Friday, January 29, 2010

Free Preschool Printables: Veggies and Fruit Traceables

The bunny was from a Google image search, and the veggies(fruit also) from this site. They were colored, cut, and pasted. The original printables were/are traceable with dotted lines.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making Toast without a Toaster

My kitchen space is limited, so as small kitchen appliances have broken down, I've simply not replaced them, and made do with what I had. We haven't had a toaster in years, but then we rarely eat toast. This past weekend my MIL came to visit and asked for toast. No problem; we toasted the bread the old fashioned way - under the broiler.

Making Toast Without a Toaster

While she was visiting, our little microwave perished, so we have been warming leftovers in the oven, and using a teapot. I'm really liking all the extra room and the clutter free look on the counter tops. Simplicity is good.

Toliet Paper Roll Seed Starter

Time to begin planning the garden, and start cool season vegetable seeds inside.

Toilet paper roll seed starter directions here.

What To Do in the Garden - February(regional guide)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Homeschool Freebie: Vintage Preschool Picture Book/Cut and Paste

Cut and paste, or just for reading, The Children's Object Picture Book, Published/Created: London; New York: F. Warne & Co., [188-?]. Free and in public domain from the U.S. Library of Congress. Fully downloadable or readable online as HTML pages.

Features a home in 19th century London, England.

The Lost Art of Homemaking

Click here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

For Darkening Gray Hair Naturally...

a black tea and sage rinse. This works over time, but you have to use this rinse repeatedly. Henna , my favorite hair dye, works much more quickly and lasts longer, but either is a good natural alternative.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making No Pectin Jelly/Jam

This is so easy, and you can use frozen fruit if need be. See here for recipe. If you add water, you'll end up with syrup which is great for adding to plain yogurt or over desserts, pancakes, etc.

Also see here, vintage recipes(1883) for jellies.

See more at the Make-it-from-Scratch Carnival.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Housekeeping workbook--how to do it--house care and cleaning

Housekeeping workbook--how to do it--house care and cleaning
Author Lydia Ray Balderston
Publisher J.B. Lippincott company, 1935
Length 98 pages

To Make Dustless Dusters
cheesecloth to size of dusters. Prepare mixture:
One pt. hot water (very hot).
1/4 c. lemon-oil.
Stir oil in hot water.
Press in 4 or 5 pieces of cheesecloth.
Work oil and water into cloth.
Squeeze dry.
Hang to dry.

Read more tips here(Table of Contents). In public domain, and free to read online or download.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homeschool Freebies: Saint Sebastian(multi-grade)

Sadlier's excelsior fifth reader, 1877, Saint Sebastian: " Speak!" growled Maximian, with an impatient gesture, " what skulking Christian hast thou tracked to his hole ?"— " Most gracious emperor," began the cringing informer.—" Be brief, I tell thee!"—"Is the emperor aware that in his own household, close to his very throne even, stands a Christian ? "— " Speak out, sirrah! I will have no mysteries."—" Then, at your imperial command," said the wily courtier, in a bland voice, " I accuse as a Christian the captain of your first cohort, Sebastian."
Story on pages 90-94.

Sacred and Legendary Art, 1870(high school and up): But Sebastian felt that this was not a time to hide himself, but to stand forth boldly and openly for the faith he professed; and he went to the palace and stood before the gate, on the steps which he knew the emperor must descend on his way to the Capitol; and he raised his voice, pleading for those who were condemned to suffer, and reproaching the emperor with his intolerance and cruelty; and the emperor, looking on him with amazement, said, ' Art thou not Sebastian ?' And he replied, ' I am Sebastian, whom God hath delivered from thy hand, that I might testify to the faith of Jesus Christ and plead for his servants.' Then Diocletian in his fury commanded that they should seize Sebastian and carry him to the Circus, and beat him to death with clubs ; and, that his body might be for ever hidden from his friends, it was thrown into the Cloaca Maxima. But these precautions were in vain, for a Christian lady, named Lucina, found means to recover the body of the saint, and interred it secretly in the catacombs, at the feet of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Pages 412-424.

