Thursday, September 30, 2010


Tropical Storm Nicole is dumping a lot of water on us. Hopefully we can get out later this afternoon. Our backyard is flooded, but so far the streets are clear.

Maybe tonight I'll find and post some cute vintage "rain" stories and activities...if we haven't floated away.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Fruits and Vegetables

Grapes, pomegranates, persimmons,eggplants, pumpkins, tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce.

Cranberries, apples, pomegranates, grapes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, and lettuce.

From The Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables Month-By-Month.

Repost from 2007.

H is for House: Free Printable Cut-out

 Click on image to enlarge and save. More free printable cut-out buildings and structures here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Skipper the Dog: Free Vintage Short Story and Cut-out

It's not exactly a cheerful story, but rather a story of lessons learned hard. The cut-out turned out very well - easy to make and prints out nicely. This story is so similar to Elizabeth's recent post, The Parable of the Cat and the Glass Door.

The story is on pages 340-341, the cut-out on page 340. To save and/or print, simply right click on the image of the pages at the link and "save as" or print. Story is in public domain, 1906 Primary Plans.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Free Vintage Clip Art for Homeschool Projects

I like to browse Google Books, so I've got a large collection of clip art from their public domain books; however, if you want a quick source of clip art(black and white only), check out Clip Art ETC. They have a large categorized, searchable free public domain clip art collection.
Most recently I've been using clip art for Kindergarten phonics. I've used them in the past for matching, alphabet and penmanship pages, note and report sheets, science sheets, coloring pages, and story starters. Among other things, these would be great for note-booking and time-lines. An efficient way to print out large numbers of images for projects is to choose the "Contact Sheet" option on your image editor. This will size all the images uniformly, all on one page, saving you paper and the hassle of printing out small images page by page.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Natural Fabric Dye: Golden-Rod

This easy natural dye process produces a beautiful natural yellow dye in cotton fabrics. Eva explains the process in a two part series here(1) and here(2).

Instructions for making natural dyes from other fall plants here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free Homeschool Curriculum: Vintage Fall/Autumn Nature Study, Literature, and Poetry

Repost from last year:

All are in public domain and are free to read, print, and download.

In the Child's World, K-First, various lessons

Graded Literature Readers, First Grade(Apples)

The Finch First Reader, first quarter of the book covers fall(beautiful illustrations).

Nature Study in Elementary Schools, First Grade Reader

Nature Study in Elementary Schools, Second Grade Reader

The Haliburton Second Grade Reader
, poem

The Art-literature Readers, Third Grade, poem and art

The Goose Quill Third Grade, poetry lesson

Good English, Oral and Written Third Grade
, see Chapter 3 and 4 for fall themes.

Stepping Stones to Literature Third Reader, How The Oak Tree Became King.

The Children's Friend(LDS) Apple story

The Goose Quill
, third grade, entire section on autumn.

Language Through Nature, Literature, and Art(Third grade), nature study and writing assignment

The Story of a Caterpillar (mid-elementary school)

The Cambridge Book of Poetry for Children, Keats - To Autumn; Allingham - Robin Red Breast for younger children.

Farm Arithmetic, Apple word problem (about fifth grade)

The Farmer and His Friends - apples and corn, about fifth grade, very factual

Insect Life, upper elementary

The Stars and Their Stories - The Winged Horse(Autumn constellation), elementary

Poetry of the Seasons, middle elementary and up.

Poems by Grades
, middle elementary and up

Independent Fifth Reader , poem

Nature Study Made Easy, ages 10-11, fifth grade. Select Autumn plant chapters.

The American Normal Readers Fifth Grade, October poem

Sixth Grade Nature Study

Nature Study Lessons for Primary Grades

The Outdoor Handy Book, Autumn ( Classic Boy's Outdoors Book)

Nature in Verse, elementary

A Child's Book of Saints, Golden Apples and Roses Red(Patroness of Gardeners)

Nature Study, by Grades
- see fall work for fourth and fifth grades

Sharp Eyes, A day-by-day nature study(fall), middle school

Eighth Reader, poem

The Fun of Cooking, Jams and Jellies

Peter and Polly in Autumn(late second-third grade reader)
An Evening in Autumn(fourth-fifth grade reader)

All the year round: a nature reader, Autumn(late elementary)

Teacher Helps, Lesson Plans:

How Nature Study Should be Taught(Autumn, elementary)

Nature Study by Months, elementary.

Type Lessons for Primary Teachers in the Study of Nature, Literature and Art for grades One through Four. Fall nature study.

Trees that Every Child Should Know

Home Games and Parties: A Corn Husking and An Apple-Paring Bee

School Arts: Autumn.

Also see Free Thanksgiving Printable Stories.

Classic Tuna Casserole

Starkist tuna in water was on sale at Save-A-Lot for .50 cents a can, so I thought I'd try this old standby recipe for a thrifty dinner. It was much better than I remembered, and the children had two helpings. I used macaroni noodles instead of egg noodles(less sog).

Hmmm, maybe I'll try a retro SPAM dinner next.

Two cans of tuna drained
One can of sweet peas, drained
About two cups of cooked noodles
One can of cream of mushroom soup(or make your own)
3/4 cup of shredded cheese(we used a pizza cheese blend)
3/4 cup milk

Spread noodles in a medium sized casserole dish(I made mine in a round cake pan). Mix peas, milk, tuna, and soup, then pour over noodles. Mix gently to distribute sauce. Cook at 375 degrees until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Add shredded cheese to top, and return to oven until melted.

Serves six to eight.

Frugal Dinner with Family Dollar Meat

I found some Pampa brand canned beef and gravy(Brazil) for $1.60 a can at our local Family Dollar. It had been reduced from $2.00, and didn't look too bad from the picture. I took a chance, and surprisingly it was good quality meat. I cooked it with a can of Save-A-Lot mixed vegetables with potatoes, and about 1/3 cup of left over homemade chicken broth. The top was lightly sprinkled with some wheat germ and Parmesan cheese. After about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven, it was ready.

My daughter didn't have any of this meal, so it was stretched three ways tonight. I figure I spent about $2.60 for the meal, or about .86 cents a person. Not bad for a beef meal made with tender cuts.

I spend less per serving on chicken, veggie and rice dinners, but beef was a nice change.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Vintage Cut-outs and a Story Starter

Cut and paste using vintage public domain printables.
The cat is precious in a particularly silly way. Just look at her expression and crossed paws. This was fun to cut and paste. We also used the cup(letter C) from the tea set drawing, and a vintage story page. Click to enlarge and save/print. I have only a black and white laser printer, so if we want color, we do it ourselves with crayons or colored pencils. This is a big money saver with the ink, so I don't miss the color too much. The cat comes out nicely in black and white.

I've got some squirrel printables which I'll  post later.

Silly cat courtesy of The Paper Collector.

Conversation starter from Appletons' Chart-primer, 1884.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Free Vintage September Flower Themed Math Word Problems for Early Elementary

Printable math questions here. The word problems are created to go along with a poem, September and a short story, The Bramble Bush and the Lambs.

All are in public domain and are printable. To print, right click on the image of the page at the links, and "Save as" or "View image".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Free Printable Story for Young Children: The White Knight


A great many years ago, in the time which is known as the Days of Chivalry, there lived a King in Far Away Land who was called William the Good. There is nothing about him in any of the histories, for the grown-up people have forgotten him, and only the children speak of him when they play a game and sing a song which begins:

King William was King James' son,
And from a royal race he sprung;
Upon his breast he wore a star
Which points away to the ocean far.

A medium length story, pages 101-108 originally from Happy Faraway Land by Ruth Kimball Gardiner, 1902. printable here.

To Print simply right click on the image of the pages at the link, "Save as" or "View image" to print.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Free Printable Short Story: Rhine Country Germany, Song of the Lorelei

To print simply right click on the image of the page at the link and "Save as",  or to print directly, click on "View image of page". This story is a read aloud for younger children or for the independent reading of older children. From a 1903 Primary Education periodical, free and in public domain. Click here. Pages 326 - 327.

More Printable Rhine Country Stories:

The Two Bells

The Rat Tower

The Christ Child and The Boy

The Change in Time

The Golden Shoes

The Necessity of Sleep

The Necessity of Sleep, by Alice Marsh, Detroit, Mich., 1903, Primary Education Magazine, Health Talks with Youngest Children I.

"...I wonder if we realize how much lack of sleep is responsible for the irritability and nervous restlessness that we see, not only in children, but in adults as well. It is simply the nerves crying out for rest and nourishment, and they cannot get the one without the other. For some unexplained reason, the human is the only animal that rebels at bedtime. We have all seen children so sleepy that they are pained in trying to keep awake, begging to sit up a little while longer.

...How long should little boys and girls sleep? If they are eight years old, or younger, they need at least twelve hours. That means, if you get up at seven o'clock in the morning, you should be asleep at seven o'clock the night before. And why should you stay up longer? To play? You can do that before the sun goes to bed—between the time when school closes and supper. That is the very best time of the day for playing."

I guess my children are old fashioned. They always need(ed) an early bed-time - asleep by 7 p.m. and up twelve hours later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Free Curriculum-based Instruction Online

Myrnie of I Wonder Woman directed me to Head of the Class, a curriculum-based instruction with videos, multimedia, applications, and worksheets for free. I tried the Kindergarten level samples and liked it. The programs are described as supplements to education, so it won't be an all inclusive learning resource. Currently they offer content for preschool - fourth grade with grades five through eight coming soon. There are no downloads, but there is a required free sign-up for a password.

"Head of the class Mission

To create and provide curriculum-based instruction on the Web which enhances and improves the way PreK-8 students learn.

To provide parents and teachers with the Web-based interactive tools and resources they need to accelerate learning and improve educational performance in the 21st century.

Curriculum-Based Instruction

Head of the Class provides curriculum-based instruction by grade level. We have aligned our instruction to the various state curriculums.

Within Head of the Class you will find thousands of pages of instruction, hundreds of videos, hundreds of multimedia presentations, thousands of worksheets, as well as application programs which target learner success.

Individualized Instruction

Head of the Class provides a curriculum which parents and teachers can customize to individual learner needs. If you want your learner to have more math or reading, you simply select the levels you desire.

Head of the Class provides built-in assessment tests, the results of which customize the learner's curriculum. In other words, Head of the Class will automatically adjust a learner's curriculum to maximize learning. "

A Variation of Ernest T. Bass' Chicken Thief Stew

From Debbie's blog:

"... a recipe from my "Aunt Bee's Mayberry Cookbook". The original recipe is much more trouble than the way I made it. Here's how I made it":

1 whole chicken. 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup of water
salt to taste (you won't need much)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sugar
1/2 medium onion cut into slices, separated
1 14.75 oz can whole kernel corn
1 14.5 oz can cut green beans
1 29 oz can whole potatoes

I already had the shredded chicken in the freezer from cooking a bird last month, so I just added this to the remaining ingredients in a big pot for a slow cook. This was good and easy. No chickens were thieved for my stew. ;)

The Big Purple Ball

Taken in our pool. We ended up purchasing a 350 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank this summer, an upgrade from the toddler pool. My daughter has really been enjoying it. I think I saw a heater for this stock tank online. Two adult can easily fit in this "pool" and use it as a hot tub during the colder months.

September in the Garden

Click on image to enlarge.

The Armchair Traveler

"Now that it’s early September and we’re officially in the dog days of summer, what better way to spend this hot, sultry period than to take a refresher and travel to exotic lands afar? Even if you’re working through the summer or are more of a staycationer, you can take a trip around the world by exploring different countries through Google Books!

Courtesy of books scanned via our library project, anyone can stroll through China, experience ninety days' worth of Europe or get to know South America.

With the plethora of travel-related books available in full view on Google Books, you can explore the world and be visually enlightened with sights from afar from the comfort of your couch and a frosty glass of lemonade!" Read more here.

And it's free. So many books, so little time!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spend a Little, Save a Lot on Utility Bills

"Try these energy-efficient gadgets -- six moderate options costing $19 to $50 -- to trim your gas, water and electric bills." Read article  here.

Interesting ideas, but I'm not too sure about the motion sensor light bulbs with pets. I think it would freak out my cat, and I could see the lights going on and off all night. We work at living with low lighting at night, and remember to turn off lights and televisions when we leave a room.

They mention using a Smart Strip surge protector priced between $29 to $40 to cut down on energy sucking electronics which have standby modes. We use a regular inexpensive surge protector strip, and just flip the switch when we need to use the electronics. It comes on in the morning for a few items like the computers, and off at night. Some only get turned on occasionally, like the television/dvd player in the guest room.

Establishing a Rhythm

This cooler weather is wonderful! I think it's giving me a boost, and we've gotten a rhythm down with my new homeschool student, my kindergarten daughter. She is really enjoying the structure and one-on-one attention that comes with the formal table learning. These initial  sessions have been very short, but it has been fun to work with her toward those first steps to reading. We are doing a letter(or two) a week with review along the way. When we finished today, we continued to sit at the table coloring, drawing, and chatting together for at least an hour - so relaxing. I'm enjoying this nature coloring book from Rod & Staff(giggle). I color while she practices her letters and numbers. She doesn't like being watched over, so this takes the pressure off her.

My son, a seventh grader, is an independent learner, so he needs very little supervision or formal teaching. I spend a little time with him going over corrections or filling in the weak areas, but otherwise he keeps up with his learning. He was tough to teach when he was younger, but he hit his stride around third or fourth grade. We spent quite a bit of time on character development in those early years.

Dieting Success

I haven't posted much about recipes lately because I've been de-emphasizing food in my life while I diet. I love cooking and creating recipes, but it had gotten to the point in my life where my days were revolving around food. I had lost balance, so I've had to push it out of my life for a while. I've been eating very little, and very simply. Portion control and not baking has really helped. I was in such a state of lack of control that I felt I needed to leave my frugal zone and try Nutrisystem for a while. While it was pricey it helped me get back that balance. I love food just a little too much. It's not any one particular group of foods either. I love different tastes and textures. Variety is important for me. This is why the Nutrisystem weight loss program was a success for me. They offer all that taste and texture sensation in their foods and meal plans, so that it never gets boring. I did the diabetic Nutrisytem because I figured the extra protein and low carbs would be better for me. I've only been really hungry a few times. The diet has been fairly easy to follow.

I'm keeping up with the weight loss by maintaining that portion control that I learned, and continuing to follow the plan on my own. I found an older 1992 Nutrisystem cookbook that has been very helpful. I think it's the only one that has been published for following the plan on your own, or at least pointing you in the right direction with recipes and meal planning. I found a copy at my library.

The Nutri/System Flavor Set-Point Weight-Loss Cookbook

I've lost about 16 pounds so far. It's been slow going, but I have not been gaining back any weight, so that's success for me. I plan to lose another 18 pounds in order to get me within range of a normal weight for my height and build. This will be my pre-baby weight. My daughter is five years old, and I've been carrying this weight since she was born, and then some.

It has been an expensive weight loss journey, but I'm gaining back my health and control over my body. I quit Nutrisystem(prepackaged meals) after two months. This was enough for me to get back my balance, and gain an understanding of how I need to cook and eat in order to continue with the weight loss.

Breakfast on the Run

Easy on-the-go breakfast bars: recipes for
Peanut Butter Granola  and Raw Brown Sugar Granola
Muffins would be good as well, but I make these for my non-muffin eating husband.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dover Classic Art Cards on Sale

Dover 6 to 24 art card sets are on sale at Dover Books. A few 24 piece sets are less than $3.00, and the Tissot six card set is only .60 cents. I found a few Dover sets on sale at You can purchase these free with your Swagbucks, virtual bucks(points) earned for using their search engine. I use my points to purchase Amazon gift e-cards. I check both sites to see which is the best deal.

These art cards are wonderful for homeschool studies of fine arts(copy work), art appreciation, and/or art history. I am purchasing the American Impressionists set and a few others in order to round out a big set that I purchased last week.

Dover September $10.00 coupon code with purchase of $50.00:  SeptW

25 Household Uses For Salt

Read here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Mother's Life Giving Love

"The baby was born at 27 weeks, just 2 pounds. His twin sister, Emily, was delivered first, breathing on her own and full of life. Then came Jamie. According to an interview in the Daily Mail Online, doctors worked on him, trying to get him to breathe. After 20 minutes, they declared him dead. The heartbroken parents say they took their lifeless son into their arms to say goodbye. They cuddled with him, not wanting to let go. After a while, Mom Kate Ogg unwrapped him to hold him against her skin and something miraculous happened. He began to show signs of life. " Read more here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Old Fashioned Frugal Fun: Cardboard Castles

Make a Paper and Cardboard Castle: Neuschwanstein 

Great ideas here. Twigs and colored cellophane for the doors and windows.

