Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beauty Berry, a Natural Insect and Tick Repellent

Denese had an interesting blog post with free resources for folk remedies, and one of them caught my eye, Old-Time Mosquito Remedy May Work Against Ticks, Too. Using crushed beauty berry leaves has long been used by Mississippi natives to repel both mosquitoes and ticks.

I buy plants from my local native plants society twice a year, and three years ago I planted a Beauty Berry bush. I will definitely be trying this; we have a lot of ticks and mosquito here in coastal Virginia.

I recently bought some organic citronella oil from Mountain Rose Herbs, so I'll be using this as well. They have dog and cat pet collars using natural herbs as a flea repellent which I'd like to try. Even though we use a monthly treatment on the pets, they still seem to get ticks and fleas. My cat likes to roll in one particular place on our patio, so last year I spread diamateous earth in that area. It's a natural bug killer. It works by dehydrating the exoskeletons of the bugs. It may have helped, but it couldn't have hurt. I'm willing to try something natural this year.

I'll post my results during the summer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Homeschool and Household Time Management and Planning Freebies

Click on title.

Audio Homeschooling: American Historical Drama: Western Frontier Explorers


"From Robert La Salle's navigation of the Mississippi River, to Lewis and Clark's dauntless challenge of reaching the West Coast of North America, Frontier Fighters takes you on a historical voyage that pits you in the middle of the taming of the West. So, if it you're following John C. Fremont on his legendary "Oregon trail" or helping Zebulon Pike verify the true source of the mighty Mississippi river, Frontier Fighters will transport you to a time where American history is unfolding before your very own ears!"

Click here, 1 MP3 CD - 40 shows - total playtime 9 hours 51 minutes, only $4.00(!), and they ship internationally and stateside for only $2.00. Shipping for two - 9 CDs is $4.95, and over 10 is free ship. I've ordered from them before and they ship very quickly. We listen to these vintage educational radio shows during car trips on the laptop. I download them onto a portable flash drive for easy storage.

There is a listening sample at the link. Free downloads everyday here.


Colorado Territory
Robert Lasalle
Lewis and Clark
Zebulon Pike
John C Fremont
Kit Carson
Jedadiah A Smith
Marcus Whitman
John McLaughlin
The Donner Party
The Fall of the Alamo
Stephen W Kearney
Brigham Young
Joseph Meek
Lynn Coulter and George C Pickett
John Sutter and James W Marshall
Buffalo Bill Cody
Idaho Territory
Santa Fe Trail
Wild Bill Hickok
Reverend Thomas Starr King
Cochise and Capt Tom Jeffers
Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad
New Mexico Territory
The Little Big Horn
Steven Austin
Oregon Territory
The Comstock Lode
John Phillips
Oklahoma Land Rush
Oregon and the Pacific Republic
Annie D Talent
I Bert Perine
Wells Fargo
Anton P Stafford
Arthur A Denny
Yellowstone Park
Eliza Ann Brooks
General N K Niles

Episodes are free and in public domain here at Internet Archives; however this $4.00 deal is a great time saver. Downloading all these episodes is very time consuming; it would take many days to get all forty on one tidy MP3 CD like this one. A little tip if you do try multiple downloads, use a download helper like this free one. I've been using this one for years with my pokey dial-up. The downloads start and stop at you convenience without losing any information.

Free Children's ebook: The Little Follower of Jesus (1889) based on Kempis's Imitation of Christ

It comes in a flipbook, text only, and is fully downloadable and in public domain at Internet Archives. Click here.

This is a wonderful way to introduce children to the classic, Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis. Read and respected by both Catholic and Protestant Christians.

It is downloadable as an ebook online at Project Gutenberg(click through the title above and scroll to bottom). Excellent Lenten(or anytime) reading.

The Imitation of Christ(Dover Thrift Editions) , a very inexpensive copy of this 15th century classic($2.50 new and .49 cents used at Amazon).

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Blessed Saint Patrick's Day...

to you.

Spring in the Garden

A few early bloomer's in my garden:


Christmas Rose(Hellebore)

Veggie: broccoli

...and a few shells on a garden table from a recent trip to the beach.

Not pictured, but our witch hazel and Japanese Rose(yellow) are just about to blossom.

Free Shakespeare Audiobooks

"To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to." ~ Hamlet

Shakespeare Monologues, Volume 4 :Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Queen Margaret from Richard III, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V , Antony and Cleopatra, and As You Like It.

Free to listen to online, and fully downloadable.

All seven volumes available here at Internet Archives.

I download these to a Sansdisk compact flash memory card(AKA: Thumbdrive), and then to my mini-laptop. It's great to listen to in the car.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blessed Salt: Grace in Heart, Wisdom in Speech

"Have the salt of friendship among yourselves, and live in peace with one another." Matthew 9:50

"Salt in the ancient world was a precious commodity (even monopolized by the royalty in Egypt and Persia). Roman soldiers were partially paid with packets of salt (“sal” in Latin); this was the origin of our word “salary” and of phrases like “worth his salt,” etc. Being costly, it was an appropriate offering to God as a “covenant of salt” (Lev. 2:13; II Chron. 13:5; Num. 18:19) used in sacrifices by the Isrealites (Ezek. 43:24) and for the accompanying sacrificial meal (Gen. 31:54).

...Shared at the sacrificial meal, salt became a symbol of friendship and hospitality, a custom-symbol still used today in Arab culture. Jesus referred to this salt-symbolized friendship covenant in Mark 9:50: “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another”—that is, “preserve that quality (flavor) that makes you a blessing to one another.” (Note the double symbol of preservation and flavoring.)"

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6

"This double primary symbolization is also found in Paul’s advice in Col. 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” That is, let it be wholesome and savory, preserved from the corrupting conversation of worldlings (3:8 and Eph 4:29). (His use of the word salt may also have referred to another of its symbols: spiritual wisdom, since the Latin word for savor or taste, “sapientia”, is the same as for wisdom.)" ~ Rev. John H. Hampsch C.M.F.

"Salt preserves, but salt in the wound stings. We are wounded, that’s what sin does to us, and when we first hear God’s word, we hear a law that shows us our sins, and it stings. But without that salt sting, we might not have believed that we had sin, without that sting, we might have believed that we could live a good life, without that sting, we might have forgotten about where that sting leads, for as well as we know that the wages of sin is death, until we see the death that is in us, because of sin, we just don’t see the need for a Savior." ~ Rev. Richard Alan Jordan

"My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Green Living: Homemade Cloth Grocery and Clothespin Bags

Debbie of Homemaking Dreams is at it again making those pretty shopping and clothespin bags.

Check out her Etsy Store.

The Diligent Scholar ...

and his faithful pet, Erwin.

Blooming Liquid Soap Tutorial

I saw this craft over at and decided to try it. My daughter now has renewed motivation to use soap when she washes her hands. It's difficult to see, but I also added a purple cornflower. The artificial flowers were snipped off two bouquets purchased at a dollar store. I got the green apple soap there as well.

See Decorative Liquid Soap Pumps for instructions and pictures. They added glass marbles to theirs, and cut the stems shorter.

Paper Doll Puppets

These paper doll puppets are so cute! By coincidence, this crafter happened by my blog last week, just as I was browsing her Etsy shop. She also lives nearby in North Carolina.

These will go fast at just $3.00. It would cost me more just to buy all the pretty paper if I were to do this myself.
Check out her shop at End of the Day Crafting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scripture Reflections for Children

Printable sermons for children in the early elementary school years. These include links to word jumbles and coloring pages.

Also see Key4kids, a daily devotional for older children.

Archive here.

In English and Spanish. The daily devotion is in audio as well.

Finding God in the Housekeeping

“O God, who in Saint Frances of Rome, have given us a model of holiness in married life and of monastic conversion, make us serve you perseveringly, so that in all circumstances we may set our gaze upon you and follow you…Amen”

From Mrs Poogle's blog, a reflection on Saint Frances of Rome:

It is not always easy to combine being a Wife and Mother with deep devotion to God. One is constantly pulled hither and thither, and there are so many duties which can distract one from prayer and meditation. St. Frances counseled:

'It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.'

