Homeschooling Update: An Unplanned Break

The Deliberate Reader US and Canada GeoPuzzleSo I’d planned on not taking a real summer break, but continuing to do school whenever we didn’t have other plans. That gives lots of flexibility as far as taking other time off during the year, without any concerns about hitting the 180 days required in Indiana.

(Although I don’t actually have to hit any days yet; my oldest is still under the mandatory age. I still want to get to 180 as “practice” if you will for next year, and because that doesn’t seem like a lot to ask of our educational year.)

However, June brought with it that unexpected trip to Arizona for a week, then recovery from that trip (for me at least; the kids were fine), then VBS, then two weeks of sickness making its way through the family. Throw in two birthdays and a week of tae kwon do camp, and suddenly it’s late July and we haven’t been doing any school.

And you know what? I’m ok with that. The kids have had lots of time to play outside with the neighbors, we’ve gone to the park and splash park. We’ve done VBS (more than once even) and tae kwon do camp. We’ve spent time with family, and celebrated birthdays. We’ve participated in the library summer reading program.

And G is still doing all his GeoPuzzles, and playing Stack the StatesStack the States and Stack the CountriesStack the Countries. He will happily tell you all the states, and where they’re located. “Which state is below Montana?” “Which state is above Indiana?” etc. He loves talking about the countries that a part of each continent too. He even got the GeoPuzzle U.S.A. and CanadaGeoPuzzle U.S.A. and Canada - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (69 pcs) for his birthday and it was the very first of all of his presents that he opened and started using.

August will be here soon enough when the neighbors go back to school. We’ll ease back into our school year, and I think we’ll all be more refreshed for the break.

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What the Kids are Reading (in July 2015)

What the Kids are Reading July 2015Lots of books because it was a two-library-visit month. It was also the end of the summer reading program but I spaced it and forgot before the deadline and the kids never got to turn in their cards and redeem their points for prizes. Nobody tell them what they missed out on, ok?

The Right WordThe Right Word: Roget and His ThesaurusThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

I absolutely adored this book. It’s so clever, and the illustrations and text layout work so well for the story. That said, this is a picture book that works better for older readers – it didn’t engage my daughter at all. My son liked it more, although it still wasn’t his favorite. Sniffle.

Duck RabbitDuck! Rabbit!Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Another one that is so clever. The illustration is fabulous – is it a duck? is it a rabbit? The text works through which it could be, with two unseen narrators each picking a different option. Lots of fun to read, and both kids enjoyed it. The little surprise at the end amused me as well.

You Nest Here with MeYou Nest Here With MeYou Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

A gentle read that would be ideal for bedtime. There’s lots of information packed into it as well, and my son really liked reading the extra details about the birds at the back of the book.

Clara and DavieClara and DavieClara and Davie by Patricia Polacco by Patricia Polacco

I love Polacco, and this is another typical one for her. Fun illustrations, and nice story. It’s another one where it worked better for my son than daughter, as it didn’t keep her interest that much.

Carmine a Little More RedCarmine: A Little More RedCarmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet by Melissa Sweet

A reimagination of the Red Riding Hood story, by an illustrator I love. Cute story, cute illustrations, and some great vocabulary. The familiar story pleased my kids, and they liked the way it wasn’t *exactly* the story they knew.

Elsie's BirdElsie’s BirdElsie's Bird by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Small by Jane Yolen, illustrated by David Small

Yolen is such a reliable author that I’m willing to try anything of hers I find on the library shelf. This is an enjoyable book, but not one my kids asked to be repeated. The illustrations are lovely.

Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems by Mo Willems

Willems is always a hit in our house, and this is no exception. Fun story with a nice twist at the end.

Waiting is EasyWaiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Waiting Is Not Easy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems by Mo Willems

Another Willems, this one is reading practice for my son. It’s as great as the Elephant and Piggie books usually are.

Earth-Shaking Facts about EarthquakesThe Earth-Shaking Facts about Earthquakes with Max Axiom, Super ScientistThe Earth-Shaking Facts about Earthquakes with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science) by Katherine Krohn, illustrated by Tod G Smith and Al Milgram by Katherine Krohn, illustrated by Tod G Smith and Al Milgram

One of my son’s birthday books, and he continues to love this series.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Murder at the Brightwell

Murder at the BrightwellMurder at the Brightwell: A MysteryMurder at the Brightwell: A Mystery by Ashley Weaver by Ashley Weaver

Shallow reader alert here: I picked this one up because of the cover. Yes, yes I did. Happily, this time the intriguing cover did not lead me astry, and the book was just the sort of read I expected and was hoping to get.

It’s light and amusing genre fiction. The main character is appealing, and her situation felt believable. Or believable enough – there were some points that had me shaking my head in disbelief. No matter. I was looking for a breezy and undemanding mystery and that’s exactly what this is.

If you like historical mysteries, or if the premise of this one sounds appealing – give it a try. It’s an enjoyable read, and would make a perfect beach or vacation book if you don’t want anything too demanding. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Death Wears a MaskDeath Wears a Mask: A Mystery (An Amory Ames Mystery) by Ashley Weaver, which is scheduled to be published in October (and has another fabulous cover).


And this is where I feel I should clarify, because Amazon and Goodreads seems to think a 3-star rating is a negative one. And I gave this one 3.5 stars and yet that ends up showing as a supposed negative review. What gives?

First, I round down on my Goodreads account. 3.5 stars on the blog translates into 3 stars over there. I had to make a choice if I was going to round down or up on half stars, and I went with down, to try and make it where 4 and 5 star books truly were 4 and 5 star books.

That said, Goodreads itself says a 3-star rating means “I liked it.” And I did like it. 4 stars means “I really liked it.” For me, that means a stronger feeling for the book than I had. I liked it. I’ll look for a sequel if there is one. It won’t be making my top 10 books of the year list, but every book isn’t going to be THE BEST BOOK EVER, and that’s ok.

Publisher’s Description:
Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancé, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

Amory accompanies Gil to the Brightwell Hotel in an attempt to circumvent the marriage of his sister, Emmeline, to Rupert Howe, a disreputable ladies’ man. Amory sees in the situation a grim reflection of her own floundering marriage. There is more than her happiness at stake, however, when Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime. Amory is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer, despite attempted dissuasion from the disapproving police inspector on the case. Matters are further complicated by Milo’s unexpected arrival, and the two form an uneasy alliance as Amory enlists his reluctant aid in clearing Gil’s name. As the stakes grow higher and the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim.

Murder at the Brightwell is a delicious mystery in which murder invades polite society and romance springs in unexpected places. Weaver has penned a debut in the tradition of Jacqueline Winspear.

Book Details

Title: Murder at the Brightwell: A MysteryMurder at the Brightwell: A Mystery by Ashley Weaver
Author: Ashley Weaver
Category: Fiction / Mystery
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah BesseyJesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of WomenJesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah Bessey by Sarah Bessey

I liked the subtitle on this: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women.

I liked the additional teaser on the cover: Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too.

I thought I’d be getting a thoughtful look at doctrine and history and scholarship (I mean, that’s what the description promised: “Through a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices…” Instead, the book is heavy on Bessey’s feelings. Not just her’s, but other women’s feelings as well, about being denied opportunities in the church because of being female.

The book is much more of a memoir of Bessey and her experiences, and not really what the title and description promises. And that’s ok – I like memoirs. But I like to know I’m going to be reading a memoir, and not be expecting something else.

At times, it also reads like a series of blog posts cobbled together. I don’t read her blog much to know for sure how much of it is material she might have already published there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a fair amount is familiar. Update and correction, thanks to a comment from Katie. This is not reworked blog material, although it is on similar themes to what she writes about on her blog. However, as a new-to-her reader, at times the material still seemed not entirely cohesive.

The cobbled-together effect, combined with the difference in focus from what I was expecting made for a disappointing read. Some sections were fantastic, but others were so trite and felt like they were written purely to wring emotion from the reader. I don’t like being emotionally manipulated by what I read, and don’t find emotional arguments compelling.

Why yes, I am an INTJ, with a heavy emphasis on the INT part. That alone might be the reason for my dislike of the book – the approach she takes is not one that connects with me, and instead leaves me feeling aggravated.

Now for a bit of a disclaimer: It’s completely shallow, but I find one aspect of her writing to be so annoying and cringe-inducing that it’s possible that’s impacting my entire perspective of the book. Doubtful it’s that extreme, so let’s say that it’s making me take this down from a 2 star book to 1.5 stars.

