Tag Archives: books

Book Review: The Big Tiny: A Build It Myself Memoir

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset When I was in the earlier stages of this blog, I did a lot of book reviews. I tried to do one a week, but I got burnt out. I love to read, but the pressure of having to read so much in such a short period of time time really sucked the fun out of it. One of my oh so many goals this year is to read more– especially at night before bed. I usually spend much too much time scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram before I sleep. It isn’t good for me. In fact, I just read a study that it might be killing me! While I think that’s article is a touch sensationalist, I can’t deny that staring at a little blue screen right before I sleep isn’t as healthy as reading a good ol’ fashioned book.

Over the holidays I got the chance to finally finish up a book that I’d been reading for months. The book was entitled The Big Tiny: A Build It Myself Memoir by Dee Williams. Dee (I can call her right that? We’re friends now.) was one of the first (and most famous) pioneers of the tiny house movement. After she was diagnosed with a serious heart condition, Dee decided she needed a change in her life. While sitting in the doctor’s office, she read an article about a gentleman who built a tiny house and she couldn’t get it out of her head. The Big Tiny follows her story of building a tiny home, living in it and eventually teaching other people to do the same.

I think I live pretty small (188 square feet), but Dee truly lives tiny in 84 square feet. (That doesn’t count her loft, sleeping space, but still that’s super small.) Throughout this story I continually admired Dee’s courage. If I was a single lady, I don’t know if I would have ever taken the plunge into small living. I’d probably just rent an apartment and continue into the debt cycle forever. Dee figured out how to build an entire house by herself! She hammered and nailed and put up walls with a a serious heart condition. She’s one courageous lady.

I enjoyed that this book wasn’t a how-to manual, but at times I was a bit bored by the stories of Dee’s everyday life. Her life in the tiny house was interesting, but I found myself skipping through some of the stories about her life prior to the tiny house. But let’s be real, my everyday life is pretty boring too.

This book wasn’t a life changer for me, but it did inspire me to be more resourceful. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in tiny living.

What have you been reading lately? Let’s discuss!

love,
melanie

The Gardener’s Reading List

Is it too early to call myself a gardener? Probably. But I’ve been researching like it’s my job. Well, really, research is my job. It’s my day job… or my night job. I’m technically the evening librarian. Whatever works.

I recently took the Myers-Briggs personality test for work and it said that I’m a sensor which can mean that I like to give too much details and ramble. I need to control that. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve been reading in preparation for warm weather!

Growing Veggies

514EATQNkWL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible gets great reviews on Amazon and was written with beginning gardeners as the intended audience. That’s me. And it claims to be the bible for vegetable gardener’s so I’m relying on this one heavily for a beginner’s reference guide.

 

 

 

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast 51E7ayNJ7IL._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_
I’m still very much the novice gardener, but I know that growing veggies in the Southeast will be very different than growing veggies elsewhere. This guide should help me with regionally specific information based on weather and climate.

 

 

 

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening 51Me-evQWIL
What interested me about this book is how plants can naturally benefit from each other. Symbiosis is so exciting!

 

 

 

 

 

Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening including 50 recipes, plus harvesting and storage tips  51YcjpN6V4L._SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Grow Cook Eat has an ambitious scope; it covers gardening, recipes and storage of vegetables. I love ambition and I love that this book takes readers through the entire process of growing and eating your own food.

 

 

 

Preserving Veggies
I’m just as excited about growing veggies as I am about preserving them!

Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving  A17ENc0DoGL._SY450_
Many of my beautiful readers recommended this book as the go-to guide to canning staples. As much as I love my library books, I think I’ll end up purchasing this one for reference.

 

 

 

 

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Canning For a New Generation
Canning for a New Generation is an absolutely gorgeous book. The pictures alone make my mouth water! Something that isn’t always the case with canned food. The Ball book is more for classic canning recipes and I’m hoping this one provides something a little more exotic!

 

 

 

Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round 51nywEGQJoL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_
I would love to can 20 pounds of pickles, but that just won’t work with my small space. I also love that this book emphasizes year-round canning. The author even explains how to can nut butters! I hope this book will carry my enthusiasm for canning through even the winter months!

 

 

 

 

 

I want to thank everyone for their kind gardening tips and book recommendations. I’m off to read and dream about spring!

love,
melanie

Books for Kids to Give as Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day will be here before you know it, so I started researching books to give to my own mama. In the process, I stumbled upon so, so many cute books for children to give to their moms as gifts. As a kid, I would have loved to give my mom a Mother’s Day themed book that I could read to her. Heck, I still might read her a children’s book and I’m 27, ya’ll. Who doesn’t love story time?!

Here’s my top 5 picks:

5.  what not to give your mom What NOT to Give Your Mom on Mother’s Day
Martha Simpson (Author), Jana Christy (Illustrator)

A list-based book that tells the story of a child giving his mother Mother’s Day gifts better suited for animals.

Easy-to-read for the beginning readers, but this book may be a little childish for kids over 6.

4.  Mother’s Day Surprise mother's day surprise
Stephen Krensky
 (Author), Kathi Ember (Illustrator)

Violet the snake is stumped! Her forest friends are all making gifts for their mothers for Mother’s Day. But Violet doesn’t have any arms or legs or teeth! What’s a snake to do?!

Reptilian-loving kids will love this story. We all know those kids! But they may point out that snakes do have teeth (or fangs) and Violet’s teeth are showing on almost every page. A small flaw in an otherwise cute story.

the night before mother's day 3. The Night Before Mother’s Day
Natasha Wing (Author), Amy Wummer (Illustrator)

One in the many and well-liked “Night Before” series, this book shows dad and the girls setting up a spa day and making a cake for mom.

What mom doesn’t want a spa day?! ‘Nuff said.

happy mothers day! 2. Little Critter: Happy Mother’s Day!
Mercer Mayer (Author, Illustrator)

Mercer Mayer books are true classics. And this book is no different. This time, Little Critter has a special surprise in store for Mom. This interactive book encourages kids to lift the flaps of the pages to see what Little Critter has created for his mom. Fun for kids that need that tactile stimulation!

we love our mom

1. We Love our Mom!
Jan Berenstain (Author, Illustrator), Mike Berenstain (Author, Illustrator)

And for my number one choice, my sentimentality won out. I have such fond memories of my mom reading my sister and I Berenstain Bears stories when we were small. She even had a special voice for each bear!

In this recent addition to the Berenstain Bears collection, Brother and Sister look for a way to show their mom they care.

My mom is definitely getting this one for mother’s day. Maybe with a spa gift certificate as a bookmark?!

What are you giving your mom on Mother’s Day?

love,
melanie

27 Before 28: Birthday Goals List

270001

280001 As promised, here is my birthday goals list. I was going to rewrite it, but hoping to turn over my “worry less” new leaf, I just scanned it in, straight from my journal. Keep me accountable, ya’ll!

love the (almost) birthday girl,

melanie

27 before 27: Birthday Goals Update

Last year, I posted my 26 27 before 27 goals. And it’s almost my birthday, ya’ll.  I thought it’d be fun to see how well I did. Admittedly, I lost the original paper these goals were written on, so I haven’t looked at them in a while. Luckily, I saved it here and shared it with you lovely folks! Here’s the update:

26 27 before 27

  1. Travel to a new city: New Orleans and Philadelphia
  2. Try a new cuisine: Israeli
  3. Read a “classic” novel: I re-read the Great Gatsby. It counts!
  4. Make a new friend: Amber
  5. Learn to make a vintage cocktail: Tom Collins… gross
  6. Implement “do nothing” Sundays: I don’t think this will ever happen.
  7. Sleep under the stars: At Drew & Jordan’s wedding
  8. Print out old pictures: Noooope.
  9. Buy a new pair of jeans: I hate jean shopping.
  10. Go on an unplanned adventure: My whole life is an unplanned adventure at this point!
  11. Send a letter: Sent it with a package. It counts, right?
  12. Connect with an old friend: Lauren
  13. Throw a party: Doing this (again) on Monday!
  14. Take a night-time stroll: Do this all the time with George, of course!
  15. Live without regret: Done.
  16. Forgive often: Working on it, always.
  17. Visit the farmers’ market: I visited the one in Raleigh. It counts.
  18. Bake for a friend: Easter
  19. Play in the ocean: I touched the ocean last time I was at the beach. The water is still super cold here!
  20. Visit the antique store in Williamston: Never open.
  21. See a movie alone: Not at the theatre, but I have watched a few alone.
  22. Speak up for myself: On many occasions, still needs work.
  23. Learn to shoot a handgun: Just need to take the class now.
  24. Get a massage: Bah, I never make time to schedule these!
  25. Hug George daily: My welcome home hugs are the best!
  26. Laugh often
  27. Worry less!: Work in progress!!!

Tomorrow I’ll share my new birthday goals.

Do you make birthday goals? What do they include?

love,
melanie

The Biggest Before and After EVER!

librarybefore2

The old library shelving

libraryshelves3

beforelibrary

We had our reference section sitting on our study carrels for 6 months because the shelving collapsed when we tried to move it : /

 

I’ve been absent ’round these parts because… (dun, dun, dun!) I’ve had a huge project at work (whomp, whomp). But this is no ordinary project. Last year, I wrote a request to the senior leadership team at my school to fund new library shelving. The old shelving was falling apart. Literally. The furniture in the library was all original to the school, so it has been there since 1969! After much fighting, scraping and the occasional tear, we got the go ahead for new shelving!

Today I am happy to bring you the biggest “Before and After” this blog has ever seen!

AFTER!

AFTER!

I no longer feel like I might get assaulted when I re-shelve books!

I no longer feel like I might get assaulted when I re-shelve books!

Our new bright, airy stacks!

It has been a long process. We weeded 6,000 books from the collection. We researched and designed shelves. And we physically moved and re-shelved 24,000 books.

I am tired. My body hurts. I didn’t know being a librarian often involves so much physical labor. I actually soaked in Epsom salts last night. I am an old lady, but a happy old lady who knows that hard work pays off.

love,
melanie

Famous Last Words Friday

lastwords2 Happy Friday! Can you smell the weekend yet? I can! It smells like freshly-baked bread and freshly-laundered sheets.

Can you guess the novel these famous last words belong to? Leave your guesses in the comments! This week I’ve got a brand new copy of A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles for the first correct guess.

love,
melanie