mine + ours: books

By Emily.

Kicking off a recurring book series today! I’ve been sharing my book recs on my Fryday posts for years so if you need a whole bunch you can read them all here. But today is all about books for you to enjoy as well as your little ones. With pros and cons and any reading suggestions I might have along the way. I should also note how I rate my books so we’re on the same page.


1-star book: I hated both the story, the writing, and everything in between. 2-star:  I either hated the story or the writing, maybe one or the other was okay or bearable, but not both. 3-star: I enjoyed both the story and writing. 4-star: I loved both. 5-star: The book changed my life, the way I view the world, the way I live breathe and think.

I do not give out 5-stars lightly! I think I probably have less than 10 that fit that criteria. So it might sound like I am being harsh to some books, but that 5-star rating is a totally personal thing and nothing against a truly great book. I would recommend 4-stars all day long and 3-stars to people I think it fits best.

Read to roll?Small Fry Book Reviews


BOOK: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi- 5 Stars. SUCH a beautiful book. Man that guy can write. I loved how he weaved literature + neurology together. Such an unlikely match that totally makes sense after reading this book. I bawled through several parts and was glad to be able to mark the passages that touched me the most. This book is super clean minus one part where Paul is working with a patient with a brain injury who can’t stop swearing. 😉 What gave it the 5-star? He made so many incredibly insightful points about life, death, and also having children. I don’t want to blow it so I’ll let you find the nuggets.

AUDIO: Eleanor + Park – I am such a sucker for Young Adult literature with a musical spin. If you’re gonna reference music and bands and authors and poets I am all ears. Warning: there is a ton of language in this, adult themes about abuse, bullying galore, which I never enjoy reading but the story redeemed itself for me in other ways. I am not super sentimental or even a romantic really, so I cringed a lot at their young love story. Even still she gets it right. She illustrates just how it feels to be in love for the very first time and just how different that looks for a boy and a girl respectively. This book got an Audie award and its super enterataining with multiple narrators, character voices (Park’s mom was a fave!) that allows you to really get swept away!


BOOK: This is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe – 5 Stars. If you are looking for a way to open your child’s horizons without totally bursting their naive safe bubble and outlook on the world– this is for you. It’s tame, but still realistically shows one day in the lives of 7 different kids (aged 4-11) from around the world. Where the sleep, what they eat for breakfast lunch and dinner, what school likes and more. Beautiful illustrations too! My kids were mesmerized.

AUDIO: Wonder is coming out in theaters soon and it reminded me that I had always wanted to read it to my boys! When we played it in the car or while they played in the kitchen (Alexa is practically family at this point) the boys were SILENT. The story captured them and they tuned in no matter what they were doing beforehand, I loved it! It’s a little advanced for them in some parts and I found that they really only held interest in the August and Jack Will sections so we skipped passed some (Via, Justin chapters specifically) but they never seemed like they were confused in the story. The multiple narrators helped the boys keep things straight too which was nice. It’s such an important book for any age to read. Catch it on audio here.

Can’t wait to hear your recs and if you like these titles, too!

FRYday : Jenna

My parents never yelled or hardly even raised a voice to me growing up. They’re both relatively very positive, sensible and calm people who treated us as adults most the time. As they were my first and most positive example of parenthood, I suppose I assumed that I would naturally take on a lot of their same parenting style. So when I began my journey in to parenting, I never could have considered the fact that I would have to face my inner demon…yelling.

fryday : jenna

I can look at my role as Mom and be generally very proud of who I am and what I represent, but this is an embarrassing battle I have had an inner struggle within myself for some time. Most the time I would say: I deserve to yell! Quinn broke the plate I told him not to play with, Jude is throwing a fit about not being able to see a motorcycle out his window and for the 100th time please STOP jumping on the couch! Any person in their right mind would be frustrated by their twelve initial attempts to discuss calmly with a four year old why we can’t in fact eat candy for every meal. How do I get them to listen to me?!

I’ve tried removing myself from the situation, walking away, being over the top nice (aka pushover) and just crying in my bed at the end of the day feeling like a complete failure. None of it was working. Recently I found my solution in the book Deliberate Motherhood, our Small Fry book club selection. It simply states “Water the flowers, not the weeds.” This statement floored me. How much energy had I been giving their mistakes or disobedience versus their triumphs and good behavior? How many times had I watered the weeds more in a day than the flowers? Too many times. I’ve always been good at praising the obvious but to find the stuff in between took more effort and thought.

So I began finding small things throughout the day to water. Instead of getting after them when irreverent in church, I chose to whisper in their ears when they were playing nicely “Good job playing so reverently!” I’d stop in the middle of Target and say “Boys you are being so nice and patient with mommy, thank you!” Or giving Jude a kiss and saying “Thank you for getting in your car seat with out crying! I’m so proud of you.” Suddenly my urge to yell or get frustrated with them became less and less. By praising them constantly throughout the day for actions that may seem as they don’t need praising, they became more willing to listen to me when I did call for discipline. As their flowers are watered and nurtured they’ve become more confident little people and our relationship flourishes each day in to a place I didn’t know could exist.

There have been so many awesome epiphanies with this first book club selection, if you feel like you’re too far behind, or have yet to start, please join us! The chapters are a quick read, but give us so much to think on. We’d love to have you! Happy FRYday!



Small Fry Book Club

If you are friends with us on Facebook you know we’ve already been hatching a Small Fry book club and we’re so excited so many of you have already joined! We put up three books for everyone to vote on and the clear winner is Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joybookclub1


We’ll be reading a book each quarter so this first quarter is for September until December. We will keep you updated via the Small Fry Book Club group page on Facebook as to when we’ll be having the big group discussion! In the meantime, scoop up a copy and get reading! 

Buy it on Amazon here: Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order & Joy

Also, we’d love to hear your child development, parenting-related biographies or auto-biographies, and child-rearing book suggestions for the future, any the Small Fry Book Club needs to check out?