Morning Routines

Our 5 Read Alouds for This Week

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Reading has always been a priority in our home. Books are often gifts, we try to model good reading habits for the kids, and my husband and I spend lots of timing reading with our kids. Even though my oldest is in 4th grade I still include a read aloud at most morning breakfasts, and even squeeze in a little chat about what we read. 

These habits didn't happen overnight. We built them up one piece at a time. If you are reading this I am guessing reading is pretty important to you, particularly as a parent, too. Maybe you even want to add in a new reading habit.

Whether you have a few minutes in the morning like we do or if you prefer a read aloud before bed, I highly recommend reading to your kids well beyond their toddler years.

In our family we have many favorite books that we have read over and over again. There are brand new books that we read for the first time together. When a movie based on a novel is coming out, we read a little bit of the book every day and then celebrate by going to see the movie version. All in all, I try to make reading a normal, special and fun part of the kids' lives every single day. 

When I find a book that is inspiring and thought-provoking I keep it close. It might become something of a touchstone text in our loves. A handful of those books are what I want to share with you today.

Here are 5 inspiring and thought-provoking books you can consider adding to your list of books to read to your little ones:


This book is close to a spiritual text for us. Beautifully describing how we are all connected to each other, to nature, and to the moon & stars, I just adore this book. I love how this book takes such big ideas and makes it poetically kid-friendly. This book is at the top of my list. If you only want one new book, make this the one.

 

 


This book is deep and we loved it when we read it once... then twice... then again and again. Each time we read it one of my children is bound to point out a new observation or connection they make. Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy, this is a book both adults and kids will enjoy. 


 

This story scored big points just for having an adorable panda named Stillwater as a main character. Stillwater tells each of the other characters amazing short stories, each with a lesson or message you can talk about with your family well after the story is over. Besides the enchanting stories being told, the illustrations are captivating on their own. 


I Believe In Me is a book of affirmations that we often use as a source of mantras. We have read through this book many times and my kids are familiar with the many phrases within it like, "I am whole and perfect just the way I am," and "I make friends easily". My kids take turns flipping through this book to find a phrase that might be a family mantra or find their own mantra based on a personal need. Our copy of this book is pretty well worn out as we use it almost daily. 


Kids need heroes and I think Malala Yousafzai is one of the best. This book talks about many social situations in the world today and will encourage thought-provoking conversations with your children. As a parent, this book helped me discuss Malala's fight in a kid-friendly way. This book makes my eyes well up every time, Malala's story is so inspiring. 

 

There are thousands of inspiring books out there that we should all read and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for a new book or two to add to your home library, this is a great place to start. 

Do you have an addition to the "must read" list? I want to hear from you. Add a comment below with a title we should check out! 

 


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Our Morning Rituals

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In my last few posts I have really stressed how important it is to use simple strategies to make sure your morning is calm, organized and runs like a well oiled machine. When we do this and the morning does go well, we are more likely to eat healthier, spend stress-free time with our children, feel confident and relaxed and be more effective throughout the day. We also send our children off into the world with positive feelings of their own. We can leave behind the crazy, chaotic mornings of the past and can look forward to a healthier more positive morning. 

There are exceptions to every rule but in general you can expect your morning and the rest of the day to go pretty well if you set yourself up the night before and help your kiddos prepare to have smooth and positive morning.   

I was recently talking about these strategies with my very talented friend Tee of Beauteeful Living. Now Tee is a lifestyle and decor blogger with a very creative soul. She also has amazing DIY projects that even someone without a whole lot of style and natural talent (clearing throat and pointing a finger right at myself here) can take on successfully and add something beautiful and unique to their home as a result. (Hint, hint! If you haven't checked out her site, do it. You will fall in love, I promise.) 

After catching up for a bit, Tee and I began talking about what to prioritize in the morning for ourselves as busy moms and for our kids. Although I know I have a flexible list living inside my head, Tee suggested that this list of morning priorities should be a physical list that could be referenced by every member of the family. 

Brilliant, right?

So after a trip to the craft store for a black canvas and permanent chalk markers, Tee created this gorgeous masterpiece that has been a true compliment not only to our kitchen decor but also to our morning routine.

I believe what makes this addition so significant is how beautiful it is, but I mean that in more than one way. Aesthetically, of course.  But even more than that, it creates a connection to our routine and reinforces the feeling that our morning rituals are a sacred part of our day.

They are special.

They are valued.

They are a cherished part of who we are. 

This is where things go from being a healthy habit that you go through the motions of each day to a rich part of a mindful and healthy lifestyle.

So what are the morning rituals we have in our home? Well, I am glad you asked.

Our Morning Rituals:

1. Come to the table with a SMILE and "Good Morning".

Everything is energy.  I really believe that whatever energy you put out there is coming right back at'cha. So why not start the day smiling and with a good helping of positive vibes?


2. Eat a HEALTHY breakfast.

When you start the day with a healthy breakfast you are ready for whatever else the day may bring you. Energy, focus, and more are yours when you eat a healthy, whole food meal to start your day. 


3. Get dressed (wash & brush).

These are a couple of tasks that are usually staggered here in the morning. One kiddo is brushing their teeth, one may be getting dressed, another finishing up breakfast. As long as we keep it moving, everything can get done in a timely manner.


4. Make your bed.

Such a simple way for children to learn responsibility. My kids do sometimes get assigned a few other tasks in the morning, but this is a constant. 


5. Say your mantra.

I have a mantra I am always working with and so do my kids.  We usually work with one mantra all week long. "I am powerful," "I make the world a better place," "I can choose to be happy." These are some examples of mantras we might have for the week. 


6. Read, Learn or Create.

Once breakfast, getting dressed and simple chores are done, I aim for the kids to have time to quietly read, play a math game or draw, as a few examples of how we might use this time. There is no TV in the morning and tech devices are used for learning games only. This really keeps everyone feeling calm and positive before school. 


7. Be your amazing self.

No explanation needed. 

And there you have it.

I can't thank Tee enough for taking these seemingly simple pieces of our morning and putting them together in a way that helps us see how much value they hold for us. Not only do I have a beautiful addition to my kitchen decor, it is an addition that is meaningful to our family. 

I am so lucky that I was able to work with Tee on this post. I would love you guys to learn more about her and the magic that she creates.

For inspiration and tips on home decor and DIY projects, please sign up for Beauteeful Living's newsletter here .  Be on the lookout for a special e-book coming out this spring. I know Tee so I know her book will be amazing. 

Thank you all so much for reading!

 


Inspired to create a beautiful homemade project like this one? Here are some materials similar to the ones used here. You can check out these and many others on Amazon.