The days are really starting to run together but this is our fourth week of learning (and surviving) at home.
The Same But Different…
My last “currently loving” post was in mid-February which seems like it was years ago at this point. It does make me laugh how many things in it are applicable to “quarantine life” now…I talked about my favorite cozy must-haves, my love of athleisure wear and winter blues and anxiety. Some things never change!
Learning at Home
We are slowly getting into the swing of things but it’s been a bit tricky because every week things change. This is new and unknown for everyone so I am trying to be flexible and know that while it doesn’t feel like it right now, this really is temporary.
I also feel extra grateful that we live somewhere where we have access to the outdoors and that each day, the weather is getting nicer and nicer (let’s not talk bout the snow that is coming at the end of this week okay?)
One of the benefits of living in the “country” is that there is plenty of space to roam. We have been taking advantage of the quiet roads and have been exploring all around our “neighborhood”. We have been going for multiple walks and bike rides a day and it has saved us!
While we are heading into a month of being home together, we are definitely still working on finding the right balance during our weekdays. We have a 1st grader and a 4th grader at our house and while the kids are doing some school work, we have mostly been doing it to keep some sense of normalcy and routine.
A New Routine:
We are still in “maintenance mode” through this school week and then introducing new material will start next week.
I am trying to take things week by week and not get ahead of myself. I know that their teachers and administration are doing the very best they can to meet the needs of all families and that this is new for everyone.
They have been missing their friends and teachers SO much and while connecting over the computer isn’t quite the same, I am so happy they have the option!
Our first grader’s teacher recorded her reading the rest of the book they were reading together as a class at the beginning of March and he was just enthralled.
These kinds of things seem like such small things but it was such a huge source of connection and comfort amidst so much change.
I am thankful for it too. And I am happy that FaceTimeing has become popular once again. We loved it even before this whole “social distancing” became a thing…OG FaceTimers over here! 😉
Dogs During Quarantine…
We have been laughing about how much dogs just must love this whole quarantine situation. Buzz could not be more delighted with us being home every single day!
Home Ec 101
While I am not doing the most amazing job with the whole “school at home” thing, I am pleased with my instructional household house maintenance classes we have implemented, LOL.
We have even been cooking together. We tried out making homemade pasta which consisted of a lot of trial and error but it ended up being delicious! (we need to use even more flour next time during the rolls and cutting phase). We have also had many important discussions about rationing fresh produce and learning how to make your own (balanced) lunch…kids eat SO much food!
While I have lost my temper many times, we have also made some really special memories. This has not been easy and we also are so privileged to be able to stay safe at home.
I struggle a bit when I see comments like “embrace this time!!!” because some of it is just really hard, but there are parts of it that have been great… it’s both.
My friend Julia shared this article with me and while I am not involved in higher education, I found it relatable just on a personal level.
I also got SO much from this article where a trauma psychologist weighs in on the risks of ‘motivational’ pressure during quarantine. Maybe you have seen this floating around the internet…
A trauma psychologist from Beirut weighed in on this idea that we should be extra productive right now, and she didn’t mince words. Alaa Hijazi’s Facebook post has been shared 19,000 times, so people are clearly appreciating her wisdom. She wrote:
“I thought I was spared the horrid ‘motivational’ phrase going around now—’If you don’t come out of this with a new skill, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline’—until I saw it on my local yoga studio page.
As a trauma psychologist, I am utterly utterly horrified, enraged, and bewildered about how people can believe and spread this phrase in good conscience.
We are going through a collective trauma, that is bringing up profound grief, loss, panic over livelihoods, panic over loss of lives of loved ones. People’s nervous systems are barely coping with the sense of threat and vigilance for safety, or alternating with feeling numb and frozen and shutting down in response to it all.
People are trying to survive poverty, fear, retriggering of trauma, retriggering of other mental health difficulties. Yet, someone has the nerve to accuse someone of lack of discipline for not learning a new skill, and by a yoga teacher!
This cultural obsession with [capitalistic] ‘productivity’ and always spending time in a ‘productive,’ ‘fruitful’ way is absolutely maddening.
What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us, not a whipping by some random fucker making us feel worse about ourselves in the name of ‘motivation.'”
It is okay to worry, it is okay if you are just doing the very minimum to get through your day, it is okay to wish we had more answers and it is okay to grieve what we have lost, even if we are grateful for what we have.
Alright, because I can’t do this post without doing a “currently loving section” I am doing an abbreviated format…
I finally gave in and watched Tiger King. I was told I would be missing out on important Corona19 Pop Culture if I didn’t. I am glad I did! It was quite the wild ride but it was definitely entertaining…and the perfect distraction from our current events.
Currently Participating In:
I have been trying to be consistent with my Pure Barre classes even though we can’t go to classes in the studio anymore. I am a social exerciser so this has been more challenging than I expected. I haven’t been able to attend the live ones very easily because of being home alone with the kids during those times so I have been doing Pure Barre On Demand.
I have access as a member at our local studio but you can also subscribe just online, they have a free trial right now to try it out. (I am not affiliated with this, just wanted to share!) I have been alternating these classes with long walks and it has been a good balance so far.
Currently Spending My Time:
When a lot of things feel out of control, I like to clean. I remember as a little kid I would rearrange my room when I felt anxious and I always found it very soothing! So I have been vacuuming and mopping and I am just loving my spin mop! There is something so satisfying about these kinds of chores and they are perfect for getting some audiobook listening in.
SO much coffee…and water!
I am working my way through a few titles on my Kindle..last weekend I started Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld which is one of my most anticipated 2020 reads! After loving American Wife SO much I have HIGH hopes for this one and so far I am really enjoying it.
All my clothes are basically quarantine clothes anyway, but I have been embracing air drying my hair! I have wavy hair that can either look quite curly or a frizzy mess. I tend to blow dry it so I don’t have head out into my workday with dripping wet hair, but currently, that is a non-issue! It has been nice to skip the blow dryer and embrace the natural look.
Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve…Are your hands getting dry from all that hand washing too? I included in it my holiday bookworm gift guide back in November but it seems like the perfect time to share about it again. It’s the perfect amount of moisture without being greasy!
Currently Looking Forward To:
Our Better Together Book Club is going virtual tonight! Like many book groups, this will be our first time having our book club over Zoom. I am excited to see some friendly faces and see how everyone is doing. We decided to skip the book chat and do a “how are you managing and coping” check-in tonight. I am so looking forward to it!
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy and I will be back soon with some more book and reading updates. <3
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
“Get 3 for the Price of 2” Book Sale!
There are some amazing sales out there this weekend, including the “Get 3 for the Price of 2!” book deal over on Amazon! It is a great way to stock up on your winter TBR list, buy a gift for a friend or family member OR buy books that you loved this past year and want to add to your own collection!
With hundreds of hard copy book suggestions to choose from, it can feel a little overwhelming! I am going to share some of my own recommendations as well as some highly rated and reviewed books below.
Highly Recommended Cookbooks!
If you are feeling like cooking or just browsing through and getting inspired, these highly-rated cookbooks are part of this great sale!
Some of my 2019 Favorites
All of these books make my “2019 favorites list” and would be great to add to your own bookshelf or gift to someone you love.
Highly Rated 2019 Reads
All of these books were 5-star reads by some of my trusted reading sources and a few are on my TBR list as well! I am especially looking forward to Finding Chika and Atomic Habits which have raving reviews online as well!
Past Favorite Historical Fiction
These two books were so memorable and would be a wonderful addition to your own bookshelf or to one of your fellow book-loving friends.
If You Want to Get Started With Brene Brown…
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is one of my favorite books ever I can’t recommend it enough! If you have heard about Brene but don’t really know what she is all about, it is a great one to start with!
Illustrated Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling & Jim KayAll four of the currently available illustrated Harry Potter books are part of this sale! Our older son has been reading the first one and I used this deal to grab books 2-4 for him for Christmas and he is going to be so excited. I still haven’t read them, but his enthusiasm for them has been intriguing!
Books Our Kids Love (or have loved in the past!)
Both of our boys love the Dog Man series and Wonder is our older son’s very favorite book. Mo Willems and The First Little Readers were great early reader books for both our kids and helped us get in the routine of them reading every night!
Family Favorite Picture Books
You can’t go wrong with any of these choices! Strega Nona was one of my childhood favorites and our kids love reading it too. All of these are tried and true favorites in our house!
How Do I Find Out What Other Books Qualify for This Deal?
To see if other books qualify for these savings, you can type in a book title in the search bar and then look to the right of the book where you will see a small green rectangle box with the words “savings” as pictured below…
Are These Deals For eBooks Too?
While this deal is only for hard copy books, there is a deal on eBooks where you will receive a $5 credit towards future eBook purchases when you spend $20.
I hope this post helps you find some books you love, either for yourself or to gift someone else this holiday season!
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission that helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul & Maria Russo
“Do you remember your first visit to where the wild things are? Or curling up for hours on end to discover the secret of the Sorcerer’s Stone, or the fate of the “one ring to rule them all?” So now, as parents, how do you instill in your kids that timeless, time-stopping, and extremely valuable joy of reading?
Written by Pamela Paul, who oversees all book coverage at The New York Times, and Maria Russo, the children’s book editor at the Times—and inspired by their 2018 article that went viral instantly, reaching hundreds of thousands of Times readers—How to Raise a Reader combines clear practical advice, wisdom, inspiration, tips, lists, and insider know-how to give parents all the tools they need to instill a love of reading in their children.
Divided into four sections that correspond to the child’s age and reading level, from baby to teenager—and whimsically illustrated by a different children’s book artist per section—each page of the book offers something useful: how to develop rituals around reading, best ways to make reading a family activity, how to engage a reluctant reader, why not to push Harry Potter too early, building a library. There are “Pro Tips for Reading Out Loud,” “What to Look for in Middle-Grade Graphic Novels,” “When Teenagers Take Reading Time-Outs,” and so much more. Including an extensive final chapter listing “Books to Love by Theme and Reading Level,” an invaluable reference for parents, grandparents, and even kids looking for their next book.
School is where children learn they have to read. Home is where children can learn to love to read—and become readers. And reading, as experts now know, is essential to developing those life skills, like self-regulation and executive function, that make us all-around happier and better adjusted.”
Wow, what a treasure! How to Raise A Reader stood out to me as the parent of a middle-grade reader and a new reader in Kindergarten. This book is divided into sections from babies to teenagers. The advice is approachable and relatable and I loved that it was coupled with specific book suggestions and also some types of books you might want to avoid.
How to Raise A Reader would be a great refresher for someone who has been a lifelong reader or really helpful advice for someone who is hoping to incorporate regular reading into their families lives for the first time.
The directory at the end of the book gave wonderful suggestions by not only genre and age groups but also by important messages such as kindness and empathy. Sometimes the number of books that are available to us as parents can feel overwhelming so having a list of suggestions about different topics was a wonderful addition to this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.