Tuesday, February 10, 2015

40 Chapter Books in 2015 + Free Printable Bookmarks!!!

My husband and I make it a point to try to read to our boys every single day. Because we know what a difference it truly can make.

We go to the library 2-4 times a month and I let each of the boys pick out a handful of books that they are interested in.

We buy Scholastic Books on Caleb's reading level, centered around characters he loves, in an effort to keep him interested in reading.

We read at all times of the day including in the morning, after school, at dinner and at bedtime.

It made me very happy to hear from Caleb's teacher at this last Parent-Teacher Conference that she can tell that we read to him and not only that but she can see the difference it has made in his reading and comprehension skills between the first of the year and now.

I also see a difference, one that has nothing to do with "reading accuracy or fluency" or "phonemic awareness," or "benchmarks,"  but rather a growth in his love for reading.

While its important to me that my son be able to string together a sentence and be able to read and understand others' sentences, I also want him to be able to access all of the magic and knowledge that reside within books.

And that is why we started reading chapter books together at night before bed. We started last September when we read The Tale of Despereaux as a family after receiving the book at a school function.

Soon after Caleb asked if we could read another book together. We chose The Boxcar Children because both my husband and I remembered reading this book as a child. From there we moved onto The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and then Stone Fox.

At the beginning of the year with the help of Caleb and my husband we chose thirty-six more chapter books to read, for a total of forty--one for every week of school.

You'll find our reading list below with links to Amazon, where you can find more info about each book including a synopsis, available formats and prices. (NOTE: These links are not affiliate links, but merely a place for you to find more information out about the book should you like to.)

The books below are listed in alphabetical order, not the order in which we are reading them.  I would recommend starting with shorter books first to build interest and momentum ;)

1.   Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
2.   The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
3.   The Borrowers by Mary Norton
4.   The Boxcar Children by Gertrude chandler Warner
5.   Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
6.   Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe
7.   Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
8.   Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
10. The Cricket in Time Square by George Selden
11. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
12. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
13. Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
14. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
15. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
16. Holes by Louis Sachar
17. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
18. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
19. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
20. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
21. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
22. Mary Poppins by Dr. P.L. Travers
23. Matilda by Roald Dahl
24. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
25. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
26. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien
27. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
28. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
28. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
29. Rascal by Sterling North
30. Ramona and Beezus by Beverly Cleary
31. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
33. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
34. Stuart Little by E. B. White
35. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
36. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
37. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
38. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
39. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
40. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

We've been averaging about a book a week and to hold our place each night, I made these bookmarks with a few of my favorite quotes about reading.  

Feel free to download and print them off for your own personal use!

Do you see any of your favorite chapter books for young readers on this list?  Or do you have another you'd like to share?  If so I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Birthday to a Wonderful Kid + A Friday Freebie on Thursday!!!

Hi there! I've been meaning to find the time and inspiration to share another template with you for quite some time but after the holidays, life didn't really slow down as I had planned.

I can't really complain though, I've gotten in quite a bit of quality time with my family, I've been really enjoying cooking as of late and I've been getting things tackled in our home and finances that I've been meaning to do for years. All of this, however, has meant a lot less time for scrapbooking.

Yesterday I finally found the time to sit down and put together a sketch for you, based off of this page that celebrates my oldest son's unique sense of style.

Caleb just turned seven this week (yay!) and I thought what better way to celebrate than to pass along this freebie inspired by one of my favorite recent memories of him.

Wonderful You by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Amber Labau Designs: Wonderful You Kit and Pocket Cards; Valorie Wibbins: Hello Haberdashery (MPM Addon). 

But first, the story behind this page...

This photo was taken outside of Joann's.  I needed to make a quick run to the craft store and Caleb insisted that he wanted to go.  I agreed and told him to get his shoes on quick.  We were just out the door when I looked at what he was wearing--his long john pajama top and bottoms with his favorite shark shirt and a pair of shark print shorts layered over top. He must have noticed my apparent disdain for his choice of clothing because he said "WHAT?! I play for the Sharks and this is my uniform." I breathed deep and took his outfit in again...I could definitely see the theme and to his credit he had successfully mixed different densities of the shark pattern and avoided any real clash of colors and he had also come up with a creative compromise to my "no tanks or shorts during winter" policy. I ruffled his hair and said "Go Sharks." And we made our way to the store. I decided in that moment to "live and let live." The years of him needing to THINK and DRESS and ACT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE were hot on our heels and I chose to celebrate that which makes him special rather than wishing he was like anyone else on the planet.

Download The Templates and/or Sketches

I was so excited to share a new sketch/template with all of you that honestly I just couldn't wait until Friday!

I hope you'll enjoy using this in your own memory keeping. And as always, if you do, I'd love to see your creations--so feel free to link me up in the comments below!


(available in pdf format for 12 x 12 and 8.5 x 11) 


(available in psd format for 12 x 12 and 8.5 x 11) 

Happy Scrapping!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Little Word 2015 | Or Five Words Rather... + FREE Printable Planner Pages

I've played along with Ali Edward's One Little Word now for the past 6 years. And each year after some consideration I was able to quickly hone in on "one word" that spoke to me and that I felt could guide me through the upcoming year.

However this year, after reflecting on the prior year and planning my goals for 2015--no "one word" found its way rising to the top. I found myself turning to popular words like SHINE, THRIVE," and FLOURISH because I liked the sound of them, but then struggled to find a concrete connection with my own personal goals for the year.

A lot of my goals had to do with "doing more" of certain things or "making more time" for them but the word "MORE" reminded me too much of my toddler-aged son demanding MORE cookies or MORE chocolate milk

And now here we are two weeks into the new year and I still haven't found that magical "one word" to rule it all. So instead I'm mixing things up and I've chosen five words--five things I want to find time for each and every day...
*Download printable wordart below

 These five things are that which give me the most joy in my life, the things that make me feel as though I'm truly thriving. And as such these are the things I want to focus on this year.

You will likely see posts throughout the year centering around these topics, as I share some of the ways these words will inspire me in my everyday life, as well as my memory keeping. And to help remind me to honor my five little words each day I made the following planner sheets and I'm sharing them with all of you, should you be find them useful in your everyday lives.

I'd love to hear about your one little word for 2015, or maybe you've chosen more than one word as well!? Feel free to share with me in the comments below!

Have a great day!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Coming Soon... | "Single & Pretty" at Masterful Scrapbook Design

I'm beyond excited to announce that I'll be joining Lisa Dickinson, Ashley Calder, Sian Fair and Kayleigh Wiles as a part of the upcoming Get It Scrapped Membership class, Single and Pretty!

In the Single and Pretty edition of Masterful Scrapbook Design we will be diving deep into the world of single-photo pages with lovely layers and eye-catching designs.  My fellow guest designers and I will be sharing what we love most about the Single and Pretty style of scrapbooking and breaking down our approaches.

The Get It Scrapped Membership includes tons of great resources to help get you thinking about scrapbook page design and storytelling in new and exciting ways!

Below are just of few of the perks of being a member:
  • Immediate access to an archive of over 50 classes,with a new class added every month.
  • A sketch and template library of over 100 templates searchable by # of photos and type
  • An eBook library containing 40 full-color idea books on relevant scrapbooking topics.
  • Weekly live webinar events and recordings of interviews and office hour sessions.

So join me over at Get It Scrapped, where I'll be sharing my love for making Single and Pretty pages!

And if you are not yet a subscriber to the Get It Scrapped Membership, click here for more details and for a special offer on a 3-month subscription.

I'll look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My 14 Favorite Moments of 2014

2014 was a good year for us, in which we learned many lessons, achieved many goals and made many wonderful memories together as a family.

Here is a glimpse of some of my favorite moments this year as I captured them through my lens:

1. My youngest son Jasper is such a happy and delightful boy, however his personality doesn't always shine through in photos because he is a little camera shy, but this moment captures him perfectly!

2. Caleb studying his own reflection in a muddy puddle, just seconds before falling in it.

3. My first wedding shoot! It was nerve-racking and inspiring and a ton of fun, all at the same time! 

4. Caleb learns to ride his bike. Believe it or not, the mohawk helmet was a huge catalyst!

5. My sister-in-law graduates with her B.S. in Social Work, giving me hope that one day I too can return to school.

6. Jasper falls in love with Legos--everything is AWESOME!

7. Caleb graduates from Kindergarten.

8. Waking up to this squishy little guy every morning!

9. The boys' fort is finally finished! I hope there are many memories made in this backyard in the years to come.

10. Getting back into paper scrapbooking after a year-and-a-half break. Thanks in large part to my Silhouette!

11. Caleb goes to 1st grade, in a big shiny new public school.  I think I was more scared than he was!

12. The boys go as Plants vs. Zombies for Halloween...EPIC!

13. Reading time with the boys....love this!

14. Jasper turns four and I become the mom of two "big boys."

I hope you had an awesome 2014! And I look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Happy New Year All!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Our December Advent Tradition

If you've followed my blog for a while, then you probably know that my family takes a little different approach with our holiday advent calendar, instead of chocolates or treats for every day of December, my kids open a box with a holiday activity inside.

The activities range from reading a holiday book together or watching a holiday movie, to decorating cookies or making gingerbread houses and so on. This year the big surprise is that we've decided to take a small daycation to Midway, Utah and take the kids tubing at Soldier Hollow, so that will find it's way into our advent calendar as well.

After three years of service, my little matchbox advent has had to be retired...so this year I made some simple envelope ornaments with the numbers 1-24 on them and hung them from our tree.  It's extra fun this year because Jasper is learning his numbers and gets to search for the number each day and Caleb is learning to read, so he gets to reveal the surprise and put those mad sound-out skills of his to use!

Advent Ornaments by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Deena Rutter: Journal Card Envelope Cut Files. Stolen Moments Design: Merry Papers and Number Frames; One Little Bird Merrymaking Journal Cards; Studio Calico: Wood Veneer; Jenni Bowlin Studio: Rhinestone Hearts; Recollections, Wood Veneer, Stickers; American Crafts: Thickers, Twine.

So far we've decorated our tree...

We took the kids Christmas shopping in the city and visited Temple Square.

We made Broncos fleece scarves...

We read Charlie Brown's Christmas...

And we're watching The Muppets Christmas Carol tonight after dinner (it's on Netflix, yay!!!)


With plenty more fun little activities to come, I'm really looking forward to this Christmas! 

And I won't lie, I do put quite a lot of thought and time into this tradition, but I do it so that December doesn't fly by us and then we are left with the feeling that we didn't do anything memorable.  I do it to teach my kids that there is so much more to Christmas than presents and goodies. I plan these little things every day to help remind each of us to delight in one another other's presence.

What special Christmas and/or Hanukkah  traditions do you and your family celebrate? 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

December Daily 2014 | The Plan

Wow I can't believe it's that time again already! Time to start thinking about December Daily...

It seems like just last month that I was finishing last year's December album (oh wait...that's probably because I did just finish it up last month :blush:).

Well anyhow, this year is a new year right?! And I have to say I'm proud of the planning and progress I've made so far, largely due to the inspiration that I've received from Wilna Furstenberg's holiday workshop Heartfelt Christmas. It was just what I needed to put me in the right mood for a little holiday crafting.

Now I'm off to the best start I've had on my holiday album in years and I'm excited to share my plan with all of you! So here it is my "2014 December Daily Plan."


The Album

I decided to go with this 4x4" Kraft and White Instagram Binder from DCWV. I picked it up at my local Joann's along with the page protectors all for only $14.00. The page protectors come in 4x4", 2x2" and 2x4".

The Supplies

I decided to take a hybrid approach this year and I'm printing out digital papers, word art and journal cards along with using plenty of digital cut files for my album. Here are the key pieces I've chosen to work with:

The Making Spirits Bright Collection by Sahlin Studio 

Cut files by iHeart Studio (Wilna Furstenberg)

I'm sure I'll add a few more journal cards and digital word art as I go, but these were the pieces I chose to build my album around.

I'll also be supplementing with quite a bit of leftover Christmas themed product from my paper stash, including wood veneer, stickers, twine, washi, mini clothespins, glassine bags, sequins and more.

My Approach

I've completed my cover and begun building my 4x4" foundations leaving spaces in my protectors for photos and journaling and I'll also be adding a few patterned glassine bags to hold memorabilia. 

With 40 page protectors I have enough for each day to fill three pages, plus a few leftover for title pages, etc.

I'll be digitally cropping most of my journal cards to fit inside of the 2x4" pockets.

And I've cut patterned 2x2", 4x4" and 2x4" patterned paper blocks to slip into my album as needed.

I'll be using the printable number tiles by Sahlin Studio shown above, black and white striped number diecuts by Hiedi Swapp and one or two other number variations to highlight the date on my daily spreads.

And finally I'll be using my phone and instagram to capture most of my daily photos--making sure to capture our daily advent activity in addition to any other notable daily events.


Stay tuned for more about my progress and for specific details including a quick tutorial + template for cropping and printing your journal cards, ideas on creating tags, memorabilia pouches and adding word art directly to your photos, plus plenty more.

Thanks for joining me on my December Daily journey again this year and if you are making a December album please link me up in the comments, I'd love to follow your progress too!

Happy Holiday Crafting!