…which is a great lesson for me. God is to be found in all the minutiae of our everyday lives as well as at the altar. He is in our kitchens and our cooking, changing the baby’s nappy or cleaning the house. Of course it is important to set aside time when we can fully focus on God, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t bless and sanctify our doings also.

St. Frances also lived a life of penance; fasting often and wearing a hairshirt as a sign of her desire to suffer with Christ. She spent much time in ministering to the poor and the sick, as well as her own family. She shows us that it is possible to combine a life of domesticity with a devotion to suffering and service. Penance is somewhat 'out of fashion' today, but we can offer simple penances, especially during Lent for the expiation of sin and as a prayer for others who suffer. "

Monday, March 09, 2009

Make Your Own Paper Flowers

These were very easy and quick! I used the wrapping paper from a box which I received for my homemade vaporizer liquid ingredients.

You'll need:

-Thin paper(ex: packing paper)
- Scissors
- Water color or food dye
- Glass bowl
- Glitter spray(optional)

- Take the paper and simply cut into circles, each circle should be progressively larger than the next. You should be able to see each layer peaking out about an inch. Don't make perfectly round circles, a little uneven and sloppy is good.

- As you cut them out, stack each of them from small to big - about six.

- Then grab the center from the bottom and gently shape(crumple) into a cone, pinching the bottom from the center tighter than the rest. Gently manipulate the petals to make them look like a real flower by pulling down the outer petals. Voila, you've got a flower!

To color them, place a few drops of color into a bowl of water, then using a small spoon, ladle small amounts of the colored water over the flower, hold it upside down to get it to run out, and to dye the underside. Another way to do it is to place a wadded paper towel into the colored water and squeeze it over the flower. You will get a subtler effect doing this. The pink and white one above was done this way.

***Don't soak the flower too much, or it will wilt into a ball of wet paper. If you don't get the color you want, wait until the flower is dry and dye it again, or even layer the colors for more depth.

I dried mine upside down with a clothes clip attached to the pinched area on the underside. This is the area where a stem could be attached, so it's pinched and pointy. When they are almost dry, spray with glitter spray. I use a gold glitter spray purchased from the Walmart craft area.

See more projects and recipes at the Make-it-from-Scratch Carnie.

Free Homeschool Curriculum: St. Patrick: The World's Greatest Missionary

From CurrClick:

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. I have put together a Holiday Helper just right for the busy parent. There is no preparation (except for easy, yummy soda bread), just time together to enjoy. There is a biography of Patrick that is rich and engaging, rare illustrations for study and learning, a recipe for real Irish soda bread and an essay you and your children won't want to miss, entitled, "The Real St. Patrick".
What's inside:

* The Real St. Patrick: An essay by Charles Mack
* St. Patrick, A biography from Our Island Saints
* Picture Study: Three In One
* Picture Study: St. Patrick Expels the Snakes
* Mapwork: Map of Ireland
* Recipe: Irish Soda Bread
* Copywork: St. Patrick's Breastplate

Click here.

Also see: Saint Patrick and Irish Children's Stories, Activities and Music

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tutorial: Recycled Silk Flower Pin

I've seen different versions of these silk flowers on Etsy, and I've always wondered how they made them.

Here's a nice tutorial.

The silk in this project could be harvested from silk blouses found at thrift stores. I often see fabric scraps or damaged silk blouses for a bargain at the thrifts.

Here is another tutorial only with deconstructed artificial flowers. I think I'd like to try these on a hair clip as well.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saving Money on Vicks Vaporizing Steam Liquid with a Homemade Substitute

Our pediatricians have always recommended steam vaporizers with Vicks for the little ones when they get a stuffy nose and congestion. Unfortunately, the liquid Vicks is really expensive and only last us three nights. I began buying the Rite Aid brand which was still over $6.00 for 4 ounces, and not quite a strong.

I was researching homemade vaporizing steam liquid when I came upon a possible alternative to the store brought liquid - eucalyptus leaves and camphor liquid. I read that the liquid eucalyptus oil is not recommended for the vaporizers, so I purchased the leaves.

