Jello! Yes, that may sound unexciting, I know... But have you looked at the ingredients on the jello boxes? We never ate it that often anyway but once I looked I just couldn't make it any more. About a year ago I realized that you can make jello with just plain fruit juice and unflavored gelatin. The directions are right on the box. Somehow it never occurred to me to look at a plain box before! Since then when certain juices go on sale I'll pick up a jar to have handy for a very special rare treat of jello. I especially like the organics from Santa Cruz in glass jars and can sometimes get the qt jars for buy one get one free at the store. The berry flavors work well for jello. Even fruit juice is still high sugar so we use it sparingly (chocolate, on the other hand...). Right now I have a box of Knox in the cupboard with (can you believe it?) no directions :(. I vaguely remember the ratio for the Kroger brand packs to be 2 cups juice to 1 envelope gelatin. If the packets are the same then it will work. Vaguely, you set aside 1/2 C juice and sprinkle the gelatin over it while you bring the rest just to the boiling point. Then you mix it all together until dissolved and refrigerate. Here goes... [update: with the Knox packets I had to use 2 packets for 2 cups of juice. It didn't look like it was jelling so I added the second packet after it was refrigerated for a while. It may have worked but since I wasn't sure and patience with inanimate objects is not my strength I added it and it was fine.]
Regarding plain gelatin, the Knox and store brands are not necessarily recommended and I plan on switching to this brand of beef (Kosher) natural gelatin which IS recommended. I have found it in a local health food store:
Great Lakes unflavored Kosher Beef Gelatin
Handle on the Arts:
I was actually already planning to do a post on this wonderful art curriculum but found a nice surprise when I got to their website that just can't wait! Right now they have **2 FREE LAPBOOKS**. One for Leonardo da Vinci and another for Egypt. Yeah!! You register but I didn't have to give out any credit card info to get the freebies. Here is the link to the page with the free lapbooks, but please take time to browse around the rest of the site. I've seen some of the curriculum in person at a book fair and they really impressed me - I've had this curr in the back of my mind for years. My wishlist: the CD-Rom package for Time Traveler Volume 1 and eventually Volume 2. One can dream, right?? Actually, depending on what happens to dc's enrichment classes this may become a necessity.
Please note that this isn't an Egypt unit covering everything under the sun (like mine end up doing!) but rather it focuses on the architecture. I think these mini-books will complement any other lapbook or unit study beautifully. I think the da Vinci one would easily stand alone. I'm not sure how long this offer will hold.
This is a list of the top ten household toxins. It's from Time, so if it's that mainstream then you know this info has been around a while. This is a super short read:
In short: flouride; BPA; oxybenzone; parabens; phthalates; BHA; PFOA (time to stop using my non-stick pan once and for all!); perchlorate; DECA; asbestos.
Several are hormone disruptors and 2 are common in cosmetics (oxybenzone and parabens). For face cream I just use plain old coconut oil. It's great. I use either Spectrum, or Now, or (my favorite but more expensive) Tropical Traditions. For my face I use refined so I don't smell the coconut all day :). For chapstick I now only use (for me and dc) Tropical Traditions' lip moisturizer. It's actually about the same price as any other in the store. For deodorant I use coconut oil/baking soda and let me tell you - it works better than ANY I've tried regular or natural, including all those big names. For dc I get the Tropical Traditions deodorant and stock up when I can get it on sale or free shipping. It's expensive but it does last each one several months and even the 'natural' ones at the health food stores usually have something in them I don't like (sigh). Same with shampoo. I looked for months and months to even find a 'natural' one for the dc without SLS or something else toxic in it. I ended up getting Everyday Shea on sale - a huge pump for $10.