Monday, January 28, 2019

Utilizing Your Local Library

Since moving to North Carolina, our local library has become a staple in our week. We attend story time, check out books, enjoy the coffee shop across the street, and play at the nearby park on nice days. I have become so deeply grateful for the friendly faces at our library now that we live somewhere new. Even on my loneliest weeks, I know I can look forward to library day.

As I've talked with other mamas, many have mentioned that they wished the utilized their local library but struggle to do so. Often when you didn't grow up going to the library or haven't gone much with your kids, it can be a challenge to know how to incorporate library days into your life. Here are a few tips to bring your local library into your weekly life:

Find a Story Time You Love

I've got to be honest, over the years we have attended some truly terrible story times. There was the one with the super mean librarian, and the one with the young librarian whose low cut shirt and peppy songs made her a bit too, umm, bouncy. And then there are ones with so many children you can barely see what's happening. But if you can find a good librarian, story time is magic. Ask around to find out who the best librarian is, or the best story time, and then go. It might take a few tries to find the right one, but once you do, it will be worth it.

Don't Be Embarrassed by Your Kids

Friends, my kids are the loudest, most obnoxious children at the library. They yell, scream, sing, dance, and cry. It's like they save their worst for the quiet library. Here's the thing though: the librarians are glad you are there. They want your kids at the library and welcome their joy. While I recommend sticking to the children's area with your loud kids, don't stay home because of noise. I'd also encourage you to use it as a chance to teach your kids how to behave inside. Repeated, gentle training yields results. It's just the eternal challenge of being patient as you get there!

Use Holds

Holds have literally changed the way I use my library. I used to get so frustrated because I could never find the books I needed. Or I'd try to run through the adult fiction section with my super loud kids, so distracted I couldn't find a book. Now, I do the legwork at home and simply pick up my books from the holds shelf!

Most libraries now have an app or website you can use. Figure out your login and password (you can ask a librarian for help!) and then search for books from your phone or computer. You can request books right from the website and choose which branch you'd like the holds to be delivered to. Once they arrive you'll get an email, and usually the hold is there for about 3-5 days. The best part? It's not just adult books on the holds list. You can request picture books too! We'll often request a favorite book or a new book in a series. I also will sit down with Eli and let him choose a few chapter books to put on hold.

Set Return Reminders on Your Phone

Ya'll, library fines are no joke. Our new library only does a 2 week check out, so I'm always worried about racking up fines. Stick a reminder on your phone when you check out the books so you won't get caught with too many fines. I also like to get a print-out receipt with all the books I checked out and hang it on my fridge. When it's time to return books, I mark off books one by one as I put them in my library bag to be sure I don't forget anything.

Go With a Friend

Story time is a fantastic way to have a play date! Go with a friend and let your kids enjoy story time together, then walk to a park nearby or play in the library's play area if yours has one. I know that some kids struggle to sit still, but don't feel bad about that. Just do your best and enjoy friends and books!

As you begin to use your local library, here are a few resources to help you find great books:

-- Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson- "From timeless classics to modern favorites, from picture books to adventure novels to read-aloud favorites, more than 1,000 wonderful stories for young people are recommended within these pages." (from Amazon)
-- Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt- "A modern classic with over 250,000 copies sold, Honey for a Child's Heart is a compelling, essential guide for parents who want to find the best books for their children ages 0–12." (from Amazon)
-- The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie- "From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual." (from Amazon)
-- The Read-Aloud Revival Website and Podcast- a fantastic resource full of good books and tips for reading aloud

How do you use your local library? What tips can you offer to other moms?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Few of my Favorite Things: January

Hello friends! It's a cold and rainy Thursday here in North Carolina, the perfect day to cozy up and write to you!

But first, a quick note about the blog: A few of you have asked me how to receive emails when I write a new post. After a lot of trial and error, I finally created a way to make this happen! If you view this (or any) post on my blog, you'll see a form on the right side that says "Add me to the email list!" Simply input your name and email into this form, and I'll add you to my email list. I will send out an email each time a new post is published.

And now, a few of my favorite things this month!

Library Days

Our local library is absolutely fantastic. The librarians are friendly, the story time is phenomenal, and the holds shelf is always full of books I request! If you have little (or big!) people in your life who need something to do on cold days, I highly recommend checking out your local library. They offer so many programs and activities. I'm working on a post all about utilizing your local library. Stay tuned! (Wondering what I'm reading? I keep a link to my current reads here.)


We turned our train table into a lego table for Christmas and I had no idea how many hours of fun it would provide! All three kids love it, and have had so much fun playing together and creating new projects. Eli loved this Ninjago set and this DIY book, and Tessa has had hours of imaginary fun with this set that matches her new doll.

The Enneagram

Some of you know that I'm a personality test junkie. I've recently learned about the Enneagram and have loved discovering my type! It's a little confusing at first, but check out @enneagramandcoffee on Instagram or the Matt Morgan Podcast for help understanding yourself. I am a 9w1, meaning type 9 that also has traits of a 1. This basically means that keeping peace is very important to me, and I love being cozy and at home. Having 1 traits is where my organized side comes in. There's so much to learn and it's so fun! I love learning about myself and the people I love.

Cozy Clothes

In line with my type 9, I've been all about cozy clothes this month to combat the cold. For at-home days, these yoga leggings help hold in the mom-tummy and have a cell phone pocket!  This sweater has become a definite favorite. It's cozy, roomy, and comes several really pretty colors. I have the v-neck style in olive and I'm thinking about ordering the crew neck style in rose coral. I'm also love this cozy blanket scarf for days I'm outside or on the go. I even sent it to a couple friends for Christmas!

What are you loving this month? Share in the comments!

Monday, January 14, 2019


Happy 2019! I hope your new year is off to a fantastic start.

New years always make me pause and think about the coming year and all I hope it will hold. My type-A sensibilities take over and I make goals. This year I want to read 40+ books, I want to write more, I want to create something new.

But then? Then my anxiety sets in. What if I fail? What if my ideas are a complete flop? What if I don't fulfill my goals? I have come to a point this week where my fear of failure feels almost paralyzing at times. I keep doing the same things over and over, knowing nothing will change but afraid to make the change.

As I prayed through a word for my year, the word I kept coming back to is BRAVE. You see, I am not a risk taker. I like to be calm, comfortable, and content. I don't always want to try new things. And yet God is calling me forward. New things, new relationships, a whole new state! Being brave can be scary but it is also just what I need to do this year.

Truthfully, I am really excited about a year of being brave. I have so many new ideas and dreams! I can't wait to share them with you all. And I'm slowly learning that progress over perfection is my true aim anyways.

What is your word or big goal this year? I'd love to cheer you on!