Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Homemaker

In preparation for a busy season I cubed up a pork roast and cooked it in my slow cooker then bagged it up in two cup portions. Then when I need it I can use it to make Oriental Pork or Pork Stew. Now I’m doing hamburger I got on sale this week the same way. It takes about 5 minutes to put something in, hours of hanging out on the computer while it cooks, then 5 minutes to bag it up. Very lazy. Tomorrow I’ll do chicken and a turkey I got very inexpensively on sale. That takes longer to deal with because of taking the meat off the bones. I will chop some, slice some and make Chicken Starter with some.

Chicken Starter is a recipe that was inspired by another recipe. I just changed the seasonings a bit for my taste. It's really handy to have in the freezer. A bag, a couple of cans of vegetable stock and some noodles or rice makes a REALLY fast soup that is homemade and delicious.


Chicken Starter
4 - 5 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 ounces butter
8 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken stock and vegetable stock (I use half and half or more veg then chicken)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat until bubbling but not browning. Whisk in flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Slowly stir in chicken stock until well blended. Add spices and cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken. Ladle 2 cup portions of mixture into freezer bags and seal. Freeze.


Use to make -
Chicken Pot Pie: Add diced carrots and peas, bake under pastry crust.
Chicken and Dumplings: Add vegetable or chicken stock, simmer, drop on dumpling dough, cover and cook.
Chicken a la King: Add sliced mushrooms, simmer. Serve over toast or in puff pastry shells
Chicken Enchiladas
Other ideas: Use in crepes, pastry pockets, over rice, add noodles for soup etc.


The“convenience” of precooked meat in the freezer makes dinner prep much faster. It's very praiseworthy.

Currclick's Black Friday Giveaway!!!


It's only one day so hurry!!!!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Corn!

My children (and I) LOVE Gail Gibbons books. Packed with fun information and interesting illustrations this one also has information about Thanksgiving.





Free Tea!!!!!


Right now Teasta is offering two of their samples FREE! That includes shipping. They have some really tasty offerings I got a green tea and white tea. Try it out yourself here!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Homemaking




You won't want to miss this!! By the makers of one of my most very favorite magazines Seasons at Home.




Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Time!

Well, it has been awhile hasn't it! I apologize for my absence but in the last two months I've had hand surgery twice and now a have a pretty bad cold! But I wanted to post a bit about pumpkins.

Fall is really my favorite time of year. I love pumpkins. I love to cook with them and I love to decorate with them. I really think they are beautiful. I've even grown them!

One of my favorite things to do is drive around to the pumpkin patches the day AFTER Halloween. Usually any pumpkins left are free. I think that pumpkins and gourds are great decorations through Thanksgiving so I put them out for decorations. If they are still in good shape after Thanksgiving I bring them in, cut them up, bake them and scoop out the flesh for pumpkin recipes.

Teaching Good Things has become one of my favorite blogs. Right now they feature a great pumpkin recipe that is super easy. They are also giving away two beautiful pumpkin potholders if you leave a comment before Friday night at Midnight. I know you'll want to enter.

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Click the eyeballs to see a larger version.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Free Pictures!



I know, I know....I've been posting a lot about "deals" lately. But free is pretty praiseworthy, is it not???? This is a great deal for new Shutterfly members that I found out via Money Saving Mom, a great blog. Check it out soon...it won't be around long.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fantastic Deal on The Old Schoolhouse

Here is a message from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. If you've been reading for awhile you know I'm a big fan of their magazine:

If you're like most of us, you're usually on the lookout for ways to help your home and homeschool run smoothly. You want suggestions, encouragement, and practical how-to information. You need a storehouse of helpful articles for those days when you yearn for a fresh idea, a little boost, or facts to share with potential critics – all from a solid Christian perspective. That's where The Old Schoolhouse Magazine comes in.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just launched their fabulous Fall Special for new U.S. subscribers and you'll want to respond early. It's a 50% savings off of cover price and they even have a homeschooling tote bag for the first 1000 to respond!

Right now, during their Fall Special you can
subscribe for only $39! You’ll receive 2 years of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (8 large quarterly issues), the current issue (so you get a quick jump start!), and 6 fabulous Bonus Gifts (for the first 3000). PLUS, the first 1,000 new subscribers will also receive their Homeschooling with Heart tote bag!
View the full details and subscribe online at
www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com/US_Promotion.php.

Free Family Fun!!


I'm kind of a magazine junkie. So when I can get a magazine for FREE I'm really excited. Right now you can register for the digital edition of Family Fun magazine for free. So I had to share it with you!

I subscribe to a few other digitial editions of magazines and I really like it. First of all there are no magazines cluttering up your house making you feel quilty for wanting to throw them away. You can also save articles or pictures you want to keep and even print them out if you really have to have something in your hand. Not to meniton the pictures look so vivid on a computer screen! It's a win win situation in my opinion.

Try it out yourself for free at www.cloverleaf.com/familyfun . You have NOTHING to lose!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Popcorn for a good cause

My son is selling popcorn as a fund raiser for his Cub Scout pack. 70% of the sales go back to our local Council to fund our scouting programs. Part of the sales are also used to help pay for him to go to camp in the summer.

The popcorn is delicious and there are many different varieties to choose from. There are several decorative tins that make nice gifts. Perhaps you don’t like popcorn or have food allergies that prevent you from eating it. There is a trail mix available that doesn’t contain corn or you can still help out by ordering popcorn to be delivered to our military men and women through the military donation. Last year scout troops sent 300 tons of popcorn to the military through this donation.

If you’d like to help out you can order online at www.orderpopcorn.com. When you order online you will be charged a shipping fee but it will be delivered directly to your location. Be sure to type in the order key TEZBR1B or he will not get credit for the sale. There will be several prizes for different levels of sales in addition to earning money for camp so it will help him out directly if you use the order key. If you are local you can save the shipping fee by having us deliver it to you. Just check out the selection online and let me know what you would like. Send me an email and we’ll get it to you. And please feel free to forward this on to others. As long as they use the order key he will receive credit.

Thanks for your help!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Coupon Game


I've been reading all these coupon game blogs about Walgreen’s and CVS. Have any of you ever seen these? Have any of you ever tried it? It's actually fun!

Basically these ladies take current specials, coupons and rebate offers and match it all up in combinations that save the most money. I just went to Walgreen’s and bought $47 of stuff. Using coupons (the links to them are usually in the blogs so you can print them out right there) and a $25 gift certificate I got for transferring a prescription there I ended up spending $6. Then I got a register reward for $5 off my next visit so it’s really like I spent $1.

The first few times I looked at the "scenarios" of things that people bought there I thought, "I don't use those products so it won't work for me." See, a lot of it is convenience food. But I've realized that there are lots of deals on personal care items and household cleaners that I would use. So now I scan the deals for things I normally buy anyway and ended up saving $46.

There's a lot to this and it seems daunting at first but check them out and you may find a way to save your family money too. For me it's worth it as there are two Walgreen's less than a mile from my house. So it's convenient. I recommend you start at MoneySavingMom's blog (which is a favorite of mine anyway). She has tutorials for how to do all this and links to lots of other blogs that can help.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Free Copywork!

The Old Schoolhouse is giving away a Ten Commandments Copybook e-book today only. They are having a deal of the day every day in September. It's called "The Daily Deal." Some of them are free and some are just really good deals. Check it out!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins



Suddenly it became autumnal. It was 90 and we were going to the pool and then suddenly the weather cooled. I guess it's the hurricanes in the southeast but it has been lovely weather for the last few weeks...rainy and cool. So I felt it was time for pumpkin muffins.


I love pumpkin in baked goods. It makes the product moist and adds so much nutrition. This recipe I adapted from a popular vegan cookbook author. I'm not crazy about her essays in the book so I can't really recommend it. So I give you my adaptation.


Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned)

1/2 cup milk or almond milk

1/2 vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons molasses

1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tins for 18 muffins.

Sift dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour wet in dry and mix just until dry ingredients are incorporated.


Fill cups 2/3rds full and bake for 20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Walgreen's Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm new to the whole Walgreen's/CVS coupon game but I'm finding it fascinating. Basically there are several blogs out there where women share how they are being good stewards of their money by strategically planning their shopping around sales, coupons and rebates. One of those blogs The Coupon Game is offering a free Walgreen's gift card. Check it out and learn more about how to play the game yourself.

If you are new to this whole thing then I strongly urge you check out Money Saving Mom for some great information on how to do it yourself. Use the "Start Here" links on the right side of her blog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 22, 2008 Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

Slide1

Welcome to my very first time hosting the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!!! I'm very excited to be able to present this as I think this is a fantastic carnival. I always find some wonderful pieces of information and posts. I think this edition is full of great posts as well and I hope you take some time to read through them all.

There are several posts this month on Nature Study. Leila of Freedom Academy has a great idea for displaying flowers found on nature walks. Tammy of Adventures on Beck's Bounty posts on their fascinating nature finds. Barb-Harmony Art Mom of Handbook of Nature Study updates us on her family's year long oak tree study. She has this to say about it:

Charlotte Mason suggests following a tree throughout the year to see
the changes. This is just about the end of our first year long tree study and I
hope it will inspire others to follow her direction.


Makita at Twinkling Stars Family Homeschool shares on the importance of support & comraderie, which is so important to us all.

School For Us shares two really fun handicrafts that feature origami and beading that are beautiful as well as providing opportunities for learning.

Kim at Graceful Girlhood, one of my very favorite blogs, has posted The Young Ladies Library. She describes it as "A Library of Resources for Use in Educating Young Ladies in the School and Home." You mothers of daughters won't want to miss this one.

Also in the category of homeschooling resources, Shez at Homeschooled Twins has found some fantastic resources for poetry and Growing Fruit...Part 2 has a post on living books and some recommendations for a great book to help teach grammar.

Princess Momma has a really helpful post, A Subject by Subject Approach to Charlotte Mason. She has this to say about her post:

This article is based on my notes taken at an all day CM workshop.
Having a simple outline of what was expected for each subject sure made it
easier to figure out what needed to be done without feeling
overwhelmed.

Mother Hen at Ship Full O'Pirates has posted on a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently. She has titled it Habit Reformation. There are some really practical hints in this one.

And speaking of practical, Naturegirl at Kids and Nature has a really fun way to get in some math practice. Your kids may never even know it's math : )

Whew! That's it!! I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I have. If you'd like to be a part of the fun next time submit your blog article to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Friday, July 18, 2008

When Mother Lets Us Cook


Homeschoolfreebieoftheday.com is becoming the site I check every morning. They have managed to find so many wondeful freebies. I signed up for their newsletter that gives you a heads up at the beginning of the week as to what they will be offering during the week. That way you can mark your calendar for that one that you MUST have!

Today's offering is right up my alley. A cookbook for children from 1916. Here is an excerpt from the preface:


Recipes include everything from lemonade to applesauce to fudge to omelets. You'll find it here. Hurry up because it's only for today!

P.S. The wonderful Kara has informed me that this is available on googlebooks so you can still get it! Thank you Kara!

P.P.S Kara has gone one step further and recorded it as an audiobook. Have a listen at Librivox!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

One Gray Mouse



From Lookybook:

The world of a little mouse is a grand and spectacular place when it is created by author Eugenie Fernandes and illustrated by her daughter Kim Fernandes. Together, this family team has brought us three fabulously vivid and charming stories—each revolving around a single mouse.

The signature of this trio of books is their three-dimensional illustrations. Each is hand-sculpted using Fimo clay—the kind often used for kid’s craft projects requiring baking to harden. Kim portrays each scene with painstaking attention to the tiniest detail and texture—like a sheep’s curly wool coat, or the golden straw piled on a barn’s wooden floor. Given the size of the mouse, many elements are grand in scale—like the bed-sized sneaker that the mouse inhabits in The Sleepy Little Mouse or her teapot house in Busy Little Mouse.

Kim has an expert fondness for plants, flowers and other garden foliage and is anything but shy about expressing nature’s rich palette—like the exploding garden in Big Week for Little Mouse. What’s so impressive is the movement that she creates with what you would think is a stiff medium. As the dog leaps into the pig’s pen, mud goes everywhere. Or the hummingbird that hovers above as the mouse navigates the turbulent sea on the back of a seahorse. And it is the adorable expressions on each of the animal’s faces that will ultimately captivate a child, (and a parent), and draw them deeper into this wonderfully believable mouseland. It will also leave you wondering a bit, “how did she make these tiny worlds with her not so tiny hands?”

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Red Velvet Cake

The Red Velvet Cake
Sorry - this is the best photo I have of this cake!

Tomorrow is my birthday which means that right now I'm engaged in my normal birthday eve ritual. I'm making Red Velvet Cake. My mother made it for me every year as a child and now I make it for myself. I'm teaching my children to make it so they can make it one day for me (she thought dreamily).

Red Velvet Cake was supposedly called that because the cocoa in it made it look red. Today it comes about because of a bottle of red food coloring. I'm normally very picky about artificial colors in my food but I've tried other methods and I have yet to find something that tastes as good as my mother's. So I tell myself it's only once a year and indulge.

Now, I can't give you my mother's recipe. It's a secret. But I can tell you there is a recipe that looks really good here. You can also cheat like I do sometimes and buy a boxed Red Velvet Cake mix (Duncan Hines) and make the frosting youself. It will tastes pretty close. But you must absolutely chill it before you eat it. It isn't nearly as good at room temperature. That's why I make it on birthday eve.

I hope you'll try Red Velvet Cake yourself and let me know if you like it. A large glass of milk (another thing I don't drink often) is required. I think you'll thank me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Food


I'm doing a lot of cooking on the grill this year. We are trying to keep our thermostat set higher and I really don't like to heat up the kitchen with the stove. So I'm always looking for good ideas for grilled food.

I also happen to have a really wonderful 1968 Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. My mother thought I was going to sell it on eBay for her...but I'm having trouble parting with it. Thumbing through it today I found this:

There are some great ideas for camping food on here too. Nothing like donut holes in the great outdoors. Enjoy!




Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mothers and Daughters At Home

I committed to joining Mothers and Daughters At Home hosted by Graceful Girlhood. Last month my daughter and I did something together but I didn't get my act together enough to post about it! So this month I want to fulfill that commitment.

Yesterday my husband set off with my son to his hometown. Perfect timing since this was the day of the Mothers and Daughters challenge! My daughter had a couple of projects in mind so instead of the proposed theme for this month, we did our own thing.

My daughter is 10 now and really interested in making some money. She had originally wanted to start a cupcake business but Mom and Dad deciding to change our eating habits made our home a bad environment to start mixing up cupcakes and frosting! But luckily she found another idea in this month's American Girl Magazine. Dog Treat Muffins!
The recipe was simple enough for my daughter to prepare on her own with just a little bit of help from me. She baked them in cupcake papers and then gave them to a few neighborhood dogs (we don't have any as the males in our family are allergic) for her test market. Then we went to the craft store and purchased some bags to sell them in. She's hoping in the future to expand her line to other dog treats and some cat treats too and sell them at our local farmer's market.

It wasn't a big or elaborate event, but just spending time talking to her about her dreams and helping make them a reality was priceless. Since I am her teacher as well as her mother it's nice to have an opportunity to just hang out with her doing something she likes instead of pulling her along to do what needs to be done.

So I recommend that you check Graceful Girlhood for other ideas and take some time to just be with your daughter this week.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Free Pilgrim's Progress Audio!


Christianaudio.com offers one of the books in their stock free every month. They have some interesting books. I just previewed this selection and the narration is excellent. And it is unabridged. But it's only good for ONE month. So hurry over to get it and then sign up for their mailing list so you will know firsthand what's up next month.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Uncle Ray on Ants

Another old clipping I found stuck in a book. Here is some info on Uncle Ray if your interested. I wish this column was in my paper. Then maybe I would subscribe!!

Praiseworthy Book: From Seed to Plant



Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Fairest Month

I love June. June starts out with my sweet daughter's birthday. It's the month I became a mother! She will be 10 tomorrow. Then we celebrate my wedding anniversary. There is Father's Day of course, and then my own birthday. A month of celebrations.

It's also the month of my favorite wild flowers. Tiger Lillies, Queen Anne's Lace, and roses. This has been a fantastic year for roses and just today I saw a huge wild bush spilling over a fence dripping with gorgeous pink blossoms.


I like this poem and the thought that June's sweetness would comfort the grieving. A time when all the world seems at peace and we have just a glimpse of the garden we left behind. By the way, Bryant did indeed die and was buried in the month of June.


June
I gazed upon the glorious sky
And the green mountains round,
And thought that when I came to lie
At rest within the ground,
"Twere pleasant, that in flowery June,
When brooks send up a cheerful tune,
And groves a joyous sound,
The sexton's hand, my grave to make,
The rich, green mountain-turf should break.
A cell within the frozen mould,
A coffin borne through sleet,
And icy clods above it rolled,
While fierce the tempests beat--
Away!--I will not think of these--
Blue be the sky and soft the breeze,
Earth green beneath the feet,
And be the damp mould gently pressed
Into my narrow place of rest.
There through the long, long summer hours,
The golden light should lie,
And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell
His love-tale close beside my cell;
The idle butterfly
Should rest him there, and there be heard
The housewife bee and humming-bird.
And what if cheerful shouts at noon
Come, from the village sent,
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon
With fairy laughter blent?
And what if, in the evening light,
Betrothed lovers walk in sight
Of my low monument?
I would the lovely scene around
Might know no sadder sight nor sound.
I know that I no more should see
The season's glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me,
Nor its wild music flow;
But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,
They might not haste to go.
Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.
These to their softened hearts should bear
The thought of what has been,
And speak of one who cannot share
The gladness of the scene;
Whose part, in all the pomp that fills
The circuit of the summer hills,
Is that his grave is green;
And deeply would their hearts rejoice
To hear again his living voice.
- William Cullen Bryant

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hymn Study


Charlotte Mason recommended that children learn hymns. I quite agree with her. I have found that hymns remembered from my childhood often bring me comfort in difficult times. But how to teach these older hymns to my children? We attend a church that worships in a more contemporary style and while I enjoy that, I also want my children to learn older hymns.

Simply Charlotte Mason has a nice list of suggested hymns for a CM style hymn study. They also provide instructions for hymn study:

Select one hymn to sing together until all have learned every stanza. If
possible, sometime during the learning of the hymn, read together its history.
Children may also use the lyrics of the hymn for copywork, dictation, or
recitation.
Another place for good information and suggestions on hymn study is the Amblesideonline website. They provide a 12 year rotation for hymn study here.

Even with all the great resources for hymn study out there I always struggled with how to make that work in our house. For awhile my children were involved in a Children's Choir at church that would learn at least one fine old hymn every few months. The kids earned points for memorizing the verses. That worked out nicely for us. But then we moved from that Church and the new church didn't do this! So we lapsed from our hymn study to just occasionally learning a hymn.

I'd like to say that I planned out my current method of hymn study, but the truth is I kind of fell into it. My children began taking piano and their teacher is really excellent at what she does. She has the gift of teaching if I have ever seen it. She loves what she does and it shows. She had my children get a hymn book that is part of their piano curriculum and they learn a hymn every week or so. So I decided to start looking up information on the hymn. We talk about the history, the person who wrote it and they learn the tune and usually two verses. Ta-da! Hymn Study! Works for us.

Little Red Riding Hood - Trina Schart Hyman



Trina Schart Hyman is a wonderful illustrator who has provided a very authentic retelling of this story.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We Remember


For the Birds


Many people just feed and observe birds in the winter, but many experts advise feeding year round to keep the birds coming to your yard. In addition there are different birds that can be seen in the winter and summer so there are new things to see. One of my new favorite companies has a great way to do this.


Terracycle is coming up with great ideas for recycling everyday items into purposeful items for lawns and gardens. I found that not only have they come up with a really great, reusuable bird feeder, but also include a free curriculum to use with your children! So I urge you to check it out and while your there take a look at some of the other great products this innovative company has.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Gift of a Mother

Mother and Child by Jessie Wilcox Smith
courtesy of art.com

I recall your sincere faith that was alive first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am sure is in you.

2nd Timothy 1:5

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lucy Maud Montgomery



Click on the eyes to view a larger image that you can read.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Light: Growing Food with Kids


Homeschool Hi-Lights is hosted by Ellen at Fun Learning. Be sure to check out her fantastic Ten Steps to Multiplication Memorization. And be sure to check out all the other Homeschool Hi-Lights posts.

A big highlight of our week last week was finally seeing my daughter's peas poking through the ground! Last year my children started growing small crops in pots and it's so fun for them. It not only teaches them biology it also teachs them responsibility as they must keep the plants watered. I highly recommend letting your kids grow their own food!

A great book I found is called Crops in Pots. Not only does it give you ideas for plants to put together in a pot, it also gives ideas for the type of pot to use and a recipe that utilizes all the things in that pot. I urge you to check it out and grow something with your kids!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Refrigerator Muffins

Today I'm participating in the Works for me Wednesday Blog Carnival. Check out other posts by clicking on the graphic above.

Last Saturday I was out of milk. This is not good because Sunday morning's breakfast is usually cereal as we dash out the door to church. So I decided to try a recipe for refrigerator muffins.

Refrigerator muffins are basically a muffin batter that you mix up ahead of time and then store in your refrigerator. You can usually store the batter for 5 days. So anytime during that five days you can bake as many or as few muffins as you like depending on the amount of batter you have.

The first recipe I tried was for Refrigerator Bran Muffins. There are LOADS of these recipes on the internet. I, and you, have probably seen them hundreds of times. The recipe I used called for any type of bran flake cereal and then you could use (or not) any type of dried fruit. What I really liked about this recipe was that it called for oatmeal which is so healthy. I made mine with Fiber One flake cereal and dried blueberries. We had 12 on Sunday and then I made the kids some more on Monday. Today I had a little hunger pang in the mid morning and had the intense joy of popping one scoop of muffin batter in a sprayed glass cup and then microwaving for 45 seconds. Tasty little muffin with tea in no time!!! I like this!!

So, I decided to see what other types of refrigerator muffin recipes are out there. Here are a few links that I haven't tried yet, but plan to:

Refrigerator Sweet Muffins - several variations in this recipe

Pumpkin Bran Muffins - this one can be kept in the refrigerator for two weeks!

Molasses Muffins - this one can be stored for three weeks and makes a spice type muffin

Refrigerator Bran Muffin - this muffin takes the prize because it can be stored for six weeks.
If you have a good refrigerator muffin please let me know in the comments!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Recently I posted on the No-Knead bread I made. I've really enjoyed that recipe but wanted to learn to do more with it. Then I heard about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day which is the same concept except you make a very large batch of dough and keep it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. I finally got it from the library so I could try it out.

I made the Master recipe one afternoon in certainly no more than 10 minutes. It really was quick to put together. That night I made two EXCELLENT pizzas from the dough. Then I made a batch of orange rolls and a batch of cinnamon rolls for Sunday School the next morning. I felt the rolls needed a softer dough but they were tasty. My husband said the cinnamon "rocked" but didn't feel the orange went with the style of bread dough I used.

One week later there was still some dough in the refrigerator. I made some doughnuts with it. I had hot oil from fixing supper and so I scooped about a teaspoon of dough into the hot oil and cooked until golden brown and then dropped into cinnamon sugar. The taste was not quite what I think of when I have a doughnut but tasty. I'll try it again with the brioche recipe in the book.

With what's left I'm going to make...bread!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Paperdolls and things


You may have noticed if you read my blog regularly that I really enjoy paper crafts. I'm enamored with Ephemera in general, but especially paper toys. So just for a little fun I thought I'd give you some links to a few of my current favorites.



For some reason some of the best places for this kind of thing seem to be french. Oh well, you won't have to speak french to enjoy them. I will warn you that if you choose to look around on their blogs be aware that you might see some nudes not appropriate for children. So beware.

There were some very sweet girls on Grenouille Plus, a blog where you can find lots of fun paper crafts. You can find them here http://grandformat.blogspot.com/2007/11/meilleurs-scans-de-ces-3-cartes-dj.html. That link will take you to the flickr of Agence Eureka another blogger with some fantastic paper crafts like this fun set of articulated animals and some fantastic toys in her Paper Craft set here http://www.flickr.com/photos/taffeta/sets/72157601156433867/. There are so many goodies like a cowboy set, a little cottage, French Chateau's and people and furniture! You'll have a lot of fun looking through that set if you are as interested in paper toys as I am.



There are also many items on Agence Eureka's site that can be used to study history. There are Roman soldiers, American Indians, and a Louis XIII Musketeer to name a few. But there is so much more, I hope you'll take a look around this site.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Science for You - Sound


At a used curriculum fair this weekend I found a fun book from the 1950's that I'll be sharing with you later. Inside that book I found several items cut from a newspaper. Apparently, this "Science For You" was a column in this newspaper in the 1960's. Fun little experiments for an afternoon!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Homeschool Hi-Lights: Trial and Triumph


Ellen from Fun Learning invited me to be a part of a Homeschooling meme every Monday called Homeschool Hi-Lights. The idea is to write about something that was a highlight of your previous week in homeschooling. You can go to her blog to read the highlights of other home educator's week too.

