Saturday, December 19, 2009

Next Year's Reading

A very long time ago I read the bible but I was young and it didn't really mean that much to me. Then I sat through years of liturgical readings and probably reheard massive chunks of it. In fact, to this day I'm surprised at the verses I know by heart from hearing them each Sunday in church. But years went by when I didn't attend church, and frankly thought it was all about equal to mythology anyway.

Then, in adulthood I made a decision to follow Christ's example and accept him as my Lord and Savior. Okay, that's christianeze for I decided that he would be in charge of my decisions and my example for how to live and I believed that he did indeed serve as a replacement for me in the punishment for my sins.

Naturally, I decided that it was now time for a very thorough reading of the Bible, the book that contains the information about Christ's life and teachings as well as God's words that have been written down for all of us by the men He chose to write them. I read it several different ways. Through intensive bible studies with others that took months to get through a book or two, reading it on my own and now I listen to someone else read it.

I listen almost daily to I've written about and I highly recommend it. January 1st Brian will start reading from the beginning once again and it's a good time to start. You can get there by clicking on the red button on the right hand side of my blog. No matter what any time is a good time to jump in and start listening. It will be a worthwhile experience regardless.

Rose Publishing offers many study aids for the Bible and Biblical History. If you sign up for their newsletter you will receive links to free downloads frequently. Right now they are offering a free Bible in One Year reading plan. You can get it on their website here.

Another opportunity I recently ran across is The Bible in 90 Days. You can read about it at The Happy Housewife blog. It only requires an hour a day for 90 days. I think if you want to just read the whole of scripture this would be a good way to do it, but I really think and the Bible directs us, that reading scripture daily is a worthwhile goal. I know that for me my whole day is set in better perspective when I do.

So my New Year's wish for you would be that you would give it a try. You may find the answers you have been looking for through the experience.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pan Giveaway!

Mary of Owlhaven is giving away a great looking Emerilware Stainless 4-Quart Sauce Pan. If your needing a good pan this size I suggest you enter. But even if you don't take a look around this great blog. Mary has a large family and lots of good information.

Monday, November 02, 2009

1200 Free Prints at Arts Cow

This is an exceptional deal. Right now you can get 1200 free prints credits & 3 8"x8" photo books & other great photo gifts credits at Arts Cow if you are a new member. If you use this link I will get some free credits too!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Remembering Martin Luther

Today is All Hallows Day, also known as All Saint's Day, a day set aside by early Christians to remember the Christians that have gone before them. It's an excellent day to talk about your family's Christian heritage and talk about the godly example of your ancestors. If not in your own family than you can teach your children about Christians in the New Testament or in Church history who have sought to glorify God in their lives.

Martin Luther was one such person. He was a man who found the knowledge in the scriptures that Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone. At that time he was a Catholic monk who felt that he would never be good enough to achieve righteousness...he was correct. None of us can on our own. This knowledge ripped apart Europe as the reformation swept that Continent. But even under threat of death Luther stood by his belief in the word of God.

This day is also known as Reformation Day as it was the day that Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Church in Wittenburg in 1517. These theses outlined his problems with the Church at that time. Since he was "protesting" the Church he and others like him became known as Protestants.
So today you might remember Martin Luther as you are remembering the godly who went before us. I found this videos from PBS's Empires series on Martin Luther. I haven't watched them all the way through, but they are a good overview from what I have seen. Please remember...Luther was protesting the Catholic Church at that time and these videos will contain critical remarks about the Catholic church.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Free Audio Site

I found a new site for free audio through my newsletter. I've blogged on before and I urge you to receive their newsletter which provides links to all sorts of free audio, some not good, some good but definitely worth looking at. Today's link was for Cicero's Treatise on Friendship. I thought this was something that would be good for me to listen to with my kids to start some conversations on friendship. That brought me to links to other websites with free audio. Ejunto is a site that provides audio of Historical and Philosophical works and there are some really interesting offerings there. Everything from Aesop and Shakespeare to The Federalist Papers and The Communist Manifesto. Lots of things we can use for school. I bet you can find something useful there as well!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Joshua Bell CD Giveaway!

