Book Crush

My Ode to Reading

I love reading… seems like a rather lame introduction to a post regarding my undying love for the written word – specifically in book form. But it is accurate – my love for reading is unconditional. I get really amped up over every book I read that takes ahold of me (in a good or bad way) and I have been known to behave a bit like Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook when ranting to my parents about a book (I do this with movies also).

I don’t hate the books I have read that were less than riveting, bored me to tears (looking at you 50 Shades of Grey sequels) or that ended in a manner that I felt was inappropriate – because someone wrote each and everyone of those books. Someone took the time to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard and pour their heart and soul out in order to produce something that would be judged by everyone who read it and if they were lucky – really lucky – that book would be judged by millions of strangers.

I love reading because no matter what else is going on in my life, no matter how stressed, angry, overwhelmed, tired, cranky, sad or happy, elated, content, relaxed (I am never relaxed) I am feeling, I can open a book and disappear between the pages. If it’s an exceptionally captivating book, then it’s as if time stands still when I am reading and I am transported to the time and place written about in that book; as if I am a quiet observer, almost close enough to touch the characters.

I love reading because I love the way a book feels in my hand – I tried reading on my former iPad (I miss you iPad!), but it wasn’t the same. I like the smell and feel of a book. I have bought used books from antique stores simply based on the way they looked and felt (insert judging a book by it’s cover joke here).

I can’t go more than a day without a book – which means carefully timing my library requests or Amazon orders and as a parent I have tried from day one to instill the same love of reading in my four children. When they were newborns I would read to them aloud from the newspaper, magazines, or books I was reading (as long as they weren’t too scary… didn’t want to scar them from the start) and while I don’t read everything aloud to them anymore, we do read together every day. They especially love when I use my funny voices and I especially love that in the past few years my 2 oldest daughters have learned to read (the twins aren’t far behind) and they love it just as much as I do. We have trouble staying under the 50 book limit on our library trips. Aside from taking their first steps, learning to read is my favorite childhood milestone – the look on their faces when they realize that they have just read the word on the page of a book is enough to bring me to tears. Or when they start to slowly recognize the letters and sound them out and shout to me from the other room, “Mom! This spells DOG! It’s right here in the book!” I love that.

This post was originally intended to share with you some articles I wrote for Untrained Housewife about great books to read aloud as a family and now it’s turned into my love letter to books, but either way you can see – I take reading very seriously.

Check out my 2 new posts on Untrained Housewife: 20 Classic Read Aloud Books for Families and 25 Modern Read Aloud Books for Families.

20 Classic Read Aloud Books for Families 25 Modern Read Aloud Books for Families

And I thought I would also share with you two tools that I love when it comes to deciding what to read and keeping track of what the kids and I have read. Goodreads is a fabulous site that allows users to keep lists of books they’ve read and want to read, gives you recommendations based on your ratings and reviews and on top of that you can discuss what you are reading with friends.


Another fun tool when you are sad to be done with a book you just loved is What Should I Read Next? You simply type in the book you just finished (or any other book you loved) and they will give you a list of suggestions.

Well enough writing, it’s time for me to go put on some warmer clothes (it’s unseasonably cold in Florida) and curl up with my new library books.

What are some of your favorite books as a child or an adult?


Sauce and Balls

Alright, Alright… I apologize for the crass title. It was just too easy…

This week has been a tasty one so far – green smoothies and rainbow veggie wraps (the wraps were able to impress 3 out of 4 children, which is a success in my book). The smoothies were a mash up of some recipes for smoothies and juices I found on The Londoner – they all sound delicious, but I ended up using what I had on hand to save time – kale, spinach, ginger root, apple, lemon juice and a splash of pineapple juice – and a lot of ICE – this is not a drink you want to have at room temperature. For the wraps (which I didn’t have time to snap a pic of since they were gobbled up so fast, save for that one child … ahem… Ainsley… who pouted in disgust at the offending meal), I simply used flour tortillas, shredded carrots, diced red bell peppers, chopped romaine, and diced cucumbers. I used ranch dressing as the binding agent here and because my children love it in a way that borders obsession, but I have seen others use cream cheese.

Green Smoothies

I even managed to get myself to bed early last night after a busy day of writing, laundry, writing, laundry, driving around to pick up children, LAUNDRY… the only problem was that I woke up at 1 a.m. … for good. Was not able to fall back asleep. The green smoothie helped pick me up a little this morning, but it’s safe to say I am not operating at full speed (in fact, I am not even sure that metaphor sounds good). Lack of sleep means I am not super pumped to make dinner tonight (or do more laundry, seriously… is it multiplying?!), but then I remembered that I have my Homemade Super Special Lubrano Spaghetti Sauce in the freezer and I have all the ingredients to make my Florentine Turkey Meatballs! This may sound like a labor intensive Sunday supper, but it really isn’t. Granted the sauce takes some time to cook – but do it once and make enough to freeze two extra batches for future dinners. And the meatballs come together really quickly and after a quick sear on the stove top, they finish cooking in the oven. This meal really is a crowd pleaser, which always makes mealtime easier. And if you aren’t in the mood for red sauce, the meatballs well end up with their own gravy that is simply delicious – serve with a nice chunk of toasted ciabatta bread and a salad and dinner is done. Enjoy and let me know how the recipes turned out for you!

Florentine Meatballs & Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

St. Patrick’s Day Rant

St. Patrick's Day Rant


Saunters up to mic confidently, dressed in suit and tie (irrelevant), double taps mic.

St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away which means I am frantically preparing. Nope, not by loading up on Guinness and green food coloring. Instead I have been frantically making sure all 4 kids have something green to wear, making sure my eldest’s leprechaun trap is ready to be turned in to her teacher on Friday and thanking my lucky stars that my children will be at their father’s house for the big day. Not because I plan on indulging in all things Irish, but because I refuse to participate in what has become another excuse to buy children gifts and candy.

While St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, it’s still celebrated in the United States with parades in cities like Chicago and New York with large Irish-American populations. But let’s be honest, St. Patrick’s Day is typically an excuse for ADULTS to drink ridiculous amounts of beer and if they can stomach it, eat corn beef and cabbage. When exactly did St. Patrick’s Day become yet another kid-centered holiday!? Don’t get me wrong, I love a holiday (Christmas is my favorite. My belief in Santa will not wane), but when did every holiday become toy and candy binges for children (Read Kate’s thoughts on Valentine’s Day at The Guavalicious Life)?!

I remember when my eldest, now 8, was in preschool and she first started going on and on about Leprechaun Day (um, it’s called St. Patrick’s Day kiddo) and how the leprechaun would visit their class while they were at home the night before and “make mischief” and “leave presents.” (Presents?!) And the best part, my dearest daughter told me that her teachers told her the leprechaun would do the same at our home… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! (Do NOT send me any hate mail, I love teachers. We have been blessed with one amazing teacher after another over the years and I know we are very lucky for that). And this was not a one time occurrence, almost every teacher since that first one has reiterated this belief. Where did this idea come from?! What happen to just wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day – which just so happens to be my only memory of this holiday from childhood.

Dramatically removes mic from stand for emphasis.

So now that I have just taken a deep sigh of relief after 2 birthdays in October, Halloween, Christmas, 2 more birthdays in January and Valentine’s Day, you’re telling me I am expected to make it look like a f*cking leprechaun came into my home, made a mess and left presents. Now if memory serves, leprechauns are indeed into mischief-making, but I do not belief they are in the habit of bringing new toys to children (the big guy in red has the market cornered on that task, and he doesn’t make a mess when he delivers gifts).

I love my children, but the idea that I am supposed to shower them with gifts on another retail-driven holiday is utterly ridiculous. I am boycotting… just as soon as I finish finding enough green ribbon for hair bows.

Drops mic.

Lubrano Out.