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The Reading Report, Vol. 17: Back to the Classics 2018 Wrap-up

How on earth is it already the second week in December? Life here in the Lemon house has been so full (of mostly good things) that I just can’t seem to keep up with the passage of time. But at long last, here I am with my final report and wrap-up on the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. I will be posting some other bookish news and reviews on non-B2tCC reads later on this month, I hope. For today, though, I will just be listing all the finished titles under their categories and linking each title back to the post in which I gave a brief review of the finished book.

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018 Wrap-up

1. A 19th Century Classic: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

2. A 20th Century Classic: Howards End by E. M. Forster

3. A Classic by a Woman Author: Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers (read in place of Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton)

4. A Classic in Translation: The Wreath (book 1 of Kristin Lavransdatter) by Sigrid Undset

5. A Children’s Classic: Heidi by Johanna Spyri (This is the most recently finished book on my list, so I didn’t get a chance to post a finished review after last month’s “in progress” report. We both loved the book, although I did end up feeling like Heidi’s character was a little too perfect throughout. The lessons taught still ring true, regardless.)

6. A Classic Crime Story: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

7. Classic Travel or Journey Narrative: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

8. Classics with a Single-Word Title: Utopia by Thomas More

9. Classic with a Color in the Title: White Fang by Jack London

10. Classic by a New-to-You Author: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (in place of The Spiritual Life by Andrew Murray)

11. A Classic that Scares You: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

12. Re-read a Favorite Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen

I am so proud of myself for pushing through some of the less enjoyable choices I made for the challenge. And I must say that I am glad I participated this year! Also, according to my records on Goodreads, I have finished 54 books in 2018, which is a big deal for me! I honestly think this challenge pushed me to up my reading game across the board. Now I need to decide whether I want to tackle the 2019 challenge. We shall see!

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuninghearts (at) gmail (dot) com

Wellness Wednesday: Diffuser Recipes for a Happy, Healthy Holiday

 

As we enter the Christmas season, here in the northern hemisphere, we also enter winter and cold and flu season! So this week I thought I would share a few holiday diffuser recipes using essential oils to boost your immune health while also adding a bit of Christmas cheer to your home. Unlike scented candles or wax melts, essential oils do not add toxins to the air but, rather, support our overall health and wellness when we inhale them. Because of the amazing way that scent affects the brain, we also reap positive emotional benefits from diffusing essential oils. Enjoy these lovely essential oil diffuser combos during this season for a happy, healthy holiday!

Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate:

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!

P.S.--If you want to know more about the type of essential oils our family prefers, you can check out my Hearts, Minds and Oils page!

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans and Free Printable

During the month of December, we take an official break in our homeschool. Since we value consistency and enjoy our morning time together, though, I still like to continue some sort of recitation and read-aloud routine. It will look a little different than our regular monthly memory work because of it being Advent season. I planned several hymns and carols and no catechism or motto for this month.

Our full morning time plan is to read the “Parents and Children” part of one devotional from Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp. After that we will do our recitation/memory work, followed by a chapter or two from a read aloud, and ending by opening a card on our Advent tree to find out what the day’s activity will be. So far, I have planned that we will read aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and The True GiftWhen we finish those, I will choose short stories from either The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories or Louisa May Alcott’s Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag volumes (which are not all Christmas stories, but I found at least one in each collection.)

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans:

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Luke 2:1-7.

Hymns and Carols: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World” are our hymns. “Good King Wenceslas” and “Cradle Hymn” are our carols. I created a short playlist with variations of each song in case you would like to watch/listen to them with your family.

Poem: We will be memorizing “A Christmas Folk Song” by Lizette Woodworth Reese for our poetry selection.

Free Printable Plans:

If you need some quick last minute memory work plans, here is the free download link to print and use in your own homeschool morning time. These are formatted only in the horizontal style for use as a booklet or in a mini-binder because I didn’t have time to reorganize them for full size binder pages this time. Enjoy!

Wellness Wednesday: Reporting on the Luddite Experiment

At the beginning of October, I began what I intended to be only a month-long break from social media. You can read about that in my original post on “Joining the Luddite Experiment.” Now that it is nearly the end of November, I thought I should report on how that experiment has been going, because, as you may have guessed, I have not really gone back to Facebook or Instagram yet.

I have checked a couple of things on Facebook in the last week, namely the Close Reads Podcast group to find out when we start reading The Great Gatsby (this week!) and a local homeschool group to see if there are any exciting field trips scheduled in December that we don’t want to miss (nope). But otherwise, I have been perfectly happy to be off social media and plan to continue to stay away for the remainder of the year.

So what have I been doing with all that time I had been spending scrolling through feeds? Well, I find myself spending more time doing things offline that are important to me, like reading and knitting and journalling. I am less distracted or worried about what so-and-so out there in the world might be doing and more content to just live my little life right here with my family. I have enjoyed having local friends over for a homeschool mom’s book club, and I have reconnected with other AmblesideOnline parents on the AO Forum. I also have been enjoying more time spent in devotional reading and prayer in the mornings.

So, overall, I have to say that this time away from the hubbub of the virtual social scene has been exactly what I hoped it would be, and I don’t have any plans to go back any time soon. Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I am looking forward to more cozy, contented days cultivating relationships with my family and local friends and doing what I love without worrying so much about what “everyone else” might be doing. My emotional and mental health have truly improved over the last two months, and that alone is reason enough for me to continue in this Luddite Experiment.


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!


Wellness Wednesday: Thanksgiving is Good for You!

Yes, I know that a lot of our more traditional Thanksgiving meals here in the U.S. are not what we think of as “health food.” We have to be careful to make good food choices when we come to the holiday table. But that isn’t the reason I am saying that Thanksgiving is good for you. I am talking about the health benefits of gratitude.

When we choose to cultivate a grateful attitude, we not only put ourselves in a more positive mental state. Certainly thinking of focussing on our blessings is beneficial to our emotional health. We think more clearly about the things we have to be thankful for instead of those that tend to bring us down. I believe we all would acknowledge that if we struggle with negative emotions, one way to improve our outlook is to intentionally set aside time to practice gratitude.

But did you know that having an “attitude of gratitude” can also be good for your physical health? According to an article in Psychology Today, that is the case!

Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people…grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health.

Another interesting study cited in the same Psychology Today article found that people who practice gratitude sleep better, especially when people write down a few things for which they are thankful before going to bed. Even more fascinating are some studies mentioned in a Greater Good Magazine article, in which researchers found a connection between heart health and cultivating gratitude.

I don’t know about you, but knowing that God has made our minds, emotions and bodies to work in such an interconnected way…well, it makes me truly grateful for His wonderful design. And I am definitely rebooting my habit of recording reasons for gratitude in my prayer journal, not just because I want good health, but because the Lord deserves to receive the praise.

So, this Thanksgiving, don’t just choose to eat health when possible. Choose to truly give thanks for all the blessings you’ve been given. And start on a habit of gratitude today!


Want to link up? I would love to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!