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!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gottatries ~ Scholarship Link

What's Schoolin'?

Here is a link about college applications and scholarship info:

What's Cookin'?

Beef and Tator Bites (1 lb beef; 3 potatoes)

Pecan Apple Flying Saucers:

Cinnamon Triangles (you spread it thin so it may be more like a sweetish cracker treat/snack)(note to self:  use 1/2 C sugar; 1 C butter; 1 egg; 2 C flour; 1 C chopped pecans or nuts):

Ideas for preserving peppers:

Lactofermented garlic:

Now I know I'm not the only one with the problem of a smelly washer!  Easy natural solution:

Sourdough Bread in the Crock Pot??? I have to try this!

This is part of a cool series on different colored foods.

Chocolate shell for ice cream [maybe this will get dh off Hershey's syrup??].  Dc would love this... do I have to use it for ice cream or would a spoon suffice?

No Bake Coconut balls (1 C coconut; 1/4 C maple syrup or honey)

Orange Kvass!  We really like fermented lemonade so this should be a winner.

Homemade fruit roll-ups (note to self:  200F for about 1 hour):

Sourdough Apple Cinnamon Oat Cereal:

Molasses Baked Beans:

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Cinnamon Swirl Oat Bread:

Here is an article about tooth health: