Sunday, December 30, 2012


Before getting to the Gottatries, take a peek at this great video explaining safety in cosmetics.  It also has a nice list of the baddies with simple explanations.  It's so nice to have all of this in one place!

Here are some ideas for (literally) clean tooth care options (I was already planning on trying the Redmond's Earthpaste so was glad to see positive feedback for it - I have the wintergreen in my wishlist 'cart'):

Crispy potato wedges:

Poached pears with molasses [update: tried this and everyone liked it!]

Molasses Gingerbread:

New Year's Day recipe of black-eyed peas and sweet potato and greens patties:

Fermented cranberry sauce (fresh cranberries; pecans; 1/2 C apple juice; honey; whey; juice of an orange and  lemon; raisings):

Baked Pasta casserole (pasta, ricotta, tomato sauce, cheese):

Homemade Ricotta:

The chocolate/cheese 'frosting' here looks fantastic:

Cream cheese danish:

Crescent rolls:

Crockpot Molten Lava Cake [Youngest dd had mentioned a lava cake for her birthday - we may give this a try soon!]:

Bagels (these are chocolate chip but can be plain):


Interesting blog post:

Books to check out from the library:
How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons for info on biointensive mini-farming.  Our library has it checked in (for now!).

The Backyard Homestead.  I've had this checked out before but didn't give it a good read... Time to revisit it.  There is one for farm animals also.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Letting Go... of Materials

What's Schoolin'?

Youngest went through our Math/Language shelves yesterday to see what she has outgrown and we don't need anymore.  I also went through our Montessori storage boxes.  Wow... she's close to reaching the end of what I have for her regarding manipulatives in Math.  The Language materials now only take up a little bit of space.  I actually emptied and folded up the bank boxes I use for storage for both Math and Language so now we only have what's out on the shelves for those subjects.  The few things left to do with the olders I put out on my teacher shelf (sentence analysis things).

It seems silly to be emotionally attached to teaching materials, but some of them were much harder than others to sell, lol!  The hardest for me to let go were the small wooden number cards, the teddy bear counters (oh, my sweet dc had SO much fun with those through the years, and my classroom kids before them), the relational geosolids (they filled them with rice and especially our youngest spent hours with these when she was little), and the moveable alphabet (mine was plastic) (although they didn't use these much I thought they were just so cool :) ).

I just asked asked my 17-yr-old if she would like to play with the teddy bear counters before I packed them up :).  She just smiled but she agrees that it's not just about the object but about my memories of them with the objects.  I always had it in the back of my mind that I would go back to work once the youngest was grown and we were done homeschooling.  That was another reason to keep them.  I spent a lot of personal money through my teaching career on classroom materials and books.  However, I have to be realistic and acknowledge that my health may not ever be optimal enough for such a long and grueling day to teach again. However, said I, I may teach part time or university courses again where these materials can be used with children or to show future teachers some great teaching practices.  Well, reality is something else.  Right now we need to declutter and buy other teaching materials (like buying back a copy of Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 which I sold to get Life of Fred Beginning Algebra which is not working so dd wants to go back to TT and I agree - LOF is not a match for us ~ sigh).

What's still on our shelves in Language [We are reviewing the R and D manual of Language Arts 1 because we had such a gap with last year's move and I wanted to redo before moving on.  It's actually been a good thing because the review presentations go pretty fast and I can see her advanced cognitive development from when we started it so long ago.]:

- Parts of speech 3-D shapes (I made these with air-drying clay a billion years ago)
- Little plastic 2-drawer organizer to be rotating the cards from the manual presentations
- Spelling Power Task Cards (they never use it but none of my children ever want me to sell it!)
- Tackle box with our Farm environment for labeling
- Language books like Cache of Jewels and other books by Ruth Heller
- Parts of speech cards for labeling sentences
- Little cut-up sentences for them to put in order and label with the cards (then copy in notebook and draw symbols above the words)
- Thesauruses and a dictionary (although I keep the 2 bigger dictionaries on another shelf)

I'll be putting out some ancient Spanish lotto and rhyming cards I found in our storage box and some American Sign Language cards .  I re-discovered our Learnables Book 1 in the shelf that she never chooses but she wants to do it now so I've pulled it out for her and it's on the school table.  The olders are going through Clase Divertida Level 3 and she sits in on it so she's jazzed about Spanish right now.

