Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's Mango Time!

What's Cookin'?

Mangoes are on sale for less than $0.50 each right now.  That is when I usually load up for the year - or I hold out for 3 for a $1.  I can't do it this year so we're just getting a few at a time and eating them (yum!).  However, this is what I have done in years past (and hopefully in years future!).

First things first:

You can eat green mangoes (best soaked a bit in lemon juice with Real salt!), ripe mangoes (very sweet, juicy, messy, and stringy!), or... my favorite... sazon mangoes - that perfect stage in which they are starting to get sweet but are not yet stringy... just perfect!  Sazon ripeness is when you can just barely start to feel 'give' when you gently sqeeze it

There are several ways to peel and cut mangoes.  Some people, one of my daughters included, like to use a potato peeler and peel it first, then cut it.  I like to slice it up first and use a paring knife to easily slide the peel off of each piece.  That way it's easier for me to hold it steady while I'm cutting.  When processing a bunch, we throw the seeds in a big bag and toss it in the refrigerator.  Then we eat them for snacks so we don't waste a bit of tasty fruit.  Just chew the flesh off of the seed like you are eating corn on the cob.

Preserving Mangoes

There are 3 main ways that we preserve mangoes.  Freezing, dehydrating, and canning.

Freezing Mangoes:  This is the easiest, fastest, and freshest way.  Simply prepare your slices, arrange single layer in your container of choice, and freeze.  You could freeze on parchment paper and then repackage.  Sometimes when I'm in a hurry I actually just use baggies (I know, I know! I don't recommend them!) and lay them flat in the freezer. 

Dehydrating Mangoes:  We love these for snacks!  Simply prepare your slices (thinner than for freezing), arrange single layer on your dehydrator trays, and dehydrate to taste.  I've been known to double bag and toss the dehydrated and cooled mangoes in the freezer.  Otherwise I keep them in a well-sealed mason jar in the cupboard.

Canning Mangoes:  Canning is non NT-friendly (NT=Nourishing Traditions) so I am not actually recommending this, but we will occasionally can fruits.  I generally use this website for canning help.  It is an amazing resource for finding fresh fruit/veggies in your area:


Note:  I just saw that the book Nourishing Traditions is on sale for $17.34 right now (instead of $27) and is eligible for free shipping with Amazon orders over $35.

This post is part of Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday.

There may be some affiliate links in this post which may give me a tiny commission with no extra cost to you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Addition Booklets (Montessori)

What's Schoolin'?

I ran across this pdf and thought I would post it in case anyone can use it... I used these for our addition booklets as part of our Montessori shelf work.

Click here for the pdf file to print (2 pages).  For personal use only, thanks.

Deal Alert: 20% off Lavender (Young Living)

What's Savin'?

Young Living Lavender essential oil is 20% off through July 22, 2014.  Yeah!  I just ordered one.  If you are a member and missed the announcement, now is your chance to head on over to order some.  If you are not a member, this is a good time to sign up... or you can order as a customer instead of a member.  It's a quick turnaround but I hope this sale is helpful to someone who was needing lavender.

Member price: $18.80 (plus tax/shipping) - regular price is $23.50 plus tax/shipping

Customer retail price: $24.74 (plus tax/shipping) - regular price is $$30.92 plus tax/shipping

To order the lavender go here.
To sign up with me and receive the great discounts go here.

[I, literally, just opened the web site linked to above, so... please let me know if there are any kinks to iron out with it.  Thanks!]

Why use Lavender essential oil?

Here is the product information:

It is one of the three oils in the "allergy bomb" that has really helped my children this season.

Here is a (rather long!) audio about the Lavender product.

I could say a lot more about lavender, but then I would never get this sale post out!

I am a Young Living distributor and may receive a commission on any sales through these links.  Thank you for your support!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Deal Alert: 100% Pure ~ 20% off order

What's Savin'?

100% Pure has a 20% off sale going until June 22, 2014.  The sale is off of your entire order.  Use the code:


Here is the main homepage and the code is on the top banner in case you forget:


I got some nail polish and creamsticks (lipsticks) a long while ago when they had a sale.  I actually haven't tried the nail polish yet, but my children have :).  I like that the creamsticks are not glossy or shimmery.  They have other products that are glossy if that's more to your liking.

I am not affiliated with this company - just sharing a good deal from a company that I have used.  I am considering it, though :)...

If you miss the sale and want to add to an order you are making on Amazon already, here is a link to the 100 percent pure products on Amazon.

100% Pure Products

(This is an affiliate link and purchases through this link may earn me a small, tiny commission)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Diego Rivera 3-Part Cards

What's Schoolin'?

I am slowly uploading some files I made for Lit-Mont Learning Resources years ago... I never launched the business so I am putting the files on Etsy as I'm able.  Anyway, I came across this non-commercial file that I made for Diego Rivera's art.  I love the bold colors and indigenous focus.  Having Mayan ancestors somewhere in the family tree, I confess I'm a bit partial to Mexican/Central American subject matter even though I don't hold to his political persuasion...

I had them paperclipped and set up in a business card holder on the shelf.

I hope you enjoy these cards and please let me know if you use them (I can always use the encouragement - and yes, I'm fishing!! :) )

Here is a link to the pdf file.



If you want to explore more about Diego Rivera's art and life, here are a few Amazon resources.  I have seen some but not all of them - please use your own discretion whenever choosing books for your children.  I would personally choose the ones that focus more on his childhood and painting but there are some here for older kids that go into more detail of his personal life.

If you happen to purchase through these links I may earn a meager commission with no extra cost to you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Practical Life for Olders: Felted Soap

What's Schoolin'?

"Life" and "School" overlap so much with a Montessori inclination (and even homeschooling in general), but this certainly fits with Practical Life.

We have discovered the art of felting soap and my youngest in particular (12) just LOVES to felt soap.  This is her newest creation.

What on Earth is 'felted soap'???  It's so cool :).

Felted soap is a bar of soap encased with 100% wool.  The wool shrinks and encases the soap.  It becomes the 'scrubby' and exfoliant.  We only use our all-natural soap blends for ours, but you could use whatever soap you prefer.  They make great gifts.

1. You take 100% wool and pull it out thinly to make a "blanket" for your soap.   We use roving wool from Hobby Lobby (using their perpetual 40% off coupon :) ) similar to this and this.

2. Wrap your soap both ways (vertically and horizontally) with no soap showing. 

3. Wrap it in the foot of an old nylon hose and knot it.

4. Optional:  Put a little squirt of dish soap just to help it get started.  This will rinse off so it won't be in your soap at the end.  It spares a little of your own inside soap.

5. Dip it in really hot water and squeeze gently.  Do this until the wool is saturated.

6. Scrub and rough it up a little all over it.  When the wool doesn't pull away easily take off the nylon.  Keep rubbing until it doesn't pull away at all (a few fuzzies are okay, but no strands).

7. Rinse in cold water and squeeze gently.

8. Dab gently with a towel or paper towels.

9. Leave it to dry at least overnight before gifting, using, or storing.

Here it is ready for the local Farmer's Market!

[UPDATE:  This pretty pink/purple one she made sold yesterday - first day out.  We have 3 small round ones and just 1 large one left - time to felt some more soap! :)]

Here are some more that the children and I have made.  A few are listed in the Etsy store and a few have already sold:

This post contains a few affiliate links through which I may earn a tiny commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through those links.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Deal Alert: Ends today - Philosophy Adventure 40% off digitals or free shipping

What's Savin'?

Homeschool Adventure is having a sale that ends today.  40% off all digital downloads or free shipping on print orders.  Use the code ANNIVERSARY40 at checkout.

I have not personally used nor can endorse these products.  However, I just looked through the sample of Philosophy Adventure and I really liked what I saw. The only  thing I saw missing in the sample was a table of contents.

I attempted teaching Philosophy to my olders last school year but didn't have a good resource.

So, for a little over $23 I could have the download version of the student text, student workbook, and teacher resources.  That's pretty good for a Philosophy course!!

They have a variety of buying options including printed text and workbook all the way to digital download.

Here's the link to the store:

Philosophy Adventure:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Paleo Tortillas using yucca and plantain.  I grew up eating yucca and plantain but it's been years.  My dr wants me on a paleo diet for a while so this is going in my tool box!

Crispy Swedish Pancakes [I'm off to make these right now!...] [Update:  I made 1/2 batch for breakfast and it was just enough for 4 of us.  The children loved them and thanked me for making them several times!]:

Check out this salted caramel shake - just in time for summer.  I have some dulce de leche in the fridge.  I think I'll give it a go with that if I can find some good pretzels locally (or else I might just cave and use the big bag from Sam's that my mom got for our graduation party... tempting, but I'll look for healthier ones first!):

Some inspiring crockpot recipes:

Plantain taco shells.  Brilliant. FYI - the plantains in the store are never ever ripe.  Buy them and wait until they are really ugly :).

Mango Salsa.  I don't know that the mangoes would last long enough around here to get the salsa made but I'll try!  I've been seeing them 2 for $1 this week (was that at Sprouts??).  BTW, mangoes freeze great.  I prefer sazon - right in between ripe/stringy and hard/sour.[Need to have ready: red onion, cucumber, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice]

Who knew that you could make your own natural mascara??

I cannot wait, wait, wait to try making one or all of these lotion bars!

