Sunday, September 30, 2007

Free Printable Vintage Readers

Grades One through Six at my homeschool library blog. These have come in handy for extra study work. I don't print out the entire book, just excerpts which I edit, save, publish(optional) and print with Google Documents.

I found a few short stories with comprehension questions that fit nicely with a fourth grade reader story about Benjamin Franklin. I'll share these soon. I found the short stories in books by searching my homeschool library's Elementary School Social Studies label. I've been adding, and adding to it, and am just now finding the library useful.

The vintage readers are worth a look, and convenient if you need something short and well written. Ds wanted to see a picture of Benjamin Franklin on his story page, so I pieced together something for him. We'll eventually borrow a biography at the library, but this was a good introduction which sparked further conversation with ds, who is still a young child.

If you are looking for a high moral tone, these vintage readers fit the bill. They are wonderful for teaching Christian values. Almost every story teaches a moral, especially in the lower grades.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Finding Your Fragrance

"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart..." Prov 27:9

I have always loved fragrance. It's my one indulgence, and my skin chemistry is very particular, and so is my nose. Over the years of sampling fragrances I've found that Chypre(sheep-ra) is what works best for me. Unfortunately Chypre, an ancient and old-fashioned scent is now used mostly in men's cologne.

Once you find a favorite fragrance, find out which scent family it belongs to, and locating other fragrances you like will be much easier. I Googled my favorite scent family of Chryre, and was able to find a few fragrances I could wear.

Here are the traditional categories of scents:

Single Floral: Fragrances that are dominated by a scent from one particular flower; in French called a soliflore. (e.g. Serge Lutens' Sa Majeste La Rose, which is dominated by rose.)

Floral Bouquet: Containing the combination of several flowers in a scent.

Ambery: A large fragrance class featuring the scents of vanilla and animal scents together with flowers and woods. Can be enhanced by camphorous oils and incense resins, which bring to mind Victorian era imagery of the Middle East and Far East.

Woody: Fragrances that are dominated by woody scents, typically of sandalwood and cedar. Patchouli, with its camphoraceous smell, is commonly found in these perfumes.

Leather: A family of fragrances which features the scents of honey, tobacco, wood and wood tars in its middle or base notes and a scent that alludes to leather.

Chypre: Meaning Cyprus in French, this includes fragrances built on a similar accord consisting of bergamot, oakmoss, patchouli, and labdanum. This family of fragrances is named after a perfume by François Coty. A notable example is Mitsouko (meaning mystery in Japanese) by Guerlain.

Fougère: Meaning Fern in French, built on a base of lavender, coumarin and oakmoss. Houbigant's Fougère Royale pioneered the use of this base. Many men's fragrances belong to this family of fragrances, which is characterized by its sharp herbaceous and woody scent.

~ Scent categories extracted from Wikipedia, read more

"How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice." Song of Solomon had the least expensive price(with shipping) for both my favorite scents: Byzance(1987) and Mitsouko(1919). Shipping was fast and inexpensive. Byzance is a woody white floral, one of the very few florals I can wear successfully without it "turning" on my skin.

I found another Chypre fragrance with a Google search, Caron's Tabac Blonde(1919). Notes:

Top: Leather, Linden, Carnation
Heart: Iris, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang
Base: Cedar, Patchouli, Vanilla, Amber, Musk

It sounded divine, so I found a place, The Perfumed Court which sells sample sizes for testing. I ordered a few days ago, and received my 1.5 ml sample of Tabac Blond today. The company is owned by women who have also sold hand decanted fragrances on ebay. This is a thrifty way to sample before you buy a full sized bottle. They were quick, the item was authentic, and they are highly recommended. I'll order again if I am looking for a sample size of a scent which can not be found locally.

If you want to get a little money back, try I saw a few fragrance companies listed there, and they give you cash back for ebay purchases as well. I always shop around first for the lowest price with a Google search, then for additional savings, check to see if they happen to have the company listed.

Sometimes you can find coupon codes for free shipping. Google the store you choose, and check for coupon codes for additional savings.

What's your favorite scent family?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Homeschool Budget Helper: Worksheet Savers

When ds was in kindergarten and first grade, we used homemade worksheet savers. His curriculum was much more worksheet oriented than it is now. I purchased an inexpensive pack of three ring binder transparent plastic sleeves. I took the pages out of the workbooks and slipped them into the plastic sleeve, one at a time. Then we worked the sheets writing on the plastic, wiping them off with a damp sponge when we were done.

