Read Aloud Reviews: When Stars Are Scattered

So many things to say about this book. Which is why I am giving it it’s own review. It deserves it. To see other chapter books I have read aloud while homeschooling my children this year click HERE.

When Stars are Scattered is the true story of young brothers Omar and Hassan and their life in a refugee camp in Kenya. There are many really hard topics that are touched on, such as an arranged marriage of a young girl that results in pregnancy, a father beating his child, death, war, hunger, etc. This book is brilliant because it takes difficult subject matter and makes it easily digestible for older children to early tweens because it is told in a graphic novel.

Yes this book is heavy and sad. But my word do you root for these boys and just want the best for them. This book brought out so many meaningful conversations with my kids we would have never had anytime soon. Plus the illustrations are fantastic and really add to the dialogue and flow of the story.

While this book has really tough topics, it was an excellent way to teach my kids about how other children in the world live. Another moment to have meaningful conversations with them about how you really don’t know someones full story or what they are going through or have gone through. We need to be kind and compassionate to everyone.

Our family has never prayed for refugees before reading this and now we do. Our kids have a deeper appreciation for what we have and the house we live in.

At the end of the book there are pictures of Omar and Hassen and what their lives are like today. It is so uplifting and inspiring. I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the story or the ending. My kids were eager each night to read When Stars are Scattered and always asked to read another chapter.

We laughed, I cried several times, and overall just really enjoyed this book. The kids asked if there was a part 2. Just for reference there isn’t, yet, maybe there will be in the future.

I would strongly suggest parents to read this book ahead of time because of the adult themes presented. That being said I highly recommend this book even if you the parent are the only one who reads it. For reference I read this book with my 6 and 8 year old.

To close out this post I will end with a word from Hassan. If you want to know what the following word means you have to read When Stars Are Scattered.



Circuit Workout + Our Week Off From Homeschool

Happy first day of fall! We are still over 100 degrees here in Arizona but each new day is one more day closer to cooler temps. Last week we took off from homeschool and tried to spend a few mornings outside before the heat of the day took over. We made it to the lake one day for a swim and also to one of my favorite places in Arizona, Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Other highlights of the past week included Maisie losing two teeth and Caden finished reading Prince Caspian with my mom and we watched the movie to celebrate. Overall it was just a nice change up in our schedule and yesterday we jumped right back into our homeschool curriculum. The kids loved the break and I am happy to report they had great attitudes yesterday when we picked up where we left off.

My friend Doug shared a workout on Facebook yesterday and I immediately decided that it would be my workout for the day. I met Doug when I worked at Life Time Fitness and he is an overall great person and a super knowledgeable personal trainer. I learned so much about personal training from him by watching how he worked with his clients and also being trained by him.

To this day I still have notebooks that have workouts designed by Doug from when I participated in his small group trainings. If you are in the East Valley and a Life Time Fitness Tempe member schedule a session with Doug, you won’t regret it.

This workout took me about 50 minutes and I was pretty sweaty. I absolutely loved the side lying get-ups. I had never done those before and will be adding these into my workouts periodically from now on. To perform side lying get-ups: lay on your right side with your right arm bent in a 90 degree angle. Your thumb will be rotated to point at the floor near your head. Press down with your elbow as you rotate your arm and thumb to get your palm face down in front of your stomach. Your right side will lift off the ground as you do this and then reverse the move to start position.

Again happy first day of fall! I hope you make at an awesome day!


Burn Fat. Build Muscle. Metabolic Conditioning Workouts

Metabolic conditioning workouts, also known as metcon, are a great way to add challenge and variety to your workouts. This article will break down how to do a metabolic conditioning workout, the benefits, and also several examples.

Metabolic conditioning workouts aren’t a walk in in the park. The exercise intensity is high and your muscles are overloaded. The overload is what helps trigger protein turnover, protein building, and lean muscle mass.

Your cardiovascular system will also be working because your blood is pumping fast to get oxygen to your muscles as they work. This combination creates a high oxygen demand and means that your body is going to be burning lots of calories.

After your workout your body will need to metabolize additional fuel, replenish energy stores, and reload depleted oxygen stores in the muscle and blood. This means that you will still be burning fat after the workout has ended.


For starters you could pick an exercise that is a compound movement. These will be exercises that target multiple joints and muscle groups. Or you can mix and match exercises and perform them at a higher intensity. This might be a upper body movement followed by lower body, which could then lead into a cardio exercise.

Using resistance like a dumbbell or kettlebell will help you build muscle faster and also add intensity to the movement. Also remember that your own bodyweight will give you added resistance. The best thing is these workouts can be tailored for each person.

Most of time you will see metabolic conditioning workouts written as circuits. Circuits are where you work multiple muscle groups at the same time with limited resting. For example if you are doing a circuit with pushups, squats, and mountain climbers your arms will be resting on the squats so you don’t have to take extra time to rest before going into the mountain climbers.

Set a timer for 20ish minutes and get ready to work. Remember to limit the rest. Try to work consistently for the entire 20 minutes. An easy way to start would be selecting an upper body, lower body, full body, and cardio movement and perform each move for 1 minute. Keep repeating for 20 minutes or change the exercises each time. Not super original but it would totally get the job done.

Be prepared to be challenged. These workouts are tough but are a great way to help build endurance and strength.


Metabolic conditioning improves both aerobic and anaerobic systems a the same time. These workouts push you. You will want to stop but the goal is to keep going. Limit the rest. This is what helps you build muscle and burn fat.

Your heart rate will stay high during these workouts and in turn you will burn more calories more effectively.

These workouts pack a punch. You will get so much done in a shorter amount of time due to compound movements and training at a moderate to high intensity. Most of these workouts can be completed in 20 minutes.


And lastly here are some examples of metabolic conditioning workouts I have done recently with Fit Women’s Weekly Live. Not going to lie the second workout I started dry heaving in the first 8 minutes. It was rough.

Start by doing 10 burpees every minute on the minute (EMOM) for four minutes. The next set is two minutes and you repeat 5 pushups or rows followed by 5 prisoner squats the entire two minutes. The rest of the workout follows the same format. You can rest 1 minute if you like between each section.

And here is the workout that made me dry heave. This one might go slightly over 20 minutes but I know some of you out there can bust this out close to 20. For reference I used a 35 pound kettlebell on the squats, snatches, press, and clean & press. Ugh.

Set a timer for every minute. You might also need a paper to keep track of your numbers. First minute see how many squats you can do, I think I go close to 45 the first time. The next minute do three snatches on each arm. Whatever time you have left over is your rest. Go back to squats keep adding to your number when the minute is over next minute is snatches. You keep repeating this until all 200 squats are done. Each section is done following the same formatting. That first exercise is what determines when you stop that set depending on how quickly you can reach those reps. The second exercise allows you to have a quick breather.

There you have it! A brief breakdown on metabolic conditioning workouts. Thanks for stopping by the blog and reading today!