Archive | April, 2014

Kindle On Sale-$49

29 Apr

Just saw that Amazon Kindle (the “basic” model) is on sale for $49 (a $20 savings)! Thinking to do some birthday shopping for our oldest two since they’ve hijacked their parents’ Kindle. ūüôā Why have they hijacked their parents’ Kindle you ask?It’s the library’s fault! ūüôā Our library has thousands of children’s books that can be virtually checked out–for FREE! To say that our boys love¬†this reality would be an understatement! They think it’s pretty cool and “grown up” to read on the Kindle! I think whatever keeps them interested in reading, right?!?!

The Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi¬†and various various Kindle Fire models¬†are also $20 off. It appears that there is one deal per customer.¬†This is a Mother’s Day sale, so snag this deal before it’s gone.¬†

One other perk that our family uses. ūüôā If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get to check out one free Kindle book a month from Amazon. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, enjoy a 30 Day FREE Trial!

Friday Favorites: Banana Pudding Cheesecake

25 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

When my husband and I were engaged, like most engaged couples, we created a wedding registry filled with items needed to establish our home. On a trip to a well known retail chain to create our wedding registry, we had the following conversation.

“We must¬†register for a springform pan, ” my then fiance’ declares.

“A springform WHAT?!?!?” I inquire.

“You know, a springform pan,” he insists.

“A springform pan,” I slowly repeated with my mind racing. Dare I confess that I have no idea what it is? Will he love me even¬†if¬†I don’t know what a springform pan is? My palms start sweating, and I try not to hyperventilate.

“It’s the pan you need to make a cheesecake,” he informs.

“Gotcha!” I nod in affirmation and confidently pretend that I know what he’s referring to.

He took me down the Kitchen aisle and showed me this:

  I dared not mention that I had never seen a springform pan fearing that this was a deal breaker for marriage. I, again, confidently pretended to act like the springform pan and I were BFFs. In that moment, I made a mental note listing 3 important points: 1) Future husband loves cheesecake. 2) Find a tutor to teach me how to use said springform pan.
3) Find someone to teach me how to make cheesecake ASAP.

Thankfully, my fiance’ didn’t ask for the ring back when he discovered that the springform pan and I weren’t BFFs and had never met previously. Whew! With twelve years of marriage under our belts, I have not forgotten important point #1: my husband loves cheesecake. His love of cheesecake has led me on a quest for the perfect cheesecake recipe. I’ve tried various and sundry cheesecake recipes. Some were heavenly. Some were not.

For today’s and next week’s Friday Favorites, I will share our 2 favorite cheesecake recipes. One is sweet and one is salty. (Yes, you read that right! Have you ever heard of a¬†salty¬†cheesecake??!!?!? It’s amazing! Come back next Friday for that recipe!). Without further adieu, let me introduce you to our favorite sweet¬†cheesecake:¬†the Banana Pudding Cheesecake.

Banana Pudding Cheesecake

 Banana Pudding Cheesecake

adapted from Southern Living’s version

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
17 vanilla wafers (Yes, there is a reason that 17 vanilla wafers are specified.)
2 large bananas, chopped (ripe to overripe bananas work best)
1 TBSP. lemon juice
2 TBSP. light brown sugar
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. package. I use Nefuchatel cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar (I scale it back to 1/2 cup)
3 eggs
1/2 cup vanilla wafers, crushed

1) Demolish vanilla wafers until you have 1 1/2 cups crumbs. (Kitchen Tip: I put whole vanilla wafers into a ziploc bag and crush them with a kitchen hammer until I have the correct amount.)

2) Combine melted butter and vanilla wafer crumbs. Press into bottom of greased, 9 inch springform pan. Take the 17 whole vanilla wafers and press them securely into the crust around the perimeter of the springform pan. (The curved side of the vanilla wafer should be against the pan’s edge.) It should look something like this…

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3) Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the crust cool completely.

4) While crust is cooling, combine chopped bananas and lemon juice and add to sauce pan. Over medium heat, add in brown sugar and stir constantly until brown sugar has melted. This should only take about a minute.

5) Beat cream cheese with a mixer. Add in sugar followed by eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Stir in cooked bananas into cream cheese mixture. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust.

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until the center is almost firm. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to pull it away from pan’s edge. After I loosen the cheesecake from the pan’s edge, I pop open the springform pan. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 crushed vanilla wafers onto top of cheesecake. Cool on wire rack for about an hour. Cover and chill overnight.

And…that’s it! A cheesecake is much easier to make than I realized those many years ago when I was an engaged gal. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, it makes it even easier! ¬†Don’t be afraid to make a cheesecake! I have been pleasantly surprised at how little effort it takes, and everyone will think you’re a professional chef! (Shhhhh, it’s our little secret! Don’t tell them how simple it is!) I made this for Thanksgiving, and my family asked where I bought it. That was a glorious moment in my (non-existent) cooking career. ūüôā

Old Story New (Family Devotion) Kindle edition–currently $0.01

24 Apr

Our friends introduced us to Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God¬†a couple of years ago. We’ve heard nothing but great things about it! It’s on the “docket” for our family once we finish The Child’s Story Bible. I had heard a few months ago that there was a follow up to Long Story Short called Old Story New. My husband almost bought it for me two weeks ago at Together for the Gospel, but instead he bought me this (which is currently knocking my socks off!). The good news is that NOW I have both because the Kindle edition of Old Story New is currently $0.01! Yes, you read that correctly–ONE PENNY! I quickly snagged that and can’t wait to use it with our family!

Want to get this for your family but don’t have a Kindle? No problem! You can get the Kindle App to use with phones, tablets and computers. Don’t miss this great deal and fabulous resource for gathering your family around the Bible. ūüôā

What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #4

23 Apr

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Here’s our 4th installment of What We’re Reading Wednesday! Hope this gives you some great books to find at your library or buy for your home! To give you some encouragement, we’ve had a busy couple of weeks and not been able to read as much as I’d like or had hoped. And instead of beating myself up about it, I just realize…that’s reality! ūüôā (See, I told you I don’t have it all together!!! ūüôā ) Tomorrow is a new day, so we’ll start again then. ¬†So, if you still have a pile of unread library books (like I do), give yourself grace and start again tomorrow. ūüôā

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Animalia (by Graeme Base)–This is a fabulous alphabet book filled with alliteration! The book goes through all 26 letters, selects an animal to correspond with each letter, and describes each animal with hilarious alliterative adjectives. If you are studying the alphabet, alliteration, or animals, this is a great book to jump into! I found it thanks to Honey For A Child’s Heart.

RRRalph (by Lois Ehlert)–This book was leftover from our ‘clearing the library bookshelves’ of Lois Ehlert’s books as mentioned in our last What We’re Reading Wednesday post. In classic Ehlert style, the book is filled with marvelous illustrations created and built out of the most imaginative pieces of “stuff” that you might find around your house. I read this to my 4 year old, and he asked me to read it to him¬†three¬†times in a row.¬†ūüôā Clearly, HE enjoyed this book!

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories and Fox in Socks¬†(by Dr. Seuss)–A faithful reader and friend, Lorie recommended that I look at the Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, so I quickly snagged it at the library. It’s a fascinating book if you’re a Dr. Seuss fan. It’s filled with seven short stories written by Dr. Seuss that were published in the 1950s but virtually “lost.” If you’ve read all of Dr. Seuss’s books, you’ll enjoy this “new” one. As we were perusing the Dr. Seuss section of the library, I came across Fox in Socks and realized that we’d never read the book. We have enjoyed the silly, spit-all-over-each-other-as-we-read tongue twisters. Much like Animalia above, it’s filled with excellent examples of alliteration. The literary device of alliteration came up in our phonics curriculum this week, so it was great fun to connect what they learned in phonics with Fox in Socks and Animalia.

