Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Book List - October 2014


This month my reading will investigate the themes of sleep, (natural) health remedies, homemade beauty products and dental care. I'll continue to divvy up my reading by time of day, with Sundays focusing different books from the rest of the week. My evening reading will switch between the lighter reads and the self-educating e-books/books I've amassed. I don't intend that all my choices will be read cover-to-cover but rather this is a gathering of all the resources I have at my disposal and this reading plan may well continue into November or not...

"Morning Time"

This is completed with James and will also include memory verses and other rote learning such as months of the year, the alphabet etc.

MT (Monday-Saturday)
  • The Book of Jonah
Reading the Bible book aloud, first a chapter at a time, then reading back through it in sections that correspond to our "New Bible Commentary" below and summarising/discussing the Scripture readings with James. Then reading back through it again in sections that correspond to "Matthew Henry's Commentary." Once completed we'll move through other "shorter" Bible books (e.g. Joel, Amos, Micah, Nahum).
  • New Bible Commentary (HB, Consulting Editors: D A Carson, R T France, J A Motyer and G A Wenham)
I realised that I hadn't listed our Bible commentary in previous months! I'll read through the commentary to accompany Jonah but silently rather than aloud as I had been doing
  • Matthew Henry's Commentary (HB, Edited by Rev. Leslie F. Church)
I've added a second commentary this month, which again I'll read to myself not aloud, as I'm focusing on much shorter, more easily covered books. I'll be interested to see which commentary I prefer.
  • Little Visits for Toddlers and Little Visits with Jesus (both PB, Mary Manz Simon)
These short devotions work much like a perpetual calendar and we should manage to work through both together as even together they don't contain a full month's worth of daily devotions. These are age-appropriate and I'm hoping will allow James to take in more than he has done from the pretty-wordy commentary.
  • Westminster Shorter Catechism
James and I'll continue working through the questions and answers (one a week) from number four on, while I continue my review of the first 25 questions and answers (and reading through their Scripture proofs using We'll also help ourselves with our memorisation by using this wonderful set of CDs
  • Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism (PB, Starr Meade)
Six days a week of short devotionals about each Q&A of the WSC (one a week)

MT (Sunday)
  • The Book of Proverbs
A chapter or a section of a chapter read-aloud and discussed
  • Prayer Handbook 2014/15
We'll continue to pray for our church (and church family) using this as a starting point

Independent Reading Time (between lunch and naptime)
  • James
Two/three different picture books each day and one Winnie-the-Pooh/Dr Seuss book (see below)
  • Mummy (Mon-Sat) Kisses from Katie (HB, Katie Davis)
  • Mummy (Sun) Beyond the Sling (HB, Mayim Bialik) and The Happiness Project (PB, Gretchen Rubin)
My weekday choice is another Christian autobiography, about the founding of Amazima, a Ugandan ministry and charity, while my Sunday choices are: a secular (Jewish perspective) gentle attachment parenting book and a philosophical autobiographical tale of choosing to be intentional and build better habits/follow new resolutions in order to increase personal happiness (again secular but somewhat Catholic-perspective) both of which I've chosen to read in smaller increments.

Naptime Reading/Learning for Mummy (Monday-Saturday)
  • Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams (PB, Paul Martin)
I think this might be a bit intellectual of this sleep-deprived insomniac Mama but hopefully it'll be enlightening too
  • Honoring the Rhythm of Rest (purchased e-book, Daniele Evans)
A devotional of sorts looking at focusing on God to help you through a difficult time or time of burnout
  • How to Sleep Well: Relief and Remedies to Ease Sleep Problems (free e-book, Infinite Ideas)
Focusing in on what makes for good sleep and implementing suggestions, I may well dip in and out of this title
  • As a further part of my month-long commitment to sleep, I'll be choosing to sleep or at least have an eyes-closed silent rest for an hour while James naps following my reading

Read-alouds (during nursing)
  • Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know (free e-book, Edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie)
I continue to read-aloud to James during nursing (after nap and before bedtime stories) and we'll continue our way through Fairytales before continuing on to Mother Carey's Chickens (if we ever finish this mammoth tome).
  • Mother Carey's Chickens (free e-book, Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin)
A classic American children's novel about the life of a family following the death of their father and near destitution, it is filled with much love, respect, community, thrift and character-building morals and they are a wonderful picture of joyous family life, and hospitality.

Storytime (post-nap)
I'll read James' independent reading books to him directly after nap, we've also been reading through one book a day from either his Winnie-the-Pooh mini library or his Dr Seuss mini-library. He's got enough stamina for them (just about) and we'll continue this across October (and beyond)

Bedtime Stories
Daddy takes charge of bedtime stories unless he's working and they involve reading through James' (current) children's Bible and about three picture books, depending on time

Lighter Evening Reading (Mon-Sat)
  • Something Other Than God (HB, Jennifer Fulwiller)
Finishing off the last few chapters of this excellent autobiographical account of conversion from atheism to Christianity (Roman Catholic)
  • ConDeceived (free e-book, Cindy Dyer)
Available here, this e-book tackles the subject of what I always refer to as "God family planning" and giving your fertility over to the Creator who gave it to you. I only have about a fifth of this book and to go and have found it a very good Biblically-based book thus far.
  • From Cube to Farm: Surviving and Thriving as a Stay-at-Home Mom (purchased e-book, Heather Bryant)
The autobiographical tale of one woman's move from a corporate lifestyle in the technology sector to a SAHM and cattle rancher.
  • The Giver (First of four stories in one volume, HB, Lois Lowry)
The tale of Jonah, who lives in a so-called utopia where all is not as it seems
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden (purchased e-book, Jonas Jonasson)
The story of an illiterate girl from apartheid South Africa and her life as it winds around major (recent) historical events and world leaders. A fascinating way to overview the history of a particular year with the everyday man
  • Allerednic: A Regency Cinderella Tale in Reverse (purchased e-book, Chautona Havig)
I'm going on the sub-title for the contents of this one. I've really enjoyed the other titles I've read by Havig so far (Thirty days hath..., Advent, the Aggie's inheritance series) and I'm looking forward to a little "old-fashioned" romance.

Self-educating Evening Reading (Mon-Sat)
Recipes/Homemaking/Green Living
  • The Busy Mom's Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook (free-at-the-time e-book, Carrie Willard)
Although James and I don't often have to rush off to morning activities, the occasional morning outing makes a already prepared breakfast a must for this sleepy-headed Mama and the oncoming cold weather make a hot breakfast that much more appetising. Over the last couple of months we have developed a family breakfast routine on Sundays which will need to be much earlier with the approach of a third birthday and starting to attend junior Sunday school (before church) Altogether I hope this book will greatly add to my repertoire of eggs (four different ways), slow-cooker apple barley hot cereal (hat-tip to The Head Girl @ The Common Room) and porridge (oatmeal).
  • Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time (purchased e-book, Stephanie Langford)
This is described as "a 52-week journey of baby steps, to help move towards more natural, nutritious and sustainable living." I want to read all the way through this and put some actions onto the calendar, but I know this won't be a year-long project for me. After only a cursory glance, there a few are things I would never consider (e.g. making my own Ketchup), whilst others are things I already do (e.g. using reusable bags). This should provide plenty of food for thought.
  • Accidentally Green: How and Why One Family Began Making Healthy Changes That Honour God and Happen to Help the Environment (purchased e-book, Hilary Kimes Bernstein)
The autobiographical story of one family's move from "normal" to "accidentally green" one small change at a time
  • Go Green! Shortcuts to a Healthier World (free e-book, Infinite Ideas)
Tips to lessen your impact on the world
  • Going Green: A Christian Guide (PB, Catherine von Ruhland)
From the blurb, "at last a no-nonsense guide on how to live as a green Christian today."
  • How to Save the Planet: The Hands-on Guide to Becoming an Eco-superstar (PB, Barbara Taylor)
From the blurb, "a first-aid manual for planet Earth."
I'll be reading all these green living books with a pinch of salt (especially the older volumes) as the green conspiracy theorists have yet to explain the twenty-year pause in their dire analysis of what would happen to our beloved planet. I still think it's important ti use our resources wisely though :)
Natural Remedies/Beauty Products
  • The Curative Kitchen: Gratify Your Taste Buds and Revitalise Your Body with Superior Super Foods, Herbs, Spices and Natural Remedies (purchase e-book, Susan Smith Jones)
  • Folk Medicine: The Honey and Cider-Vinegar Way to Health, A Doctor's Bagful of Health Secrets, This is the Famous Book that has Swept Britain and America, 2'6, 1958 (PB, D C Jarvis, M.D.)
  • Herbal Nurturing: A Family Healing and Learning Guide (purchased e-book, Michele Augur)
  • Herbal Remedies A-Z: Your Complete Guide to Natural Health and Beauty (free e-book, Infinite Ideas)
  • Herbal Remedies for Ailments A to Z: 190+ Natural Remedies for 50 Common Ailments (free e-book, Beau Norton)
  • Herbal Remedies for Children During Cold & Flu Season (purchased e-book, Rosalee de la ForĂȘt)
  • The Lazy Girl's Guide to Good Health (PB, Anita Naik)
  • Living Medicine: The Healing Properties of Plants, How to Prepare and Use Plants with Scientifically Proven Properties (HB, Mannfried Pahlow)
  • Mother's Little Herbal Helper and Home Remedies (purchased e-book, Natalie Vickery)
  • 1001 Little Health Miracles: Simple Solutions that Provide Big Benefits (PB, Esme Floyd)
  • 2002 Health & Beauty Planner (PB, InStyle)
  • Body Butters for Beginners: Proven Secrets to Making All Natural Body Butters for Rejuvenating & Hydrating Your Skin (free e-book, Lindsey P.)
  • 50 Best Beauty Recipes for Skin (free e-book, Kate Hilton)
  • Homemade Body Scrub Recipes: Amazing Natural Body Scrub Recipes That Will Make You Look and Feel Great (free e-book, Anonymous)
  • Homemade Body Scrubs & Masks for Beginners: 50 Proven All Natural, Easy Recipes for Body Scrubs & Facial Masks to Exfoliate, Nourish & Care for Your Skin (free e-book, Lindsey P.)
  • Homemade Body Scrubs & Masks for Beginners: Over 50 Simple & Natural Recipes For Body & Facial Masks to Exfoliate and Nourish Your Skin Today! (free e-book, Amy Barnett)
  • Make Your Own Organic Scrubs and Masks: An Everyday Guide to Simple Homemade Beauty Products (free e-book, Fiona Summers)
  • My Buttered Life - Baby Edition: Recipes Using Primary Butters and Oils to Feed the Skin (purchased e-book, Renee Harris)
  • Natural Beauty Recipes: Wellness Mama Guide (e-book,
  • Organic Lotion Recipes for Beginners: How to Create Homemade Organic Lotions for Beauty, Nourishment, and Skin Healing (free e-book, Marlene Ray)
  • Quick & Easy Homemade Body Butters: Recipes for Natural, Healthy, Additive-free and Simple to Make Body Butters (free e-book, Dogwood Apps)
  • Simple Scrubs to Make and Give (free e-book, Stacy Karen)
  • Soap Making for Beginners: A Guide to Making Natural Homemade Soaps Grom Scratch. includes Recipes and Step By Step Processes for Making Soap (free e-book, Lindsey P.)
I suspect a lot of these recipes, lotions and potions won't appeal to me/our family but I want to improve my/our knowledge of natural healing and alternatives to the over-the-counter/prescription medicines on which we too often rely as well as moving away from chemical laden creams. Knowing I have things on hand to treat symptoms rather than having to always visit a doctor/pharmacy is a definite plus too.

Dental Health Care
  • Questions to Ask Your Dentist (purchased e-book, OraWellness LLC)
  • Tips and Tricks to Remineralise and Repair Your Cavities Now (purchased e-book, Ramiel Nagel)
My dental health is awful despite regular brushing and dentist visits, anything that could improve my teeth (and reduce the cost of treatment) is definitely a plus

Short-burst Evening Reads (Sundays)
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (free e-book, Benjamin Franklin)
By all accounts a fascinating man and a man of good habits and resolutions (which he kept to), I suspect this will be a more intellectual read so I'll aim for a slow and steady approach toward it
  • Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking (free sample only e-book, Jerry Wyckoff and Barbara C. Unell)
I'll be interested to see the authors' approach and whether or not this would be worth purchasing. I don't have a problem with smacking but it's certainly not the only option and I shout way too much (definitely not a strength!).
  • The Happiness Project (PB, Gretchen Rubin)
See independent reading for Sunday, above
  • Homeschooling Day By Day: A Thriving Guide for Mothers (e-book, Kirsty Howard - Editor)
A chapter or so and associated Scriptures
  • The Visit (HB, Adrian Plass)
From the flyleaf, "what on earth would happen if Jesus Himself arrived, in the flesh, to attend Sunday service at an average High Street church?"

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The September 2014 Book Review

Running a little late on my posting but here's how September's reading list panned out

"Morning Time" with James (Monday-Saturday)
- The Book of Romans
--- Woohoo! We managed to work our way through the remainder of Romans with the commentary. October will begin a whole new book (see tomorrow's post) and a decision to read the Bible aloud but the commentary to myself and instead work through devotionals for kids with James.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism and Training Hearts, Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism (PB, Starr Meade)
--- We worked through the devotions for the first three questions and answers (James has the first three memorised and is almost there with the fourth) and took an extra week to practise reciting the fourth Q&A, beginning the devotions for it at the beginning of this week. James has learnt them so quickly and I pray they will be useful to him as he grows.

Sunday Morning/Evening with James
- The Book of Proverbs
--- This was much less consistent than I would like

Independent Reading Time (between lunch and naptime)
- James
--- There are days this doesn't happen but James enjoys it so much that it is better to have a minute of "quiet reading time" than to try to skip it. We worked our way through the "baby books" toward the end of the month as I've sought to further organise J's books. After a last reading the plan was to set these aside for possible siblings but although I would consider that J has outgrown these, he wouldn't agree ;) so we'll keep them to hand for a while yet
- Mummy
--- (Mon-Sat) Something Other Than God (HB, Jennifer Fulwiler)
As this book progressed I got more and more hooked and I read it a lot the last few evenings of the month and will finish it off first thing in October. Jen's style is not the norm and not what I had expected having been a long-time reader of her blog but her clarity of recall and the description of her journey, pulled in by God to reluctant faith is most fascinating especially because of its intellectual elements and as God pulls her to Him, she pulls you further into her story. I even underlined some passages! Unheard of for me to mark a book - gasp!
--- (Sun) Beyond the Sling (HB, Mayim Bialik)
I still haven't gotten into this title as much as I expected to but by reading it in very small increments I feel I'm getting the best of it without the reading of it feeling like work or an "ought to" task.

Read-alouds (during nursing)
- Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know (free e-book, Edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie)
--- Wow I did not realise how long this book was, Aladdin alone took us hours to read! I think in total the kindle reckoned it would take me about ten hours to read this one, so we're still working through it - phew! Definitely a mixed bag of stories, much darker and containing harder vocabulary than any modern retellings but also containing some less well known tales, many new to me. We're not quite half-way through.

Naptime (Monday-Saturday)
- Westminster Shorter Catechism
--- I started so well with my review but fell out of the habit and need to re-commit myself to this goal over October
- Breastfeeding Matters (La Leche League UK magazine)
--- I've continued through my last two magazines and have enjoyed reading these as we approach the end of our breastfeeding journey

Storytime (post-nap)
- James really enjoyed the gentle wake-up of stories after his nap when time/circumstances/behaviour allowed.

Bedtime Stories continued to be mostly with Daddy

Mummy's Evening Reading (Monday-Saturday, except Wednesdays)
- The Valley of Heaven and Hell: Cycling in the Shadow of Marie Antoinette (free at the time e-book, Susie Kelly)
--- This one finished off nicely with the finale of the couple's epic cycling holiday, the author really was a bit of a grump but very well informed about French history and gave an interesting perspective on the lives of the fated first couple of France.
- Dying to Run (purchased e-book, Cami Checketts)
--- Short sequel to Dead Running with much less running but lots of violence and death and trafficking and kissing. A thoughtful read in that it made you confront the issue of human trafficking and the ethics/morals of fighting the slavers but also a light read in terms of romance and sarcasm. I think I might go for it and buy the third and final installment, which randomly is a paperback rather than an e-book like the first two.
- Thirty Days Hath... (e-book, Chautona Havig)
--- A year of month-long in-house (chaperoned) dates for Adric set-up by his sister and her pastor husband. A good read for an in-depth look at different dating/courtship experiences. The assignments the "dating" couple are given by the pastor brother-in-law contain very good topics for discussion for a courting couple. An interesting resource on top of a good Christian romance read with a twist. I especially liked "witnessing" the relationships between Adric and his sister and brother-in-law as well as the way most of the characters lived out their faith.
- I didn't get through as many books this month at all.

Mummy's Evening Reading (Wednesdays/Sundays)
- Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother (e-book, Joyce Swann)
--- I got rather sucked into this one and ended up finishing it. Swann rounded off the story of her family with an update as to their adult lives and although I could never be similar in my approach to home education (very structured and formal with strict hours) it was really educational for me to hear another perspective of homeschooling told in such a personal way. The "story" of her family and their trials and tribulations and personal faith and prayer testimonies were a wonderful addition. I've had her daughter's autobiography concerning her education on my amazon wishlist for a while and I look forward to reading the other side of the story in the near-future.
- 100 LB Loser (purchased e-book, Jessica Heights)
--- I finished this a little early, it was a fairly basic how-to/how-I-did-it weight-loss book but it's always fun to read someone else's story and was helpful as I have put myself back on a weight-loss journey (finally). I'm currently down 10 pounds and whilst I'd love to be down more weight already, a decade (or more) of continual weight gain doesn't fall off overnight unless you go on "biggest loser" which is so not happening (especially because I'm no longer big enough-yay) or put in a lot more effort than I currently am (*gulp* must try harder).
- ConDeceived (free e-book, Cindy Dyer)
--- Cindy did warn about the formatting and it is a pain occasionally, because I don't want to lose the end of a sentence, because I like how she writes and I wanted to read it all. Cindy explains it all (a giving over of your fertility to God) so well and I wish I had that gift to explain my position to others. A great read in a fairly conversational style. I've about a fifth of it left to read.
- 50 Veteran Homeschoolers Share... Things We Wished We'd Known (PB, Edited by Bill & Diana Waring)
--- I just have not felt compelled to read this at all this month so I'm setting it aside until the new year.
- The Happiness Project (PB, Gretchen Rubin)
--- Wow, despite my having read thrugh much of the archives of her website, there is so much in this book. I've had to read through it more slowly than I anticipated as I've made so many notes. So I'll continue through this one for the next few months, in smaller sections.
- Why Love Matters (PB, Sue Gerhardt)
--- I couldn't get into this at first and once I had still couldn't read it straight through so I've dipped in and out and found it rather interesting, if not quite in the way the author fully intended. I think this book could lead a parent into more anxiety over their parenting decisions, past sins or their child's future development but I took away the message that you should be emotionally available to your children, gentle and approachable without forgoing discipline - I doubt this was the author's planned takeaway at all. I feel I've really read enough of this title so I'll return it to the lending library and move on - life is too short to waste my time on books that don't build me up, or break me down in order to build me up.
- Homeschooling Day By Day: A Thriving Guide for Mothers (e-book, Kirsty Howard - Editor)
--- I've only read two/three chapters of this one across September but I think I'll continue with this across the coming months.

All in all I don't think I read as much this month, but this is accounted for as I did a lot more work on the house and watched a good few (very interesting and diverse) documentaries (about Space Archaelogy and Egyptology, the daughters of the last Tsar, the history of anatomy, a couple about inventions etcetera). I look forward to the month ahead and a whole new reading plan. Setting aside different portions of the day for different books/subjects worked really well for me and I think only having one day - Sunday - set aside as a day for the books I want to read in shorter bursts (e.g. beyond the Sling) will be how I proceed. It's been a really good experience for me being more intentional about my reading and has decidedly upped my happiness overall. It hasn't reduced my "to be read" pile at all though - rather it has grown - as one title read has led to more suggestions to be read in the future or sequels or prequels or others by the same author :) It's a nice problem to have.

October's Reading List to follow...