Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | July 2, 2013

more than a princess

This is absolutely awesome! We bought this toy so that we were one of the first to have it delivered and it is great! They have made it into Toys ‘R Us but this video just makes me smile. And I want one of these T-shirts.


“Toys are gendered in a certain way to promote different learning and play patterns,” says Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of Goldie Blox. “I think kids kind of begin to understand that building and science is for boys and decorating and being pretty is for girls.”

This article in CoExist by Fast Company also explains more.

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | June 29, 2013


This song just makes me happy

You were walking on the moon, now you’re feeling low
What they said wasn’t true, you’re beautiful
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you’re feeling
words like those won’t steal your glow, you’re one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you’re gonna lose
just ignore they don’t know the real you
all the rain in the sky can’t put out your fire
of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
so hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not loved
and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not enough
yeah there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
but the truth is that we’re all diamonds in the rough
so don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out
you glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
this is for you, wherever you are

Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, oh,
you’re gold

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high,
it’s your time to shine
from the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(gold gold you’re gold)

So don’t be ashamed to wear your crown
you’re a king you’re a queen inside and out

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | June 23, 2013

the book addict takes on a new project

As you well know, I have a serious book addiction. I love everything there is about books. My goodreads list continues to grow and my time to actually read seems to be shrinking. Oh well. Today we were finishing our last day of a weekend away in Asheville and I couldn’t help myself and stopped into a great local independent bookstore  – Malaprop’s. It made me realize how much I yearn to be around books at all times, but how much I prefer the small local bookstore. Unfortunately, I don’t get the same feeling in our local store, but maybe I need to hang out there more and figure out why this is. Anyway, I digress.

A few weeks ago I made a post on Facebook about trying to keep up with J’s reading and the feeling that I need to be reading the chapter books that she is reading just to get a sense of what she likes, what she is learning, and generally about the quality of the books that she reads. A friend mentioned the idea of starting a blog and with that bee in my bonnet, I have started another blog – Books My Kids Read.

The premise behind this blog is that I want to document some of the books that we are reading and why we like them, or don’t like them as the case may be. I want to get J involved so that she can tell me why she likes certain things, because believe me, I wouldn’t read as much Rainbow Magic as she does! I like the idea of being able to curate what we’ve read at various stages and what age groups they might be appropriate for. But most of all, I want to share my love of BOOKS!

I have only started writing a few posts, but I’m really excited by the whole concept. Getting J to talk about the books isn’t always easy, but I think as she sees the blog grow, she will be more excited and willing to participate. I will also include books that I read with E, but it’s harder to get her input.

I hope that you enjoy my other adventures. If you do, go ahead and follow that site by subscribing. Happy reading!

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | June 19, 2013

Music for My Mighty Girls

A few weeks ago I wrote about finding a ton of new music for my girls. We’ve got this awesome playlist that keeps growing as we find new music. I tried to make a playlist in Spotify so I could share it, but I apparently am not technologically savvy enough to figure out why it doesn’t work properly. Waiting to hear back from them. Oh well. Until then, here is the stuff that we are rocking out to these days.

  • One Day (Charice)
  • Mean (Taylor Swift)
  • Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
  • Sing (Glee Cast cover of My Chemical Romance)
  • The Princess that Saved Herself (Jonathan Coulton)
  • Rock What You Got (Superchick)
  • The Great Divide (from Secret of the Wings)
  • Tomboy in a Princess Dress (Suzi Shelton)
  • Brave (Sara Bareilles)
  • Wings (Little Mix)
  • Love You a Long Time (Pentatonix)
  • Neon Lights (Natasha Bedingfield)
  • Let it Grow (Ester Dean)
  • Live Your Dreams (Athena Cage)
  • Anthem (Superchick)


  • Firework (Katy Perry)
  • Whole Wide World (Mindy Gledhill)
  • We Are Who We Are (Little Mix)
  • Gold (Britt Nicole)
  • Part of Me (Katy Perry)
  • Perfect (P!nk)

Here are a few of the videos in case you haven’t heard the songs

This first one is “The Princess Who Saved Herself.” I first heard this on NPR’s Ask Me Another. The video below is art done by a group of 1st graders to illustrate the song. J hasn’t seen this yet….so cool!

This second one is “Wings” by Little Mix. It’s pretty awesome to hear your 2 year old singing from the backseat “Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly…”

Finally, this is “Anthem” by Superchick. They are actually a Christian rock group, but we think they are outrageously good. Today was actually the first day I heard this one all the way through and we played it loud! The lyrics are pretty amazing so I have included them after the video.


Here’s to the ones who don’t give up[3x]

This is your anthem, get your hands up
We are fire inside, we are lipstick and cleats
We are not going home, we are playing for keeps
We are girls with skinned knees, we are concrete and grace
We are not what you think, you can’t keep us in our placeHere’s to the girls on their boards with bruises and scars
Here’s to the girls whose fingers bleed from playin guitar
Here’s to anyone who never quit when things got hard
You’ll never let them say you’ll never get that far

We are fire inside, we are an army asleep
We are a people awaking to follow their dreams
We don’t have time for your games
We have our own goals to score
There are trophies to win instead of being one of yours

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | June 18, 2013

Old time dystopian flair – A review of The Running Man

When I was fully engrossed in the Hunger Games trilogy, one of the things that kept flashing in my mind was that the basic plot of playing a “game” where you were just trying to stay alive felt very reminiscent of the movie The Running Man.  You remember this film, right?  Arnold Schwarzenegger starring as a wrongly-convicted man who has to run for his life in a televised game show where his hunters are not trying to capture him, but kill him. I knew somewhere that this had been a book, but at the time, and even years later, there was no desire on my part to go read the actual book. Fast forward to my recent obsession with dystopian novels, the similarities to the HG, and this got added to my never ending “to read” list.

The Running Man, written by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman, is a gritty, fast-paced, action filled, intelligent novel of a dystopian time where the world is controlled by the Network who provides Free-Vee to the masses and airs various game shows as a way for the poor to plead for money. The twist with the shows is that they are sadistic in nature – for example, one show has a man with a heart condition see how long he can stay on a treadmill until he has a heart attack, making $10 per minute.

Ben Richards, the main character, is one of the many down-on-his-luck people who is out of work with no hopes of another job (having basically been blackballed for not wanting to keep a job that was making him sterile) who has a very sick child in desperate need of medicine and a wife who pimps herself to pay for groceries. In a world of extreme haves and have-nots, Ben Richards falls way into the latter category. When he finally decides he can’t take watching his daughter suffer anymore, he heads to the games headquarters to wait in line for hours to attempt to get cast on some show, knowing he will probably never see his family again.

Richards turns out to be the exact specimen that the show likes to use for their most popular game, The Running Man. On this specific show, 3 men are sent out into the public to see how long they can stay away from the hunters, earning $100 for every hour they manage to stay alive. This show is also a game with audience participation. For a sighting, the public can earn $100. For a sighting that leads to a kill, it is $1000. The contestants are shown to the audience as horrible, brutal men, whether or not that is true. The Network aims specifically to get the audience worked up into a frenzy of hate and rage aimed at these contestants rather than actually realizing that it is the powers that be who they should be mad at.

Along the way, Richards winds up getting assistance from unlikely sources. One source gives Richards a lesson in just how messed up the system is and how the masses are being duped. From the mindlessness of Free-Vee to the rampant air pollution that is quietly killing off those without access to expensive filtration systems. Richards tries to use his required air-time to bring this information to the public and is quickly drowned out by the Network.

I found myself reading this book as quickly as I could, grabbing any chance that I could to sneak in another chapter (or two since they were very short). It keeps you on the edge of your seat, with little chance that it is going to “end well” for anyone. In a post-9/11 world, the ending was somewhat jaw-dropping, but absolutely spot on.

The only warning I will add is that many people have said that if you are reading a new version of the book, do not read the introduction until you have finished it as it gives away the ending. I read part of it before I saw that.

Not the world’s best book, but a great read and interesting to see the correlations to reality and current dystopian issues given that it was written in 1981.

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | June 17, 2013

The Storyteller – keeping history alive

I finished this book a few weeks ago but recently wrote a review to be included in our temple newsletter. I highly recommend this book.

How do you forgive someone who has committed a horrendous crime? A war crime against a family member and a war crime against a race? Can you really forgive someone if you are not the actual party who was wronged? Is forgiveness yours to give? These are some of the themes that Jodi Picoult tackles in her latest book, The Storyteller.

For those unfamiliar with her work, Jodi Picoult likes to address big topics – school shootings, complicated medical procedures, custody battles – and turn them into best-sellers. In her latest novel, she takes on the Holocaust from the perspectives of a relative of a survivor, a survivor, an SS guard and a Nazi hunter. She manages to do this without turning anyone into a caricature. The story is powerful and haunting and demands to be read.
Sage Singer is a loner. She is physically and mentally scarred and still reeling from the death of her mother to an accident of some kind. She befriends Josef Weber, a retired teacher and little league coach who is beloved by her small community. One day, Josef shocks her by asking her to kill him and then revealing that he was a Nazi SS guard and killed more people then he could possibly count. What he doesn’t know, is that Sage’s grandmother is a survivor of Auschwitz and Sage is so startled by the request that she contacts the FBI to make them deal with the war criminal.
What makes this book so remarkable is not Sage’s story and her attempts to grapple with forgiving or condemning this man, but rather in the stories that both Josef and Minka, her grandmother, tell of their experiences during the war. Josef tells of how a young boy could become a Nazi. How a boy who was always in trouble suddenly found a way to outshine everyone else. How brutality became a way of life. Minka tells how she managed to survive when all around her were dying. How a story that she began before the war even impacted her ultimately saved her life. 
In the telling of their stories, Jodi Picoult managed to keep the reality of the atrocities alive. There were passages of this that were incredibly painful to read, but the story must be told and retold lest anyone forget.
Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | May 22, 2013

broadway baby

I love broadway. I love musicals. Somehow I got away from that for a really long time. However, I’m finally getting back to my roots due to some good stations I’ve created on Spotify. Yesterday a great song came on that I oddly really like, yet have never actually seen the show.


On the flip side, it makes me think about a fantastic scene from “Sweet Charity” which I have seen a number of times.


Man, I love music from the ’60s and ’70s. Don’t you?

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | May 8, 2013


Do you watch Smash? I’m totally addicted and I’m enjoying this season so much more than last season. Yes, some of the characters are annoying, but I love “Hit List,” the musical within the show. I have purchased a number of songs from this season and love it when they pop up on my ipod. Here is a favorite.

(note – if you don’t watch the show, the dancers are supposed to represent “obstacles to love”)

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | May 8, 2013

music is my joy

I’ve been listening to a lot of new music lately. I have this urge to share it, but haven’t figured out exactly how to do it yet. A blogger that I follow recently started a tumblr account (called Kitchen Tunage) to share her music finds and I was thinking that I wanted to do the same thing, but I haven’t figured out exactly where I want that site to be. I started my own tumblr account, but have a feeling that it would be better just to leave it at this site, it is random musings after all. I’m going to post them here under the category “music is my joy.”

Anyway, I recently downloaded a bunch of songs to create a new playlist for the girls that I wouldn’t get so sick of and honestly, some of them rock so much that I’m happy to listen to them on my own. This is one of them. Absolutely awesome!

Sara Bareilles – Brave (Lyric Video) (by SaraBareillesVEVO)

Posted by: michelle @ books my kids read | April 30, 2013


This is one of those posts that I’ve been meaning to write for a seriously long time. One of those things about blogging is that you get ideas as things happen in your life, but trying to find the time to actually write about them is a whole different story. This one has been percolating since February!

Typically, I am a very left-brained individual and J takes after me in that sense. I like logic. I like numbers. I’m really good at reading a map or building things if given instructions. I love to knit and crochet because you create something beautiful from following a pattern. Create something completely out of the blue? Not my thing. I probably never made it all that far with jazz or a cappella partially because I didn’t stray to far from the written note. So as much as I would love to instill a sense of creativity in my children, that is definitely an area I’m not overly comfortable with myself.

So even though we have always had legos aimed at kids from 2-5 in our house, they were rarely played with. Sure, we built some extraordinarily tall towers with them, but that’s about it, there were never actual buildings built. Fast forward to J’s 6th birthday. One of my closest friends bought her a set from the lego friends collection. I had been looking at the collection myself and almost purchased the Lego Friends Brickmaster set as a way to use J’s love of books to encourage her to play with legos as well, but she had enough gifts that I held off. Well, the set my friend sent sparked a serious love in her.

The thing that I was most amazed with was how different legos are from when I was a kid. My recollection, and I admit I could be totally off base here, is that we had boxes of legos and were left to our own devices to create something. Now legos seem to come in sets and have instructions for budding engineers.  To the left-brained mommy, it seems great – give me something to follow. But for the mommy who wants to encourage right-brained thinking, it seems kind of sad. There is also the feminist argument against pink, but I’m not going there. To J, these sets are just awesome.

The thing is that they are encouraging the kids to build really elaborate items, which isn’t as organic as the legos of my childhood. The set that we got featured a jeep, horse carrier, bridal station, horse and doll.

What is really cool about them, however, is that J sat there spell-bound and did most of it by herself. The only bummer came when she was almost fully finished with the jeep, had an issue, and I had to take the whole thing appart to fix the error that happened at the beginning. But she loved it. She then spent $20 of her birthday money on the Brickmaster set I had found earlier. A nice thing about this set is that you build various items as the story progresses and have to take some of them apart to build a different thing, which I believe teaches them that the sets are not built once and then only used as another toy to play with. There is less fear that a piece will break and it will take another 45 minutes to fix it.

Since February, she has purchased two additional sets with her own money – one large set with a treehouse “so the friends can have their clubhouse meetings,” and a small set with an outdoor bakery. The idea of meetings is hers, developed from the story line in the brickmaster book. Each set comes with a different doll, so she now has 5 dolls that can play among her various sets. The first week after purchasing them, she would come home after school and go straight to her room in order to play with them – any mother’s dream.

We also were early purchasers of a great product called Goldieblox. I had purchased it when it was still in prototype phase and had hoped to get it in time for her birthday. That didn’t happen, but by March our product had arrived and it is another great building toy encouraging little girls to consider engineering by combining building with a story. This isn’t as fun for J as the legos, but it is a hit. Yet another way to move away from the fairies and princesses while still staying in a comfortable place.

When we were at Disneyland in April, we stopped at the Lego store before dinner.  J happily posed next to a life-sized Mia made out of legos. We are definitely hitting Legoland rather than Disneyland the next time around.

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