May 11, 2015

Summer Reading List: First Grade

first grade, reading list, summer reading, summer reading program

For my six year old, I've tried to put together a list of books that appeal to him, both to read and to have read to him. I've tried to make a good mix of things that he will like to read on his level and things that he will sit still and listen to.

summer reading list

Go, Dog, Go

Interrupting Chicken

summer reading list

There are No Cats in This Book

There are Cats in This Book

summer reading list

The Cat in the Hat

Green Eggs and Ham
summer reading list first Grade

elephant and piggie summer reading

I Love My New Toy (and really all Elephant and Piggie books)

Scaredy Squirrel

Summer reading list first grade

Click, Clack, Splash


summer reading list

What if You Had Animal Teeth 

Mike Mulligan and More 

summer reading list

I am an Artist 

Do you have any favorite First Grade Readers that I've missed?  I would love more suggestions!  
Happy Reading!

*all images via Amazon

June 27, 2014

Just a Small Town Girl

I moved to Rexburg Idaho when I was 18 and small town life caught me off guard. It sank into my bones until I didn't want anything else.   I spend my daydreams on land and skies and stars, rows of fruit trees and my children running barefoot through the garden.  However, I'm married to a man whose chosen career path and aversion to commute keeps us tethered to cities.  We currently sit firmly in suburbia, with neighbors closing in on all sides and a backyard the size of a postage stamp.

And I find myself with a new affection for my grandpa. He wanted, all his life, to leave the the cities, the suburbs, and move out to a small town away from everything else. My Grandma, however, wouldn't have it. They lived their whole lives only a few miles from where they grew up, with homes and churches and shopping centers popping up all around them.

I think, though, it must have been more than just a dream. It must have been in his blood, this need for open spaces. His son, my uncle, moved his family to a tiny town in Southern Utah and relished every minute of it spending his days exploring the nearby mountains and caves and his nights camping under the stars.

I like to think that someday I'll get my wish.  I'll find a way to move away from it all, somewhere I can fall asleep to the sound of the wind in the trees and not the sirens.  Somewhere that the air smells like sage and pine and soil, instead of exhaust.  Some where I can sit outside and see the horizon, and not just the houses surrounding me on all sides.  But until then, I'll just be here, longing for clear night skies and complete quiet.

June 25, 2014

The First Stone

I found this comment by Jodie on the Mercy River blog, and it sums up my thoughts of the past few days better than I can articulate. 
"This morning I woke to see the post about Kate Kelly being excommunicated passed around and liked over 3400 times (and still counting). I started to think about how many times I click “Like” on a post and why I do it, and the meaning behind it. And I thought to myself do I have those reasons to click “Like” on this post?
I have followed this case with an open heart and open mind. And even though I have my own beliefs in how this should be conducted, I do however have a strong issue with what we are all doing now. To “Like” something (specifically in the FB context) is to agree with a portion of the comments or the article, or even photos posted. Why would we “Like” any of this, especially those of us who call ourselves LDS?
We have a lady who, regardless of rhyme or reason, has been excommunicated. And I can not help but be brought to the scriptures and think about John 8:7 where it states “He who is without sin, cast the first stone."  Are we saying we are each without sin? Isn’t clicking “Like” right now kinda like throwing a stone?
Are we saying that we “Like” that she has been excommunicated because that’s what she had coming to her? Or that we “Like” the councils decision in this specific instance, or that we “Like” that a stand has been taken? Either way what is there to actually “Like” right now?
I have been raised in this gospel for most of my life, and one of the teachings I have learned is that the Atonement and Love of Christ applies to everyone. I do not for a minute believe that those bishops, councilmen and even our Prophet and and the members of his quorums are sitting there today thinking to themselves that they “Like” this situation, or “Like” that this daughter of God has been excommunicated.
So as someone who is raising children and who proudly teaches on a sunday will stand up today in front of many who will read and say. I do NOT “Like” any of this situation, especially its outcome. And I do not feel that we are being any better people by “Like”ing it."

Thank you, Jodie. Whoever you are. 

June 24, 2014

I've had a lot swirling around in my head in the last days, weeks, maybe even months.  Things that don't quite make sense until I say them out loud or write them down.  And I was missing having this as a place to write things down.  Well, let me try that again.  

I was missing this as a place to have a conversation.

I have a small life.  I feel like I've said this before.  Meaningful, but small.  And really, if I'm completely honest, I'm okay with that.  But being a part of the blogging community, interacting with women from all over the country and even the world made me feel a little bit bigger.  We shared so much, as mothers and women, that suddenly, my life didn't seem quite so small and the trivial that wasn't so trivial to me was validated.  And I miss that.  

Anyway.  This is just to say.


May 7, 2014

To each her own

I've decided that I'm weird.  No, really.  Well, my tastes are anyway.

Raise your hand if you haven't heard of a dirty diet coke.


Now raise your hand if you've ever met anyone that didn't LOVE dirty diet coke (or dr. pepper, whatever your poison)


Put your hands up, ladies and gentlemen, because you have now.  I hate coconut.  I hate shredded coconut. I hate coconut syrup. I hate pina coladas.  And I hate dirty diet cokes.

Now, raise your hand if you get excited about all the pumpkin flavored stuff that starts appearing in September and sticks around through Christmas?

Yeah, I hate that too. Pumpkin is gross.

See? But what I really want to know is this:  is there anyone else out there like me?  Anyone?  Or am I all alone in my coconut, pumpkin hating world?


April 28, 2014

Shove a Stick Up It

So, you know in decor, there was the whole "stick a bird on it" trend?  Well, apparently the food bloggers wanted to get in on that and just left the bird out of it.  They stuck to the stick.  You know what I'm talking about. Shove a stick in any kind of dessert, or honestly, food, call it a pop and watch your hits skyrocket.  And really, I mean anything.  And to tell you the truth, I don't get it. I honestly don't get it. Does it taste better with a stick in it? Uh, no.  Does it take longer to make? So much.  There's the argument that kids love it.  And you know what, maybe some do.  But to tell you the truth, my kids prefer the mini, stickless corn dogs (really the only thing that should have a stick in it) to the larger, skewered version.   I think were getting out of hand with this people.  No, seriously.  Just scroll down for proof.  (and all I had to do was search 'pop' on Pinterest.)

And the thing is, it's not just limited to dessert. 

Okay, this is the one that I really don't get. By the time you get all of those sticks up in there, all of the pancakes are cold. And really, who wants to eat a cold pancake? 

Nothing is sacred.  And you know what I say? Stop the madness.  


April 23, 2014

If you're reading. . .

I don't know if anyone reads this little old blog anymore, but if you are, I'd like to ask your advice.

I wrote a story.  I wouldn't call it a book, it's not quite long enough. A novella, maybe.

I'm seriously considering self publishing this through Amazon.  I would really like to in fact.

And my question is this: does anyone out there have any experience with this? Any do's and don't's you would like to share with the class?

Also, I wouldn't mind a few beta readers.  I'm sure it could use a little polishing, so if you're willing leave a comment or shoot me an email.

And if I do eventually go through with it, I'll let you know.

April 15, 2014

Things I never thought I would say about a Stinky Diaper:

  • Good job, buddy! 
  • That's a lot! I'm so glad. 
  • Finally! 
  • Guess what?  Sam pooped today!
Ah, the joys of motherhood. 


April 11, 2014


I feel like I don't want to, just yet, let this little blog die. I also feel like oh, so very much has happened in the past year.  If you follow me on instagram (@rachelsueward) you know the big stuff.
I had a baby.  Pretty much the cutest little boy ever. And I can say that because I'm his mama.  Yes, your baby's cute too, but please.  Don't try to tell me that you don't also secretly think that your baby is cuter than everyone else's.  Because you know you do it too.

This baby is the sweetest, mildest baby.  The easiest baby.  He is mellow.  He is calm. I LOVE it.  My kids LOVE it.  My husband LOVES it.  Well, except for the part that the baby has started to realize that I'm the mommy and when I leave the room he screams because he loves me, but really, who can fault him for that?
Also, I have an 11 year old. Who babysat someone else's kids for the first time tonight. Yeah, I'm serious.  She's 11. I've tried to tell her to knock it off but she keeps getting taller and it's driving me crazy.  There is a very distinct possibility that she will pass me up in another year or two.  There is also a distinct possibility that she will get as tall as I am exactly and then stop.  It just depends on whose genes she has more of.
I have an onery first grader and a really bored preschooler.  Who just *might* get into all day kindergarten next year and then we will all breathe a sigh of relief.  Because seriously, HE IS SO BORED.  People laugh. But it's not funny.  SO BORED, I can't even tell you.
We fixed the hole in our basement.  There is now a hole in our bank account.  We are not moving. (Again.) We got bunnies. One of them isn't going to make it.  We planted a garden.  Not sure that's going to make it either. None of this is new.  Or very exciting.  But I posted on the blog.  So that absolutely counts for something.  And hopefully, I'll do it again before next year. 


June 11, 2013

Why you should avoid Seven Peaks like the Plague

I bought the pass of all passes from Seven Peaks in April.  When I didn't receive a receipt or confirmation number or anything, my rapid descent through hell (i.e. Seven Peaks Customer Service) began.

In an email to them: 

I purchased 6 Pass of All Passes a few weeks ago, but I never recieved a confirmation email, and therefore, an unable to redeem my passes.  I checked my bank statment, and the payment went through, so that was not the problem. If you could resend that email, I would really appreciate it. 

Thank you.


Dear Seven Peaks Customer,

Thank you for emailing Seven Peaks Fulfillment with your question. I am currently auditing this email box. The answers to some of the most common questions that we see here on the Seven Peaks Fulfillment team are attached to this email. If they still do not answer your question, or if you feel after reading them that your case requires special treatment, please respond to this email with a one to two sentence summary of your issue in the body of the email. Also, choose the keyword below that best corresponds with the nature of your issue and make sure you include it exactly as written below in the subject line of your email. This will help us to meet whatever issues you are experiencing with greater speed and accuracy.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Priority Fulfillment Team
Seven Peaks

Me to Them: 

I purchased 6 passes four weeks ago. I received no confirmation email and therefore heave no redemption code and no way to even begin the process of receiving my passes.  It has been a week since my first email addressing this issue.  
Thank you for your quick response. 



The redemption codes will be on your account where you purchased your passes such as City Deals or Groupon. Make sure you go to to enter your information so we can have it in our system. Please let us know if you have any more questions.


Me to them: 

I didn't purchase my passes through a 3rd party. I purchased them directly from the Seven Peaks website. I received no receipt  email or confirmation whatsoever, but my bank account was charged the amount so I know that the transaction went through. 


Dear Seven Peaks Customers 
I just want to confirm that you've bought your Pass from City Deals, please reply as soon as possible so that i may be able to walk you through the steps of recovering your redemption code.
Thank You

Me to Them: 

I bought my pass directly off of the Seven Peaks website. I did not use Ciy Deals, Groupon, Living Social or any other third part y website. My money went directly to you. I did not receive an email, a receipt, a voucher or any kind of redemption number. I have been waiting over  six weeks now to try and get even that, and I have been horribly disappointed with the quality of your customer service. I would appreciate a prompt response resolving my issue.
Thank you. 


Thank You for contacting Seven Peaks, the main reason why i ask where you purchase your pass because that helps me know what the next step should be to activate your passes. So thank you for clarifying that you've purchase your passes through my company website. witch mean you can take your printed receipt to any of our water park or fun center and they will print you a new pass. We appreciate your patient.
Thank you

Me to Them: 
I don't have a receipt. Of any kind. Whatsoever.

Still don't have a receipt, let alone the actual passes.  If you haven't done it already, DON'T DO IT!

Copyright Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug

Meaning all content on this blog is mine. So you better not steal it. Seriously.