May 192017
 

Kid in Library

With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs.  This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.

One of my highest goals for our kids, to love reading.

Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who turn into young adults who love to read. My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything.  They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.

In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out.  (Pun intended.)

Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons.  There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here.  The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.

 

book cover 2

From the website:

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español).

2. Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store

3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.

My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards.  I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.

 

Download Now!

Books-a-million’s 2017 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th.  As the image above shows, read 4 books from their Reading Challenge secelction, fill out the form and return to receive a free Maze Runner series water bottle.  Click here to find a store near you.

There are book selection for both kids and teens.  The Kids’ selections online are not easy readers, so you may have to help your young reader choose something appropriate (or maybe read aloud to them).


Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 (or 8th grade) and under is for June and July.

Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed log to earn HPB Bookworm Bucks.   By August 31, cash in your HPB Bookworm Bucks in store for books, music, movies & games.- Half Price Books bookmark

While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

If you need ideas for young ones, they have put together a list of Alphabet books as well as books for even younger ones. You are encouraged to read aloud to your kids if needed.

LifeWay R.E.A.D. - Summer Reading Program 2017

Join us on our 2017 Summer Reading Quest with Bibleman, June 1 to Aug. 31. We want to help you and your family promote the love of reading in your home as well as encouraging the love of God’s Word through reading His Scripture. This program is geared toward grades 1 through 6, but all are welcome to join in the adventure.

Read six books over the course of the summer and memorize six Scripture verses. Then, turn in a completed summer reading journal at your local LifeWay store to earn a free book and a new free Bible.

Join them in-store for a Kickoff Party May 26-27 to receive your FREE Summer Reading Program Journal, Bookmark and Pencil. At that time you will also be able to purchase books from the recommended reading list at 40% off!

Turn in your reading journals by August 31, 2017

Read 10

For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free*. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work.  – Bookman’s Programs Page

Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona.  While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look.  We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area on vacation, and loved it.  The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys  under 4 (we had nephews along with us).  While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books.  We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price.  I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.

There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.

*The free book come in the form of a $10 certificate to be used in the store. I could not find the information online, but a call to one of their stores confirmed they are still doing this program

mcalendars

Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near.  However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going.  With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.

I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program.  Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens.  Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more.  In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from.  Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.

A food purchase may be required to receive your tokens.

“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website

We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously.  Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward.  Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.

summer-reading-challenge

“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge

Scholastic’s 2017 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 8 and ends September 8.

“During the summer months, DoD-MWR Libraries around the world will host a range of free activities for children, teens, and adults that encourage and support a love of reading. Participants also can earn incentives by reaching their reading goals.”

If you do not live near a base or libray on base, there is also a Virtual Summer Reading Program available.

 

Keep an eye out for the following programs this summer:

Kids can earn $10 with our Summer Reading Program.

TD Bank had a summer reading program in 2016, which rewarded readers with money in their bank accounts for reading so many books.  They have not said yet whether they will do it again in 2017.

 

 

Jan 202017
 

This post contains affiliate links to some great reads.

growing through reading 3 books collage

The love of books and the love of gardening are not mutually exclusive, as Beatrix Potter successfully demonstrated. To that extent, here are three books which caught my eye recently.  They are each of vastly different garden topics and aspects.

Something they all have is common is they are available both in print and ebook versions.  These are also not free books, though they sound very much like something that would be worth paying for.  They also all have over 100 raving reviews, as in 98% give them 4 or 5 stars, which can often be hard to find.

The world of gardening books has taught me a lot these past few years, and these three books promise to add to that knowledge.  They are all going to be added to my reading list and hopefully consumed soon.

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales by [McDowell, Marta]

Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

The book is divided into 4 sections; a biography of Beatrix Potter, a description of her garden through the season, a guide to visiting her gardens, and a plant list. I was familiar with Potter’s illustrations in her children’s books, but was unaware of her other artwork.. She began doing botanical illustration as the age of 10. In addition to some of Potter’s artwork, there are also photographs of Potter and her gardens, so photos taken by Potter herself and some more contemporary. I enjoyed reading a biography that did not attempt to sully the person’s reputation. This book made me want to get out in my own garden and visit Potter’s gardens if I should visit England in the future.

And the review from Not Yet Old makes me want to visit this book.

Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use by [Gladstar, Rosemary]

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use

As I look ahead to a year of growing a mobile garden, herbs were at the top of my list of plants.  I love having fresh ones to use for cooking.  To be honest, I have not explored the material on herbs and their usage as much as I could have.  I knew they could be used for medicinal purposes, but have never tried it.  This sounds like it would be just the thing to have on hand for gaining such knowledge.

The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming

A great reminder that one does not need vast acres to have a successful garden or farm.  Over the years I have found the best results when I look to non-traditional methods, those who look to the natural process and try to mimic it rather than fight against it.

The thing about this book that caught my eye was this sentence in the description, “Growing on just 1.5 acres, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Helène feed more than two hundred families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands and supply their signature mesclun salad mix to dozens of local establishments.”  (emphasis is mine) Imagine what we can do in our small back yard garden for our family, or even perhaps our neighbors.

Since the move to a new place with a different flow and culture, I have had serious doubts about having a road side stand again.  And to be honest, I doubt I will.  I enjoyed having it, getting to know our neighbors and blessing them with produce, but it does not look like it would work as well in this setting.  It was nice to have a bit of extra income during the summer months.

Perhaps I will visit the idea again, once we are no longer renting, and do something similar to what is described in the book.  Till then, I will continue to grow in my knowledge and from the experience of others.  You  never know what you might learn.

May 052015
 

Kid in Library

With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs.  This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.

Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who tern into young adults who love to read.  This is one of my highest goals for our kids, to love reading.  My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything.  They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.

In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out.  (Pun intended.)

Voracious reading rewards

Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons.  There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here.  The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.

Reading rewards calendar

Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near.  However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going.  With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.  I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program.  Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens.  Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more.  In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from.  Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.

Read 10

“For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work.” – Bookman’s Programs Page
 

Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona.  While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look.  We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area, and loved it.  The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys  under 4 (we had nephews along with us).  While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books.  We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price.  I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.

There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.

From the fine print on their Reading Journal – “Summer Reading Program Offer entitles Customer to one (1) complimentary book listed in the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal upon return of a completed Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal to a Barnes & Noble store. This Offer is only valid at participating Barnes & Noble retail stores and may be redeemed once per customer from May 19, 2015, through September 7, 2015, at close of business, while supplies last. In order to take advantage of this Offer, Customer must return a completed Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19, 2015, and September 7, 2015, at close of business.”

My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards.  I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.

*affiliate links

 

“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website

We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously.  Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward.  Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.

summer-reading-challenge

“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge

Scholastic’s 2015 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 4 and ends September 4.

Books-a-million’s 2015 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th.  As the image above shows, read 6 books, fill out the form and return to receive a free Theodore Boone Pencil Case and Pencil.  Click here to find a store near you.

Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 and under is for June and July.

“Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log to earn your $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks reading reward for the month …. HPB Bookworm Bucks coupon valid through August 27, 2014 only.” – Half Price Books

While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

Pizza Hut’s Book It! Summer Reading Challenge kicks off June 22, 2015.  Details are forthcoming so check out their website as time approaches.

 

Besides your local library, are there any other reading programs/challenges that you would like to share with others?  Leave a comment and tell us about it.

May 162014
 

children's books

Here are Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them.

Over Easter break, I took The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh book along with us, hoping the finish up the last 4 chapters.  Each evening I found myself dreading the reading of the book. For such a great book, I feel really bad saying such a thing.  It is a good book, one I personally have enjoyed reading.  However, it is one my kids have not gotten into, as much as I have tried.

Monday night after returning from our trip, I dropped the book from our reading routine, leaving only the last two books to read. No only did the whining decrease, we were able to read two or three Bible stories, as they tied together, and still make it to bed relatively close to their actual bed time.

When I first contemplated making that decision I felt guilty, as if I had done something wrong as a mother.  What did I miss instilling in my kids that they would not love a book everyone else raved about?  How would they ever grow up to live a balanced life if they never heard the end of the book?  Then reality hit and I realized what I was doing.  I was trying to make what worked for someone else fit out lives.  Yes, even now I often have to remind myself that what works for someone else will not necessarily work for us.  That is true even if it works for MOST other people MOST of the time.

I am glad I persevered through several chapters, making sure it was not just a new routine they had to become accustomed to experiencing.  It is time though to change books and find one they really will enjoy.  After all, that is the point of the chapter book in our reading together, to learn to love reading.

Here are some book ideas I am going to try next (all of which I have at home currently):

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Indian In The Cupboard

Farmer Boy

The Wind in The Willows

Update: We started going through The Chronicles of Narnia.  These may be a bit advanced for the kids (we are working on the “seeing” the stories in their heads) so we are taking it a few pages at a time and start with a review of what has been happening in the story.

What have been some of your favorite chapter books to begin reading to your kids?

May 092014
 

Read Across American book bag

Here is Part 1, in case you missed it.

After reading some of the shorter (less than 20 pages) books on the list, I was ready to get to some of the larger books.  Looking at our selection at home I found we had a few that fit the bill.  The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh and The Wind in the Willows are two such books.  Perfect.  I would not even have to go the library to get them, worry about fines, or worry about one of the kids tearing a page.  (We have had to replace a few books from the library due to either arguing over a book or a kid turning a page too roughly.)

I started our new reading habit by reading a chapter from The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh, thinking the kids would quickly fall in love with the characters.  I also envisioned them looking forward to this ‘treat’ on the nights when Daddy has to be gone for school.  Reality did not quite reflect my vision.

For starters, the chapters are fairly long and a bit complex.  While our adopted kids’ imaginations are light years ahead of where they were when they were younger, being able to picture the story in their heads is not a strong suite.  It may have to do with their ages, or perhaps it is a skill they need to improve upon.  For whatever reason, this is a struggle, and when a chapter lasts 20 pages it is hard to follow the story if you can not “see” what is happening.

childrens books library sale

As time has gone on, things have not improved.  We have pushed our way through 16 of the 20 chapters, each taking 20-30 minutes to read.  Whenever I mention we are going to read this book, however, I hear groans and pleads to not read it.

At first (okay, until just a chapter ago), I assumed they were just whining to whine.  This has been known to happen daily in our house.  I stood firm and said without a falter in my voice, “We will read this one first, like always, then we will go on to the next one.”  The “next” one being The Beginner’s Bible, as I realized we needed extra time spent on basic Bible stories.

Last week I added in a third book – The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Late Roman Empire.

Side note and unsolicited endorsement: I had read another volume last summer out of curiosity after hearing about it at a workshop I attended.  I had come home from the workshop, looked up more about it, then seemed to see it every time I turned around. From the first book (Volume 4), which I finished in under a week, I learned things I had never heard about in school.  Not only that, but it was presented in such a way as to tie events happening at about the same time, in different parts of the world, together.  You could see how Action A affected Action B and lead to Action C and D taking place.  It was sort of the missing link in my history knowledge.  It was at that point that I decided these were going to be books we would read together, even if only for fun.  They were not dull, dry reading and would be great supplements to whatever the kids were learning elsewhere.

Our current reading looked like this:

  1. eating supper
  2. getting ready for bed
  3. if Daddy is home – watching a movie until 30 minutes before bed time.  If Daddy is not home, playing till 30 minutes before bed time.
  4. 30 minutes before bed time, grabbing a blanket and sitting on the couch.
  5. Mom reads – a chapter from The Complete Tales Of Winnie The Pooh, a story from The Beginner’s Bible, then a section or few paragraphs from The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Late Roman Empire.
  6. When finished, youngest kid(s) go to bed – sing songs, turn on music or audio book, say good night.  Older kid(s) pick out 3 books and wait for Mom to return.
  7. Mom returns to couch, reads books then older kid(s) go to bed, as usually the younger kid(s) are asleep by this point.

As you can see, a lot of this is dependent on Mom.  At this stage it is working out best this way due to my husband having started night classes.  While these classes are only two nights a week, there are usually at least two other nights that have group work or homework that needs to be done.  It is just easier for us all if I am the one in charge of the evening routines.

The down fall with the above routine was that:

  1. the reading was taking too long and the kids were up later than their bed times.
  2. I was losing my voice by the end of all that reading.
  3. the kids just were not enjoying Winning The Pooh.  They sat through it, usually getting into at least part of the story, but for most of it they seemed to be enduring.

Now what? … read Part 3 to find out.

 

Linked up at:

The Shine Blog Hop Thursdays on The Deliberate Mom #blogging

Oct 072013
 

stack of children's books

Reading is a passion I have.  As long as I can remember, I have loved to read.  In high school it was not uncommon for me to read a 400 page book each week.  As I got older, life has become a bit busier and I have been reading less.  I realized this past fall that I hadn’t even read one book the past year.  What happened?  I began to analyze why my reading was declining and started to form a strategy to change it.  Here are the steps I took to finding time, and the desire, to read again:

  • The first step was to just read.  I needed to get back into the habit and what better way than with an old favorite.  I went to my shelves, pulled off a book I had read many time but which I will never tire of.
  • Next, I started paying attention to the ebooks on Amazon, especially the free ones offered.  I had realized that one of the reasons I had stopped reading was the cost of buying books.  It can get expensive quickly if you don’t pay attention.  Another reason I had stopped reading was that it was harder for me to go the the library or book store and browse for books.  The free ebooks on Amazon are special deals, usually, that last for an unknown amount of time.  This means they are constantly changing.  This solution solved two problems, I didn’t have to spend a lot of money out of pocket, for an author I didn’t know if I would like, and I didn’t have to add another trip to my week to get a book.

Things that fly big book ebook

  • As time went on I started finding that I was craving books again.  The problem?  It meant I had to be at the computer.  Solution?  My lovely husband got me an eReader for Christmas last year.  Now I could take my reading where ever I wanted to go.  (I’m starting to wonder if he is second guessing the brilliance of his plan.  He recently commented, “You even bring it to bed.”  My rebuttal, “I don’t get a lot of time otherwise, and no little people bother me here.” 🙂 ) There are several different kinds of readers you can get, the two most popular being the Kindle and the Nook.

A few months and a few hundred books later, I’m sure it is almost that amount, I feel like I have my reading groove back.  I now have such a long “to-be-read” list that I would be okay for the next year or two.  It is a different form of stockpiling you might say.  However, this doesn’t mean I have stopped looking for new books to add to my reading list.  It only means I can now be a bit pickier about what I read.

Recently I have also come upon an aspect of reading that I formally had not explored – rewards (for adults) for reading.

  •  Tyndale Rewards is a program of Tyndale Publishing.  They are the source of many good books.  Signing up is simple, as are earning rewards.  It only took me a few minutes to earn enough rewards for a free book.  If you want to get an even faster start to earning rewards, use this link and you will automatically earn 25 points.

 Read Across American book bag

Just as I find it important for me to read, it is important for my kids to read also.  Or, to be read to in the case of non-readers.  Not only can it be fun (taking you to different places), but you can also learn a lot from others who know more about something than  you do.  This is one reason I love summer – summer reading programs for kids.  There are a few reading programs during the school year focused mainly at homeschooling kids.  Even if  you don’t homeschool, if you start now your kids will be in the habit by next summer and ready to take advantage of the rewards programs at that time.

What was the last book you read?

The post contains affiliate links.

Feb 282013
 

Favorite gardening book of the month:

 

Favorite non-gardening books of the month:

 

Twenty-Five Cent Dinners for Families of Six

Yes, this is an older book.  It was written in the late 1800’s and was actually the author’s second book on the subject.  After writing “Fifteen Cent Dinners for Families of Six” the author found that some readers were a bit more well off but still not wealthy.  These readers were interested in being good at pinching pennies but had a bit more leeway in their budgets.  They could afford a few more indulgences, like coffee and tea with their meals.

I really enjoyed reading this book, not only for some money saving ideas and recipes (though I’ll pass on the brain and ___ pudding), but also for some of the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently reading:

 

Read this month:

Feeding Wild Birds with Garden Plants: 3 (Specialty Garden Series) [Kindle Edition] by Dave Sandersfeld

I so wanted to like this book. However, it only took a few pages to get the feeling that I was missing something.  I even went back and read the brief description of the book and checked the title page to make sure it all lined up.  The format just did not work for me.  There were too many quotes, links to other websites, and the beginning felt more like an advertisement for becoming an environmentist than a book on feeding birds.  I stuck it out hoping it would get better.  

Near the end I finally found what I was looking for – a list of plants and their benefits for birds.  There were several in the list that I hadn’t thought of planting for birds.  Once I thought of them, though, they made sense.  There were also a few that I would shy away from, but I tend to like natives more than non-native plants.  Even if those plants are not invasive.  I’m not a purist, so don’t check the landscaping in my  yard, but natives are my preferences. 

In the end, I’m not sure I would recommend this book if you are wanting a reference book.  It is not a bad read if you are starting out and wondering why anyone would want to feed bird.  Or even if you are just being introduced to the idea.

 

 

 

 

The How to Book on Creating a Beautiful Container Garden: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Container Garden all will Envy / The Planting in Pots System … to Plant in Pots & How to Plant in Pots)

This was a quick read, at least for me.  A lot of the science was stuff I knew but didn’t necessarily know how to apply to containers.  Jonah seemed to cover all the topics well, with recommendations and comparisons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Make and Freeze Recipes (Eat Better For Less Guides)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Hearty Soups from the Stockpot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Tips To Declutter Your Basement: From Cluttered to Clean (Happy House Series)

 

5 Simple Tips To Declutter Your Basement: From Cluttered to Clean (Happy House Series) [Kindle Edition]

This is more of a booklet than a full fledged book of 100+ pages.  In other words, it took me about 30 minutes to read through it, not several days.  The tips reminded me a lot of tips I’ve read elsewhere, just used in reference to your basement.  I liked the first question asked, “Exactly what do you want to accomplish?”  Basements are as varied as the people who own them.  They are used for different things, and even that can change over time. Knowing where you want to end up will help you start heading in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Organization Made Easy: Creative Kitchen Storage and Pantry Storage Solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready or Not (Aggie's Inheritance)

 

Ready or Not (Aggie’s Inheritance) by Chautona Havig

This was a reread from last month.  I enjoyed going through it again as I was able to pick up on some details I missed the first time.  I also realized that I laughed at the same funny moments.  Am I really that predictable?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Keeps (Aggie's Inheritance)

 

For Keeps (Aggie’s Inheritance) by Chautona Havig

As with the first book in this series, this was a reread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here We Come (Aggie’s Inheritance) [Kindle Edition] by Chautona Havig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen for the Donkey Bells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brother Enemy (Promise of Zion #4)

Jan 292013
 

 

Part of my Yearly Goals for 2013 included “Encouraging Learning”.  Our ages at home currently include preschoolers.  They are sponges when it comes to learning things, though they don’t always grasp difficult concepts.  One way I hope to accomplish this goal is by reading aloud 8 books per month to the kids.  (They look at or read additional books on their own, both from home and from ones they find at the library.)

To achieve this part of the goal I first created reading lists.  This is one of the things in life that you don’t need to spend a huge amount of time on.  A simple search resulted in places where people have already done the searching for me.  You may want to determine what sort of reading lists you want, which would also help define your list.  I chose to use two lists to combined to make our reading list.

The first was from Ambleside Online.  They have recommended reading lists for a variety of different years.  As this is a homeschooling site, they go by years rather than ages.

The second was a list that Simply Charlotte Mason had put together.  Their list is arranged by ages. (On a personal note, this decision was made after reading a few frivolous books.  I got tired of reading them over and over and feeling like I was wasting my brain cells.  The kids also wouldn’t listen to the whole story before getting bored.)

You might also choose Newbery Medal winners, or best sellers, or a theme.  There is no “right” way to choose books to read, so use what works for you.

The reading lists were combined by ages.  Next I divided each list into groups of books.  This way I have the 8 books already chosen, by selecting the appropriate number of groups.  Sometimes I may select more from one list than another, especially if I come across a series of books I just don’t care for.  This has already happened and resulted in us skipping about three books on the one list.  We have also already read some of the books on the list, so we skip over those.

Last week, while requesting a few of these books from our library’s network of libraries system, I saw that I could schedule requests to go in at future dates.  This meant I could request book for April, for example, but the requests would not be submitted till the date I entered.  My whole year just got easier for this goal.  I entered all the books I wanted to read.  The request dates were then set so that about 8 were requested for every month, or 4 for every two weeks.  I know some books won’t be available exactly when we want them, so some months I may have 10 books to read or 5 books.  However, overall it should even out.

 

How are your goals for the year going?  What strides have you made in accomplishing one of them?

Nov 282012
 

I have tried to make a point of reading more.  In my younger days (meaning between when I began reading and high school graduation) I used to devour books.  One a week that was about 400 pages was completed easily.  As time went on other things pulled me away.  I tried to read from my own stash, and sometimes something would catch my attention, or from the library.  However, time just never seemed to be there.  Finally I told myself that surely I can read two books a month.  I did not place a minimum on the number of pages.  The point was to get back into reading and get a book in front of me.

That was about the time I discovered the joys of ebooks.  What made them even better was the fact that I could find free ones on Amazon and a few other places around the blog.  As gardening related ones came to my attention I have tried to share them on here so others might potentially see something they would enjoy or could learn from.  I now have so many ebooks in my (free) Kindle reader that I’m not sure if I could read them all.  Perhaps if I was sick in bed with the flu for a week.  However, that doesn’t sound like fun.  No matter how many books I would get to read.

This month I started to see the results from just trying to read anything, not matter how quick, each day.  Below are the books I have read this month.  Some were ebooks and other were physical books.

Promise Breaker (Promise of Zion)

Promise Breaker (Promise of Zion)

This is Book 1 in a series of 6.  It was a fairly easy read, following the lives of two young people shortly after World War II.  One youngster is a Jewish boy and the other a British girl.  I enjoyed the action and motion of the book.  There were no parts that came across as dull or dragging.

The story was pretty predictable, and the ending was abrupt.  It seems as if it would be a good book for a preteen, rather than a 2nd grader, as there are some issues being dealt with that I may not want a younger audience to think about just yet.  Paperbackswap has the Reading Level marked as ages 4-8.  Perhaps this age would enjoy the story more and not really comprehend the larger realization of what is happening.

There were several details of this time era that I had not known about.  From that standpoint I really enjoyed the book, learning something new about the time which no other book had covered.  I really do enjoy historical fiction as it takes you back to the time period and gives you a glimpse of what life would have been like.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and perhaps will come to like the series as a whole better than I did Book 1.  After all the good reviews, I was surprised that I didn’t just fall head over heels for this book.  Perhaps I was expecting too much.

 This was a nice distraction that would be read one page at a time and put down as other things pulled me away or required my attention.

Castaway Kid (Focus on the Family Books)

Great book.  Cried almost all the way through it.  Can’t recommend it enough.

I really don’t know what to say beyond the above.  Oh, and when I say cried, I’m not talking a little tear falling down by page 60.  I had to stop several times, though it was hard to put down the book because the story flowed so well, and was glad my husband didn’t walk in to see me.

There were very few places where the story seemed to stand still.  Though it was written in a sort of matter of fact way, Mitchell did very good of selecting the words he used to make the most out of each.  I appreciated the concise feel it gave in what could have been a very long book.

Perhaps your view of the book will be different.  I think it all really depends on where we come from and our past experiences.

Since the story covers from the time he was 3 years old till adulthood, and he talks about experiences from when he was younger, it really made me stop to think.  When I interact with kids today, how much will they remember?  Am the way I’m treating them setting them up to become great young adults?

I loved the description of the Children’s Home, both good and bad parts.  He really seemed to give a sense of how reality was.  However, I didn’t get the same feeling towards the end of the book.  The part about meeting his wife was a bit confusing.  I never could get a good sense of timing which made it all the more difficult to follow.  The end part was probably my least favorite and the only place I considered skipping ahead.

After reading this there is one thought I came away with, “I’m glad things don’t work like that in the States anymore.”  At least, not in foster care.  Sure, things are never perfect, but they are better.

$1,000 Per Month In Your Spare Time - 5 Legitimate Ways That You Can Make an Extra $12,000 Per Year Online

$1,000 Per Month In Your Spare Time – 5 Legitimate Ways That You Can Make an Extra $12,000 Per Year Online

There are two things that first caught my attentions with this book.  The two things, both big claims, that made me click on it.  First, $1,000 is a lot of money.  He isn’t talking about $50 or $100, like some other books I’ve seen.  Also he only talks about 5 things.  “Really?  Just 5?”  That right there made me think that he wasn’t just going to throw out ideas, but actually talk about some legitimate ways you could do this.

At the end of the book I will have to say he did not disappoint.  None of the ways were glamerous, sit on the couch and watch soap opera type of ways.  Even he said in the beginning that you have to actually put some work and time into these 5 things if you want to see results.  Not all the items were equal in the amount of time they would take, but all do require work to see results.

I have read several books along this line of thinking, and posted about a few on this blog.  It isn’t that I am trying to get rich quick; that is one thing I know doesn’t just happen.  My fear is that you may take me reading books along these lines to think such a thing.  I’m here to reassure you it isn’t.  Books of different genres are always interesting to read as you never know what you  might learn.  Books in this genre also tend to be quick books to read.  Sometimes that is just the thing I’m looking for.  And you never know, perhaps one of the ideas will work for you … or me.

What did you read this month?  Find anything that grabbed your attention and wouldn’t let go?  Anything you found yourself saying up “just 10 more minutes” to read?