Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More 20th Century US History Resources

These are mainly lapbooking resources:

We're almost ready to start the 20th century in US history so I need to go ahead and make a decision...

I really, really, really like In the Hands of a Child lapbooks.  I have been please with every one that I have seen or used.  Here is their 20th century US History lapbook.  I like that it goes through 2009: ($20 for the e-book)

Same one on currclick so you can compare prices before ordering:

These are the A Journey through Learning ones.  I was a little confused in the difference between the "Lapbook and Study Guide" and the "Unit Study."  After closely comparing them, it seems as though the unit study has a bit more.  They have a few more topics and more pages.  I have not used this company's lapbooks before but after looking through them I am game to try them this go-round.

Lapbook with study guide (56 pages)

Unit study (same cover as above)(83 pages)

This looks different on the outside (go to history; overview of 20th century):

I don't know why I want a separate little booklet for each decade in addition to main events.  We'll probably do those on our own.  That's where this resource will come in handy.  I still have my inter-library loan copy but it'll be due next week so I guess I need to hurry and decide whether or not to get it.

[UPDATE:  Aargh!  I'm so frustrated with myself... The "Unit Study" does NOT have minibooks for lapbooking!  It's doesn't actually say lapbook in the description but I got confused because they use the same info pages for the topics, similar table of contents, similar topics, etc.  I thought I was getting the lapbook study guide plus some. (huge sigh)  We'll make it work but the point was not needing to do any thinking to put it together - for it to save dc time because they don't have much right now.  After all of that time/thought investigating these and now I have major buyer's remorse.]

Totally unrelated:  In their junior/senior year I was thinking about an original document study.  Well, I just saw this on currclick on the same page as the above lapbook.  It's called America's Greatest Documents by A Journey through Learning:
In a nutshell:  I'll use the unit study from A Journey through Learning on sale right now at currclick for $9.75 (happy dance!).  Yes, cost is a factor because, you know, I have to buy that food coloring and those candy canes I posted about earlier .  In addition to the lapbook we'll use the following book that I just this minute decided to get: Our Century in Pictures for Young People.  Let me reiterate my disclaimer though:  this isn't a book I'll just set out for the dc.  Some of the photos are too graphic.  I'll also show a decade book below that my library carries.  We'll check those out as we go through the time periods if they are available since they don't have every decade (preview first).

Another Chemistry Book!

This will make a great supplementary book for our Chemistry studies this year:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Economic Geography Work ~ Waffles/Candy

What's Cookin'?

It seems like I work especially hard to keep the family away from processed foods by imitating processed foods, you know what I mean?

Today we had waffles for lunch.  Strange time for waffles but I was too tired at breakfast time (rough night) to do something that intense for breakfast.  I have to admit that I had never made waffles before.  We used this recipe and they were excellent (oldest dd made them with me).    I am now motivated to make them again (but with a soaked recipe for better nutrition... see below).  Instead of the 2 Cups buttermilk we used 1 Cup milk, 1/2 C kefir, 1/2 C water.  That worked fine.,165,142167-226206,00.html

Here's another recipe that soaks overnight.  I plan on trying it with 1/2 whole wheat; 1/2 all-purpose unbleached.,195,132189-241192,00.html

Here's a waffle recipe that uses sweet potatoes - which I just so happened to get at the store Friday.,235,154177-232200,00.html

We made sauerkraut Saturday.  I can't wait to try it.  I actually took pictures but will have to post those later.  The fun part of the kraut was that I put in one small banana pepper from our garden, a little bit of chopped onion, dill seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and.... jicama!  Just a little bit of chopped jicama.  Then, as I was looking at some extra liquid from mashing the cabbage and the rest of the beautiful sliced jicama I thought, "Why not?"  I put some jicama in a separate jar, covered it with the liquid, and am now hoping it will work.

What's Schoolin'?

Some people get motivated to do projects based on personal goals; others by their children's needs and interests.  I get my motivation by... someone daring to put a hold on 'my' library book and it being due TOMORROW!  It doesn't matter that I've had the book checked out for at least a year - I just never got around to using it for my project, KWIM?

