Thursday, January 18, 2018

Book Basket

Confession: I rarely read my books in the same place. 

Fact: John Piper says that one way to have consistent devotions is to pick a place and time and be consistent. 

Fact: I believe that is true and would work wonders, but not for me in this stage of life. 

Instead, I tote my pile of books from room to room. There is usually a pile at the bottom of the stairs just in case the boys are playing nicely together and I can grab a few minutes of reading while they are busy. Why the stairs? Because it is behind a gate and the boys can't knock them over and I will remember to take them back upstairs at night. There is a pile on my nightstand. It sometimes tips over.  I have a whole bookshelf next to my bed of half started books and books to read. My library book basket is at the end of my bed. 

Chaotic? Yes. Overwhelming. A bit. 

I just finished a book about learning styles and personalities. And most of my learning styles mean that I like organized spaces and quiet to study. They say I hate clutter and don't store stuff in stacks... Ha ha ha. Ask my siblings or Jared about that.

I like order. I do. But is doesn't seem to be well applied in much of my living space (other than my kitchen, which is almost organized and perfectly efficient).  I like clean. But I'd rather spend time reading or learning or quilting or playing with the boys than cleaning.

Anyhow. I go tired of toting my stack of books around without a rhyme or reason.  So I organized them a bit better today. Here are all my books that I use at devotion time. Some every day, some some days, some once a week or every other week for Bible study. 

Now if I don't have time in the morning to finish before the boys wake up, I can stick this little basket in any room that I am in and have everything I need. And it looks good on the top of the bookshelf next to my bed (better then a leaning stack of books) and clears up my nightstand. Win win. 

I threw some notecards and pens in too, in case I find the urge to write to someone. I don't have to rummage around finding all the things I need. I left the address book and stamps on my desk because I couldn't put too many things in here. :) 

I can also throw in a library book or two if I want to read it after I finish these. Then they are all in the same spot. 

I love it.

Oh, and I just finished reading the 7th book for the year (I have the posts staggered one a week in case I lose steam mid-year). This giving up Facebook and Instagram is paying off. And having a basket of attractive books to read also helps. And a library basket full of interesting topics to delve into... 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cold days

It has been so cold recently. We've been doing a lot of reading and visiting friends and games inside. The boys are playing memory in the picture. Thankfully, the library is not busy when it is cold and we are keeping the library basket well stocked. 

We did venture out to SAMs club to restock the ESL snacks. It is wonderful to have little helpers. They are getting quite good at unloading and putting away the  groceries. 

The boys seem to take joy in helping out and being given tasks to accomplish. Martin has started picking up his toys and vacuuming the living room several times a week. He takes after his Dad and not his Mom. The older two collect the trash, put away the silverware and lower cupboard dishes, and help sort clothes. They love to bake and cook with me. Measuring stuff and counting items is such an easy way to encorporate math into every day living. Even the baby likes to carry in grocery bags (the light ones, like chips and bread that sometimes get smashed, but it is worth it) and help pull clothes out of the dryer. 

They are a fun bunch. I am so thankful for them. And as long as they show interest in helping out I am going to foster that. 

But as an aside, if you have any resources for working with a child who stares right through you when you talk, I am looking for a good book or two with ideas to help him listen and also to encourage him to be inquisitive. Middle children are a bit of a mystery to me. So all parenting book ideas welcomed or tips. :) 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2018 Book 2

Here is another book that I started in 2017 and finished in 2018.  I used this for my devotions in November and December. It has 52 short essays about each of the Lord's Days in the Heidelberg Catechism. 

I am not a huge Kevin DeYoung fan. *Gasp.* What kind of young-reformed-person am I?  I have read two other books by DeYoung and I haven't been that impressed.  He seems like more of a blog writer to me. BUT, I did like this one. 

The sections on the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer are great. This book will be a wonderful resource to use with my children when they are older.  I look forward to reading it with them. 

Pages: 247

Friday, January 12, 2018

Deconstructed quilt

I borrowed this quilting book from the library and the intro page has a picture of this quilt. Great! Right? 

Then I flip through the entire book and can't find it. It isn't included in the book. What?!? 

I google her name and find her blog and see that the quilt is in her shop for $10. I like it, but not that much. Plus, it seems pretty easy to deconstruct. So, doodled it  up on the back of this receipt. Do you like my algebra to figure out the block and boarder size? Heh. 

Maybe I will try to make it soon... There are a few other designs in her book that seem a bit easier and faster. I am itching to quilt again. 

A long quilt

Our garage door was letting in so much cold air.  

Why you ask? 
Just because there is A CAT DOOR cut in the bottom of it.
And because there is a gap all the way around it (see picture below).
And because there is a two inch gap at the top. 

So, our solution, when we first moved in, was to tape some cardboard over the cat door.
That isn't really going to stop any of the cold air.

We don't really have the money to buy an new door right now, but this thing was making the fireplace room and kitchen so cold.

Enter the long and skinny quilt!
These sheets have been sitting around my sewing room since 2009, when I found them on Christmas clearance. They have been waiting to be a back to a flannel quilt or two.

I chopped up the bottom sheets (the one with the elastic) and pieced them together to be about the door size.  It took me about a week to piece the flannel together, quilt it, and sew the binding on. It isn't perfectly square, but it is warm.

Jared made me the quilt hanger from two pieces of spare wood.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Books. Books. Books.

Thanks to NPR, Al Mohler, The Economist, and the new material rack at the library. I also put ten books on hold from their suggestions. 

Books I'm most excited about:
Radium Girls

We'll see if any of them make the list of books read this year...

2018 Book 1

This is the first book that I finished for the year. To be fair, I started this the last week of December. But I finished it this year!

It is cool that the front cover looks like a blueprint.  

Sinclair Ferguson is way smarter than I will ever be. And thus, I need to read this book about three times to fully understand it. I like his writing. I like the ideas. There are a lot of good thoughts in this book. The front was slow going (maybe I was just getting used to his style of writing). I ended up enjoying the middle section.
I really appreciated Chapter 4 on baptism. It gave me a better understanding of baptism then I have ever had. It made me appreciate it in a new way. 

I loved the appendix on the fourth commandment. 

I look forward to rereading this one, more slowly, in about 3-5 years. 

Pages: 277

Monday, January 08, 2018

Pictures on the Stairs

Jared asked what project I wanted him to work on this weekend. 

I can paint everything. I can build some things. I can organize. But I cannot figure out how to hang pictures and make them look half as nice as he does. (And he picks better colors and patterns than I do too). We are a good team. 

So he put them up. 
And they looks amazing. 
And I love them. 
And I am happy that my frames are not stacked in a corner of a room gathering more dust and that I get to see my family and friends on my trips up the stairs. 

The light at the top of the stairs is awful. But the wall to the right and the ceiling are that awful bleh-tan. So that is also why they look so gross. 

Note the blue walls and white trim!!!  I finished the trim a few weeks ago. Slowly I am eradicating the bleh-tan from my house. The downstairs is almost completely cleansed. 

And I've finished three books. They are sitting in my draft folder until I get to a real computer and keyboard. 

Did you work on any projects this weekend in the snow storm? Did you have snow? 

Friday, January 05, 2018

It snowed. It is too cold to play in it.

Look at all that snow!!

They lasted a few minutes out there. 

He lasted longer. 

But it is really too deep and powdery to sled in. They tried sledding down our hill, but only Martin made it to the bottom. Maybe if it melts a bit. But the next three days are in the teens and single digits.  So, I don't see that happening. 

It was so windy that the snow drifted. We estimate between 8"-10" of snow. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Something Good?

A new blog series! 

Since I keep forgetting to update my list of books that I read, I've decided to just post them as I finish them. Maybe I will make a few comments about each one. Maybe just a picture. 

And I'll comment about books that I start and don't finish and ones that I only read parts of (often I have to do that for a Bible study or Sunday school class). If I read over half the book, I'll be counting it towards my reading total.  But over the last year I've realized that life is too short to read bad books (note that this doesn't mean hard books - hard books are ones that I just read really slowly). 

I'll try to post page numbers too. I'd like to see how many actual pages I read each year. 

This is the start of year four of reading straight through the Bible (I started in November and hope to be done by June again). I'm super excited to say that I'm looking forward to rereading my favorite passages (hello, old friends) and gaining new insight into not-as-favorite sections. I'm reading a commentary on Matthew (by David Platt) and I spent much of the fall reading the minor prophets on repeat. And I have to say, I'm kind of loving the minor prophets right now. I've always skimmed over them before, but I'm looking forward to seeing them again. There is so much in there of God's mercy and love for his people. 

And I want to read more commentaries. So, if you have any suggestions, please send them my way (comments very welcome!!). I am sort of leaning towards the Hebrews commentary by Al Mohler since it topped Desiring God's books of the year for 2017. But I'd love to do a minor prophets or several. So anything. Comment away!! 

Happy snow day.