Category Archives: home organization

Wishes To Reality Update

As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.

My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.

I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!

I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!

Continue reading Wishes To Reality Update

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Making Time For Devotions

If you’ve been following along with my blog you probably have seen that we are really trying to make some positive changes around this little cabin. I will be the first to admit that towards the end of last year I was not a very happy Momma. We were in the midst of a very rough parenting phase with my two special needs kiddos who are 16 & 11 (going on 30)… their attitudes and behavior were at a point that I really doubted my parenting skills and abilities. Something had to change, actually a lot of somethings had to change.

Personal Devotions

One big thing that I had gotten away from was my daily devotions. I wasn’t having my ‘quiet time’ in the mornings before the kids woke up which meant I wasn’t having any one on one meetings with my LORD. Boy have I missed those sessions!

Well, 2019 is the year for me to stop wishing for CHANGE and to start making it happen! I’ve been posting a lot about some of the things we’ve been working on and one of those the past couple of weeks has been to start making time for devotions.

Not everyone may feel the same as I do but I really do need some time to myself. I need time to plan, to organize my thoughts, and talk to my LORD. I also have things I want to do like blog, arts & crafts projects, and I have a ton of reading to catch up on.

First things first though is making time for my daily devotions. I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of getting up early before the kids so that I can have my ‘quiet time’. I’ll admit that this hasn’t been easy especially on cold mornings like this today. Then yesterday I got up early but I had issues with the coffee maker and ended up not getting to my ‘quiet time’. I like to get comfy when I study or read so I like to have a drink with me. Sometimes I will snuggle up with a warm blanket and other times I might like to sit outside on the porch just depending on the whether and how I feel.

I also keep a notebook with me to jot down notes and also to keep track of different things I am praying about or people/situations I am praying for. One of the really important things I really try to include in prayer is our homeschool journey because without GOD’s help I can’t do this. This is a good way to keep myself organized and I can look back through my notebook to see just how much GOD has done for me and my family through the year.

Before we moved I had transformed part of my closet into a place where I could find some ‘quiet time’ even in the middle of the day. I kept my BIBLES, devotionals, and prayer journal in my desk there. It was so easy to ‘find’ time because I had everything organized. However here, in this little cabin, I don’t have a dedicated space so it has been more of a challenge for me.

Secondly, I never seem to know where to start when it comes to reading my BIBLE. Sometimes I’ll go through a phase where I just open it up and read wherever and then other times I try to follow along with a book like one of these here:

First Light Women’s Daily Devotional & Journal

Starting Your Day Right

I have started both of these books at different times but have never completed either one of them… sad but true. This year I am determined to finish one of them!

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.if a product is purchased through one of our links.

I also like to keep some of these FREE booklets in my bags so that I have something to read when waiting at appointments or such:

Our Daily Bread

In Touch

There are also a wide variety of email devotionals and apps that you can use from your phone which make it so much easier to do this on the go. I have also found this site HERE which has many plans to use and I am going to try to read through the BIBLE this year… even though some of it may be more listening than reading. This is a goal I have had since I was young and I’ve never completely read through the entire bible yet. The site has several other FREE plans to help you with your spiritual life and you can even join as a group with friends to encourage each other.Y

Many people think that devotions need to be an in depth study but that’s not true. Your devotions should be what feels right for you. The LORD will lead you to more in depth studies when HE knows you are ready… and HE will make it all POSSIBLE.

I do have a couple of Proverbs 31 studies that I’ve bookmarked to work on this year as well as some others that I’ll share as we go through the year. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with too much information. If there is something specific that you FEEL led to study then you can always do a GOOGLE search on the subject (ex: becoming a proverbs 31 woman bible study) and find many options to choose from.

If you aren’t sure how to set up your prayer journal you can find lots of useful ideas and printables HERE or some more great ideas HERE.

Family Devotions

I feel that not only do I need to do my personal devotions but I probably need to start including more time for family devotions as well. Now we do have some BIBLE studies and such worked into our homeschool routine but sometimes we may need to add to it.

We may try to start having a scripture reading at a designated meal time or maybe just have a certain time of day to read scripture… I’m not really sure about my plans for this addtional devotion time yet but I am working on it. Sometimes we have BIBLE discussions in the van when we are going places so really it could happen anytime and anywhere.

I have found a few different ideas for family devotions HERE and HERE. If you don’t like either of those you can check out this GOOGLE search. My kids and I really enjoyed using this book here too:

Our Daily Bread for Kids: 365 Meaningful Moments with God

Couple Devotions

This is another area that I think is important but we don’t really do this yet. We have discussions on occasion but never anything set or intentional. Now for this to work it has to be something that we both can agree on and something we can work into our schedules.

Many other people may find it difficult as well but remember that you don’t have to physically be in the same place at the same time. You can decide to them via phone, FACETIME, or SKYPE or maybe just have a designated time each day to spend on your devotions.

I’ve found a few ideas for couple devotions HERE and HERE.

Not married or don’t have a partner? You can always spend a little time praying for that special person. I know I prayed for Mr. Awesome before I even met him and I am so glad I did. I loved these books HERE and HERE for this.

In the end I don’t think you will regret any time you spend on your devotions. You should definitely start out slowly and work your way into this new routine. It takes a little while to get a new habit started and if you happen to be like me this will be a habit that will grow on you and get easier as time goes by. This one habit can make such a BIG difference in your whole LIFE… I know it does in mine.

If it seems that you are having trouble getting it started then pray for GOD to lead you in the way you should go. Maybe you are trying to do too much? Or maybe what you are trying to do just isn’t what is best for you or your family.

Have a blessed weekend!

A New School Routine For The New Year

This was our first week back to school and as I mentioned in this post HERE we started a new school routine which has worked out rather well so far. We will be doing our Group studies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays with Mondays and/or Fridays being left for their independent studies and/or completing assignments they didn’t finish with the group.

We are also using Mondays & Fridays to do the majority of our household cleaning & chores, running errands, etc. This has helped out so much being able to dedicate a big chunk of time on projects that I’ve been wanting to work on and just haven’t been able to get to lately. This included getting our house back in order after the holidays… it was such a MESS! If you don’t believe me you should see the pics in this post.

After getting the bulk of the organizing finished up on Monday we were FREE to FOCUS on our school work with minimal interruptions. No pausing to check laundry which normally meant a 15-20 minute interruption. No waiting for stragglers to quit lollygagging around with chores as we have a set time to get them finished or they just wait until the school work is finished. I mean a few dirty dishes or crumbs in the floor won’t kill anyone, right?

Continue reading A New School Routine For The New Year

A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 2

**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.

So if you read my post yesterday you know that we had some unexpected work that had to get done around the house. What you didn’t get to see was the post holiday mess the rest of the house was still in… yep, I’m gonna show you some really messy pics of our cabin because LIFE is MESSY at times and we aren’t PERFECT so our place gets just as MESSY as everyone else’s house, and probably more at times.

One thing I know is that you can’t truly organize CLUTTER! Boy oh boy was it in abundance around earlier this week. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you all these pics but I really want to show everyone that you CAN change your LIFE one little step at a time. The important thing is to remember that the CHANGE must start somewhere and I know that LIFE can be so OVERWHELMING at times… these pics can prove that… but we can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves.

On the other hand I want everyone to know that our house has not looked this BAD in a long time. I know that HOARDING tendencies seem to run in one side of my family and that scares the crap out of me! Part Most of this was MESS was due to the post holiday chaos we had and the total LACK of ENERGY I had from not feeling well … but enough with the EXCUSES as I was determined to get past the PROCRASTINATION.

Over the weekend I had made a short To-Do List to work on and a couple of the first items to tackle were the kitchen and the bathroom. However the closet became number 1 priority when the kids demolished some of the shelving… you can read about that project HERE. Here’s the BEFORE of the kitchen:

You can see breakfast prep was ongoing when I took this and it was so hard to accomplish anything with the CLUTTER laying around. Mr. Joey wanted to help with breakfast so I did a quick tidy to make room and let him work on some Pancake Poppers for a quick breakfast.

We made one batch of blueberry and one batch of sausage… yum!

After breakfast I did a quick cleanup and had the kitchen back to a semi-normal state within 20-30 minutes… YAY!

Then I tackled the bathroom which took another 10-15 minutes. I could feel myself running out of steam really quickly though. I crossed off those two items and another as the kids had helped change sheets and tidy up the loft area as I cleaned in the kitchen and bathroom. Then I attempted to tackle the next area which was in the Main Room

This pic was actually from Thursday before I got to work on paying bills but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of change from then to Sunday. I did start on it but got interrupted with something or another and that was pretty much the end of the cleaning for the day.

However on Monday I had a new PLAN OF ACTION. We needed to get started back to school work but I knew that there was no way I would keep anyone’s attention with all the stuff sitting around just begging to be discovered.

So I made an executive decision that for now our group studies will be completed Tuesday-Thursday. The kids can work on independent or one-one tasks on Mondays and Fridays. This change also included a temporary change in our Laundry and Cleaning Routines as the majority of those tasks will be completed on Mondays and Fridays as well. So far so good with this change and we’ve actually been able to accomplish quite a bit more in the cleaning and school areas.

Our first task of the day was to get this tree put away…

Most of the other decorations had already been packed into totes the week before so we just had to make room for the tree decor. Then everything was taken to the shed and neatly put away.

Then to get the table put back up. I put Joey to work on bagging up the random grocery bags around the house so we can reuse them.

I set to work on straightening up my bedroom… this is what it looks like after getting back from a dance. I usually have the little boys in here to change and the girls use the closet to get ready. This means I can’t get in there to put away anything so it ends up piled on my bed… sigh.

After a bit it looked much better except for the basket of laundry sitting there… but hey, at least it was clean laundry. I went ahead and checked the bedroom off the To-Do List as well, but as you will see in a bit that may have been a bit premature.

While I worked in the bedroom the kids cleaned up the floor where the tree had been. They also worked on organizing their school cubbies so we could have a fresh start for the next day. They also put away some of the items that had been cluttering the table. Things actually seemed to be getting MESSIER instead of cleaner!

They also worked on straightening up the TV area as there were dirty dishes, controllers, toys that needed put away.

We were on a roll and our next mission was to get rid of all the boxes sitting around. Most of these held Christmas gifts that needed homes. Now that we had straightened up most everything this would be an easier task to accomplish. But first Jacob thought everyone should have a quick snack of candy canes from the tree… lol.

Again things seemed to get MESSIER before they got better. This table became a sorting place for EVERYTHING. I opened a box, sorted out what needed to go where, and then we took care of EVERYTHING we had out at the moment before moving to the next box.

Here is another pile that had to get sorted as well.

It might have been a bit time saving to have sorted all the boxes at once but we had William helping out and he gets OVERWHELMED easily and then it gets a bit HARD for anyone else to get anything accomplished as you have to keep redirecting him.

I had received a ton of new school supplies from Santa… he knew just what I need, right? We also got lots of new books and William really wanted to read all of them. In the process I lost a book I had pulled off my bookshelf earlier in the day… my mistake, as I should’ve waited until we were finished with the clean up. You just might laugh, like Mr. Awesome did, when I show you the book I lost:

The Organized Homeschool Life

But anyway as I sorted the kids carried things and put them away but some items got piled on my bed… it appeared that my bed also had become a playground at some point in time. This time the MESS actually looks worse than it was.