The Beginner’s Bible-This was on son #2’s reading list for school (thanks to Sonlight!). He’s enjoyed reading it, and I can hardly stop him from reading the day’s “assignment.”

The Case of the Two Masked Robbers (by Lillian Hoban)-I picked this up for son #2 at the library. He’s eager to read “big” books, so I was hoping he could read this and feel confident that he had read a “big” book. He read this with me and his 2 brothers, and we all enjoyed it.

The Mystery of the Wild West Bandit ¬†(by Gertrude Chandler Warner)-If you’re read any of the previous What We’re Reading Wednesday posts, you’ll notice a theme–The Boxcar Children! My boys love¬†Boxcar Children–no secret. In this book, Henry, Benny, Violet and Jessie attend a Wild West Festival and stumble upon a mystery.

Tippy Lemmey¬†(by Patricia C. McKissack)-My oldest son is reading this book about a neighborhood dog, Tippy Lemmey, that is giving the neighborhood children¬†fits.¬†The story is set in the United States during the years of the Korean War. My son’s eyes lit up when he read “war in Korea” since we had just been learning about the Korean War in Classical Conversations! This book is a great read for a kiddo who loves dogs.

Our current Audio Books selections have consisted of:¬†Grimm’s Fairy Tales¬†and¬†Andersen’s Fairy Tales. I’ve been writing a lot recently about how much we LOVE audio books. ( If you missed the previous 3 posts that were a part of my Friday Favorites series, you can read them here, here, and here.) I’ve decided to include audio books that we’re “reading” in my What We’re Reading Wednesday posts.

It’s Wednesday–what are¬†YOU¬†reading?!?! Please comment below! Can’t wait to discover great books from you, my fabulous readers!

Easter Traditions Pep Talk

13 Apr

 

IMG_7806

Happy Palm Sunday! I’m reposting from last year’s Easter archives. Here’s the article from last year. It’s a pep talk to get you ready for being purposeful and celebrating Christ with your family this week. You can do it, and have fun!! ūüôā

Praying that your family will have a wonderful week celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection. He is risen!

 

Friday Favorites: Favorite Places to find FREE Audio Books

11 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

I’m wrapping up my last post about audio books today in my Friday Favorites series. In the previous 2 posts, I wrote about an apologetic for incorporating audio books into our children’s (and family’s!) lives and a laundry list of my boys’ favorite audio books¬†divided into three age ranges: Preschool, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary/Middle School. As promised, I am writing today about my favorite places to find FREE audio books.

Free Audio Book Resources

LibrivoxThis is an online resource that contains audio versions of public domain books. Anytime you see the phrase “public domain,” it is safe to assume that these books are¬†old¬†and the majority of them are in the Classics genre. Copyright stays with a book for a specific length of time, and once the said length of time has transpired the book becomes “public domain.” ¬†Public domain books, therefore, can be used as you like. photo 1
On Librivox’s website you can search through-literally-hundreds of¬†free¬†audio books. Once your selection is made, you can simply listen (aka “live stream”) to the audio files via Librivox’s website or download the files to your computer or iTunes.¬†Librivox’s website contains detailed, “how-to” instructions¬† for downloading the audio book files. Once downloaded onto your computer or iTunes, you can burn the audio book onto cds and enjoy in your car, or your child can use the CDs in his/her room at naptime/restime. By downloading to iTunes, you can use an MP3 player/iPod/iPad/iPhone to listen to the audio books. I especially enjoy having this audio book-on-my-iPod option for exercising. I listened to Stepping Heavenward (by Elizabeth Prentiss) thanks to Librivox, and it was great motivation for exercise. I only permitted myself to listen to the book while exercising. I was so enthralled and drawn in by the book that I easily made exercise a priority because I wanted to listen to the next chapter! ūüôā

There is an expansive list of genres available on Librovox: Children’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Poetry, ¬†just to name a few. Best of all–the books are FREE! (I love free!!!)

