6 Ways to Build Family Culture Around Books

The following is a guest post from Jamie Martin

As a homeschooling mom, do you ever feel that you’re not doing enough to help your family fall in love with books? I know – we sometimes layer the mommy guilt on thick. But it doesn’t have to be complicated to make reading a natural part of your family’s life.

It doesn’t have to be complicated to make reading a natural part of your family’s life. Here are six ways to build your family's culture around books.

Here are six ways to build your family’s culture around inspiring books.

1. Use the library in a way that works for you

When it comes to using the library, my family has been through different seasons. At one time, taking my children there didn’t work because of their young ages. During that time, I still used the library by going alone and choosing books for the kids.

If you can’t make it to a library right now, think about what you can substitute instead. Do your best using what’s available to you.

2. Don’t feel tied to bedtime reading

Rarely in my life have I enjoyed bedtime reading with my kids. It’s a fact I tried to hide for ages because it felt like the parenting police might show up and take me away. In all honesty, by the time evening arrives, I lack the patience to enjoy stories with my children.

Bedtime isn’t the only acceptable reading time. I prefer mornings when I have the most energy. If you try and fail, don’t assume that reading aloud won’t work for you – just get creative with your timing.

3. Invite the whole family

Several years into forming our reading foundation, I realized my husband missed out on most of it. So we began a family reading time after dinner, while everyone is still at the table.

Our most successful readings have been short (10 – 15 minutes) even if that means stopping in the middle of a chapter. It’s better to leave them wanting more than to have everyone give a sigh of relief when you’re done.

4. Drop a book if it isn’t connecting with everyone

Recently, we started reading the Narnia series and reached a title that didn’t connect with everyone. I pulled out all the stops – doing crazy voices for characters, making the readings shorter, and taking the time to talk about what we were reading. But it wasn’t much fun since not all of us were enjoying it.

Family reading time is about bonding and deepening relationships. You need everyone “in” for it to work. So return that well-written book to the shelf for another season.

5. Talk about what you’re reading

Our kids need to see that reading isn’t only a child’s activity. Or worse – something assigned to endure until you can move on to something “fun.” Do this easily by setting the example yourself.

There’s no pressure to read from someone else’s list of official classics. Begin with your own interests, whatever they may be.

6. Travel the world through books and have a life-changing adventure

Traveling expands our horizons and takes us out of our comfort zones. As we discover new cultures, we bond with each other and enlarge our vision. But few families have the savings accounts needed to spend a year seeing the world first-hand. Why not do it from your living room sofa instead?

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time

Using my book, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, you can literally travel around the world, all from the comfort of home. Your whole family can fall deeper in love with books, God’s world, and each other page by page. There’s not a better adventure to take this side of eternity!

Jamie C. Martin lives a global life at home every day with four countries (England, India, Liberia, and the USA) represented under her roof. She blogs at SimpleHomeschool.net where she’s been writing since 2010 about mindful parenting and intentional education.

  

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Cherry Apple Pork Loin: Slow Cooker

By contributing writer Beth

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

There’s something comforting about a juicy, tender pork loin. It’s full of mouthwatering protein and delicious flavor. Pair that with seasonal fruits and you’ve got a winning flavor combination. Impress your guests with this Cherry Apple Pork Loin for your next special occasion or family dinner.

When my husband was growing up, his mother always paired pork chops with applesauce. Even though my family was the meat and potatoes type, we didn’t mix in fruits with our main dishes. But I’ve learned to be adventurous and try new flavor combinations with old favorites. This recipe is a delightful homage to that classic pork and apple taste combination.

The tart apples and cherries help keep the meat juicy and tender while also adding flavor and sweetness to the savory pork loin. The balsamic vinegar seasons the meat and adds a depth of flavor that you don’t want to leave out. And the cinnamon aroma will make your mouth water!

I like to pair this with a green salad, homemade bread, steamed veggies, or garlic mashed potatoes. Whatever way you serve this Cherry Apple Pork Loin, just be sure you keep the recipe. It’s a showstopper!

Smothered in fresh cherries and apples and dusted with cinnamon, your whole family will adore this Slow Cooker Cherry Apple Pork Loin.

Cherry Apple Pork Loin
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pork loin
  • 1 cup cherries, stems and pits removed
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place the pork loin in a large slow cooker,
  2. Top with cherries and apples.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar over the top of the fruit.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar over the entire dish.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

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Paleo Peach Smoothie

This Paleo Peach Smoothie celebrates the fresh, bright flavors of summer and gets plenty of nutrition in too with a secret ingredient that you won't taste.By contributing writer Tessa

This Paleo Peach Smoothie celebrates the fresh, bright flavors of summer and gets plenty of nutrition in too. Peaches and nectarines have got to be some of the best stone fruits when they are in season. I can’t get enough of them!

The added nutrition in this smoothie comes from the surprise ingredient – spaghetti squash (or zucchini). The first time I made it, I held my breath waiting to see if it would actually work. They both worked beautifully and totally disappeared into the mix! It is nice to get something besides spinach and leafy greens in sometimes.

This Paleo Peach Smoothie celebrates the fresh, bright flavors of summer and gets plenty of nutrition in too with a secret ingredient that you won't taste.

Stevia or honey to taste
  • Optional: handful of spinach
  • Protein Boost: hemp hearts, raw cashews, hydrolyzed gelatin (the kind that does not gel up on you), and protein powders are all options.
  • Instructions
    1. Place all ingredients into blender and process until smooth and creamy.

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    Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover

    By contributing writer Beth

    This Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover is great for back-to-school fun. Your kids will love designing their own personalized journals to stand out from the crowd.

    This Duct Tape Composition Notebook Cover is great for back-to-school fun. Your kids will love designing their own notebooks to stand out from the crowd.

    This tutorial takes from 5 – 10 minutes and doesn’t require any special equipment. The supplies are easy to find at an office supply store or any store that sells school supplies. This brand of tape comes in many designs and colors, so you’ll be able to find the design that suits each child’s personality.

    Let’s get started!

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook - Supplies

    Supplies Needed

    Instructions

    Start by turning the notebook so the back is facing up. I start on the back and finish on the front so that all of the uneven finishing pieces of tape are on the back of the notebook. This happens because you wrap the overhang to the back over the spine in the steps to cover the front.

    Cut off a piece of tape long enough to overhang both sides by at least an inch. Place the tape onto the top edge of the notebook so that it hangs over the top edge at least half an inch.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    You can see when the book is flipped over how it overhangs on the top and sides.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Open the back of the notebook and work on the outside corner first. Cut two slits coming out from the rounded corner of the composition notebook cover.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Cut out a triangle of tape from the top side using a straight line from the top edge to the top of the first corner slit you cut. So you’ll see that a triangle of tape is now removed from the top edge and the other corner slit remains.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Fold down the slender piece of tape straight in on the diagonal angle. This will help keep the rounded edge of your notebook.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Now press in the side piece to be straight on the edge of the notebook and press in toward the binding.

    (Ignore the pointy corner on this image. I had not yet cut out the triangle piece when I photographed this step.)

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Leave the top edge away from the cover for now.

    At the spine, cut out a trapezoid where the tape will be flat against the edge of the notebook and the sides will point slightly toward the outer corners.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Fold down the front edge. See how the angle of the spine cut allows for the tape to lay flat against the cover without getting near the paper. This will also keep the tape from causing bulk in the center.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Smooth the entire top of the front piece of tape down all the way to the corner you already prepared in earlier steps. Now the top front corner is complete.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Press down the back edge on the other side of the spine so that the sticky side of the tape has all been wrapped.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    This is how the front piece will look when finished.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Continue to finish the front of the notebook with new strips of tape that slightly overlap the first piece. Thankfully, you’ll only need to smooth them over the front edge until you get them to the bottom where you’ll finish the bottom front corner the same as the top corner.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    Repeat all these steps on the back EXCEPT do not make them overlap the spine. Just have the back pieces cover the back edge and slightly overlap the front piece that is wrapped around.

    DIY Duct Tape Composition Notebook

    You’re finished! Great job!

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