Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camping Trip Review

Wow! It’s been awhile!

A few weeks ago we took a trip (totally out of the ordinary for us) to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Lodi, Ca.

There are several locations throughout the U.S. but this one was a little less than 3 hours from us, so it was virtually a no brainer. Now that we are home, I decided this was definitely worthy of a blog post (if people even read these things anymore).

At Jellystone you can either tent camp, stay in a cabin, or use an RV.

On the dates we were looking to go, no cabins were available, so that led us to the next option: an RV.

Renting an RV with RV Share

We don’t own an RV, so (first time experience here) we rented an RV from RV Share.

This was the easiest option for me, since I have never used an RV or even hooked one up. I wasn’t sure if I would be flying solo on this trip, as my husband is in his busy season with Farming (in late July). At Jellystone there are full RV hookups (electricity/water) to connect your RV to.

I chose the option where they drop off and pickup the RV. They hook it up and do all of the dumping (no thanks) and I can just drive up and enjoy the RV!

If you have zero RV experience, or just want a break from the stress of setup and teardown, I highly recommend doing this!

Using the RV was pretty easy (aside from our fridge not being fully cold right away). There was plenty of space in the RV and it was a really fun experience overall! We had a separate master bed area, bunk beds, full fridge/freezer, microwave, stove, kitchen sink and full bath (“full” for an RV is a relative term).

If you want to look into booking an RV Share trip at Jellystone or anywhere else, use this link to get $25 off!

Yogi Bear Campgrounds:

Yogi Bear offers A LOT to do! There is a waterpark that has a lazy river, which my kids literally did not leave. They stayed from open til close (11am-5pm).

There is laser tag, mini-golf, a jumping pillow, basketball, playground, activities, there are themed weeks out of the month, and they show nightly movies. There is even a river/waterfront area that you can fish, paddleboard or kayak in. I’m sure there are other things I did’t even list– there is so much to do!

When we went, the theme at the time was “Christmas in July”. They showed Polar Express and How The Grinch Stole Christmas movies at night.

There was also laser tag at night, but the boys were so wiped (and happy) only using the waterpark and basketball that we didn’t even do those other things.

Depending where you are located within the camp, you may want to rent a golf cart to get around. The park is LARGE and there aren’t places to take a car. So it’s either a golf cart, or by foot. Click here to see a map of the park.

We rented a golf cart, and we used it constantly. It stayed charged the whole time too (2 days) and we didn’t need to charge it once. I highly recommend this option!

There is a restaurant and several food trucks on-site if you are running short on food or don’t want to cook.

If you forgot something, there is a store there as well with everything you need from snacks, toys, RV hoses, you name it! It is a tad pricey, but definitely good in a pinch.

I hope this is a vacation the boys will remember, it was a completely different experience for us and I would be up to try it again sometime. If you have any favorite camp spots please share them with me in the comments!

Coronavirus Quarantine Peptalk

In the past few weeks, most of the world has been turned upside down in the midst of the Coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic.

No one saw it coming, and no one could have predicted this.

As much as I am saddened by what is going on around us, I am not surprised.

Here is why.

In life whether you are a Christian or not, there WILL be obstacles. There will be times of storms and trials. This is apart of life. There is no escaping it.

As much we try to understand it, and why this is happening, we never will.

It’s a hard thing to accept. You begin to truly realize that WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL of our plans. Our spring break may be cancelled, our schools shut down, our jobs may even be put on hiatus.

While all or any one of those things is disappointing, it shouldn’t shake you to your core.

God is the one in control, and NOT US.

Now more than ever (hopefully) people are coming to this realization.

If your main complaint is that a sports season was cancelled, or that you can’t get your twice monthly-manicures, then you are faring much better than most people right now and really need a reality check.

Society today places so much value on our extra-curricular involvements, jobs and achievements, that it may very well take a quarantine to slow our life down and show us how little we ACTUALLY control. That our “obligations” are totally non-essential and can be cancelled at a moments notice. This seems fine, until that all gets taken away and people suddenly don’t know HOW TO COPE OR SLOW DOWN.

Your job may be cut, your life can be turned upside down because, we are NOT GUARANTEED anything in this life.

I hope that in this time, as hard as it may be for some, that it reveals to you the areas you placed the most value in. At the end of the day when those are stripped away, are you happy with your life? If the answer is no, then maybe you need to ask God about that. We aren’t meant to cling to things of this world so tightly that we lose sight of what God calls us to be. The fruit of the spirit piece of scripture is the perfect example. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness,gentleness, self-control.” -Gal. 5:22-23 ESV

Our world will always have chaos, and ups and downs. When you realize this, you won’t be surprised WHEN a storm comes your way, because you will KNOW that it come and that the only way to weather these storms is with the strength and peace that only Jesus can provide.

As people hoard hand sanitizer, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol, loaves of bread and sacks of rice, I’m sure that in their hearts they will feel a void, because those things won’t give you peace or make this storm any calmer.

Get down on your knees and pray. Pray to know the peace and strength that comes from Jesus, and never take a day for granted.

If we are complaining on social media how our travel plans were cancelled, our sports season postponed, we should realize that there are nurses and doctors on the front lines of this ever evolving virus putting themselves at risk. They don’t get to complain about those things because its their job to be helping people. That realization doesn’t make DOING their job any easier. When they have to question coming home to families that they have left due to potentially exposing them, that’s when we have something to be vocal about. Not about not going to the Disneyland in two weeks.

Have perspective because often in life, even in the midst of these uncertain times, there IS SOMEONE WHO HAS IT WORSE than the “problems” you have.

Don’t be fooled into the notion that because you are faced with adversity that it is a result of your faith, or lack of faith. “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt. 5:45 ESV

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3 ESV

This piece of scripture doesn’t say IF you meet trials, it says WHEN. We are promised so many things by God, love, forgiveness, salvation, protection, endurance, and the promise of preserving through trials.

We need to trust God in His plan for us all, because through our trials that build our faith and expose areas of ourselves we aren’t proud of or would choose to talk about, we are refined by them. Like gold being put into the fire to be purified. Those tests are working for us and with a purpose THAT ONLY HE KNOWS. It’s ok to not know the master plan, because we trust the master.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 ESV

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to not harm you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Nothing can separate us from the love of God, not the coronavirus, not even the sins we commit, NOTHING. Take comfort in that truth and realize that even though this may be inconvenient, scary, and life-altering, that He is never away from us.

God knows the path of our lives and has you placed right where we need to be. I pray that in these times that instead of pointing out on what we THINK we are missing out on, that we are GRATEFUL for what we DO have right now; even if we don’t understand it.

Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still by Kristina Kuzmic



Our book club was lucky enough to receive advanced reader copies of Kristina’s book Hold on, But Don’t Hold Still to read and discuss before it launched. The really cool part is that she  surprised our book club meeting (she faked bad cell reception and busted through the doors) and signed actual copies we kept and it was such an amazing night!!

I had known of her from her funny and uplifting viral videos and this book looked as if it would be the same.

It totally was not, now don’t take that the wrong way either. It was just not what I was expecting. I expected a nice light, easy and fun read. Nothing serious or heavy, but somehow she managed to tell real life stories that hit home on so many levels.

She gives advice without being preachy or self-helpy as she retells her past.
Going through more than you would imagine she would as an outsider looking in. This is typical for us all, on the outside we all look well put together, and like we have never had a hardship in our life.. but that is so far from the truth.

I really took away some good insights from her book about navigating parenting, which is something we ALL struggle with and are not always so vocal about (and sometimes we cant be as vocal as we want out of respect for our kids privacy).

She hits on struggles with being a single parent, blending a family, struggling with the aftermath of living through an actual war, guilt, parenting challenges, depression, negative self talk and so much more.

My Favorite Quotes Were:

  • “We are hard on ourselves because we hate falling short of our own expectations. We hate that we struggle with this parenting thing that we hadn’t predicted before we had kids. That’s why we feel the guilt. Because it feels like we are failing. Our expectations were unrealistic in the first place! We aren’t failing, we are learning!”
  • “This should be your mantra ‘this too shall ass, its not personal, I’m a badass, at least one brand of ice cream is on sale right now, I don’t need my kids to be my biggest fans at all times.’”
  • “Challenging kids doesn’t equal bad parenting. Even incredible parents end up with kids who are asses.”
  • “But I am doing the best that I can, and the stuff I don’t know, I’m choosing to learn.” “I’m giving myself more grace than judgement.” “Please choose to give yourself more credit than criticism and more grace than judgement.”
  • “I can break without being broken forever.”
  • “Keep showing up. Because as one chapter ends you can look back and see it as a meaningful and enlightened step that has contributed to my life journey.”


You don’t know how the current chapter will end, its a work in progress. So keep showing up!

I really loved this book, and would totally recommend it to any mom, married, or divorced or single woman!

Check it out where you buy your books and share it with your girlfriends!

-Hannah (1)

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


Happy 2020! 

Last year one of my “resolutions”, and I hate deeming anything as a resolution, was to read more books. I had a goal of one book a month. That may seem like a lot, but I reached it for the most part. I’m not perfect and there were months that I didn’t read but in 2019 I was able to read quite a few books, I should add up how many. I still need to write about books I read, so more will be coming.

This month, I started “Little Fires Everywhere”, I had waited 12+ weeks for my digital copy and physical copy to be ready from the library, and I was excited to read it. I waited a long time, and I’m NOT a patient person! It has gotten a lot of attention being on the NYT Best seller list for 36 weeks (and still is as I write this), plus it is airing as a Hulu original on March 18th! Needless to say, I was ready to see what this was all about.

Short version- I’d recommend this book, it was a really good read. Read below if you’re curious!

Little Fires Everywhere introduces you to characters of different race and culture, it forces you to think about how those factors may or may not influence your life, more so than any “choice” you may make.

There are so many themes in this book: dealing with death, women’s rights, infertility, and how our “choices” shape our future, even ones that weren’t expected choices.

Taking place in the 1990’s in an idyllic setting of Shaker Heights, an affluent community in Cleveland Ohio, you soon see that even though a community may appear “perfect” the people who live in it are not as they seem.

No one, no matter their upbringing, where they went to college, their job, where they were born, or even their address makes them immune from life’s hardships. You are bound to see yourself, and your story in one or more of these characters; making it hit home.

The book makes this abundantly clear when the opening pages start out with a fire, that shakes the Richardson family who has deep Shaker Heights roots to its core.  Their house is on fire, things like this don’t happen in their neighborhood. So what happened??

The story follows the Richardson family, and the Warren family who became tenants in one of their houses. Their life is forever changed as mother/daughter duo Mia and Pearl Warren come to Shaker Heights to “stay for good”.

Living a life where they never stayed put for long, they arrived in Shaker Heights and Peal was promised by her mother that this was it. So Pearl found community within the Richardson family.  She is good friends with one of the sons, Moody. Pearl also builds a strong friendship with the Richardson’s youngest daughter Izzy, and with the other two siblings Lexie and Trip in less conventional ways (without giving away any spoilers).

You read about Mia and her story being a single mother, struggling to make ends meet, as an artist. I empathized with her motivation that moves her on to keep providing for Pearl, but shockingly her story is anything but conventional. Mia and her path toward motherhood is so controversial it makes you ponder the question if being a mother is defined by how well you can provide or based on the principal that life was given. 

This theme reverberates throughout the rest of the story. It is so interesting because you may THINK you know the answer to this question, but things are always more complex than they seem. As you peel back the layers of the story, you are faced with the question if financial stability outweighs love, if DNA outweighs the ability to provide, and if second chances are always granted. Does one trump the other? The answer isn’t as black and white as you’d think when you’re looking at it from several viewpoints.

Two other women’s stories intersect into the plot, that will have you wondering whether someone’s struggles give them the right at a second chance when it comes to the well-being of an abandoned child. If that second chance is outweighed by someones ability to provide for and love a child that was abandoned. It’s safe to say you’d would never dream of being in a situation where leaving their baby at a fire-station seemed like the last option for survival. You may think you know how you feel about this but as you read the stories of very different women, both wanting to love the same baby you may change your mind.

The children of the Richardson family are so intertwined with the Warren women, with Mia helping in their home, and with Pearl practically being apart of the Richardson family. Things get complex and we can see how these teenagers are faced with real adult issues, and how it can change their lives in an instant.

All of them are impacted, and in the end, you see that their lives filled with perfectly planned communities, pristine lawns, elaborate homes and luxury leaving them detached from struggle doesn’t isolate them from it. It’s right there just the same as someone scrambling to pay rent, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, or in their car. We are all faced with things we can’t escape.

There are so many ironic twists in this story, without spoiling how it unfolds, you come to see that people are less different than you’d assume from the outside. We are all dealing with fires in our lives, and fires from our past that we still carry with us.

My heart broke for so many of the themes in this book, and this was one of my favorite quotes that accurately sums up this book.

“It seems like the end of the world. The earth is all scorched and black and everything green is gone. But after the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. ‘People are like that too, you know. They start over. They find a way.'” 

People get through things because they have to. Little Fires Everywhere shines a light on the fires in our lives, and how we find the will to survive, and sometimes that means burning it all to the ground, and starting over. Even in our worst moments, growth happens after the fire is over; if you survive the burn.

-Hannah (1)

If you read this or plan to, leave a comment below telling me about it!

Quick Nachos

Quick Healthy Nachos.png


Nachos are a big deal in my house. We love nachos, and if we could, we would eat them for every meal. I think we still may try to make breakfast and dessert nachos because we love them so much!

(How good does a cinnamon sugar chip with berries and cream sound?! maybe a drizzle of chocolate- I’ll add that to my to-do list and will report back.)


ANYWAY, I wanted to share our quick and easy nacho recipe with you.

They are a healthier option because we always use ground turkey when we cook any kind of Mexican food at home, and because we use a multigrain chip from Costco. It’s definitely an easy swap without sacrificing flavor.

You can make them tons of ways with different meats or toppings. We like to make loaded spicy ones for us, and simple meat and cheese for the kids.

Foster Farms Organic 93/7 Ground Turkey - 16oz










Quick Healthy Nachos (2) Quick Healthy Nachos (1)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grab a cookie sheet, and line with tin foil (for quick clean up) and spread your chips on top of the foil.
  3. Layer your cheese(s) of choice, as little, or as much as you like. We use a mix of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, white cheddar, and/or Mexican.
  4. Place your meat on top. ** Cook meat beforehand, or prepare and place cooked on top. ** We use McCormick taco seasoning in a giant bottle since we make taco salads like 3 times a week and use a lot!
  5. Place any additional toppings you want to go on them in the oven. I have put some Habanero hot sauce from Trader Joes, or taco bell fire sauce on them and jalapeños and baked.
  6. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted, just keep an eye on them.
  7. Take them out and place the rest of your toppings on them.



*Jalapeños (if you didn’t bake with them on in the oven)

*Salsa or fresh Pico De Gallo

*Sour Cream MIXED with hot sauce, this is a GAME CHANGER! It adds so much flavor and its amazing. You can always switch up the type of taco sauce or hot sauce that you add. Thin with water, maybe 1-2tsp at a time, then add hot sauce and mix. It will be a runnier consistency so it can be drizzled on.

*GUAC- always guac! I LOVE the guac from Trader Joes or Wholly Guacamole, or Walmart brand (when that gets subbed in my grocery pickup orders)


-Hannah (1)

Easy Dessert Cups For Kids

My boy’s birthdays are one week apart (and 3 years) so I’m in full birthday mode at the same time for both kids and then I’m done until the next year.

One thing I did this year when I was taking treats to their classes that was a game-changer was to use CUPS WITH LIDS!

Fair warning, I didn’t take fancy photos of either treat in a cup. These treats were not super planned out and made quickly (which is how mom life goes).



I made two different treats, both super easy and it made transporting them to school and handing them out a breeze.

Option 1- A cupcake in a cup.

Option 2- Pudding or mousse in a cup (in this case, dirt cups)

You can washi tape a spoon to the top or side of the cups and (not totally necessary) and just hand out the cups.


I used boxed Annie’s confetti cake mix that I had in my pantry already to make cupcakes for my kindergartener.

For the cupcakes, I did the following:

  1. I plopped the baked and cooled cupcakes in the cup.
  2. I made a powdered sugar frosting. I piped that on top and shut the lid. ** For these I wasn’t worried about how the frosting looked and that was a huge timesaver, I made (with adding milk) a nice loose (and still thick) consistency of frosting that would be easy to eat when they were in class.

Frosting recipe is posted below.


For my 3rd grader, I made dirt cups.  This was a combination of oreos in between layers of a chocolate mousse that was easy to mix up. I put some black forest organic gummy worms on top and shut the lid.



Dirt Cups

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 package of Oreo’s, crushed
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1C powdered sugar
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 packages of Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • 12oz Cool Whip
  • Gummy worms


  1. Crush package of oreos, I usually do this in a gallon freezer bag with a rolling pin. Then set aside.
  2. In  separate bowl, mix butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, mix dry pudding mix and milk together. Fold in the Cool Whip.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture. Mix them together.
  5. In your individual cups layer crushed oreos, then pudding, oreos, pudding, as many layers as you want. As long as you divide it up, it will look like dirt. You could start with pudding, then dirt, and layer. The LAST layer needs to be dirt and you will place the gummy worms in the cup and put the lids. Now you’re done. Just serve and enjoy!

Powdered Sugar Frosting

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 T to 4 T milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • If needed, food coloring (optional)


  1. Beat the powdered sugar and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in 3 tablespoons milk and the vanilla extract. Watch the consistency. If you want to pipe frosting and for it to maintain shape you want it the consistency a little thicker than toothpaste. It will hold its shape, but will still be spreadable. For THIS dessert, I thinned until it didn’t hold its shape so it would just be creamy on top of the cupcake in the cup. Add milk until desired consistency. Tint the frosting with the food coloring, if desired.

I’d love to see if you you try this out, be sure to tag @chaoswithmycoffee on Instagram and hashtag #chaoswithmycoffee

-Hannah (1)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena




In June I read the suspenseful story,  The Couple Next Door.  

I would totally recommend this story for anyone who likes a good crime mystery and/or on-the-edge of your seat kind of read.

The story immediately jumps off with an event that you are trying to piece together throughout the whole book.

You are introduced to new parents Anne and Marco. They have a young baby who they leave next door while they attend a dinner party at their neighbor’s house. Vowing to check on her every 30 minutes, and using their baby monitor for audio didn’t prove to be enough; because at the end of the evening they returned home to an empty crib! No visible signs of forced entry, no struggle, nothing broken, except the bathroom mirror (that Anne had smashed in earlier when she was upset) you panic and wonder where she went and who took her. Now to call the police, to explain how their home wasn’t vandalized, how their infant daughter was not in her crib and to find her and bring her back.

Naturally in cases like this the parents are the prime suspect. Who else would know that the baby would have been alone? Who else knew how to get into their house unseen and sneak away with their child?!

As I was reading I suspected someone who turned out to not be as involved as I thought. It kept me guessing and interested the whole time!

Honestly, it was great. I would love it if there was a sequel. Something happens at the end that kind of (a totally different event) sets itself up for another book. I did read Shari write that she “has no plans to write a sequel for the couple next door.” That’s kind of a bummer, but you DO find out what happens regardless of the last event that I’m mentioning. It wraps up nicely and was a great read!

If you want to breeze through a crime mystery, this book should be on your list!

I could honestly see this being made into a movie. I did read that paramount picked it up for a series, but nothing too formal was written about the release.

I’ll be excited for whatever comes next for this book, and will have to read more of Shari Lapena’s books.



If you pick up this book, let me know. I’d love to see who is reading it! Be sure to tag @chaoswithmycoffee on Instagram and hashtag #chaoswithmycoffee

-Hannah (1)

Summer Activity: Ice Cream in a bag


Now that it is summer, I try my best (and this doesn’t always work out) to do some sort of craft or activity with the kids. I’m always looking for fun ways to occupy their time outside of a screen.

A couple years ago we made ice cream in a bag, and I had pinned the recipe and did it again today and it was so fun and delicious! Credit to Scatteredmom and her blog for the recipe.

We made both the vanilla AND strawberry flavor and honestly you could double each recipe because its so good!

Next up I want to make blueberry ice cream instead of a strawberry.

You will work hard for this ice-cream shaking it for 5-10 minutes, but its worth it, and like I said it occupied the kids!

** If you have multiple kids, and/or extra hungry adults double the recipe.

Here is what you will need.

Ice Cream In A Bag


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or milk ( I used whole milk I had on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs of pureed strawberries (to make plain vanilla, leave out the strawberries)
  • 3 tbsp of sugar  (less if you want your ice cream less sweet)
  • ice
  • rock salt for ice cream
  • gallon size Ziploc bag
  • quart size Ziploc bag
  • kitchen towel


  1. Mix together the milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and strawberries in the quart size bag.  Close the bag and make sure it is completely sealed.
  2. Fill the gallon-size bag 3/4 the way full with ice, then add 1/4 cup of rock salt to the bag of ice.
  3. Place the smaller (sealed) quart size bag of ice cream into the larger gallon bag and seal the bag. (you will have a bag inside a bag)
  4. Wrap the kitchen towel around the bag and start shaking the bag! Enlist your kids to do some crazy shaking and get some of their energy out.
  5. Open the bags carefully, be careful to make sure water doesn’t get inside the ice cream. You don’t want any ice water in your ice cream!

Add any toppings you want, one of mine added chocolate sauce.

Serve immediately and enjoy.


I’d love to see if you you try this out, be sure to tag @chaoswithmycoffee on Instagram and hashtag #chaoswithmycoffee

-Hannah (1)

Our Fave Books For Boys


Our Fave Books For Boys.pngBeing a boy mom is definitely a different type of motherhood, I know it sounds silly, but its true!

I think boys  (mostly) are not super interested in reading naturally so I always am in search of books that are fun to read together at night or independently to help their reading fluency.

I will preface by saying my older (9 year old) couldn’t care less about reading and thats a struggle to find books (and now chapter books) that he loves to read.

Below I will post our faves that can either be read TO your kiddos, or they can attempt on their own depending on their abilities.

Boy moms will for sure appreciate the recommendations, and I’m sure girls would enjoy these as well.


  • Utilize your library. I request books on an app straight from my phone and I go to the library and pick up the physical books I requested.
  • You can get physical books, digital books, or even audio books through your library- ALL FREE! No more clutter and books you have to store and manage (thats a struggle in my house)

     Links for my local moms-

           Library App to request, renew and manage books.

         App for digital books too. I have both on my phone.

  • If you’re big into buying books, check out the used option on Amazon when checking out, or thriftbooks.com for cheaper options.



Untitled design (2)

1-Dragon Masters 2- How To Train Your Dragon 3- Galaxy Zack 4- Haggis And Tank 5- Unicorn and Yeti 6- Princess Pink  7- Eerie Elementary 8- Press Start! 9-The Notebook of Doom 10- The Last Kids On Earth 11- Hardy Boys 12- Ben Braver 


Look for Scholastic Acorn & Branches books

They are great books as your kids get  into chapter books, and there are great comprehension questions at the end of every book. I love that even for older kiddos, there are still pictures on every page- thats KEY for my older one.

Look for the logo in the top right corner- Acorn books are aimed at children who are learning to read. With easy-to-read text, a short-story format, plenty of humor, and full-color artwork on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and fluency. Acorn books plant a love of reading and help readers grow!

Branches are aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!


Dragon Masters- There are over 10 books in this series, each under 100 pages and pictures on each page. The story is a fun magical ride for the younger kids.

How To Train Your Dragon Series- Keeping with the dragon theme, we love How to Train Your Dragon! There are 11 of these books, and I loved the fact that the books DO NOT follow the same plot line as the movies. Same characters, different stories. They are about a 5th grade reading level, they don’t have a lot of pictures, but my younger one is really into listening to me read them to him at night.

 Galaxy Zack- There are SO many of these books, I believe over 15! This series is fun, its about a boy named Zack (who is 8 years old, right up our alley here) who has to go with his family and live on a new planet called Nebulon. He loves pizza, like my oldest and I think its a really fun story. I’m looking forward to reading more of these this summer.

Haggis And Tank- This is an acorn scholastic book, and there are more in the series. It follows a Scottish terrier (Haggis) and a Great Dane (Tank) as they go on make believe adventures. There are questions at the end of the book to go back over and pick up on different parts of the story, like the use of homophones and key points in that story.

Yeti And Unicorn- Another acorn scholastic book with questions and some drawing directions at the back. This follows the friendship between Yeti and Unicorn and its so cute!

Princess Pink- Now this is a deceiving title. It is a book with the name PRINCESS in it, but I love how these stories create a fun spin on classic fairytales like the Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Little Red Riding Hood. Even though it says Princess- its still a fun twist on stories for the boys.

A Friend For Dragon Another Acorn book I forgot to picture, was written by the author of DogMan and Captain Underpants (Dav Pilkey) and the few books he wrote surround Dragon and him finding a friend (which is an apple) having a fat  cat (it was super funny) and problem solving. They were really cute and funny.

Eerie Elementary- My oldest really got into these, they are not my favorite but if he is engaged and interested I’ll help facilitate that interest. The plot line in this series follows a group of kids as they protect the school “Eerie Elementary” and its students from different things that come to life and haunts it;  like the swingset or the science experiments.

Press Start! I will say this is my FAVORITE find for boys so far. These books take place inside a video game that a boy in the story plays. There are 12 books, and each has a different obstacle to overcome. The villian wanting to (like all video games) destroy the innocent. It reminded me of Bowser in all of the Mario Bros. games. My oldest loved these!! They are at an almost 3rd grade reading level, and he was able to and interested in reading them ALL ALONE!

The Notebook Of Doom- We checked this out from the library, there were multiple books in the series, and from what I saw it reminded me of Eerie Elementary, but we didn’t read it yet. It seemed great for my older reader.

The Last Kids On Earth- This book was another good pick for my oldest. It follows some kids as they navigate their way through a post apocalyptic (without being overly mature or graphic) Earth. There are multiple in the series, and it was a good read. This is a realistic chapter book, with very little pictures, and was a good one to read TO them at night.

Hardy Boys- Another pick for the older readers. This is an obvious remake on the classic Hardy Boys books, but with a modern spin on their missions. The first in the series was kind of flat, but this (book #6) was much more appealing to both my son and husband. They reported back that this was better than #1.

Ben Braver- This was a favorite of my oldest as well. There are two books in the series, and we read the first. The second is on its way to our library. It follows a boy (Ben Braver) as he attends a school for kids with super powers and he tries to find his own, but ends up not having “super powers”. He was still able to save the school and make a difference without them. It had a good message.



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I hope this helps you select some fun books for your kiddos!

-Hannah (1)

Amazing Avocado Dip


I ran across this recipe on Pinterest and read the full recipe on the Listotic blog.  It will definitely be something I make often! The best thing, its only a few ingredients! 

It was a hit for Bachelorette viewing night too. Its so simple and can be made quickly! I tweaked her recipe, by adding real red onion vs. onion powder, and I used cilantro instead of parsley to give it more of a guac feel.


Amazing Avocado Dip


  • 3 large avocados (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (chopped into small chunks)
  • 4 ounces plain crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro (chopped fine)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp or more of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh onion or 1 tsp onion powder (I used red onion)
  • 1 bag tortilla chips for serving



  1.  Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the avocados.
  2. Our recipes differed here- I then added the avocados and I mashed them to a chunky but still semi solid consistency with the rest of the ingredients. I refrigerated for maybe 2 hours before serving.

Her Step 2- Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, and then chop the avocados and gently stir them in just before serving.

Your choice, it feels like a tomato/tomatoe situation, with either result being a delicious dip!