Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Hearts Homeschooling Library

I just added a link on my sidebar to my public domain(free) homeschooling books blog. I'm just getting started, but I'll be adding free books by grade and subject.

I'll also be adding any information I gather about the logistics of using online books for homeschooling.

Free Online Homeschooling Books

Tea Party with Friends
Originally uploaded by KAlexaLott.

Kim of In Beauty And In Grace has done the legwork researching the internet for some really wonderful free online books for literature and homeschooling. She has many of the links listed on the left sidebar under A Living Education, as well in blog posts. I spent a long time there the other night looking through her beautiful and informative blog - a wonderful thrifty resource for Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers or other wise.

HT to Like Merchant's Ships

I'm going to contact her to find out how she teaches with the free online books; whether she uses an ebook reader, a laptop, or whether she prints the book out.

I'd like to start another blog with free online homeschooling literature which I can link here on my sidebar. The search engines are easy to find for free online books, but knowing which titles are useful for homeschooling is another matter. I haven't found any free online book resources which are searchable by subject, or at least if they were searchable, the categories were poorly organized.

Kim was kind enough to share these links for some free online Catholic readers:

Standard Catholic Readers – Third Year

The Ideal Catholic Readers – Fifth Year

Standard Catholic Readers – Fifth Year

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Homemade Insecticidal Soap

I've had some problems with keeping down the cabbage worm population on my collard greens this year. I pick them off when I see them, but I still see carnage the next day, so I've been using a homemade insecticidal soap.

Homemade Insecticidal Soap:

1 TB. of Murphy's Oil Soap
1 gallon of water

Mix well and spray on plants when you are sure it will not rain.

It seems to have been working. I've not seen but one worm for over a week. I only sprayed once, and had to spray again today.

Janet over at Janet's Garden also uses this recipe with the addition of baking soda and mouth wash for mildew and fungus. See her before and after pictures of a sickly anemone which becomes healthy again with this spray. She also mentioned that it repelled male cats from spraying against her home. Apparently Murphy's Oil soap is a good critter repellent as well.

Gabrielle's Garden has a very helpful list of homemade garden recipes from natural gardening expert, Jerry Baker.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kashi Pilaf Dinner Recipe

I picked up a box of Kashi Seven Whole Grain all natural pilaf at Big Lots for $1.99. Each box has three packages of pilaf. Tonight I was feeling a bit tired, so I made up a quick new dinner dish.

Pilaf Dinner

Cook a cup(or in this case one package) of pilaf in 2 cups of vegetable water(or just water)for about 35 minutes, or until tender. Add a chicken bouillon cube, a little olive oil, hot pepper flakes, garlic, seasoning salt(I use Adobo), and herbs(I used Italian).

Cook ground meat, season well, add chopped onions and frozen green beans. I seasoned with Adobo and Italian.

Mix all together and serve. Yum!

Mushrooms and other veggies would have been good as well.

I also made some yams for a little more nutritional balance with the veggies.

(picture shows unbaked casserole)

Sweet Potato Bake

A can of sweet potato, or three baked sweet potatoes with skins off. Spread sweet potato in greased casserole dish, add pumpkin pie seasoning, sprinkle with brown sugar, and pour about 1/3 cup orange juice on top. Mix a little. Add a can of pumpkin and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, mix a little and top with bananas and wheat germ. Cook for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Reusing Old Dresser Drawers

A while back I mentioned that my neighbor had put out a chest of dresser drawers for trash day. The chest was in very bad shape, but the drawers where salvageable and sturdy with dovetailed joints.

She told me to go ahead and take them, so they've been in the garage waiting for transformation.

Yesterday I finally got a little time to work on them:

I turned these drawers into planter boxes for the top of our rustic book/storage shelves in the playroom. HT to Nikki (who, BTW just a had a little boy). They are not done yet. I still need to line them with some plastic, and add soil and more plants. I just placed these in temporarily to get an idea of which plants I want in the box. I'll be taking them out of their current containers(maybe). I'm still deciding whether to keep the plants in pots, or replant them directly into the drawer.

My neighbor, who is moving next month gave me all his indoor plants. The smaller ones which trail will be replanted into the boxes.

Another idea to recycle old drawers is to add wheels, and use them as under the bed storage.

These drawers could be made even nicer with stenciling, or hot gluing items to the front. I just needed something plain, so I made them shabby looking with a light coat of creme paint.

More on recycling old dresser drawers:

HGTV: Dressing Up Drawers

HGTV: Recycled Drawers

Funky Chest Of Drawers

I'm still searching for more uses as I've got quite a few drawers left over.

Update: I added my gift plants which are a little bedraggled, but should perk up with some TLC. I lined the boxes with a heavy duty garbage bag, and tucked in the sides. A super large bag of soil filled up both boxes.

See more Make-It-From-Scratch carnival entries at Stephanie's.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: