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.

Celebrating St.Nicholas Day

While I spend some extra time snuggling the new little one, I invited Kayla from Baby Devotions to share some fun ideas and activities to enjoy with your kids this holiday season. Be sure to visit her website or say hello to her on Instagram. She shares so many intentional and simple activities to do with your kids to teach them about Jesus, kindness, and the world around us :)


December 6th is St. Nicholas’ Day and has been gaining popularity in recent years, especially among families that have fond memories of Santa Clause, but feel conflicted, wanting to keep Christ the center of Christmas. For those that are unfamiliar with the tradition, allow me to introduce you and share a few ways to celebrate.

What is St. Nicholas’ Day?

St. Nicholas Day is the day celebrating the man that is most commonly known as Santa, or maybe I should say the man who Santa is based off of. St. Nicholas was a man that lived in Turkey around 300 AD. He was known for his good works, charity, and kindness that flowed from the love God had given to him. Often his good works were done in secret, when no one is watching. St. Nicholas Day is to remember his example of tangibly showing God's love to others.

Ways to Celebrate

There are several ways I have seen this day celebrated, and I am sure there are many more ways you could celebrate. But here are some ways you could use this day to let Santa build your family's faith.

  1. Fill Shoes-- Traditionally, this holiday is celebrated by leaving their shoes out before bedtime on December 5th. While the children are asleep, parents fill the shoes with candies, oranges, and small toys (much like you would fill a Christmas stocking). The first time I saw this day celebrated, my friends bought new slippers for all their children, and filled them up, placing them next to the Christmas tree for their littles.

  2. Have Santa Come Early-- Other friends I know choose to just have Santa come early. Instead of saving all the presents until December 25th, they have Santa come on December 6th so that Christmas Day will be reserved meditating on Christ and his birth.

  3. Secret Santa-- Choose a friend or neighbor to secretly bless as a family. This may mean leaving a basket of goodies on their porch and ding-dong-ditching them. This could mean shoveling their sidewalk before they have a chance. Pay for the meal behind you when you are going through the drive-thru. What other ways can you think of secretly blessing someone?

  4. Learn About St. Nicholas-- Finally, in our family, we simply take some time to learn about St. Nicholas’ life. Shining a light on the real St. Nicholas, and the fact that he is an example of how we can show love to others can help avoid confusion about what Santa has to do with Jesus. This year we are watching Veggietales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving and reading the Veggietales book by the same name. Other good resources are (ps. some of these are affiliate links*)

-The (Wonderful) Truth About Santa* by Jessica Jansen.

-St. Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend* by Julie Stiegemeyer

-St. Nicholas: The Real Story on Amazon Prime Video

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day in your family? What other ways can you think of to celebrate?

ps. Thanks for sharing Kayla! I think we may introduce a few St.Nick activities to our holiday season this year :) How about you?

Introducing the Newest Product Tester

Hello friends!

I wanted to pop in to share with you that we welcomed our 3rd son, Connor Michael, on November 12th. He arrived at 11:56 pm and weighed in at 9lb 11oz!

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of  JD Photos

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of JD Photos

The last two weeks have been so sweet—full of lots of baby snuggles, family, cozy days, and adjusting to being a family of 5. Connor’s such a content and calm (usually!) baby, and we look forward to getting to know his little personality.

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of  JD Photos

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of JD Photos

Although it’s definitely a big change to have another little guy in the house, I’m so thankful that our transition so far has been (mostly) peaceful. Maybe it’s helping that I’m not tallying how many hours I’ve slept (or not slept-ha!) and making space for rest and less structured days.

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of  JD Photos

Photo taken by my talented sister and owner of JD Photos

I am enjoying the breather from creating (although the nighttime feedings often give me lots of time to brainstorm new ideas), but I also look forward to getting back to sharing more and creating more when I feel ready and rested (if that’s possible with a newborn?)

In the meantime, be sure to visit the shop for some Christmas inspiration or peek at the free resources page for some free Christmas printables too.

Have a good one!


Thanksgiving Snail Mail

Hey friends! While I wait for baby and then spend some extra time snuggling the new little one, I wanted to invite Kayla from Baby Devotions to share some fun ideas and activities to enjoy with your kids this holiday season. Be sure to visit her website or say hello to her on Instagram. She shares so many intentional and simple activities to do with your kids to teach them about Jesus, kindness, and the world around us :)

Thanksgiving cards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is sending thank you notes to some of our loved ones. This year I decided to mix up the tradition a little by making our own Thank You cards. My toddler loves Daniel Tiger, and I have found Daniel Tiger's “Thank You Day” episode has really helped her raps the concept of what the holiday is all about. In the episode, Daniel's family journeys to the enchanted garden where they hang their Thank You cards on the “Thank You Day” tree. So we decided to make our own “Thank You Day” trees for our Thank You cards. 


What you need: 

Construction Paper

Black fine-tip marker

Ink pad 

What you do: 

  1. Fold the construction paper in half

  2. Using a black fine-tip marker, draw a bare tree trunk on the paper. This can be as fancy or simple as you want. If you have older children, let them draw the tree. 

  3. Then have your child dip their thumb in ink and then press it on the paper. These are the leaves. Repeat until there are several leaves on the tree. 

  4. Write a note of thanks inside and send it to a loved one. 

thanksgiving card


The fun thing about this project is it can be used for all ages. For young toddlers and babies, you can simply help them print their thumb “leaves” and it becomes a sweet keepsake for grandparents that might receive the note. For older children, have them think of the person they are sending their note to. For each leaf they print, have them think of something they they appreciate about that person (i.e. taking them for ice cream, they're kind, playing catch with them, etc.)

Who might you send a thank you card to? What ways could you adapt this activity for your family? 

ps. Thanks for sharing Kayla! Snail mail really is so fun to send! If you are looking for another fun activity to do with your kiddos this season, check out the free gobbly cute turkeys and thanksgiving verse cards.

From A to Z: Letter Z

ps. the verse cards you see in this picture are part of the  full A-Z download in the shop  :)

ps. the verse cards you see in this picture are part of the full A-Z download in the shop :)

Well, friends, we made it to letter Z! This A-Z Bible truth series has been such a joy to work on, do with my own family, and share with you!

Of all the letters, we actually haven’t done letter Z yet. But, with a baby coming in a few weeks, I wanted to be sure to get the pack up on the blog so that the whole A-Z series is available.

I am, however, excited to read the story of Zacchaeus with my boys and teach them to Seek God with Zeal. We’ll definitely have to talk about what zeal means (because most 5 and 2 year olds don’t use that word on a daily basis. Ha!), but I love how the word zeal describes so much of how can pursue and seek God and knowing more about Him. We get to seek Him excitedly, with passion, with devotion, gusto, and energy!

This lesson includes an easy craft that would also go well with these free nature printables. While you make the paper binoculars, you can chat about how we can seek God and look for all the ways He shows Himself to us (nature is a great place to see God’s handiwork!).

If you’ve made it all the way to letter Z, cheers to you! My prayer is that these lessons have helped you share more about Jesus, God’s Word, and Bible truths with your little ones.

Just as a reminder, the whole series will always stay free on the blog. You can start with the letter A and see all the posts in the series here.

But, if you’d like all the downloads in one place as well as some additional resources, check out the whole Explore Bible Truths Creatively in the shop.

I hope to be popping in here and there once baby arrives, but if this blog gathers a few cobwebs over the next few months, bear with me. I do plan to get back into the groove once life settles in with baby #3. I’ve been dreaming up lots of ideas, new products, free resources, and fresh blog series for you too!

Have a good one, friends!