Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Earth Science ~ Natural Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Soap ~ Tick War

What's Schoolin'?

Youngest dd has started Earth Science and I found this cool-looking book on Amazon.  Hopefully my library carries it:

I need to scour the local library and see what they have.  Bummer that this new library only lets you check out 15 books at a time (huge sigh).  It's difficult when you use actual books to teach multiple grade levels and multiple topics for each grade level.  Plus, I'm usually checking books out to plan and prepare while we're still using others for our lessons.  Just 15 books?  I filled that up with just Ancient Greece (Greek tragedies, philosophers, history) and that's just one mini-topic!  However, I am digressing from the topic of Science studies...

We'll be using an awesome, awesome (awesome :) ) curriculum from R.E.A.L Science (Pandia Press) for our spine with shelf work and library books (and hopefully field trips!) intermingled with it.  I have the Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy book for extending the space section if necessary also.  She really likes Apologia and went through the ocean one on her own for fun during our chaotic summer moves (plural!) - that book went everywhere with her :).  She did the projects on her own for fun also.  This is the curriculum I'll use for a spine:

This is the Apologia space book I have already that can be for supplementation or free reading:

You can get the R.E.A.L. Science Earth Science cheaper at their website here (the e-book is $39 directly and see links for sellers, I saw it on Rainbow Resource for $46, although I got mine used from a friend) and it gives you sample pages:
Quite honestly I don't remember this curriculum being this expensive when I first started using it years ago.  I had gotten the Life Science one way back when directly from them and I think it was in the twenty dollar plus range.  Just recently oldest dd said that she was so glad that we had done the worm experiments from the Life Science book in this series.  They dissected worms in the olders' Biology class but she said that having experimented with them, and having learned about them years ago helped her understand the new material/dissection better (the olders are using Apologia Biology and Dive Biology for their high school class).  Yeah!  Affirmation!

This is what the high schoolers have been using for Biology:

What's Cookin'?

I made Pizza Biscuits for dinner and I really didn't like them.  I should know better - any time a recipe says to cook anything bready at 400F I need to just lower it to 350F and cook it longer.  The biscuits weren't done all the way in the middle so I had to lower/cook longer anyway but they still didn't do well and the top burned a bit :(.  I may not have let them defrost enough even though they are the soaked freezer biscuits and bake well straight from the freezer.  The dc liked it okay.  I'll try again another time.

Personal Bread Contest:
Ever since the infamous move I have struggled and struggled with my bread routine.  I wasn't been able to cook for 3 months and by then I had forgotten which was my favorite recipe and was never satisfied with any of them.  I finally decided enough was enough and systematically went about making and comparing my bread recipes with the dc as victims  judges for each loaf.  I made recipe #1 and #2 and made them sandwiches with each at the same lunch.  Then I did  #3 and #4.  Recipe #4 won out, which is actually the same recipe as #1 but with more yeast.  It's a simple soaked recipe and slices easily for sandwich bread.  Their favorite tasting recipe was #2 but it's very crumbly when you slice it.  That will be my "sandwich bun" or "dinner roll" recipe and it's a yeast-free soaked recipe.

Normally I mix the bread in the machine and bake it in the oven.  However, dh got me a standup mixer for Christmas so I gave away my bread machine.  I honestly started boo-hooing when I saw the box... before I even knew what was in it! :)  The smarty pants had put a box of kleenex in my stocking and I had thought, ha, ha, very funny.  It turned out that I needed the kleenex!  [update:  I had to return the mixer and was so bummed.  It wasn't working correctly and I wasn't able to exchange.  I had already promised the bread machine to someone so now I'm back to hand mixing/kneading... which isn't easy with post-lyme hands.]

Vanilla Beans:  There is free shipping at Olive Nation right now (today only) and you can get a code for an additional 10% off here (don't know how long that will last).  This is a link about storing and reconstituting vanilla beans.  I have mine wrapped in a cloth that has been soaked in rum.  That's in a baggie in the cupboard.  Unfortunately, I stored them over the summer in my mom's fridge and they dried out some so this article was helpful:

This week's menu gottatry ideas:
Cornmeal/ground meat fritters (I have 1/4 lb pre-cooked ground venison in the freezer that would make this an easy lunch to make and would make 1/2 batch):

For Sunday, maybe... cream cheese pastry (note: need to make/buy 1 package cream cheese and soak dough overnight; could make a tiny 1/2 batch):

More Gottatries (I'm TRYING to only make a few new recipes a week or I get carried away!):

Sloppy Joes in cornbread muffins (spoon cornbread mix 1/2 full in muffin tin and add 1 teaspoon (recipe says 1 tablespoon) sloppy joe mixture on top.  Bake 400F 20 minutes):

I have more gottatries but I'll post those separately.

What's Green?

I looked through some recipes for automatic dishwashing soap and found this one that uses things I have.  I'm going to try the first one listed with 1/2 C castille soap, 1/2 C water, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 3 drops tea tree oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar.  My only question is whether the fresh lemon juice (as opposed to lemon extract, lemon oil, or maybe a lemon vinegar) would make it not last as long.  I may take my 1/4 vinegar and soak lemon peel in it like I do to make lemon oil/vinegar cleaner; and then use that in the above recipe.  I can't wait to try this.  I've been using just a little squirt of regular dish soap (Dishmate) in the dishwasher and so far I haven't had a problem.

What's LYME Green?

~ Here is a video report of Babesiosis and Lyme in Australia (I was infected with Lyme Disease, Babesia, Erlichia, AND Bartonella.  Yes, by God's grace I made it through... still recovery-bound though!):

~ "It's so much more than Lyme Disease" - A conference in San Diego on May 6th.  
Dr. Horowitz will talk and this is from the event post:
"He has coined the term MCIDS, or Multiple Chronic Infectious Disease Syndrome, to describe chronic Lyme disease, because of all the different factors that can be involved. Learn from Dr. Horowitz and other Lyme specialists how the combination of Lyme, coinfections, biotoxins, food allergies and other conditions can make it harder for you to get well–and what you can do about it."

You can see the flyer and get more info to register here:

~ "Freak In" (as opposed to a 'freak out'):  We found 3 ticks INSIDE the house recently. [insert silent internal scream here].  It's been such a mild winter and we've had a lot of rain - plus all of the neighborhood dogs come right up to our house to mark every single day (grrr!!) and coyotes traipse through our yard at night.  After freaking in so as not to overly alarm the children by freaking out I did the following:
- Spread sulphur around the entire perimeter of the house (including the garage).  I spread from the wall out to about 2 feet.  I used the pellets and found it at a native plants nursery.  This is totally safe, organic, and non-toxic.  However, it only makes a repellent barrier and does not kill them.
- Sprinkled diatomaceous earth (DE) around the back door area and made a "moat" around the couch since all three were in that vicinity.  This is totally organic and non-toxic.  This will kill them but I only sprinkled over a small area.  I also sprinkled it between the cushions and the base of the couch.  I'd like to spread more but there never seems to be a good time.  I'll probably just spread it around the living room overnight and then vacuum the next morning when the family is up so that the kids are not around it.
- Put totally non-organic and potentially toxic, although commonly used, flea/tick oil on my dog (Sorry, Bamboo!!)
- Got some of the same yucky stuff for our new puppy from the vet for when she is old enough.  The ticks showed up right after we got her but I think it's coincidence.  I don't like toxics for dogs either but when Lyme has taken such a toll on your family indirectly from your illness (not to mention the personal pain and suffering!), protecting your children from getting it comes first for me.
- Got some organic essential oil-based spray from that native plant nursery for the dc's bedrooms.  Here are some organic tick sprays.
- Called dh and asked him to pick up some conventional bug killer for around the outside of the windows and door frames.
- Since I have been sleeping on said couch to get up with said puppy I put on some organic bug repellent by Tropical Traditions that I had on hand before going to sleep at night.
- And last but not least I scratched and itched and imagined that I had ticks all over me for about a week!

Insect Repellent and Moisturizer - 4 oz. - Natural

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