What I’m loving and reading in April 2017

What I’m loving

‘Julie’s Greenroom’ on Netflix

Julie Andrews plays herself in “Julie’s Greenroom,” where she teaches a group of puppets (created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) about the fundamentals of theater, including singing, dancing, improv and costumes. The show is geared toward preschoolers, but all my kids enjoy it and even I like watching it. I especially enjoyed guest stars like Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, STOMP and Idina Menzel.

Little Tykes Splish Splash Sink & Stove

Our 3-year-old recently received a Splish and Splash Sink & Stove as a gift and it is popular with all 3 of our boys. You fill the bottom pan with a few inches of water and then you can pump the sink to make it actually run. My boys love water play of all kinds, and I love that it reuses the water so I don’t need to constantly refill it. It is one of our favorite outdoor toys this spring.

EzContacts for contact lenses

Through a random online search trying to find cheaper contacts, I stumbled upon EzContacts and was so excited to order my regular contacts at more than half the price that I normally pay. Compared with other online stores, EzContacts was the much cheaper option. I have not ordered glasses from them so I can’t recommend them for glasses, but I definitely recommend checking out their prices next time you need to order contacts.

The Past and The Curious podcast for kids

The Past and The Curious is by far my new favorite podcast for elementary-aged kids. Our entire family really likes this podcast, including Carlos and me have learned something new from each podcast!

Their mission statement:

“History is amazing. The stories from our collective past have the power to transform people today. It is our goal to share true stories of inspiration, humor, and the incredible achievements of all types of people, many of which are sadly under-shared, and to do so in an easily accessible and diverse manner. Through bite-sized audio-based stories, music, a web magazine, and illustrated children’s books, we aim to spark the curiosity of children, parents, teachers, and anyone else who loves a great story and has an interest, of any size, in the past.”

What I’m reading

‘Falling Free’ by Shannon Martin

Falling Free” has been a big encouragement. Carlos and I intentionally live in the city and I don’t always have the best attitude about our neighborhood. This book was a great reminder to me about why we choose to live where we do and how to find the beauty in everything.

From Amazon:

“Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband, three adorable kids, money, friends, a close-knit church—a safe, happy existence.

“But when the bottom dropped out through a series of shocking changes and ordinary inconveniences, the Martins followed God’s call to something radically different: a small house on the other side of the urban tracks, a shoestring income, a challenged public school, and the harshness of a county jail (where her husband is now chaplain). And yet the family’s plunge from ‘safety’ was the best thing that could have happened to them.”

‘Cinder & Ella’ by Kelly Oram

I think young adult fiction may be one of my new favorite genres. I am not sure what that says about me, but they tend to be fun and light, which I really enjoy. I borrowed “Cinder & Ella” as part of Amazon Prime Reading, which lets Amazon Prime members borrow selected kindle books for free. I chose it based on the fact that it had a 5-star rating, which is pretty rare for books. I love it enough that I paid to read the sequel. If this a genre of book you enjoy, I definitely recommend this one.

From Amazon:

“It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

“Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.”

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