Update: Katie has written a great comment, giving an alternate perspective on it. Even if you don’t usually read the comments, I’d encourage you to do so to see what she has to say about the book.

Publisher’s Description:
Gender roles have been debated for centuries, and now Sarah Bessey offers a clarion freedom call for all who want to realize their giftedness and potential in the kingdom of God. Through a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices, Bessey shares how following Jesus made a feminist out of her.

Book Details

Title: Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of WomenJesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women by Sarah Bessey
Author: Sarah Bessey
Category: Nonfiction / Faith
My Rating: 1.5 Stars
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

New on Your Stack (volume 6)

Sense & SensibilityKate had a few children’s and YA titles that intrigued me, but she’s since reviewed them and none of them sounded like they’d be worth the reading time. What’s still a possibility for me Joanne Trollope’s Sense & Sensibility: A NovelSense & Sensibility: A Novel by Joanna Trollope, one of the books in the new Austen Project that retells Jane Austen’s stories. I’m waiting to hear good reports on these before trying any of them. I do love that cover though – it alone is almost enough to persuade me to try it. :)


TruestAlyssa has a lovely stack of new fiction, and despite loving some of the other covers she’s sharing, I’m most intrigued by TruestTruest by Jackie Lea Sommers, by Jackie Lea Sommers. It doesn’t release until September so plenty of time for Alyssa to read it and report back on it. :)


The Joy of Ballpark FoodStacie lists one book that I’d already been eyeing – The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute CuisineThe Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine by Bennett Jacobstein by Bennett Jacobstein. Yes, seriously, I want to read this. Baseball, food, maybe some travel and history sprinkled in – it sounds super fun. Funnily enough, I’d just been offered a review copy of this one so I’m getting the chance to read it soon!

(She’s also got Remember MiaRemember Mia by Alexandra Burt on her list, which sounds completely gripping, but also like one that would be too intense for me right now. No babies-in-jeopardy stories for me! At least not anytime soon.)


Steering the CraftErika linked her Instagram picture with her incredible thrift store haul. Check out those amazing writing books she scored for $1.50 each! I’ve read and loved Anne Lamott’s Bird by BirdBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, and Stephen King’s On WritingOn Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, and I’m interested in Steering the Craft (it’s by Ursula Le Guin!) and Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing LifeWrite Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life by Elizabeth George (by Elizabeth George).


The Oregon TrailJessica is now sharing about The Paper MagicianThe Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series) by Charlie N. Holmberg – before it was Julie It still sounds like my sort of book.

I’m also interested in that The Oregon Trail: A New American JourneyThe Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck book she mentions, and fortunately for me it’s available from my library so I can easily give it a try.

Want to join in? The next New on the Stack will be next Monday, August 3rd!

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Ideas for How to Use Essential Oils

Last week I shared about getting started with essential oils, and explained how to order them.

If you’re ready to start your journey with essential oils, now is a GREAT time. Premium Starter Kits are $10 off until August 14.

The Deliberate Reader Light the Fire Promo

And once you get your oils, what can you do with them? Essential oils are easy to incorporate into your daily life.

Three Ways to Use Essential Oils

  1. Topical – Direct application to your skin with a carrier oil or neat (without a carrier oil), to the desired area or reflexology point.
  2. Aromatic – Breathing the oil in, either by simply smelling the oils directly from the bottle, rubbing some onto your hands and breathing in, or diffusing in a room.
  3. Dietary – Add a drop or two to a glass of water, NingXia Red, juice, or swallow in a capsule. You can also cook with oils.

Young Living 2015 Premium Starter Kit Oils

I’ve Got the Premium Starter Kit – What Can I Do with Essential Oils It Includes?

Diffuse oils to improve moods or create a relaxing atmosphere.

  • Create a calm and relaxing atmosphere by diffusing Lavender (especially at night!), Tea Tree, or AromaEase.
  • Clean the air of foul or stale odors by diffusing Purification or Thieves.
  • Freshen the air and uplift the spirit by diffusing Orange, Lemon, or Citrus Fresh.
  • Provide soothing steam and a comforting aroma by diffusing RC.
  • Enrich prayer, yoga, or meditation by diffusing Frankincense for a deeper spiritual connection.
  • Curb the desire to snack by diffusing Peppermint.
  • Make the atmosphere positive and calm by diffusing Copaiba.

Apply oils topically
Always follow the dilution guide on the bottle, and you can apply Copaiba with other essential oils to amplify their effect.

  • Nourish and enhance your skin by adding Lavender, Frankincense, Tea Tree, or Purification to your favorite all-natural and unscented moisturizer.
  • Encourage relaxation by massaging Lavender into the soles of feet before bedtime.
  • Help alleviate nervous energy by rubbing Frankincense on the bottom of your feet.
  • Provide a comforting aroma by applying RC, AromaEase, or PanAway to neck and chest.
  • Ease stressed muscles or other occasional physical discomfort by rubbing PanAway across your lower back, onto the bottoms of your feet, or on your muscles.
  • Relieve occasional head pressure by applying one drop of Peppermint on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (careful to avoid contact with your eyes), and on the back of the neck. Or, try PanAway essential oil blend on your temples.
  • Keep energy up by applying Peppermint to the back of the neck and shoulders throughout the day.
  • Sooth minor stomach discomfort associated with travel by massaging Peppermint on the abdomen, or placing a drop on wrists.
  • Support energy flow by applying AromaEase topically to feet and abdomen.
  • Enjoy the outdoors annoyance-free by applying Purification.

Take (some) oils internally

  • Add a drop of Lemon, Orange, Citrus Fresh, or Peppermint to a glass of water and incorporate it into your daily diet.
  • Following exercise or when life is demanding, add Stress Away to water or natural fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Support normal digestion by taking 1–2 drops of Peppermint or DiGize in a capsule after mealtime to help support normal digestion.
  • Substitute Lemon, Orange, or Citrus Fresh for lemon or orange juice or citrus seasoning to flavor seafood, vegetables, beverages, and desserts.
  • Mix Peppermint, Lemon, or Copaiba into herbal tea to enhance flavor, and combine Peppermint and Copaiba together with water to make a stimulating beverage.
  • Add 1 drop of Lemon oil to NingXia Red.
  • Use DiGize as a dietary supplement in water when traveling abroad.
  • Add a spicy zing to hot drinks by adding 1 drop of Thieves.

Make your own cleaning and household products
Promote chemical-free living, and let your children help clean without worrying about the products you’re using.

  • Create a calming or comforting atmosphere by adding Lavender to a bath.
  • Freshen the air by filling a spray bottle with water and several drops of Lavender or Purification, or and spraying under beds, in closets, or anywhere there are stale odors.
  • Freshen laundry by putting a few drops of Purification into the washing machine, or Lavender or Citrus Fresh on a rag and adding to your laundry dryer cycle.
  • Pull out stains, brighten carpets and rugs, and leave a fresh smell in the room by adding 10-15 drops of Lemon to a gallon of carpet cleaning solution.
  • Remove gum, oil, grease spots, glue, adhesive, or crayon from most surfaces with 1-2 drops of Lemon.
  • Enhance the aroma of Thieves Household Cleaner by adding a few drops of Citrus Fresh.
  • Thoroughly clean dishes and eliminate odors by putting a few drops of Thieves in your dishwater or dishwasher.
  • Neutralize odors with Purification by adding a few drops to a cotton ball and placing in shoes, your vehicle, or air vents in various rooms.
  • Freshen your refrigerator by placing a few drops of Lemon on a cotton ball and placing it inside.

Disclaimer:
I am not a medical doctor. The information provided and products mentioned are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Any statement(s) said/implied/posted have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products. Information obtained here is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own wellness care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis, or courses of treatment.

Disclosure: If you sign up using my member number, I may receive compensation, which I use to support this site. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Recent Readaloud: My Father’s Dragon

My Father's DragonMy Father’s DragonMy Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett

This is part of Sonlight’s Core A, but it’s also a title I found recommended frequently as a “best of” for readalouds, or early chapter books. I’d never heard of it before, but apparently that says more of my obliviousness to it, because now that I know of it I’m seeing references to it constantly!

And for good reason. This is such an engaging book for kids, and the chapters are such a perfect length for listeners new to chapter books (or for newer readers tackling chapter books on their own). There are lots of fun illustrations throughout the text which also helps keep readers attention. And the plot is just ridiculous enough to be fascinating and full of “what might happen next!” wonder.

My verdict:
It’s not one I’d want to read (or reread) on my own, but I’m not the target audience. It’s still very easy to readaloud, and I went ahead and bought the compilation title with the two sequels, Three Tales of My Father’s DragonThree Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. It’s a really nice hardcover, and a good deal for all three titles.

And a heads-up – this is one where if you buy the kindle copy you can then get the Audible version for a reduced price. Even though I own the book I’m considering doing this – my son can then follow along with the text and listen to the story. And then both girls can do the same thing eventually.

The kids’ verdict:
So much fun! Dragons and tigers and lions and a gorilla and boars and tortoises and and and…

Publisher’s Description:
My Father’s Dragon is a children’s novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon.

The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as “my father”, giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago.

The illustrations within the book are black and white done with a grease crayon on a grained paper, done by Ruth Chrisman Gannett, who also illustrated other children’s books such as My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Paco Goes to the Fair, Miss Hickory, Hipo the Hippo, and adult books such as Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck.

Book Details

Title: My Father’s DragonMy Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Author: Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Category: Children’s Fiction
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible
Buy the trilogy: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

The Other DaughterThe Other Daughter: A NovelThe Other Daughter: A Novel by Lauren Willig by Lauren Willig

Enjoyable historical fiction, with a dash of romance. While the “big surprises” weren’t, it didn’t diminish the overall fun. Lighter than I was expecting based on the description (I wondered how intense the attempts at revenge might be), but now that I know more about Willig I think the overall tone of this one shouldn’t have surprised me.

It has generally good characterization, a strong beginning that pulled me into the story immediately, and a satisfying ending. While it felt a bit formulaic at times, that never kept me from enjoying the (expected) ride.

This makes for a good summer or travel read – it’s fun, with enough substance to keep it from being complete fluff, but not so dense that you can’t easily read it in snippets of time.

Publisher’s Description:
Raised by her widowed mother in genteel poverty in the 1920s in an isolated English village, for the past six years Rachel Woodley has been working in France as a nursery governess. When her mother unexpectedly dies, she returns to England to clear out the cottage, and finds a scrapbook full of cuttings from London society pages-all pictures of her supposedly deceased father, very much alive. He’s an earl, socially prominent, with another daughter who is living a charmed life: a debutante, much photographed, and engaged to a rising Tory MP. Rachel’s cousin confirms the horrible truth: her father is alive, with a legitimate, acknowledged family. Which makes Rachel…not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past-even her very name-is a lie.

Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel enters into an uneasy alliance with a mysterious man-about-town, who promises her access to her father. With his help, Rachel sets herself up in Roaring Twenties London under a new identity and insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father’s perfidy and bring his-and her half-sister’s-charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn’t as simple it appears; and that Rachel herself might just be falling for her sister’s fiancé.

From Lauren Willig, author of the New York Times best-selling novel The Ashford Affair, comes The Other Daughter, a page-turner full of deceit, passion, and revenge.

Book Details

Title: The Other Daughter: A NovelThe Other Daughter: A Novel by Lauren Willig
Author: Lauren Willig
Category: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 3 Stars
Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley for review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Hour That Matters Most by Les & Leslie Parrott

The Hour That Matters MostThe Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family MealThe Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal by Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna by Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna

In my attempt to not let books get read this year without also reviewing them, I’m finally getting around to writing about this book. Which I finally completed reading back in May, two and a half months after starting it even though it’s a quick and easy book. Which I’d owned for a couple of years before finally reading it at all.

All of that should tell you something about the book. It’s not that it’s a bad book, but it’s just not super compelling, and it’s very easy for other titles to push it aside for reading time.

While I found myself nodding along with much of the text, it all was quite familiar. Family meals are important (I don’t know that they really proved that it needs to be dinnertime, even if that might be the stereotypical time). Meal time was what they addressed, and unless you need to be told that it matters, I don’t know that the book is all that beneficial.

The suggestions for making it easier to get dinner on the table didn’t work that well, and I’ve read much better ideas in various blog posts and other cookbooks. Part of the book reads like an ad for Dream Dinners, the founders of which are the Stephanie and Tina given author credit. They include some recipes used in their business, although I never tried any of them and can’t comment on how they are.