I recently discovered a nice blog, Lots of nice free resources everyday. And today they have announced a CD giveaway of one of my favorite artists, Joshua Bell. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The First Book of Bugs

Click on the window and use your mouse wheel to turn the pages and read this book!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Lovely Giveaway

Eden's Bouquet is a lovely online store with children's clothing. They are having a random drawing for a $300 gift certificate to their store. You can only enter until September 27th so hurry!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Constitution Day

The Scene At The Signing Of The Constitution by Howard Chandler Christy
More on this picture including who the people are in the picture here

Today we are celebrating the document that rules our country, the Constitution of the United States. I've found several resources to help.

Lots of resources and activities at the Constitution Day website.

Homeschool Freebie of the Day provides activities and audio.

For fun let your kids listen to Barney Fife recite the Preamble to the Constitution and then ask them to see if they can do it!
Remember...I can't endorse everything on youtube so proceed with caution.

And you can't beat Schoolhouse Rock for learning fun!

Youtube yields lots of dramatic readings of the Constitution. This is part one of a 5 part series.

And don't forget to have your kids draw their own Constitution Day poster in this contest!
Addendum!! Learn Out Loud just listed this free audiobook on the life of George Washington.

Why Study Latin?

For all those who ask me why I teach my children Latin. This video was created by the creators of the curriculum we use, Lively Latin.

Lively Latin is a program that all of us here enjoy. I love the availablilty and variety of resources. The program is online and there are materials to print out for reading, worksheets, and tests. There are also audio clips to listen to for pronunciation, teacher helps, answer keys, links to learning games and flashcards geared to each lesson.

And most importantly, my children really enjoy it! My daughter enjoys reading the history and seems to be learning more from this program than our introductory program. Believe it or not, it is more lively and fun. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free E-Book from The Old Schoolhouse

E-Book: The New School Year
Get your free copy of the E-Book: The New School Year

The people at The Old Schoolhouse are feeling VERY generous this month. They are providing this free E-book as a back to school gift for homeschooling families. Enjoy!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse™ Magazine for only $7.95!

Subscribe to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for 7.95

I have blogged before about how much I like the Old Schoolhouse Magazine and so I'm excited to tell you that their one-year print subscriptions on sale! For a very limited time, you can subscribe or renew for $7.95! (US only) Just click on the image of the magazine above to start your subscription.

You can buy a gift sub for friends too! To gift a subscription:
1. Go to the one-year subscription page (US only) again by clicking on the magazine image above.
2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
3. Enter the name, address, email, and phone information for each recipient
4. click "Add this to my cart".
5. The information will display in your cart and simply proceed to check out.

There are only 2000 of these available, and they are going quickly! Your subscription begins with their Fall Issue.
Perhaps, like me, you prefer to have your magazine on the computer, you can subscribe to their digital edition for only $7.95. It's the same great content as their print magazine, except it is instant and interactive!

This is a great deal on a really helpful and inspiring magazine. I urge you to subscribe now to get one of these!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Tasha Tudor's Birthday!

Please pop over to one of my favorite blogs, Storybookwoods for more information about celebrating one of our favorite authors, Tasha Tudor. Her simple, sweet illustrations grace her wonderful books and the books of others. Her simple, sweet life an example to others.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Free Audio! The Divine Comedy

Check out this great new free audio at If you sign up for their newsletter you'll receive a link to one free audio book every month! I put these on my mp3 player and the kids and I listen to them in the car. You can also listen from your computer at home. But can only download it free until the end of August.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Being Good Stewards - Recycle Girl

I admit it...I've been known to cringe at the term "go green." It's not that I don't appreciate the efforts of the movement. I've long been a proponent of taking care of the Earth our home. When I was a child my parents would get us to work alongside them cleaning up garbage piles dumped on our country road. They also composted and grew a large percentage of the food we ate. What I don't like about "go green" is the way businesses have made it a selling point. I don't like it's use as a marketing term. I believe that taking care of the Earth is our responsibility as Christians to be good Stewards of all that God gives us.

Then Recycle Girl entered my life and she makes "go green" so cute that I just have to love it! I've had the privilege of knowing Recycle Girl since she was a little girl. Her sweetness is infectious and completely genuine. I'm so pleased to see that she has grown up into such a lovely young woman and mother. And that she takes her time to share such important information with children.

If you'd like to teach your young children more about recycling then I urge you to share this video with them. And if you live in the Fort Worth, TX area you may be lucky enough to have an appearance of Recycle Girl. She is featured in the upper right hand corner on the Keep Texas Beautiful webpage as their Volunteer of the Month.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

To The Moon!

In 1969 at the age of 4 I was one of a billion people watch the moon landing on television. My memory of that is of sitting in the early morning hours on the floor watching the tv screen. Not much else. But I'm still proud to have experienced such a momentous occasion.

In today's world, where space travel, personal communicators and computers that fit in your pocket have become commonplace, it can be difficult to teach your children the importance of this event. But I've come across some free resources to help.

The National Archives has placed several films on Youtube! I loved it in school when we had a film and now you can recreate that feeling in your own home! Seriously, if you're close to my age you'll find these quite nostalgic. These films also offer glimpses of presidents at the time and their speeches. Here is a list of some about the moon landing.

The Eagle Has Landed - Through television, motion picture and still photography, this film provides an "eye-witness" perspective of the Apollo 11 mission that put a human on the moon.

The John Glenn Story 1963 - A film biography of Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. A salute to an American hero. I particularly like the pictures of New Concord, Ohio in this video. Small town America as it used to be! As a past Theatre teacher, I did cringe a bit at the prepared line readings! If this gets to you, just skip to the halfway point where more specific information is given about his space flight.

America in Space: The First Decade 1968 - A look at America's first decade chasing the stars.

Assignment Shoot the Moon 1967 - How did unmanned spacecrafts get a man on the moon? Find out in this historic video from 1967.

Within This Decade: America in Space 1969 - This film traces the principal accomplishments of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in aeronautics and space research from 1959 until the eve of the first lunar landing in 1969.

Debrief Apollo 8 1969 - This film portrays the story of man's first journey in orbit around the Moon with comments on the significance of the Apollo 8 flight by several prominent Americans.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Awesome Audio Freebie!!!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine on Facebook just alerted it's "fans" to this incredible freebie. "We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident" is a reading by Max McLean of four great works in American history: The Declaration of Independence, The Preamble to the Constitution, The Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. And right now it's available completely free!!

Another freebie on this site can be found under the "free downloads" tab on the left side of the site. Max McLean reading "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" the famous sermon written by Jonathan Edwards.

For those of you who don't know Max McLean his narrations of the Bible are stunning. This work is equally well crafted and professionally rendered. What an excellent way to share these documents with your children or to reacquaint yourself. I urge you to check it out but hurry!!! It's only free until July 6th.

Friday, July 03, 2009

How to be a Patriot

Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.
Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788

I agree with Mr. Webster that every child in the United States should understand the privilege of being a US citizen. Like the holidays in the Bible, patriotic days are a great time to remind your children of the past, where we have been and how we got where we are. In this country we have a common heritage of music and heroes that should not be forgotten. Here are some resources to help you do that.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a series of informative and helpful newsletters. One of those is called Freebie Fridays. This Friday's newsletter contained several links to help educate children on our heritage.

Learn Out Loud is a collection of audiobooks for sale and for free. They have a daily newsletter that let's you know what's free and it often touches on the current holiday or events. This week there have been several American History audios highlighted that are free. On their kid's page scroll down and under "most popular" you'll find audios of The Declaration of Independence, documents of the Founders, biographies of famous Americans, The Bill of Rights and several important speeches.

Amazon gives away several mp3s on their site everyday. I downloaded Documentary Recordings Presents Patriotic Music . Another great source of copyright free music is one of my favorite blogs Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace. Wednesday's post contained a link to 78's For A Fourth of July Mood, a collection gathered by the blog's author. It's a great collection of music from the early part of the twentieth century. A teachable moment for kids on how we used to listen to music as you explain the scratchy sounds in the music! If you want more of this kind of music check this blog's archives for patriotic holidays. There are some real treasures here.
I hope you enjoy your weekend and spend some time teaching your children!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Paper Dolls!

I just came across a post on the Freebies For Mom blog about Patty Reed paperdolls and thought I would share with you. Patty Reed designed fabric for Simplicity and she would design paperdolls to go with the fabric that was given to customers. Sadly, this practice has stopped because of production costs, but the good news is they are being offered free for download! These are new paperdolls done in the style of the beautiful, classic paperdolls. I hope your little girl (or you) will love them!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Free Art and Music Appreciation Lesson Plan!

Harmony Art Mom has put together a six-week Art & Music Appreciation lesson plan for summer use, focusing on the music of Felix Mendelssohn and the paintings of Monet. She has the download link available on her site at:

Please check out her blogs if you haven't before. It's a wonderful resource for mother educators following Charlotte Mason or anyone interested in leading their children in artist, composer and nature studies. You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Handicrafts for Boys

My husband recently became interested in making his own lanyards. His first two are in the picture above. He really enjoys working with his hands and loves a challenge. After seeing them I realized this would be a great handicraft for boys which is something Mother Educator's following the Charlotte Mason method are always looking for.

Lanyards not only are practical in that they help you to hold onto and keep from dropping things but they also provide emergency supplies. An inch of knotted lanyard can take up to 12 inches of cord to make. If you find yourself in an emergency situation needing cord you simply unravel your lanyard and have a supply of strong cord. And boys seem to love the idea of being in an emergency situation. And there are many different styles of knots to learn which means this is a craft that can be practiced for quite awhile.

My husband learned techniques for making lanyards from youtube videos. Simply entering the phrase, "paracord lanyard" in the youtube search yields many tutorials. My favorite of the videos my husband showed me is this one which is taught by a young boy. I can't recommend all his videos as I have only watched this one so as with all youtube videos...check it out before showing your child!

There are some really good books on knot tying that a child who wants to pursue this craft may want to look at. I recently found an exhaustive resource at a library book sale, "Encyclopedia of Knots and Fancy Rope Work." I just enjoy looking at this book! You can find some other resources here. There is also a fantastic site called Animated Knots by Greg that is so helpful. A pdf booklet on knot tying is also available at the Scoutmaster blog.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Music

American music can trace it's roots from two distinctly American styles; blues and gospel music. I think that as Americans we should take time to familiarize our children with these two genres and their importance in the world of music. Charlotte Mason advocated teaching children folk music and this is the music of the folk of this country.

I am a big fan of early American country music which developed from gospel and was influenced by blues and the music of Irish and Welsh immigrants. I have found a wonderful set on youtube to teach specifically about this form of music. The set is comprised of clips from a BBC documentary, The History of Country Music. I recommend you look for this or borrow it from your library. It is excellent. If you would like to learn more about this style, check the links below.

Monday, May 25, 2009

What About Preschool?

I am in the minority in our country when it comes to preschool. I think that preschool as an institution is not necessary for the average child. We seem to have developed a national mindset that if children don't attend preschool they are destined to a life of failure. Many of my reasons for believing this is not true are here.

" As stated on "Children learn mainly through play, interaction with caring adults, lots of conversation, reading, and exposure to the bounty of life." This seems so simple that I think many parents wanting the best for their children and feeling inadequate to provide them, dismiss these things. I am often asked "what curriculum should I use for preschool?" To help in providing the recommendations just stated and to give you some ideas, let me make some suggestions.

Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready has a lot of great activities. It's just a book that is very inexpensive with activities I believe for every day of the year arranged by age. Simple, but fun and effective.

Letter of the Week is a free online curriculum that I used with my daughter. It is intended to be used in one year. This is a unit study with several subjects being taught around one theme, in this case a letter. Each week a particular letter is explored through music, poems and rhymes, books, snacks, character traits, math, science, social studies, art, games and field trips. And did I say it's free?

Another unit study curriculum that is very popular is Before Five in a Row. Although I have never used this, I have read the curriculum and used the book lists as a resource for good books to read to my children. That is the beauty of this curriculum to me, the wealth of really great books to introduce your children too. Reading to your children at an early age is a wonderful experience of closeness for you and them. Being read to at an early age is also one of the predictors of successful readers. And I'm happy to report that at 8 and 10 my children are both excellent and avid readers!

I have also used Learning At Home , a complete curriculum for preschool and kindergarten. This is a very full curriculum and probably much more than is necessary. If you feel it's too much you can adjust this as necessary. Ann Ward, the author of this curriculum, also has a book for second grade and a book called Learning the Classics at Home about teaching literature.
Most of all, don't believe that you can't teach your own child. Who taught them to eat with a spoon? Use the toilet? Tie their shoes? With the help of good tools you CAN teach your child.

We Remember

Leavenworth National Cemetery

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

General George S. Patton

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Free Audio: Foxe's Book of Martyrs has a great free download this month. Check it out!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Free Homeschool Magazine Issue

I ran across this announcement that I thought you'd be interested in. Mark your calendars!

Did you know that, while many birds build the typical cup-shaped nest on top of a tree branch, other birds build and use a wide variety of nests, from hanging baskets to rock shelves to holes in trees and even a 50-foot wide 15-foot deep compost pile with carefully regulated warm temperatures? Come explore this fascinating topic in our latest issue of Creative Homeschooled Kids Magazine, now available on the newstand! With its focus on Nature (a unit study in every issue), Art (a full art course throughout the year) and Bible, this multilevel bimonthly magazine is sure to keep your children's learning interest going strong.How do you get a FREE full-color issue? Keep reading...

Don't miss our special 10-page section in this issue on celebrating Mother's Day, with ideas on how to celebrate the day and to love Mom in practical ways all year, along with a card-making activity and a Mother's Day story! We're excited to announce that on Friday, May 8, this current issue of Creative Homeschooled Kids Magazine will be FREE to all who visit! So mark your calendar and take the opportunity to download this issue FREE, and tell your homeschooling friends and family so they can get their free copy, too. (This is part of CurrClick's Mother's Day Giveaway, with 4-5 free products on their site every day for seven days from May 6 - 8th and May 11th - 14th.) Be sure to take advantage of this giveaway (May 8), and of 10% off ALL of our products during the Spring Back from Recession Sale (May 1-15).


James & Joy Marie Dunlap

LightHome Publications

The Homemaking Cottage Winner!

I'm really sorry that I didn't get out the winner to the Homemaking Cottage Giveway. My sister in law gave birth to a baby boy and the week was taken up with driving to see him and visiting. A baby is born only once after all!

Without further ado, the winner is Molly! I used a very precise scientific method of eenie-meenie-miney-moe to come up with a winner. I know you'd expect nothing less than careful science from me!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Homemaking Cottage

Recently I was given the pleasure of a free week of the subscription Deluxe Edition of The Homemaking Cottage site to review. Shiloah Baker is the owner and editor of The Homemaking Cottage, but the articles are written by a group of freelance writers who are just normal homemakers! Shiloah is a homeschooling mother of 7 children and an experienced homemaker.

I was quite excited as this sounded like just my cup of tea! I'm an avid magazine reader and this site was like have all the back issues of a great homemaking magazine at my fingertips. More than a magazine subscription, it was a subscription to not only what is written this year, but to all that has ever been written! It was a pleasurable week pouring through the many articles, but there were so many more I never even got to read.

There is a lot to this website and a subscription is quite a bargain at $36, about what you would pay for a premium magazine. But get to read ALL the information written for the site. User receive 24 hour a day access to the over 891 original articles/recipes/crafts and 20% off anything in the website store. Here is a sample of the sections on the website:

Home & Garden
Back to Basics
Home Office
Self Reliance
Thrifty Living
Thrifty Shopping
Time Management
Kitchen & Cooking
Family Corner
Fair Lady
I spent most of my time in the Self Reliance section. This is a current interest of mine as my husband has asked me to help him get our family more prepared for emergency situations. The articles I read were not only informative, but practical. Plenty of wisdom to help me get started.

Shiloah was so kind to offer to let me give away on FREE subsubscription to the Deluxe edition to one of my readers! To enter, please leave a comment between now and midnight on Sunday, April 26. I will put your names in a hat and draw a winner next Monday, April 27, and post the winner here and notify them by email. Don't forget to provide a way for me to be able to contact you, either through your blog or an email address so that I can notify you if you win.

Even if you don't win the deluxe membership, be sure to visit the website, and consider purchasing a membership for yourself. I think you will love it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Please Vote

I don't usually ask you to go vote for things, but one of my closest and most trusted friends has recommended this to me. And since it's coming from her I don't doubt that it is praiseworthy. So I ask you to please take a minute to read this and vote. Here is what my friend has to say about this:

"This is my precious friend... I met her soon after I moved 10 years ago and she quickly became a safe haven and treasured mentor/friend to me. Her husband was on staff in the missions office and now ...he works at ... the inner city arm of Kanakuk. They are an amazing couple with 3 amazing kids, 2 of which they adopted from Korea. I am asking you to vote for her to send her to the Honolulu Marathon in December. She is so deserving! Voting ends in 12 days and you can vote once a day. She also moves up in the points even more if you share her link by posting it to your facebook or twitter or blog. There is a button you can click on in the link to share/post it. Very easy!!!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Peter and John Running to the Tomb - Eugene Burnand

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Betrayal of Christ - Caravaggio

Sunday, March 29, 2009


As I have mentioned previously here, I do share some aspects of the liturgical year with my children. The season of Lent is one of those times that we observe. Observance of Lent is a wonderful way to prepare the heart for what should be the greatest event in the Christian calendar...the rememberance of Christ's death and resurrection on our behalf. I've come across a few resources to help share this time as a family.

Beyond The Tomb is a free study by Amy Blevins. This is a very full study that includes daily bible verses, activities, and two other readings for two age groups of children. This study starts today and my family is planning on using at least some aspects of Amy's study.

Behold The Lamb is a wonderful 17 day study by one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp. Just visiting her blog, Holy Experience can bring a time of worship, reflection and refreshment. This study is free and started 5 days ago. We were planning to use it this year, but got a late start, so we will try again next year. I love this study because it incorporates scripture reading, reflection, prayer and a work of art representing the daily reading. The idea is to create an Easter Tree with the works of art. You must see it.
I've posted other ideas for Lent in the past which you can see here. One of my favorite and very easy ideas comes from my friend Rachel (check out all her blogs). She creates an Easter Garden with her children. I stole this idea from her a few years ago and it's something my children really enjoy. They ready the tomb and on Good Friday we roll the stone in front. In the past they have rolled a flower or a picture representing Jesus in a piece of cloth and placed it in the tomb. Then on Easter morning I go out and roll away the tomb leaving the empty cloth inside. It's a fun tradition.
I hope that you will share this time with your children by teaching them about Christ's life, death and resurrection. We have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Patrick, lover of God and the people of Ireland

We always celebrated St. Patrick's day in my family. I have Irish ancestors on both sides of my family and my parents loved Ireland. So it was natural for me to do the same with my children. What we celebrate on this day is the fact that God so loved the Irish (and us all) that he sent his obedient servant Patrick to go back to the people who had enslaved him in order that they might be saved. The story of Patrick's obedience is really inspiring. I only hope that I would be so willing to forgive a people who had stolen me from my home and made me a slave for 6 years.

This is an excellent video for understanding the early history of the Irish people. There is a whole series, but I've only watched this one. Patrick is discussed at the end.

Also this year I've previewed a video for children that teaches about the Irish and specifically Irish Americans. It's part of the American Cultures for Children series by Schlessinger Media. Titled Irish-American Heritage it shares information about the geography, history and customs of Ireland including the story of Irish immigration to America. There is video of a dance rehearsal of traditional Irish dance, a folktale, instructions to make a harp and lessons in Gaelic. The video ends with a traditional Irish folk song in Gaelic.

I've shared other favorite books and recipes in the past here, here and my all time favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread here. My recipe isn't really all that authentic. More of a glorified Soda Bread which I think is appropriate for a special day.

A new recipe I tried last year was for Guinness Chocolate Layer Cake. It was so incredibly delicious. I am a huge chocolate fan and this was hands down the best chocolate cake I've ever had. I'm not sure this is any sort of traditional Irish recipe, but it includes an Irish product and with the state of their economy I'm sure they will be quite pleased if we make it. This is from Cookie Madness which is a really terrific blog for all things sweet.

I hope that in some way you'll take this day to teach your children about Patrick. Perhaps just remember Patrick and the love that God has for us and the way he is able to use anyone...even a achieve his plan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free Audio Book! is becoming one of my favorite sites. They have offered a lot of good audio for free the last few months. Right now they are offering a book I've been wanting to read, Ten P's In A Pod. I've heard this book recommended so many times on other blogs I trust. So I'm thrilled that Behemoth has chosen to offer this. It's only good through March 31st so hurry!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Almond Milk from Scratch

About a year ago I switched from milk to almond milk. I've slowly removed most dairy from my diet except the occasionally piece of cheese or ice cream. What I've noticed is that when I eat dairy now I feel lethargic and have sinus trouble. So I've decided the switch is permanent.

Almond milk is more expensive then cow's milk. But I've found a way, with the help of raw almonds from Costco, to make it a little less expensive. I make my own. The taste is much fresher and I can change it to suit my taste.

Basic almond milk is quite simple...with the right blender. For my last birthday my husband bought me a Blendtec blender. It was so worth it. I use it almost daily to make smoothies, soups, fruit mash for a bread recipe, applesauce or almond milk. If you do any of these on a regular basis I suggest you try to get a Blendtec or Vita Mix.

To make the almond milk you need to soak 1 cup of raw almonds in water for at least 4 hours. After 4 hours, drain the water and add 4 cups of fresh water. I pulse a few times to chop up the almonds and then run the blender on speed 10 for one cycle (about 1 minute). Next you need to strain it. I place a feed sack towel (cheese cloth would work fine) inside a mesh strainer placed over a large measuring cup. Then I pour the blended almonds and water into the towel in the strainer. Do it slowly! Next pull up the corners of the towel carefully so you don't spill the mixture. Do this over the strainer! Start twisting the ends of the towel until you have a ball shape with the mixture inside. Still over the strainer carefully squeeze the ball twisting the towel until no liquid comes out. Now you have almond meal inside the towel and about 1 quart of almond milk in the measuring cup!

Store the almond milk in a pitcher in your refrigerator. It will last for about 3 maybe 4 days. But I usually use it up before that! This milk is good in things like cereal, hot chocolate, chai tea and I've even used it to make macaroni and cheese. You may not like to drink it on it's own though. It doesn't taste as sweet as milk. For variation you can sweeten it buy blending it with 2 dates or a sweetener of your choice. I use the dates. You can also add some vanilla and a pinch of salt. This makes a milk that is better to drink plain.

Now back to that towel. Inside the towel you have almond meal. I really despise throwing things away so I've found a few uses for it. First I've used it in many recipes that call for almond meal. I also use it to replace part of the flour in some recipes. This is particularly good in things like oatmeal cookies, brownies, banana bread and muffins. One of my favorite things to do with it is make suet for birds.

So how do you make bird suet? For my family I boil ground beef and freeze it to use in recipes. I let the water I use to boil it in cool and remove the fat from the top. I mix this fat with the almond meal and a cup of bird seed. I put it in a square tupperware container and place it in the refrigerator. In a few hours it's cool and I slice it in half and place in our suet feeders outdoors. Very easy and your using up what would normally be a waste product (the beef fat). Our birds, especially woodpeckers, love it!

So there you go. I started out telling you how to make almond milk and ended up telling you how to make bird suet! Try it yourself and tell me how it goes for you. I'd really love to hear any other uses you come up with for almond meal. So leave me a note!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Depression Era Cooking

A post on Motherload, one of my favorite blogs, led me to this Youtube channel starring Clara in Upstate New York. Clara is in her nineties and shares her wisdom and experience about the Depression through lessons in cooking. History, cooking and old ladies...three of my very favorite things!!!

There is a blog too!

Oh how I wish I could have captured the wisdom of the Elders in my family in such a manner. If you have people in your life like this I urge you to capture their wisdom and experience in some way for future generations. Then share it with all of us on Youtube!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winter Nature Study

Charlotte Mason recommended that children study nature in order to understand, appreciate and be good stewards of the world around them. Since I come from a long line of nature lovers this hasn't been too difficult for me, but it can be somewhat of a challenge in winter. I recently discovered a great resource for the Kansas City area in the Walt Bodine Show.
The Walt Bodine Show covers local happenings and produces a quarterly show called Nature in the City. Listening recently I heard information about Snowy Owls which people in our area usually can't see but have a opportunity to see right now due to the owls normal prey being unavailable in their area. There was also information about foxes and other wildlife and flora in the area. If you live in the Kansas City area I suggest you check it out.

To use this program as nature study I download it and then I went to youtube and found video of the animals described in the show. My children can hear local experts discuss nature in our area and see visuals to help them identify those birds and animals when we are out driving or walking. There is also an archive of previous shows and I plan to do the same with other shows in the future. Very praiseworthy indeed!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Free Audio!

Right now there are two really fantastic free audio deals on One for kids and one for adults. But you have to hurry because it's only available through Saturday - TOMORROW! Find the details on these two giveaways here and here. The second link is to the In A Shoe blog and she is also offering a $50 giveaway to Behemoth. But hurry!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Lenten Activites!

One of my favorite sites, Homeschool Freebie of theDay, is offering this great book of Lenten Activities by Miiko Gibson. But it's only available today!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Simply, Shrove Tuesday is the day before the season of Lent starts. It is also known as Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. A time of feasting before a time of quiet solemnity in the church year.