I've decided that (sniff) my children are growing up, we need other materials, and if I need any of this professionally again I will remake, rebuy, or make do without. [Audible sigh] I am letting go...

Here are some links to some of what I mentioned:

Any affiliate link referral fees help to support our homeschool needs.  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Northern Europe, Germany, and Netherlands Study Brainstorm

What's Schoolin'?

We are using Montessori materials and Trail Guide to World Geography for our Europe studies.  I also have the Hands of a Child Europe lapbook.  There is a cool resource recommended in TG called Geography Through Art... which I don't have :(.  Left to my own devices, here are some of my ideas to incorporate some art (and food!) into life/homeschooling.  They have been going to art classes the last 2 semesters so I finally let it go, but this is just too good of an opportunity to incorporate some art and/or crafts.

These are brainstorm ideas... not necessarily what we will actually do!

For Northern Europe, Germany, Netherlands:

~ Make a Viking Rune Stone in clay
~ Do something related to Hansel and Gretel... gingerbread house?  Also, along the lines of the Black Forest/Bavaria... talk about the Passion Plays and Oberammergau  (and show photos)
~ Sketch Big Ben in ink
~ Make sauerkraut for Germany (which we need to make anyway!)
~ We'll do more Germany things with our celebration of St. Nicholas Day Dec 6th
~ Some Germany ideas from Mr. Donn (always good resources!):
~ Eat potatoes for Ireland (not very creative but it's what I have!)
~ Eat Hutspot for The Netherlands (carrots, potato, and onion cooked and mashed)[update: this was delicious!  Here is the post] (I would just cook all together then add butter and real milk)
~ More Dutch recipes here:
~ Dutch folk art inspired embroidery?  Here is some inspiration:
~ A simple paper with the ouline map of Holland printed on it with the words The Netherlands is known for: typed on it.  They draw/label windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, famous artists (Van Gogh and Rembrandt), and cheese.  Same for Germany.
~ has castles.  They used this site to research 3 German castles for a page from Trail Guide.


First the non-foodie gottatry:
Advent basket:

Natural Cleaners (baking soda sprinkled on the stove and squirted with a mix of white vinegar and dish soap is what I use to clean our stove top - it really gets the grunge off that this messy cook renews daily with spills and burnt food!):

Gingerbread doughnuts [A doughnut baking pan would be awesome.  I wonder if they make in stainless steel?]:

Candy cane lemons (how cool!):

Easy eggs baked in oven (each in muffin cup):

Peppermint Bark (I will sub canola with palm shortening and probably make single layer):

Toffee/chocolate bar! Yum.  I was thinking about coming up with a recipe for this and was thrilled to see this:

Banana oatmeal (looks good!):

Chocolate almond bark (has link to make own coconut butter for recipe):

Soaked sugar cookies:

English muffin bread (2 loaves):

Christmas bundt cake:

Easy Panir cheese:

Easy Ricotta cheese:

One more!  Cream cheese cut-out cookies:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ancient Rome Part 3 (Plans)

What's Schoolin'?

Here is a link for my plans that I am using with my high schoolers.  It works well for us to have a unit sketched out and divided into what we will do together and what they are responsible for doing independently.  Although I listed the spine as a read-aloud, they ended up just reading and doing the questions on their own at the beginning of the unit.  I actually gave them a copy of these plans; especially since it has all of the books and assignments listed.

... I just found a typo but I honestly doubt I'll go back and fix it at this point so, please overlook any faults!  Some of my notes may not make any sense :).  If this is the case, please don't hesitate to ask me.  The books that the students read are posted in my Ancient Rome Part 2 (Books) post.  Resources that I used are posted below.  If you would like to see what links I gave the children for use with the unit, you can see them in my post Ancient Rome Part 1 (Links) (under 'Other Work' in the plans they are to 'Visit the Roman Links sent through e-mail.').