One of the highlights of my week was having my son say, "Mom, don't forget to finish reading us that story." The story he was speaking of was a chapter from Trial and Triumph on Pope Gregory. When your child tells you to remember to read him something then you know he must like it!

Trial and Triumph is a book by Richard Hannula and recommended by the Ambleside Online curriculum. It's one of the few things from their curriculum that I had to buy but it was quite inexpensive on Amazon.com. Trail and Triumph tells the story of Christian church history from the early church, just after the death of Christ until 2001. The stories are mostly about important figures in church history. A list of books for further reading is included in the back of the book.

The author wrote the stories for his own children and the writing is palpable for young children (my son is 7). The stories include quotations directly from the subjects speeches and writings and he has made an effort to find the most reliable sources for background events and actions.

If you would like to teach your children about church history I recommend this book. In addition to learning about the history of their faith, they will also learn more about their faith, not to mention providing examples for them of godly men and women. I urge you to check it out.



Saturday, April 05, 2008

Random Things

I've been tagged by Donna (whose blog I really like by the way)! So here goes:

The Rules -
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Seven random facts about me:

1. I'll be 43 in June. My husband and I call ourselves "old parents of young children."

2. I taught Theatre in public school before having my children.

3. In college I played Stella in Streetcar Named Desire.

4. One of my favorite activities is "curbside shopping."

5. I became a Christian at age 35.

6. I am a big fan of Bluegrass music.

7. My honeymoon was a 4,000 mile meandering roadtrip from Kansas City to Las Vegas via the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma!

And now I tag the following people. And as a bonus, these are some of my very closest friends:











Thursday, April 03, 2008

Mother's and Daughter's At Home!


My friend Dee Ann alerted us and Rachel has posted about it and now I'm joining in! Graceful Girlhood has set up something I'm really excited about. Mother's and Daughter's at Home is a special time for Mother's and their daughters to spend time together doing things they enjoy. It's the first Friday of every month.

I decided to participate because my daughter and I really don't spend much time together alone now. She will be ten in June and I'm starting to feel that my time with her is slipping away! I really want her to have memories of us doing things together. And I hope that there will be things that we enjoy doing together all our lives! I know that when I am with my own mother it is as if I'm with my perfect friend. We like the same things and we enjoy just sitting and talking together. Many times we will plan to watch movies only to spend the evening just chatting. I hope that some day my own daughter feels the same way about me.

The Author of the Graceful Girlhood blog says, "The most important thing is that relationships between mothers and their daughters are being strengthened. " And I feel that this alone is reason enough to committ to this challenge. But I am excited that afterwards, the participants will be posting about what they did with their daughters. Sounds like a great way to get some ideas for Mother/daughter times.

My daughter is nine and she and I enjoy cooking together. We also enjoy looking at magazines, or old buttons, or doing crafts together. We like shopping together or having tea and some wonderful dessert. So we may on our first night spend time cooking something my daughter wants to try and eating it! Or perhaps I'll ask her what she would like to do. Whatever it is I'll let you know!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Praiseworthy Music - Renee and Jeremy




I came across a link to this video and from there this website for Renee and Jeremy. The music is simple, sweet and delightful. The kind of music you'd listen to without your children in the room! And it's very relaxing music, something I find we need here during the day. So I urge you to check it out for yourself. You can listen to the entire album on their website.

Education in Our Home

It's been awhile since I participated in the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and this month I was actually inspired by another blog carnival hosted by The Heart of The Matter. This is a week long carnival with a different topic for each day. Monday's topic was "A Day In the Life" and since I employ Charlotte Mason's philosophy in my children's education I thought I'd write about our typical day. And maybe even kill two birds with one stone! And perhaps some of you who don't home educate will be interested in what kind of life we lead here.

Our schedule revolves around my husband's. I rise with him in the morning and help him get ready for work. At the same time my children are getting up and hopefully making their beds. We also take our days off with my husband's work schedule so that when he is home we can spend time with him. After my husband leaves we eat breakfast and then begin our day.

My son (age 7) prefers to move into school slowly. So we start with bible study and then move through a few of his easier lessons. We end up with the hardest lesson which in our case is math. Then my son practices his piano lesson.

My daughter (age 9) prefers to "swallow the frog" as my dear friend Dana says and start with the hardest, math, and then move through her other lessons. She also ends with piano practice.

Both of my children's "core" curriculums contain the following:

Bible Study - Daily - We follow a bible study for the Word of Life program that takes a child through the bible in six years.

Math - Daily - I have always used the Saxon Math curriculum with my children and I have been very happy with it. Math was never my forte and this curriculum is scripted until year 4 so everything you have to say and do is already determined. Since my daughter has moved beyond that we also use the Dive CD's to supplement her curriculum.

Spelling - Daily - Spelling Workout

Grammar - Daily - Rod and Staff Grammar

Handwriting - Daily - Zaner Bloser (Between Handwriting and Grammar I feel my children do plenty of copywork as required by Charlotte mason so I don't give them additional)

History - 3 days per week - We are currently using the Story of the World Series by Peace Hill Press. In addition to this I use the Ambleside Online history readings. Many of these we listen to in the form of audio books. Often I download mp3 files for books we are reading and we listen to them in the car on the way to activities we go to several times a week.

Science - 2 days per week - Rod and Staff. I like this curriculum's emphasis on the Natural World and the presumption that God is the sovereign creator of all things without introducing specific doctrines.

Latin - Daily - We use the Memoria Press books for this presently.

Literature - Daily - I use the the required Literature from the Ambleside Online curriculum as well as AO's free reading lists. I highly recommend these. As with history, we often listen to these as audio books in the car. Some of them my children read on their own and some I read to them.
After lunch each day of the week we usually work on one of the following as specified by Charlotte Mason: composer study, artist study, handicrafts, and nature study. We generally follow the Ambleside Online curriculum for all these. I also try to give my children outdoor time everyday which can be difficult in the winter! I've described how we do nature study in the past. Basically each of my children have a nature notebook that they use to draw something they have observed in nature that week.

We also do a number of activities with other homeschoolers in the afternoons. We are very blessed in this area to have a LARGE group of homeschooling families. My children have several acquaintances of various ages that they interact with. My children have a homeschool PE class, a children's program at our church and piano lessons we attend weekly. My son attends Cub Scout events three times per month, my daughter attends a Keeper's At Home club for girls twice a month and we attend field trips about twice a month. It is really easy to get over committed in our area so we try to be careful about the activities we agree to so that they don't get in the way of academics. But that can be difficult sometimes!

Of course, this is a PERFECT week! We strive to attain all these goals each week but it doesn't always happen. We homeschool year round so that gives us a lot of leeway in our schedule which helps.

So this is our life. It is quite full and I feel very blessed to be able to be home with my children.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008


In observance of the missionary Patrick and for my mother.

The Old Schoolhouse Goes Digital!

One of my favorite magazines now has a digital subscription. For only 16.95 a year you can subscribe and receive your issues as a digital download. Try out this free sample here.



When you subscribe you'll receive 19 free gifts. BUT until Midnight, March 18th new subscribers will get a one-year digital subscription for $10.95 + 19 FREE gifts + 5 FREE bonus gifts–- a $379 value. But remember this special offer is available only until March 18, 2008. You can find more information here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Remembering Patrick

Saint Patrick Going to Tara Ireland from allposters.com

There was a man called Patrick who was captured by Irish marauders and taken from his wealthy, comfortable life in Roman occupied Britain to live as a slave in Ireland. There he found faith in Jesus Christ and even though he managed to escape and return home, he obeyed God and returned to Ireland to evangelize to the lost. Patrick was a missionary.
Today he is traditionally called St. Patrick and considered the patron Saint of Ireland although he was never officially cannonized by the Roman Catholic Church. I like Patrick. I like to remember him and his love and service to God. I grew up observing St. Patrick's Day with my family and today I observe it with mine. I use it as a time to celebrate someone who gave his life to God.

I think one of the best children's books on the life of Patrick is Saint Patrick by Ann Tompert. This book focuses more on the facts that can be known about Patrick than the legends that have grown up around him. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the attention of young children. My 9 year old daughter reads it herself. If you only share one book with your children about Patrick, this is the one.




I'm currently reading "Let Me Die in Ireland" by David Bercot to see if I want to share it with my children. So far so good. Subtitled, "The True Story of Patrick" the author attempts to tell the story of Patrick using only facts gleaned from Patrick's autobiography embelished with details of life at the time Patrick lived. So far this is an excellent book. The gospel of Christ is presented as Patrick comes closer to God while a slave. The historical descriptions are accurate and manage to teach while entertaining.




We also spend this day in my family celebrating and learning about the Irish people. We listen to Irish music, check out parades online, and eat Irish food.



I hope you will spend some time tomorrow telling your children about Patrick and how he loved God enough to give up his own comfort to spread the gospel.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

blog readability test



I feel so much better about myself now!

Praiseworthy Blog: E.W. Spider

I've found a blog that I really love. It's called E.W. Spider and is described as "bite size, vegetarian based crafts and recipes for young learners. And that is an apt, if understated description. I'm simply enchanted with this site! There are so many simple fun things to do with kids. And the author's sense of humor is delightful for adults as well. Frankly, I'd like to do a lot of the things she writes about even if I didn't have kids!

The author of this blog teaches English to children in Japan. Now that sounds like a perfectly lovely job. And apparently through it she has learned a lot of things to do with children that aren't "twaddly" as Miss Mason would say, and that children will find as delightful as parents. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No Knead Bread

Okay. I'm a little behind the eight ball on this one. I tried No Knead Bread a few weeks ago. This is the recipe that became famous all over blogdom after it was in the New York Times. Folks...it's fantastic. You just mix up a few ingredients, let it sit for eighteen hours. mess with it a bit and I mean a LITTLE bit. Then bake it in the oven in a preheated lidded pan. I used my cast iron dutch oven.

This bread rivels any I have bought in stores. The texture is a chewy, crisp crust and a tender interior with lots of air pockets. Some have complained about the taste, but I find it very tasty. And as you can see from the picture above, it looks quiet impressive.

The first time we had a few slices with butter and honey then I froze the rest of the loaf and used it to make garlic bread. The second time I made it I made two batches and used them to make pizza's the next night. Fantastic pizza dough! I just stretched the dough onto pizza pans, let it rise and then topped them and baked. Delicious. Next I'm going to try making cinnamon rolls with this dough.

So, I advise you to try it at least once. Teach your kids how to make it and let them do it! They'll love it and it's a great chemistry lesson.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mother Culture


I missed the Charlotte Mason blog carnival this time around but wanted to highlight a few things. The topic is mother culture and I hope you'll click on the button on the right side of my blog to read some of the entries. But if you don't please at least read this post on living, learning and...loving. This is a new blog to me but I will be back. This post is one of the post explanations I have ever heard of what "mother culture" is in Charlotte Mason's terms. I found it so encouraging, positive and inspirational. Reading it is itself mother culture!

And if your wondering my mother culture is derived from reading the blogs you see in my blogrolls as well as handicrafts and time out doors. I'm so thankful God has provided me with these ways to grow and learn.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

First in the Hearts of His Countrymen

According to the Federal Government this day is really Washington's Birthday observance. Many people traditionally view this as a day to remember both Washington and Lincoln whose birthday also falls in February. And still others choose to remember all Presidents of the United States on this day. No matter how you choose to celebrate this day here are some resources.

Face of Lincoln is a very interesting informational film that older children might enjoy...parent's too! Here is some information from archive.org where the 21 minute film can be downloaded.

Presents Professor Merrell Gage, retired head of the Department of Sculpture at the University of Southern California, describing the life and career of Abraham Lincoln as he sculpts a lifelike bust of the 16th President, making physical changes in the subject's hair, beard and expression to correspond to events in Lincoln's life.

Biographies of all the presidents are on the White House website.




A REALLY fun book is George Washington's Cows. You'll never believe what all those cows get up to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Great Backyard Bird Count


Birdwatching is very popular in our house. Especially in the winter months when it's hard to go outside sometimes because of temperatures that are too low or high winds. So this year we are going to use one of our favorite activites to help scientists in gaining an overview of birds in our area. The Great Backyard Bird Watch starts on Friday February 15 and continues through the 18th. It takes as little as 15 minutes to participate. During that time you write down the birds you see and then turn them in here.


At the main site you'll find a page devoted to kids activities. There are also lots of online guides and tools here. The whole site has lots of interesting information so I urge you to check it out.


If birdwatching and study interests you and you'd like to continue there are lots of resources on line to help you. We have a bird book for our area and some binoculars next to the window we look out most. Some days my kids will draw pictures of a bird they saw in their nature notebook with the date and bird's name. If you want to get fancy, Notebookingpages.com is currently giving away a really nice Bird Study set with great pages for kids to fill in information about birds in general as well as the specific birds they see. Just go to their site and join their newsletter and you can receive the link for free.


Whether or not you take part in the GBBC I hope you will encourage your children to learn more about the birds in your area. It's a great winter time activity!

Valentine's Day


The Collectible Valentine Index at About.com is a treasure trove of images and information for collectible Valentine's. Also on About.com find activites for babies and toddlers (and older children too) for Valentine's Day here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tasty Valentines!


Last year my daughter made these peppermint heart Valentines. I believe I got the idea from Martha Stewart but I'm not sure. But they are simple to make. Take your leftover candy canes and arrange them on a baking sheet with a silpat mat or another nonstick surface. Place them in a 350 degree oven until they start to melt and run together. Don't let them spread out too much. IMMEDIATELY pull them out and stick a lollipop stick (you can get them at craft or candy supply stores) at the bottom. Let them cool and then they come right off the mat.

My daughter made her own little tags as you can see and slipped them on the sticks and then placed each one in a ziploc baggie. I will warn you that they are VERY brittle and will shatter easily so carry them carefully. Great way to use up old candy canes, do a craft with your kids AND have unique, handmade valentine suckers!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Preparing for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is such a fun holiday. A day for celebrating love. I've collected together some links to help you celebrate Valentines day.



First, my favorite Valentine's Day Book is Love Is... by Wendy Halperin. The text is from the King James Bible and the illustrations are stunning. I love Wendy Halperin's books and I recommended them highly. This one I should read every morning no matter what day it is.




Tentwo studios is hosting her annual Valentine's Day Countdown. Each day you can download a different paper ephemera.



Story Nory has a delightful story on the origins of Valentine's Day.

Betsy McCall Paper Dolls are fun no matter what holiday it is.

Try out these finger knitted Valentine flowers. This site also has video instructions for finger knitting and several other nice tutorials.
Valentine Notebooking pages are nice for doing school work on, journaling or sending a letter.

Origami Valentine Hearts are a unique way of presenting an expensive but show stopping valentine.