Jona's Favorites: Picture Books We Loved in 2017

On Wednesday I recapped my 5 favorite books of 2017, but today's list is all about Jona (age 4). Just as I do with my own books, I keep track of the picture books we read, and this year we read 89 different books (that doesn't include books that we already owned--I just wrote down new-to-us titles). Here are the 7 that stood out as absolute favorites. Most of these he pretty much memorized because we read them so much.

{Favorite Picture Books Read in 2017}


My Favorite Books of 2017

2017 was challenging in a lot of ways, but it was an excellent reading year for me. Frequent pump breaks until October helped, and I also found other ways to prioritize reading time. I set a goal to read 50 books this year, and at the time I write this I've read 57. I track my books on Goodreads and also my bullet journal, so that made it easy to go back and recall my favorites. Here's my list of the top 5 books I read in 2017.

{my favorite books I read in 2017}


2017 Words of the Year: Home and Simplify

Do you pick a word for the year? I started doing that a couple of years ago, and I like the idea of having one thing to focus on all year. Last year I couldn't decide between two words, so I ended up choosing both home and simplify. I thought I'd share a few ways I focused on those words throughout the year. 

{2017 word: home}


What's Saving My Life Right Now

I love this time of year, but it does get to be a little hectic. Like when you think you're done with your Christmas shopping, but then you get an email from a store saying your order (pretty much the LAST gift you had to buy) is canceled. Just canceled. Can they even do that? See what I mean? Hectic.

It's nice to stop for a few moments and think about a few things that keep me from losing it in moments like that. I've seen this idea on Modern Mrs. Darcy before, and they've also been doing a mini series on The Simple Show podcast: things that are saving my life right now. Here's what's saving my life right now during this busy, festive, sometimes chaotic time of year.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Live Your Best (Holiday) Life: Week 8

We're down to just one week before Christmas! One thing I like about doing an Advent calendar is that it gives Jona an idea of how long he has to wait until Christmas day; he can just count the numbers that he has left. I'm pretty sure last year I got "is tomorrow Christmas?" SO MANY TIMES.

Despite some sickness hitting our household over the weekend, we managed to still do some fun Advent Calendar and LYBHolidayL activities. Here's this week's recap and next week's preview.


{What is #LYBHolidayL?}


Alexandra, of Simply Alexandra, and I created a challenge for the months of November and December to help us focus on self-care, contentment, and gratitude this holiday season. Each day we have a prompt to inspire creativity, organization, and a sense of peace during this often crazy time of year. 

Every Monday we'll each share the week's prompts on our blogs, with ideas for ways to incorporate them into your life. We'd love for you to join in! You can find the full list of prompts on Instagram, and also at the bottom of this post. Be sure to tag your posts with #LYBHolidayL so we can see them.

In My Library Tote: Nonfiction Addiction (or Something Like That)

I like to have a lot of variety in my reading life. Typically though I take that to mean I like to read a variety of novels. Admittedly even my variety isn't very varied. This year though I challenged myself to read more nonfiction, and as it turns out, the genre has grown on me. I always associated nonfiction with "dry" and "boring" and while there certainly are such texts (ahem, all the business texts I read in college) I found numerous engrossing pieces of nonfiction that I actually looked forward to reading. 

Here are 5 recent nonfiction reads, most of which belong in the "thoroughly enjoyed" category. 

{in my library tote: recent nonfiction reads}



Christmas Books and Activities Advent Calendar and Linkup

One tradition I wanted to start this year is making an Advent calendar to count down the days until Christmas with fun family activities and Christmas books. There are numerous Advent calendar ideas out there, from the kind you buy with chocolates inside to simple homemade varieties with a Bible verse a day to read.

{our advent calendar: important "criteria"}


I love the idea of an Advent calendar because it makes the anticipation of Christmas nearly as fun as Christmas day itself. When I was thinking about the kind of Advent calendar I wanted to make, I had three important criteria in mind. One, it needs to be simple. I work, I have two little kids... I don't have time for a complicated craft project. Two, it needs to be inexpensive. I don't want to blow our Christmas budget on a PRE-Christmas activity. Finally, it must not involve food. Special holiday food treats abound as it is, I don't need to add any more to the mix.