Another thing you'll notice is that The Aeneid is spread out within the plans.  I have Julius Caesar plans for Shakespeare's play but they are printed separately and we won't begin that until they are done with The Aeneid.  They are choosing to read the whole thing even though I only required Book 9 (together) and Book 1.  I'm glad I let them "decide" because it gives them more ownership in their learning.  Of course, it helps that they can only answer some of the key concept questions if they have read the whole work :).

Please remember that this is for personal use only.  It is for free use but please share the link to the blog post instead of just the doc link when passing it along to others.  Any small donations are welcome and go directly to dc's 4-H projects (use the button in the upper left margin).

In the Hands of a Child has an Ancient Rome lapbook all ready for you.  Silly me... I bought one when it was on a super sale a few years ago... and wouldn't you know that I totally forgot to use it in our Rome studies!! Argh!!  So, now that I've remembered in the middle of our studies we'll pull some things from it for them to document some of what they are learning from all of those great books.  Since one dd is lapbooking history (the 11th grader) and the other is notebooking it (the 10th grader), this will work out fine.  I just love HOAC lapbooks!!  It's $12 at this time for the e-book:

A Journey through Learning has a lapbook for Ancient Rome also:

Here are most of the resources mentioned in the plans:

Sparknotes: The Aeneid Themes, Motifs, and Symbols:

Sparknotes summary and analysis of The Aeneid Book 1:

Sparknotes Quiz on The Aeneid: 

Suggested essay topics:

Character List/Descriptions:

Key Facts worksheet for The Aeneid (this is the answer key; I made another without the answers for them to fill in; then we went over together):

Aeneid Quiz:

Easy Timeline Creator:

M. Wittmann's article “The Martyrs of Ancient Rome":
I can't find her article anywhere, but here is a link to her unit ideas:

Ancient Civilizations (McDonald Publishing):

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations (it says gr.1-3 but I like the graphics and such for lapbook mini-books):


 All Ye Lands:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ancient Rome Part 2 (Books)

What's Schoolin'?

Here are some of the books that we are using for our studies of Ancient Rome.  Currently they are reading The Aeneid by Virgil (Warning: it's a bit gory!  Boys may love it!).  I have several literature lessons embedded in my Rome unit for it [Book 9 and Book 1 are the required books but they want to read all of it].  I listed the links they will use in Part 1 (which includes some lit excerpts) and will upload the lesson plans in Part 3.

Note:  This is for my high schoolers.  Youngest is not doing Rome right now.

The Aeneid for Boys and Girls (they read this before the original Aeneid)

 The Aeneid by Virgil

Julius Caesar by Shakespeare

Cicero's The Republic and The Law (2 separate books that I have in one binding)

 St. Athanasius (Tan Books)

Lives of the Later Caesars (Penguin Classics)

Constantine biography

St. Helen of the Cross (Constantine's mother)
[Here is a link:]

The Children's Plutarch (Tales of the Romans)

Horrible Histories:  The Rotten Romans

Lost Civilizations:  Ancient Romans

Understanding People in the Past:  The Ancient Romans

The Human Adventure:  Greek and Roman Civilization

Oxford Profiles:  Ancient Romans (especially Constantine and Theodosius the Great)

Detectives in Togas

The Spear or The Restless Flame by de Wohl (The Spear is excellent; I haven't read the other yet)

Pocket Dictionary of Roman Emperors

Eusebius:  The History of the Church

Any referral fees from affiliate links support our homeschool - no extra cost to you!


What's Shoppin'?

Doing Christmas shopping online this year?  If you will be using Amazon, I would be very grateful if you would go to their home page through my link.  Thanks so much!  Just click below.

Amazon home page

What's Cookin'?

**This is so, so cool!  DIY beeswax cotton food wraps:

**Here is the source given for beeswax.  I see that they have 100% beeswax candles, which I have wanted to have in the house for quite some time:

Simple, simple homemade fruit rollups! [Update:  We made these with some apple sauce that we had recently made and they were delicious (although I over-dried them and ended up breaking them into small bite-sized pieces.]

Dairy-free/grain-free peanut butter cookies (1 C peanut butter, egg, sugar, baking powder):

Cranberry sauce (use sweetener of your choice):

Pumpkin brownie tarts.  I would un-veganize it with milk but otherwise mostly use it as-is:

This has a crust that would be good for any unbaked pie (like homemade chocolate pudding!) (3/4 C almonds; 1/4 C dates):

This pumpkin pie filling is no-bake:

Caramel sauce (I was looking for a recipe for caramel squares to make popcorn balls and caramel apples - this may be too saucy for that but it looks great for other things):

**Caramel squares.  I think this thicker recipe will be better for popcorn balls and caramel apples [update:  worked GREAT - 1/2 recipe was enough for a huge pot of popcorn]:

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts!  I don't have a doughnut baking sheet but they can be made as muffins:

Baked cheesy chicken strips:

Brownie dessert shooters - these are too cute in the tiny cups.

Soaked pumpkin pie oatmeal.  I think this would be a good dehydrated cold cereal also.  They really liked it when I mixed baked oatmeal muffins with some crumbled (healthy) pumpkin cookies and dehydrated them for breakfast cereal...

Chocolate coconut butter bites:

Chocolate nut clusters.  This would make a great gift... hint, hint!

Peanut butter banana leather:

Sweet potato sloppy joes:

Raw nutty truffles:

Homemade hot cocoa mix (handier to have ready than how I usually make it):

Another take on hot cocoa:  Peppermint Hot Cocoa with steamed almond milk.

Chewy grain-free nut butter breakfast cookie (with pumpkin!)

Coconut berries delight (uses frozen berries):

Chocolate almond bark:

How to make sprouted flour!  Yeah.  I want to try this so I was happy to see this tutorial:

Hutspot (Dutch recipe)

What's Cookin'?

Since we are talking about The Netherlands, Germany, and Northern Europe in Geography right now I thought this was the perfect companion dinner.  The fact that I only had to buy a bag of carrots and an onion only added to my thrill.  Also, since I rarely can leave a recipe alone, this is done my way (here and here are some recipes I found that I adjusted).  That means tossing in a beef soup bone for added nutrition and, after cooking and straining, adding in some 'mush' from my last juicing adventure earlier in the week.


1-1/2 lb organic potatoes (the rest of the bag from the beef stew)
1 lb organic carrots (I left out 2 huge ones so dc would have some for snacks later)
1/2 large yellow or white onion (I would've used the whole onion but I thought I could use some for something else)
Optional: Any meat you would like to serve it with or add to it later.


Chop the potatoes, carrots, and onion (and beef soup bone if using).  Place in the crockpot with plenty of water for them to boil and cook throughout the day (I put in 2 quarts water) until tender.

Remove the soup bone; drain the water.  Mash.  [This is where I added my juicing pulp]  Add Butter and melt while stirring.  Add milk and stir.  Add salt, pepper, spices/herbs to taste.  [This is where I added just less than 1/2 pound pre-cooked ground chicken].

We were literally scraping the crock pot to get every last little bit.

This recipe is part of:
Real Food Wednesday,
Allergy Free Wednesday:
Fat Tuesday
Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas books on sale at Amazon!

We really, really need to update our Christmas book basket!  The books that worked when our dc were little... just don't grab them anymore.  I'm sharing some of my window shopping with you :).  Some I have read and some I haven't but all are at least 20% off at the time of this posting.  All are eligible for free shipping (see details).  I hope this helps some of you with your Christmas shopping!

The Christmas Quiet Book (20% off):

Room for a Little One (20% off):

The Spirit of Christmas (34% off):

 Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (32% off):

Charlie and the Christmas Kitty (42% off)

Legend of the Christmas Stocking (32% off):

 The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (32% off):

The Christmas Baby (32% off):

 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (33% off):

The Night Before Christmas (32% off):

The Jolly Christmas Postman (32% off):

Olivia Helps with Christmas (32% off):

The Legend of St. Nicholas (32% off):

Letters from Father Christmas (JRR Tolkien)(32% off):

Any referral fees from affiliate links helps to support our homeschool.

Advent: O Antiphons ~ Jesse Tree Link

O Antiphons:

We've done the O Antiphons for a few years now but as I was googling to find the original resource I used I came across this neat site with the songs for each along with a sort of devotional and personal reflection for each day.  If you are not familiar with the O Antiphons, just think of the song O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  These prayers were used in the 7th or 8th century and have continued since then.

