Saturday, April 27, 2013

What are the Raney’s reading?

We have read so many wonderful books the last couple of weeks. I wanted to share a few with you in hopes that you will check them out at your local library (or just buy them, they are THAT good).

The Sandman by William Joyce.

We loved this book. We read The Man in the Moon the same day, and thoroughly enjoyed both of them! The illustrations in these books are like none other we have ever read (except maybe other William Joyce books). These are sweet stories about the guardians of childhood and how they go about caring for the children of the world. This story is a classic Fairy Tale that will certainly be enjoyed by generations to come.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Oh my. Where to start. This book is very cute! I love that there are several pages that have no words at all, only beautiful pictures, so your child has the opportunity to “read” the story to you. This one has a good lesson at the end “don’t steal or you will be eaten by a big fish.” I loved it! Cohen loved it! I highly recommend it!!

Noah Webster and His Words by Jeri Chase Ferris and Vincent X. Kirsch

Cohen and I both enjoy fiction best, but every now and then we run across a non-fiction book that is just as entertaining. I sort of stumbled across this book while looking for biographies of the Presidents and I’m so happy that I did. This is a story about the life of Noah Webster, and Webster would be so proud of some of the big words they use in this book (and define for you), such as expensive, surrender and convince. Great way to expand your kids vocabulary and their knowledge of a great American icon.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Is your child on Goodreads?


Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion


I LOVE GOODREADS! Goodreads is basically a website and app that allows you to track the books you have read and are currently reading. you can follow your favorite authors and receive notifications when they post a new blog or publish a new book. It also gives you recommendations on other books similar to the ones you’ve read.


Goodreads also allows you to rate the books you have read, write reviews, and create virtual bookshelves. I have not organized my bookshelves as well as I would like, but I’m working on it.


This blog post is not about my reading habits, or tracking my books (even though Goodreads is doing a great job of tracking my stuff as well). It is about Cohen and his books. I setup a Goodreads account for Cohen a few months ago, and I’m so glad I did. We used to track the books he completed on paper, but that got difficult to keep up with because the paper wasn’t always with us. I created Cohen’s account and set him up as the primary user on my iPhone. Now when we go the bookstore or the library (which we do go to both these places weekly) I can sit on the floor for hours reading to him, and when I’m done with a book, I just scan it with my phone, rate it, and add it to his lists.


There are lots of benefits to having a list of the books your child has read or is reading. I love that I can easily check to see if we have read a certain book prior to pulling it from the shelves. I love that I can look at the end of each month to see how many new books we have read. According to Goodreads, we have read 29 books this month (including 2 chapter books: The Wizard of Oz and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). It’s also great because sometimes Cohen will request a certain book based on a main character or the storyline, but he can’t remember the title or the author. It’s easy to search the books we recently read to find the one he’s referring to so we can check it out from our library and read it again.


Goodreads offers reviews from other users, so you can check to see if this is a book your child might like. You can also search the HUNDREDS of lists of books!!


Here are a few lists for you to check out…

Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

Favorite books from my childhood

2,564 books — 4,768 voters


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Best Children's Books

233 books — 3,439 voters



Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteMatilda by Roald DahlHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books

334 books — 513 voters



You can easily just hit up one of these lists and just start at the top and work your way down reading books! And children’s book lists are not the only lists they have! Do you have a preteen? Or a reluctant reader? They have lists for that too! And of course, if you enjoy a good Paranormal Teen Romance like me, they have a list for you too!!


Now, this program does not count the number of times you read a book. It says Cohen has read 29 books this month, but I know it’s more than that, because Cohen has several books that are his favorites that we read ALL THE TIME! It will not track that.



Check back tomorrow for some great children’s book suggestions!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Are you teaching kindness?


I posted this picture earlier this week on Facebook.

I have the sweetest, most thoughtful kid on the planet! Everyday after our run/bike, he puts a cup of water just outside the bathroom while I'm showering so that I'll have something to drink when I get out! #lovemykid

Several people posted on the picture, but one comment really touched me.

A former coworker and good friend, Celeste Cullen, said “It's proof of what a great job y'all are doing!”

Why is it that my first thought is “no, it’s not because of anything I’m doing, he’s just that great of a kid.”

While Cohen is a really great kid, the truth is that he behaves certain ways because we teach him those things. I dislike it very much when I hear a parent say “I can’t change my child’s behavior because that’s just how he/she is.” NOT TRUE! We are all born sinners! We are all born selfish and thinking only of ourselves. It is through Christ and the loving training of a parent that we can teach our children that they are not to be selfish. They should be required to think of others first.

As a person, I want to try to be humble, but today I’m just going to put it all out there. Truth be told, this type of behavior and selfless thinking did NOT happen overnight, and it certainly didn’t happen without LOTS of training.

At first, it was through demanding that he treat others with respect. Then he did kind things because he loved the praise and attention he got from the act. Now, I can see that he does it because he truly loves me. It’s really heartwarming.

Isn’t this the same way God teaches us. At times, He uses difficult situations to teach us difficult lessons. Sometimes we do things God wants us to do because we want or expect a blessing. Later, we do the things God asks of us because we love Him.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (NKJV)

I guess I’m so tired of parents saying they can’t change their child’s behaviors. I’m sick of parents using their children as an excuse for not being able to do things for others, not being able to make it to things on time, or not being able to bathe daily. There are seasons when it is more difficult, but overall, begin a parent should be a joyful thing, and I feel that as a parent, it is exactly what you make of it.

I LOVE being a mom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! It is not always easy. I think I love it so much because my child is a really good kid. He’s sweet, fun loving, and a total clown. Jace and I pray for this child and we want him to grow up to be a responsible member of society. I’ve always said, it’s easier to teach him these simple things at 4, because I’m sure at 14 there are going to be entirely new parenting challenges to face.

So, I ask you…what example are you setting for your children? Are you taking time out of your day to do something kind for someone else? Are you treating those in your own home with kindness? Or are you using your children as an excuse? Are you allowing your children to tell you how to live your life?

I’m not trying to toot my own horn, and believe me, not everyday is like this around my house. I’ve had a glass of water thrown at me before, so his first instinct is not always kindness, but everyday we are working toward that as our ultimate goal.

Thank you Celeste for those kind words, and the truth is we are trying really hard to teach Cohen how to be kind to others. We want him to love others just like Christ loves them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Do you ever print pictures?

I don’t. I’m not sure why. I think its because I really don’t have an organized place to put them, so I just don’t ever print them. It makes me sad, because I have taken so many great pictures of Cohen. I’ve mentioned before that I love to make Shutterfly Photo Books. As you can see, these are mostly for major events, such as the adoption of a child, birthdays, Christmas and vacations.


What am I supposed to do with all those fun pictures I post to Facebook or Instagram? Well I ran across Blurb, a website where you can make your own photo books. I decided to give it a try. They actually downloaded pictures directly from my Instagram site and placed them in date order in my book.









Overall, I thought it was super easy to upload my pictures. Because I edited my pictures in Instagram, there was no need to edit. I did have to change up the order of a few, not sure if that was because they uploaded in the wrong order, or if they were actually published on Instagram out of order, but it was only a few and it was easy to fix. The book that I got was 7x7, so the pictures are rather small, but its perfect for a coffee table. I


The only thing I would change is that I wish it would upload the dates posted and the comment posted along with the picture. I may go back with a nice ink pen and just write dates or captions on the pictures in my book. It may do this, and I’m just not aware of that feature.


They actually give you the option to purchase your book as a pdf as well, so I have a digital copy of my book too, that I will probably never print.