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Books Should Be FreeThis is another website similar in concept, access and functionality as Librivox. In fact, some of Books Should Be Free audio books are accessed via Librivox. There are a few distinctions to note on Books Should Be Free. This website makes available audio and eBook versions of books. If an eBook version of a book is available (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, .pdf) in addition to an audio book version, it will be indicated on the specific page dedicated to the book. If your kiddo enjoys following along in the Kindle version of the book while he/she listens to the audio book version, Books Should Be Free will be a tremendous resource for you! you can download both audio and eBook versions from the same page!

Another distinction with Books Should Be Free boasts itself as “a primarily visual browsing experience.” This evidences itself when perusing through their website. Instead of listing book titles in alphabetical order with pages of text, text, text to sort through, Books Should Be Free includes a photo of each book’s cover. The visual images of the books make navigating through their website simpler. Searching for a specific book becomes less of a wild-goose chase filled with frustration and more of an attainable goal with a happy ending.

Books Should Be Free mirrors Librivox in that you have the option to listen to the audio book online via live streaming or to download it to your computer, iTunes (including via Podcasts), or MP3 player.

Library–Don’t forget one of the most accessible places for FREE audio books is your local library. Our library’s children’s section has a vast expanse of audio books available for checkout. At any given moment, you’ll likely find 3 or 4 different audio books from our library in our home. All 3 of my boys (currently ages 8, 6, and 4) usually have about an hour of rest time each day in their rooms (and consequently, me, too! Woot!). The boys LOVE this time of day because 99.9 % of the time this one hour of rest includes an audio book! Another plus, thanks to audio books, is that they rarely complain about rest time; they’re eager to listen to the next chapters in their current audio book!

If your library has a limited, small, or non-existent audio book collection, don’t be discouraged! Talk to your librarian! You may have these options:

  • Audio Book downloads via your library’s website–With advances in technology, many libraries are expanding their online access for digital and audio versions of books. Through our library’s website, I can download audio books from my library’s collection to iTunes for a specified length of time.
  • Petition for audio books to be purchased–Most libraries add to their collection each year. If your library’s audio book section is less than ideal, communicate your desire to see their audio book collection expanded. Most libraries are eager to hear input from their patrons.
  • Make Interlibrary loan your BFF–Just hearing the words “interlibrary loan” (ILL) makes me think of my college library. ILL¬†is a program allowing a library patron to borrow a book that is unavailable at his/her library from a partnering library. I was continually ILL-ing books during my undergrad and graduate years. I never thought of a local library having ILL; I had only associated it with college libraries. However, when my quest to find a classic, well-loved children’s book at our local library left me striking out, I mentioned this to the librarian, and she suggested using interlibrary loan. I gladly obliged. (As a note of encouragement to the previous bullet regarding suggesting books to your librarian, I noticed several months later that the book I borrowed via ILL had been ordered and added to our library!) Your librarian can assist you with the interlibrary loan process at your local library.

So, now that I’ve encouraged you to make audio book listening a part of your life and provided resources where they can be accessed for FREE, what will be your or your kiddos’ first/next audio book?!?!? If you have any suggestions to share with Suzanne Shares leaders, please comment and include them below!

Thanks for stopping by for today’s Friday Favorites!

 

What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #3

9 Apr

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Welcome back for installment #3 of “What We’re Reading Wednesday.” See previous posts here. As always, please comment and share what¬†you’re¬†reading!

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The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue¬†(by Jan Wahl)–I was excited to find this book at Goodwill a couple of months ago. ūüôā It’s taken us that long to read it. ha! ūüôā Our family went to Chicago last year for vacation. We visited the Field Museum, so I wanted to read this with the boys and learn more about Sue. If you’re heading to Chicago and the Field Museum in the future, this book is a great way to introduce “Sue” to your kiddos before you meet her in person!¬†Just a disclaimer that I had to do some “editing” on the fly as we read it. It tells of how many millions of years old the dinosaur bones were.