I love Mountain Rose Herbs organic products, so I ordered from them. I've mentioned them here on my blog before in other posts. I've decided to add the company to my sidebar because I trust their certified organic products, and their prices are good.

A little about their bulk organic herbs & spices:

"Our promise to you, that the line of bulk herbs and botanicals
offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are...

True certified organic by OTCO
Certified Kosher Through Earth Kosher
Free from irradiation, ozone treatment, sulfites, gasses and other sanitary chemicals
Unsurpassable in color, depth, taste and aroma
Ethically wildharvested when not certified organic
Processed and handled according to strict organic standards
Grown, harvested, processed and handled by fun, knowledgeable and caring people
Lab analyzed for quality, safety and true botanical identity"

So here's what I purchased: a pound of organic eucalyptus leaf($7.00) and one ounce camphor essential oil($5.00).

I am not sure how much of the eucalyptus to add, so I'll begin with a tablespoon at a time, and a few drops of the camphor.

The pound french green clay pictured was for me. I use this for homemade facial masks.

I'll be sure to update this post with my results.

6/22/09 Update: Don't Bother with the eucalyptus leaves in a humidifier! These had no scent at all. The camphor drops on the other hand worked like a charm. I've used it for at least three colds, and I still have quite a bit of the camphor left, so it's a better deal for us than the bottles of Vicks which last only two nights.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

We Believe in the
Holy Spirit, Lord, and
Giver of life

We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. Both the prophets of the Old Testament and the disciples at Pentecost were "imbued with the Holy Spirit."

Dear Lord, I pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit in my own life. May he give me the courage and wisdom to stand up for the teachings of Christ throughout my days. May the Holy Spirit be my strength in adversity, my light in the darkness.

~ from my parish calendar for the month of March.

Please also pray for all those receiving baptism this Easter season.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lenten Friday Meal Recipe: Butter Bean Burgers

I haven't tried these yet, but they have lots of positive ratings for this over at I'll try to post something about them on Friday when we eat these.

See recipe here. Image from Cheryl K.

3/6/09 Update: These were delicious! I did use what was on hand, and substituted the fresh chopped onions with onion powder. I also used Matzo Meal(left over from my soup) instead of crackers. I like pepper, so I was generous with this, as well as garlic salt, and the hot peppers were omitted.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Crafting with Vintage Images: Victorian Paper Doll House

My three year old daughter and I began making this paper doll house with vintage images from this post, 1903 House Beautiful today. There is no floor yet, just some incomplete walls. It's a work in progress. We may add more rooms, but for now it's just one.

Frozen store bought pizza boxes are so handy with paper crafts. We glued the printed images to these boxes, and shaped them into this house with the help of clear packing tape. The bed is made of the folded edges of the pizza box with a paper towel sheet and pillow roll.

I'm thinking about adding a fourth wall which would fold down for play, and adding some handles to the box for toting around. I'll probably rip the handles off a paper bag I am using to store the pizza boxes. I'll cover the walls with clear contact paper when I'm done so it will last a while.

What about color? I have a black and white printer, so this will either need to be colored or remain black and white. I may selectively color nature scenes on the outside.

I've already selected some more vintage images for the outside walls, a vintage family, and some more furniture pieces. The pieces aren't exactly to scale; I'm better at more abstract art! Exacting measurements and getting things to scale are not my forte. I'm lucky to get a straight line here and there.

It's been fun planning the rest of the project. I'll post more of our little house under construction as we progress. I had to stop when the little one tried to run off with the scissors and began unraveling the packing tape. Fun crafting with a three year old is about 10 minutes! She'll enjoy the finished product for longer periods of time; I'm sure.

The vintage pictures here are a few potential ideas for the outside, and family. There is a man, but I can't find him at the moment. I shrink the full page images of people and things down to wallet size, and the backgrounds to 5X7 using Google's Picasa.

All images are in public domain from Google Books.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Make Your Own Hair Clips

These children's hair clips are made using alligator clips. See tutorial. I plan to try these soon, and I think I'd like to add some danglies to look like Japanese hair accessories. You could even spray paint them and add doo-dads. I think I might also like to add found shells and sea glass; I've got a pickle jar full of these.

HT to Tip Nut