Both are free and in public domain - free to download or read online. To print pages simply right click on the image of the page at the links, save or "view page", and print. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Natural American Indian Dyes

From The Book of Woodcraft(free and in public domain), 1921:


The dyes used to stain porcupine quills, spruce roots, and other strong material, of which they made ornaments and utensils, were very numerous, and some of them very beautiful.

Red. Soak the roots in the juice of the Squaw-berry — Blitum or Mis-caw-wa. Many other berries give red or purple.

Black. Boil the roots, etc., with the bark, branches, and berries of sumac, or the bark and chips of oak and soft maple, with some iron in the pot.

Yellow. A beautiful yellow is made by boiling the inner bark of golden or black oak. Or the root of yellowroot or hydrastis. In the Rocky Mountains the yellow moss off pine trees serves.

Orange. By boiling with the inner bark of alder or sassafras.

Scarlet. Dye yellow first then dip in red.

Most berries and barks yield a dye, and experiments with them often result in delightful discoveries.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Homeschool Freebie: Multi-grade Vintage Winter Homeschool Lessons

Click here. Multi-grade stories and children's educational books of winter nature, winter birds and sports, stories, poetry, etc. I will be adding to this list over the next few days.

To print, simply click on the image of the page at the links, save or view image, and print. Books are free and in public domain, downloadable, and readable online.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Homeschool Freebie: Winter Botany

Nature and Science for Young Folks, St. Nicholas: a monthly magazine for boys and girls, 1909. Pages, 360-360. To print, simply right click on image of page at link, save or view image, and print. Free and in public domain.

Tonight's Frugal Dinner: Chinese Take-In Stir Fry

Bourbon sauce, frozen stir fry veggies, a bit of shredded chicken, and a fresh pot of rice cooked in bone stock(high on the vinegar) . Very good! I added a little fish sauce too.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Little Free Form Painting...

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
-- Henry Ward Beecher

An impromptu request to paint. She mixes red, yellow, blue, black, and white; and directs(a lot), and paints a little as the cat watches on.

She asked for a doughnut, on a plate, by a evolved...we are still working on it. ; )

Deciding which brush I must use - homeschool in reverse(giggle). Mostly she likes to tell me what to paint, but she's learning a lot about mixing colors just via experimentation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Homemade Convenience Food: White Sauce(Bechemal)

With the rise of convenience food - pre-flavored foods, awareness or popularity of homemade white sauce(bechemal) has been kicked to the side, but not long ago it was one of the first things young people learned as beginner cooks. It the base of many sauces. Make the white sauce and add cheeses(cheese sauce, alfredo sauce), spices, herbs, seasonings - garlic and onions, wine, tomato sauce(creamy red sauce), broth(cream soups), meat drippings(gravy), or use it without the milk to thicken liquids(Roux). There are so many variations, and you can experiment and be creative with flavorings.


* 2 tablespoons butter(or oil, but it will change the flavor)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup milk(and/or chicken stock)

See here for complete recipe.

Variations(from bechamel recipe):

* Sauce Aurore (Tomato cream sauce): whisk 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste into 2 cups of béchamel. Serve with eggs, fish, chicken or vegetables.
* Sauce Crème (Cream sauce): stir 1/2 cup of heavy cream and a squeeze of lemon juice into 2 cups of béchamel. Use over vegetables, fish, chicken or eggs.
* Sauce Dijonnaise (Mustard sauce): add 2-4 tablespoons of Dijon or other mustard to 2 cups of béchamel. Good with fish or ham.
* Sauce Mornay (Cheese sauce): stir 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated or crumbled cheese into 2 cups of hot béchamel until it is completely melted. Do not boil or the sauce may become stringy. Good cheeses to try are Parmesan, Swiss, cheddar, or blue cheese. Use a good quality cheese or your sauce may be bland. Use for vegetable gratins, macaroni and cheese, eggs and hors d'oeuvres.
* Sauce Soubise (Creamy onion sauce): slowly sauté about 1 pound of sliced white onions in some butter until they wilt completely. Do not allow them to brown. Add 2 cups of béchamel, cover and simmer slowly about 20-30 minutes. Puree, strain through a sieve and serve. Goes well with fish and poultry. An essential component of veal Orloff.
* À la King: an American invention, it's great for leftovers. Just add about 2 cups of chicken, ham, dried chipped beef, peas, mushrooms, etc., to every cup of béchamel. Simmer together and serve over toast or puff pastry shells.
* Béchamel is ideal for creating vegetable gratins. Simply blanch or slowly sauté some vegetables until they are partially cooked. Spread them in a shallow baking dish. Spread a layer of béchamel over the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place in a 375°F oven and cook until browned on the top.
* Add some chopped ham, chopped parsley, some chopped carrots as optional seasonings if you like.
* A little squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of white wine added at the end can brighten this sauce considerably.