Here is a DIY Sunscreen (with non-nano zinc oxide - super important that sunscreens use non-nano ingredients!).  Someone told me last week that they use pure shea butter as sunscreen and it works.  I need to write a post about our recent sunburn experience...

Another version of marshmallows:

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Salad:

Hamburger Salad:

Easier onion rings [update:  We made these yesterday and they were fantastic.  My kids were so excited when they saw what I was making - and oldest helped, I should add. Vidalia onions are in season! I served them for a hearty lunch (since dinner was a everyone-on-your-own day) along with nitrate-free polish sausage, organic BBQ chips, and hotdog buns with 'better' ingredients)]:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Melrose Essential Oil (Young Living)

What's Healin'?

Disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor and am not specifically recommending this to anyone.  I am simply sharing what has worked for me

For years I've used Thieves oil and Peppermint Oil (they really helped me through my Lyme treatment).  Probably about 9 months ago I wanted to have something in my purse for those cuts and scrapes that young children and not-so-young children seem to get at odd moments.  In other words, I wanted to replace the Triple Antibacterial Ointment (my off-brand version of a name brand that I had in my "car bag").

According to the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, Melrose was the perfect replacement.

I put some carrier oil in a 2 oz spray bottle and added about 20 drops of Melrose.  Next time I will go with a smaller bottle 'cuz it goes a long way and I have transitioned to a smaller purse (that looks like a football since I've crammed it full!).  We've been using this ever since and haven't looked back!  Dog scratch?  Melrose spray.  Scrape from climbing the tree? Melrose spray.  Skinned knee?  You got it, Melrose spray :).

This past week my oldest daughter (who I still cannot believe is a young adult!!) got a small cut on her finger that I thought was a paper cut.  However, apparently, it was from a fishing line while catfishing at a small temporary pond set up at an event.  The fishing poles had no reels so they had to pull in the line by hand and it sliced her finger.  Ick!  I had the Melrose in my purse but she didn't realize at the time that she had gotten cut.  It was a bit infected by the time I saw it yesterday (4 days later).  She immediately started using Melrose - it is better this morning and, although still a little red, has closed and doesn't hurt anymore. 

However,  I'm going to amp things up a bit and be prepared...

Bentonite clay, like baking soda (which I also always keep in my purse!), makes a great drawing salve.  I'm going to mix up a small container of Bentonite clay with Melrose for some warts I need to focus on treating, and to have on hand for other skin issues.  Melrose has 2 types of melaleuca (tee tree oil) so I'm guessing it will help rid me of the warts. After researching a bit I'm going to also add in some activated charcoalfor an extra drawing kick.  Plus, I always have that on hand (yes... I keep some in my purse also, lol).

Now... to go make my concoction so I can share measurements :)...... [insert sound of elevator music here...]

It turned out great and I already started using it on my warts.  I made it extra strong because these have been persistent (and grossly embarrassing!!)


2 Rounded Tablespoons of Bentonite Clay
2 Capsules Activated Charcoal
Approximately 1/2 Tablespoon distilled water (pour this in slowly and adjust - see notes below)
10 - 30 drops of Melrose (I used 30 but 10-20 drops would be a more normal strength)


1. Measure out the Bentonite Clay and Activated Charcoal in a little bowl.  Stir together gently [Don't breathe it!].

2. Slowly put in a little bit of distilled water, stirring and mixing until you get a very thick paste.

3. Add the essential oil.  Mix thoroughly.


~ Activated Charcoal acts like soot because it IS soot :).  Therefore, try not to get the salve on anything that could be stained.  I will use a bandaid over it.

~ I have seen fancy, expensive containers of pure Bentonite Clay, both dry or with only distilled water.  I got mine in the bulk section at the health food store.  I only spent $0.50 for the clay in this project.

~  Cost:  Approximately $4 - $5.

~  Again - Disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor and am not specifically recommending this to anyone.  I am simply sharing what has worked for me.

~ I recommend mixing it up in a separate bowl and then transferring to your container.  It will give you more room to smoosh it up really well.

Here is the link to the Young Living page of Melrose.  Please consider using my sponsor and enroller number of  1634316 if you decide to order or join through Young Living.  If you know me in real life I have trial sizes of this oil (30 drops for $5.00). Just let me know if you are interested.  Otherwise, it may show up in the Etsy store...

And now... I need to go put some in my purse! :)

This post contains affiliate links.  If you go through these links to Amazon I may get a tiny referral with no extra cost to you.  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Playing Chess

I remember the day I finally beat my youngest at a game of chess.  As I gleefully celebrated I shamefully remembered that... she... was... seven.  She's moved on to higher chess brain power than me in recent years (or I should say, more focused - I actually really like chess and use to be okay at it!).  This was a chess game picture I found as I was looking through photos recently.  It was taken by my youngest while she played chess with Bamboo.