learning games.



  • Build-A-Bear: In the past, Build-a-Bear had a summer reading program for kids. Although their website does not yet have details regarding this year’s program, it should still be in operation. Read books and earn fun Build-A-Bear prizes!


  • Public Library. Most importantly, do not forget the public library. Take advantage of reading programs and special events hosted by your public library this summer.

PBSkids.org (a favorite website of ours) has a campaign devoted to developing strong literacy skills in children. Sometimes as parents we want our children to accomplish a task (i.e. reading) but do not know how to help them with such an accomplishment. The Raising Readers campaign is a great place to start!

Happy Reading this summer!

If you know of a reading program that I left off of this list, please be sure to share it in the comments section. Thanks!

**Wondering why my oldest child is sitting outside in May under a blanket? Well, he had a fever the day this picture was taken. Bless his sweet little heart. I was sad for his fever but my mama heart always loves to see my babies wrapped up in quilts from their infancy.

Bearing Fruit: Reading Edition

It is a odd January day here at the current location of casa de phillips. Although the calender reads “January 6th”, the temperature is a pleasant 63 degrees. I am working at the upstairs computer this afternoon (mainly to keep an eye on two children who are supposed to be resting in their rooms after a long morning at school, but instead are sneaking into each other’s rooms). The window is open, the local sports radio show is tuned in and turned up (Why am I addicted to sports radio?), and my cup of coffee is stationed carefully beside me (Oh, Keurig, how I love thee so).

It may be January, but it feels a bit like Spring outside.

Fortunately snow is predicted for this weekend (slight, slight chance…but I will take it) so I will embrace the warmer temperatures of today.

As I take in this spring-like day in the heart of winter, I have been thinking of how I can bear witness to my children in this new year. Obviously this is not a new concept. We all know the parent is the child’s strongest influence (even in those years when peer influence has such a heavy sway). I want to positively influence my children in a variety of ways, from the way I interact with others in public to the habits I have at home.

Just yesterday, my oldest child reacted to an annoyance brought on by his sister. He turned to her, got his little finger in her face, and proceeded to tell her exactly what he thought of her said annoyance.

It was like watching myself on replay.

Very slow, painful replay.


As I reflect this year on how I can bear positive fruit in the watchful gaze of  my children (and concentrate more on parenting with Grace…and less finger-pointing),I am going to write a series for the ol blog about ways parents can put forth a positive influence for their children in a variety of ways, from habits to behaviors to actions.

One habit that I want my children to see me engaging in is reading. Already both children love to read (Miss E. mastered all of her letter sounds at school right before Christmas and just started word building and independent reading today at school. Needless to say, she is thrilled!). I want to continue to cultivate that love by fostering an environment that places an importance on reading. I let the children see me reading quite a bit. I do not keep my books tucked away until after their bedtime, but rather sit down for a few minutes during the day and let them see me reading an actual adult book. If the story is interesting, I share a tidbit with them or explain why I am reading a particular book.

Because I am a curious person and figure the majority of the world is as well (hence the popularity of reality television and social networking sites), I thought I would share the books that are currently on my Reading List…books that I have just read, am reading or am about to read.

Sarah’s Key (read)

Still Alice (Just finished last night…Oh My Goodness. Must discuss this with somone ASAP!)

This Day: Diaries of American Women (currently reading)

Writing Motherhood (read)

Grace-based Parenting (currently reading)

A Plain and Simple Christmas (read)

Radical (Currently reading. This book will get its own post soon. It is life-changing)

Taking Care of the “Me” in Mommy (Future read…love “Blair”!)

The Homeschoolers Book of Lists (Future Read…excited to dive into this one)

A Charlotte Mason Companion(Future Read…bummed our library does not carry anything Charlotte Mason-oriented.)

Love in a Time of Homeschooling (Future Read)

The Wednesday Sisters (Future Read)

A Girl from Yamhill (Future Read..and Christmas present from the husband)

Lost Child in the Woods (Future Read)

The Kitchen House (Future Read…as soon as my mom finishes it and drops it in the mail.)

What is on your current reading list? Do you take time during your children’s waking hours to let them see you read?

Toss the guilt…read a good book in front of your kids

I think it is a pretty safe assumption to say that all parents want their children to read.

Sure, some may desire this learning experience to occur before a child’s first birthday (enter the “flashcards for babies” genre) while others are more comfortable with children picking up this skill once they hit the school-aged years. Regardless of when a parent desires for their child to learn how to read, all parents want their child to read.

Want to know a great tip for getting a child interested in reading?

Read yourself.

Think about it…children love to mimic what their parents are doing. We fork over big bucks for play kitchens so kiddos can pretend to whip up a batch of muffins just like mom. We immediately pull out three different cameras (digital, video and phone) when little Johnny decides to try on Daddy’s work shoes for the first time. Kids mimicking adults is how they learn.

Inspire a love for reading by letting your kids see you reading. In the past guilt might have crept in when you contemplated picking up a book while the kids play at your feet and the dishes sit in the sink, begging to be scrubbed. However, you can now sit down and read because it is an educational activityfor your children. How great is that? Bid farewell to the guilt associated with taking a few minutes to enjoy a good book despite housework that needs to be done or games of Candyland that need to be won.

My children see me and the husband reading quite a bit. We both have about three to four books we are working on at one time. I often take a break from my reading to explain the type of book I am engrossed in to my kids, telling them pieces of the storyline or some fun information I learned. This engages them in the process, illustrating the wonder that is reading a good book.

Recently I was contacted by the publisher of Sophie Kinsella’s books, inquiring if I would like an advanced copy of the newest edition of her “Shopaholic” series.

Um….yes, please!

Titled Mini-Shopaholic, this book brings back the beloved Rebecca Brandon (nee Bloomwood) and crew. Her child is now two years old and a bit of a mess, she and the husband are living with her parents and there are still many tempting purchases just waiting to be made. In the course of attempting to plan a big event, Becky finds herself in a vareity of humorous situations that reminds the reader of the physical slapstick comedy of Lucile Ball.

When asked to read this book and give an opinion about its contents, I was a bit hesitant. One never knows when a series is going to go south, when character development has reached its limit and when plot lines are just a bit too much and should have ended with the previous book in the series. Fortunately Mini-Shopoholicis none of these things. Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is in full shopaholic force. Relationships created in past books of this series continue to develop. Plot lines thicken.

And the reader laughs out loud…a lot.

Always a good sign, in my opinion.

Want to inspire a desire and love for reading in your child? Pick up a good book and take a few minutes to read while your kids are playing in the same room.

Need a good book recommendation? I urge you to pick up Sophie Kinsella’s latest edition to her shopaholic series, Mini-Shopaholic, available today at your favorite book store.

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