Thicker white sauce recipes, and sauce recipes using white sauce as a base. Here too.

I haven't tried this recipe, but here is a low fat version.

Slipcover a Chair with an Inexpensive Drop Cloth

We've used drop cloth for curtains(no-sew) and as no-sew furniture covers. I never got up the courage to tackle a sewn slip cover, but this blogger did, and it turned out nicely! See here for how she did it.

Also see Decorating with Drop Cloths(curtains).

Free Vintage ebook: Winter Camping

Brrrr, you won't catch me doing this. That "soulless and deceitful regulator of modern life" is a good indicator of me staying inside. lol....but for the hardier souls:

  Winter Camping, by Warwick Stevens Carpenter, Macmillan, 1920:


IF cold were quite the absolute condition which a materialistic thermometer would have us believe, we should hardly camp in winter. As it is, that soulless and deceitful regulator of modern life has all but subordinated our independence and enthusiasm to its despotic rule. We have become as bats, which are said to retire at a certain temperature to their caverns and hollow trees, there to slumber until a rise of mercury brings them forth, willy nilly, or, like the automatons of the barometer, that can stay in through no fair weather and out in no foul.

Contrary to such unimaginative dictates, cold is quite a relative matter, not to any fixed degree as a standard of comparison, but rather, first, to humidity, a fact of common knowledge, and, second, to whether we are oscillating all day between a super-heated building and out of doors. This second relativity is a chief element in that trans-Stygian conception which holds that as soon as the inhabitants have become inured to extreme heat, the climate forthwith changes to one of extreme cold, and vice versa.

During the last fourteen years I have camped in winter at every available opportunity, in cabins, tents, and lean-tos, and now between black flies, midgets, and all the pests of summer and the problem of warmth in winter, I would quickly choose the latter if I could have but one. Yet companions who were caught out with me on our way to a cabin fourteen years ago expressed gratification at the incident, because, they said, they had learned that it is really possible to stay out all night in the woods in winter without freezing! And we had with us blankets galore, an axe, and plenty of food!

Such ideas regarding the feasibility of camping in the open in winter were far more current ten or fifteen years ago than they are today. Since then winter vacations have become increasingly common and camping in winter no longer excites the wondering comments which our own little expedition into the frozen woods brought forth. In fact, nearly every summer vacation resort is now livened from time to time during the winter months by the more fortunate of its summer frequenters, who return for a taste of that appeal which Jack Frost throws over vacation land."

Downloadable book here. This book is in public domain and is readable online.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cooking School: How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken

I didn't realize my favorite recipe site, had a "Cooking School" section. Here's a useful tutorial: How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken. Check out the other tutorials as well - very helpful.

Image for

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Free Homeschool Printable: Vintage SAT Exam for Grades 4-8

Here's something to spring on the kiddos if they complain of boredom mid-year: a SAT exam for 1922. No answers are given. The questions are interesting.

Free and in public domain. You can copy and save(select all, save) and/or paste the HTML page, or use the Plain Text version.

Instant view
Download page

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Kitchen Pantry Dry Skin Relief

All natural olive oil is effective at getting rid of itchy dry winter skin. We have sensitive skin in my family, and this natural oil works gently for the children and adults. I've even tried canola oil, but it's a bit too light as a moisturizer for winter. Heavier kitchen oils work the best. Between baking soda baths and olive oil as a moisturizer, I've managed to keep away my daughter's winter rash.

Olive oil is also great for hot oil dry hair treatments. However, just warm it slightly; it gets hot very quickly.

Although we usually get a large sized olive oil at our local Save-A-Lot grocery store, I've seen olive oil at the Dollar Store, so it can be found very inexpensively. I also get a large container of sea salts at the Dollar Store for a natural facial scrub. There is something about winter dry skin and blemishes that calls for a gentle scrub to help turn that flaky skin over.

Also see 15 Household Uses for Olive Oil.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Great Masters Art History Freebie for Elementary School Students: Fra Angelico

Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (1387-1455) (surnamed because of his saintly character " Angelico ") was an Italian Dominican monk. He is said always to have said a prayer before beginning to paint. "The life of this really angelic father," says Vasari, "was devoted to the service of God, the benefit of the world, and duty toward his neighbor. He shunned the worldly in all things, and during his pure and simple life was such a friend to the poor that I think his soul must now be in Heaven. He painted incessantly, but would never lay his hand to any but a sacred subject; he might have had wealth, but he scorned it, saying that true riches were to be found in content. He might have ruled over many, but he would not, saying that obedience was easier and less liable to error. He might have enjoyed dignities, but disdained them, affirming that the only dignity he sought was to avoid hell and gain Heaven. He was wont to say that the practice of art required repose and holy thoughts, and that he who would depict the acts of Christ must learn to live with Christ."

Method. — Show the children as many of the angels as is possible, and allow them to choose their favorites. Tell them the story of his life, giving to them some idea of monastic life. Read to them portions, at least, of Vasari's account given above, and perhaps even bits from Ruskin. (See pp. xvii, 7, 8, 9.)  Read entire lesson here, pages 69-72.

Picture study in elementary schools: a manual for teachers
Author Williams Wilson
Publisher The Macmillan company, 1909
Book free and in public domain - downloadable, printable, and readable online. To print, simply right click on image of page at the link, save or view image, and print.

January studies also include:

Mona Lisa , Leonardo De Vinci
Delphic Sibyl, Michelangelo
Sistine Madonna, Raphael

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Free Printable Moon and Stars Kindergarten and Early Elementary Stories

The Wind and the Moon by George MacDonald, pages 245-248.

Linda and the Lights by Emilie Poulsson, pages 404-406.

To print, simply right click on the image of the page, save or view image, and print. Both are in public domain.

Free Printable: The Story of Saint Agnes

"THE story of Saint Agnes is one of the oldest and most authentic, as well as one of the most beautiful, in religious history. There is none, next to the Evangelists and Apostles, whose effigy is more ancient, for representations of Saint Agnes are found on glass and earthenware vessels used by Christians as far back as the early part of the third century. In these early portraits the lamb, which later became her inseparable emblem, does not appear, but there is no doubt as to their identity, for they are inscribed with her name. It is not known just when the lamb was first employed, but all the later painters used it as an emblem of the virgin-martyr's innocence and meekness. It is probable that the similarity of her name to agn us, Latin for lamb, led to this association, the more so on account of her chaste and gentle disposition.

...On her refusal to worship the heathen gods, Sempronius became furious and threatened her with death in terrible forms, even dragging her before the altar in chains ; but she remained steadfast in her faith."

Read entire story at Godey's magazine, 1887 here(pages 22-26).
To print, simply right click on the image of the page, save or view image, and print.

The feast of Saint Agnes is January 21st.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Bamboo Furniture Plans

This DIY project a bit advanced for most people, but a great eco-friendly furniture plan if you are a good carpenter, and have access to bamboo. Taken from a 1920 Popular Mechanics magazine, see pages 789-791.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Frugal Chicken Recipes

"Chicken is an excellent low cost meal ingredient which can be purchased in bulk and stored in manageable quantities in the freezer until required. Try these chicken recipes using various cuts of chicken."

I use versions of these recipes. It was nice to see them all in one place to share. These are wonderful for cost cutting variety when it comes to chicken meals.

Here's another recipe that I found which is very similar to what we cook at least once a week: Til Payday Casserole . This recipe uses ground beef, but I've used other meats such as turkey or chicken. Instead of tomato sauce, I've added a can of mushroom soup without the water. I also use much more spices/seasonings to suit our family's preference.

Thus one is good as well:Fast-n-Easy Southwest Chicken Chili I add black eyed peas to mine.

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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: