Each month or so I try to share the books I’ve been enjoying. I don’t share every book that I’ve been reading, just the ones I really like or think will be helpful to the majority of our readers. While I prefer physical books, I do believe that some books are very well suited for digital books. As always, before you purchase a book (on my recommendation or on someone elses’) check to see if you library has it. Then you can peruse the book for yourself and see if it’s one you really need to own.
Budgeting Made Easy is a brand new ebook by Charissa from Cook With a Shoe blog. I’ve known Charissa (online) for a couple of years and I’ve been very impressed with her desire to keep her family on good financial footing while her husband finishes graduate school. I remember well the struggles we encountered when Carl was in school for the first decade of our marriage and I have a soft spot for anyone who is trying to make it through without going into debt.
Charissa is a sign language interpreter and does that has her day job. However, she doesn’t work for just one company, she freelances. This means she gets several checks each month and they are all in different amounts. That can make for a budgeting nightmare.
In Budgeting Made Easy, Charissa shares how she manages to budget and stay on the budget each month, even with a variable income. In the book, you’ll find information about prioritizing your expenses, making a budget, tracking your income, reducing debt, and emotional self care. Each chapter also has action steps to help you develop your own budget that will work for your circumstances.
The system that Charissa recommends is very similar to the way we budged during the years that Carl didn’t have a full time job and instead worked several part-time jobs. Some months we would 8 or more paychecks coming in and it would have gotten very chaotic without a plan.
If you’ve had a hard time developing a budget that works, Budgeting Made Easy can help you. BUT only if you actually do the work and then have the discipline to stay on budget.
Natural Color by Sasha Duerr is a book I received from Blogging for Books and loved. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at dying cloth and rope for our rope baskets for quite a while. But I don’t want to use store bought dyes.
Natural Color covers the basics of how to dye cloth plus which plants are good for using. One thing I really appreciate about Natural Color is the photos. They are beautiful, but also useful. For instance, the author uses a stack of pillows in cases to show what happens with different avocado pit ratios and what happens when you use iron to the bath. It’s a great visual.
Natural Color is divided by seasons and each season has suggested plants and projects. I love that even though the author is well educated in natural dying, she makes the dying process seem doable for even the most inexperienced dyer (that would be me).
In Natural Color, you’ll learn how to use avocado pits, calendula flowers and rose petals, black beans, pomegranate rinds, red cabbage, black walnut, and leaves such as loquat, fig, and sweet gum, and many other plants in your dying hobby.
We’ve made bath fizzies, dry shampoo, and bath melts, to name a few. They have all been fun and easy to make.
One of the things I like best about these recipes is that they use the whole herb and not just essential oils. I can easily grow herbs in my garden and that makes these ingredients “free”.
But the book isn’t just a collection of great recipes. In the beginning of the book, Jan gives information for every ingredient she uses in the recipes. It’s quite impressive and I believe it will help you make good substitutions for your family.
In 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health and Home, you’ll also learn how to make soap, cleaning products, infused oils and vinegars. I’ve always been kind of scared of making soap, thinking I needed a hazmat suit and all, but after reading the soap section in this book I feel like it’s doable without the suit.
There are beautiful photos of almost every recipe, the book is well laid out, the recipes live up to the books title in being easy and the book lays flat (something I really appreciate in recipe books).
Now, it’s your turn. What good books have you been reading lately? If you’re reading this by email, be sure to click over and leave your recommendations in the post.