On the Bookshelf: Books that Made the Cut

Pile of books

Uff. Let me first brush off the blog a bit—it’s a little dusty around here. The housekeeper was busy keeping a tiny human fed and happy, snuggling with her boys, and enjoying the holiday season ;)

Probably like many of you, the post-Christmas season felt like I was constantly navigating the maze of Amazon boxes, finding bits of ripped wrapping paper in strange places, and trying to find places for all the new stuff we received. Especially after months of feeling constantly behind in housework, having visitors, trying to find new rhythms with three kids, I was feeling one word: overwhelmed. Well, two words: overwhelmed and stressed.

One of my number one stressors is clutter. When I feel like I can’t keep up with the stuff and the house always feels messy, it often leaves me feeling like I just want to sit and say “whatevs”—I’ll just live like this forever because it’s easier than managing it. Have you been there?

Thankfully, I know that a little time, intentionality, and encouragement can help me get up and get going. The closets have been cleaned up a bit, the broken and unused toys purged, the art supplies organized and cleaned out (anyone else wonder how so many markers lose their caps?), and random kitchen dishes donated. But, the other day I had to face one of the most challenging areas for me to declutter: kid’s books. I don’t love the books scattered all over the floor, but I do love books for the kids. So what’s a girl to do?

Well, thanks to Tidying Up on Netflix, I figured that could start with a big pile on the floor and go from there. We collected all the books from the house, threw away the books that were beyond repair, chose our favorites, and then decided which ones to donate. We ended up keeping probably about 75% of them (mostly because I did a book purge about 6 months ago and have been better about not buying a whole bunch of random books at thrift stores), but it still feels good to weed out the 25% that were never read or simply worn out. My hope is to have a smaller library filled with books we really love to read together instead of a haul of random books that are tossed around but hardly read. Especially with the public library so accessible, I don’t need to own all the books we’d like the read :)

I wanted to share some of top “keeps” that will probably always make the cut—these are books that I would gladly gift or recommend. You can see some other books that we’ve loved purchasing or picking up at the library here.

We’ll start with books that we still love looking through and are lovely reference books. Even after owning them for a while, we always spot new things and learn something interesting every time we read them.


The Big Book of Bugs

The Big Book of Beasts

We also plan on adding the Big Book of Blue in the near future :)

Next up, are the oldies but goodies. I love vintage/tried and true books, but these are the ones the boys still love to read (and I love them too). In fact, Duck is a book I remember reading as a little child!


Gregory the Terrible Eater (I just adore the tongue-and-cheek humor of this book!)

Rosie’s Walk (It’s just plain adorable)

Goodnight Moon (We also have Goodnight Loon like a good Minnesotan family. Ha!)

Duck (cute and simple—perfect for baby)

Home for a Bunny (Just a sweet story. I love anything by Margaret Wise Brown)

Finally, we have the books that I love to read just as much as the kiddos. They are fun, have adorable illustrations, and never fail to entertain :)

Books you want to read

Trucks Galore (the illustrations on this are quirky and cute!)

Go! Go! Go! Stop (This is hands-down Sam’s favorite book and both boys love to interact with it!)

Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner (fun rhyming and well-illustrated)

Bugs Galore (We also have Cars Galore—we love all of them!)

Giraffes Can’t Dance (A sweet story and fun to read)

These are a just a few of our favorites that I thought I’d share just in case you want to add a new book to your library list or your own home library. Tell me: what are your family’s favorite books?

Have a good one!


Ps. Affiliate links are included in this post. If you want to know more about them, check out my affiliate disclosure.

On the Bookshelf: An Easter Pick

As Easter nears, I'm on the hunt for quality stories that help bring the gospel story to life. Recently, I saw someone share the book The Garden, The Curtain, The Cross*, and I ordered it right away. I don't buy too many books (thanks to the library!), but I thought this one would make a lovely addition to our ever-growing library. 


When we got it, I fell in love with the illustrations (because Catalina Echeverri is such a wonderful illustrator!). I also loved the depth, and the fresh perspective, of the story. Even now, it's not often that I think about that huge curtain that loomed in the temple--a very literal separation of God and His people. For kiddos (and adults too!), the symbolism of the curtain tearing is a strong visual for understanding how Jesus' death and resurrection allows us access to God.

I think some of it was a bit over my 4-year-old's head, but the main idea was strong:

Sin separated us from God, BUT Jesus died on the cross and took our sin so that we can be with God again.

And that's really the most important thing, right?

Do you have any favorite books for Easter?


ps. Don't forget to download some free Easter prints + coloring pages to enjoy as we near Easter. 

Have a good one, friends!


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On the Bookshelf: Baby Wren and the Great Gift


Right now, my boys are out building snow castles and eating their fair share of dirty snow while I'm cozy inside with the sunshine and a bit of quiet (amen, right?) 

It's not quite spring here, but I am getting glimpses of it--the cold isn't so frigid, the birds are singing a bit more, and the snow is melting (for now) into mushy puddles. 

As the first day of spring approaches, I'm making a list of all the activities we can do and make once it gets a tad warmer: start seedlings for the garden, make little bird feeders, make mud pies, and take walks to the park. 

Since I have spring on my mind, when we went to the library last week, I picked up the sweetest little book that reminds me of spring. I had read the book before, so I was excited to bring it home and reread it again with the boys. 


Baby Wren and the Great Giftis a book by Sally Loyd-Jones about a little bird who is searching for her gift/place in the world. Finally, after meeting many other animals, she learns what her gift is. The writing is lyrical and has repeated verses (which helps build the story for kids) and the illustrations are so lovely and beautiful. This book is wonderful for talking about how God has made everyone (and everything) unique and with a purpose. 

Since it is almost spring (right?), maybe it is a good time to whip us some little bird feeders for all those sweet birds singing their songs. Or, in our case, give the squirrels something new to eat ;) 

DIY Bird feeder

You can download and print this cute little DIY bird feeder instructions if you'd like to make your own. Once I can hunt down a pinecone, we'll be making some for our little birdies too.

Happy Thursday, friends!



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On the Bookshelf: The Big Book of Bugs

Here in Minnesota, we are smack dab in the middle of winter. Although many parts of winter are draining (like zipping up winter jackets over and over, squishing little feet into boots, spending 25 minutes looking for a lost mitten, and days of grey skies), I do love that winter affords me the excuse to stay home a little more and get cozy. One winter rhythm we have is daily snuggle and reading time on the couch. We often find ourselves there after afternoon naps and snacks -- or maybe after I've called in the troops when the noise level enters into crazy-loud territory ;) We gather under the warm blankets and the boys grab some of their favorite books.


Recently, the book my oldest has been reaching for over and over to read is The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer* Although it's a hefty book, it's one that I certainly don't mind reading. The illustrations are beautiful and the bug facts included are interesting, but sometimes a little more than I want to know about dust mites and centipedes--ha! My four-year-old always gets a kick out of the dung beetle rolling poo ;)


I also love to use this book as a conversation starter for talking about the intricate and amazing ways that God put together nature. I find myself often saying "Wow! God made that bug super cool!" Even though we've looked through and read this book over and over, something surprises me or reminds me of God's character every time we flip it open.


I look forward to referencing it this spring when more of the creepy crawlies come out, and the boys can go bug hunting, dirt digging, and nature exploring. In the meantime, we'll keep enjoying our bug book during reading time and maybe pulling out some butterfly and caterpillar craft mats to remind us that spring is coming. Maybe you need a little spring in your days too? If you do, download these prints for a some afternoon fun. Decorate them with craft supplies, use them as a play dough mat, add fabric for texture, etc--just have fun :) 


Have a good one, friends!

-- Nicole 

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