Lent is typically a time of reflection on Christ's life, death and resurrection. Ancient Christians and today's Catholics and some more liturgical protestants, spend Lent as a fast from certain things. Sort of a way of observing how Christ was sacrificed for our sins. In preparation for giving up they would use up all the flour, sugar and fat in their cupboards so it wouldn't go bad. An easy way to do that was in something like a pancake. So this day is traditionally spent at pancake suppers, eating fried foods like doughnuts, or delicious cakes like the King Cake.

I was raised in the Episcopal church where Lent is observed. The church I attend today does not observe Lent really, but I think the seasons of the Liturgical year are an excellent way to teach your kids about Christ, to teach them as you go along in your life. It provides a reason to talk about Christ and our faith. The bible models this, I believe, in the festivals and special days of remembrance (such as passover).

If you'd like to incorporate these things into your family, here are some ideas.

  • Ann Voskamp's beautiful 17 day devotional "Behold The Lamb," incorporates art and bible verses to help families prepare for the observation of Christ's Resurrection.

  • 2008 Anglican Family Lent on the A TenO'Clock Scholar blog is lots of ideas for experiencing Lent with your children. There are also some interesting books for children on the liturgical year here.

  • You can also see more details about activities I do with my family here.

I hope you will take some time from now until April spending time with your family looking into this person named Jesus who is the Christ. This is a season of remembrance. It is time well spent.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paperdoll Treasure Trove

If you are familiar with my blog you no doubt know that I love paperdolls. I found a wonderful resource for them today in Teri's Paperdoll Page. There are even scans of Paperdoll greeting cards. Have fun!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

My children and I watched this charming film last night and we highly recommend it. This is no fast paced, overproduced, loud disneyesque film. Consisting mostly of sight gags and only a little dialogue ( in french, we turned on the subtitle feature) we were all captured and couldn't stop watching!

Directed by Jacques Tati who also stars as the main character, the socially inept Monsiuer Hulot. But who would want to be like the stuffy French upper crust as depicted in this story? Certainly not the young nephew of M. Hulot who finds his uncle and his uncle's world in the older, quainter parts of the city completely fascinating.

Not only is there wonderful physical comedy somewhat akin to Jerry Lewis, there is also a beautiful and compelling world. Just like his nephew I'd much rather run in the field behind M. Hulot's apartment building then walk in the stilted formal garden of the moderne technological wonder that is the nephew's home. The whole film is connected by a lyrical, whimsical musical score that leaves you with a warm feeling long after the film has ended.

Full of wonderful character depictions and funny sight gags this film was enjoyed by my children who are 8 and 10. But don't just listen to me...check it out for yourself!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Great Backyard Bird Count

It's time again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audoban, the GBBC is an easy way to get your kids involved in nature study. My children and I have done it the last two years.

To be involved all you have to do is spend 15 minutes counting birds in your area February 13 - 16. Then you go to the GBBC website and log your totals. That's it! The website is full of great information, lesson plans, regional bird lists and this year a special certficate to print out to award to participants. It is a very praiseworthy thing. But do it quick! You only have Sunday and Monday left to count.

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you are a last minute person, as I often am, here are a load of printable Valentine's for you at The Long Thread courtesy of The Motherload.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Praiseworthy Book: Keeping House

I read a lot of books about home keeping and most are very practical books. They either teach you how to keep a home, how to keep it easier, how to have a schedule, how to.... But I picked up a book at my library recently that was very different. The title was Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life.

This book is different in that instead of telling you how to keep house, it tells you why to keep house. Her argument is that keeping house is a way to love your family and to love God. In the process she debunks the currently held notion by many that keeping a house is a "waste of time" or mindless and unrewarding. I found her views to be challenging even to me, someone who already believes in the importance of a mother and homemaker. I found myself convicted and inspired by her thoughts. Check it out for yourself.

Friday, February 06, 2009


With the excitement of December and Christmas over, now is a great time for a study on snow and snowflakes. Here are a number of resources for doing just that!

How to grow a borax snowflake.

Dave's snowflake page

Lots of good snow activities

We love these books:

And this for viewing:

Snain from Jeffrey Butler on Vimeo.

Jeff is a very talented videographer and I urge you to check out some of his other videos. Especially if your studying Viet Nam.