I have been wanting to make these for a long time (as in years!)... or at least get started...  Here is my inspiration:
Aren't those the coolest stamps you've ever seen?  The book in question is this one (can you believe there is one used for US$0.83?):

Here is my plan:  To make pictures on cardstock (in black and white to save on ink, or colored, I haven't decided) and cut them out to make the "stamps." [Gee, that sounds so easy when I 'say' it!].  The dc will lay them out on the big world felt map (or a separate map or on the pin maps?? Thinking out loud here).  I will need to have the little pictures separated into groups by continent to make it easier (and color small dots on the backs in case they get mixed together).  Then they could work on just one continent or all of them.  I haven't completely decided on the control yet.  I'm considering just placing the "stamps" where they belong, taking a photo of it, and enlarging it.  My other option is to buy the book on Amazon for them to use for the control.  We've used an atlas for a control before and it worked okay.

In the meantime I ran off single page printouts of each continent, obsessed with the above book last weekend (when I wasn't cutting out chemistry cards or feeding the family), and put little numbers and an index so I'll remember what goes where.  Then I was ready to at least turn it in to the library.  I guess I should just buy the book, eh?  This looks messy but it's part of the process (that happens when you have to rush!).

Extension:  I will have extra blank continent printouts in the continent boxes.  They can draw the little pictures on the maps and glue them in their culture notebooks.

Frankenfood Frosting Revisited:

I showed you how the frosting killed my grass.  This link sort of goes along with that...

I have had this company tagged since the beginning of the year for natural food coloring and dye-free candy canes, peppermints, etc.  I also found the same food coloring on Amazon (it's floating around in the slide show in the left margin) in case you are already ordering and want to add it in.  I'm actually more excited that I found a 2-pack at Amazon (also floating around in the slide show) because it qualifies for free shipping and if I can go in with a friend it would save even more.  Anyway, before finding it on Amazon I was already planning on getting it here plus some other candies.  Yes, I plan on spending most of my part-time pay on candy - it sounds silly when put like that!  [Especially when I STILL need to buy some curricula!!] Normally I just try to keep some Yummy Earth candies on hand for certain times.  However, last Christmas I ran all over town trying to find candy canes with no red dye.  I finally found the Pure Fun brand at Kroger, stashed some extras for this year in my overflow freezer thinking I was so smart, and lost all of them when our freezer thawed one day (let's just say that I lost a lot of beef too and leave it at that!).  I love how this company has symbols for so many aspects of its candy such as:  Feingold (dyes), Kosher, gluten free, made in USA, organic, etc.  They also have a section for corn syrup-free (click on special diets on the left).  I have not used them yet so I can't "recommend" them yet - but am just sharing what I've found :).

Hope you have as much fun "window shopping" on their site as I have!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blueberry Pudding ~ Frankenfood Frosting

What's Cookin'?

Youngest dd and I were reading bedtime story together last night:

"For days Mother and the girls made jellies and jams and preserves, and for every meal there was huckleberry pie or blueberry pudding." [Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder]

"Blueberry Pudding?" I said.
"We have to make some!" she said.

And so began my quest last night to find a recipe for blueberry pudding.  All of the recipes I found were actually blueberry *bread* pudding.  I finally found one that didn't require baking (if I can barely cook biscuits in the toaster oven, I don't dare try anything fancy).  I also found a recipe for Blueberry Almond Breakfast Pudding.

I made the Blueberry Almond Breakfast Pudding that I found at this link with the following changes... I don't know why I can't just leave a recipe alone!  I quadrupled the recipe for the almond meal and eggs (so: 1-1/3 Cup almond meal; 4 eggs).  I used 1/2 water and 1/2 milk (so: 4 tablespoons water and 4 tablespoon milk).  That's it for part 1.  Just cook in a small pot until done.  When is it done?  I wasn't really sure since the original recipe used a microwave; so, I cooked until it sort of bubbled once, stirring constantly.  It stuck to the bottom of the pan a bit but washed off easily.  Then I added in frozen blueberries and reheated it just enough so that it wouldn't have cold spots.  When it was done I scooped a little out for me and then added about a teaspoon of rapadura in the rest of it for the dc.

This is how I will do it differently next time:  Heat the blueberries separately in my tiny pan so I don't have to reheat it all; Try 1/2 almond meal and 1/2 oats so it's not quite so grainy in texture (I'll soak the oats with all of the liquid the night before - with 2 tablespoons kefir for part of the milk - and add the rest of the ingredients in the morning).

The above recipe was made more NT by using almond meal made from soaked almonds (used to make dd's almond milk); pastured eggs from a friend; real milk; clean blueberries we picked from a local farm; and using the stove instead of the microwave.  Wow, I feel so blessed to have these available.

FYI:  I found this nice explanation of the difference between almond paste and almond meal.

This is the blueberry bread pudding I'll be making that does not require baking.  We'll use soaked homemade bread.  I will probably cut the sugar in half and use rapadura.  I may stir some coconut oil into the butter as well.  This will make a good afternoon snack for the dc.

By the way, yesterday I learned something while making Kelly's broccoli cheese soup... Yes, you CAN throw in a frozen block of cheese while the soup is cooking and have it melt and mix into the soup :).  Oldest dd served herself 4 times!

This is linked to Kelly's Real Food Wednesday

What's Schoolin'?

This website came through clickschooling today.  I haven't looked through it all yet but it is now on my favorites list...
It is a current events website for children ages 8-15.  As always, I would recommend previewing before letting your dc on it unattended.


I have been getting empty frosting buckets from the local grocery store's bakery since last week.  It's a symbiotic relationship:  they are throwing them out and I need them.  We save the environment and money at the same time :).  [Side note:  everyone I've talked to from 2 different stores have been so incredibly nice and helpful.  You should have seen one lady talk to me and make roses at the same time.  Wow, she should be on youtube!]  These are food grade plastic buckets.

Anyway... I had to wash some out late last week because they had some frosting stuck to the inside sides.  When I first set them outside the dc told me that there were ants in one of the buckets.  I said not to worry, that it might even get rid of the ants (joking tongue in cheek).  First I tried to just dry them out thinking it would be less of a mess to just wipe them out.  The frosting didn't dry out or change texture in over 2 days sitting in the hot sun.  After I rinsed them out and sprayed down the area of the yard where I had worked I joked again (tongue in cheek), "Watch it kill the grass - wouldn't that be weird?"

Well, the frosting that we feed our sweet little children on their birthday cakes killed not only the ants but our grass as well.  I just couldn't believe it.  I had to take some pictures.  Remember, I hosed off the area where I had sprayed the buckets so it wasn't just left on there smothering the grass.  Unbelievable. 

For the past year (or so?) I've been using a butter frosting recipe that I tweaked from a friend's recipe.  It's basically room-softened butter, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) until it's the right taste/consistency.  Sure, not a health food but...  The dc love this frosting.  At some point I'll splurge and get natural coloring (it's so expensive) but for now they have white icing and decorate their birthday cakes in inventive ways. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lyme Disease linked to MS, ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease and others

What's Cookin'?

I was inspired by this post at Heavenly Homemakers.  Then I looked around to see what I had on hand.  I have a pre-cooked steak that I took out of the freezer this morning for tonight.  I was so thrilled to find it because dh still hasn't had a chance to look at our oven.  Hmmm... How about a squirt of organic ketchup (can I ferment regular ketchup with whey instead of doing the whole recipe from scratch, anyone?), a few scraps of cooked grass-fed beef, and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar inside the popover-thingie?

Next decision:  I could use the wheat per the posted recipe/NT and let the yogurt dough sit out over night (and w-a-i-t until tomorrow when things are crazy to put them together or I forget) OR go ahead and make the dough with white flour with zilch nutrition and put them together today.  Hmmmm....  Life dictates white, BUT I'll also make some wheat to make biscuits for tomorrow's broccoli soup using the buttermilk biscuit recipe in NT.  The buttermilk biscuit recipe is conveniently on the adjacent page to the yogurt dough in NT.  I'm using 1/2 kefir and 1/2 water instead of the yogurt or buttermilk in these recipes because I don't have enough.  I'm also using a weird combination of fat/oils because I don't have enough butter and am out of palm shortening (butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil to equal the amount called for in the recipe).

I was inspired by this post by Kelly to make broccoli soup.  Then I looked around to see what I had on hand (a recurring theme of mine).  I have broth going in the crock pot so that's no problem.  However, I also have 'bean juice' from cooking those Great Northern Beans that I saved with some beans to make bean soup.  I'm thinking of using the liquid 1/2 and 1/2 with broth and bean liquid.  I dug around in the freezer and could only come up with a pack of mixed broc and cauliflower.  Maybe it will be broccoli-cauliflower soup.  I do not have any cream cheese or cream.  I will probably just use 1 cup of milk.  Since grocery shopping is out of the question until Friday I'm going to have a go at it with these ingredient changes.  I will do everything except the cheese today and store it in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow I *may* heat it up on the stove to get it going, then put it in the crock pot on low at noon.  It should keep until dinner that way.  About 30 minutes before serving (or right before if I've forgotten) I'll add the cheese.  The biscuits will go well with this.  The "NT" I keep referring to is Nourishing Traditions:

Lyme Disease is linked to MS, ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease and others:

I tried and could not embed this video correctly.  It's only 6 minutes long.  If you or a loved one suffers from one of these 'diseases' with 'unknown' causes... Why not get tested for Lyme??

Why is the IDSA giving people with late-stage lyme a slow death sentence by NOT giving them antibiotics that can save their lives? Or rather, why are insurance companies denying coverage based on the IDSA's guidelines while many other doctors and other organizations recognize the need for long-term antibiotic treatment? [and yet teens can get abx for years for acne??]  Antibiotic use in humans is not half as bad as the unconscionable use of the same in cows that we eat or its ubiquitousness in hand soaps.  Without antibiotics I would be dead by now.  I am not exaggerating.  The bacteria was already in my heart (and every other organ); which was freaking out and scaring the daylights out of me.  I am NOT a big proponent of antibiotic use - but there are times when they are needed in an acute infection to save lives and help someone's quality of life.

If you decide to get tested, Igenex Lab is recommended by many LDA doctors and they have pages you can print and take to your doctor to fill it out and send in with your blood sample.  Do the Western Blot IgG and IgM.  If I remember right it was about $100 out of pocket.

Unfortunately, they can only test the body's response, so you could be very, very sick with an active infection (like I was) and be low on the scale because your body has quit fighting it so much and it's taking over.  Someone else who has LD and seems to be functioning with it may test higher because their body is creating more antigens and fighting it off/keeping it at bay with less severe symptoms.

What's Schoolin'?

I used this book for a lesson in the writing workshop class that I'm teaching.  I gave each student an orange (actually a clementine) to hold while I read the story.  Then we brainstormed things it made us think about that we could use as a writing topic.  Then we did a quick write (3-5 minutes of non-stop writing).  We're still generating topics but will soon switch gears.  It is called An Orange for Frankie by P. Polacco:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Montessori Chemistry Works (Part 1?)

Bohr Model:

I *finally* got this done!  I ended up making 2 because I couldn't decide on the material.  Since all 3 dc will be using it at the beginning I also made 2 sets of beads/marbles for them to use.  I made 42 cards and divided them into 2 sets (1-21; 22-42) so one set of cards is easier and the other harder.  In other words, on the Periodic Table of Elements, they have a card for Hydrogen (Atomic Number 1) through... whatever Atomic Number 42 is.  The cards have a diagram of the atomic makeup and the name.  They use these to create the atoms on the Bohr model boards.  It'll make more sense when you look at the picture!

