Products and Books I'm Enjoying in 2023
Book Recommendations, Loving and Learning Lately, Products I Love, Reading

Loving and Learning Lately {10}

Welcome to Round 10 of this new little series I started of all the things in life I’m loving and learning lately! Here you’ll find everything from the books I’m currently reading to the products I’m loving to the shows I’m watching (which, spoiler alert–won’t be very many or very exciting, since I’m not a huge t.v. or movie watcher). If you want to check out past editions of the series, click here.

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Loving Lately

We are in a particularly rough patch of sleep lately–the baby had been sleeping really quite well for awhile there, and then a whole bunch of things hit at once: the holidays, colds all around, an ear infection, him outgrowing his swaddle, and some seriously bad constipation (oh PediaLax, how you’ve saved us!) all of which added up to him waking up sometimes as much as every two hours, all night long…for weeks. It’s been rough, to say the least. So now that everyone in the house is basically healthy again (knock on wood), we finally decided to tackle the too-small swaddle/sleep sack problem. We had been using this one (which we have looooooved to death, but he’s just gotten too big for it and now can bust his arms out of it, to boot), so we decided to recently purchase this one, which is marketed as an excellent way to help transition babies out of the swaddle. While it hasn’t been perfect so far (he gets so excited sometimes with all the movement he can manage in it that it sometimes takes us a few tries to get him to go down), it overall has seemed to help–last night we were down to just one feeding rather than three. Fingers crossed that he’ll be back to sleeping through the night again sooner rather than later!

I’ve totally been digging on the new cookbook Matt got me for Christmas (America’s Test Kitchen’s Complete Vegetarian Cookbook), which has already helped me produce literally the best homemade pizza I’ve ever personally made in my life. Since my mom and stepdad bought me this InstantPot for Christmas, I decided to buy ATK’s Multicooker Perfection cookbook as well (which I got for a steal at $12.89), and I am just digging all the dinner motivation flying around here lately!

While I already mentioned the killer snow gloves we love for Raven in my last round-up, I was in the market for some thick, warm mittens for her that weren’t snow mittens, for wearing to church or just in the car or on walks (when no snow would be involved, but it would be cold). We ended up getting her these sherpa-lined ones for Christmas (they say that they’re for boys, but I liked these colors the best), and we’ve totally loved them. Plus they’re just pretty!

Learning Lately

Current Books

I am in the middle of a ridiculous number of books at the moment, mostly because I got hit with a surge of New Year motivation to read All the Books AND with the realization that my self-assigned reading is “due” in about a week and a half (and, as of the first of this month, I hadn’t started any of the three). The below list isn’t even all of them, but I’m calling it good enough for now.

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I picked up this YA title on a whim (because I’d loved Bradley’s other book The War that Saved My Life, as well as its sequel The War I Finally Won). While the frequently shifting narrators (which shifted without rhyme or reason) kept throwing me for a loop, overall, I found this a totally fascinating book about an aspect of history I literally knew nothing about before (that is, that it’s almost certain that Thomas Jefferson had several children with one of his slaves). Although the structure wasn’t perfect, I think this is a story that will stick with me for awhile.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

This was one of my self-assigned books (the one under the Newbery Award category), and I basically knew nothing about it when I started other than the fact that it was a finalist for the award and that it had a creepy cover. It ended up being a total hidden gem that I loved and read in a matter of about 48 hours, and the book captured perfectly that hard transition around 6th or 7th grade when you realize that you’re leaving your childhood behind forever, even though you might not feel ready to. I don’t do legitimately scary books, but this one had just enough of a creepy vibe to it that made it plain fun.

Little Soldiers: An American Boy, a Chinese School, and the Global Race to Achieve by Lenora Chu

I’ve been trying to clear out my TBR list on Goodreads lately (no more putting books on there that I only put on there in the first place because I felt I “should”!), and I came across this title that I’d added two years ago but that I’d promptly forgotten about soon after. As reading about American parents raising children in foreign countries is apparently a favorite parenting genre of mine (see French Kids Eat Everything, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Bringing Up Bebe, etc. etc.), I thought this book about an American mom enrolling her son in one of the top kindergartens in Shanghai was probably a sure thing for me, and I haven’t been disappointed so far.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

This is my nonfiction pick for my self-assigned reading this term, and I just started it yesterday. I bought this for my husband last Valentine’s Day (so romantic of me, I know), who has been pressing it into the hands of multiple people ever since, so I figured it was finally my turn to see what it was all about. While I initially thought the premise of the book wouldn’t apply to me that much, I’ve since changed my tune, as I realize that I’m negotiating a lot more than I previously thought I was (like with a certain toddler who has strong opinions, as most toddlers are wont to have). I’m not far into this, but so far it’s been utterly fascinating (not to mention surprisingly applicable).

The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

I won this in an Instagram giveaway, and as I’ve already read a LOT of books on minimalism and decluttering (like, a LOT—I’m even considering doing a post just on that kind of book), I’m not in much of a rush to get through this. Rather, I’m using it as a motivational tool of sorts so that whenever I have a spare pocket of time, I’ll read a few pages from this and then feel motivated enough to get off my bum and do something about it.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel

Remember how this was included on my round-ups for months (literally) but without me making much progress on it? Well, I’m now within spitting distance of finishing (finally), and I can safely say that this book will forever and always change not only how I parent, but also how I personally work my way through problems. I didn’t think I was that bad at processing emotions and negative things in my life, but this book has made me realize that there is a better way and that I’m frequently the poster child for how *not* to handle emotionally-charged parenting (or life) situations. I read this book to help me to know how to help my children be emotionally healthy, but I’ve come away a much more emotionally healthy person myself. It’s been amazing! (And, at only 168 pages, it’s a read I feel comfortable recommending to just about everyone! A five-star read, for sure.)

Deliberate Motherhood by The Power of Moms

This is a reread, but as I loved this book so much last year (and as Matt bought me my own copy for Christmas), I decided to leave it by the computer and pick it up whenever I was waiting for stuff to load (because our laptop is that slow). Ironically, I think the first section in this is actually one of the weakest in the bunch (which is too bad for anyone who is judging the whole book off of the beginning), but as I’m getting more into the other essays, I’m quickly remembering exactly why this made my list of favorite books of last year.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Another reread, though it’s been quite a bit longer since I picked this one up. There are concepts from this book I still think about all the time, and as it was just sitting by our downstairs computer, I decided to pick it up again when I was waiting for photos to load. Now, whenever I’m waiting by my downstairs computer (are you sensing that I wait a lot by computers here?!), I make sure to read a few pages.


What books are you in the middle of right now? Any products you’re loving? Also, you’ll notice the site got a face-life, and I’d love to hear what you think. Go ahead and drop me a comment below!

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