Linkup Reminder - Advent Calendar and Holiday Traditions

Hey there. I just wanted to remind you that Alexandra and I will be hosting an Advent Calendar and Holiday Traditions Linkup tomorrow! We would love it if you would visit either of our blogs and link up any holiday related post--from this year or from the past. I'd love to hear more about your holiday traditions, and if you do an Advent calendar I'd love to hear more about that too.

See you tomorrow!


Live Your Best (Holiday) Life: Week 7

The holiday season is officially underway. I always love this time of year, but for some reason I feel like I love it more and more every year. I don't know if it's me getting older and appreciating it more, or the kids getting older and getting into it (well, Jona at least--Violet still doesn't care). Either way, bring on all the fun Christmas things.

December's Live Your Best (Holiday) Life challenge with Alexandra and me is still going strong, and as I'm constantly mentioning, I love seeing others join in and find ways to make the challenge their own! Here's a recap of last week plus the prompts for this week.


{What is #LYBHolidayL?}


Alexandra, of Simply Alexandra, and I created a challenge for the months of November and December to help us focus on self-care, contentment, and gratitude this holiday season. Each day we have a prompt to inspire creativity, organization, and a sense of peace during this often crazy time of year. 

Every Monday we'll each share the week's prompts on our blogs, with ideas for ways to incorporate them into your life. We'd love for you to join in! You can find the full list of prompts on Instagram, and also at the bottom of this post. Be sure to tag your posts with #LYBHolidayL so we can see them.

Shop Your Closet for Holiday Style: 4 Outfit Ideas

One of the recent prompts for our Live Your Best (Holiday) Life challenge for December was to shop your closet for holiday looks. I have to say that I had a ton of fun doing this on a Saturday morning when Jona was absorbed in Lego Avengers and Violet was napping.

I put together four looks that still fit into my casual lifestyle, but feel a little more special and appropriate for holiday happenings. None of these would work for a formal Christmas soiree, but they might fit the bill for drinks with friends, a company party, or maybe Christmas Eve church service.



Currently: December

It's the last month of the year, and definitely one of my favorite times of year. I want to savor it and enjoy all the big and small moments. At the same time, I am so glad this year is coming to an end. 2017 was a challenging one in many ways, and I'm ready for that fresh calendar page-turn.

Just like always, I'm linking up with Anne and this month's co-host Catherine, to share what I'm currently...



Live Your Best (Holiday) Life: Week 6

Welcome to the first full week of December! Usually the only thing I don't like about this time of year is the weather, but it's been amazingly gorgeous around here lately. I know winter is inevitable (here anyway) but I'll appreciate these warm, sunny days while they're here!

Thanks to everyone who has been participating in the Live Your Best (Holiday) Life challenge with Alexandra and me! Not only has it been fun to see how other people are making the prompts work for them, it's also been so much fun getting to know some new to me blog friends in the process. Now, on with the prompts for this week and a recap of last week.



{What is #LYBHolidayL?}


Alexandra, of Simply Alexandra, and I created a challenge for the months of November and December to help us focus on self-care, contentment, and gratitude this holiday season. Each day we have a prompt to inspire creativity, organization, and a sense of peace during this often crazy time of year. 

Every Monday we'll each share the week's prompts on our blogs, with ideas for ways to incorporate them into your life. We'd love for you to join in! You can find the full list of prompts on Instagram, and also at the bottom of this post. Be sure to tag your posts with #LYBHolidayL so we can see them.

December Goals and November Wins

Each month I share my goals as a way to motivate myself to get things done and stay accountable. Inspired by Rising Shining, the blog written by Kelsey of The Girl Next Door podcast (a favorite of mine), instead of sharing how well I did on the previous month's goals, I'm sharing only the accomplishments to focus on the positive.