Tuesday, August 31, 2010

History Wkbks ~ Free Shipping

Workbooks by Ana Braga-Henebry:

If you look on the right-hand side of this blog you will find a wonderful (and wonderfully!) free workbook to go along with A Child's History of the World by Hillyer (donations accepted).  Just above that you will find a link to her published workbook that accompanies From Sea to Shining Sea by CTP.  The CD with a family license is only $10.  Unfortunately we're just about finished with the text :(.  Is one for All Ye Lands in the works???

[Update:  Here is the link!  Thanks, Ana, for responding.  I look forward to seeing and using your work for Light to the Nations]


Garden of Francis' Free Shipping:

I may be mistaken (J, correct me if I'm wrong!) but I think the summer-time free shipping for orders over $50 is about to run out.  I'm placing my order today!  I hope to order more of the dish soap, laundry soap, bar soap, and some personal items.  I still want the world felt map but I'll have to hold off on that...


I'm so thrilled to be able to use the bar soap to make liquid hand soap :).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Algebra 3-Part Cards

What's Cookin'?

Falafels:  We made the Falafels and Tzatziki Sauce posted here.  Mmmm.  I thought for sure that we would have leftovers but they disappeared.  I only made 1/2 the recipe - that must be the problem!  [Note to self:  get *2* bunches of parsley and soak the whole pound bag of garbanzo beans (2 Cups)] [Another note to self:  hide and freeze 1/2 before serving if making a full batch!]  My poor little electric mini-chopper was a bit overworked, though.  I didn't have ground coriander (nor cumin) so I put in whole coriander seeds and it worked fine.  Now that I finally have my own copy of Nourishing Traditions (thanks so much, D and S!!) I can write in the margin of this recipe to soak in plain water (without the whey) and to add flour at the end.

The sauce was so good that I had to keep myself from just scarfing it down before serving it.  I like Daisy sour cream because cultured cream is the only ingredient.  It's not organic, raw, nor grass fed but it's what we can get (although I now have a source for that type of cream and can culture it, it is $10/qt and I just can't.  Anyway...).  Dd got a little cucumber from the garden and the mint has thinned out but I managed to find enough leaves for the recipe.  Ever the optimist I served it in a storage container which I could store in the refrigerator by just putting a lid on any leftover sauce.  The container was actually scraped clean by the end of dinner.

This meal fed 5 people for about $3.50.  If you had to buy onion, mint, cucumber and garlic it would be more.

Taquitos:  I finally found some commercial corn tortillas I can eat!  Yeah!  They are organic, sprouted, and only have corn, water, salt, and lime.  I looked at every single bag at the regular grocery store the other day.  There were many weird ingredients that I didn't recognize and much less could pronounce.  My last hope was the health food store.  My homemade corn tortillas are just not that great and they needed to be pliable for this recipe.  It is Food for Life's Sprouted Corn Tortillas.  I also got some Fran's Fryers chicken cutlet (I think that was the cut).  It would have been cheaper if I had actually used leftover meat but I was impatient to try it :).  For 12 taquitos I spent $6.50 (1 package of chicken plus 1 package of tortillas)  Since that won't be enough I doubled it - $13.  If I would have just used leftover meat it would only have been $6 for the 2 packs of tortillas.  Next time I'll wait and use leftover meat!  [toaster oven: 250F for 25 minutes]

For dipping sauce we mixed sour cream with salsa.  I was pretty pleased with the Herdez Salsa Casera (mild)(scroll over the name for a link). Even though it's not organic it has very few ingredients and doesn't just say 'spices' or 'natural flavorings' which often contain msg.  Here are the ingredients:  tomatoes, onions, serrano peppers, iodized salt, and cilantro. We don't eat salsa often and our grocery store quit selling their less expensive brand of organic salsa.  I was happy to find this one.  Plus, it is in a glass jar.  I also had some snack packs of avocado and put one out as well.  In all the dipping sauces cost about $5.  That makes the meal about $18.00 for a family of 5.  Not that great.  On the other hand, we didn't use that much salsa and have some for another meal or chips/dip at lunch.  Plus, I'm freezing enough for a lunch from the batch.  I could cut the cost of this meal a lot just by using leftovers and planning better to combine purchased ingredients with other meals.

Canned Pears:  We're done canning the pears.  Even *with* buying a case of mason pint jars the canned pears still only came out to $0.66/pint.  They have more than the cans at the store, are organic, very light syrup, no BPA-lined cans, AND they're cheaper!  Yeah!  Without adding in the cost for the case of jars they would have been only $0.44/pint.  [I hope to get BPA-free LIDS for next season at Tattler]  Now we have a 1/2 bushel to eat/dehydrate...

What's Schoolin'?

Here are some Properties of Real Numbers 3-part cards I made for the olders' Algebra studies.  Print 2 on cardstock (you don't need 2 of the title card so you can make a to-do list on the back of the extra one!); cut 1 set apart; leave another set with the property name attached (this is the control).  The first time they use it they will probably need to lay out the controls first and match the other cards to it.  The goal is to match the cards and use the control to check their own work.  For personal use only :).



Thursday, August 26, 2010

3-Part Cards ~ Canned Pears

3-Part Cards:

Here are some beautiful free 3-part cards.  I will definitely be printing the human body cards!  Unfortunately we've already outgrown most of the rest of them.  Thanks for sharing, A.!


What's Cookin'?

Right now we have 1/2 bushel of pears on the kitchen table - that's 65 pears in case you are wondering!  The dc are peeling and I'm about to start cutting and canning (but I had to get online to look up the recipe!).  They are giggling up a storm and I think there are about 6 conversations going on at once... and there are only 3 of them!  I use the recipe from pickyourown.org with light syrup:


If 1/2 bushel is $10 and I get 17-18 pints from it, then not only is it safer than canned pears at the store - it's cheaper too!  Okay, they're singing now... I'd better run!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fruit Leather~CW Lesson Plans~Chem Resources

What's Cookin'?

We made our first fruit leather with the last bit of peaches that we had.  I boiled them for just a few minutes to finish cleaning them and soften the skin.  Then I put them in the hand-crank food mill that I'm borrowing.  I had to cut out the pits though (especially since I was borrowing the mill and didn't want to ruin it!).  That left me with some 'peach mush' in the pot.  I added some honey but it wasn't really working - I would need way too much of our precious honey.  I resorted to just plain white sugar until my taste-tester said it was sweet enough.  Of course I happened to be using the child with the sweetest tooth after dh as a taste-tester :).  If you had super ripe peaches I don't think you would need much sugar at all and it would be much healthier than ours.

Once it was sweet enough I spread it out on the sheet of the dehydrator that has no holes [Wait, that's not true... It actually sat in the fridge for a day because: I had to run; and, I didn't want to run the dehydrator with just that (the almonds were still soaking)].  It took about 24 hours.  Along with the fruit leather, I dehydrated pears and almonds which also took about 24 hours.

I told dd that it wasn't healthy but rather a non-poisonous treat :).  Once it was dry we cut it into small pieces and wrapped them individually in plastic wrap ready for lunchbox treats (yes, plastic - I should have tried parchment paper first).  It was an extremely sticky situation.  Funny, just as I was thinking, "I'm glad I tried it but I won't do this again," dd said, "I can't wait until we do this again!"  Dh said it was the best thing we've made yet (sigh).  Did I mention he has a sweet tooth?

So... If you are still transitioning in your food journey, are seeking dye-free treats for your dc, or simply want a homemade special treat for your dc's lunches away from home... give it a go!  My disclaimer though is that it should be eaten sparingly.  This recipe is part of Real Food Wednesday at Kelly's blog.

This morning I'll slice up the last of the pears that I got last week and dehydrate those also.  Now I'm ready for more pears :).  I'm getting another 1/2 bushel today but I plan on canning those - I know, NOT NT at all but it will keep us from buying canned pears throughout the year.

I'll be trying these easy taquitos that I found on Real Food Wednesday.  My problem is finding even organic corn tortillas that I can eat.  I need organic nixtmalized (treated with lime) corn tortillas without a bunch of weird ingredients.  My homemade ones just don't come out as thin and wrappable.  I can find non-organic with the right processing/ingredients or organic that's not processed correctly.  Any recommendations welcome.


Civil War Lesson Plans:

IF you use From Sea to Shining Sea, and IF you are using Great Civil War Projects and IF you want a 3 day/week or 4 day/week History plan (if including a project day per week), and IF you are studying the Civil War, and IF you lapbook and will use homeschoolshare's Civil War lapbook, THEN these are the plans for you :).  If you are going to purchase any of those 2 books from Amazon anyway and go through my links it will be most appreciated!

Here are the plans and please remember these are for personal use only:


This is the homeschoolshare link (thank you homeschoolshare!!):

These are the books:

I will probably upload these in the online planner so they will show for that day's work in the weekly plans, but for now they are in the folder with all of the printouts, ready to go.  Each older dc has a copy and set of printouts.  I made the readings on Mondays simply because that's when youngest dd is at enrichment.
Yesterday we started reading Little Women aloud.  I have to say, when I looked at that 2 inch book I deflated a little and thought, "Wow, that's fat!"  I started reading to them and they didn't want me to stop - it was enjoyable.  I also checked out the audio book from the library and may resort to that (although the olders protested that they would rather me read aloud or just read the book themselves rather than hear someone else read it).  The copy of the book I checked out has 2 volumes in one so we will probably only read Volume 1.  I also checked out some books for youngers 'based on' the original.  Youngest dd has already started reading those.  I checked out the movie as well but I'd like to preview it first since it's PG to see if it's completely family friendly or will require some editing.

Once we get through the unit (or after I've finished selecting literature) I hope to post those.  If you find the segmented posts on one topic flustering, I know how you feel :).  On the other hand, nothing would get posted if I waited until I was done compiling a topic.  I use the search box and then find what I need when I need to go back to something.  Hope that helps.

Chemistry Resources:

Colleen had recommended this book in the comment section of a previous post (thanks!) so of course I had look in to it.  It is called The Elements: a Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe.  It looks beautiful and interesting.  My only hesitation in recommending it is that I get the impression that he interjects his ideology.  I don't know what it is or how strongly he interjects it since I haven't actually read it yet; but I don't think it will be a problem for us.  That would be up to each individual family, I think.  Look at the link, read the reviews, and decide if it would work for you.  I've already requested it interlibrary loan and can't wait to see it all of the way through.  Thanks so much for the recommendation!

While I was looking up that book I ran across these cool Periodic Table Playing Cards.  If I hadn't already made some cards I would probably get these.  Our dc have used different sets of playing cards through the years and have learned a lot through them.  Here are the image/links:

If you just need a fun gift for a chemistry buff, here are some regular playing cards with the Periodic Table on the back:

Friday, August 20, 2010

US Civil War Study ~ 20th Century Spine

What's Cookin'?:

Pears!  I am attempting to make pear sauce as I type.  The good ole ugly farm pears are simmering right now.  I'm using the recipe from pickyourown.org.  It was weird not peeling/coring them but I'm borrowing a hand-crank food mill right now (thanks, J!!) and hopefully it will come out okay.  Pictures will be later...


US Civil War Study:

My goal for Science and History plans this upcoming year is to make them as independent, or self-directed, as possible for the olders (to make sure we stay on track).  That way, when things get a little crazy around here, especially with me working part-time, and I am not available immediately, they won't get behind.  The main lessons will still be teacher directed as needed but they will have all of the materials and plans in their own possession.  I happened to be reading a book about homeschooling high school this summer in which they recommend more self-directed, independent learning so I feel affirmed :).

To that end, I'm starting with the Civil War study using the following resources (roll over for a link):

From Sea to Shining Sea (chapters 16 and 17)

Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself

Homeschoolshare's Civil War Lapbook Unit

Many library books!

I'm fighting against making it more complicated (as I tend to do... you know, every unit is a thesis!) but this will be a great framework for this study and the library books will round it out nicely with fiction/non-fiction.

20th Century Spine:

As much as we love our spine (From Sea to Shining Sea by Catholic Textbook Project) it ends too early!  Now I'm scrambling around to find the "perfect" spine for the 20th Century.  I thought I had it with this timeline teacher resource book  but I don't like it for that purpose after all (but will use as a reference throughout the year).  I really, really like Dinah Zike's Social Studies book and it has a section that will help me; but I need an informational text for a spine.

Thanks to some wonderful online forum help I've decided to go with Bill Bennett's history book and just use the part that covers the 20th Century.  Now if I could only get my hands on one...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chemistry Coloring Book ~ Texas History Books

What's Cookin'?

Yesterday I made a double batch of tortillas.  We ate one batch for dinner and I made the extra batch half-sized (so I got 24 little ones instead of 12 medium/big ones).  I froze 1/2 of the little ones for lunches or snacks when things get crazy.  The others are in the fridge.  I still like Kelly's fermented tortillas recipe the best.

I also made a double batch of pancakes.  After we ate breakfast (pancakes with some peaches sauteed in butter on top with real maple syrup or honey) I watered the batter down and made huge square pancakes to cut up and dehydrate for crackers.

Tomorrow I'll be picking up a 1/2 bushel of pears at the farmers market.  We'll dehydrate and can them - and eat plenty of them fresh :).  I *may* make pear sauce (like apple sauce).  Next Tuesday I'll get another 1/2 bushel.

Today we are peeling, halving, and freezing peaches.  I'm also going to separate, vacuum pack, and freeze almonds.

Last night after dinner when I was cleaning up the sink dd approached me and said, "Mommy, thank you for feeding us healthy food.  I like that we make it ourselves."  It was exactly the encouragement I needed because I was feeling extremely discouraged and just plain tired about the whole thing yesterday.  I'm so glad and feel so blessed that the dc are on board with all of this.  They continue to motivate me.

I was so thrilled to find a jar grabber like this one at a flea market on our way back from our road trip Saturday for $1.  No more scalding my hands every time I take jars out of the canner!  The same stand had a canner for $2.  It had some rust on the bottom inside.  It shouldn't matter, right??

Chemistry - Elements Coloring Book:

Teresa Bond's Periodic Table of Elements Coloring Book is now on the market.  I just looked at the sample pages and it is AWESOME :).  It's more than I can afford but I'm going to buy it anyway - It's that good (It's actually not that expensive, I'm just on a super tight budget).  I wanted to see how the dc responded but ran out of ink while trying to print the samples.  However, one dd was in the room and I showed it to her 1/2 printed.  Teresa, she thinks it's pretty cool!  I'll be using it for dc grades 3rd-9th.


Perfect timing for our Chemistry studies this year!

What's Gardenin'?

Well, here is what DID grow this season:  strawberries, lettuce, garlic, potatoes, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, and cucumbers.

This is what didn't do so well this season: tomatoes, banana peppers, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, beets, carrots.

Still to see: cantaloupe and sweet potatoes.  Both look good but are yet to be harvested.

My walking onions did horribly this year.  They were doing fine in the flower bed but I transplanted them to the raised bed last Fall.  They did fine over the winter but the ones in the raised bed and the ones in the big planter are puny and dried now.  The few stragglers that accidentally got left behind in the flower bed are growing fine even though they are barely stuck in the mulch.  Hmm...  I think I'll put them all back in the flower bed and just plant more bulb onions next year in the onion/garlic raised bed.  I like the walking onions because it is so nice to be able to go out and pick a fresh onion in the middle of winter.

What's Schoolin'?

Here are some good Texas History Books:

I haven't read this one but it looks good:

This is what I would use to teach Texas History.  It is absolutely wonderful :).  Especially if you lapbook history:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cloned Meat/Dairy in US market

Cloned Meat/Dairy on the market:
I am officially freaked out.  I had heard about it possibly being forthcoming but I didn't realize that the FDA had approved cloned beef, pork, and dairy for our market 2 years ago!

The video and article are short and worth seeing/reading:

Here's a quote:
"Two years ago, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that meat and milk from cloned animals were safe to eat. Ever since then, products from the offspring of cloned animals have entered the food chain"

Here is a quote from another article:
"the agency (FDA) went a step further and said that it was “theoretically possible” that the meat from the offspring of cloned cattle was already in the food supply.Theoretical because there is no requirement that beef from cloned animals and their offspring be labeled as such (even though the FDA has received 150,000 letters from consumers requesting labels), nor is there any mechanism for monitoring when, where, or how the offspring of cloned cattle are slaughtered and sold."


My question:  WHERE IS THE LABELING??  My other question in how did they deem that they are safe to eat?  Because there is no proof that it's unsafe (dance of semantics if there haven't been studies)? How would we know as consumers whether or not we are eating cloned food?  I feel like the FDA has reversed its role of protecting consumers and turned against us.  Wanting to do away with GMO/GE labels, allowing cloned animals into our market with no labeling, making consumers fight for the right to know if their milk has growth hormones, hyper control of traditional foods, etc, etc.  Goodness, please let me just eat some normal real food without making it so difficult!  ACK!  Okay, freak out over...

If I'm mistaken and there IS a label (which I couldn't find online), please let me know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bohr Model ~ More on Figs??

Bohr Model:

Yes, after years and years of meaning to get this done I am *finally* getting to it.  Yes, it took oldest dd entering high school and taking Chemistry to provide the official push.  Isn't that sad??  And yes, I WILL finish it this time!!

I'm having to rethink all of my thoughts and plans and reinvestigate.  But this benefits you because I'll post links, ideas, measurements, etc along the way.

Here is a beautiful model made from a precut table top that you can find at most home improvement stores.  Brilliant!  Mine will be made out of foam board from the dollar store (humble shrug).  She used marbles for all three (neutrons, protons, electrons) but since mine will be smaller I will use pony beads for neutrons/ protons and marbles for electrons only.  Years ago this poster was on the Montessori groups and was so incredibly helpful when I was starting out and needed someone (several people!) to hold my hand through it all.

Here is another wonderful example.  It looks like it is made from a lighter wood.

Mine won't be as nice as the wooden ones, but it will be done... and there's a lot to be said for done :).  I practiced a while back (probably last summer!) and if I poke a pencil all of the way through the foam board it is perfect to hold a marble.  Pretty high tech, eh?

Plans:  10 inch square piece of foam board for the base; 2 inch diameter circular hole in the center to hold the little container for the nucleus; 1-1/2 inches in between each concentric circle; the holes for the marbles (aka electrons) within the orbital spaces.

Problems:  Cutting a nice circle in the center; finding their marbles!

What's Cookin'?
I am attempting to make homemade Fig Newtons by combining the following recipe with NT.  I used the yogurt dough recipe in NT with the following changes:  2 C wheat flour; 1-1/2 C white flour; 1/2 C rapadura; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp cinnamon; scant 1/4 tsp baking soda (kept the 1 C yogurt and 1 C butter the same).  It has been soaking overnight and is ready for the next step.

For the filling it says that "for an easier version, sub the filling with 2 cups of fig preserves."  I recently made fig jam and really it's just figs and sugar.  So, I plan on dumping my home-canned figs in a pot (which are in a light sugar syrup), trimming the stems, mashing, and simmering until it gets thick.  The whole point of my searching for the recipe was to use the canned figs anyway.


Now I'm off to get the Fig Newtons ready to bake at a friend's house (still no oven) and to find my marbles :).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Janice VanCleave ~ Figs (again)

What's Cookin'?

I did something totally weird today.  I'll often put milk or even yogurt into our scrambled eggs while cooking them.  It gives them a nice texture, makes the eggs go further, and gets some calcium into the dc.  Well, one dd is sick, and in my attempt to get some extra bone broth into her I added chicken broth to the scrambled eggs instead.  Not bad!  No one knew anything was different until I told them :).  I added 1/4 Cup to 8 eggs.

Here is my version of Summer Outdoor Cooking:

It is waaaay too hot these days!  I had stew meat cooking in the little crockpot out on the back porch.  Before that I had the breadmaker out there.  I also use the dehydrator outside.  I don't know why I made bone broth inside the other day AND had the dehydrator on to finish up some banana chips in the house.  On the day that company came, too.  It really clutters up the counter if you are doing more than one contraption at once and the house never cools down once it gets hotter than 80.


I went to pick some figs today to make fig jam.  As I was leaving, my forearms starting itching and by the time I got home (a 3 minute drive) my forearm and other hand were stinging, burning, and itching at the same time.  I scrubbed up, hurriedly put on a baking soda/water paste, and took some Quercetin.  Ahh!  Instant relief.  I didn't know if something had bitten me or if I was reacting to the leaves or what! 

Well, as I sat down to check pickyourown.org (love that site!) for fig jam/canning info I saw it:
"I have heard that some people are allergic to the fig latex, a milky white liquid produced by the fig tree and develop contact rashes. Just like with other latex allergies, if this applies to you be sure to wear [sic] and long sleeves when you pick and wear the appropriate type of gloves when picking or handling figs!"  AHA!  My dd has a latex allergy and certain rubber bands bother me.  I am apparently allergic to fig latex.  I need to make sure dd wears long sleeves to pick figs as well.

When I recently picked a few from a friend's tree it didn't bother me at all - but then I wasn't there long and didn't rub my arms on it so much.

Now that I need to go wash and cut them I'm a little skittish.

Janice VanCleave:

VanCleave has too many awesome books to go into in one post.  I'll just point out 2: one for youngers and one for olders.

Last year youngest dd and I went through this book and used it as the basis for her home science studies.  [She was also doing Apologia at her enrichment but, as always, I'm constantly complicating matters and wanted to use *this* :).  She really enjoyed both, by the way.  Oh, plus Science-related Montessori shelf work.]

After doing each experiment she wrote or dictated in her Science Log booklet and illustrated the experiment.  If your child has a culture notebook they could respond in that.  She enjoyed having a separate Science Log for these experiments.

Here are a few entries in her Science Log:

We'll be using Chemistry for Every Kid for the olders next year to compliment their Chemistry studies.  Oldest dd helped me plan out how to use it (you'll see how complicated I've managed to make it all when I post my science schedule).  I had to laugh, and totally misunderstood her, when she said something like, "Why bother doing the experiments when you can just read what happens?"  She DOES enjoy doing the experiments, but when the book already tells her what's going to happen she looses the motivation to conduct it.  She has already experienced it through the reading and it takes away from the lab experience.  Middle dd agreed (emphatically) when she overheard the conversation.  Neither want to see the results before doing the experiments.

SO.... Since I want them to be able to pick up this VanCleave Chemistry book and lead or do the experiments on their own I needed a solution.  I taped index cards over the Results and Why? sections of each experiment (actually I only did this for the first 1/2 of the book because it was getting very fat - will do more later).  They are only taped at the top so it's a flap that I or they can flip to read when we want.  If you weren't going to use very many of the experiments you could make cards with the lab part on one side and the Results/Why? on the back as the control to see if they followed the directions.  I needed something more user-friendly for the whole book.   Plus, when I'm done the index cards will still be usable for something else.

Here are pictures of the index cards taped on the pages to make flaps.  Same page with the flap down and then up: