Bookworms: Teaching Your Kids How to Read

30 Aug

My girls don’t attend an “academic” preschool. Theirs is play-based and we love it. I figured that when the time came, I’d end up supplementing a lot of their early academics at home.

During the end of the past school year, it became obvious that they were ready to start learning how to read. “Mom, how do you spell ‘ninja turtles'”? “Mom, how do you spell ‘ice cream'”?

I did some internet research and found this book on Amazon:

51meUDdquRL._SX383_BO1,204,203,200_It’s not a new book (published in 1986), but it has over 1,500 four or five star Amazon reviews. I thought I’d give it a shot as a summer project.

We’re now exactly halfway through the 100 lessons, which has taken the whole summer. I am totally amazed by the results! The book provides a script for the parent, so you know exactly what to say while being the teacher, and an entire lesson takes no more than 15 or 20 minutes (which, frankly, is all the attention span a 4-year-old is going to give you).

The girls pick up the lessons at a different pace, but they are both reading now. It has been incredibly exciting. At lesson 50, we still have a long way to go, and I’m not interested in rushing the process. Due to their age, we may end up plateauing or repeating lessons, and that’s OK. I’ve just been so impressed by this book that I had to share it. It’s perfectly designed for anyone to use.

That said, of course preschoolers don’t need to know how to read yet, and pushing kids that aren’t ready probably isn’t a great idea. However, if your kids are ready to try, I highly recommend this book and its approach.

Summer (Sun Protection) Things

24 Jun

Summer is here, which means I’ve switched into full sun protection mode. We’re outside pretty much year round and sun protection is always on my mind, but I step up my vigilance game when the UV rays get even more aggressive during the summer months.

Here’s a round up of my favorite products this year:

Costco is offering a great selection of protective kidswear right now. The girls are loving this wide-brimmed hat (below). Best part is that it’s fully adjustable to accommodate growing heads.

CostcohatCostco also currently has full body swim suits. We bought these for the girls and they cover up arms, back, shoulders, tummy, and thighs, leaving only calves and feet needing sunscreen. So convenient!

Super soakers!

Super soakers!

For sunscreen, my two picks this year are The Honest Company SPF 30 and Babyganics SPF 50. These sunscreens are both mineral-based and recommended in the EWG 2015 Sunscreen Guide for Safe Sunscreens.

For my own coverage, I’m a big fan of Athleta’s UPF tops, which provide SPF 50 and can be worn in and out of water. I also have a bit of summer hat obsession and am rocking this one and this one right now.

Sunscreen-wise, you can’t go wrong with anything La Roche Posay.

For lips, I have searched far and wide for a chapstick/lip tint that provides SPF but doesn’t taste or smell bad. This Sugar Nude by Fresh lip treatment is the best I’ve ever tried!

Lastly, and totally not sun protection-related — here’s an idea for “inside-out coffee” that is a genius fix for iced coffee lovers!

What are your best picks for the summer months?



Father’s Day Gift Idea — Kid Questionnaire

9 Jun

Looking for something easy, and funny, for the kids to give dad this year for Father’s Day? We’re trying out this fun questionnaire below, borrowed from my friend Tish of Kale and Crayons. The answers will undoubtedly give you some insight into your kids’ perceptions and will certainly be “keepers”!

Without any prompting, ask your child these questions and write down exactly what they say. Enjoy!

1. What is something Dad always says to you?

2. What makes Dad happy?

3. What makes Dad sad?

4. How does Dad make you laugh?

5. What was Dad like as a child?

6. How old is Dad?

7. How tall is Dad?

8. What is Dad’s favorite thing to do?

9. What does Dad do when you’re not here?

10. If Dad becomes famous what will it be for?

11. What is Dad really good at?

12. What is Dad not very good at?

13. What is Dad’s job?

14. What makes you proud of Dad?

15. What is Dad’s favorite food?

16. What do you & Dad do together?

17. How are you & Dad the same?

18. If Dad was a cartoon character who would he be?

19. How are you & Dad different?

20. How do you know Dad loves you?

21. What does Dad like best about Mom?

22. Where is Dad’s favorite place to go?


Twin Art Collaboration

14 Apr

My girls spend hours upon hours coloring with markers. Hours.

Kelly likes to free-hand draw.


Portrait of me with baby Luke


Pirate ship with parrot, sun, and crocodile

Caroline prefers to color between the lines.


And then one day, they decided to work together to create this masterpiece. Kelly drew the outline and Caroline colored it in.


Space ship blasting off to the planets and stars

The best part? The idea was all theirs. And Kelly drew the two of them as astronauts so they could be together in space.

It’s a twin thing!

Twinthusiasm the Book is Here!

7 Mar

I’m excited to announce that my e-book, Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins is published and ready for download! Please feel free to share with any twin moms or mamas-to-be.


The e-book is available at:


Barnes and Noble



“Navigating a twin pregnancy and the first year with two babies can be more than a little crazy. Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins offers moral support and useful tips – served with a dash of humor – to help you survive the wild ride.

Twinthusiasm includes helpful insights on preparing your home during your pregnancy, asking for the help you’ll need, breastfeeding, getting your twins on a schedule, handling sleep deprivation – as well as time savers, money savers, and sanity savers. Bundling encouragement with practical advice and personal anecdotes, this book serves as a cheerleader for multiples parents everywhere.”

If you read it and like it, consider leaving an online review. Thanks for your support!

Valentine Pinterest Fail

14 Feb

Some moms are awesome at Pinterest projects. My attempted valentine’s craft landed me in the nailed it category.

Inspired by a friend’s holiday gift, my goal was to do footprints of the girls framing Luke’s footprints, which were supposed to be the “heart” in the center. I wanted to give these out to their grandparents as valentines.

Going with the valentine’s theme, I busted out the red paint. This was a mistake. Three kids with red paint underfoot = my house looking like a crime scene. Even the best version of their footprints ended up looking super creepy:

20150210_153132I quickly came to the conclusion that this wasn’t quite giving off the “I love you” vibe that I was going for.

Time for a back up plan. Luckily, I had a purple stamp pad on hand and was able to salvage our project:

20150210_163312This is much cuter, right? And it has the added benefit of not looking like CPS needs to come to my home.

Have you ever had a Pinterest fail? ;)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Explaining the Old Testament to Three-Year-Olds…

27 Jan

Following Luke’s baptism this past weekend, we were gifted an illustrated children’s Bible by Aunt Jenn and Uncle Bobby. Now, the girls have a number of prayer books and Biblical story books scattered about the house, but this version really captured their imagination and has lead to hours of reading.

However, the Bible is not without its inherent complications. I’ve now had my fair share of doctrinal mishaps with my budding theologians.

As expected, we started with Genesis. Initially distracted by the fact that Adam and Eve are, indeed, naked, the girls quickly grasped the concept of obeying God when he tells you not to do something, just like they’re supposed to obey their parents.

Alright! I’m nailing this! Look how nicely we’re talking about God together!

Noah’s Ark is always a big hit with the kiddos. Jacob and Esau was confusing, but we plowed on. Then things started to go awry. If you haven’t read the Old Testament in a while, you may forget how BRUTAL it is. Even the watered down children’s version is filled with death, threats, and plenty of fire and brimstone. The girls love it. It goes hand in hand with their obsession with “bad guys.”

Things really headed south once we got to Moses vs. the pharaoh and the 10 plagues.

The pharaoh was not a nice person. This was immediately apparent to the girls. But how exactly to explain this?


Kelly: “The river is blood??”

Me: “Um, yeah. God was telling the pharaoh it was time to let the people go…”

Caroline: “The river has lots and lots of owies?”

Me: “Yes.”

Caroline: “Does it need Band-Aids?”

Me: “Sure.”

We went a little off topic for a while, then came to this gem:


Yeah, that’s the part where God’s going to kill all the firstborn Egyptian babies. Nice.

Caroline: “Is he going to hurt the babies?”

Me: “Yes, this is just your run-of-the mill Old Testament genocide.” Wait! Genocide’s not a word to teach preschoolers. The parenting handbooks tell you that, right?

Me (what I really said): “He wanted to, um, take them away, but then the pharaoh listened and let the people go.”

Girls: moderate acceptance of the story…


We coasted through a few more stories, then landed on the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego story.


Kelly: “Why are they in the fire?”

Me: “The naughty king put them there.” (I know that is one extreme punishment)…

Kelly: “Are they going to get burned?”

Me: “No, the angel saved them!”

Girls: processing…

Me: “But we never touch fire!” (I mean, look how HAPPY they are to be in that furnace! A little confusing, don’t you think?)

Things progressed pretty much like this. We got a bit of a break once we hit the New Testament and could start talking more about miracles. But you guys, this Bible thing is wiping me out.



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