Sunday, August 28, 2011

Montessori Kindle Books

What's Schoolin'?

I've been considering a Kindle or some other reader for quite a while now for the olders.  Here is a compilation of Kindle Montessori books for download.  In case you don't already know, you can install the Kindle reader on your computer free of charge.  I did that when I downloaded some free test prep books for the olders a while back.

Here is the Kindle:

Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook (free)

Spontaneous Activity in Education (free)

The Montessori Method

Montessori from the Start

Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

Understanding Montessori

Montessori FAQs Unplugged Book One

Montessori's Own Handbook

What's Cookin'?

Weird, I know, but I've been thinking a lot about fish heads lately, lol.  Yes, between all of the chaos of our current living arrangements I've been thinking about being brave and trying to make a similar recipe to what I remember from the beach growing up in the tropics.  You would have to scoop around the fish head to serve your bowl of soup.  Since I was so easily eeewww-ed as a kid (having spent my first 9 years up here in the States and only summers below the tropical latitude)  I would quickly scoop and try not to make faces at the fish head staring up at me.  Unfortunately my "ewww-ness" made me miss out on taking full nutritional advantage of nutrient-dense traditional foods that I simply wasn't used to eating.

What's Green?

I found 2 scorpions in our new house as I was prepping it to move in the other day.  (sigh)  One was in dd's closet and the other live one in their bathroom.  The dead one in their hallway relieved me somewhat.

So... I'll be looking into their natural predators, natural pesticides, spraying and praying.  If I remember right crushed glass is what exterminators use for scorpions.  I have a bucket of food grade garden Diatomaceous Earth somewhere in storage.  I may sprinkle that along the outside of the house for now as I think that is also a scorpion killer.  I sure don't have to worry about rain washing it away because we're in drought here with it only raining once all Summer (and 3 months straight with above 100F temps).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Montessori Pencil Holders ~ More Gottatries...

What's Schoolin'?

Aren't these pencil holders from Montessori Services beautiful?

If you can't or don't want to pay high prices for pencil holders such as this you have quite a few options.  You could paint recycled food cans; use clear acrylic containers from a hobby store and put stickers, paper, or paint on them; even use those colored plastic cups (I just saw that in image google when I went to get a photo).  You can find nice wooden containers to paint (or not!) at a hobby store as well.

What did we do when youngest dd was little?  We used baby food jars nestled in a short-sided box that she could carry to her work area.  In those jars she kept colored pencils, markers, and even crayons sorted by color.  I didn't find it necessary to color-coordinate the jar, she just sorted them by color and knew where to return each one by the colors already in there.

However, if you want the finished look of a commercial product, here are a few:

What's Cookin'?

Some more Gottatries:

No Bake Pecan Pie (uses 1 C each almonds/raisins for crust; 1 C pecans, 1 C dried figs):

Zuke Chorizo Lasagna (Mmmm)(sliced zukes/yellow squash for lasagna noodles, so it's low carb).  I always hesitate (and thus never buy) chorizo even though it has great ingredients and is readily available in my area because of the whole mass food industry pork issue.  I've been getting my pork once in a blue moon from local farms but no chorizo in sight.  I'd like to say (and have actually said) that the only place I eat pork outside of the house is at Chipotle... but that would be a lie because once in a while I do find myself giving in at a breakfast restaurant - I just love bacon way too much (you know, the other food group!).  Anyway, I will try to look into the chorizo possibilities so here is the recipe:

Easy Pancakes (change to soaked):

Strawberry yogurt popscicles (1 qt yogurt; 2 C fresh or frozen strawberries in blender or food processor; put in molds)

Zucchini Ideas (stir-fried summer squash; zuke spice cake; zuke fritters; zuke pancakes):

Double chocolate chip cookie:

Anther mayo recipe (used a hand mixer):

What's Green?

A kitchen counter cleaner with 2 T washing soda, 3-5 drops dish detergent, hot water to fill the spray bottle and lavender or peppermint oil optional:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fresh (Food) Start ~ Gottatries

What's Schoolin'?

Oldest DD:  Mommy, we need to study Colloids!

Why is she suddenly interested in the colloids from her Chemistry book from which she just stopped taking notes?  Well, it just so happens that the following are in the colloids group:  milk, butter, whipped cream, and marshmallows.  I have homemade marshmallows in my little freezer that's stored in my mom's garage at the moment and our beater (to make whipped cream) is in storage.  "Oh well, I guess we'll just have to have some chocolate milk," is dd's solution.  Hmm.... I happen to have some cacao and rapadura/honey... Who am I to get in the way of Chemistry studies?

What's Cookin'?

Hopefully we will close on our new home this week and I'll have a kitchen again (yeah!!!).  The first thing I plan on doing is soaking some beans and making some bone broth while they soak.  I'll also be digging out my bread recipes and trying to remember which was our favorite recipe. Soaking almonds for homemade almond milk (for dd) will top the list also.  I'm glad she hasn't really taken to the store-bought kind we've been using throughout the summer.

I did a lot of food compromises throughout the summer and here are some steps I'll be taking to get back on track:

No more breakfast cereal.  Although we were getting natural kinds with no food dyes, no fake sugars, no HFCS, etc, etc, it is still highly processed.  This may require some withdrawals but we'll be switching back to eggs, soaked oatmeal, arroz con leche, and other homemade breakfasts.

No more drive-thrus.  This happened as a consequence of driving back and forth so much this summer but we won't be driving like that as much once school starts and we get our belongings out of storage.  I tried to choose "better" drive-thrus but, you know, let's just say they aren't the best choice for our health.  Chick-Fil-A switched to canola oil so I'm bummed about that but their chicken salad sandwiches sure are good and filling :).  I don't feel bad (physically) after eating there like I do with other places or frozen processed foods. Chipotle is the best around but is on the opposite side of town where we would drive and only went there once or twice during the summer drives.  Braums does not use hormones nor "routine" antibiotics in their dairy cows so I (naively) assume that their burgers are the same.

No more processed sandwich meat.  This will also cause some withdrawals (from them for the taste and from me for the ease).  We get some with no nitrites/nitrates but it is still highly processed and who knows if they use that 'industry standard' meat glue (disgusting!!)[Watch this short video!].  By the way, I always (if possible) cook our sandwich meat to steaming when we do make lunch meat sandwiches to kill any listeria or other baddies.  Deli meat is NOT recommended even in the mainstream for pregnant moms unless cooked so I do this as a matter of course.

No more paper plates, plastic forks, spoons, cups!  We'll be setting up our "UNpaper towels" in a handy place in the kitchen.

No more store-bought yogurt for daily use.  Cottage cheese is a tough one though because my attempts failed and organic is sooooo expensive for something I eat almost every day (dopamine precursor is in cottage cheese).  I get Daisy cottage cheese and sour cream because it just has cultured cream but it's not organic.  No hormones but probably antibiotics.  Organics also sometimes have lots of unnecessary ingredients like some organic yogurt I've seen lately and unhealthy food additives.

Revive my dairy kefir grains.  We'll see how they do after only being changed once during the summer and being pushed back in the fridge.  Otherwise, I think I have some in the freezer.

Fermented drinks.  That sounds fun, doesn't it, lol?  Actually, I meant lacto-fermented drinks for me and the dc.  We'll start with fermented lemonade and I'll also make some beet kvass.

My mom will be so glad, I'm sure, to get my little freezer and boxes of staples out of her garage (and study - when I saw that the new Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil I bought in bulk was pure liquid in a plastic container in the 115F+ garage I moved it to the study inside - where it still stayed liquid but not as hot).  She has been such a good sport about our stuff this summer.

These baby steps for a fresh start are part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:


I always tag more than I put in my gottatry lists but here are some recipes I'd like to try asap:

These sweet potato and black bean enchiladas will go right along with the beans I'll be making and I *love* sweet potatoes:

Crunchy Granola (I can never have enough granola or granola bar recipes to try):

Lacto-fermented dill pickles:

Eggplant Parmesan (smaller eggplants have less seeds; eggs; breadcrumbs)(serve with angel hair pasta and mozzarella)(maybe even just serve plain with the cooked eggplant):

Ooo yeah, watermelon ice cream!  I don't have an ice cream maker but I wonder how this would do just frozen in little popsicle molds or cups; or maybe in a big bowl and stir every hour or so until frozen?  I tried giving them 'fresco de sandia' once and it didn't go over very well.  Then many years later I got some from a stand at the open-air market in San Antonio and they only tasted it.  How can you not love fresco de sandia???  This may work, though:

Roasted Eggplant (eggplant, salt, olive oil, garlic cloves)(can be frozen for a fast side dish - can it get any better than that?):

Kohlrabi Fritters:

Monkey French Toast (this should help ease the pain from leaving behind breakfast cereals!):

No-Tomato Sauce (uses carrots, beets, seasonings)(video):

Black Bean and Cream Cheese burritios:

Single serving quick peanut butter cake.  This may be worth trying - in the oven though:

Lemon curd.  A must-try!  (3 eggs, lemon zest, sugar, butter):

Zucchini Boats (zukes, cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan):

Kefir Cream Cheese:

Banana Crunch Muffins:

Grain-Free Skillet Lasagna (uses summer squash for noodles!!):

I have been mulling this over for a while.  I was even joking recently with my cousin on the phone about having to scoop your soup out of the pot around the fish head as children:

Vegetable Frittata:

Another version of fudgesicles using avocado without cooking (just blend ingredients):

Vidalia Salsa:

How to freeze fresh corn:

How to freeze herbs:

Almond Date Bar (like a LARA bar)(with video):

Cheese Scallion Muffins:

Chewy Cinnamon Almond Cookies (gluten free)(can be used for ice cream sandwiches)(would normally have all ingredients on hand as well - 2-1/2 C almond flour):

Fermented bread and butter pickles:

Petite Lasagnas (uses wonton wrappers)(make in muffin tins)(make sure to have 1-1/2 C ricotta or cottage? and 1-1/2 mozarella or swiss? plus tomato sauce and cooked ground meat):

Breakfast ideas:

Lunch ideas:

Roasted Pesto Tomatoes (basil (pesto), oil, tomatoes, salt):

Blueberry Muffins (gluten and sugar free) (2 C almond meal):

What's Gardenin'?

This was on RFW for tomato blight/garden fungal problems:

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Course of Study" Yearly Planning Form

What's Schoolin'?

Here is a "Course of Study" to use in planning for the year or for use as a record of the school year to help with transcripts later.  Our goals will be set by the student in individual parent (teacher)/student conferences.  Knowing my dds we will probably continue on the back of the page!

What's Cookin'?

I got some fresh dill from the grocery store and added it to some cream cheese for a dip.  Very fresh tasting.

I tried to preserve some jalapenos that I got at the local farmers market.  I had about 20 to preserve.  I sliced and froze some; others I sliced in half, seeded, and fermented in apple cider vinegar with salt (on the counter 2 days then in the fridge for 2 weeks before ready); and the rest I sliced thinner and fermented the same only I added some fresh dill that I didn't want to waste (that also helped to keep the jalapenos submerged under the level of the brine).

What's Inspirin'?

Here are the lyrics from Laura Story's song Blessings.  I like to click on the video and then read these words while she plays.  If there's nobody around I'll sing along too :).

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?