Weekly Menu Plan

Menu Plan

Here are the low carb dinners I have planned for this week:

Sunday- Bacon Cheese Burgers and Zucchini Fries (Try topping the burgers with guacamole….yum)

Monday- Dinner at my parents, I think we are having smoked brisket and I plan on bringing a veggie side dish, like broccoli and cheese or cauliflower casserole

Tuesday- Chicken Spinach Casserole and steamed buttered carrots (Plan to post this recipe later in the week)

Wednesday- Mozzarella Meatloaf, Sautéed Cabbage, and maybe some brown rice for the kids

Thursday- Fathead Pizza and salad

Friday- Date Night, so dinner at Chili’s thanks to a Christmas giftcard:)

Saturday- Cauliflower rice jambalaya with chicken and shrimp, green beans

**We usually do omelets, low carb breakfast burritos, or my personal favorite is flax seed muffins with PB&J (no sugar jelly of course)

**Lunches are either leftovers or snacky lunches like nuts and low carb meal bars or salads (My recent favorite variety is meatball salads…I don’t know why I like it so much but the combination of meatballs, lettuce, ranch, cheese, and pumpkin seeds are delicious!)

Do you have any weird salad toppings that no one else eats??

 

Advertisements
Goals

Goals for 2018

I always love to read about other people’s goals for the New Year, so I decided to share some of my own goals for 2018 and to blog about my successes/failures on a monthly basis (Hopefully more successes than failures!)

Walk at least 500 miles this year

I had a back surgery over two years ago and my doctor recommended that I walk 3 miles a day to keep the muscles in my back strong enough to ward off future back issues. He really knew what he was talking about (must be all those years in medical school!) because I really can tell a difference in my back pain levels at the end of the day when I am walking regularly vs. random days that work with my schedule/weather.  To achieve a more regular walking schedule I am going to mix in some Leslie Sansone walking videos to supplement my outdoor walking routine.  I figure if I shoot for 2-3 miles a day for 4 days a week, I can easily hit 500 miles this year.

Eat under 30 net carbs a day

My body hates sugary carbs. When I eat sugar, I get sleepy, cranky, and retain a lot of water weight….like a gain of 4 lbs of water weight over night!  This past year I experimented with increasing my carbs to under 50 a day and noticed my sugar cravings skyrocketed…so I am going to drop them this year back to under 30 a day to manage my blood sugar better.  I also plan to share some of my favorite low carb recipes weekly, so stay tuned!

Add 12 new products to my Teachers Pay Teachers store this year

This is a nice way to use my education and make a little side income at the same time. I think I added six products last year to my TpT store and I think that shooting for one new product a month should be an attainable goal.  **I plan to write a post soon about setting up a TpT storefront…its really easy and free

Have 2 date nights a month with my husband

My husband averaged 50+ hours a week with his job last year so we really had to work to find time to have even one date night a month.  This year, he started a new job and works only on the weekends, so I definitely think we can easily fit in more date nights during the month.

Have 2 family game nights a month

My family loves to play games together, so I am going to shoot for 2 nights a month that we can make a favorite meal and play a few games together.  We added some really fun games to our collection this Christmas, including the weirdly-fun Moustache Smash and the hilarious Pie Face:)

Plan to have one no spend week a month

I already have one no spend month a year…Frugal February!!! ** I love having Frugal February every year because it helps me to refresh my love of a frugal lifestyle.  So I decided to see if I could add one no spend week a month to keep me honest throughout the year:) During my no spending week, I will give myself $20 to spend (if I need it) on random groceries and then try to stay out of the stores….and away from Amazon for the rest of the week.  I think this will be pretty easy for me and also help to keep an eye on my monthly spending habits too.

Read 12 non-fiction books this year(and challenge my daughter to do so as well)

We love reading fiction books in our house and there is nothing wrong with that….but….I think its important to be well-rounded and I know there are some amazing non-fiction books out there that will inspire us to be better people.  Last year, I discovered Jen Hatmaker’s books and realized I had been missing so much by only reading fiction, so I will be reading at least one non-fiction book a month and share it with you:)

Buy nothing new this year

I have toyed with this idea for many years and tried it out for most of the year last year.  If you are like me, I will buy something brand new one week and then find it at a yard sale or a thrift store for like a $1 the next week….and then kick myself for buying it for $20 the week before! So there is the money saving element to buying used items, but there is also the environmental element to consider as well.  Just think of all the throwaway items in the landfill that someone else could have used…..it is such a waste.  So to do my part, I am going to try to only buy used items this year.  **Exceptions: I will be buying food, personal hygiene items, and home improvement items on an as-needed basis** But for the most part, everything else will be found at thrift stores, yard sales, or bartered off of family members(Mama you love me!) I will share what I have found each week in my Five Frugal Things post.  **Check out the Non-Consumer Advocate blog, she has not bought anything new for years!

$5 a week challenge

Recently I was playing around with the idea of how much good you could do with even small amounts of money and stumbled upon the idea of a $5 a week challenge. I picked two charities to support during this challenge:

The first charity is the CCC Food Pantry, which supplies needy families with food each week.  I thought it would be fun to see how many food items I can buy at the grocery store by matching the best deals with the best coupons available and then delivering my bounty to the food pantry once a month.

Another charity that I will be supporting with my $5 a week challenge, is Clothe Our Kids of North Alabama.  It is a local clothing charity that supplies shirts, shoes, pants, underwear, and socks to local children in the county school systems.  A teacher identifies a needy child in their classroom and sends a list of which clothing items the child needs to the charity. After receiving the list, the charity sends a bag home with the child at the end of the day.  I love the idea of this charity because it is so simple, yet effective.  The needs are being met really efficiently this way by cutting out the middle man.  I will be supporting this charity by scouring yard sales and thrift stores for gently used clothing items to donate, while sticking to my $5 budget.

I am so excited to try and accomplish all of my goals for 2018!! How about you, do you have any goals you want to share for 2018?

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

Since it was Christmas this past week, my five frugal things are pretty slim…but here it goes!

1. Made my daughter microwaveable heating pads as one of her Christmas gifts

rice packs
Much prettier than old socks!

Awhile back, I had read about reusable rice packets that could be used as kid-friendly heating pads.  At the time I just poured some rice in an old sock, knotted it, and called it good…it was not very pretty but still effective.  So I decided to make some really pretty ones this time as a surprise Christmas gift for my daughter, since she prefers them over electric heating pads.  It was a really frugal gift because the only two materials needed were fabric and rice which most people have on hand already.

2. Gave my sisters and my mom homemade Christmas gifts

bookmarks
Not the ones I gave to my sisters but similar

Since we have such a large extended family, the adults usually do not exchange gifts on Christmas, unless its something homemade or maybe a small token gift.  This year I made personalized bookmarks, homemade Carmelitas (yum), and re-gifted some Christian fiction books that my wonderful mother-in-law saves for me. Tied up with some cute ribbon, I thought it made a satisfactory gift…and a frugal one:)

3. Made my son a Lego tray

tray
Happy Boy!!

My son loves Legos and he tries to take them everywhere, especially on car trips, which means lots of Legos go missing.  In order to minimize this, I decided to make him a Lego tray that he could take in the car.  It was surprisingly easy and pretty cheap (I found a cute unfinished wood tray at Hobby Lobby for just $3 and I got a plastic Lego mat for $7 on Amazon) After a few coats of spray paint, I had a really useful gift which my 6 year old totally loved.  After I gave it to him, he said that I need to make him more “homemade” stuff:)

4. Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs for just 49 cents a pound

While I was running through Kroger, I noticed that they had just marked down their expiring chicken thighs to $1.50 per package…so I grabbed 8 of course:) I promptly repackaged them into freezer bags at home to save space and also to make sure they were not too old.  **I have been burned by reduced meat before, so I always check to see if its ok, before it goes into my freezer.

5. Remembered to use my husband’s new employee discount card

My husband recently started working for the Target distribution center and as a perk they give their employees discount cards to use in their stores.  Since I had planned on shopping at Target for a few Christmas gifts anyways, I made sure I used that card and saved $17.

 

What did you do to save money over the holidays?

 

Recipes

Spanish “Rice” Casserole (Low Carb/Gluten Free)

mexi rice

Yum, Yum, Yum….did I mention yum??  I found this recipe  a couple of weeks ago and after tweaking it a bit, I made it for the first time tonight and we really liked it….like a lot. When you have been low carb for awhile, you really start to miss normal foods and one of the foods I miss the most is rice.  I have used cauliflower rice before in recipes and I have always been pleasantly surprised at how versatile it is in fitting into many different recipes.  As much as I like cauliflower rice, I have always noticed a slight veggie aftertaste, which I personally do not mind, but I do know that many people just do not like it at all.  I am happy to tell you that while I was eating this dish I could not tell that I was not eating real rice….really!  I think that cooking the riced cauliflower in a really flavorful baked dish helped to hide the taste much better.  The texture of “rice” was there but no cauliflower taste whatsoever.

Here is how I made it:

Ingredients

1 lb hamburger meat

1/2 cup of chopped onion/pepper mix (either frozen or fresh)

1 can of Rotel, drained

1/4 cup of diced pickled jalapenos (you can omit this if you do not care for spicy food)

1/2 a packet of taco seasoning

1 package of riced cauliflower, cooked

1/3 cup of sour cream

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 to 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

2.Cook the riced cauliflower and set it aside (The kind I buy comes in a microwaveable bag, so that is quick and easy)

3. Brown the hamburger meat and the onion/pepper mix together in a pan, then drain off the grease.

4. In a large casserole dish, mix together the softened cream cheese, sour cream, taco seasoning, jalapenos, and the Rotel.

5. Add in the meat mixture and the cauliflower rice, stirring until it is well-combined.

6. Top with shredded cheese.

7. Bake it for 30 minutes or until its bubbling and the cheese is slightly browned.

8. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Let me know if you try this recipe and especially if you can even taste the cauliflower rice at all!

 

 

 

Recipes

Fathead Pizza (Low-carb/Gluten-free)

I have tried many different low-carb recipes over the past few years, but one that appears almost weekly in my menu plan is called Fathead pizza.  **The name hints at the level of fat in this recipe…which is quite substantial, because it is basically a pizza crust made entirely out of cheese!**

IMG_1787
Not the best picture, but it was still delicious!

I know it sounds weird, but this pizza tastes great! It does not have the “bread” taste, but it feels like you are eating layers and layers of toppings, which happens to be my favorite part of pizzas anyways.  My daughter even likes it, so it is definitely kid-friendly as well.

If you look up Fathead pizza on the internet you can find many different variations of basically the same recipe (It is very popular!) The recipe I am going to share is really forgiving, in fact I have stopped using the exact measurements and just throw together what I think looks right:) But here is a real recipe you can follow until you get the hang of making this delicious meal.

Fathead pizza

Ingredients:

3 cups of shredded mozzarella (2 cups for the crust and 1 cup for the topping)

3/4 cup of almond flour

2 ounces of cream cheese

1 egg

garlic salt to taste

Your choice of pizza toppings (Pepperoni, ham, veggies, pizza sauce, Alfredo sauce, etc)

Instructions:

*Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

1.Mix the almond flour, 2 cups of mozzarella, and the cream cheese all together in a microwaveable bowl.  Heat for 1 minute in the microwave.

2.Stir the mixture and then heat it for an additional 30 sec.

3. By now all the cheese should be melted together after it is stirred, if it’s not, put it back in for 20 more seconds and stir it again.

4. Add in the egg and garlic salt, mixing the crust until the egg is fully incorporated (I usually knead the egg into the mixture with my hands, similar to how you would knead a pizza crust)

5. Next, cover a baking tray or a pizza pan with parchment paper and place the crust on top

6. This mixture is quite sticky, so you need to place another piece of parchment paper(or Saran wrap) on top and squish or roll the crust out to the desired thickness.  I usually roll it out to the thickness of a thin crust pizza.

7. Using a fork, stab the crust all over and bake it in the oven for 10 min. It will blow up like a balloon, so after you remove it just press it back down again and then flip it over. Now you can add all of your favorite toppings and the extra cheese.

8. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake it for 5 more minutes (If the topping is not fully cooked after 5 minutes, I usually switch the oven to broil and cook it for 2 more minutes to get the toppings nice and crisp. Please watch it carefully if you choose to broil it, that cheese burns quickly!)

9. Let the pizza sit for a few minutes to cool and then serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

Homeschooling

How I Spend Less than $100 a Year on Homeschooling My Children(Part 3)

Today I am back to share with you some of the ways I save money while teaching my children the subjects of English and spelling.  Make sure you check out Part 1 and Part 2 for ideas on ways to save on Science and History.

K-2nd Grade

The early years of elementary school are basically devoted to learning how to read and write well. (In one of my earlier posts, I shared the different ways that I have taught my son to read this past year, that really worked well for us.)

Here are some of the ways that we teach English to K-2nd graders in my house:

1. Pick out a learning to read book.

readingbook

There are so many different ones out there, but we really love The Reading Lesson: Teach your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons. It is presented well and has cute stories that my son loves to read. **Remember to check on Amazon for used books, they are way cheaper than the newer versions and work just as well

2. Keep a writing journal

notebook

Almost every child loves to draw and tell stories, so if you combine the two, you have the perfect formula to teach writing.  I usually have my children write a few sentences about something that has happened in the past week and then they draw a picture at the top to illustrate the story.  **This is such a great idea, because kids love to look back on how far they have come in writing and drawing over the years** We sometimes use just simple spiral notebooks, but if you can find these in a store, they are pretty awesome too. (I think Target and Walmart carry them for around $3)

3. Spelling tests

For K-2nd grade, we usually focus on sight words to use as our spelling list because these are the most common words that your child will be reading and writing for awhile.  Here is a great website that contains all of the Dolch sight word lists that you can use for your spelling tests.

For 3rd grade and up

Starting in the 3rd grade, students begin to learn grammar and the best way to teach grammar is to find a great workbook.  I have used many different types of grammar workbooks over the years, but I think my favorite one is the Easy Grammar series by Wanda Phillips.

grammar

I really like this grammar workbook a lot because each lesson is presented well and they provide many different sentences for the student to work on.  Amazon usually has a nice selection of this series year round and they run about $10-$15 a book. **A great thing about this book series, is that there are over 300 pages in each book.  So if you teach grammar every other day, one book will easily last for two years which of course will save you money.

Literature guides

Another fun way that we study English is to use literature guides.  I love using literature guides because they really help the student to review what they have read and are proof that the child actually did the reading:)  One of our favorite companies that makes these guides is Progeny Press.  Amazon has a great selection of used guides for under $10 and they also resell very well, so you can recoup most of your cost.

hobbitguide

Another really affordable place to find literature guides is on Teacherspayteachers.  This site is filled with all things educational and better yet, everything is created by real teachers who use these products in their own classrooms.  ***There are no real books, just digital downloads of the products, but I love that because it takes up no room on my bookshelf and you can print off however much you want of the product.

Library Books

The number one way to teach grammar and increase your child’s vocabulary, is to expose your child to high quality literature.  My daughter has always had an easy time in grammar and spelling, which I credit to the fact that she loves to read. So every year, I print out a list of books that will expose my children to good classic literature.

**I usually have my child to write a book report or an essay on one of the books that we have read each semester. This reinforces grammar and helps to improve their writing skills at the same time.

If you have read any of the other posts in this series, you will already know that the number one way to save on homeschooling is to utilize the library.  We almost always choose books to read in English based on what is available at the library.  Luckily for us, our library has a really great selection of children’s books so we hardly ever need to buy literature books to use for school.

Spelling for Grade 3 and over

There are numerous spelling programs out there that are really affordable.  We have used Abeka for many years because it can be found easily and very cheaply on Amazon for less than $10.  However, this past year I found an even simpler and cheaper way to teach spelling to my children….it’s called the dictionary!

One day it just hit me, that our Abeka spelling books were basically just glorified spelling lists.  I thought to myself, “Why am I spending money on something that I can create by just using a dictionary?” So this year, we are simply picking out challenging words in the dictionary for our weekly spelling list.  This is working out great so far, because it is already December and we have not even made it all the way through the letter B yet!  **I wish that I had thought of this years ago and saved myself a lot of money…

Next week, I will share some of the ways that I save on math curriculum.

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

Here are some of the ways that I saved money this week:

1.Lots of freebies from Kroger

Kroger is having a promotion called the 25 Merry Days of Savings.  Everyday they are either offering free items that you can download onto your store card or really high priced coupons that make most items almost free.  I have been trying to remember to do this because #1. It is free and #2. Free is always fun:)

Even when Kroger is not running this promotion they offer a digital coupon for a free item every Friday.  Sometimes the items are not things we use, but other times they are treats that my family loves like Jell-o and cinnamon rolls…yum!

All you have to do to receive these items is to have a Kroger card and open an account on their website to download the digital coupons to your card.  Free stuff people, free stuff.

IMG_1783
Everything was free in this picture except the cinnamon rolls and they were only 49 cents with a digital coupon

2.Tried out a cheaper detergent

My husband is a big, gruff guy but surprisingly he has really delicate skin, so I try to buy only non-fragrance laundry detergent (Like All Free & Clear) to avoid any reactions.  I recently came upon Purex Free & Clear and since it was on sale and I had a coupon, I got to try it for $1.99.  I am so glad I did! It works just the same as All and is considerably cheaper as well, so that is definitely frugal in my opinion.

IMG_1785(1)

3.Dollar Tree face wash will not melt your face off!

I have been eyeballing this bottle of face wash at the Dollar Tree for a few months now.  The only thing holding me back was an obscure article I read years ago, that warned against knock-off hygiene products from the Dollar Tree that were made in China.  Apparently, there were certain chemicals in some of the products that the FDA did not like or something, so I had it in my mind that my face would melt off if I tried this supposedly toxic cleanser.  Well….it did not! I got home and compared the ingredients to my current facial cleanser and surprisingly they were almost identical.  I also like this cleanser better than my other one because it is thicker, which means I need less product to get a great lather. So it is a winner for sure at just $1 a bottle.

IMG_1786

4.Combined coupons with Kroger’s Buy 5, Save $5 promotion

I love sales, but when you add on coupons that makes it even better!  This week Kroger had some pretty amazing deals that I combined with some digital coupons to maximize my savings.  Like cream cheese for just 70 cents and peanut butter for just 49 cents. Definitely stock up prices!

5.Bought health insurance

After figuring out our projected income for 2018, I found out that we will be saving $250 a month on health insurance by buying a cheaper policy through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  So that definitely deserves a mention on my frugal list!

 

Christmas

Christmas Fun: Host Your Own Gingerbread House Competition

One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is our annual Gingerbread House Competition.  I know lots of people love to make gingerbread houses with their kids for Christmas, but we take it a step further and turn it into a competition.  I know it sounds crazy, but we have so much fun competing for a slip of paper that proclaims our house as the best in a certain category.  (Even the teenage grandchildren love to come and banter with their parents over who should win in each category and that says a lot!)

IMG_2449

**Now you could go out and buy a gingerbread house kit to save yourself a lot of time….but we choose to be creative and save money by building ours with graham crackers. (We also use hot glue to build the houses, this makes them more durable and less likely to fall apart under all that icing and candy that we pile on there)

IMG_2456
This was my favorite! It looked like a snow covered church

Here are all the things you need to host your own competition:

Graham Crackers (or individual gingerbread house kits)

Hot glue(if you are an extreme builder)

Frosting (We usually use about one jar per 2-3 people)

Variety of candies (M&Ms, Skittles, Twizzlers, Smarties, peppermints, candy canes, gum drops, Hershey kisses, edible Christmas figurines, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc)

Sprinkles of various colors and shapes

Sturdy cardboard

Index cards or strips of paper to make winner labels (We usually put on a couple of Christmas stickers to spruce it up a bit)

IMG_2445
Some people bring in their own special candy to get an advantage over the others…cough, cough…Joanna:)

** If you want to offer a small prize for each winner then candy prizes like large candy canes or holiday chocolate bars are always a big hit

The next thing you need to determine is which categories you will be judging the houses on.  Our usual ones include:  Best Overall, Best Roof, Best Yard, Most Christmasy, Most Colorful, Most Creative, Most Unique(the most coveted of all categories for some reason!), Prettiest, and Best Winter Scene.  You can really choose any categories that will suit your family’s taste like:  Most Patriotic, Best Team Spirit (sports team colors or logos), Most Religious, etc.

IMG_2458
He was sad he didn’t get Most Creative until he found out that everyone else really, really wanted to get Most Unique…then he smiled!

The last thing you will need is a unbiased judge.  My father is usually our judge and he loves to do it!  The judge should not be watching the houses being built because they might be swayed by who is doing the building…..trust me….

IMG_2459
Happy with Most Colorful!

I hope your family might add this fun tradition to your Christmas season and get from it all the joy and memories that we have for the past 10 years.

 

 

 

Recipes

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

image

 

My husband and I have been eating low-carb for two years now and we mostly love all of the different recipes we have tried out.  One thing that we do miss are casseroles, so lately I have been searching through tons of recipes and experimenting to find the best ones to share with you.  One that we have really liked is called Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole and after a few substitutions (We do not care for Swiss cheese at all), we fell in love with it even more!

Low-Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Ingredients:

4 cups of cooked chicken breasts (diced up)

1 cup of smoked ham (you can use diced ham or buy the deli sliced ham and just tear it up)

1 cup Sour Cream

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp of salt

1/8 tsp of pepper

1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard (you can use slightly more for a sharper flavor, but do not go overboard it is really strong)

1/8 cup of milk or cream

2 cups of shredded cheese ( you can use less cheese, but we love more! Also the original recipe calls for Swiss cheese but we thought it tasted better with cheddar cheese or you can use a mixture of the two)

For the Topping

1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup of Almond Flour

2 Tablespoons of butter (melted)

1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2.In a large casserole dish, mix together the diced ham and cooked chicken breast.

3.In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and the Dijon mustard to make the sauce.

4. Pour the sauce over the ham/chicken mixture and mix well.

5. Spread the shredded cheese over the top

6. For the topping:  In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and the almond flour together, then stir in the melted butter until its all well-combined.

7. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the entire casserole as evenly as possible (It is a really sticky mixture so just drop it in dollops as evenly-spaced as possible)

8. Bake it for 20-25 minutes until the topping is nice and crispy and the filling is bubbling.

9. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then serve.

Its so nice to find a low-carb recipe that my whole family will eat and this is definitely one that everyone loves. (I may have made it 3 times in the past month and there is never any leftovers!!)

Have you found any great new low-carb recipes lately? If so, please share it with us below:)

 

 

What to read

Some of Our Favorite Young Adult Books

In my post last week, I shared some of our favorite books for middle school age readers.  This week I am going to share some of our favorite books for upper middle school readers and beyond, otherwise known as YA or young adult.  This is probably the fastest growing category in the book industry today because it is appropriate for so many age levels.

Before I understood what YA meant in the literary world, I thought it meant “young adult” like 17-21 yr olds….ummmm no.  My daughter informs me that “young adult” is meant for ages 12 and up.  It also should be noted that while these books are generally appropriate for most readers, some may contain violence and some romantic events(nothing too detailed).

**Fellow moms, why not try some of these books for yourself??  They are very entertaining and give you a great start at conversing with your teen (we all know its hard to get teens to talk about anything!)

**I have read many of these books, so I will note the ones I actually read and liked.

The Selection series by Kiera Cass (Loved it! Its like the Bachelor meets the Hunger Games)

Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia (Loved it!)

Matched series by Ally Condie

Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy by Jessica Day George (My daughter loved this series and requested it for Christmas)

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (Loved it! A great sci-fi twist to beloved fairy tale stories)

Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (Loved it!)

Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Loved it! Full of action)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Loved it! Great movie also)

Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Loved it! Rick Riordan is always a family favorite)

Maze Runner by James Dashner

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Loved it! Very well-written and makes you think)

The Siren by Kiera Cass (Cute story)

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Cool backstory to how the Red Queen became who she was)

**These books were all recommended by my 13 year old daughter, Emma.  She has read all of these books and loved them, she hopes you might too!

Did she leave any great YA book off of this list?? What have you been reading lately?