Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Reading in January...

This was a heavy school month but I still found some time for reading.  Much of it late at night, which doesn't help my goal for getting more be it. 

Christmas Pudding
by Nancy Mitford
I reserved these Nancy Mitford books for some Christmas reading but then had to wait a while for them to be available at the library.  This was an enjoyable, holiday read.

Pigeon Pie
by Nancy Mitford
I liked this book but not as well as Christmas Pudding.  Amazon sells them together in one volume, you can find it here

by Juliet Nicolson
I enjoyed this book but it wasn't as much about Edward and Wallis as I had hoped. 

Faithful Place
by Tana French
This is the 3rd book in the Dublin Murder Squad.  I figured this one out early on but the story was still intriguing. Not my favorite in the series but I still really liked it. 

a long way gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmeal Beah
This book is a fairly quick read, a heartbreaking story but yet so full of hope. It is exciting to see how Ishmael Beah has devoted his life to helping others. 

Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
I don't know how many times I have read this book and yet it is always a joy to read.  This time I read the book in an online book club, reading two chapters a week.  I enjoyed the slow pace, having time to mull over what I had read. I also enjoyed the observations and comments of the other ladies reading the book. 

City of Women
by David R. Gillham
I liked this book but didn't love it.  The book takes place in Berlin during WWII, so the tone of the book is going to be rather gloomy and depressing.  Parts of the book were intriguing but parts of the book didn't work for me.  I think the author is hoping you ask yourself 'what would I have done as a German woman during WWII?'  Would I had supported the Nazi agenda?  Helped hide Jewish people?  That part of the book I enjoyed.  But, I didn't find the sex scenes/theme believable.  They were starving, they were exhausted, just trying to survive another day,  it seems unlikely she would have had the time/energy/desire to have love affairs. 

'til next time...

Lots of reading, school, yule log hunts, and more books...

January.  The fun and festivities of the holiday are wrapping up, the days are cold, the nights are long...perfect for embracing hygge in your life.  For curling up with books in the evening, for buckling down and getting caught up on lots of school work, for hot drinks and evenings playing games by the fire. 

This month the kids are participating in a reading challenge from Read Aloud Revival where they have to read aloud each day.  They both enjoy reading to Bunny and Puppy in front of the Christmas tree. 

Ainlsey surprised me one morning with breakfast in bed!  She had made hot tea for me but was afraid I would get up before she could finish making toast so she brought me some cookies instead.  Once I got over my shock that she had managed to carry hot tea up the stairs without burning herself, I was delighted.  

January always seems to be a heavy reading and school month for us. Since we use a lot of books from the library for our homeschooling our book hauls tend to look like this!  When the library tells you that "your hold shelf is full" you know you are making the most out of this resource!     

We celebrated Epiphany this year by attending our church's annual Epiphany Yule Log Hunt.  I volunteered to make a few crowns for the event but as I didn't know what they were supposed to look like I made a variety.  My favorite was the Epiphany crown. 

The Yule Log Hunt and Christmas tree bonfire was held at Highland, the home of James Monroe.  We began with the hunt for the Yule logs. There were a few smaller logs and one big one, those finding the smaller yule logs would be crowned prince or princess of the hunt. The person that found the large yule log would be crowned king or queen of the hunt, and would be pulled to the top of the hill on the sled. 
Ainsley, off to a running start...
searching through the woods...

and she finds a yule log!

 I'm not sure what these are but they looked really neat. 

bringing back the big yule log
Pulling the "Queen of the Yule" up the hill

"Princess of the Yule"
the finders of the yule logs

Bestowing a piece of the yule log to the Queen of the Yule - this piece will be kept to to ward off mildew, house fires, toothaches, and other minor mishaps.

 The arrival of the three kings... 

The lighting of the Christmas trees... 

a rather terrifying inferno...
He was happy to find the baby Jesus in the King Cake!
It was a fantastic day, we are already looking forward to next year!

My lemon tree is finally producing enough lemons at a time to really use!    

 We use a lot of books in our homeschooling.  While we do use some text books most of our work is literature based.  This means we bring home armloads of books from the library, it means I drink copious amounts of hot tea to keep my voice after all this reading out loud! I love that we have so much time to spend on books and yet, there will never be enough time for all the books we would like to read!  

trying to read aloud at the same time...not as peaceful as it looks!

Once again all the snow seems to be missing our town.  This is the only snow day we have had this year and it is a pitiful amount of snow.  But, enough white on the ground for the kids to attempt to sled and snow board.  

When almost all your holds become available at the library....not even I can read this many books in two weeks.  Especially considering that we are working through a heavy school load right now.  I guess I will sort in order of which books I would like to read the most and see how far I get!  

 The kids completed their reading challenge of reading aloud each day for the month of January.  I always feel a bit silly doing reading challenges because we do read a lot of books in our house.  But I like this challenge particularly because they have to read out loud.  It gives me a change to hear what words they may be mispronouncing and also to help them on their reading rhythms.  They earned a few treats throughout the month for completing their reading without complaining and without me having to nag them.    

'til next time...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reading in December...

December is such a busy month that I feel I get less reading done, even though I do have a few relaxing days before the end of the year.  Here is what I read this month. 

A Christmas Message
by Anne Perry
This book was only OK for me.  I normally enjoy Anne Perry's Christmas novellas but this one was a little far fetched for me. 

Fever 1793
by Lauris Halse Anderson
I don't normally read a lot of young adult books but I really enjoyed this book.  This book is based on the yellow fever epidemic that took place in Philadelphia in 1793.  This is not an event that I am very familiar with so I really enjoyed this book. 

Winter Solstice
by Rosamunde Pilcher
I really enjoyed this book, I'm a little sad I let it stay on my to-read list for so long.   The book has heartbreaking moments but also has hope, it was a very moving read. 

by Dan Brown
I always enjoy reading this series.  This was not my favorite Robert Langdon book but I did enjoy it.  This book also takes place in Spain which is an area I am currently interested in so that added to the enjoyment for me. 

Murder Under Christmas Tree
by Cecily Gayford 
This book is a compilation of short stories that are Christmas themed mysteries.  The authors include Ian Rankin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers and G. K. Chesterton, among others.  I enjoyed this book because it was easy to pick up and read the short story without getting sucked into a long story-perfect for the busy Christmas season. 

The Cozy-Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge
by Pia Edberg
I had had this book for awhile now but it kept getting shuffled around and I hadn't picked it up yet.  If you enjoy learning more about the concept of hygge then you may enjoy this book.  It is a short, easy read,  I enjoyed it but don't think I learned any thing new about hygge. 

'til next time...

Friday, December 29, 2017

How to relocate a shed in 1001 easy steps!!

1.  Decide to keep the shed rather than heeding the advice of tearing it down.

2.  Pick the steepest part of your yard as the new location spot.

3.  Make sure new location for shed is in the same spot you just stacked your firewood. 

4.  Re-locate and re-stack part woodpile.

5.  Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

6.  Ensure that new location is squarely on top of largest underground rock on your property.

7.  Begin digging footers for foundation, spend most of that time breaking up rock.

8.  Notice that your recently stacked woodpile is still in the way. 

9.  Remove and re-stack part of woodpile.

10.  Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

11.  Order concrete, mortar and block for foundation. 

12.  Drive to Northern Virginia to pick up favorite concrete mixer. 

13.  Have pallets of concrete, mortar and block delivered.

14.  Layout string lines for footers.

15.  Build forms for footers.

16.  Mix concrete for footers.

17.  Pour footers.

18.  Let concrete footers set up.

19.  Relocate part of the woodpile....just out of habit by now.

20.  Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

21.  Layout string lines for block wall.

22.  Find happy medium between building a foundation that is square and a foundation that will fit old shed.

23.  Begin mixing mortar and laying block.

24.  Use all the mountains of fill material you have from your house project.

25.  Realize you will still need more fill material.

26.  Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

27.  Realize that your woodpile is still in the way.  Reluctant to move the woodpile yet again, decide to build a wood rack behind new foundation.

28.  Recruit, a.k.a bribe, kids to help move logs.  Again.

like father, like daughter

29.  Pause to admire new wood rack.

30.  Spend time considering how much wood you have left over.

31.  Realize that you will have to tear off portion of shed that currently houses all of your worldly possessions. This will involve squeezing all of these boxes into an already packed cellar.

32.  Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

33.  Begin dismantling side room on the shed. Continuing a trend previously noticed on the house project, this will involve removing 8 nails and 49 screws from every square foot.

34.  Use sledge hammer to work out some frustration and also break up concrete pad in storage room.

35.   Use broken concrete pad for additional fill material. 

36.   Realize you still do not have enough fill material. 

37.   Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

38.   Order 4 tons of gravel for fill material. 

39.   Have it rain the night before ensuring that the dump truck cannot back up to the foundation area.

40.   Cart 4 tons of gravel by wheel barrow load to fill foundation. 

41.   Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

42.   Order 4 more tons of concrete for the pad. 

43.   Pour concrete pad by the simple process of opening two 60 pound bags of concrete mix, lift, pour into mixer, add water, mix, pour onto ground, add water to rinse mixer out, spread concrete out evenly.

44-140.   Repeat 96 times. 

141.   Make your mark in wet concrete.

142.   Continue dismantling the storage room off of the shed.

143.   Realize that the trim for your entire house is stored in the shed and cannot sit outdoors.

144.   Borrow a trailer to hold said trim.

145.   Realize trim will not fit into trailer without removing all nails enabling said trim to be stacked neatly and compactly.

146.   Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all, price out the cost of a new shed. 

147.   Spend entire day removing nails from trim, in order to store trim in trailer, in order to move shed. 

148.   Spend an additional day removing nails from said trim in order to store trim in trailer, in order to move shed. 

149.   Spend one last day removing nails from said trim in order to store trim in trailer, in order to move shed. 

150.   Begin bracing the shed for moving.

151.   Beg, bribe and plead for friends and family to help you move the shed.

152.   Send out meal options and beer lists in an attempt to entice family members to show up for moving day. 

153.   Breath a huge sigh of relief when they actually show up. 

154.   Lift the shed up, using a jack, enough to fix fence posts under the edge.

155.   Begin moving the shed by pulling it forward with the help of a truck.

156.   Immediately catch the back wall of the shed on a root, causing the back wall to pull loose from rest of building.

157.   Doubt that keeping the old shed is a good plan after all...but it is probably too late to buy a new shed. 

158.   Halt all movement to reattach back wall and secure.

159.   Begin forward movement of shed. Shed will now be moved using only muscle power and will be rolled downhill and at an angle toward the concrete pad.


160.   Move shed a couple feet, stop.

161.   Discuss plan for next few feet.

162.   Re-adjust fence posts, discuss.

163.   Move shed a couple feet, stop.

164.   Discuss plan for next few feet.

165.   Re-adjust fence posts, discuss.

166-952.   Repeat 786 more times.

Happy to see the workers all wearing their shed moving uniform.

a small but mighty helper!

953.   Use a car jack and a piece of 6x6, braced against a tree, to straighten back corner of shed.

954.   Once shed is moved immediately plant a garden where the shed was located. This will hopefully erase all memories of the shed being in this location. 

955.   Now that the shed is on the concrete slab resume restoration project. 

956.   Jack up shed on each side to replace rotten base plates.

957.   Attach shed to slab with anchor bolts.

958.   Decide you will want a front porch on the shed.

959.   Dig out area for front porch. 

960.   Build forms. 

961.   Buy more concrete. 

962.   Pour slab for front porch.

963.   Set anchors for posts for future front porch.

964.   Begin to frame in the front opening for the old, absolutely-not-square french doors we took from the front of the house.

965.   Doubt that keeping the old shed was a good plan after all but no choice but to push forward.

966.   Using siding from the section of the shed we removed, finish closing in the front of the shed.

967.   Install french doors. 

968.   Set posts for front porch.

969.   Build framing for roof for front porch.

970.   Narrow paint colors for shed down to 64 options. 

971.   Decide not to even count trim color options.

972.   Ensure that front porch roof-line meets existing-out-of-square-really-old-roof-line. 

973.   Narrow paint colors for shed down to 50 options.

974.   Narrow trim color options down to double digits. 

975.   Remove shingles from sections of existing roof.

976.   Narrow paint colors for shed down to 25 options.

977.   Narrow trim color options down to...still too many.

978.   Replace rotten portions of roof.

979.   Replace sections of the rotten rafters. 

980.   Narrow paint colors for shed down to 5 options.

981.   Narrow trim color options down to 10 options. 

982.   Install soffit boards with ventilation grills. 

983.   Finally pick paint color for shed. 

984.   Decide on trim color for shed just in time to begin painting. 

985.   Paint fascia boards and install. 

986.   Try to locate drip edge that will coordinate. 

987.   Fail to locate coordinating drip edge.

988.   Find spray paint that coordinates with trim color. 

989.   Spray paint drip edge and install. 

990.   Install shingles on porch roof and repair existing shed roof.

991.   Concerned that the project may be nearing completion, decide that the shed needs a window. 

992.   Cut hole in side of shed and install said window. 

993.   Decide that you cannot have a proper shed without electricity.  

994.   Begin digging trench to run utilities. 

995.   Decide that water would be nice too. 

996.   Run electric and water lines. 

997.   Install water spigot for future watering needs. 

998.   Fill in trench. 

999.   Plant grass seed over trench. 

1000.   Decide to wait till later to install beer fridge and a/c.   

From this...
Shed before relocation
to this...
Shed after relocation

1001.   Decide that it is time to move on to the next project. 

'til next time...