At first we used dry-erase pens, but they dried out quickly and were relatively expensive. With a little experimenting, I found a large pack of children's multi-colored felt tip pens which wrote well on the plastic sleeves. The large pack of felt tip pens was a no-name brand purchased at Family Dollar for about $2.00, and they lasted a very long time.

Using the sleeve has made it possible for me to reuse these sheets with my next child.

Another way to use the plastic sleeves is to cut two sides and slide it onto a workbook page. This way you don't have to rip the sheets out, or cut the spine away. We secured the sleeve on top with a paper clip, and when ds was done, we had a clean unworked workbook. A few of these unworked books we were able to sell, and some I kept for my daughter.

It's a good way to sample curriculum, and still be able to sell it if it doesn't work out. It's also a good way to stretch your budget if you want to use the curriculum for more than one child.

It was fun looking back over all the sheets we did four years ago, and I even saved our free online printables, and there were quite a few. It's nice to know I don't have to reprint all these, or do the research over again once my daughter begins school.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Free Music Sheets and Songs for Early Childhood

Click here.

To see sample, click on image to enlarge.

Freezer Biscuits

My freezer biscuits - recipe from fellow frugal blogger, Retrofoods. These are going to be frozen on this rack before I put them in a food saver. It keeps them from sticking together.

Tips for the perfect biscuit. Mine were just a wee bit heavy, and I found out why at this link. Don't mix or knead the biscuit dough too much. The more you knead, the heavier the biscuit.

BTW, Retrofood's Chicken with Sherry recipe was good as well.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Free Printables: Worksheets for Math Word Problems

"Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust." ~ Oliver W. Holmes

We used these sheets for fourth grade word problems. They also have worksheets for other grades and subjects. This site in particular had more than others, and some of them were fun.

This site has seasonal word problems which were not as challenging, but still a good review.

ABC Teach had a few as well.

I'll add more as we work through these. If I have time, I'll make some of my own sheets, referencing his fourth grade math book. He's finished with it; we begin fifth grade math in October. We are brushing up on word problems before he launches into fifth grade math.

And if you have an older child or math whiz, here is a very tricky math problems book from the turn of the century. It also involves converting British currency. The transcriber has kindly added a conversion chart to the beginning of this public domain text. The quote and picture above is from this text.

Hint: An easy way to use the text is to copy, paste and print select problems, along with the conversion chart, into a word processor. That way you don't have to print out the entire book.

Free Math worksheets with some word problems.

More here.

Fourth Grade Reading and Penmanship Lessons/Free Printables

Week II

Click and print:


The Good Son


Week II Vocabulary List

Selections from Revised Fourth Grade McGuffey's Reader(1920 edit.), free and in public domain.

I'll post other weeks as we complete these lessons.

We are also using these penmanship lessons this week:

Free printables for Proverbs and George Washington's Rules of Civility.

See Week I here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

19th Century Cut-Out Dolls: Busy Sheets

Boy's playground, higher resolution for printing here.

Girl's playground, higher resolution for printing here.

Printing hint: Click on the pictures at the link in order to enlarge.

Images are from the Library of Congress and are in public domain.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Easy No-Fail Roast Beef Recipe

Using this recipe at Restaurant-Style Prime Rib Roast , I made a really delicious Sunday roast. I made it from a roast I had in the freezer, that was probably not a prime rib roast as I usually buy whatever is reduced in price. It still came out well.

I think the trick is making sure you cook it at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time, 20 minutes per pound at 425 degrees for medium rare. The recipe has other directions for medium and well done. Also leaving it covered for a while after you take it out of the oven makes it more juicy. I used a oval casserole dish for my three pound roast, and instead of foil, I covered the casserole with the lid after I took it out of the oven. I let it sit on top of the stove for about 45 minutes, and it was still warm when we cut into it.

Such a simple recipe, and yet it made all the difference between a dry roast and a really juicy one. I did tweak the recipe a little by adding steak seasoning instead of pepper.

I served this roast with some rice, peas and carrots. One cup of rice, two cups water, bring to a boil with a little oil and salt, add half a bag of frozen mixed peas and cubed carrots. Cover and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Easy! Instead of salt I use Adobo seasoning that is basically garlic salt with tumeric.

See more tips at Shannon's.

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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: