10 picture books that cultivate gratitude

According to research, cultivating gratitude is one of the simplest but most powerful paths to a happier, more fulfilled life. Gratitude dispels entitlement and indifference, selfishness and hopelessness. That’s why it’s so important for me to teach my children to have grateful mindsets. One of my favorite ways to teach the value of gratitude is to cuddle up with and read a fun book with them. I teamed up with Miranda Rosbach to share 10 picture books for cultivating grateful mindset.

Bookbloom’s picks:

Tiny Blessings: for Mealtime by Amy Parker: “For food that helps me grow up strong. For the table where we eat, for yummy smells that fill the air, and especially the treats!” This visually inviting modern board book is perfect for tiny fingers to explore again and again.

Autumn Forest: Bedtime Story for Kids about Gratitude by Arnie Lightning: When fall finally comes to the forest all the animals are excited to welcome a new season. They savor the sights and smells of this special time of year, as together they move from Halloween to Thanksgiving Day and into the darker days of winter. A preschool favorite and easy way to teach children to do as Thoreau put it “Live in each season as it passes.”

Give Thank You A Try by James Patterson: Thank you may be a simple statement, but it can often be an expression for everyday things. From smiles, to snow, to clouds shaped like cows, to tickles and teachers and terrible tongue twisters. This newly published picture book features exuberant illustrations from a handful of notable children’s illustrators and is a joy to read a loud.

Judy Moody and Stink: The Wishbone Wish by Megan McDonald: Although this book isn’t technically on the “teaching gratitude” radar, it is a smart chapter book that showcases a particularly endearing sibling relationship. Besides, who can resist cheering on Judy and Stink as they train to win the annual Turkey Trot and walk away with the grand prize of a Thanksgiving Day bird?

Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving by Katherine Paterson: As Meister Eckhart once said “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” So begins this collection of short poems and verse, ranging from gratitude for the natural world, the present moment, the abundance of food we eat, and a richness to all that currently constitutes this life.

Talk Wordy to Me’s picks:

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli: I love the way this lighthearted book illustrates that no matter who we are or what we do, we all have something to be grateful for, and that we are all connected through what we give and take in the world.

All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon: This is one of my all-time favorite picture books. The words and illustrations are magical and teach gratitude for simple family life and the beauty in our daily rituals.

Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Devlin: I love this vintage book with charming illustrations and a funny tale that teaches us to look past first impressions and judgements to find someone’s true character. Check out Cranberry Christmas too.

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems: We are huge fans of the Elephant and Piggie series over here. This fun book uses the Elephant and Piggie duo’s classic humor to remind us to say thank you to the people who bless our lives.

The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood: This book has beautiful illustrations of the world around us and words that remind us to be thankful for things we often take for granted. I love that it portrays thankfulness as a special secret to happiness. It makes kids more excited to use it. It is a bit on the wordy side, but still well-worth the read.

16 picture books that teach love and acceptance

There have been so many acts of violence happening close to home and across oceans, and I’ve been thinking of the people who caused those tragic events.

Where was their sense of self-love and reverence for life?

How can I teach my children to deeply love and accept themselves and others, despite our weaknesses and differences?

I started looking for picture books that displayed these messages beautifully and in a way that reaches kids’ hearts and minds.

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13 Picture books for Halloween

Ali Middleton

My fellow bookworm friend, Ali Middleton, is a children’s book guru, a homeschooler, and one of those rare, wholehearted moms whose amazingness never leaves you feeling worse about yourself—only inspired to be better and live more mindfully. She’s also a gifted photographer with a magic touch for capturing those one-of-a-kind moments you never want to forget. Ali ALWAYS has the best book recommendations, so I was smiling ear-to-ear when she agreed to put together a list of her favorite Halloween picture books for you guys. Enjoy!

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Our favorite family hikes in Utah

Hiking is one of our favorite things to do as a family. Sometimes, it’s a magical, nature-communing experience. Other times, it’s a whiny disaster and my kids claim they can’t take one more step.

Things that (sometimes) save us from mid-hike meltdowns: Kid-sized Camelbaks, plenty of snacks, a good Spotify playlist, and a treat or reward for finishing the hike.

The more we hike, the more the kids realize they’re stronger than they think and the more they get into it. We went a lot this summer, about once a week, and we plan to keep it up so our kids grow up thinking hiking is just a part of life!

For reference, our kids are 7, 5, and 2. We carry our baby in a hiking backpack.

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly Utah trails, in no particular order:

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Getting (and not getting) answers


We got another negative pregnancy test today, and I found it easy to feel negativity about it.

We went to the temple in hopes of finding some clarity and peace.

Although I didn’t get a loud-and-clear answer that yes, there’s one more! And he’s comin’ soon!

Maybe I felt a soft whisper version of that.

And I realized something.

Sometimes, answers don’t come as clarity or confirmation.

Sometimes, the answer itself doesn’t come at all.

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Should I have another baby?

I originally wrote this in August, 2017, just shy of my third child’s 1st birthday.


Should I have another baby?

I don’t know why I feel like I have to know right now.

Can’t I just enjoy my baby for a couple more years before I answer the big question?

She has been such a joy to have in our family.

And if our family is just the five of us, I’d be the luckiest girl in the world.

But what if?

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30 reasons I love my 30s

I remember when 30 sounded old.

When it was my turn to turn the big 3-0 , I was a little sad to leave those 20s in my past.

But now that I’ve been in the Land of the 30-Somethings for a few years, I’ve decided I really like it here.

Like, more than any other decade of ages I’ve dwelt in.

30s are the new 20s, I say.

A few things that have me thinking I’ll stick around for awhile (or at least for, I don’t know, seven more years or so):

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