Once most of the items had been sorted and carried to their new homes, or at least in the general area of their new home, Ms. Bella made some yummy PB&Js for the crew. As you can see everything was looking much better.

Even the bedroom looked pretty good…

As I was carrying things out to the shed I noticed something in the pond…

I had to call the kids out to take a closer peek… such a cute suprise!

I had a couple of more things to get organized and look at like this organizer I had gotten for Christmas:

And these new books that we got for our homeschool…

I’m so excited to start using these in the future!

We also got a few more books that everyone is excited to read like this one here:

Soft Rain

As I worked on setting up the organizer and putting away these items the girls wasted no time getting to work making some headbands, bracelets other items now that they had room to work at the table.

Then the UPS man brought my Grove package… another pleasant suprise!

I am really loving the Mrs. Meyers cleaners and have started to try out some of the other products which you can also get on AMAZON. Once I got all of these put away I worked on a little redecorating as everything looked so BARE.

I pulled some of the peacock decor out of my bedroom for now…

The gold peacock was something Mr. Awesome bought for me last year and that little pig was one I painted many, many years ago when my older kids will young.

I moved the flowes basket from the kitchen to this window. This is where my new napkin holder is sitting as well as the new globe that we got for Christmas.

It also lights up to show the constellations which is so NEAT!(I don’t know why but this made our homeschool seem so much more ‘official like’… lol)

In the kitchen I took down the cornice that was up there and put up this really cute tray I found with the after Christmas clearance at Walmart.

All in all we had a really good day and with the kids helping out as much as they did I didn’t get too overwhelmed nor did I completely wear myslef out as I have been doing a lot lately.

We didn’t do a deep cleaning or major reorganizing. We did find a HOME for EVERYTHING and we did PURGE some items as we went along. There are still things that need to be done but the HOUSE feels so much BETTER now and I’m not constantly looking for things… other than that book that hasn’t resurfaced yet.

That’s OK as the wonderful UPS man delivered me another copy today… so maybe if I find the old one I can BLESS someone else with it.

The biggest thing with all of this was to just get STARTED. Another big thing was to not get sidetracked with the fact that everything wasn’t being ‘cleaned properly’ or organized exactly the way I wanted it. If we had stopped to rearrange and/or clean every book shelf and cabinet along the way I would still be working on this project.

Now that we have everything situated we can get back to our regular cleaning tasks, even though we have changed the routine the tasks are still the same, and EVERYTHING will get clean in its own time. My main FOCUS was just to get a bit more organized as I couldn’t find anything over the past couple of weeks. Even though I lost my book and it still drives me a little batty wondering where it might have went its not that big of a deal in the BIG PICTURE.

We accomplished the GOAL that we set out to do and we can create a new PLAN OF ACTION for our next GOAL. For us this wasn’t a HUGE task to deal with as our house isn’t that BIG to start with. The MESS really did look worse than it was once we got started on it. If you have a bigger house then you might just need to FOCUS on ONE AREA at a time… not the whole house. If the task is still too BIG then focus on a smaller area at a time… break that elephant down into small pieces and work on them one at a time. A little progress is BETTER than doing NOTHING at all.

If you need a little motivation or encouragement then be sure to reach out to me via email or on Facebook in the Kirby’s Kabin Blog Group I’ve just started.

Have a great day and stay tuned for a look at our first couple of days with our new homeschool schedule!

A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 1

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**This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If a purchase is made through one of these links we may make a small commission which costs you nothing extra and blesses our family so we thank you! For full affiliate disclosure please click HERE.if a product is purchased through one of our links.

Hey y’all! How have you been? It’s been a little CRAZY here as usual but crazy seems to be our normal so I am becoming used to it. However I have been really trying to make some changes to reduce the amount of stress our craziness can bring. If you missed my Plan of Action post you should really check it out HERE to see what changes we are working on around this little cabin.

While I have been working on my list and trying to come up with some ideas to make my wishes become REALITY there have been a few unexpected hiccups already. One was thisongoing Fibro Flare I’ve been dealing with. Living with chronic pain is NO FUN and then when it seems like the pain is UNBEARABLE then something else happens to push you almost to the brink of a breakdown. Howevere GOD is GOOD and HE is always there and manages to keep me from free falling over the edge of insanity.

There have been several days where I’ve done pretty much NOTHING or at least as close to NOTHING as I could get by with. However last Friday was not one of those days. I walked into the closet to get something and realized that the kiddos had been playing with my crinolines AGAIN… sigh… and they had torn apart the shelving unit that held them AGAIN. Well, there wasn’t a lot I could do about it when I found it as we were getting ready for a dance. Then a bit later I walked in to find that the girls had pulled the middle section of their unit apart… GRRRR! I was ready to pull my hair out but I just helped everyone to get what they needed and instructed them to STAY OUT of the closet until I could fix it.

Continue reading A Fresh Start In The New Year Part 1

Keeping Up With The Bills Free Printable

It’s the 3rd already! Where has time gone? I’ve not been feeling up to par the past week or so and today it dawned on me that I need to pay bills… Oops… I apologize to my creditors in advance. When I finally sat down to get to work I realized that I needed a new sheet printed off. (See this post HERE if you missed my post last year about how I keep track of my bills.)

Well, that was easier said than done as my worksheet was saved on my old laptop… the one the kids killed last year. I had worked on it a bit last January and gotten it to come back up but I have only used it 3 or 4 times during the past year and each time was tricky as the laptop doesn’t act right and still shuts down frequently. Luckily for me (and you) I was able to get to the files I needed and get them saved on my portable drive (which was originally another laptop that a couple of the kids killed a few years ago)… yeah, lesson learned as they are no longer allowed to play on Momma’s laptop.

If you haven’t read the ‘Keeping Up With The Bills‘ post you may want to check it out so you can see how I use these worksheets to keep our bills organized and paid on time. Since I know that many of us have made resolutions to get more organized I am including links to FREE printables for anyone to use.

monthlybillsblankpic

Monthly Bills PDF

monthlysubsblankpic

Monthly/Yeary Subscriptions PDF

Happy New Year!



A Look Back On 2018

So I’ve been posting quite a bit about my goals for 2019 but let’s not forget about all the good times we had in 2018. Sure, there were some sad times and some hard times but remembering the good times can help ease the pain of the not so good. Here’s a quick peek back on some of our pictures, posts, and activities from 2018:

Continue reading A Look Back On 2018

A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

So a few days ago I posted about my goals for 2019. I’m not waiting until the New Year to get started because there is no time like NOW to get started on these goals. You don’t have to wait either and you can follow along with me on my journey to finding a simpler, happier, and better functioning lifestyle here in our little cabin.

It’s so easy to get discouraged with LIFE at times, I know because I’ve felt myself falling into a HUGE pit of discouragement lately. It feels like I just keep hitting walls in so many areas of LIFE and I just don’t know how to get past them. The one thing I do know is the GOD is in control and if there is something in my way HE can help me overcome it.

I also know that a lot of times our failures come from inside of ourselves. We get unhappy with things and want to change them but sometimes the change must come from us first. This can be hard to do and sometimes it can be hard to admit that we aren’t PERFECT.

Over the holidays so many people are posting pictures of their families. Many of these pictures seem to show PERFECT homes and families but behind the scenes can be a different story. In reality LIFE is MESSY in so many ways. I can tell you that my LIFE is MESSY for sure with so many kids and special needs not to mention that we HOMESCHOOL and LIVE in a TINY CABIN. Boy can it get MESSY. Don’t let those pictures get you feeling depressed or down. You can follow along with me, a normal (well, somewhat normal depending on you definition of normal) Momma, as I tackle some of this crazy mess we call LIFE.

Continue reading A Plan Of Action For A New You In The New Year

My 2019 New Year’s Goals

As you read the title you may be rolling your eyes because we all make resolutions but many of us, myself included, don’t quite keep to them or just never even start them. I know last year I had some really great ones that were not so specific but somehow they managed to slip away from me.

Part of the blame falls on some major life changes (big sister moved away/death in the family), an illness that took me a while to recover from, and LIFE which seems to get busier everyday. When you combine all of those with the fact that we had recently downsized and moved (from 2,000 sq ft to just barely over 600 sq ft) its no wonder I didn’t accomplish everything I had set out to do but I did manage to make a little progress in each area.

SO what are some of the top resolutions for 2019? According to an abc news article they are as follows:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Save money
  3. Travel
  4. Make new friends
  5. Get a new job or hobby
  6. Find love

Hmm… some pretty interesting resolutions. Have you thought about yours yet? I have given it a bit of thought and here are my goals for the upcoming year in no particular order:

Continue reading My 2019 New Year’s Goals

Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins

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This is gonna sound crazy but I wanted to take a minute and maybe give everyone a bit of comic relief or at least a chuckle. I also want everyone to see the not so pretty side of our home because I know that many people stress about the way their houses look, especially with so many guests and company right now, and they feel like they are failing.

You aren’t failing anything, trust me, if failure were based on the way our houses look on a day to day basis then I’d be one of the biggest failures there is! Then I also seem to let people down at times because they have a certain image in their heads of how our large homeschooling family life is. This weekend I realized that a lot of people really have different opinions and ideas when it comes to these matters. I promise, we are just ordinary people, doing ordinary things, on a larger scale in a small cabin… lol. Have you noticed the blog name change? Kirby’s Korner will now be dedicated to  square dancing. 

Continue reading Counting Pumpkins… Yes, I Said Pumpkins

7 Easy Steps To Simplify Your Life Today

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a short list of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time.

Now I’m not talking about anything drastic like selling everything you own and moving into a small secluded cabin with no electric. This actually sounds like a really good idea to me right now but my kids wouldn’t really like that. The tips below will not only help you to simplify your life but they will help you to be more efficient.

Click on each link for more information and helpful tips.

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Reduce Your Screen Time
  3. Learn to say NO without feeling guilty
  4. Declutter your closet (and your house)
  5. Get Organized
  6. Set Up Routines
  7. Pay Off Those Debts and Bills

I wish you the best of luck with getting your life simplified! Let me know, in the comments below, of any tips that you have used to simplify your life.

Click here to get started on Step 1.

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Little House on The Pond Progress (With Pictures)

**This post does contain affiliate links to products we use in our home.

I’ve been promising pics of the newly rearranged house. I know it seems like I’m always rearranging something around here but it has been awhile since I’ve posted house pics so here they are.

Many of the pics show the before we moved in and the after… which is now. It has been quite challenging getting to this point partly because having a large family means you have a lot of stuff.

Another part is that we need this small space to function in a variety of ways. We homeschool and do a lot of arts and crafts. I like to cook, sew, and blog too. Not to mention the kids need a place to play and we need to eat, relax, and maybe sleep a little bit. Previously trying to find a spot for some ‘quiet time’ has proven to be a bit difficult as well.

I think we’ve finally found an arrangement that allows for everything we need. With our new furniture pieces we can make more room when needed and move things around quite easily to accommodate whatever we might be doing. This new arrangement has also allowed the house to feel much more open and it seems like we have so much more space while still being nice and cozy.

This is the bedroom area and the view from the bedroom:

Not much has changed in the bedroom since I moved the king sized bed in here earlier this year and moved the two bunkbeds to the Main Room. I can say that having my ‘room’ has been really nice and occasionally I come in here to get a little computer work done while the kids play in the Main Room.

When we first moved in we divided this room into two rooms with a partition and added a small storage loft above the second room which is W’s room right now.  Continue reading Little House on The Pond Progress (With Pictures)