If you’re reading this and thinking the book sounds like just what you’ve been looking for, well go ahead and read it. If you’re looking for reinforcement as to the importance of family meals, sure it’ll give it to you. Otherwise, save your reading time and just know that family meals matter. And if you’re looking for help with dinners, I’m giving a look to Dinner: The Playbook: A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal by Jenny Rosenstrach. It sounds like it might be a more helpful book than this one was.

Publisher’s Description:
The facts are on the table. Dinnertime is truly the most important hour in a day that a family can spend together. Focusing on the family meal, this book will help strengthen families by showing them how to reclaim this important time in order to build relationships, draw closer to one another, and restore a sense of peace in their homes. Millions of parents in America can picture the kind of home life they want but don’t know how to make it a reality. The Hour That Matters Most will help readers strengthen and transform their own families—specifically around the dinner table.

Book Details

Title: The Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family MealThe Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal by Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna
Author: Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna
Category: Nonfiction / Relationships
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Buy the Book: Print | Kindle

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

12 Sports Books to Read if You Liked “The Boys in the Boat”

12 Sports Books to Read if You Liked The Boys in the BoatFeeling adrift after finishing Daniel James Brown’s fabulous book The Boys in the BoatThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, and not sure what to read next? Here are 12 ideas. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read any of these titles; I’ve just been eyeing them all.)

The AmateursThe Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold MedalThe Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal by David Halberstam by David Halberstam

Classic book by an accomplished author which follows rowers competing in the 1984 Olympics.

Buy the book: Print | Kindle

The Red Rose CrewRed Rose Crew: A True Story Of Women, Winning, And The WaterRed Rose Crew: A True Story Of Women, Winning, And The Water by Daniel J. Boyne by Daniel J. Boyne

Follows the US Women’s crew as they prepare to compete in the 1975 World Championships.

Buy the book: Print

The Emerald MileThe Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand CanyonThe Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko by Kevin Fedarko

Exciting adventure tale recounting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Buy the book: Print | Kindle | Audible

Twelve Mighty OrphansTwelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas FootballTwelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football by Jim Dent by Jim Dent

Uplifting depression-era tale of the undersized teams that became some of the best in the state.

Buy the book: Print | Kindle

Our BoysOur Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center RedmenOur Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen by Joe Drape by Joe Drape

Cheerful chronicle of small-town high school sports glory, told by a reporter who relocated from New York to Kansas to follow the team for a year as they attempted to win the state title for a fifth consecutive year.

Buy the book: Print | Kindle

The Glory of Their TimesThe Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played ItThe Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) by Lawrence S. Ritter by Lawrence S. Ritter

Entertaining look back at their baseball careers (and the game as a whole) by players who were in their prime in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

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One Shot at ForeverOne Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season  by Chris Ballard by Chris Ballard

Inspirational story of an improbable high school coach and his 1971 team who played for the state championship. (I love the fact that the coach was an English teacher with no coaching experience, and want to read the book based on that alone.)

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The Bottom of the 33rdBottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game by Dan Barry

Engrossing account of a minor-league game that lasted for eight hours, and the individuals involved in it, including two players who went on to achieve notable major league success: Cal Ripken and Wade Boggs.

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The Boys of WinterThe Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey TeamThe Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey by Wayne Coffey

Underdog tale of the “Miracle on Ice” team which was involved in what’s often called the greatest sports moment of the 20th century. Personal stories of players and the coach are interwoven with details on the match between the US and Soviet Union.

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The Miracle of St. AnthonyThe Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable DynastyThe Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball's Most Improbable Dynasty by Adrian Wojnarowski by Adrian Wojnarowski

Inspirational biography of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley follows his team one season (and what a season!)

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The Perfect MileThe Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve ItThe Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb by Neal Bascomb

Story of the dramatic race to break the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, interwoven with the story of the three men who were all poised to do it first: Englishman Roger Bannister, American Wes Santee, and Australian John Landy.

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The Great Match RaceThe Great Match Race: When North Met South in America’s First Sports SpectacleThe Great Match Race: When North Met South in America's First Sports Spectacle by John Eisenberg by John Eisenberg

Fast-paced mix of horse racing and history provides a peek at the United States in the early 1800s.

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