Organizing your reading

Recently I mentioned in my post here that I love my Kindle. It helps me organize my reading in a few ways:

-I can create sections on the Kindle to organize the books by topic, genre, etc.

-It saves me space because I don’t have as many ‘hard copy’ books coming into our house.

-If there is a quote or a passage I want to remember, I can ‘highlight’ it on the kindle or ‘share’ it on Facebook.

-I can also read my Kindle books on my iPad (brand new for me and I love that too!) using the Amazon Kindle app. This means that my husband and I can be reading our Kindle books at the same time.

Yea Kindle!


But I also have REAL books too. And we have a lot. Here’s how I keep those organized so they don’t look like this:


-We mostly only keep books in two places to prevent them from overtaking our house. In our den, we keep anything we want on display because they are either pretty or really interesting, such as pictorial books, travel guides, or books we’ve read that we would really recommend and lend out. That way guests can see these books and browse through them if they want to. We also keep many of our photo albums here so that they have a better chance of actually being looked at.

-We keep the rest of our books in a small closet that has a lot of shelves. These are mostly paperbacks or informative/manual type books, such as our book on dog training….If you knew our dogs, you would understand why the dog training book is in absolutely pristine untouched condition. I also have several signed or more rare books in here because I want to keep them looking good. Someday, I would love to have a collection of extremely rare books. I worked in a bookstore for years and have a deep appreciation for the entire process of writing and making a book. That is why I still keep a collection of books, however enamored I may be of my e-reader.

-The only other place I have a few books is in the guest room. They are paperback novels that are in a basket with some magazines.

-We separate our books based on genre and also by size to make them easy to find and a little nicer looking.

And here are two ways I use the internet to organize my reading:

-My sisters, my best friends and I just started a book club. Since we all live in different states, it’s hard to schedule a way to meet. My sister Kelly had the idea to start a Facebook group page for the book club. That way we can all comment and keep up without having to work out everyone’s schedule.

-I also am a TAD obsessed with the website This site lets you:

~Record and review books you’ve already read

~Keep a list of books you want to read in the future

~They also have a function where you can create groups, but we used Facebook as mentioned above because not everyone in our bookclub is currently on GoodReads.

~The site will make recommendations based on books you’ve already read and liked. You can add their recommendations to your ‘to-read’ list or you can mark ‘not interested’. These choice will help tailor future recommendations for you.

~You can add friends and create a social network around the books you are reading. Finally! A social network I can jump whole-heartedly into. 🙂

~My friend Kristi showed me the other day that GoodReads also lists quotes! I love quotes, but it takes me FOREVER to find ones that I really like online. GoodReads has an astounding collection of quotes and you can search by keyword or author. You can even ‘like’ the quotes so they are saved for you to view later. Seriously, people, this is a great and useful website.

I am currently reading 5 (count em, 5!) books from different genres. I usually don’t have that many going on at one time, but that’s how it ended up right now. However, between my hard copies, e-reader, Good Reads, and Facebook, I’m managing to keep it all straight. Expect a couple of book reviews in the near future, my friends.

And by the way, don’t even get me started on how many kids books we have at our house. I didn’t even include those in here at all….that is a post for another day. Happy reading!






Safe and sound….and preparing for more

Hi all! Earlier last week I posted about Nixle, which is an emergency notification system that can send you emails or texts with any advisories or warnings in your area. You can read the post here.  Well, it turns out I have been using that service quite a bit this week. I live in Colorado and yesterday a fire started just west of Colorado Springs. It has already grown to over 2500 acres and is working its way towards my community.

It probably won’t reach us, but the little town close to us is on pre-evacuation standby. This means every0ne has to be ready to leave. This is scary stuff. Here are the things I am doing to prepare:

-I have texted or emailed friends in the pre-evacuation area to let them know they can come to our house if they are evacuated. The reason I am texting and emailing is because the phone lines are in heavy use and it can be difficult to get through.

-I have filled our truck up with gas. You never know when you will need to leave and when you’ll get a chance to fill up.

-All of our windows and doors are closed because the smoke here is fairly heavy.

-I have let my out of town friends and family know what is going on and that I am ok.

-I have been in contact with my neighbors so we are all on the same page with what to do if this gets any closer to us.

-I have the news on, am keeping an eye on internet updates and am getting my Nixle texts.

-I TRIED to go the grocery store to stock up. Let’s keep in mind that the closest good size grocery store is 30 minutes away and towards the fire. My husband was out of town (and is trying to get home!) so I packed up the kids and went all the way to the store. I pulled into the parking lot, reached over for my purse….and reached for my purse…, no purse. Are you kidding me? I forgot my purse? So I texted my husband to pick up water on his way home and I drove ALL THE WAY home. We have enough food to get us by if they close the grocery store, so we’re ok, but I was so frustrated. That taught me the following HUGE lesson:

Keep your written evacuation checklist handy! So I wasn’t evacuating and it wasn’t technically an emergency yet, but I was flustered and I forgot a critical item when I left the house. I don’t think I’ve left the house without a purse in 15 years! If this had been an actual evacuation, I could have been in real trouble. I do have an evacuation list for when we have to leave to the house, but this little incident showed me how being distracted, scared, busy or time crunched can really affect your thinking. So if you don’t have an evacuation checklist already, get one now, get it printed and make it easily accessible.

I have found several good resources for examples of checklists and evacuation info:

Red Cross Evacuation Checklist

FEMA – this is just a good reference all the way around when it comes to emergencies

Phantom Ranch Checklist – This is probably the most in depth list that I’ve seen. I have no idea really what this website is about. It’s actually a mish-mash of topics, but they are all very well thought out and informative. There is an extensive list of items to take on the checklist and also a list of what to do before leaving.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t always have long to grab things before evacuating. I just heard the best idea for if you have only a couple minutes….Grab the P’s!

The P’s:






Easy enough right? Well, it’s still a good idea to have a written list that you can check off, but if you only have a minute, remember the P’s! I’m exhausted so I’m off to bed. But look for an upcoming post with links to my checklist, which I plan to post. I’m hoping that even if people don’t write their own checklist, they might at least download one for reference!

Sunday Survey Time:


Burned out

A few weeks ago, there was a safety fair in the town pretty close to me.

The sad thing was that there was NO ONE there! I mean nobody, except the exhibitors. It was sad really. Safety in your home, on the road, in the wild, with your family is so important and NO ONE was there! I guess there’s just not a big exciting draw to car seat safety and bear attack prevention booths.

One thing I did find out about though was…

Nixle. Have you heard of this??? It’s a national notification system that offers free email and text notifications for alerts, advisories and warnings. Now, in my neck of the woods (in the Colorado mountains), many times these alerts and warnings are about forest fires.

You may be saying “Well, I’m living in a concrete jungle or suburbia. Why in the world do I care about forest fires?”

Well, Nixle is not just about natural disasters or rural issues. Let me give you an example. I have signed up to alert for my zip code, but also for my parents zip code and my in-laws (you can set up to 5 zip codes to automatically alert). My in-laws are in Atlanta and the other day, I got an alert for them because there was a major accident on the highway closest to them and it was closed. Now isn’t that useful and timely information? For free.

Back to rural Colorado. So we have had forest fires near us and I hadn’t been too concerned because they usually are able to contain them in a reasonable amount of time. But combine high winds, high heat, and no rain, we just had one get out of hand about 8 miles from us.

Springer Fire – Eleven Mile Canyon – June 2012

Smoke Blocking the Sun

It is called the Springer Fire and is now slowly being contained. But we had the possibility of evacuation if the fire came this way. Instead of me searching online or calling the fire department, I have been getting daily reports on the status of the fire, any closures, and the amount of containment. Genius!

So go to their website and spend 30 seconds getting yourself set up for these alerts. It could make a difference in your commute or it could save your life. Either way, it’s worth the time.