A simple one for younger children.

Another simple one with instructions at Enchanted Learning.

Just think what you could make with some discarded refrigerator boxes!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Happy Hearts Academy At-home Learning

The tween has set up camp in his room this year. He keeps his school items in his bookshelf next to his bed. He and the cat spend the morning together on the carpet working through math problems, etc. We've been using a mix of Rod & Staff, School Aid, and Seton homeschool materials.

The Kindergartener spends a limited amount of time at our table working on handwriting, math skills, and phonics. Much of her formal learning is via Starfall, a free online learning program. We use the CD-ROM. The rest of the time she plays with learning toys, helps me around the house, and goes outside exploring the flora and fauna. Her favorite outdoor toy is a magnifying glass. She and her father spent at least an hour outside this morning examining caterpillars, worms, and plants.

They went to the library and returned with a learning backpack about teeth and an interactive Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD. I really like these DVDs because she can watch it on the computer and play the learning games, ages two - six with two levels. I read to her as much as she will allow. Her attention span is still developing, and hers is very short, just like her brother's was at this age.

Kindergarten is the easiest and most fun year of homeschooling. The real work happens later when I am trying to teach her to read. I'm praying she is easier than her brother!  He took a lot of patience and hard work. First and second grade were very long, but it was also the most rewarding. Once he learned to read , he really enjoyed it. I'm glad we persisted with the phonics because he now has a really good foundation and grasp of  English. We used(use) the challenging and thorough Rod & Staff English/Reading curriculum.

Some of our extended learning resources is gained from free online public domain(vintage) curricula.

Both children are strong visual learners.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Art History Cards

 Masterpiece Cards

These are a bit pricey, but a good value for the number and selection of classic art cards in the set. I had received two samples earlier this year, and when my daughter showed interest in them, I ordered the set. Her birthday money from family nearly covered it all. Each of the 250 cards has succinct art history information on the back. This set is good for all ages. The younger children can look at the pictures while older children and students can use them as a study aid.

9/13/10 Update: We receive them today and my daughter really liked them; however, I did need to remove at least one due to adult content - a 1960's modern nude by Tom Wesselmann. Sorry, I'm not a fan. In this nude the women is treated like a commodity - seductive and depersonalized. There may be more modern reclining nudes, but a quick scan reveals mostly classic art.

The collection has more of a secular flavor(almost downbeat and hard-edged) than I would have liked. Italian art was only briefly represented, and there was a good number of modern artists from the 1950's - 1960's which I didn't like. This survey collection was different than the art covered in my 1980's college art history survey courses(U.of F.) using Gardiner's Art Through the Ages. Although I was a bit disappointed, it is still nice to have for homeschool, and maybe I can add to it with some postcards from another source(s).

Friday, September 03, 2010

Homeschool Humor

Printable September Poetry and Flower Lesson(Elementary School)


The golden-rod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown,
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun,
In dusty pods the milkweed
Her hidden silk has spun.
The sedges flaunt their harvest
In every meadow nook,
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook.
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson (1831-1885)

Includes student questions and vocabulary. See printable pages here, pages13-14, 1889 fourth grade reader, free and in public domain. To save or print, just right click on the image of the page at the link, otherwise you'll get the entire screen page.

Image source

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Vintage Story Starters - September Apples

We used this vintage turn-of-the-century picture page today for coloring and conversation. An older child could use the picture to write a story about what's happening. It's in two pieces, but with a little cutting and pasting, it joins together well.

Free and in public domain. I found these in a teacher's periodical(early 20th century) at Google Books. Click on images to enlarge.

I'll have to make a vintage "A" is for apple handwriting/penmanship page to match. There are many early elementary free printable worksheets online to use with an apple theme. We used a free printable apple maze found at Google Images.

About Me

My photo

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: