Recent Blog Reads and Audio Book Finds

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading lately.  Maybe you’ll find something that interests you too.

How Living Close to the Land Can Help Boys – Amy at Homestead Revival makes some good points, things that I have seen myself.  Outdoor time, especially the active kind, makes for better behaved kids, they love knowing they have helped out, they love to learn new skills and show them off, and the more they are out there the more comfortable they become.

Our little ones would not hold a worm even last fall.  Suddenly this spring they can’t keep their hands off them, even the dead ones.  I love seeing the pride G.I.T. had when helping landscape the front walkway.  “I know how to use a shovel.  Let me dig.”  Of course, I had to remind the G.I.T. that perhaps a few years of age would allow the use of a shovel.  (Right now, I just didn’t want to be hit in the head with it.)  We also had a talk about hammer safety and why tossing a hammer across a bush and having it land near Mommy’s head wasn’t safe.  That was a long day.

helper putting in edging


Even I was starting to see the negative affects of t.v. last summer.  And it was due to too much Lassie.  Who would have thought that Lassie could be a bad influence?  That was the first time I instituted a rule about t.v. watching.  At first it as met with reluctance.  However, once I stood my ground I started to see creative play.  Even now our preschooler will ask for a movie the first thing getting up.  I always say, “No.  We don’t watch t.v. during the day.”  Within 10 minutes or so creative play is in full swing.  Now, sometimes I will turn on a show before supper, but I try not to.  More often than not I can say at supper, “We have had NO t.v. today. So I think a movie after supper is okay.”  It is now a treat instead of something expected.

Also, I think this is where the parents, as a team, can come in.  I am so much more the outdoors person than my husband, and he has even said several times that he is thankful I am.  Our kids NEED that.  They need to be outside.  They need to be playing in the dirt.  They need to have someone teach them how to build and plant and lay edging.  Okay, maybe not the last one isn’t a need, but it is one example of the projects we have worked on in the last 6 months.  Even the preschooler can now tell you how it was done.  They love hauling mulch.  That may have more to do with the fact that they get to play on the large piles than with the actual act of hauling.  However, they also love to use their little wheelbarrows or dump trucks and spades to help spread it out.  Yes, it has actually caused some arguments.

I also try to remember to say, “That was very helpful.  Good teamwork” to make sure they know it really was helpful.  I have also been known to say, “That was not helpful.  By spreading around the limbs that I just picked up you have made more work for me.”  Then they either get to pick them all back up while I watch, or they have to sit and watch while I do it – it depends on how much time we have.

Creating Nirvana shared about Canning Concord Grape Juice Concentrate.  This has very much encouraged me to keep my eyes open for grapes this year.  We don’t grow any, and I’m not sure we ever will while living at our current home due to space.  However, I know of other locally who do and have previously been presented with the opportunity to purchase some.  Now that I know what I would do with them, and how to do it, I will be more willing to take advantage of that opportunity.

The Homestead Survival shows a D.I.Y. project on how to make an Easy Garden Trellis Upcycled From A Baby Crib.  Add this to the post I recently saw about using the head and foot boards from a crib to make a sign and you have almost fully upcycled a crib.


Speaking of garden trellises, has a tutorial on making a trellis out of a pallet.  I love the burst of color they gave to their garden by painting it a bold/bright color.

Cultivator’s  Corner has two great graphs to help you in your seed starting.  I actually decided to go ahead and put out some tomato plants after referencing these and realizing my thinking was wrong (though tomato plants love warmer weather, they will still do okay in the upper 60’s).  I’m thinking of printing off both graphs, putting them back to back and laminating them.  They would be a great resource for my seed starting area.

Audio books:

Though not a blog, I have been so excited about the great finds on Books Should Be Free.  We have listened to one audio books and started three more.  I actually have a “to be listened to” list going.  Due to our library changing systems, all the books I requested ahead of time to read were deleted.  Instead of doing something about it, I’ve been enjoying several weeks free of late fees.  After hearing about Books Should Be Free and checking it out, I have found several of the titles in audio book format.  These now play at breakfast and sometimes lunch.

We haven’t always been an audio book family, it is a recent ‘discovery’.  I have been wanting to try some, but was never sure where to look.  Our first encounter with an audio book, as a family, were the Brinkman Adventures. I actually was afraid it would be a bit over the heads of my kids.  I was wrong.  They LOVED the stories, and so do I.  Kept my kids’ attention so much my husband said I need to order the rest of the series.  These aren’t audio books per se, they are a radio drama series.  This means they are full of different voices, sound effects and such.  (Take a look around their site to learn more about them and see what treasures you find.)

After seeing the excitement from the kids I picked up an audio book reading of Monster, Inc. from a garage sale.  Then I tried playing an audio book at bed time instead of the regular classic music, for the one kid who just. won’t. go. to. sleep.  It worked.  I see audio books holding a regular place in our lives in the future.  (note: my husband and I used to get books from the library for ourselves when going on trips, or we would read aloud from a book.  When kids came we had trouble finding books at our library that were appropriate.  I’m glad I now have some sources to find appropriate material.)