2015 In Review

2015 is almost over. It has been a full year, full of change.

We greatly simplified our possessions, including 1/3 to 1/2 of our books, and moved from Montana to our own land in New Mexico.

Some highlights:

  • I attended the 2015 Ambleside Online retreat, and met some of my dear online friends.
  • I also attended the 2015 Pacific Northwest Charlotte Mason conference, and met some more friends.
  • My eldest son officially became a teenager, turning 13 in the summer.
  • My youngest child, my daughter, turned 6 and we are slowly starting AO year 1.
  • I read 40-odd books, at least, that is how many I wrote down.

We are celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas this year, nothing huge, but spacing out the goodness. It is really going well, I like that the kids are appreciating their gifts for the day, rather than ripping through one after another.

And now … 2015 in Books (not really in order):
1: Daughter of Time
2: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3: Land of Little Rain
4: The Gammage Cup
5: Men of Iron
6: Beowulf
7: In Freedom’s Cause
8: The White Mountains
9: The Pushcart War
10: Abraham Lincoln’s World
11: Tale of Beatrix Potter
12: The Talking Wire (Alexander Graham Bell)
13: Children of the New Forest
14: Dyslexia Empowerment Plan
15: The Explosive Child
16: Phineas Gage
17: Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse
18: Idylls of the King
19: Beloved Botanist: The Story of Carl Linnaeus
20: The Odyssey
21: the life-changing magic of tidying up
22: Secrets of the Woods
23: Parents and Children
24-26: The Cat Who … (3 books, packed before I wrote down the titles)
27: James and the Giant Peach
28: The Child Whisperer
29: A Christmas Carol
30: The Whisper of Glocken
31: Les Miserables
32: The Blue Fairy Book
33: Gift of the Magi
34: Taste of Chaucer
35: Joan of Arc (by Twain)
36: Tall Tales
37: Formation of Character
38: Prince Caspian
39: MacBeth
40: Everyman and Other Morality Plays.

And the number one book of the year was Les Miserables – even with that enlightening 20 page detour into the Paris sewer system. Jean Valjean, the man who turned his life around thanks to the foolish (by the world’s wisdom) action of a humble bishop.


Surprise favorite goes to Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, both my son and I loved it

Best “kids” book … I can’t choose. Just read The Pushcart War, The Tripod Trilogy, and The Gammage Cup with it’s sequel.

Best non-fiction goes to Charlotte Mason’s book, Formation of Character. Karen Glass (author of Consider This, another don’t-miss book), led the study on the Ambleside Online forums. I am thankful for her leadership and innovative schedule, which made the book manageable.

Here’s to 2016! Good things are coming.


  1. Heather

    Would you mind saying in what part of New Mexico you bought land? My husband and I moved to the East Coast about 10 years ago and just last night we were, once again, talking about how we yearned to move back West. We came from Phoenix, but do not want to return there. We were looking at New Mexico as an option, but we are unsure of what areas to explore. We looked at Montana,also, but we would like to move closer to Arizona where our family still lives and I think Montana is just too cold for me. I left the Midwest to attend college in Phoenix for a reason! If you have any tips on why New Mexico was where you chose to buy land, I’d be grateful. Thank you.

    1. Amy Hines (Post author)

      We are about an hour South of Albuquerque. We picked the area because it wasn’t too cold in winter, it was surrounded by mountains, and it was fairly central to the state, as we want to explore more areas. Then we managed to get a very good deal on a plot of land. We looked at Arizona but there were too many regulations, plus the areas we could afford where a bit too remote; we also considered Nevada but it was even more remote, considering most of the land is government owned. Whereas here, we are under 15 miles from a Walmart. Best wishes in your decision, I love the wide open spaces of the west.


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