The original resource I've used for years has some food ideas for each prayer/day.  Here are some great links with food ideas:

Here is the beautiful, wonderful printable that I use:

Foods I want to have ready to start on Dec. 17th (separated by O Antiphon day):

- Gold coins with the symbol for that day on it for each day (organic choc coins? homemade coins, here, here, or HERE? homemade peppermint patties? Dollar Tree chocolate coins??)(There are chocolate coins and a few molds starting on this page at Amazon)
The printable for the O Antiphons gold coins are here [as well as the gold coins for St. Nicholas Day]:

- Blueberries, dark chocolate, eggs, fish(?), maybe these  cute fig newton books (using an all natural brand like Barbara's Bakery or others found here  (check ingredients), or homemade bars - I have fig puree in the freezer)

- Cookies in the shape of the tablets, chips/salsa, make our gingerbread house this day?  (maybe eat dinner in the tent?) (We use to make our gingerbread houses from scratch but have been using kits the last several years. Time for homemade again?

- Stew with carrots/potatoes (or mashed potatoes); drink natural root beer :) (we like Blue Sky or Hansen )

- Unshelled pistachios, peanuts, or pecans; key lime cookies (recipe here); we like Lara Bars for traveling snacks so maybe a key lime Lara Bar!

- Oranges, "sun" with toast and honey (toast cut in strips and set up like rays on a plate with a dab of honey in the middle)

- Cookies in wreath/crown shapes (use wreath tip from press-out cookie gun) (or cut slices of fruit bread with circle in center like a wreath/crown).

- Birthday cake for Jesus on the 23rd.

Jesse Tree:

Domestic Church has a direct link now for the Jesse Tree ornaments.  I printed the pdf, the children colored them, then I laminated them.  We have used these simple ones for years.  You can see how humble mine is here.  It is a treasured tradition.

 There are many Jesse Tree resources at Amazon here.

 By one of the co-founders of Domestic Church (where I got my printable):


Any referral fees generated from affiliate links help to support our homeschool.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Bowl-Lickin' Good" Beef Stew

What's Cookin'?

The only ingredients I used for this to feed a hungry family of 5 were stew meat, potatoes, carrots, thickener, and broth.

My cost?  About $2.50 since my mom had given me some stew meat.  Had I gotten the stew meat I would have to add $2.50+ to my cost since I still would have used less than 1 pound of meat to stretch out the grass-fed meat.  That's still only a hair over $1/person for a nutritious and substantial dinner!

The original recipe called for 3 pounds of meat and 3 potatoes.  I put such little meat that it was heavy on the potatoes.  I wish I would have put even more potatoes so we could have gotten bigger second helpings!  However, we served it with homemade wheat biscuits so no one left hungry [I guess about $2.75 if I add in the biscuits.].

Ingredients (adjust to what you have):

1 lb stew meat (I used less)(grass fed is best)
1-1/2 lb Potatoes (half of an organic bag of little yellow ones)
3 Carrots (also organic if possible; $1 for a 1-lb bag)
1/4 C Thickener (use your thickener of choice such as arrowroot; I used a bit over 1/4 C white flour;)
1 quart homemade chicken broth (I added a little more so I would not have another almost-empty jar in the fridge)
Spices/herbs of your choice


Pour about 1/4 inch clean oil in your pan ("clean" meaning non-gmo; I used sunflower).  Put the stew meat in and cook it just on the outside, turning the pieces over constantly.

Take out the meat and put in the flour.  Stir quickly (unless you stop to take a picture!).  It will bubble.

Slowly pour in the broth while stirring constantly.  I used a lot more than the original recipe called for because I wanted it to cover the potatoes I would add later plus I wanted it extra saucy instead of dry (it's much easier to boil off water than to add water later for gravies and sauces!).

Put the meat back in and low-simmer (covered) for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, snatch a warm biscuit out of the oven and indulge with some butter or cheese!  You can also use this hour to cut up the potatoes/carrots, listen to music, get online, clean something, or spend time with family... (I spent it researching humic and fulvic acid but I'm funny that way!)

After an hour of simmering add the potatoes and carrots.  I quartered the little yellow potatoes and sliced the carrots in very slim 'coins'.  This is also a good time to add any spices and herbs.  [I added a generous amount of Real Salt , onion powder, garlic powder, pinches of basil, marjoram, and 2 kinds of oregano.] Simmer for another 30-45 minutes until tender (covered).  If it's still too watery for your preference, then continue simmering with the lid off, stirring often, until your desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy your beef stew with biscuits (or not!).  We enjoyed out stew while watching Strike Up the Band with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland!

This was SO much better than the crock-pot beef stew that I scorched a few weeks ago!!

This is part of Real Food Wednesday

Any referral fees from affiliate links help to support our homeschool.

Ratification of UN Treaty to be voted on this week!

I mainly keep politics out of this blog but I want to pass this along...  Another example of something that pulls at your heartstrings but is insidious at best...

Read about it here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fulvic and Humic Acid

Remember: I'm not a doctor and any health protocols or supplements that I discuss are just about my own health journey.  I hope it helps someone else who is suffering with chronic health issues but you have to do your own investigating and make your own decisions.  That said...

This has been floating around in my head for a while now and I finally got around to researching it in a less random way.

This is an article that came up from an MD's blog:

This site explains the difference.  They recommend taking both for 3 months and then switching to their 3:1 fulvic:humic combo.  Naturally they recommend their product (Vital Earth Minerals) but I found the info easy to understand (sort of!) and a good comparison of the two.

At the time of this post their combo was $34.49; the straight fulvic was $34.49 and the straight humic was $34.49.  They have 7 day travel packs for about $10 each.  That might be a good way to try it.  Shipping was free when I put both the fulvic and humic bottles in my cart!  However, it was about $10 shipping for just one of them and it was $5.48 shipping for a bottle of humic caps alone.

I just saw on their store locator map that Sprouts is a vendor.  I'll be sure to look next time I'm in one!  Hmm... The humic DOES have amino acids (including glutamic acid) but not l-cysteine.  Same for fulvic.  Same for the blend AND the super strenth.  I may need to look into those individual amino acids.  I guess the tryptophan will mellow me out :).

Here is the brand that a local supplement store recommends and their literature is compelling.  The capsules are out for me because they have L-Cysteine which I avoid as much as MSG.  The liquid does not list any amino acids but I would call before buying it; especially since it's about $40 locally.  Online it's $39.99 with $5.95 shipping (for the liquid).

This brand looks interesting and the website is very detailed.  It's Optimally Organic.  I shy away from amino acids, though...

Here's another: Organic Defense for $39.99 and $5.15 shipping.  There are no amino acids added:

This one does not mention amino acids. $24.99/8 oz bottle (1/2 tablespoon daily) ($8 shipping)

Quite honestly, I don't know which to choose.  I really think this will help me make a jump forward in my health journey.  I don't jump into things and have been thinking about this for at least 6 months.  Putting it out here helps me think and gives me a place to come back to rethink it before buying.  I hope some of you find the links helpful.

If you already use these products or are going to try them, here are some links for Amazon (I'm still deciding which one!):

Any referral fees generated from affiliate links help to support our home school.  Thanks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Amazon Cyber Monday Sales

What's Schoolin'?

When my dc were younger I would put games on the shelves for shelf work.  They loved to play them together.  Here is the page for ThinkFun Games on sale right now.  The math dice are 40% off and the ones I checked were eligible for free shipping.

Click here to see the ThinkFun Games sales.
Here are a few samples:

 There are also some activity and science kits on sale right now!
Click here for the activity and science kit sale page.
Here are some samples:


Some other finds:
 Housekeeping stand (note that there is shipping on this item)(52% off):

Lego Camera (45% off with free shipping):

Disclaimer:  I have not personally tried each of these products.  They are listed for your interest.  Any referral fees generated from affiliate links support our home school.

Teen Crafts ~ Dye-Free Candy Canes

I really enjoyed looking at the links and ideas for the previous post but it really, really got me missing those days when my olders (and youngest!) were younger and we did more things like that (sniff, sniff!).

So, after I wallowed in my yearning for a bit (and got lost in some of the links) I decided to search out some "teen crafts" and found some treasures.  Here are some I found.  Enjoy!

[This is me trying to embrace a new era of our family life with older and growing children!]

Of course, there is always image google.  This is the search for teen craft (you can find slightly different ones if you also search teen crafts): 

Some specific ones I liked:

What's Cookin'?

[warning: ramble alert!]

Well, it's not cooking but it IS food... Christmas treats to be exact.  Actually, to be more exact, candy canes!  I had looked and looked online and found zilch at amazon or other places online high shipping for a few boxes of candy canes and was resigned to trying to make them or only being able to afford one box for all dc and friends for the whole season (dh eats a lot of candy canes but doesn't 'like' the organic ones so I get him a box of sugared petroleum and fake dye in the shape of a candy cane).  One busy afternoon, youngest dd (who specifically doesn't do red dye although all dc and I avoid it like the plague) and I were browsing the candy aisle of a local grocery store (which we never do!) looking for some kind of natural chocolate treat.... And there they were... at least 3 feet of shelf space (!)... organic candy canes for only $3.99/box!!!  I let out an audible gasp and called her attention to them.  She let out an even bigger audible gasp.  We snatched four boxes.  We put back three and kept one.  We  Dd literally gazed at it and hugged it.

Then I asked a worker nearby if she knew who was responsible for ordering them.  She said her boss and did I want her to go get her?  No (said I)... but please tell her that she has made one family very, very happy and one little girl very happy and thank you so much and she has no idea how hard it is to find these and we'll be back for more and I really, really didn't want to have to try to learn to make them from scratch so they saved me lots of time and frustration and my child is so excited and so am I and thank you!

You may, like the worker, think I am off the deep end with my gratitude about the candy cane find; however, when you are on a tight, tight budget but can't (and won't) eat the petroleum/dye-filled canes that are an integrated part of  Christmas decor and treats (although, of course, not the essence of Christmas) and your children already do without so many "easy" treats all year and you really, really would like them to enjoy some simple candy canes (plus they really like them!).... well... I was thrilled to find them!

Now I need to call the health food store that was willing to order them (at a higher cost) and tell them to not order for my sake; although she said that they do order anyway.  The ones we found locally are TruJoy.  Here is a great fact page explaining them:

Oh, we ended up finding some natural peanut butter cups and sunflower butter cups for our special treat that day - for less than a candy bar at the checkout!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Autumn Activities (Sensorial)

What's Schoolin'?

Here are some GREAT ideas for youngers that make me really miss those younger days for my children!  We'll do some anyway because... no one is too old for play dough, paint, and nature!

Salt dough candle holders.  These would make nice gifts.  I think I just found our special annual Christmas craft for this year!


Here are some Christmas ideas:

We have a religious Advent calendar but this is a fun Christmas craft/activity calendar idea!

PS:  It's time for me to order some dye-free Candy Canes!!

What's Cookin'?

Baked apples from a link found in one from above.

This has no-bake playdough and bread dough recipes in a short pdf:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Violin 3-Part Cards

What's Cookin'?

I'm trying some crock pot chicken and dumplings today... We'll see how it goes!  I put about 2 cups pre-baked chicken tenderloins (cut up into small pieces); 1 package frozen mixed veggies (organic by Cascadia); and homemade chicken broth in a crock pot (filled up to the brim minus about 1 inch).  One hour before serving I will put in these frozen dumplings that I found, of all places, at Wal-Mart.  The only ingredients are flour, water, and palm oil.  It's Open Kettle Dumplings (Mary B's by Hom/ade in the freezer section).

What's Schoolin'?

A request was posted on one of the groups regarding nomenclature cards for parts of a violin.  I made these and thought I'd share.  Remember:  personal use only.  Let me know if the link doesn't work...  

Time to get back to housework!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)

What's Cookin'?

Pumpkin Cookies!  4 batches of pumpkin cookies, which really means endless oven batches... We'll take some for a bake sale, freeze some for the future, and snack on some this upcoming week.  I like this recipe from Heavenly Homemakers.  They even work for breakfast because I skip the frosting and use less rapadura.

What's Schoolin'?

The olders are studying Ancient Rome so we'll toss in our Shakespearean study of his play Julius Caesar along with it.  I checked out several version from the library but my favorite is the folger Library version . I checked out this one with the fancy blue cover and bigger print, although I found an old used one discarded in the library bookstore that, though smaller, is just as good:

I was surprised but I really didn't care for the No Fear Shakespeare.  It's very popular, so don't take my word for it :), but neither the olders nor myself preferred it.  These are the versions that I checked out that we decided not to use:
No Fear Shakespeare: Julius Caesar ; Fully Annotated Shakespeare: Julius Caesar ; Julius Caesar edited by A Hadfield .

I am really liking this biography of Julius Caesar (Leaders of Ancient Rome) I'm half-way through and hope to check out a few more from the series; mainly Cicero since we'll be reading his work also.

Some online resources:

This one includes a link to the complete text online, has comprehension worksheets for each act, and has vocabulary for each act:
[It also has Hamlet, Oedipus, and Antigone]

Virtual tour of the Globe Theatre:

Some more:


Here is the closing prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

"Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments, we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy Itself. Amen."

Someone also sent me the story of St. Louis de Montfort (Thanks, T!)(She references 33 Days to Morning Glory):

St. Louis  and the poor worked tirelessly over 15 months to build a huge monument to the Passion of Christ.  It was a huge and magnificent work but the day before it’s dedication, individuals betrayed them and lied about its’ purpose and the government destroyed it.  Louis told the people, ‘We had hoped to build a Calvary here.  Let us build it in our hearts.  Blessed be God.”  The author goes on to say “one thing about doing the Lord’s work: It doesn’t always turn out according to our plans……Louis became an instrument used by God to accomplish even mightier works.  So although his physical monument was destroyed, Louis’s teaching eventually became a huge edifice in the Church that exercised great influence…Indeed de Montfort’s passionate labors paid off in the end, even if he didn’t see the fruit himself”

On a lighter note:  

Seriously, lately when I am overwhelmed with worry and need a diversion I find myself watching old 50's clips and movies of musicals on youtube.  It may sound superficial and sappy but hey, we all need a bit of lightness in our lives, eh??  Here is a great clip of Donald O'Conner tap dancing in roller skates to an encouraging song sung by a little girl.  Enjoy!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Election Day

What's Schoolin'?

Here is a great worksheet to help children understand the Electoral College.  I couldn't get it to print but maybe there's a trick to printing it:

Here are her election week plans:

Here are the Election Process parts from Ben's Guide to Gov't for high school and grades 3-5:

Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids is a great site for a government, civics, or citizenship course.  It goes through 12th grade.

This is a good documentary/lesson plan because it has clips to view and questions for students.  It also has an essay.

What's Cookin'?

Well, for me Tuesday will be a partial fast since I am going to try to fast and pray for the elections [care to join me??].  I plan on mostly liquids [my juice from my Juicing without a Juicer post, bone broth/soup, milk, and other liquids as they occur to me] and either one small meal or 3 tiny ones (like maybe a hard-boiled egg for breakfast since without it I may feel ill and need to function).  I don't fast well!  I'm a big baby and don't do well :).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Toy Sales at Amazon

Christmas is right around the corner so I thought some of you may be interested in these sales I found on Amazon.  All of these are eligible for free shipping.

Melissa and Doug Standing Easle (41% off)

 Spalding Rookie Gear Soccer Ball (30% off):

Nanoblock Empire State Building (30% off)

 Schleich Knight's Castle (33% off):

 Perplexus Maze Game (26% off):

 Melissa and Dough Train Table (27% off):

 Insect Lore Live Butterfly Kit (40% off):

 Snap Circuit (39% off):

 Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register (27% off):

 Giant Road Kids Play Rug (30% off):

 Big Bag of Science (45% off):

 Melissa and Doug blocks (26% off):

 The Lego Book (45% off):

 Make and Break Game (29% off):

Pacific Play Cowboy Tee Pee (36% off):

 You can find more discounted toys here at this link:
  Click here to see more sales!

Disclaimer:  I have not personally used all of these products.  They are posted to show their sales status for your interest. Shipping eligibility and sale % were accurate at time of posting.  Any referral fees from affiliate links help to support our homeschool.  Thanks for looking!