Thursday, May 29, 2014

High School Diploma

What's Schoolin'?

As my first child's high school career is quickly reaching a point of closure, I went in search of a (free!) online printable template for her high school diploma.  Here is the one I am using.  It was simple, tasteful, quick, and easy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Best Potato Salad I've Ever Made!!

What's Cookin'?

Yesterday I made the best potato salad I have ever made!  Yes... you guessed it... I had never made potato salad before... But if I HAD, this would have surpassed it!

I started with this great simple recipe and then adjusted it according to what I had on hand.  Check it out here:

I already had a dozen hard-boiled eggs in the fridge.  I scored some free range organic eggs for only $1.99/dozen because they were going to expire soon - so I've been cooking up the 4 dozen I have left and right!

I also had a 1/2 bag of organic red potatoes waiting and waiting for when I would finally get around to making beef stew (I still haven't made it!).  I cleaned and cubed all the 1/2 bag; so 1.5 pounds-ish.

Other items I used:

1 rib of organic celery
2 slices of pickles finely chopped (since I don't usually get relish)(NO sodium benzoate in my pickles!)
1 heaping tablespoon of raw sauerkraut finely chopped
1/3 C mayo (NO soy or canola in my mayo)
1 Tablespoon mustard
A ton of Real Salt (that seems like a lot of salt but it wasn't too salty for our palates!)
3 dashes pepper

I would not have attempted it if I hadn't had this recipe to begin... BTW, it's allll gone!  :)


There are a few affiliate links in this post that may generate a small referral with no extra cost.

This post is linked to Fat Tuesday and Real Food Wednesday.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Deal Alert: Cowgirl Dirt Lipstick 25% Off

What's Green?

Finding safe lipstick is not easy.  Cowgirl Dirt contains NO nano-sized particles.  It's not perfect, but it's one that I have used in the past and would buy again.  Right now they have all lip products on sale 25% off through tomorrow, May 27, 2014.

So... head on over yonder to Cowgirl Dirt and rassle up some lipstick! :)  No, I am not affiliated with them and get no commission.  I am just sharing a good deal for a product that I use :).

Cowgirl Dirt:

Friday, May 23, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter

What's Cookin'?

While I was looking for something totally, completely different I stumbled upon these old photos that I had taken to post about making peanut butter.  I'm sure they were taken *years* ago!

Step 1:  Soak the nuts.  We soak our nuts in salted water a la Nourishing Traditions.  After soaking: drain, rinse, drain.

Step 2:  Dehydrate the nuts.  Okay, you don't necessarily need to do this step if you are making the peanut butter right away.  However, I actually prefer the taste if we use dehydrated nuts instead of going straight to the food processor.

 [Note:  I had gotten some less expensive nuts with the hull on.  Organic nuts are important to me but are more expensive; thus the hull issue.  I find that it comes off much easier once the nuts are dehydrated.  I swish them around with my hand in a bowl/colander and stand outside in the wind :).  The wind was always fierce at our previous house!  So, the hulls just floated away...]

Step 3:  Bag and freeze the nuts until ready to use.  [Or skip and go straight to Step 4]

Step 4:  Add the following ingredients into the food processor.  Process until desired consistency. 

One huge tip that helped me to finally make smooth PB without burning the motor on my food processor:  I process until it feels a little warm, which is just a couple of minutes with my model.  Let it rest for a while.  Whir again for a few minutes.  Let the machine rest.  And so on until it is as smooth as we like it.


This will take some tweaking according to your family's tastes.  Each of my children make it slightly different.  One adds more honey and another adds more salt.

2 Cups peanuts
1 Teaspoon UNrefined salt
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

That's it! :)

This post contains affiliate links that may, with no extra cost to you, generate a small referral fee.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Robinson Crusoe

What's Schoolin'?

You would think that this well-known story would be a book for maybe middle schoolers, or even late elementary school readers.  It's actually part of our high school reading (British Lit strand). 

Before reading Defoe's book we read about the 'real' Robinson Crusoe upon which the book was based.  It is called Marooned and our library had it.  Marooned is a very short read but adds the background for appreciating Robinson Crusoe.

After reading the book we plan on watching a movie.  The problem is that I'm not sure which movie to watch!  Our library does not have any movies but I found several on Amazon for Instant Video.  I usually lean toward older movie versions in hopes that they'll have less objectionable content.  If you've seen a good Crusoe movie version, please let me know.

Here are some resources for teaching Robinson Crusoe.

This is a chapter by chapter reading lesson:
Core Knowledge Lesson Link

This looks really awesome:

We are actually using this for our spine of British Lit.  Mainly we are just reading the books and will discuss RCrusoe with possibly an essay.

This is the Marooned book that we read:

This is the version of the Robinson Crusoe book by Defoe that we read (although I have really like Dover Thrift editions of other classics and I see that there is one for R.Crusoe).

These are the movies to choose from for after the book:

This may be a must-see: A remake with Dick Van Dyke:

Note: This post has affiliate links that may generate a slight commission with no extra cost to you.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Desert Biome ~ Resources

What's Schoolin'?

As we finish up our desert study and head into Southwest Indian tribes I wanted to separate out the desert resources from this comprehensive biome post for easier access.  Below is a cut/paste from that post with a few edits.

Here is a conglomeration of resources for Biomes Studies.  My plan is to just go through the different biomes using websites/resources listed here and library books.  There are so many wonderful books.  I will just post a few here [Note: this post contains affiliate links to books below].  I have a world biome pin map already in the geography cabinet and some cards. We also made a Biome Globe by painting over our homemade Land/Water Globe.

I think a lapbook for each that includes plants, wildlife (flora/fauna), geographical location, and climate description would be good.  I already have one for grasslands printed from In the Hands of a Child and desert animals from homeschoolshare.

General Resources (or may have several biomes)(Desert specific links below)

About half-way are the areas of study for within each biome as recommended in this Montessori Geography scope and sequence:

Intro educational video:

Interactive World Biome map.  Use for each biome.

Nice graph showing how temp/rain affects the biomes located in those regions:

This is a great interactive resource for each biome:

This has pages for each biome:

I *think* this is the one I used for my biome pin map.  I like the clear delineations and bright colors.  It would be a good guide for painting salt maps.

Interactive World Biome map (can use for each biome):

This has World maps showing specific biome locations (great to use to color in a world map for each biome study):

Enchanted Learning desert page.  You can link to each biome from here.  Some are free and some are not.

This takes you to short information, maps, and a few links for each biome:

Waseca has gorgeous materials. They sure are inspirational!

At the end of this Waseca document are cards - sort of Who Am I? cards that could be made into a self-correcting game/review of biomes:

Ranger Rick online:

Putting 'biome' in the search bar at homeschoolshare brings up several hits:

Photos for each biome:

The 'next' page has a really good comparison graph showing the different biomes.  It also has good summaries for each biome:


Very comprehensive, informative, interactive site:

Lots of videos:

Here you can create a presentation using photos.  You could also use these to make cards (the photos are creative commons)(I just double-checked this and it is now a subscription site.  I'm leaving the link in case it goes free again or anyone would like to access it).

Interactive information website:

Free desert animals lapbook:

Summary of deserts:

[This post has book affiliate links]

Monday, May 12, 2014

Desert Biome ~ Salt Dough Landscape

What's Schoolin'?

Youngest is studying the desert right now [and then we'll do desert/Southwest Indians].  She is making a salt dough landscape as I type.  We used the basic 2 C flour; 2 C salt; 1 C water salt dough recipe.  We are using the lid from a shoe box and we'll use the bottom part of the box to make a diorama of desert life. [Update, we chose to skip the diorama because life got busy - she only got a cactus done...]

She used the cards from her Notebooking pocket to see which to do and how they look.  I just found some images of real photos to match each desert land form and made cards.  The land form definition cards are from Deserts (Hands-on science series).  They are: arroyo, playa, canyon, alluvial fan, butte, oasis, mesa, and dune.  These are all included in her salt dough landscape.

Here are some pictures [yes, I actually took and even uploaded pictures!]:

You can see pictures of my olders' imaginary island salt dough maps at this old post.

There are some affiliate links in this post taking you to Amazon.  Your cost is the same but I may possibly receive a small commission.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Pizza Hut's Book It! for Homeschoolers

What's Schoolin'?

So... this is so not within the scope of what a real foodie should feed her kids, right?  Well... anyway ;), here is the link for Pizza Hut's Book It! for homeschoolers: