Design Books for the Home

Can I tell you a secret? I am a TERRIBLE decorator. It’s one of those homemaking areas that I feel I should be better at, but I’m not. Some women seem to have no problem making their home beautiful, and I’m over here just trying to keep the mess at bay.

One of the things I’ve been working on slowly, very slowly, is decluttering. God has been working on my heart lately and helping me to “cut the apron strings” to my stuff. It is just stuff. Actually, it’s not just stuff anymore. It is stuff I’m tired of managing. I don’t want to be a manager of stuff anymore. Hence, the decluttering.

The slow part comes from my learning to stick with a project and work on it in manageable chunks. I’ve come to realize that I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and that doesn’t really work so well in the homemaking realm. So, I’ve been slowly working on getting things decluttered and cleaned as I can.

I’m still in the laundry room. Sigh.

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I sure hope so!

What does all of this have to do with design books for the home? Well, in my quest to de-clutter, I am also wanting to create a more beautiful home. One that has personality (like I like to think I have) and that my family finds comforting. I also want to do some DIY projects.

Design Books for the Home |

Enter, the books. I actually am not even sure how I ended up with this particular selection from the library. It probably started with Amazon and then holds being placed at the library. This is a pretty common occurrence for me. Just ask my husband.

In the instance that you might find yourself in the mood for some inspiration, I thought I would share the list with you.

Design Books for the Home

It’s kind of funny to me that each of these books is by a blogger.

Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – What I love about this one is it isn’t just decor. There are DIY projects, informational type articles on design how-to’s, and entertaining recipes. Some of the projects aren’t my style, but the general ideas can be tweaked to fit. There are several sections like Cloth Napkins 9 Ways (also mugs, vases, terra cotta pots, etc.) that are super fun.

Blog: A Beautiful Mess

Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik – This book is full of great ways to update your home, 243 of them specifically. They have a handy little key for each one that gives you cost, time, and work in a bar chart, making it really easy to see at a glance how time consuming or expensive a project is. A LOT of them are free or cheap.

I am also really enjoying their commentary throughout the book. It’s a fun read.

Blog: Young House Love (though technically they aren’t blogging anymore, there are over 3,000 posts to sift through)

The $50 Home Makeover by Shaunna West – This one is mostly individual projects that you can make fit your style. I love the story behind her blog and book. Not all the projects are my cup of tea, but I wouldn’t expect them to be. There are a few that utilize washi tape, which I have only just recently discovered the greatness of, and a couple for Ikea furniture hacks.

Blog: Perfectly Imperfect

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

I’m pretty sure Design*Sponge is considered THE original home decor/styling blog. It’s one of the very first blogs I ever read years ago. I am pretty sure it was their Biz Ladies series. But that is not the point here.

This book is so cool because it is a tour of so many living spaces from so many people. It is really neat. A great one to get visual inspiration from people who know what they are doing, or at least pretend really well.

Blog: Design*Sponge

And now that I’ve listed these, I remembered a book that my husband and I came across at the library once that was a lightbulb moment for us. It put a name to our style that we hadn’t heard before. And I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT IS! I do believe some browsing will be happening at the library very soon.

Do you have some favorite design books for the home? Please share them with me!

DIY Gifts for Kids Book List

DIY Gifts for Kids - a book list

Creating gifts for kids can either be exciting or overwhelming. Kids have a wide range in likes, but knowing the kid will take you far in deciding what to make. While some kids may be harder to find a gift to MAKE, the reward of giving a gift that is tailored to the receiver is always worth the effort.

Today’s Crafty Christmas installment is a list of books to help you create those perfect gifts for kids. DIY gifts for kids is the name of the game today!

As always, you can look for these books at your local library or find them on Amazon.

DIY Gifts for Kids Book List

Ultimate Papercraft Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-by-Step Techniques edited by Marie Clayton – Papercrafting isn’t just awesome cards. This may be a great book to consider using as an experience gift for a kid, taking the time to make something out of the book would be a great gift for a crafty kid who simply wants to spend time with you.

The Big Book of Socks: The Ultimate Beyong-the-Basics Guide to Knitting Socks by Kathleen Taylor – Most kids I know love funky socks. If you can knit, this could be a great option.

Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes by Carla Hegeman Crim – If you are a sewer, making some clothes may be the option you want to take. There are so many awesome choices for fabrics – beautiful fabrics for tween girls, fun and funky for boys, and sweet prints for toddlers. You can easily customize a clothing gift to the child.

Palm-Size Softies: Patterns and Ideas for 44 Stuffed Pets and Dolls That Fit in the Palm of Your Hand by Hitomi Jakahashi, Mikiko Matsui, and Akema Tsubo – These little critters are adorable.

Chic & Unique Beaded Jewelry edited by Naomi Abeykoon – If you have a tween girl on your list, this could make a great gift. Actually, this would make a great option for just about any girl on your list.

Felt Toys for Little Ones by Jessica Peck of Sweetie Pie Bakery – I just love felt food. This book is a great collection of ideas for play sets to spark imaginative play in toddlers and preschoolers.

Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining, and Party Fun! by Courtney Cerruti – Washi tape has been all the rage in the crafting world for a while now. This books has a lot of fun ideas to try.

Don’t let crafting for kids intimidate you! Think about the kid you are giving the gift to and then try to find some ways to make them something special. A little extra thought goes a long way!

Crafts Kids Can Make to Give As Gifts Book List – Crafty Christmas

Crafts Kids Can Make to Give As Gifts Book List |

We love to make gifts here. Every year I always say that we will get an early start and make lots of gifts. This year is no different in that regard. My kids are getting older and are able to handle more intricate crafting.

Being the dutiful Mom, I pulled some books together for them (and a few extras) the last time I was at the library alone. These are books with projects kids can create to give as gifts to the special people in their life.

Fabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch With Friends by Kristen Sutcliffe – Projects for wearing and for decorating.

Loom Band It: 60 Rubber Band Projects for the Budding Loomineer by Kat Roberts and Tessa Sillars-Powell – These popular little bands make jewelry and the cutest little charms.

Super Simple Magnets: Fun and Easy-to-Make Crafts for Kids by Karen Latchana Kenney – A wide variety of designs in this book.

Fun and Funky Knits: Over 20 Simple Knit Stitch Projects – For the newer knitter, there is a how-to section at the front for those who might want to try something new, too.

Rev-o-LOOM-tion: A Modern Kids Guide to Rocking Rubber Bands by Liz Hum – Step-by-step photos for each project. The difficulties are Easy-Peasy (just learning), Rockin’ Rainbows (ready for more complicated patterns), and LOOM-a-tic (advanced). There is a mustache one that I think a lot kids would like.

Cool Crafts with Old Jeans by Carol Sirrine – Wearable, practical, and decorative gift options. Perfect for upcycling old jeans.

Cool Crafts with Newspapers, Magazines, and Junk Mail by Jen Jones – Not all of them would be gift ideas, but most of them are. Some really fun projects.

Cool Crafts with Old T-Shirts by Carol Sirrine – Not all of the projects require sewing, but the ones that do are pretty simple.

This post is the first in a series of posts called Crafty Christmas. More crafting fun posts coming soon!

11 Picture Books About Art

11 Picture Books About Art -

Lots of kids like art. Making art is a pastime that my children love. They like to draw, paint, and sculpt. They are currently enrolled in an art class through our homeschool co-op. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to gain hands-on learning experience with someone who is passionate about art and does it very well himself.

I guess that is beside the point, but maybe not. If you have a budding artist, I’d highly encourage you to look into a local art class. If that is not an option, find some resources to encourage your artist online. I recently put together a list of drawing tutorials and also use Pinterest to curate art lessons/ideas for my kids.

I came across some fun books recently at the library about kids and art, so I decided to do a little more researching and see what other titles I could find. Here’s a list of 11 picture books about art to look for on your next library trip.

Picture Books About Art

Amelia Bedelia’s Masterpiece by Herman Parish, pictures by Lynn Sweat – I’m finding that people either love or hate Amelia Bedelia. I loved her as a kid, but may find her kind of annoying as an adult…it’s hard to say really. I do enjoy the play on words that is commonly found in these books though.

Louise Loves Art written and illustrated by Kelly Light – This sweet little book shows that even when your art doesn’t turn out just like you want it to or if a tragedy strikes it, it is still art and can be awesome.

Draw by Raul Colon – This is a beautiful, wordless picture book. Kids who love animals and/or dream of safaris in Africa will enjoy this one. Wordless picture books can feel awkward to read, but Caroline over on The Library Adventure recently wrote a post on how to use wordless picture books with special needs kids and I think her tips are good for most kids in general, too.

The Museum by Susan Verde, art by Peter H. Reynolds – I love how the little girl in this story experiences the art she sees in the art museum.

You Can’t Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser – Another fun, wordless book. This one follows the travels of a little girl’s yellow balloon when it becomes loose in front of the Metropolitan Museum and the guardian of the balloon as he attempts to chase it down.

Ella’s Trip to the Museum by Elaine Clayton – Ella and her small class visit an art museum. A good reminder to parents that when we want our kids to experience something, it may not look like we expect.

Art Dog by Thacher Hurd – Arthur guards the Dogopolis Museum of Art. When a famous painting is stolen (the Mona Woofa), he uses his art to catch the criminals responsible. A pretty silly read full of imagination.

Morris the Artist by Lore Segal, pictures by Boris Kulikow – A book about how sharing can lead to a lot of fun. It’s also a good book for discussing things like thinking of others when choosing things like birthday presents and not being selfish, which the main character could use some work on…

I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry – Giant Squid is the best artist in the ocean, but someone isn’t so happy with his art.

Meet Me at the Art Museum by David Goldin – A ticket stub and name tag take us on an after hours tour of the art museum to see all the exhibits.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle – I love all the colorful animals in this fun Eric Carle book.

Have you read any of these? Any of them you will be adding to your reading list?

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans

Books for Duck Dynasty Fans - For All Ages |

We happen to be big Duck Dynasty fans here. We love to laugh and they make us laugh. With the success of Duck Dynasty, there are beards, ducks, and camo everywhere…inlcuding books. I have actually started a collection of Robertson family books.

Today, I’m sharing a list of books for other Duck Dynasty fans to consider adding to their wishlist or library list.

Newbery Medal Winner Books – Printable Checklist

Newbery Medal Winner Books - a Printable Checklist at

Over on The Library Adventure, two of our writers have put together their list of favorite Newbery Medal Winner books. As I was editing them, I made notes to check out certain books. Then I realized that my kids are coming into the right age/stage/ability to read these. So I decided to put together a checklist of all the Newbery Medal Winner books to print off for each of my kids.

A little background before I continue…

About the Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal is awarded by the American Library Association each year to the book deemed “most distinguished” among children’s books. It is named after 18th century bookseller, John Newbery. The purpose of the medal is to encourage original creative works for children.

It was the first children’s book award in the world. The American Library Association also typically names Newbery Medal Honor Books, which are considered to be noteworthy also. Previously called “runner-ups,” the name was changed in 1971.

The Newbery Medal has been awarded annually since 1922.

My Favorite Newbery Medal Winners

As I put the list together, I was surprised by how many I remembered reading. I don’t know why, seeing as I had some great English teachers through the years, but I digress. I decided to give give you my top 5 favorites, in case you want an idea of where to begin.

  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink – I read this aloud to my kids. We enjoyed it almost as much as The Little House on the Prairie series.
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois – I think I was in 7th grade when I read this for language arts. I remember it being one of my favorite reads that year.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by E.L. Konigsburg – Hands-down, my favorite book on the list. I devoured this one in 6th grade. Living in a museum (or library) was a part of my dreams regularly at the time.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – This book touched my young heart. I re-read it several times before leaving 5th grade.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry – Probably the first dystopian novel I read. I am still fond of that genre to this day. I am also reeling from the fact that this wasn’t a stand-alone book, there are three other books that I now need to read.

My runners-up would include Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

The Books on Our Immediate To Read List

You know I’m a fan of to read lists. Here are the three on my list to read to my kids as read alouds in the near future:

I’m also going to see if I can get my hands on some of the older books and see about adding those in.

About the Printable

This printable is nice and simple. I have organized it into two columns per page, for a total of three pages. The books are listed from the earliest (1922) to the most recent (2014). There is a check box next to each title so you can check it off as you read it.

Download your copy today!

My Summer Reading List Plus Other Resources

Summer reading is in full swing around here. Today I am going to share some summer reading resources along with my summer reading list. Let’s dig in!

My Summer Reading List Plus Resources

Every new year, I make a list of books I want to read in that year. Some years I read them all, others I barely finish one. The last couple years have been like the latter. I’ve been so busy with homeschooling, blogging, and social media that reading real books has fallen down the priority list. I decided to change that last month.

Actually, that’s part of the reason you haven’t seen much of me here lately. I’ve been busy putting my house and priorities back in order. Seems to be a regular happening for me. I keep telling myself one of these days I’ll get it right, but who knows? All I know is that when my priorities shift from where they should be, everything suffers.

The one book that is not included in my picture, but is a consistent read for me when my priorities are in line, is my Bible. I’ve been intentional the last six weeks to make sure that the very first thing I do when I get up is read at least one chapter in my Bible. I made it through Matthew in May and moved on to Mark. It helps set my perspective for the day.

After I read my Bible, I usually take the time to read some of my current book. I use this time to encourage me in a specific area. I read a lot of encouragement in the homeschooling area last month. Specifically, I worked my way through Zan Tyler’s 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential. I will be reviewing it here on the blog, but you don’t have to wait for that. It’s a GREAT book.

My Summer Reading List

No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are by Jill Savage & Kathy Koch – I’m skimming through this one, honestly. It’s a good companion for Zan’s book. Encouragement to honor how God created your child to be someone specific with a unique path.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; and Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – We recently watched the three movies and it encouraged me to finally read this series. I am reading this with the kids. Yes, I am reading out loud, but the real shocker is that I’m enjoying it. See? Homeschooling has a way of changing you. 😉

Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho – I’ll be honest, the thing that attracts me to this book the most is the interviews with other bloggers. I love seeing how other bloggers define success and how they reach it. I’m sure I’ll pick up some other helpful tips related to actually blogging, but that will just be icing on the cake for me.

Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions by John Avery Whittaker – This has been on my list to use for a while, but never actually picked it up. I’ve always wanted to do mealtime devotions with my kids, but never put legs to that. I’m using this book to do just that. We won’t make it through it completely this summer, but that’s ok.

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford – I got this for Mother’s Day, per my request. It just seemed like encouragement I need right now.

An Amish Garden by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, & Vannetta Chapman – This is the very first Amish fiction I’ve ever read. It is four novellas in one nice sized book. I actually have finished this one already and you can look for a review on it soon.

Christian Unschooling by Teri J. Brown – This is a reread for me. Homeschooling encouragement for my slightly weary homeschooling mama heart.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – A fiction book that I picked up after Kelly reviewed it on The Library Adventure. Editing Kelly’s posts is actually a double-edged sword. I find great books and want to add them all to my to read list, but that list is already quite large. Eh, I’ll take that problem.

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller – I’m sort of, kind of wanting to challenge myself this summer. After telling more than one person that I’m not a “fun mom” I realized I’d like that not to mean I’m a “boring, put everything off for SOMEday” mom. We’re going to do something from this book, hopefully a few somethings. I’ll be sure to tell you about it.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, & Tricia Goyer – I’m hoping to read through this with my non-book-loving husband.

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl by Jase Robertson with Mark Schlabach – We enjoy watching Duck Dynasty around here. We own all four seasons that are out and I just received notice that my pre-ordered 5th season is on its way. Jase is my favorite Robertson, he reminds me of my husband.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell – I am a big fan of Deb Bell’s. I don’t have a teenager yet, I have a good year and a half for that. I am going to focus on the middle school section of this book for now. I’ll dive into the other sections this winter.

eBook Suggestions

My 2014 To Read List is kind of ebook heavy this year. I’ve purchased some of those ebook bundles over the last two years and have a back log of ebooks I want to read through. Here are a few for you to consider adding to your list:

Other Book Lists

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing what people are reading. I think you can get to know a person by the books they choose (and how they like them). I also often add new books to my list to check out at the library. I’m including a couple other blogger’s to read lists and I’ve collected some other lists that you can check out. Be sure to check out The Library Adventure, we have a ton of book reviews and book lists for all ages.

Follow Vicki’s board Book Lists on Pinterest.

12 Books About Gardening for Kids

12 Books About Gardening For Kids on

Gardening is kind of a big deal around here. We work to make it work every year. Our kids are getting older and are more of a help with the maintenance a garden requires. They actually love to water the plants and work along side us…usually.

This week for our alphabet activities, we read books about gardening. I’m going to share the picture books and kids’ nonfiction books here. If you are interested in books for teens and adults, check out my post over at The Library Adventure – 11 Gardening Books for Beginner to Advanced Gardeners.

If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this, check out my friend Tara’s Garden unit study.

Garden Picture Books

  • Vegetable Garden by Douglas Florian (Easy Florian) – Simple text with bright, bold illustrations.
  • One Potato: A Counting Book of Potato Prints by Diana Pomeroy (Easy Pomeroy) – This book has quite the country feel to it. There is a section in the back telling you how to do your own potato prints.
  • Our Community Garden by Barbar Pollak (Easy Pollak) – I like how this book makes the connection between the plants in the garden with actual meals kids eat.
  • The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen (Easy Larsen) – Lovely illustrations in this story about a girl and her grandfather.
  • Secrets of the Garden by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Easy Zoehfeld) – There is a lot of info snuck in this fun book about a girl and her family’s garden.
  • The Gardener by Sarah Stewart (Easy Stewart) – Lydia Grace moves to the city to live with her uncle and help in his bakery, but she dreams of gardens and works to make that dream a reality in the dreary city. Told in letters from Lydia Grace to various family members.

Gardening Nonfiction Books for Kids