Reading instead of Writing


Right now, this is what my kitchen table looks like, completely covered in books. Fiction, mostly, with some poems and horses thrown in for good measure. You may notice many sequels, and a few new series’ starters…

Someone recently asked me what it’s like to have finished writing my book. The answer is that it’s a bit anti-climactic. I gathered all my energy and effort and focus pouring into a gigantic goal. And now it is done. So I’m taking a break from writing for a bit, both from books and blogging.

Instead, I’m pouring myself into curating a child’s reading experience.

LauriReading instead of Writing

How I Wrote a Book with Small Children Underfoot


Kitchen Rescue for the Not-So-Organized is here!

It was one of those projects that incubated for several years without me even realizing it was growing. But once I saw the need to actually write a book about my organizing process, I suddenly had laser focus.

It’s funny to say that I had laser focus, because that is almost never true of me. With three or more small children constantly underfoot, there is the unending stream of cares to tend.

Fortunately, we were on break from homeschooling when the inspiration hit, and the timing was perfect! No structure to maintain. No lessons to prepare. No assignments to oversee. So…

LauriHow I Wrote a Book with Small Children Underfoot

Photo Shoot for My New Book!

Breakfast Nook

    My first book, Kitchen Rescue for the Not-So-Organized, is coming together. I’ll let you know when we have an official launch date! For the moment, though, I’ll share a glimpse of our photo shoot for it. Teaming up with photographer Kellie Mueller was a great idea. Before we got started, I shared with her an inspiration board of photographs that captured my vision for the book. It apparently communicated well, because when we got in there, we worked together seamlessly. I got to play creative director and stylist, while she clicked away. So fun! We had limited time to be in this classic kitchen, which meant there was no time to fool around. We were cordially all business. A huge thanks to the Farnsworth family for inviting us into their kitchen. It was the perfect setting. I’ve been toying with shooting some full-scale before and after kitchens, but I think that may be a follow-up to the book. Maybe yours would be one!

LauriPhoto Shoot for My New Book!

Pre-Reading Basics: Phonemic Awareness

Quilt & Hand

Reading readiness can be cultivated simply and naturally. We teach our preschoolers their colors and numbers. They love to point out what they know, love songs and games.  But how do we get from singing the ABC’s to reading words? This is the first in a series of posts with tools that I use, both with students and my own children. Let’s start with Phonemic Awareness.  

Phonemic Awareness is a term teachers use to describe a student’s ability to differentiate sounds.

LauriPre-Reading Basics: Phonemic Awareness

Taking Time to Read

Catching Fire

Instead of writing this weekend, I found myself tearing through Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins (sequel to The Hunger Games). Any time I’m absorbed in fiction, I have difficulty engaging in the real world, much less accomplishing anything! Still, I reading is important to me and good for my brain. I just wish I could find a balance of reading without becoming Missing In Action. Oh well. It’s a luxury I allow myself occasionally… I’m assuming I’ll read Mockingjay (the third Hunger Games book) next. Then what?  I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below! What are you reading right now? How do you balance fiction with life?

LauriTaking Time to Read

Downtown Story Time, our favorite!

Downtown puppets

Libraries are wonderful.  In particular, the Nashville Public Library system is fantastic.  If you ever come to Nashville, come visit our downtown library: grand architecture, vast volumes, serene study rooms and cozy reading corners.  And perhaps best of all: a delightful children’s section, complete with a puppet theater, craft rooms, and the best story hour I’ve ever seen.  

Most story-hours are a sweet children’s librarian singing a few songs and reading several stories.  This story time includes these elements, but incorporates them into an amazing, interactive show.

LauriDowntown Story Time, our favorite!

More Favorite Children’s Authors

More Books

I’m still on a quest for more picture book authors (see the original post HERE), and would love to hear from you!  Parents with similar values are such a good resource for this, and recently I had a fun texting conversation with my brother-in-law about some favorites of theirs too.  

I’m finding the key to successful library visits is familiarity with authors.  So I’ve been creating a list of writers and illustrators that I love, and then I try to grab just one book from each author.

LauriMore Favorite Children’s Authors

Some Favorite Children’s Authors

Smokey's Books

As both a nanny and as a new mom, I didn’t have any particular method for choosing books at the library.  We’d linger in the aisles, browsing for something sweet, hoping it didn’t contain anything too offensive.  When I taught kindergarten, I became aware of some wonderful children’s authors, but I forgot most of them when my babies came. 

Lately, though, I’ve been scouring friends and blogs for great authors!  It’s a new hobby: to find children’s books with wonderful stories, delightful illustrations, and maybe even morals to boot.


LauriSome Favorite Children’s Authors