Read Aloud Reviews: The Neverending Story, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, & More

Hi! Welcome to my tiny space on the internet, I never really planned to go silent on my blog for over year. Homeschooling four kids is my main priority and last year I was so exhausted at the end of day I could barely keep my eyes open let alone type a coherent sentence. I am really hoping to be back here more often. So please be kind if you notice multiple typos, bad grammar, or poorly written sentences. All that to say, welcome if you are new and welcome back to past readers.

One of my favorite things to do is read aloud to all my kids. I love the sense of connection it gives us and that we can discuss what we are reading together. If you aren’t reading aloud to your kids I highly recommend it. It has become just another part of our nighttime routine at this point. Very rarely does our television come on after dinner but we can still be found curled up together in the living room with a good story.

Over the summer we read so many good books. We also enjoyed listening to the first two books in The Wizard of Oz series on our way to swim lessons or running errands. I highly recommend all of these books. For reference we have a 4th grader, 2nd grader, and two kindergartners.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

I am not sure how 38 years of my life have gone by without me realizing this movie was a book first. I immediately ordered and was super excited to begin. The movie only covers the first half of the book, the rest of the book was a brand new adventure for me and the entire story was new to my kids. We loved it. I want to read it again actually. The font in the book changes color when the story shifts from Bastian’s world to Fantasia. If you loved the movie please read the book, you won’t be disappointed.

Also if you got through this paragraph without singing the movie theme song points to you. I sang it at least five times writing this post.

Rhymes that keep their secrets
Will unfold behind the clouds
And there upon a rainbow
Is the answer to a neverending story

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Pilgrim’s Progress would not have been on my list but my kids saw there was a cartoon version on prime video and asked to watch it. I told them it was actually a book and they asked to read it and then we could watch the movie. We started this back in March and finished at the end of May.

The story follows Christian on his journey to the Celestial City. Along the way the reader meets many characters represented in this allegory that are accurate to people and situations we all encounter in daily life. This version adds Bible verses to text to show scripture references within the allegory.

Wayside Stories from Wayside School (Books 1-4) by Louis Sachar

I read the first two books when I was in elementary school and the author actually visited my school and read some of this book to my class. These are just super fun and a laugh out loud stories that all kids love. They are goofy and off the wall but nothing inappropriate. I didn’t know there were more books to this series so I was just as delighted as my kids to discover two additional books.

You can see my old copy. It has been a well loved book. The chapters are short which made it a perfect pairing when we read The Neverending Story.

Edge of Extinction (Book 1) by Laura Martin

This is a very new to me series. We are currently reading the second book. The story is reminiscent of Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park but geared more towards children. My younger two aren’t as into this one but will still sit and listen but my older kids always want to read another chapter. This book is one of the more intense ones we have read. I would recommend this more for 8 years and up.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a truly wonderful listen. This and The Marvelous Land of Oz were our car audio books this summer. So surprising and so different from the movie. We all loved these books so much and we are currently on the third book Ozma of Oz. If you don’t have time to read aloud to your kids put on a audio book. You will still get the enjoyment of sharing the story together even if you need to multitask while listening.

Terrible Two (Book 3) by Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett writes funny books. My son has read pretty much all the books he has written. Book 3 of this series did not disappoint. My kids laughed so hard they were crying at one point. This was the perfect summer read as the story takes place during summer break.

If you enjoyed this post you can find my other read aloud reviews HERE , HERE , and HERE.


A Morning In The Life Of Homeschool & We Finished Saxon Math 1

This entire school year I have been wanting to do a day in the life of homeschool post. Mainly I wanted to document this journey for myself so I have it to look back on in the years to come. This year has been so amazing in so many ways, but this mama is tired at the end of day. Once the kids are asleep, I am usually fighting sleep myself on the sofa at 8:30 p.m..

I was determined to get a day in the homeschool life post done before the end of the school year. And I got as far getting the morning somewhat documented. But I am totally ok with that. The year hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows and some days have been really hard trying to figure out how to mom, teach, clean, cook, etc.. Homeschooling has taught me to have more patience and to also be more flexible. This year has been a new learning curve for me in many ways but I would 100% do it all over again if given the choice. It has been a joy and privilege to watch my kids learn and to help in that process.

5:45 a.m.

This is a somewhat typical morning in our current homeschool life. Obviously each day is different so keep that in mind. I don’t wake up early every morning to exercise but if I want to get a solid workout in the time before the kids wake up tends to work best for me.

I roll out of bed and walk out to our garage. I love having all our equipment in one place. It is the best. Also we kept my lululmeon ambassador photo from years ago and I finally told Josh he could hang it. I thought it was so weird to have my picture hanging in our garage gym. But now that it is up I like it. It is still probably weird but I am ok with that for now. Josh said it motivates him will he is working out and imagines I am giving him my little pep talks like I would give to a client.

I am currently doing Mind Pump Media’s HIIT program. I am on my 4th week and really loving it. M/W/F I am doing a 15 minute HIIT and 15 minute core workout. T/TH is 20 minutes of flexibility and 10 minutes of core work. I am so sweaty on the HIIT workout days and sooooooo sore. I love it, but hate it at the same time.

6:20 a.m.

I finish my workout and come inside as the kids are coming out of their bedrooms. Maisie wants to read me The Duckling Gets A Cookie?!. Best feeling seeing your child learn to read and even better knowing you helped them learn.

I get breakfast ready for the kids and make a protein smoothie for myself. The kids have kodiak cake waffles with bacon on the side. The smoothie for me consists of chocolate premier protein, spinach, banana, hemp seed, and frozen mixed berries.

6:45 a.m.

Everyone is sitting down for breakfast and on the table is our catechism and bible study. I have done several posts on these before and you can read about these HERE and HERE.

After breakfast I clean up the dishes, sweep the floor, make sure the kitchen is ready for our homeschool day. Then while I get cleaned up from my workout the kids get to watch a t.v. show. Each morning one of them gets to pick the show and as soon as it is over the television goes off for the rest of the day. Depending on the day they may watch another show later but we really try to limit it during the our school week.

8:00 a.m.

The two youngest in our house play in their bedroom at this point while I work with the older two on Math. On this day they each had an assessment. This is Maisie’s final day of her Saxon Math 1 worksheets.

I am so proud of us! Caden still has 10 more lessons to go and he will be finished also with Saxon Math 3. I am just so proud of our family. Those books looked so daunting at the start of the school and to be at this point feels so good.

8:30 a.m.

While math is still happening I realize the 4 year olds have been very quiet. They were having fun in their bedroom pulling out all the stuffed animals from the bean bag storage and also multiple other toys.

And that is the last picture I got for the morning.

8:45 a.m.

Josh is home by now from work and Maisie is working on She has finished her work and Caden is starting on his math lesson now, today it is learning how to use the scale on a map.

9:30 a.m.

Everyone gets a snack and we head into the backyard to play.

10 a.m.

Back inside the house and we are now moving onto our last week of lessons in the Journey’s series. I am not sure I would use these books again if we were to continue homeschooling. I picked them because the elementary school the kids attend use the series. We wanted to make sure if we sent them back to school this year they would be using the same curriculum. Overall, they served the purpose they needed but I don’t think they work best for homeschooling and are obviously intended for the classroom.

Caden is fairly independent for the next hour, which is perfect because I can focus on Maisie. During this time they do handwriting, phonics, reading, and grammar.

11 a.m.

It is time to get ready for lunch. And this is where I am going to end this morning in the life of homeschool post. We continue school after lunch too but that is a different post for hopefully another day.

Thanks for reading!



My 8 Year Old Son’s Favorite Book Series

I am fortunate that my son Caden enjoys reading but it can be tricky sometimes finding the right books for your kid. Which is why I am always excited when I come across a book series that we both truly enjoy.

These book series are mom approved and don’t have much bathroom humor in them. I am looking at you Captain Underpants.

Without anymore chitchat, that will be at the end of the post, here is what my 8 year old says are his favorite book series.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

Each book contains ten mysteries, and not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well. Caden read a few of these to me and they were challenging. Not going to lie, there was a few that I couldn’t figure out right away. I think he is currently on book 5 in this series and still enjoying them.

The Secret of The Hidden Scrolls by M.J Thomas

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series follows siblings Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank, as they discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history. In the first adventure in the series, Peter and Mary find themselves witnesses to the creation of the world just as God is speaking it into existence. Can they unlock the mystery of the scrolls before they get trapped in history forever?

This series was started by a Dad who was looking for books that his nine year old son could read that would teach him about the bible in a fun way. He couldn’t find any so he decided to write his own series. The books are well done and Caden talks about what he has learned with our family. There are 9 books total in this series and I am so thankful to have discovered these books.

Mac B. Kid Spy by Mac Barnett (Illustrated by Mike Lowery)

The precious Crown Jewels have been stolen, and there’s only one person who can help the Queen of England: her newest secret agent, Mac B. Mac travels around the globe in search of the stolen treasure…but will he find it in time?

These books are like gold in our house. The other kids circle around Caden so he can read them aloud to them. They love the illustrations so much, which are done by Mike Lowery who illustrates and write the Gingerbread Man Loose Series that our family loves too.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncellos Library by Chris Grabenstein

When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must catch every clue and solve every puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

This book was a little longer for Caden but he did great with it and enjoyed it so much. It reminded me slightly of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. If your child likes puzzles and a good adventure check out this 5 book series.

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett

This book. We are currently reading this aloud during the day and it is so funny. I look forward to reading it just as much as the kids. It is by the same author as the Mac B. Kid Spy Series.

Miles Murphy is known for one thing and one thing only: pranking.
He’s the best prankster his school has ever seen. So when he’s forced to move to boring Yawnee Valley (also known for one thing and one thing only: cows), he assumes he’ll be the best prankster at his new school too. There’s one problem. The school already has a prankster—and he’s good. Really good.

We read it and I think I know what is going to happen and it always leaves me so surprised and laughing out loud with the kids. I would read this book even if I didn’t have kids.

I love hearing about new to me books that my kids might enjoy. If you have any please feel free to share in the comment section below.

Last week was a blur in our house. Between home schooling, a dentist appointment for me to get a crown put on, Josh’s work schedule, and watching the presidential inauguration it went by so fast.

I am feeling so hopeful for our country and Wednesday was just such a good day. We busted out our projector and watched the firework show on the wall in our bedroom. It was great.

Also all the Bernie Sanders meme’s are just making me smile so much. This one is my favorite currently.

I hope you are having a great day and thank you so much for stopping by the blog :).