Sunday, October 29, 2006

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Our family loves to listen to audiobooks. I have two children and sometimes the bickering in the car can be too much, especially on the 4 hour trip to Grandma's house. But I discovered a few years back that my children, then 4 and 6, will listen to an audio book for HOURS in the car. So, I started checking out audiobooks at the Library. We follow the free online Ambleside Online Curriculum's literature reading selections and we can get many of them from the library on audiobooks. Things such as the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Charlotte's Web, and Winnie the Pooh were borrowed from the library, but there were many classic books I could not find on CD at my library. Then I discovered Librivox. Librivox calls itself "an acoustical liberation of books in the public domain." Basically that is a completely free site which provides mp3's of books in audio read by volunteers. I have found the readings to be of excellent quality and as a former teacher of Theatre I might have an informed opinion of such things. I'll leave that for you to decide. We have downloaded and listened to several Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Velveteen Rabbit and Heidi so far. My children loved them all. There are so many Ambleside selections here that I have to wonder if someone on the list of volunteers uses Ambleside. Next we will be listening to Peter Pan and Pinocchio. Our Island Story is another Ambleside selection available there.

But don't think this is a site solely for children's literature! There is a collection of works for adults from Aristotle to P.G. Wodehouse that includes novels, poetry, short stories and non-fiction. There is so much here my family could be listening for years. There are also volunteer opportunities for readers as well as listeners to help check recordings. So I urge you to check out Librivox. It's a most praiseworthy thing!

Free Printables

Everybody with children loves free printables right?! Well, I just found a new site, Just Print Something. In addition to lots of printables from gift tags to miniatures for dollhouses, there are articles covering things such as How to Print on Fabric to Questions on Copyrights. This stuff is ideal for scrapbookers, doll house lovers and artists of all types. There is also an area for authorized members to upload printables. All images should be safe as the user agreement states: "By registering at Just Print Something, you agree not to post anything that could be considered abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-oriented, or any material that may violate any applicable laws. Posting these types of materials may lead to you being immediately and permanently banned, and your service provider being notified of abuse. The IP address of all posts is recorded to aid in enforcing these conditions. " Hopefully they take that seriously. So head over there and sign up for a free account!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Almost Perfect Day

Today was an almost perfect day for me. First it's autumn and that makes it pretty good right off the bat. Today was sunny but with a slight chill in the air. I spent the morning reading blogs and email and then I got into a cooking mood. I made this wonderful recipe for Bratwurst Stew from Taste of Home. This was recommended to me by another friend and I have made it several times with anything but bratwurst! I have used ham and turkey in the past and they were very good in this recipe. I actually like it with bratwurst the least. My husband and I decided today that it would actually be just fine without any meat at all. Those of you who are vegetarians could use a vegetable broth and it would be lovely.

Then I made Pumpkin Muffins using this recipe from Vegetarian Family. Since I am not a vegetarian (I eat a plant based diet, but only semi-vegetarian) I changed the recipe by using an egg and milk. I also added one cup of pecans which were really good. This recipe is exceptional. Probably the best pumpkin muffin I have had. I enjoy the Vegetarian Family blog as they always have great recipes and things that kids like.

Another cooking project today was Hummus. I made a recipe out of The New Best Recipe which is one of my favorite cookbooks. I made a double batch and plan to freeze part of it. Yes, I recently read that you can freeze Hummus! Amazing. Tomorrow I plan to make some pita bread to go with it.

My almost perfect day ended with a trip to Goodwill, one of my favorite stores where I scored two glass pie plates. Every almost perfect day needs a trip to at least one thrift store!

Hope your day was as perfect as can be.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Contest ends today!

Have you heard about the contest to guess the number of new products in the Vision Forum Catalog??? Well check it out over at the Life in A Shoe blog. But you have to hurry because the contest ends at midnight tonight! You could win up $700 in Vision Forum products or one of two $50 gift certificates. The Vision Forum catalog is a most praiseworthy catalog full of wonderful, classic toys and books for your family. I suggest you check it out too by following the link on the same blog. Let me know if you win!