Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Do You...Keep Track of Library Books?

How do you keep your library books separate from your other books?

Our family of seven has five library cards. Each library card is allowed a maximum of fifty items which means the potential for many, many books to enter our home.  How in the world do we keep track of it all and avoid the dreaded library fines? 

We have set places for library items that the entire household is aware of.  We've had this system for so long that it is second nature and even the little ones do not have to be reminded to return items to their places when they are done looking. 

This is what works for our family's library books:
  • picture books go in a large basket in the living room
  • school books are stacked on a shelf in the dining (school) room
  • the older kids' chapter books go on a shelf in the living room 
  • books ready to be returned are placed in a large tote bag in the coat closet

How do you keep track of your library books (and avoid fines!)?   Let us know in the comments.

Monday, January 28, 2013

a Reading Buffet

A gentle rain melted much of the snow in our yard this morning.  The snow plow finally came and cleared our road this afternoon (of course, not until after I made a slippery trek to the grocery store).  Then the sun peeped out so Brian and I went for our first run in days. 

Still...still, there were winter hours left to cozy up with our books!  The pages are flying fast around here.  These are the books you'd find lying on tables and shelves if you browsed around our house.

Brian's selections: Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson and The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Randy Alcorn

My selection (that I can barely put down!):  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Gavin's selections:  America's Shark Lady the Complete Adventures of Eugenie Clark by Ann McGovern and LEGO Batman: Visual Dictionary

Maddie's selection: Junie B., First Grader: One-Man Band by Barbara Park

Owen's selection:  Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant

We managed to read a chapter from two of our read-alouds, too (Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Midnight Visitor and The BFG ), but we ran out of time for our third (Rebecca and the Movies).

As the little ones were heading off to bed, we read their current favorite picture book, Huff & Puff: Can You Blow Down the Houses of the Three Little Pigs? by Claudia Rueda.

What are you reading today?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

the last January Saturday

We had plans for today, this last Saturday of January.  They weren't the athletic plans of last week or the celebratory plans of the week before.  Today, Brian and  three friends were going to disassemble, load, and move a large swing set to our house from a friend's house a few miles down the road.   

But then it snowed...twice this week.  It didn't get above freezing for four days, and our twisty country back road still hasn't been plowed so it wasn't safe for the truck and trailer which meant we had to postpone our plans to a February Saturday. 

Instead we spent a quiet Saturday in quiet activities.  Maddie left in the morning for a special day with her best friend who happens to be her aunt, Bekah, so there were only six of us at home.  I spent a few hours knitting an ear warmer headband  to wear when I run on cold days.  I'm a slow knitter.

It was Day 2 of potty training. This time around, we decided to use a potty chair. We remind Alaine to use the potty about every 30 minutes, and today there were far more successes than accidents.  She is the fifth child I've potty trained, and aside from a few false starts,  it's never taken me more than a week to potty train a child who is ready.  If tomorrow is another successful day, we'll start night training on Monday. 

Gavin was invited to a science experiment birthday party in the late afternoon so by dinnertime, our number was down to five.  Dinner conversation centered around Veggie Tales characters and naming  the peas we were eating.

Tomorrow, we're packing up our potty gear (and the mega chocolate mint chip cookies I made tonight) and heading to my parents' for Sunday lunch.  It just might reach a balmy 35, too. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Fierce Ballerina

This is what happens when
a girly 2-year-old has 3 older brothers!

Linking to...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Do You...Organize Your Book Shelves?

How do you organize your book shelves?

Let me start by saying we have a lot of books!  We haven't had shelf space for all of our books for at least ¾ of our married lives. That should change as soon as we prime and paint the second half of our built-in book shelf unit (which could be as early as next week!).  Until then, many of our books live in boxes. 

Because we own fewer fiction books than non-fiction ones, the majority of the fiction has been given a home on the finished side of the built-in shelf.  We separated the classics from the modern fiction and alphabetized by author. Non-fiction, I'm afraid, is going to be tougher to organize!  {Any ideas?}

We also have book shelves in both the boys' and the girls' rooms that house their personal book collections.  Once upon a time, I kept our kid books strictly organized by size, but that system flew out the window when Gavin was a toddler and loved to pull every book off of the shelf every day!  Now I'm content to simply keep the shelves moderately tidy.

In the girls' room, Maddie keeps her chapter books on a high shelf, we keep the general picture books on a middle shelf, and Alaine's board books go on the bottom shelf.  Though it creates a top-heavy effect, it's all in the name of practicality.

The boys have a small shelf in their room (though a tall book shelf for their space is on my wishlist someday).  We divide are divided into two categories: chapter books on top and picture books on the bottom. 

How do you organize your books?   Let us know in the comments.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pinterest Success

One of the short term goals  I listed at the beginning of the year was to do a few of the crafts and projects that were pinned on my Winter Pinterest Board.  I've been on Pinterest for about a year, but I resisted joining Pinterest at first because I was afraid that I would either:

  1. Pin a bunch of stuff that I would never have time to try, or
  2. Pressure myself to do everything I pinned and feel let down if I didn't.

When I eventually caved and joined Pinterest last winter, I decided to pin only recipes/projects/ideas I loved or could see myself following though on.  I don't pin it if it doesn't fit my style or if it looks too complicated or difficult or calls for ingredients I don't use.  I revisit my own boards frequently for inspiration.

Here are a few of the things I've attempted this year from my Winter Pinterest Board:

Have you had any Pinterest successes recently?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

another January Saturday

Last Saturday was leisurely and celebratory, but today started with getting everyone up early.  The kids prepared their regular Saturday breakfast while I rushed around getting the little ones ready to leave the house, plus get myself ready, the table wiped off, and the bed made. 

Today, Brian and I ran our first race.  I had been aiming for a 5K (3.1 miles) in April, but when I read about a 2 mile race in January, I decided to register.  On Monday morning, Brian and I ran 2 miles in preparation and planned to try it at least once more, but on Monday afternoon, the rain rolled in and it did not stop (at all) for days.  It finished with a big bang on Thursday night, dropping an inch or two of icy, wet snow before the sun returned for Friday!  All the soggy weather meant that I went into today's race a little rusty and not certain I was up for it. 

As it turns out, the iPod I've been using to track my distance and speed has been steering me way wrong.  Apparently, I've been running a lot farther than it records because today when I crossed the 2 mile finish line, it only registered 1.5 miles!  Guess I was getting some unexpected training and wondering why it was so hard to get any faster.

Not being an experienced runner, I don't have a time to aim for, but today I finished the first mile with a time of 9:44 and finished the race with a time just under 21 minutes. {Edited to add: The official results were announced on Sunday and my final time was 20:55.}

After the race, the rest of the Saturday was lazy-- Mario on Wii, a belated Christmas movie, folding laundry, homemade stromboli  and sliced fruit for dinner, and baths. 

Maybe, maybe, we can sleep in tomorrow. 

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