Books Around the House

I remember the positive furor Dr. Ben Carson caused when he told the world about his mother. Seeing that rich people had books in the houses she cleaned for money, she came home and told her boys the TV was going off and books were coming in. Dr. Carson has since advocated and promoted literacy and reading in his political platforms.

Which is just great, when applied appropriately.


After Tad R. Callister quoted Dr. Carson’s story in an LDS talk, I heard mother after teacher after grandmother talking about how they were going to purchase more books for their shelves. Surely the presence of reading materials would encourage children and grandchildren to pick them up. Surely their offspring would grow to be neurosurgeons and members of the presidential cabinet.


I happen to be “a reader.” My children are as well. Their teachers and administrators have commented on that quality. One administrator even said, “Your boys read. You can’t teach that.”


Which is my main point, today. Having books on the shelves does nothing if you don’t pull them down. With every. single. one of my children, I have demonstrated what books do; what they contain. I’ve read to them. Sure, I’m not consistent. Each boy has had even less time with me than the one before.

But I try. Reading Ramona the Pest once a week(ish) is still better than my five-year-old thinking that staring at a phone at night is the only form of entertainment around.

Showing them that I read on my own has demonstrated that adults read, too. It’s the cool thing to do! I share things with them and discuss ideas or characters from the stories. I attend book group and have brought the older ones along.

Dr. Carson said his mother insisted they do two book reports a week. I’ve had mine do a report occasionally, but not often. Books need to be fun and not a chore.

So, moms and instructors and grandmas: pay attention. If you actually want a neurosurgeon, you’d better start practicing your own literacy. At least start practicing funny voices for the characters.



Photo Credit:
Robyn Budlender
Ben White
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Making a Muddy Mess

“Mom!” my sons yell at me, excitedly. “We’re making islands and I connected our island and there’s a really long island…”


I take in their muddy, sopping wet clothes and the redesigned side yard. And I smile.

Food Tip 8

Even when I’m more on top of life and have meals planned out for …days, I depend on my personal food tips and tricks. I can’t number how often I’ve started a meal and realized I’m missing an ingredient.

That is when my prepared foods and pre-purchased staples literally save my bacon. I realized, however, that I had not specifically recommended a vital food tip:

Keep a food storage.

Not everyone has extra space, I know. Not everyone has extra money. Not everyone considers buying ahead, knowing of those limitations. But I can also tell you that my husband and I have always purchased a little ahead of our food supply.


Like with cereal. I have so many breakfast eaters these days that I load up on extra boxes when the local Smith’s Marketplace runs deals.

Since we are in a more spacious house now, we also store more Doomsday Preppers-type items like oatmeal, flour, sugar, and rice.


Before we had children and a basement, our flour supply was a couple of buckets. The oats were an extra Quaker container. The tuna fish was three surplus cans.

Ah, tuna fish: The greatest, cheap protein that lasts and kids hate to eat.


I don’t like tuna very much, either. I make a tuna salad mix for sandwiches or a tuna casserole with potato chips and cheese on top to make it palatable.

The point is that our basic food storage has many benefits. Keeping a year’s supply of wheat will sustain us in The Zombie Apocalypse. Ten buckets of sugar just might get us through the Christmas season. And, the spare Girl Scout cookies I hid downstairs help in the between-times.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Five Minutes Later

Why did I run the load today
When, five minutes later
They’ve come in from play?

Why did I put their cup in the sink
When, five minutes later
They want more to drink?

Why did I have them brush for bed
When, five minutes later
They’re eating some bread?

Why did I make them? I sigh and shrug.
Five minutes later,
One gives me a hug.


Photo Credit:
Magdalena Smolnicka


©2019 Chelsea Owens