I took those pictures when oldest and youngest dds were working on them at the same time.  Yes, a ninth and a third grader; don't ya' just love Montessori??  One dd put the protons/neutrons straight inside the hole I cut in the center.  The other dd used a little metal cup in that hole to put them.  I chose the pony bead colors to match the color of the numbers for each on the cards (red for protons, purple for neutrons).

- Little glass brown 'marbles' (a bag of about 100 from the dollar store is waaay more than I needed)
- Red pony beads (already had some)
- Purple pony beads (already had some)
- Foam board (from the dollar store)
- Coroplast (scraps from when we made a guinea pig cage bottom out of it)
- Cards (made from this link...  )(click on an element for the diagram/info)

Cost:  $2 plus 7 pages of cardstock and the printer ink

A note about the cards:  I actually copied/pasted each diagram into my 3-part card template and typed the name in the bottom part of the card.  I printed several sets of this file:  one set for this material; another set to cut apart for 3-part card matching; and one last set for control that I have with the cut up cards.  PLUS I also made a set of cards with just the info [Number of Energy Levels, First Energy Level etc that you see by the diagrams at that link] as 3-part cards.  The control set of cards for the diagrams has the plain info on the back so they can be used for controls for either set of 3-part cards.  I tried contacting the person from that site to get permission to share this but never heard back.  If anyone finds info at that site that the diagrams are public domain or free for personal use please let me know and I'll upload the files for you.  I took pictures of the other sets but that was after I had uploaded these - I will have to post those later.

Another note:  I actually just used  a very sharp pencil to poke the holes.  It worked fine on both materials.  For the rings, I measured them out and then found things around the house that were approximate.  I traced around them with a fine sharpie (permanent marker).  The holes are in the space, NOT on the black lines.

Our chemistry spine gets into orbitals this week.  We were able to finish this and have some time to use it before we get into a different atom model.  I really wanted them to have casual use of it all summer before we started chemistry but that's just not how life flowed this summer. 

What's Cookin'?

Nothing much... I had a great Saturday cutting up a backload of chemistry cards.  Aside from feeding the family I pushed out all other thoughts so I could actually get it done.  That said, I've mainly been making as many loaves of bread as possible (1-2 a day) so I can have a few in the freezer for this week.  Other than that I have some Great Northern Beans that I soaked in lemon juice (per NT instructions) and cooked in the crockpot with a bit of uncured bacon and salt.

Now that school is in full swing (and I'm working part-time) food has taken a back seat.  We are coasting for a bit until things settle (do they ever?).  My main goals continue to be: avoid high fructose corn syrup, msg, trans fats, food dyes, etc.; make meals at home; avoid too much sugar for the dc; and something else really important that I can't remember right now :).

I got a cabbage that was on sale and had planned to make kraut this weekend.  Well, there are still a few more hours left...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ice Cream ~ 20th Century US History Spine

Ice Cream:

For rare treats we'll get some vanilla ice cream from the store.  My ice cream of choice lately has been Breyers all natural vanilla because the ingredients are only: Milk, Cream, Sugar, Natural Tara Gum, Natural Vanilla Flavor. The vanilla flavor is a bit iffy for msg since it doesn't just say vanilla but that's the best I've found... except for Haagen Dazs and that's even more out of our budget (it turns out that H.D. isn't a great choice either).  Well... something I hadn't thought about regarding ice cream was rBGH.  I don't know why I didn't think about it since I'm so particular about our milk (shrug).  Here is an article from the Huffington Post regarding this issue.  Please read the part about WHY rBGH is not a good thing!

I am contacting Breyers right now.  Won't you join me?

Here is H.Dazs' contact info:

Here is Dreyer's:

20th Century US History Spine Revisited:

Here I posted about the Bill Bennett book I  wanted to get to use as a spine.  Well, I got it through the library and it's really not what I need as a read-aloud for the dc or for them to read on their own.  It's more of a family resource or for them to read as adults.

I got this book through inter-library loan which was also recommended on a forum.  I do like how there is a written intro for most of the decades and there are specific write-up/photo sections for a few things like civil rights and each World War.  I also like that the written intros are written by renown children authors like Lois Lowry or Cynthia Rylant.  So... there is a lot that I like about this book.  I wouldn't just leave it out for the dc to look through though because there are a few haunting photos (for example dead soldiers on a beach) that would be too intense for youngest dc, but it would make a good read-aloud-do-it-together spine.  I'm strongly considering it...

Some other resources I am considering for this part of US History:
(unit study)(I saw this on currclick also - need to compare prices if using this or the next one)

More to come as I continue to peruse lapbooking resources for this study...

Montessori Globes

I thought I would do a quick highlight of this wonderful Montessori material that is so inexpensive and fun to make (Yes, I said fun!).

I got these globes at a Wal-Mart years ago in the school section for $4 each.  I used acrylic paint that I already had at home to paint them.  For the land/water globe I painted the blue first.  Then I painted white school glue (or was it Tacky Glue?) in sections so the glue wouldn't dry before I got the sand on it.  The sand came from our sand box.  Note:  sift the sand first or your Australia may have a big 'rock' on it like mine does.  [*Then* I sifted and the rest came out just right :)]  Once you paint the glue on a section roll it in a bowl with sand.

I actually like this smaller size for our home school.  They are about 4 inches in diameter.  I got a third one and just left it plain with the details.  Just last week youngest dd was using that one.  I saw some almost this size at the local dollar store a few weeks ago - also in the school section. 

If you need the full size or a commercial Montessori Globe I found this one on Amazon:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photo Update

I just don't know how you bloggers do it.  I simply cannot get the photo and the post together at the same time! Here are photos that go with some recent posts...

Here are the homemade Fig Newtons in progress (I forgot to get a photo of them already baked and sliced).

Here are the pears from making pear sauce:

This has nothing to do with anything but I thought I'd introduce you to my very fancy high-tech kitchen compost bin.  Every evening one of the dc feeds the daily kitchen scraps to the 'worm tower'.  Behind it you can see my Zone breakdown on an index card that I taped to the counter backsplash.  Yes, I have to overcompensate.  The zones are in 4 groups and they correspond with the week of the month.  During afternoon chores we try to concentrate on the zones for that week.  That's always the plan anyway.

When I harvested my basil several weeks ago I "hung" them inside (reusable!) paper lunch sacks.  I used twisty ties to connect the top of the bag and the stems together (Thanks, J, for teaching me how to do this last year!).  The schoolroom sure smelled nice during the week that they were drying.

There was a parade in our town recently and the poignancy of it all sort of hit me mid-parade.  As I watched the Color Guard, the military vehicles and Veterans, the farmers on their antique tractors, covered wagons, the children parading past, and even the promotional people advertising their businesses (representing free enterprise to me in the scope of it all), I thought, "Wow, THIS is the United States in the past, present, and (hopefully) future.  THIS is what is holding our country together and what makes it strong - all in one place for a moment in time."

Here are some photos of the raised beds.  After I took the pictures I cleared out the bed on the far right.  I took the cukes off of the trellis and cleared all of the squash, etc that was done.  That left the oregano, a few beans that never did anything over the summer, and the cantaloupe/sweet potato that are creeping over.  Then I planted a tomato, basil, sage, bush beans, lettuce, and kale in that bed with a sweet pea plant by the trellis.  We'll see how they do.  I'd like to also get a few more plants for that bed.  Some ideas: lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, peppers or more sweet peas. 

I think more herbs will be a must... maybe some thyme to make up for the lost thyme that was in the container next to the black widow I doused with poison Friday.  It was too close for comfort so the mint and thyme are a loss (sigh).  I wasn't taking any chances with disturbing the spider before I could catch or spray it though.

You can also catch a glimpse of the cantaloupe on the back side of the trellis.  Another is of the basil coming back after harvesting.  The hummingbird vine on the tepee trellis is finally growing and starting to cover it.  It's fun to train the vine up and down to cover the sides.  One side is open for the door.  The last picture is of a lonely cantaloupe in a flower bed. 

I've been sick and just love my crockpot.  When I knew I was down for the count I tossed a big bone in there from the freezer, filled it with filtered water, added a few generous shakes of Real Salt and a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (I alternate between Spectrum and Braggs.  I was able to drink hot broth any time day or night (and did many times around 3am last week!).

Thursday, September 9, 2010


As homeschoolers we are obligated to teach citizenship whether our state requires it of us or not.  Our state happens to require it.  Here is an excellent resource that can be used over and over and over and over through the years.  Each year the topics can be discussed in more depth and with more understanding for the child.  Tangential historical events, ideas, etc can be drawn from these short passages and listings as well.

I believe these are simply 2 editions of the same book but I'm linking both:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Doll Clothes~Sweet Potatoes~Butterscotch Syrup

Historical Doll Clothes:

We have an 18 inch doll in our schoolroom named Historia.  We *try* to dress her in time period clothing.  A few years ago I thought it would be cool for us to make clothes for her based on our history studies.  Ha... We've only made one outfit: Native American.  I ordered the pilgrim outfit from Vision Forum and it has held up very well.  Last night I was looking for some Civil War era doll clothes and found this site.  They look fantastic.

This is the first page of Vision Forum's doll dress section.  I may get the Southern Lady Doll Dress for $19 - maybe for Christmas for the dc.

I also found this, this, this, this, and this (among others) at Amazon.

What's Gardenin'?

The sweet potatoes are growing and such fun to see spread out over the raised beds.  They and the cantaloupe are taking over the middle bed.  I have 4 cantaloupes on the trellis!  Yeah!  As I saw these beautiful sweet potato leaves spreading out I wondered how on Earth I'll know when to harvest them.  I ran across this video, which led to the next video, which led to the next video!  The first is harvesting sweet potatoes and the next 2 are about herbs.  Perfect timing for me.  I just harvested my basil a few weeks ago before we went on a trip (I knew they wouldn't survive 4 days without water!).  I'm also about to harvest the thyme and oregano (just a few meager plants); but the thyme has flowered and the honey bees like them so I may just let them go.

This has some good info:

What's Cookin'?

Dd's birthday is tomorrow.  We *still* don't have an oven so I can't bake her a cake (sigh).  Her solution:  an ice cream cake!  I thought that was good problem solving :).  She wants vanilla ice cream with a few layers of chocolate chips inside and butterscotch syrup drizzled over the top after we pop it out of the mold (AND honey... together... on top at the same time... ick... I've talked her into having the bottle of honey on the side for her to drizzle some on her own piece).

I used this recipe to make our own butterscotch syrup.  It's called butterscotch sauce but same difference.  I don't use corn syrup and didn't want dairy in it so that it will keep longer (although it has butter).  This should last quite a while in the refrigerator.,1815,154189-237192,00.html

We ended up doubling the butter and flour and sugar or we would still be standing there boiling it to thickness.  Next time:  1/2 the amount called for of water and vinegar OR double the butter, sugar, and flour from the beginning.


GPS tracking devices attached to schoolchildren's backpacks... How about a bus monitor with a list and a clipboard??? Was my age group the last to read 1984?

Food rationing cards in Venezuela:
Something else to ponder: It's legal to buy lethal cigarettes in all US states, but it is illegal to buy traditional milk in several states (even though there is a higher allowance for bacteria counts in post-pasteurized milk and raw milk has been used for 1000s of years). Make sure you get your milk from someone you trust and/or is certified/licensed:

What's Schoolin'?

I couldn't believe it.  I found loose leaf paper for binders at the dollar store with lined paper on the front side and quadrille (graph) paper on the back side of each sheet.  We'll be using that for their Chemistry Lab notebooks in their binders instead of the $7 lab notebooks I was looking at online.