Book Review

Booklet of Book lists

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I am working hard to raise boys who love to read and are good at it.  This means that I get to spend time reading aloud to them all the children’s books that I loved, as well as those that I’ve never read.  I’ve been searching for suggestions and keep finding fantastic book lists everywhere.  I’ve been searching for a way to keep them handy when I am at the library or book shopping.  I finally stumbled across the perfect way!  I now have my own book of book lists!

Here is how I put it together. Warning, these instructions require Microsoft Word.  There may be another way to do it but I haven’t tried any.

Create your master list:

  1. Open up all your favorite book lists.  Some of mine are The Read-Aloud Revival, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online Year 0 – 1, 20 Classic Chapter Books for 5-8 year olds, and the Mensa K-3 list.
  2. Start a single Microsoft Word file and copy each list in.
  3. Title each section with the name of the booklist that you took it from.
  4. Take the time to format each list so that it is roughly in “Book Title – Author Name” format.

Create your booklet:

  1. Select all the text in the file and set the font to roughly 8pt.  I know, it’s small, but I wanted to keep down the total number of pages.
  2. You don’t have to, but I also added two little squares at the front of each row using the WingDings font.  They are for checking off books as I either buy them or as we read them.
  3. Follow the instructions on this website to use Word to create your booklet.  I suggest making sure that there are a few blank pages at the end for writing on.
  4. Print it up!

Make it pretty!

  1. I wanted mine to be pretty and to fit in my Composition Notebook Day Planner
  2. I found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that I liked and a piece of cardstock that matched.
  3. Then I followed the instructions from the Damask Love – Book Binding University series to create a cute little notebook that fits in my dayplanner 🙂

From start to finish it took me a few hours to figure it all out but I love the results.  The best part is that I will digitally keep the master file updated, removing books that we have read and adding new ones that are recommended.  Every few months I can print it up again and have an up-to-date list to carry with me!

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‘Mom on the Go’ Planner

14833180251_db3897ccf2_zThis is the time of year to start thinking about heading off to school.  Luckily I have the option to take this year off from all that craziness.  For now we have decided to not send our boys to preschool.  But that means that I have to try to keep them busy and learning for the next year so that they are ready when Kindergarten hits.  I’ve been doing a lot of research into preschool homeschooling ideas and have a few things that I would like to do with them.  This means planning though.  When I was doing some of my research I came across a day planner that looked awesome.  I was in a splurging kind of mood that day and decided to go for it.  Then I spent the next week not so patiently waiting for it.  I haven’t been this excited for something in quite a while.

The planner is published by a company called “In the Leafy Treetops” that makes day planners specifically for Mormon mothers.  I found out that they make a non-Mormon version of their ‘Mom on the Go’ planner for everyone else.  I like that they left in some very light weight religious references.  Things like daily Prayer and Scripture readings.  While I don’t plan to read the Bible anytime soon I will use them to pick up my Yoga readings again and try to spend more time on my Spiritual studies.  I will let you know what I think of the planner after I’ve been using it for a while, but so far it’s a pretty nice one.  I love the way the pages are all laid out and the extra sections at the back for longer term planning are really nice.

Lazy Yoga Practice: Free Books

I read books. A lot of them.  All kinds of them.  I also spend to much money on books about topics I am interested in.  But I was just reminded about the Free Books you can get on the internet.  I’ve read many classics this way but never looked for Free classic Yoga texts.  Here are a few links to various sites that they can be found at.

Current Reading List: Jan 2014

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Here is a photo of my current book list.  These are all books that I am actively reading my way through.   It does not include the audiobooks that I am listening to or the fun books that I have on my digital devices.  I may need to try finish some of these!

  • Siblings Without Rivalry: a very interesting book on how to raise children.  I’ve been working my way through it for a few years but read a chapter often enough I leave it out all the time.  Once I finish it I will probably start it all over again.
  • How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend:  just before Christmas we had a dog move into our barn.  We decided to keep her and named her Miss Nikki.  She appears to be a fairly young Lab mix who is full of more energy than I can deal with.  I just got this book to help me figure out how to train her to not jump or bite people.  I have just barely started it but it’s probably the most important book on the table right now.
  • The Dirty Life:  This is a book I picked up from the Library about a woman living in New York City who fell in love with a farmer. Her and her husband created a very interesting farm.  I’m about halfway through it and find it fascinating.
  • In the French Kitchen Garden:  I just got this book this weekend and am flying through it.  I love reading books on gardening in the winter. It makes the cold days much less cold.
  • No-Work Garden Book: a book I borrowed from my mother about creating no till gardens.
  • Meditations from the Mat: a yoga book that I almost gave away.  I picked it up years ago and read through the beginning of it.  Recently I decided to clear my shelves and get rid of books that I’ve had forever and never read or won’t read again.  I had the box all ready to go but never got it to the Library.  Recently it was recommended as a great book to read.  I pulled it back out and am working my way through it day by day.  This book is the reason I should never try to clean off my book shelves!
  • The Modern Web:  This is a book about the current state of website development.  It has some great information on HTML5/CSS3, responsive design, adaptive design, and a ton of other great dev information.
  • I picked up a few magazine subscriptions recently for a super low price.  I am trying to read each one as they come in and then I take them to the library or pile them up for a friend who is interested in gardening as well.

Book Review: Four-Season Harvest

Over the last few years I have found that, with the exception of my audiobooks, my reading habits have been leaning more and more towards non-fiction.  I borrowed a copy of the “Four-Season Harvest” by Eliot Coleman from a friend of mine.  I had expected that it would take me a while to get through it.  Instead I found it so interesting that I read the entire book in a matter of days instead of weeks.  It is well written and gave me so many new ideas that I have to figure out what to do next.  

I have a very small garden that grows slightly each year.  It is a mix of annual veggies, annual flowers, perennial veggies, and perennial flowers with a couple of small lilac bushes thrown into the mix.  This year is the first year that the garden is actually producing food for our table in reasonable amounts.  I need to keep the yield small and restricted to what I know will be eaten, rather than what I would like to grow.

Keeping in mind that I need to keep things simple, basic, and as low maintenance as possible, I have decided that the 20 x 40 year round greenhouse is just not quite feasible.  Instead here is a list of things that I may be able to pull off with out too much trouble or additional weekly work.

  • Look at building a real compost pile, possibly using straw bales or hay bales just to keep the cost as low as possible.  It would be nice to have it close to the house so that everyone can dump stuff into it.  Plus it would be near where we want to put the potager garden in.
  • Get some seeds so that I can plant some of the following cold hardy veggies for a fall/winter harvest: Spinach, Scallions, Mache, claytonia, and carrots.  I think I can convince my family to eat each of them.
  • Clear out the space where I want to put in the new garden.  Instead of creating the garden I was originally planning I am going to modify it to hold a 4×8 cold frame over the top of it instead.  I want to outline the whole thing with bricks that are leveled that the cold frame can rest on.  It will make the garden easier to mow around in the summer anyway.
  • While I am at it I want to clear out my shade garden and frame that with bricks as well.  I need to pull most everything in the garden and dig up the ground.  It is far to compacted and should have some compost mixed in as well.  
  • I need to build said cold frame so that it is ready for this fall when the cold weather starts.
  • Long term I would like to create a garden that is designed as a year round one possibly along the south side of the new house.  it gets some of the best sun and the brick along the bottom will help to keep the garden warm in the winter. 
  • When we put in our new patio/potager garden/fire-pit/gazebo/ everything else outdoor room it would be nice to include some cold weather gardening ideas as well.  
  • Someday a nice big