Summer and watermelon go together like pumpkins and autumn. Watermelon is one of my favorite summer treats. The kids usually flock around me when I start to chop one up.
This year, I grew watermelon for the first time. We got a bunch of cute little watermelons that tasted amazing. There really is nothing better than food grown at home.
Watermelon is harder to photograph than I thought it would be. I’ve always struggled to photograph the color red. I’ve attempted to tackle it with roses but even then, they’re not exactly to my liking.
That’s the kind of challenge that I don’t give up on. I actually did this photoshoot 3 times. The first two were not to my liking. My last, I can finally say that I have an image I’m proud of.
This list contains the books I’ve read and listened to. I love holding real books in my hands, but sometimes, I don’t have time to sit and read. I enjoy listening to audiobooks while I get work done. This list will be updated throughout the year. I have a short review of each book as well.
Many of these books I love to listen to with my children. I work hard to instill a love of books and for learning in them. Books are the key to untold worlds. They can bring you to different lands and adventures and teach you a wealth of knowledge. I want my children to develop the skills of educating themselves through the written word now in the hopes that they’ll always have the desire for learning within them.
Books I’ve Read
Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Our Edible World by Julia Rothman
The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory
100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh
The Big Awesome Book of Hand & Chalk Lettering by Dina Rodriguez
City Farmhouse Style: Designs for a Modern Country Life by Kim Leggett
1000 Tangles, Patterns Doodled Designs produced by Walter Foster Publishing with Various Artists
Pencil Art Workshop by Matt Rota
Jesus-The Way, The Truth, The Life
Once There Were Castles | Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities by Larry Millet
Castles | A History of Fortified Structures Ancient, Medieval & Modern by Charles Stephenson
Minnesota’s Own | Preserving Our Grand Homes by Larry Millett
Hearst Castle | The Biography of a Country House by Victoria Kastner
150 Best Cottage & Cabin Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola
Compact Cabins | Simple Living in 1000 Square Feet or Less by Gerald Rowan
How to Build Your Dream Cabin in the Woods | The Ultimate Guide to Building and Maintaining a Backcountry Getaway by J. Wayne Fears
Audible Books I’ve Listened To
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Transfer by Veronica Roth
Four The Initiate by Veronica Roth
Four The Son by Veronica Roth
Four the Traitor by Veronica Roth
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Legend by Marie Lu
Champion by Marie Lu
Prodigy by Marie Lu
The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell
Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe
Master Herbalist published by Author’s Republic with Various Authors
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Guard by Kiera Cass
The One by Kiera Cass
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Heir by Kiera Cass
The Favorite by Kiera Cass
The Crown by Kiera Cass
The Siren by Kiera Cass
Servant of the Crown by Melissa McShane
The Cage by Megan Sheperd
The Hunt by Megan Sheperd
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones
A lot of the books on the list below, I’ve read or listened to before, but I’d like to listen to again. Several of these I’m going to be listening to with my children. A bunch of these I’ve already started reading, but I take breaks and come back to, depending on what I’m in the mood for.
Books I Want To Read/Listen To
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki
Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin
Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality by Professor Robert Sapolsky
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dr. Andrew Weil’s Guide to Optimum Health by Dr. Andrew Weil
Understanding Genetics: DNA, Genes, and Their Real-World Application by Professor David Sadava
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Miller
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery
Anne’s House of Dreams by L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery
Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery
Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery
Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott
Classics of American Literature narrated by Professor Arnold Weinstein
The History of World Literature narrated by Professor Grant L. Voth
The Science of Natural Healing by Professor Mimi Guarneri
Medical School for Everyone: Pediatric Grand Rounds by Professor Roy Benaroch
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Understanding Japan: A Cultural History by Professor Mark J. Ravina
Beauty and the Beast narrated by Jenna Augen
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Messenger by Lois Lowry
Son by Lois Lowry
Emma by Jane Austin
The Princess Diaries By Meg Cabot
The Lost Queen by Frewin Jones
Deep Nutrition by Luke Shanahan, Catherine Shanahan MD
Have you read any of these books? Please tell me what’s on your book list this year!
I’ve decided to include a short, and by short, I mean tiny, review of the books that I’ve read.
The Bible: Honestly, I haven’t read the entire thing yet, but I’ve listened to several entire books within it. Since there are 66 books in the bible, I thought it might be easier to add simply, “The Bible” rather than each specific book. I love the Bible, it’s my guide to life. I could read it every day and never get sick of it. It’s full of wisdom, poetry, history, adventure, romance, drama, and so much more.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo: This book changed the way I think of the objects within my home. I’ve been using her methods to minimize my personal belongings by keeping only what I love. If you’re a packrat, or a hoarder, then I really recommend this book.
Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Our Edible World by Julia Rothman: This book is kind of something you’d want to leave on a coffee table. Every page is full of fun illustrations and descriptions of food and it’s history.
100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh: To be honest, I looked at every page and drooled over many of the recipes. Then I didn’t make a single one. I love cookbooks, but usually, I look online for recipes. I’ll probably continue to check out every inspiring cookbook that crosses my path though.
The Big Awesome Book of Hand & Chalk Lettering by Dina Rodriguez: This book was a lot of fun! Both Cupcake and I practiced a lot of the variations in lettering. I might check this one out again in the future if I want to work on another chalkboard.
City Farmhouse Style: Designs for a Modern Country Life by Kim Leggett: This book was full of beautiful, inspiring images of home decor. I love browsing these types of books for remodeling our humble abode.
1000 Tangles, Patterns Doodled Designs produced by Walter Foster Publishing with Various Artists: This book was pretty cool. It’s full of different ways to doodle. I would have loved this one when I was in high school. I really enjoyed looking through it, but I came to realize that I’m past doodling on paper. I don’t have hours of boredom stuck in classrooms anymore. My kids all enjoyed looking through the designs though, hopefully, it will inspire them for their future doodling.
Pencil Art Workshop by Matt Rota: I used to love sketching. This book was full of inspiring pencil art and directions. I didn’t attempt to sketch anything, but It brought me fondly back in time. Maybe I’ll get back to it one day when I have a little more time on my hands.
The Transfer by Veronica Roth: I had read the divergent series back when it first came out. I enjoyed the movies, even though they varied from the books in a few big ways. I happened to come across these companion books, from Four’s perspective. I love when a good book series relates the story from another side.
Four The Initiate by Veronica Roth: ” “
Four The Son by Veronica Roth: ” “
Four the Traitor by Veronica Roth: ” “
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman: I feel like this book should be a requirement for every high school student. Gary Chapman made a lot of puzzle pieces about love click into place. It helped me realize whats important to me to feel loved and also help me realize how I can better love others. This kind of information is useful for every type of relationship, not just the romantic kinds. I immediately took the love quiz and found out my love language and then talked to my family about what theirs were. I’ll definitely read this book again and again over the years to refresh my memory.
Legend by Marie Lu
Champion by Marie Lu
Prodigy by Marie Lu: This is the second time I’ve read this series. Actually, the first time I read it, this time I listened to it. If you like futuristic adventure stories, this is a great series to add to your list.
150 Best Cottage & Cabin Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola: I loved all of the images in this book. I’ve been looking into small houses and although these are cabins, I think this is a good small home book too. Most of these had huge windows, tall ceilings, open floor plans, and beautiful views. Much of the interior styles were not to my taste, however. I would look into this book again if I were building a home.
Compact Cabins | Simple Living in 1000 Square Feet or Less by Gerald Rowan: This book is pretty awesome. It contains 62 floor plans, black/green & white images of the completed cabin, off the grid options, green design, and from start to finish plans that help lay out exactly how to build. It goes over everything you’ve thought about and everything you didn’t even think of. I’m thinking of purchasing this book to keep at home so I can plan my future home. One thing to keep in mind is that the title is accurate, these are tiny cabins. It mentions that you can add on in the future if need be.
How to Build Your Dream Cabin in the Woods | The Ultimate Guide to Building and Maintaining a Backcountry Getaway by J. Wayne Fears: I actually did not finish this book. It is quite detailed and my time at the library was out before I could finish. I’d like to check it out again or purchase because it contains A LOT of info about having and caring for a small home/cabin.
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 4, Day 1
I’ve been having an argument with myself over if I should post this workout video or not. I’ve been feeling a bit self-conscious. I’ve edited the video, put it on private on youtube, and there it has sat. Buuut, I can’t seem to post the next video until I post this one.
You see, I am not a body builder. I am not super fit. I don’t have an amazing body. I have a normal, soft, squishy, cuddly body. I am ok with that. In fact, I am more than ok, I love my body. I’m not obsessed with myself or anything, I’m just comfortable with who I am. I’m thankful for all of the things my body has done for me and all of the journey’s we’ve been on together.
I don’t need big muscles, rock hard abs, a butt you could bounce a quarter off of, thighs that could crack a nut. Instead, I have a lap that is soft and great for sitting on for stories. I have a tummy that makes an awesome pillow for snuggle time. My butt is comfortable to sit on, unlike my skinny days. My arms are big enough to hold all of those I love. I don’t need much more than that.
So why am I doing a 5 week workout challenge? My goal is not to have a super model body. My goal is to get a moderate level of exercise so that my body is healthy, regardless of its size or amount of squishyness. My goal is to inspire others to move their bodies and get healthy too. My goal is to show that you don’t have to be perfect or even strive for perfection to exercise.
Getting daily exercise doesn’t have to be boring or grueling. There are so many ways to exercise! Walking, hiking, jogging, running, dancing, rock climbing, pilates, trampoline, swimming, biking, I could go on and on. Find something that YOU love and do it!
Although I feel confident about how I feel about my body, for myself and for my family, it’s a different thing to expose oneself to the world. Seeing myself on video, and my not so perfect body, I worry not about what others might say as much as how my children would feel if they saw others saying bad things about me. I’ve seen some cruel things said online about a lot of different topics. My heart hurts for those that the comments are aimed at.
Ultimately, I’ve decided to be brave and post this video regardless of what anyone else might think. Should anyone say anything mean, I will let it roll off my back. The only opinions that matter to me are of those I love and of myself.
Do you ever feel self-conscious about your body? Do you worry about strangers making rude comments? How do you handle that kind of situation?
Attempting to Break My Plank Record
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 2, Day 4
After my first plank yesterday, I wanted to try again, with my arms rested. Planking is a lot harder than it looks! Trying to hold it for long is incredibly difficult! I might try again throughout the summer to see how much I’ve built up my arm strength.
I was amazed at how long Mr. Awesome was able to hold his plank for! Princess had a hard time not slipping on the carpet. Maybe in the future, we’ll have to figure out a way to be less slippery.
Have you tried planking? How long did you make it your first time? What is your plank record?
Cupcake begged me for months to make slime. With busy school schedules, we barely had time to breathe, much less, attempt a new, potentially messy and time-consuming craft. I promised her that we would make slime once school was out.
As summer approached, Cupcake happily reminded me frequently of the approaching slime adventure. Once school was out, I went to the store and bought a giant jug of glue. We gathered the remaining supplies at home and all of the kids excitedly assembled around the table for the project.
We had a lot of fun playing with it plain, but we also added a bunch of fun things into it for sensory play. We added a couple different glitters, food dye, cut up straws, craft eyeballs, kinetic sand, and beads. The kids also used straws to blow bubbles. I also added some child-friendly essential oils to a couple batches. Really, you could add anything you want!
1/2 cup glue mixed into 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp borax mixed into 1/2 cup warm water
Slowly add borax into glue, one spoonful at a time until mixture isn’t sticky.
Knead with Hands.
Add glitter, beads, dye, etc.
Store in zip lock baggies or another airtight container.
Check out our video for an example of how to make it!
Have you made slime? What did you add to it? Share in the comments!