Time for Bed¬†(by Mem Fox)–This sweet bedtime book is a classic that we’ve just now discovered! My parents were in town when we got this book, and my Dad was able to read it to my boys. My boys will always remember this book as “Pop’s book” that he read to them. ūüôā I love how books create lasting memories with loved ones.

Books by Lois Ehlert–As I mentioned in the last installment of “What We’re Reading Wednesday,”¬†I have introduced a principle into our family since reading Honey For A Child’s Heart. Once I discover a recommended author or an author my kiddos idolize, I check out copious amounts of books written by him/her. One of this week’s “clean off the library shelf” author selection was Lois Ehlert. ¬†We checked out about 10 of her books! We have enjoyed Color Zoo, Color Farm, Pie in the Sky, Nuts to You!, and¬†Snowballs¬†this week. I enjoyed the nature themes in the books that we read, but most of all, I adored the vibrant colors, unique mediums used to create the illustrations. To say that they were pleasing to the eye¬†would be an ¬†understatement.¬†These books are written toward a preschool audience, but even my school agers enjoyed them! We haven’t read it yet, but I’m hoping to read¬†Leaf Man¬†by Ehlert with them this week. We actually used leaves to make a man during Fall a couple of years ago. (Thanks to Pinterest!) Now, I know that the idea was probably inspired by this book.

The Moon Shines Down¬†(by Margaret Wise Brown)–Our second “clean off the library shelf” author for the this week was Margaret Wise Brown. If you’ve read only one children’s book, there is a high likelihood that it was Brown’s¬†Goodnight Moon, clearly a classic. We have read lots of Margaret Wise Brown’s books; she wrote heaps of books. I was drawn to¬†The Moon Shines Down¬†because the book’s cover indicated it was a lost work of Brown’s. The book is based upon the prayer, “God bless the moon, and God bless me.” A little koala embarks around the world, visiting various locations. The koala’s trek around the world was especially joyous to read with my boys because of the numerous connections with the Geography locations we learned this past year in Classical Conversations Cycle 2. So, so fun! Here is a list of other¬†books by Margaret Wise Brown, including two others that we enjoyed this week–The Sailor Dog¬†and¬†Four Fur Feet.

Who Was….? Series¬†(by various authors)–My oldest son has been devouring these books! He¬†adores¬†history, and he also¬†adores¬†reading on our family Kindle. He broke his arm last week, and it was his writing hand, which has impacted some of our schooling plans. ūüôā Therefore, he’s had lots of free time on his hands, so he’s wanted extra time on the Kindle. When any of our boys¬†ask¬† to read, we try not to squelch it! ūüôā He has gotten into these “Who Was…?” books, and we can check out the Kindle version of many of them via our local library. Who Was George Washington?, Who Was Davy Crockett?, Who Was Paul Revere?, and Who Was Jackie Robinson? have been some of his favorites. If your child is eager to start “chapter” books on his/her own, these might be a good place to start.

Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother¬†(by Carolyn Mahaney)–I am reading this with some younger women from my church. It is based on Titus 2 and walks through 7 virtues of a godly wife and mother. I read it 7 years ago when I was a young mom, and I loved it. I’m enjoying reading it as the “older” mom with the younger moms. This is a great read for any woman! If you are a young woman and desiring to be mentored, grab this book and an older, godly woman and read through it together. Or, if you’re an older woman and desiring to mentor younger women, this would be an excellent resource for you. There are study questions at the conclusion of the book that can be used to guide small group discussion.

Audio books that we’re “reading”

With the past two Friday Favorites posts (read them here and here) about our love of audio books, I thought I would include audio books in our “What We’re Reading Wednesday” series. Our boys are enjoying these books this week:¬†How to Eat Fried Worms¬†(by Thomas Rockwell) and two Boxcar children audio books:¬†The Boxcar Children The Great Bicycle Race Mystery¬†and¬† The Boxcar Children Collection Volume 43¬†(by Gertrude Chandler Warner).

So, that’s a wrap for Wednesday! Please comment and share with all of us what¬†you’re¬†reading this week!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Friday Favorites: Our Boys’ Most Beloved Audio Books

4 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

This is the 2nd in a series of 3 posts about Audio Books and Children. See the other two posts here and here.

I had GREAT feed back from last week’s Friday Favorites post about Audiobooks and Children. Several of you indicated your shared love of audio books while others expressed excitement about incorporating audio books into your family life and/or home school. I was so encouraged that you guys were encouraged! A few of you contacted me and asked ¬†for my family’s favorite audio books. I thought that topic would be a great follow up to last week’s post. In next week’s Friday Favorites post, I will share about my favorite places to find FREE audio books because, let’s be honest, these bad boys aren’t cheap!

In the list below, I have included some of our favorite audio books, and I have divided them into 3 categories–Preschool & Younger, Lower Elementary School and¬†Upper Elementary School/Middle School Children. I also have included some pointers on tracking down quality audio books for the kiddos in your life. Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it will give you some initial direction for integrating audio books into your life and the lives of your children!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†


Preschool and Younger
Brown Bear & Friends (by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle)-When our youngest son was 3,  not to be outdone by his older brothers and their audio book-listening-coolness, HE decided that he wanted an audio book for himself. I was excited to find the Brown Bear & Friends (read by Gwyneth Paltrow, I might add) for his listening enjoyment. This set contains Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?, which are wonderful classic books for preschoolers. We had read these books to him before, and he enjoyed hearing them on his cd player in his room. (Mimicking his older brothers brought him much joy.) He listened to this one cd over and over and over and over. 

Children’s Bible on cd-I have written previously about Children’s Bibles that we love. ¬†The Word and Song Bible on cd¬†was our family’s first introduction to audio books, and it had a dramatic impact on our family (See last week’s Friday Favorites to read how.) If you have a favorite Children’s Bible that your preschooler enjoys, see if it has an accompanying audio cd. Your child can listen to it, hold the Bible and “read” it simultaneously. Two of our favorites, The Big Picture Story Bible (Book with CD) and The Jesus Storybook Bible (with cd) both have accompanying audio cds. Obviously, Children’s Bibles on cd can be used with your grade school children as well. I wanted to highlight it in the Preschool category because that was when we first introduced them and found great benefits from doing so at a young age.

Just a side note that a preschooler won’t be able to follow along with the Bible’s text, word for word, and that’s okay! The simple action of sitting down with a book and mimicking what he/she has seen you do with a book–observing pictures, turning pages–is a step forward in reading readiness.

Lower Elementary School Children
Frog and Toad Audio CD (by Arnold Lobel)-If your child hasn’t met Frog and Toad,¬†please¬†introduce them. My boys¬†love, love, love¬†Frog and Toad, so I was delighted to find the audio book at our local library. I loved hearing son #2 cackle like a giggly girl while he was listening to it; I couldn’t resist walking back and forth outside his bedroom to hear those sweet giggles. I quickly tracked down another Arnold Lobel Audio Collection CD¬†with other Lobel classics, Owl at Home and Uncle Elephant, and it solicited the same bellows of laughter. Score for Mom!

The Boxcar Children (by Gertrude Chandler Warner)-We were driving around town today running errands and listening to the Boxcar Children-Henry, Benny, Jessie, and Violet-solve their latest mystery. I did not read this series as a child but read it to my sons after the recommendation of a friend. My boys love the¬†mystery¬†element of each book, and they love to try to out sleuth Henry, Benny, Jessie, and Violet by solving the mystery first. This series is marvelously wholesome and pure. I love that my boys can’t get enough of The Boxcar Children!image

Upper Elementary School/Middle School Children
The Chronicles of Narnia (by C.S. Lewis)-Our oldest 2 boys received this audio book set for Christmas from their grandparents when they were 4 and 2. Clearly, it was a little too old for them at the time; they were a little scared by Aslan’s roar. (We had asked my parents to buy it for them and didn’t think about them being a wee bit young. Just call us “eager beaver” parents! ha!) My boys are older now, and they thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of the books in the Narnia series. Sadly, it looks like the complete Narnia series is out of print, but you can buy the books individually. YAY!

