Friday, October 31, 2008

New Everyday Dinnerware for a Bargain


We still have the same dishes that we bought when we were first married, less a few from breakage. Another bowl chipped in the dish washer this week, so I figured now was the time to buy a new set. I wanted something cheerful - yellow or harvest gold. I had the hardest time finding just the right set in these colors, and at a bargain price. I found this set, Golden Autumn 16Pc Dinnerware for $19.64 at Opentip.com. I got 5% off with this coupon code: opentip120012(exp. 12/13/08). Shipping was under $9.00. The leaf pattern is raised which make these a little extra dressy.

If these are a disaster and break easily, my second choice are these: Essential Home Round 16Pc Dinnerware Set- Yellow from K-mart. They are not as bright as I would like, but still in the right color tone and style for my liking. You can get two $5.oo coupons when you sign up for Kmart emails. Customers reviews for these dishes.

I never realized how difficult it is to buy dishes! I found a good number of beautiful stoneware dishes, but I didn't want to take the chance of them chipping or getting too hot in the microwave. My son fills the dishwasher and microwaves leftovers, so I had to take this into consideration. The little one still gets her food served on vintage non-breakable Melmac dishes.

The stoneware/earthenware I liked in the Mediterranean styles was much more expensive as well. I saw quite a few hand painted plates which I liked at our local Pier One store.

Also expensive and cheerful Pfaltzgraff Pistoulet,
and Sur la table's Portuguese earthenware. Ahhh, pretty.

December 2008 Update: I recently saw a similar color and style at Kmart, which I hadn't seen online. The price was similar to what I paid. Also, The Dollar Tree direct has some pretty sets - cut glass, and in-store sets which look very much like the yellow Kmart dinnerware set pictured above.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free Ebook for Preschoolers: Fun and Thought for Little Folks



Free and in public domain. Click here.

A White Rose










A White Rose

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud,
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

John Boyle O'Reilly

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Free Ebook: How to be Happy Written for Children(Christian Character Study)By Lydia Howard Sigourney


How to be Happy was written by Lydia Sigourney and published in 1833. Click here to read this free public domain Christian character book for young children. This book is readable online and downloadable.

Per Wikipedia, "Lydia Huntley Sigourney née Lydia Howard Huntley (September 1, 1791 - June 10, 1865) was an extremely popular American poet during the early and mid 19th century. She was commonly known as the "Sweet Singer of Hartford." Most of her works were published with just her married name Mrs. Sigourney."

According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, "She was one of the most popular writers of her day, both in America and in England, and was called 'the American Hemans.' Her writings were characterized by fluency, grace and quiet reflection on nature, domestic and religious life, and philanthropic questions; but they were too often sentimental, didactic and commonplace to have much literary value. Some of her blank verse and pictures of nature suggest Bryant. Among her most successful poems are 'Niagara' and 'Indian Names.' Throughout her life she took an active interest in philanthropic and educational work."

See more at Victorian Web.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On My Bathroom Shelf: All Natural Products

Over the past two years I've rehauled my bath and personal care regime. I was searching for all natural products which were free of preservatives at reasonable prices. Here are my changes:

Toothpaste: I stopped using toothpaste two months ago and substituted Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps: 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. I also use baking soda a few times a week for teeth whitening.

Facial Cleanser: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps: 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. I add baking soda for a pore cleanser at night.

Facial Moisturizer: Virgin Coconut Oil, found in a jar in the vitamin aisle of Wal-Mart.

Shampoo: Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps: 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap. Love it!

Conditioner: Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse Citrus .

Skin Moisturizers: Pure virgin coconut oil in a jar from the Walmart vitamin aisle, or olive oil mixed with a little glycerin and a bit of Burt's Bees baby lotion(sample size), or Dr. Bronner's Magic Organic Lotion Lavender Coconut(very light - good for summer or oily skin).

Lips and Hands: Dr. Bronner's Sun Dog's Organic Balm Peppermint. Super! It comes in a metal sliding tin; great for your purse.

Body Fragrance: Rose water, or orange water - water with drops of pure orange essential oil in a spritzer. I tried Heritage brand orange spray, but it was too lightly scented, so now I make my own.

Deodorant: Lafe's Deodorant Spray Lavender, works well if applied twice during the day - morning and evenings. You still sweat, but it does a pretty good job of controlling odor. I wanted to get away from regular antiperspirants where the aluminum is chemically altered into smaller molecules in order to penetrate the skin.

Body Powder: Corn starch(soft powder) and baking soda(deodorizer).

Blemishes and Bug Bites: Witch hazel, vinegar, or grapefruit seed extract(GSE). I've added these ingredients to my body sprays and lotions because they are also good cooling astringents.

Hand/Diaper Wipes: Dr. Bronner's and cloth wipes. I keep a small bottle of water and a mini Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure- Castile Soap Tea Tree in my bag for myself and the children.

Sun Screen: Badger SPF 30 face and body

Bug Repellent: Burt's Bees Insect Repellent - Haven't tried this yet, but I plan purchase.

These changes have worked really well with my skin and hair chemistry. I no longer have to use heavy conditioner on my hair, and my skin is not dry after bathing. I feel much fresher and lighter with these products. Another interesting change was the disappearance of my eye allergies and extremely dry lips which I had for years. Because I use the same product for my hair and body, I no longer have to pin my hair up

Because I use Dr. Bronner's for my hair, teeth and face, it frees up space in my bathroom, another nice benefit. If you buy the very largest bottle, Bronner's will last you a very, very long time. It's meant to be diluted, and I dilute it 50/50 with water, and use an old Soft Soap pump hand dispenser. I use old spice bottles with the sprinkle tops for the corn starch and baking soda.

Another thing I like about Dr. Bronner's is that it is USDA certified organic, something Bronner does voluntarily.

Lower Fat Baking: Substituting Yogurt for Oil and Butter

Now that I make my own yogurt with my hand dandy Salton yogurt maker, I have begun to substitute yogurt for oil and butter in baking recipes.

See Yogurt for Lower-Fat Baking at Taste of Home. These do not wholly substitute yogurt for oil or butter.

Here are recipes for Cranberry Yogurt Muffins , Lemon Honey Muffins, and Whole Grain Banana Muffins with no oil or butter. Yogurt(and apple sauce in some of these) completely replaces the oils. More: Whole Wheat Maple Quick Bread, Ginger Biscuits , and Walnut Wheat Bread

You can find butter extract flavoring in the spice aisle at the grocery to give baking without butter more flavor. I have not tried this but may if I can find it.

Free Fire Fighter Clip Art




These pictures are in public domain.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Christ the Redeemer


O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in Thee! ~ Divine Mercy Chaplet

Blood of Christ, fill all my veins; Water from Christ's side, wash out my stains. ~ Saint Ignatius

Friday, October 24, 2008

Family Funnies


Need a giggle? Stephanie has the cutest Family Circus moment at her blog, Adventures in the 100 Acre Woods.

HT to Diana for the pictures.

Children's Free Cut-outs for Cards and Crafts



While this leaf birthday card/letter isn't the most sophisticated birthday card, it was perfect for all of us to work on, especially the three year old.

We used the leaf template from Kathy's Art for Children blog. The paper was purchased at OfficeMax, left over from another project. We don't have Microsoft Word, so I use one of two free programs for word processing: Jarte or Google Documents. Jarte has a better selection of Fonts from which to choose.

This was so easy, and the grandparents will enjoy this as frig art when they receive it.

If you want outlines and you don't want to draw your own, vintage public domain drawings can be manipulated so that they are very light. Just light enough to be able to color them. I have a big collection which I've been using as coloring pages with the help of Google's Picasa(free) photo editor. One nice feature is the ability to manipulate the size in one click when using Picasa's print feature. They have a few standard sizes from which to choose. Here's one we did - a fall apple. We made it light enough to color over, printed it out nice and large, cut it out, and taped it to the window. The pumpkin template is at Kathy's as well.

We are making another card for a grandparent tomorrow. I'll try to share a few of my fall themed public domain drawings in another post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Golden Books by Eloise Wilkins

Some of my favorite vintage Little Golden Books were illustrated by Eloise Wilkins. I found this book, Baby Dear(1962) at a thrift today for .50 cents. It's a beautifully illustrated story of a little girl, her doll and a new baby. I was wondering if this book is currently in reprint and found a pack of Wilkins' most beloved books at Amazon which included Baby Dear.

Born and educated in Rochester, New York in 1904, Wilkins' drawings of people always remind me of German Hummels with their cherubic faces and soft muted colors. These old fashioned classics are a treasure!

More about Eloise Wilkins, the artist
and her published works here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

DIY Children's Kitchen Entertainment Center


I had linked to a craft site last year for this idea, and after seeing this, MJ of Making do with the not so new was then inspired to create her own children's kitchen from an old entertainment center. As you can see, it turned our beautifully and would make an awesome DIY, or rather BIY(build it yourself) Christmas gift for a little girl.

Go see how she did it here. Guess how much it cost her, $6.22! She's got a really neat blog - great frugal living tips.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Free Cyber Hymnal


"This site has over 7,100 Christ­ian hymns & Gos­pel songs from ma­ny de­nom­in­a­tions. You’ll find lyr­ics, scores, MI­DI files, pic­tures, his­to­ry, & more. To use the site ef­fect­ive­ly, you’ll need speak­ers, a sound card & a brows­er that sup­ports Ja­va­Script & XHTML, & can play MI­DI files." Click here.

Here's a beautiful one, words by Ber­nard of Clair­vaux, 12th Cen­tu­ry (Je­su, decus angelicum); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Ed­ward Cas­wall, 1849. It plays as soon as the page loads. Click here .

O Jesu, Thou the beauty art
Of angel worlds above;
Thy Name is music to the heart,
Enchanting it with love.

Celestial sweetness unalloyed!
Who eat Thee hunger still:
Who drink of Thee still feel a void,
Which naught but Thou can fill.

O my sweet Jesus! hear the sighs
Which unto Thee I send;
To Thee mine inmost spirit cries,
My being’s hope and end!

Stay with us, Lord, and with Thy light
Illume the soul’s abyss;
Scatter the darkness of our night,
And fill the world with bliss.

O Jesu! spotless virgin-flower!
Our life and joy! To Thee
Be praise, beatitude, and power
Through all eternity.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cult of Self Esteem


“Beware of false prophets," Jesus warned.

"The cult of self-esteem is for unbelievers .... We were created in God’s image, and after we disfigured that, God sent his Son to restore it. Therein lies our ultimate worth. Feel good about what Jesus has done for you and in you, and live accordingly. Then you’ll feel good about yourself, that is, about the new creation He has wrought in you. It is right to hold the unregenerate self in low esteem. But to the extent you renounce your sinful self and enter into union with your Savior, you really are beautiful; you really are good. Affirm it." ~ Abbot Joseph, Word Incarnate.

"The Essence of Family Life is the Care of Souls. "


How to Untangle Family Life by Ann Voskamp, October 2008 CWO Magazine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Natural and Organic Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers

I'm really loving Vitacost.com. Their prices are so inexpensive, and shipping is a flat fee of $4.99. I've ordered from them before and was very pleased with the products and fast shipping. I don't know how they do it, but I'm grateful. I ordered my sister and her family Dr. Bronner's Certified Organic Castile Soap in the 2 ounce bottles for $1.49 each. She and her family are coming from overseas for Christmas, so she will need gifts that are on the small side to take back with her.

Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure- Castile Soap Tea Tree -- 2 fl oz

Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure- Castile Soap Lavender -- 2 fl oz

Dr. Bronner's Organic Pure-Castile Soap Peppermint -- 2 fl oz

I got a few for myself because I make my own hand and diaper wipes. These little bottles will be perfect to stick in my bag along with my cloth wipes. I don't use the soap full strength - just a few squirts in some water.

I also got some natural body(or home) spray - orange. It's purified water and pure essential oils - very nice to spray on your sheets, body, hair or in the air. Heritage Products Orange Water w/Atomizer -- 4 fl oz Update: This is very weakly scented. I will not purchase this again. Try the Home Health brand at Vitacost. The rose scented water(spray) was very nice - not too strong, and not too weak. I had to add my own orange essential oil to the Heritage product to even smell it a little.

BTW, in case anyone is wondering about the weird religious ravings on Dr. Bronner's soap bottles. You are not funding a bizarre religious cult. ; ) Dr. Bronner was a harmless eccentric and former mental patient from a brilliant German Jewish family. His parents were murdered by the Nazis, but he and his siblings escaped the same fate by immigrating to the United States before the war. His real family name was Heilbronner, successful German commercial soap makers before the war. Bronner has since passed away and his children carry on the business. More here.

DIY Inexpensive Pedicure Tool: PedEgg


I've been using a PedEgg for quite a while now, and it works much better than a pumice stone or a foot file. The results are as good as a professional pedicure, but a lot less expensive! I got mine at Target for $9.99; it can also be found at drug stores and Walmart. The only complaint that I see popping up again and again is that the filings fall out of the tool, but if you use it on moist feet, this is less likely to happen. I no longer have that dry outside edge on my heals. I have to use it monthly to keep it away, which is fine. The PedEgg keeps my feet looking neat and healthly without the cost of a pedicure. Whoever invented this tool is very clever, and I'm glad they are offering it for a reasonable price.

Here is more information and a PedEgg review with comments at the MSNBC Health section, Does It Work?

PedEggat Amazon is $7.68. Shipping is free if you buy other items from Amazon(not associates) in order to reach the free shipping threshold of $25.00.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Feast Day Saint Teresa of Jesus(Avila), The Great Reformer


"Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things pass away:
God never changes. Patience obtains everything. God alone is enough." ~ St. Teresa of Avila

Author of the well respected 16th century Christian classics: Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prayers for Job Seekers


At least two of my bloggy friends have husband's who are actively searching for employment during these very difficult times. God will provide; please offer up prayers for their peace of mind. "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." [Mt. 7:7-8]


Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
You wanted all who are weary
To come to You for support.
Lord, I am worn out
By my inability to find work.

Guide my steps to a righteous path;
Give me the patience
To find opportunities with a future.
Calm my worries and fears
As my financial responsibilities mount.
Strengthen my resolve;
Embolden my heart to open doors;
Open my eyes to see life beyond rejections.
Help me believe in me.

Let me realize other ways
To bring about Your kingdom on earth.
Let me grow as a person
That I may be worthy
For Your greater glory.
In the name of the Father.

Amen.

- Catholic Doors Ministry.

When comparing faith, hope and love to each other, of these
three, the greatest is love. [1 Cor. 13:13]

Before Modern Rhinoplasty...










1920 advertisement for a nose shaper in a teacher's periodical. Just some of the funny(weird) advertisements I find in vintage books over at Google Books.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Random Frugal Homemade Recipes


Here are few quick and easy homemade dishes and desserts we had this week:

Pollo Loco(crazy chicken) An excellent tart and spicy chicken. Recipe for the Mexican Seasoning.

48 ounce bags of boneless skinless chicken can be found inexpensively at Walmart. Ours is $6.98 a bag. Hint: add a little sugar, and use up your orange sauce in this recipe from leftover Chinese takeout. I left out the cilantro, and added about a cup of vinegar to the marinade. Instead of grilling, I cooked them in the marinade on the stove, and used a little of the same in a pot of rice. Serve with salsa(or chopped tomato) and/or homemade guacamole, if you have some avocados.

Barbecue Baked Beans I deleted the green peppers.

Peach Crumble with two bags of frozen peaches
Easy! Fresh peaches are better of course.

Classic Blueberry Crisp I used frozen blueberries.

Oatmeal Buttermilk Raisin Muffins includes an easy recipe for the buttermilk. I ran out of butter, so used oil. The children ate these up fast!

Frugal U.K. Home: A Low Impact Welch Woodland House


Built with natural and recycled products for just 3,000 pounds(about $6,000) and a lot of sweat equity, this little home reminds me of a Hobbit home. Read more here.

Economical Homes: Straw Bale Houses


More common in California, New Mexico and Arizona, straw bale homes are inexpensive to build, green, sustainable, super insulated, sturdy, and highly fireproof. Apparently they are quake-proof as well(CNN Tech article).

Strawbale.com, blog, pictures, workshops, and information.

Straw Bale House Free Plans

Plans and Budget for Building a Small "Starter" Straw Bale Home (low cost to build - ultra energy efficient - no utility costs) ESTIMATED COST: under $10,000 including utilities. Also consider that these small home plans might make a nice in-law house or rental unit. A smaller simple version could make a cute playhouse, animal shelter(farm), or tool shed as well. The ideas are limitless and extremely affordable when using straw bale walls.

Straw Bale Home Construction

How Straw Bale Houses Work

Friday, October 10, 2008

We Are All Sinners; Look to Christ

The only thing that separates a saint from a sinner is that a saint looks less at himself and more at Christ and his love, says the Pope speaking from Lourdes last month.

Look to Christ

"This evening, we do not see them," the Pontiff continued, "but we hear them saying to us, to every man and to every woman among us: 'Come, let the Master call you! He is here! He is calling you! He wants to take your life and join it to his. Let yourself be embraced by him! Gaze no longer upon your own wounds, gaze upon his.

"'Do not look upon what still separates you from him and from others; look upon the infinite distance that he has abolished by taking your flesh, by mounting the Cross which men had prepared for him, and by letting himself be put to death so as to show you his love.

"'In his wounds, he takes hold of you; in his wounds, he hides you. Do not refuse his love!'”

The saints, said the Holy Father, "have allowed themselves to be embraced by his Love," and they "never cease to intercede for us."

Benedict XVI continued, "They were sinners and they knew it, but they willingly ceased to gaze upon their own wounds and to gaze only upon the wounds of their Lord, so as to discover there the glory of the cross, to discover there the victory of life over death."

"Remain in silent adoration of your Lord," the Pope urged the crowd. "Remain silent, then speak and tell the world: We cannot be silent about what we know.

"Go and tell the whole world the marvels of God, present at every moment of our lives, in every place on earth."

Excerpted from Pope Benedict's address at Lourdes last month.

Pope Urges Simpler, More Frugal, and Greener Life Styles


Pope urges, sober and responsible living along with respect for the environment.

"To learn to respect the environment also teaches respect for others and for oneself."

The Pope called for forming an "ethics of responsibility" that considers the well-being of future generation. Part of such an ethics is a culture geared toward appropriate behaviors, he said, particularly "more sober lifestyles." ~Zenit.

Free Homeschool Printables and/or Downloads: Elementary and Middle School Readings for Columbus Day

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Free Homeschool Fourth Grade Columbus Day Lesson Plan and Readings


Columbus Day is Monday, 10/13/08. From a 1920's periodical, Primary Education: Click on images to enlarge and print the two page lesson plan. All are free an in public domain.

Recommended readings per lesson:

The Beginner's American History by David Henry Montgomery - Pages 1-14

From the Old World to the New by Marguerite Stockman Dickson - Chapters 4, 5, 6

A History of the United States by Waddy Thompson - pages 4-8, 11-12

The Story of Columbus and Magellan by Thomas Bonaventure Lawler - Pages 1-67.


If you don't want to print all these pages, these books are downloadable so that you can read them on your desktop or laptop.