mine + ours: books #11

July Book Reviews!

I rarely, if ever, do this but I quit not one, but TWO books this month! (The last time was probably 6 years ago and it was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen) it might be my stress levels, a never ending to-do list with the move, not sure but I have the personality that finishes books to the bitter end so it’s shocking maybe to only me!

First– Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore. The story of Milo, a man who has died nearly 10,000 times. He only has a few more shots to hit perfection or he disappears forever, except one problem. He is in love with Death (a woman in the book) and can’t seem to commit to leaving her.

The premise caught my attention and seemed like a super unique and fresh book and it was entertaining and unlike anything I’ve read. I just couldn’t seem to get through it! So I exchanged it on Audible. From what my book club buddies said the content and language is rough throughout and it’s a little dark. Has anyone read this? Did I give up on the best book of my life?

Second — The Girl With Seven Names. This one has thousands of 5 star reviews and was a default merely because I had read “Nothing to Envy” last year and they information and presentation is super similar. I didn’t find myself learning anything I hadn’t already about North Korea so I passed on it! Nothing to Envy shares multiple people’s stories whereas Seven Names is one story, so if you find yourself leaning towards one over the other, maybe that will help make the decision!


I Can Do That! Books have quickly become go-tos around here. For the church bag, the car, quiet time. Interactive books are our jam and these are great! The dry erase one especially!

Activity Books for Kids!Stickyscapes at the Museum was sent to us to check out and it’s RAD! It’s quirky and wonderful and I might have stolen it from my kids to play with. I love that it has stickers of famous artist and works of art and random other stickers that you can fill in the pages of the museum!Stickyscapes at the Museum

Catch all my past recs here!


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HARD COPY: I remember very vividly when I started reading this book a couple months ago thinking THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN 2018! And I swear on the bible a couple days later I started hearing about the children separated from their parents at the border. It felt very eerie to be reading about the story while this was happening in real life.

Small Fry Book Reviews

Before We Were Yours is a historical fiction novel about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society back in 1939 — where children were actually kidnapped or taken from their parents and adopted without their consent. The story alternates between present day and 1939 and is heartbreaking. It felt cruel as a reader at times, like the author should’ve gone easier on us but it’s all based on a true story so beware that some of the content is hard to handle. I think it would be better as a hard copy because the narrator was super irritating to me. Also overly descriptive and not subtle. It felt like I was being hit over the head with foreshadowing. Otherwise very grateful to know this story even happened as I had never heard of it before!

EITHER (Audible or Hard Copy): Secrets of a Charmed Life. Besides the title and cover being so ill-fitting of the story inside I really loved this one. The story of sisters who are caught in London during the Blitz. This story gripped me and I was so anxious to finish. It does wrap a little fast for my liking but thats the only real criticism I have. I read this as a hard copy but will put it as my Audible pick this month simply because I can’t vouch for Before We Were Yours in that format.


Always on the hunt for new titles to read with my kids! Here are the top 10 of 2018 so far according to Amazon!

Top 10 Best Selling Kids Books of 2018

mine + ours: books #9

MINE:Small Fry Book Reviews

Circe: I feel like this word is cheesy, but I really was dazzled by this book. Ha! It was so beautifully written! I don’t know a ton about Greek Mythology so I wasn’t sure I’d even care about this story, but I was totally enthralled by it. And my friends who do know a lot about it said it stayed true to all the stories and characters, so I felt like I learned a lot about the subject too! I listened to it and was obsessed with the narrator, but there are pros to reading it. Right off the bat they introduce a ton of characters and it can feel overwhelming, but push through and it really only focuses on a small handful throughout. Reading it you can refer to the list of characters in the back, which is nice! But really, such insightful poignant writing about parenthood, the nature of power and what we’ve all come to know about Gods. LOVED it! I even bought her other book Song of Achilles!


Just wow. This book was so fascinating and also hits close to home. As a Mormon / LDS person there was obviously a lot to recognize, and cringe at! This is the story of a girl from a devout Mormon (they practiced a self-interpreted take on Mormonism that would likely get them kicked out, if you’re worried) Idaho family who even though had no formal education of her own ended up with a PhD from Harvard. Her story and her journey was really amazing to follow. But so so much to say on this book. If you read this and wonder WTF Mormons are even doing, let me assure you — those parents were cray. Mixing aspects of the gospel with paranoia, mental illness, scrupulosity, abuse, denial. So bad that as she described Mormons I would consider super devout, to the Westover family would have been called a “whore”. Ha! I read it with a pit in my stomach, but ultimately found it fascinating and eye opening. In general this story hits on the things we learn as kids and then the rite of passage of unlearning, reconciling or embracing as adults. Trigger Warnings: Abuse – both emotional and physical.


Summertime means one thing for the Frames! We do really strict morning routines before we go off and play and that includes reading and also working from workbooks! I love these brain quest books and my kids just grab them and pick whatever page they want to work on each morning! They have books for all ages and grades, grab yours here!Summer Books

mine + ours: books #8

April was a GOOD reading month for me. I had lots of travel time and the book picks were all excellent so I cruised through! Here’s what I’ve got for you:


Audible: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. This is a story about the walls we put up and the courage and vulnerability it takes to break them back down. It’s so funny and then also knocks you off your feet with some sadness, too. I say listen to this because the book is set in Glasgow, Scotland and the accents make it even more hilarious. I absolutely adored it. Also, on Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick list if you’re a fan of her picks! *Trigger warning: she has memory recollections of an abusive past so not super blatant, but still there.Small Fry Book Recs

Read: The Great Alone. I actually listened to this one as well, but it was so breathtaking I wished I had a hardcopy to mark up, re-read my favorite lines and take it in a little bit more. This is the story of a young girl and her parents who escape her father’s PTSD from the Korean War by running off to homestead in Alaska, albeit woefully unprepared. Ultimately a story of the unshakable love of a mother. I absolutely wept through the last section. Tears streaming. *Trigger warning: there is fair amount of implied domestic abuse and some actual scenes in this.

Small Fry Book Recs


Wee Society sent me a copy of this book  Go! My Adventure Journal and it is the most darling thing. SO perfect for a special Summer vacation! Each page is interactive and at the end will be a whole journal of your family vacation. Pages to keep track of special activities, memories, musings and observations about things that you would normally forget. So impressed and happy with this one!

Here’s some of the pages!

See my other book picks in this series here!

mine + ours: books #7


I listened to Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It is the story of three families living in the picture perfect planned town of Shaker, Ohio. It “explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.” It is the top 10 most read books on Amazon right now and just got picked up for a 8 episode series on Hulu with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington at the helm of production. I am always glad when I read a book before it’s cast because I can’t unsee whoever is in each role, so hurry up before they do! This would be a fascinating book to do with a book club because there really is no way to NOT have an opinion on some of the events and themes. I wish I would have actually read it because I missed some things listening that I had to ask friends about after! Little Fires Everywhere

OURS: We rolled the dice on some library books this month (its always hit and miss for me) and we had a huge win with The Mighty Lalouche. The most charming book about a French Postman who decides to become a boxer. The illustrations are all paper cutouts and I died over every page with its French words worked throughout. Immediately ordered for our collection!The Mighty Lalouche

More Book reviews here!

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February Book Picks reviewed!


I read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. This is my FIRST Picoult book I’ve ever read. Holy cow. It was beautiful. I was breathless several times. Got chills several times. The story is so well done and it’s an amazing audio production, too. All about racism and redemption and equity over equality. I absolutely loved it. 4 stars, easy. The language is tough, but only in the white supremacist’s chapters. It’s already in development to be a movie so hurry and read it before you can’t unsee the actors in your mind. Small Fry Book Reviews


Hayes is super into animal facts, we’ve been watching all the Netflix shows and we have a few books that he won’t put down. These are all super beautiful and well done!

ANIMAL! // National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia // The Photo Ark

kids with intense feelings

I spoke about my intense child the other day on Insta Stories and it erupted in some really good conversation. I promised several of you that I would get all the goods into a post and here it is! There are truly so many of us, I hope that the more we are open and honest about our challenges with these kids who feel deeply and are still learning how to navigate those feelings, the better ALL our situations will become. More tools, more ideas, more compassion, more understanding, more light and laughter and fun, too! There are several amazing quotes from the round-up of books below but this one especially caught my eye and tugged at my heart:Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

It was only in the last few months that my husband and I stopped saying “It’s a phase” and shifted to the understanding that this might just be his personality. Super sensitive, easily overwhelmed with emotion of all kinds and seemingly deeper more intense feelings than your average joe.

For my kiddo there are SO many factors we are weighing each day. I’ll share them here because maybe it might help you in figuring out your balance, too!

-He is a picky eater, but also has a lot of sensitivities in his favorite foods. Like corn and dairy are his favorite things, but also things an allergist told us to stay away from. We do our best, but it’s so hard!

-Eating often. He can get ultra focused and not be concerned with eating but I think he might be hypoglycemic like his mom because if I can keep him fed and fed well (I.E. not chips and chocolate milk) he is night and day different. I found he LOVES Jamba Juice smoothies (Caribbean Passion is his fave) so I bought the pre-bagged smoothes ($3 gets two full cups) and because the flavor is something he loves and recognizes and can be consistent with the bagged version, I can load in extra good stuff. Knowing he is getting good nutrients that way helps take some of the pressure of forcing him to eat things he doesn’t like which is ALWAYS a battle and causes so much contention.

I add Buried Treasure ACF for Kids Immune Support, a Probiotic powder, and this Organic Superfood Blend. The Caribbean Passion flavor is strong and recognizable enough to come through and they don’t even flinch when they drink it!

-Sleep. I can tell he is tired when he gets super weepy. I pull the plug on him and put him in my bed and turn the fan on. He might throw a fit but 100% of the time he falls asleep when I do this.

-Attention and Praise. He seems to keep track if I am paying attention or praising other kids more than him and he will internalize and eventually tell me that it made him sad. He acts out to get attention and  in turn can get in trouble a lot which also triggers him. Vicious cycle.

-Control and being in charge. He has said so many times he can’t wait until he’s older so he can make the rules.The less I tell him what to do the better for us all. I have to pick my battles with him and occasionally we do a “YES” day (usually a Saturday after they finish their chores) where parents can only say yes to things the kids want (we have some rules to keep it within reason) and he LOVES it so much.

-I’ve had him tested for a number of things as a precaution to no avail, but one thing I sense in him is that he gets over stimulated super easily. Too much noise, too much going on, to bright etc. So I have to make sure he has a lot of down time with out all of that. He is also a classic introvert where as me and my other kids are the opposite so we have to protect him in that way and make sure he gets time to himself.


Validation. Validating kids feelings is sometimes all they need to hear to let go of something. It’s as easy as mirroring their emotions or actions to them, “I can hear that you’re really angry.” “I can see you’re so excited you couldn’t wait.”

Grounding or Earthing. Feeling peaceful in nature isn’t a fluke, the energetic waves that come from way underneath the Earth’s surface have been shown to have a calming effect and negative charge on us all! You have to be barefoot for it to work but it is proven!

Drink Water. The act of drinking water automatically regulates breathing and switches the brain to focus on not choking. Watching stressed child drink water, they are visibly calmed (this research was discussed in this book!) In addition dehydration can cause irritability and a number o other stressors.

Weighted Blanket These blankets (mine is 15 pounds) are used for all types of disorders like OCD, Autism, Sensory issues, and anxiety. Serotonin levels have been tracked to raise when under a weighted blanket which helps calm and relax as well as helps us fall asleep faster. This is the one I use and put my kids under to watch a show, or have quiet time when needed.

BOOKS SUGGESTED: I’ll post a quote from each book that helps summarize what you can expect to learn

Whole Brain Child — “We now know that the way to help a child develop optimally is to help create connections in her brain—her whole brain—that develop skills that lead to better relationships, better mental health, and more meaningful lives. You could call it brain sculpting, or brain nourishing, or brain building. Whatever phrase you prefer, the point is crucial, and thrilling: as a result of the words we use and the actions we take, children’s brains will actually change, and be built, as they undergo new experiences.”

No Drama Discipline — “Reduce words. Embrace emotions. Describe, don’t preach. Involve your child in the discipline. Reframe a no into a conditional yes. Emphasize the positive. Creatively approach the situation. Teach mindsight tools.”

The Child Whisperer (the “types” book)– “I believe that the purpose of parenting is to raise children true to their natures so they can grow up feeling honored, confident, and free to be themselves. When you truly stop seeing your children’s tendencies through eyes of judgment, they will feel the change and respond in positive ways you cannot yet anticipate.”

Transforming Your Difficult Child — “Children do not awaken by the fear of punishment. They awaken to their greatness.”

The Explosive Child, A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children — “Challenging kids are lacking the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving, skills most of us take for granted.”

Raising Your Spirited Child — “Love your spirited child for who she is. Because she is more, she will make you more.” or I also loved this one:

“It almost seems un-American, at times, to have kids who are slow to warm up. Other people tell us to push them—to force them to jump in—and they reprimand us for babying them. When your child adapts slowly, remind yourself that you will appreciate it when he is an adolescent. While all the other kids are running off on some ridiculous impulsive venture, yours will be thinking, moving slowly and cautiously. There are strengths to every temperamental characteristic.”



mine + ours: books #5

Reviewing Books Read in December 2018!

december books


The Untethered Soul — This was my December book pick after reading a SLEW of similar books. It was interesting to see how they all sort of recycled the same truths but this book had something that I hadn’t read anywhere before. And that was to view your inner dialogue, your incoming thoughts, the negative and positive self talk as other. Or not from you. Just stimuli or information that you let pass through you. It was so true to me to read that our thoughts cause nearly all of our discomfort throughout the day. I know that was true for me at least. Happy to try this method out. There was lots of good stuff in this book and Oprah gives it to all her friends if you need a better vouch than mine. 😉

Secret Life of Fat — this was a book club book and it was actually super fascinating. I’ve heard the author has a podcast episode that sort of encapsulates the topics covered but it really was super informative and eye opening about all the ways fat acts differently in different people. It was just released as a paperback too which is great news!

Four Agreements — I had never read this which is shocking to so many people. I guess it’s basically required reading, but somehow I had missed that train. This is the first time I’ve ever said this but once I felt like I was already doing most of what it suggested, so that was a win! The Four Agreements are to be impeccable with your word, take nothing personally, don’t make assumptions (one I need to work on!) and to always do your best. My assumptions lead me to take things personally so I know once I shake that everything else will improve too. Anyway, a short read but a great start if you’re on a self improvement kick.

OURS: I am starting a little kiddie BOOK + MOVIE club where we pick an audio book to listen to together (or read, depending on your preference) in preparation to see the movie adaptation. It doesn’t always have to be a movie going to theaters but this time we’re doing A Wrinkle In Time, since it it comes out March 9th, I know we’ll have plenty of time to read / listen to it! I remember loving it as a kid and hope my kids do too!

We got this Paddington Pop-up book about London and it is so darling. So intricate and a must for any kiddo’s book shelf! This book feels like an experience on a whole other level, I think it would make an awesome gift, too!

What are you reading? What should I read next?


mine + ours: books #4

October book pick reviews are here! I am reading THE UNTETHERED SOUL for NOVEMBER among a couple others. I’ll pipe in if anything looks promising!



A freaking page turner to be sure but are these people for real?! If you can forget about their horrible choices, suspend your disbelief that anyone would actually some of these things, it’s so entertaining and a great book to reignite your desire to read. A page-turner about a couple who’s infant daughter goes missing. Twists and turns truly on every page.Couple Next Door Book Review



This is an absolute must have if you have girls, and just as important if you have boys. I’ve been reading it to my boys and so has Russ. Just trying to balance the scales of what my kids are exposed to and if you don’t have this, get it. Buy it for every girl you have on your Christmas list. Its a beautiful heirloom quality book that I can’t recommend enough!Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

And a peek inside. I love that its a mix of more famous names and lesser known. A mix of all sorts of fields of study, interests, passions and even though it uses the word rebel, I wouldn’t say that it promotes lawlessness or anything foolish, but each woman went against the grain, giving them their rebel term.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls






Holy smokes this week was nuts. There are so many wonderful things in the pipeline for Small Fry and that always means exhaustion and then waiting and then I get to share. So, step one is hopefully complete for while!

We have UEA this weekend so the kids are home and it is also mine and Russ’ 12 year anniversary today! We had plans to go to Vegas for a couple days but we had to cancel due to some needs at the house. So we’re sticking around here! We’d love to go somewhere special for dinner either in Utah County or SLC? Any recs?

A few weekend deals for you:

Madewell extra 30% off sale! My faves:

WATCHING: On my flights last week I finally started Poldark. I totally get the hype. In the back of my head I am constantly trying to plan out a time to watch another episode. Ha.

READING: I finished the three self-help books I talked about last time here’s my quickest review. If you are like me and don’t want things to be too serious, or more specifically self-important I’d say read You Are A Badass over The Universe Has Your Back. Jen Sincero is just more my speed. Super funny and easier to process. Also Love Warrior was beautiful. She says things that people (or maybe just me?) feel to ashamed to even think sometimes and the whole book is hard but also a relief. If you want something moving and real, read it! Also reading Salt to the Sea for my book club, so far so meh. Why am I not getting into it?! It’s incredibly well rated. We’ll see how it turns out!

LISTENING: I met Bev in Vermont and her playlists are legit! This one is particularly charming. If you just need something to turn on and forget she’s got a playlist for just about any need. Also Small Fry is on Spotify too if you want kid-friendly beats that won’t make you want to die. Looking at you Wiggles. Our Lullaby playlist is my fave.

DECORATING: Basically that’s all I think about but haven’t actually made any purchases.  Except for a small fortune on windows this week, but you know what I mean. How does one build a house and then afford to fill it with things to sit/lay on? Asking for a friend. But in effort to not make this section of the post totally pointless here are some inspiration images for what I hope to accomplish in the kitchen!

This is probably the closest I have found to what I am aiming for: two tone cabinets, waterfall island. So good! // Source#framefarme Inpso

Source#framefarme inspo Source#framefarme inspo The styling literally hurts my eyes but lots of you asked about the loft in Insta Stories, here’s a good representation for the feel of it. Glass railing across the top for super open feel. // Source#framefarme inspo One more … major inspiration for the laundry room in the basement! I figure I won’t get sick of it because I never do laundry. 😉 We’re sort of winging it but I hope it ends up this rad!#framefarme inspo

Happy Fryday, Fall Break, and anniversary everyone!!