Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yesterday's Classics Awesome Sale ~ Ends Today!!

What's Schoolin'?

This was posted on one of the homeschool loops.  225 kindle or EPUB books for $45.  These are really amazing books.  Read the whole blurb here:


There are many of these books that I would love to have right now for our upcoming Rome unit and Middle Ages unit.

The above link would be good to peruse just to see the titles and get ideas.  You can read them free online at the Baldwin Project as well.  You can get individual titles as paperback books or kindles (or EPUB) here:


What's Cookin'?

Beans and rice; beans and rice; beans and rice.

We are loving the organic small red beans from Azure Standard.  Even dh mentioned how good they are!  They are also the cheapest bulk organic beans I've seen.  I cooked some overnight in the crockpot and the dc gobbled them up at breakfast (they were not *meant* for breakfast but whenever some are freshly cooked they dive into them!).  So... I started soaking some more to cook tonight.  I'm out of lemon juice so I put in a dash of raw apple cider vinegar.  That should work - my hands will tell me if it worked or not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ultimate [Last!] British Literature Post (Book List!)

What's Cookin'?

Oldest dd made pizzas for dinner last (thank you!!!).  The interesting thing is that she used our emergency biscuit recipe for the pizza crust.  It was really good.  One was cheese and the other had a bit of pre-cooked ground beef that I was saving for soup with sauteed onion and bell pepper.

Tonight:  Tortilla soup with homemade tortilla chips.

Tomorrow:  Simple beans and rice with cornbread.

What's Green?

Here is an organic cotton mattress without the harsh flame retardant chemicals that cause issues with many people.  The pure cotton ones require a doctor's prescription but these with the wool cover don't.  This would be my dream mattress (literally!).

What's Schoolin'?

Okay, this should really be the last post about British Literature!  My posts on British Literature are posted here, here, here, here, here, and here (vaguely on this one that was actually first in the order).  Today: here is the link for a document in pdf form if you'd like to print it for reference.  It's simply the book list that goes along with British Literature (Encouraging Thoughtful Christians to Be World Changers). I need to have it on hand for a quick reference to check out books from the library or to check whenever I see a book on sale or something.

Since Catholic authors were not well represented I added some at the end of the book list along with some links for those studies.

I hope some of you find it useful in your home school planning.


Please let me know if the link isn't working - sometimes that happens with googledocs.

In summary, we'll be using British Literature by Stobaugh as our spine along with the below titles that are used in the curriculum (shorter works are included in the textbook).  I'm also adding English Literature (Barron's Ez-101 Study Keys) as needed since it is recommended for the CLEP preparation that I mentioned on THIS post.  In addition, we'll be reading Belloc, Chesterton, Wilde, and Shaw.  The hardest part will be choosing from Belloc and Chesterton!

Below are the books:

Whew!  That's a lot of reading!  I don't plan on covering it in one year, though.  We'll also be studying American Literature and World Literature.  Gee... I've got some planning to do :)

The above affiliate links cost you the same but generate referral fees to help support our homeschool.

Soaked White Whole Wheat Yeast Buns/Rolls

What's Cookin'?

I tweaked this recipe and it worked!  Dd specifically requested yeast rolls for some apple/ground meat patties I was making.  I wanted it soaked but I wanted it to be yeast rolls.  I only had one egg in the house so I just left it out of the recipe and hoped for the best - it did fine without the egg.  


2 C White whole wheat flour
3/4 C liquid [1/4 or more whey] [I used about 2/3 C whey because I had a quart on-hand from my last
                batch of yogurt that I've been drinking (for glutathione production) and the rest I made up with 
                water][If I didn't have whey I would add about a tablespoon of yogurt to the water to make 3/4]
2 Tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil (my CO is liquid at room temp right now in the summer)
1 teaspoon Real Salt (this link has free shipping)
3 teaspoons Yeast
2 Tablespoons Raw honey (local)
1/2 C (approx.) unbleached all-purpose flour (for sprinkling in while kneading)


The night before, mix the white whole wheat flour, liquid, and butter/oil into a ball.  Cover it with a damp cloth.

The next morning add the other ingredients (except the all-purpose flour).  After it is well mixed, flour your surface with the all-purpose flour and begin kneading, adding more flour as it gets sticky.  Knead for about 6 minutes.  Let rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 10 minutes.

Shape into buns and put on a greased baking pan/sheet.  Let rise until double in size (I stick it in my cold oven or if I'm in a hurry I turn the oven light on).  Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven - mine cooks slower).

The first time I made 20 very small buns for my tiny patties (I'm getting 3 meals out of those patties from one pound of beef).  Today I'm making 8 buns so they should be more like hamburger-size buns.  As I was kneading it this morning I realized that I was pouring my multitude of worries into it and made a conscious switch to spend that time kneading thinking about positive things in my life, being grateful, and meditating on God's loving Divine Mercy.  It totally changed my day around.


This recipe is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:

This recipe is also part of Freaky Fridays:

What's Schoolin'?

Free software from Lakeshore:


Free online public domain books at the Baldwin Project:


If you are looking for online classes (both live and independent study) with a classical twist from a Catholic perspective, here is an option:

I personally hope to join Homeschool Connections this year but the prospects are slim.  It's $30/month for the whole family with no obligation for the pre-recorded classes:


This site has free study guides.  With high school lit I'm having more success searching for "study guides" than "lesson plans."  I'm currently pre-viewing To Kill a Mockingbird for their American Lit and found this:


What else?

Here is a movie review for a movie I would love to go see.  It's about the Cristero rebellion during the horrific persecution of Catholics in Mexico.

Any affiliate link referral fees help to support our homeschool.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Free Kindles for British Lit (Part 2 of 2)

What's Schoolin'?

I'm on a role organizing our British Literature resources.  I went through my book list and am posting the freebies here while I'm tracking them down.  When I post the book list I'll link to all of the books with regular links.

Here goes...

Yikes, there are a lot of choices and I don't know which is the recommended version.  Here is the list and look for free kindle downloads: Beowolf selections

Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Venerable Bede)
Read free online:
Here is the pdf (that you can upload to kindle):
Another one:
This font seems easier to read:

Canterbury Tales

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 

Fairie Queen (Spenser)

Adventures of Robin Hood 

Dr. Faustus (C. Marlowe) 
[Note: Read Faust by Goethe (1832) before reading this]

Paradise Lost (Milton) 

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (John Dryden) 
Read online:

Robinson Crusoe (D. Defoe) 

Gulliver's Travels 

The Vicar of Wakefield (Oliver Goldsmith) 

The Rivals (R.B. Sheridan) 

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (S.T. Coleridge)

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

A Tale of 2 Cities (Dickens)

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson) 

The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy)

Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) 

Lord Jim (J. Conrad)

A.E. Housman poems: “Terence, This is Stupid Stuff,” “Lovliest of Trees,” “Be Still, My Soul,”
William Yeats: “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” “When You Are Old,” “The Second Coming,” “The White Swans at Coole,” “Byzantium.”

Dylan Thomas: “Do Not Go Gentle into the Night”

Phew!  I now have 33 free kindle books in my "British Lit" collection!  I truly prefer the real-life book in my hands but now I have peace that if I can't check them out at the right time we have them, literally, on-hand :).  

I hope this is helpful to someone else who might need some freebies like I do!

Referral fees from any of the affiliate links help to support our homeschool.

Free Kindles for British Lit (Part 1 of 2)

What's Cookin'?

When we've been out of beef for a while I start craving it - big time.  Then, when we get some I want it for every meal for a few days!  Grass-fed (and finished!) beef with no antibiotics, no hormones, fed with home-grown never-sprayed hay during drought or winter is amazing.  It is such a blessing to our family to be able to get it at close to grocery store prices for conventional meat.  It's not always available but it is worth any dry spells to have access to it.

That said, I got some this week - I just got ground beef this time.  Our first dinner with it was chili.  Usually I only use 1/3 to 1/2 pound to stretch out our meat but I put in the whole pound and ate 2 hunkin' bowls (I've been out of my methyl guard and adrenal meds both of which have B vitamins so I must've really needed some!).  This morning before it gets too hot I plan on making a meatloaf and some ground meat/apple burger patties to freeze for later.  Now I'm starting to crave chicken... :)

It's Farmer's Market Season!

For me, that means it's time to stock up and preserve whatever I'm able to within my constraints.  Each time I go I try to freeze or dehydrate some of what I buy.  So far I have bags of onion and bell pepper in the freezer and hope to do more.  Mangoes were on sale 2 for $1 so I got 8 to peel and slice for smoothies and they are also in the freezer.  Hopefully I'll have a garden again next year but I'm holding that loosely since we have bigger fish to fry right now (Remember that gift horse I mentioned?  It was a gift but now we have to feed it!)

What's Schoolin'?

This is totally consistent with my project-obsessive personality.  I won't let British Literature go until I have it completely ready to go on autopilot (unless I stop one-step short and never finish it - I tend to do that too which is why I'm determined to finish it now).  So, here you have another British Lit post and probably 2 more.  I'm going through my last post and trying to find free downloads of those books.  Then I'll go through the book list I'm finishing and look for free downloads for those books also.  Most should be public domain so let's see how it goes... [The fonts are weird because I did some cutting and pasting from my compiled booklist.]

Utopia by St. Thomas More:

Free download (includes Kindle):
Sparknotes study guide:

Hillaire Belloc (I've seen it spelled with one or two /l/):
Gutenberg downloads:

Some free Kindle downloads and other great books can be found here (I haven't decided which ones to use yet):

The Dream of Gerontius by John Henry Newman:

Free download (includes Kindle):
Analysis at EWTN:
Free pdf download:

 The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde:

 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:

 Complete Father Brown Mysteries or Favorite Father Brown Mysteries: I couldn't find either as a freebie (I already own the Favorite FBMysteries but was looking for you all). I did find this one, though - The Innocence of Father Brown:

 Manalive by Chesterton:

 Ballad of the White Horse by Chesterton:

  Eugenics and Other Evils by Chesterton:

 George Bernard Shaw by Chesterton:

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (he was not at all Catholic but is so famous I thought he should be included):

 Plays by Shaw: There are a few individual plays here for free but not the collection that I had selected in my other post:
George Bernard Shaw - look for free downloads here.

In searching I found the most incredible treasure of free Catholic books and writings in pdf form:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yes, Even More on British Lit!

The afternoon has slipped away, dinner will be late, and I haven't played with the new horse since lunchtime (Yes!  We have our first horse!  Our middle dd was gifted a 1-yr-old Futurity horse and he was dropped off yesterday!).  The good news is that I've narrowed down some additions to our British Lit studies that I wrote about here and here.

I *plan* on incorporating the following Catholic British authors into our studies of British Literature.  If you see any that are not recommended or have other recommendations I missed, please let me know.  Here is my disclaimer:  I have not previewed these yet so this is still a working copy.  As always, each family should preview and decide what literature is appropriate for their children.  I tend to be on the prudish side :).

I will probably choose one from each author below.

Utopia by St. Thomas More:

The Dream of Gerontius by John Henry Newman:


Oscar Wilde
The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde:


 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Wilde:


Graham Greene: They seem much more "adult" but these are what I plan on skimming/previewing and hopefully I'll come back and update after I go through them. The Power and Glory by Graham Greene looks like a good adult read - I would need to preview it for dc.


Our Man in Havana by Greene:


Journey without Maps by Greene:


Monsignor Quixote by Greene (it sounds a little lighter than the others I looked at and may prove interesting to dds since we recently read Communist Manifesto):


Collected Short Stories by Graham Greene - this may be the best source to find something appropriate:


On to G.K. Chesterton... The Complete Father Brown Mysteries:


Favorite Father Brown Stories:




The Ballad of the White Horse (epic poem):


 The Everyman Chesterton:


Poems for all Purposes:


A Selection from his Non-Fictional Prose:


Eugenics and Other Evils:


Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw were friends that vehemently disagreed. This is a free Kindle download:


George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion:


Plays by Bernard Shaw:


This isn't related to anything but I am so curious... Springs of Humor (Goethe, Chesterton, Horace, Shakespeare, Shaw)


Any affiliate link referral fees help to support our homeschool.

Even More on British Literature...

I'm almost ready to post the booklist that goes along with the British Literature curriculum we'll be using (There are newer versions here and here and this one here and here looks awesome - I'm not sure if it's the same or different since it hasn't yet been released).  I just need to add some Belloc and Chesterton that is not included (and I noticed that the above curr says that Tolkien is a "Theist"... uh... he was Catholic and instrumental in C.S. Lewis' conversion to Christianity).  I may also add in Shaw and Wilde (and maybe Greene).

Anyway... while looking around for a good sampling of Hilaire Belloc I came across this title that intrigues me:

The Great Heresies:

On Something looks interesting and is a free Kindle download:

 And then there is On Nothing and Kindred Subjects (also free download):

I just put The Crusades in my wishlist and will look for it at the library or as a free download and he has another about the French Revolution:

 This is the main page for his books on Amazon: Hilaire Belloc

Regarding Chesterton... I have a Father Brown Mystery book and want to get a copy of Heretics.  There are so many choices for Chesterton.  Here is the main page for his books: Chesterton

I also noticed a lack of George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde (unless it is slipping my memory!).  I'll have to preview to see if they are appropriate but here are some works by George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde (who was a late convert). I'm also looking into Graham Greene.

Wow, as soon as I finish reading and previewing To Kill a Mockingbird I have lots more reading to do!  So far I think To Kill a Mockingbird is really good but I'm reading it with dread thinking that something really bad is about to happen...  Sometimes I forget that I'm "previewing" books for my dc and get too engrossed to keep an eye out for things :).

Any referral fee, no matter how small, from any affiliate link helps to support our homeschool.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

High School Math

What's Schoolin'?

For elementary Math we've always used Excel Math (from AnsMar Publishing) and absolutely love it.  There was the one year that we tried the very popular Math-U-See but it wasn't a match for us.  We also heavily use Montessori scope/sequence/materials in Math.

Once we outgrew Excel (I so wish they went beyond 6th grade!) we shifted to Teaching Textbooks.  This last Spring one dd switched from TT Algebra 1 to Life of Fred Beginning Algebra (we're not very thrilled with this book, by the way).  She wants to go back to TT for Geometry and Algebra 2.  Other dd did TT Algebra 1 and 2 (only 2 more lessons, yeah!!).  For Geometry she is going to use Life of Fred and then either TT or this textbook/solutions manual I found at the used homeschool store [Discovering Geometry: An Investigative Approach Textbook and the Solutions Manual (if you order, make sure the solutions edition/copyright date matches the student text edition/copyright date](other dd may use this for Geometry as well instead of TT).  Her purpose for LOF Geometry is that she's taking the PSAT in October but hasn't had Geometry yet.  This will at least give her some overall exposure before the test.  Then we'll reevaluate whether to do Geometry with another curriculum or go on to Pre-Calculus.  All this is leading somewhere, really!

Ask Dr. Callahan Algebra 2 with Trigonometry (Pre-Calculus):

This looks like a really good program for Pre-Calculus.  It's labeled college-level Algebra 2 with Trigonometry but in the description it is also labeled as Pre-Calculus.  It could also be used as a stand-alone Trigonometry course if the child has already taken Algebra 2.  I like all of that flexibility.  It's much, much more than I like to spend on curriculum but has the teaching DVDs, textbook, solutions guide for selected problems, and teacher's guide with the syllabus, tests, and key.  There is also a solutions manual with all of the problems worked out that is sold separately.  However, by dividing things up I can get it for a comparable price as Teaching Textbooks.

Algebra 2 with Trig Bundle:


Any nominal referral fee from affiliate links helps to support our homeschool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Physics (Part 2 of ??)

What's Cookin'?

Dc made THE most amazing pizza the other day.  I got some nitrate/msg free pepperoni (still a compromise) and youngest dd sliced up and lightly sauteed onion and bell pepper in butter and coconut oil to soften it before adding it to the pizza.  The onion and bell pepper were from the local farmers' market and they were so crisp and sweet - mmm.  I could not find ANY mozzarella made from hormone free milk where I was shopping :( so I got Cacique brand because it at least only had basic ingredients.  If you buy shredded cheeses, you may want to look at the ingredients again.  Now they mostly all have a 'mold inhibiting' additive.  Good grief - cheese molds.  That's life.  Another additive to give our children without really knowing what effects it'll have in the long run... Ever since they started that we only buy block cheese.  Anyway, their pizza was worthy of a photo (batteries for my camera is going on the shopping list!).

What's Schoolin'?

As I put the finishing touches on my Physics syllabus and prepare to upload that, online resources (sorted by topic/chapter), and maybe a separate materials list for experiments, I wanted to compile my resources in one post.  I hope to upload the rest today or tomorrow - depending on family activities and my brain fog level.  All of the below resources are aligned in the syllabus.


CPSL: Conceptual Physics Supplementary Labs

Websites: See Physics Online Supplementation document for websites correlated with the RS4K chapters.  This will be uploaded by me as a separate document.

[NOTE: After completing the syllabus we will be going through The Power Basics set of Physics curriculum to round it all out and fill in any gaps.]

Power Basics Physics (text)

Power Basics Physics (test pack)

Power Basics Physics (teacher's guide)

I found a used set that includes the workbook here: Set (Student Text and Workbook) (Power Basics Science, Physics)

[update:  one more resource I'll be using at the tail end for review is a set of computer CDs from Speedstudy called (aptly!) Physics 1 and Physics 2 (although this says Quickstudy the picture is exactly the same so I think this may be the updated one - you would need to check compatibility as with all software purchases) .  These are not easy for initial use, nor comprehensive as far as I can tell from previewing them.  I think this will be a nice review in another format.]


Any small referral fee generated from affiliate links helps to support our homeschool.

High School Physics... (Part 1 of ??)

[Note:  I started this post about a month ago.  I have since come up with a solution and am just about ready to upload my Physics syllabus and online supplement links.  Stay tuned... :)  I'm posting this one anyway in case anyone is searching for Conceptual Physics resources.]

What's Schoolin'?

Here's my dilemma:  We are due to study physics this year but physics is SOOO higher-math-heavy that one child would probably never be successful with it and would just be discouraged.  I know of a few families that are using it for science AND math for next year but that's not really an option for us either if we are to stay on track for high school credits for Math.  "Conceptual Physics" sounds like a great alternative but then I'm not sure if that class on their transcript will count in lieu of plain Physics.  SO my current line of thinking is to choose Conceptual Physics and bridge the Math gap to make a full Physics but not so intense.  Since it does not seem to exist it will take a lot of work on my part.

Here are some Physics curricula that I am perusing right now for next year:

This one looks really, really good:

VanCleave's Chemistry for Every Kid was an awesome bridge for youngest to do Chemistry with the olders. I plan on getting this regardless of our Physics spine:

Any small fee generated from affiliate links helps to support our homeschool.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


What's Cookin'?


Well, maybe they were not cookbook caliber but they were an awesome way to use up leftovers!  This is one of those "strategy" rather than "recipe" posts :).

First:  Make homemade tortillas (I'm really liking the sourdough tortilla recipe).  If not, use whatever tortillas you like to use.  I wanted these big so I made burrito-size tortillas; however, any size will work and wheat or corn would work (the theme is to use what you have for this recipe!).  Dh husband likes his trans-fat dollar-per-pack tortillas from the store so I always roll some of those for him within the same pan.

Second:  Go refrigerator diving for leftovers.  Mix any leftovers in a bowl with some pre-cooked rice to bulk it out and s-t-r-e-t-c-h your budget.  I had saved some ground beef pre-cooked with onion for this meal (about 3/4 C) and found some lightly sauteed squash/tomatoes (I meant to add some kidney beans from the last batch but forgot).

Third:  Crack open a jar of green salsa.  I like Herdez even if it's not organic because of their ingredient list and the cost and the glass jar.  Spoon just a little bit all over the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan (for this last batch I used this big pan plus another 9 x 9 pan).

Fourth:  Spoon the filling into each tortilla and roll each side over.  Place it seam down in the pan and continue until all of your ingredients are gone (I made 3 small for dh and 8 more huge ones using homemade tortillas).  Spoon the rest of the salsa over it all evenly, taking care to put some on the overhanging edges of the rolled tortillas so they don't dry out prematurely.

Fifth:  Grate the cheese of your choice over the top.  It doesn't have to be completely covered.  Warning:  the children will choose their portion according to the visible amount of cheese on each enchilada - you may want to pas out out the first portion.

Sixth:  Cover with foil or baking lid and bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Seventh:  Serve with something cool and refreshing to balance out the spicy.  We had watermelon and mango the first day and a big green salad the second day.

This strategy/recipe is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:

Any tiny referral fees generated from any affiliate links support our homeschool.