The Narnia set that we have is from the Focus on the Family Radio Theater audio books¬†series. I¬†love, love, love¬†the audio books in this series because they are¬†radio dramas, which means actors and actresses play the characters in the story and dramatize the telling of the story. The book is performed rather than read verbatim by a lone narrator. This Focus on the Family series is excellent! We have A Christmas Carol ¬†in the same series as well. The series also includes The Hiding Place¬†(the story of Corrie Ten Boom), Anne of Green Gables , and the story of Squanto¬†(which is one our favorite stories!) and many others! I can’t say enough good about these audio books!

Story of the World-Volumes 1-4 (by Susan Wise Bauer)-I mentioned in last Friday’s post that we started out using Story of the World as our history curriculum. However, as staple school subjects like Math, Phonics, Reading and English Grammar began requiring more of our family’s homeschool day, I began feeling my personal limitations and began to consider stopping our history studies. However, when I discovered Story of the World audio books, my boys were able to listen individually to the chapter readings and continue their studies. This curriculum covers history from the ancient civilizations to fall of the USSR. The title¬†Story¬†of the World¬†says it all; it is written in the narrative form and truly reads (or listens!) like a story. It has given our sons a breadth and depth overview and understanding of history. I truly marvel at all they’ve learned through these audio books! They tell me little history tidbits and factoids all the time. I have no idea where they’ve learned it, so I’ll ask them, “Where did you learn that?!?!” Their answer always ¬†seems to be the same, “Story of the World, Mom.” (There might be a hint of sarcasm when they answer!)

Finding Beloved Audio books
These audio books above are ones that we enjoyed. Some were so loved that we bought them! How did we stumble upon these? How can you find quality audio books? Here are a few tips:

1) Choose books that your child already knows, has read, or loves-The repetition of hearing a book over and over and over again is beneficial for your child. If your child is a preschooler, just know that is typical and expected for children that age. (Yes, you may scream at hearing Brown Bear, Brown Bear fifty times, but remind yourself that it is good for your kiddo and so worth it!) Let your child have fun with literature!

2) Follow your favorite author-Does your child like a particular author? Find audio books for the author’s works and introduce them to your child in audio book format. Need new authors? Use Honey For A Child’s Heart as a resource for discovering new ones.

3) Introduce classics-My boys have “read”¬†way more classics than I have, and we have audio books to thank for that. Our family usually has one or two “read aloud” books going on at a time. However, if I depended on “read aloud” time alone to introduce them to the classics, we will run out of time. This is where audio books have become our BFFs. My boys have “read” books like Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Huck Finn, Black Beauty and many, many more thanks to audio books. Yes, the books in paperback might be 400+ pages, and no, my boys would not be able to sit through those as a “read aloud.” However, they can easily tackle them in audio book format. So, don’t be afraid to “stretch” them (and yourself!) with the audio book versions of classic, stood-the-test-of-time literature; they can handle it and will love it!

4) Ask for recommendations from others-Many of the books that we’ve stumbled upon were highly recommended from dear friends. Do you have a friend who loves books (as much as I do?!?!)? Ask him/her for a list of favorites. Do you know the children’s librarian at your local library? If not, get to know him/her by name. When I am “stuck” and don’t know which book to throw in my book bag, I stalk¬†¬†track¬†down the children’s librarian at our library. I guarantee he/she will have a few (or a few¬†hundred)¬†endorsements for you!

Have fun introducing your children to quality literature!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.