Thursday, April 28, 2011

How To Use A Sewing Machine

An easy free series here.

Swimming Weather and Our DIY Stock Tank Pool

It has been warm enough on a few days to swim, so we put out our stock tank pool. We have too many trees to have a regular pool, and the area that is free is quite unlevel for an above ground pool. This rigid 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank can take the water pressure from the uneven rough ground. This is our second year with this pool. It was stored outside during the winter with no ill effects. The drain is a big plastic screw bolt which is replaceable if broken or lost.

In the summer, I put up an inexpensive netted lawn tent around the pool to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Dollar Tree T-Shirts and DIY Decals

Picked up a few children's t-shirts at the Dollar Tree for my DIY decals. The shirt I made in March has washed well, so I thought I'd make more. Super deal! These are thick and without any noticeable flaws.

A few decals I'd like to add to t-shirts:

Vintage Book Finds

Some great finds at one of our local used book stores, about $5.00 each:

Misericordia Readers, Sixth Reader, 1934(Nihil Obstat Catholic school reader, Sisters of Mercy, Baltimore, Md)

1952 early reader, What's Next(third grade? - need to research) , Scott, Foresman and Company
Young Folks Library, 1902, Thomas Baily Aldrich, Hall & Locke Company.

Treasury of Life and Literature, Volume Four, 1937, Rollo Lyman, et al; Scribner.

The Lion of the North(30 years war), (first edition?), G.A. Henty, A.L. Burt Publisher

Some of these we'll use for summer reading.

World Stories Retold for Modern Boys and Girls

"World stories retold for modern boys and girls: one hundred and eighty-seven five-minute classic stories for retelling in home, Sunday School, children's services, public school grades, and "the story-hour" in public libraries, with practical suggestions for telling."

A 1914 free public domain book -a super story telling book for ages pre-K through age twelve.

See here for an alphabetical list of stories. Book is downloadable as a PDF, and pages are printable by right clicking on the images of the pages.

DIY Orange & Fennel Toner

"Fennel seeds & fennel essential oil contain plant estrogen & phytohormones that firm and rejuvenate the skin by stimulating the dermal cell metabolism... This lovely balancing, rejuvenating fragrant toner is especially beneficial for sluggish, untoned, lined skin whether it be oily or dry. Perfect for us oldies.."

Easy recipe here. I'm trying this tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ebook Reading Experience

After Christmas we bought a Kindle to read ebooks - classics and others available in public domain. It turns out none of us like reading virtual books on a small device. Fortunately, my husband found the Kindle very useful for his audio books, music, and random internet access from work. I've decided that nothing beats the sensory experience of holding a book in your hands, the crisp sound of turning pages, the smell of an old library, and their constant visual presence in the bookshelves. They become a part of your home, beckoning you to come visit. Similarly, public library visits have become a part of our routine, an enjoyable outing, and a stress reliever to quietly browse and wander among the stacks of books.

We still access school materials online, but when it came to reading for pleasure, the ebook readers just didn't cut it for us. The physical presence of books feels more like home.

Richard Norquist of Grammar and Composition ponders:

"My dad never made it beyond Andrew Jackson High School, but the books he lovingly collected set me on a course that led to grad school and a career teaching English. So I'm not surprised by the results of the study.

But I wonder about what lies ahead--after the bookcases have been dismantled to make room for wall-sized LCD panels and all the books have been replaced by Kindles and iPads.

Sure, every book you can imagine will be available for download (along with every movie, TV program, and video game). But without the physical presence of books in the house, will kids experience the same sense of discovery and adventure? More importantly, will they still feel at home with books?"

Vintage Children's Cut Out Post Office Template

Original template here from a 1917 Primary Education Magazine. Free and in public domain.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hot Today

so we headed to a beach

just down the road from us.

Pooh Bear catching some rays.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elementary School April Picture Study: Corot's Pond at D'Avray

From "Picture Study in Elementary Schools: Primary Grades", by Lucy Langdon Williams Wilson,1899. Pages 172 through 181. See here. To print or save pages, right click on the image of the pages. Free and in public domain.

Picture in color here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Children's Educational Radio Shows: Minnesota School of the Air

From OTRCat:

"15 minutes episodes originating in Minnesota were primary children's programming broadcast twice a week by 'tape transcription' for 'in-school listening.'

* Tales Old and New - highly entertaining fairy tales
* Let's Sing - musical sing-alongs
* Adventures in Music - music appreciation
* Each in It's Own Voice - about musician instruments and musicians
* Looks What We Found - entertaining recordings on Edgar Allan Poe, trains, lighthouse keepers, forest rangers, patrol men, printers, zoo animals, and much more!"

See here. There is a free download from this collection(limited time). The sound quality is very good for vintage radio.

Old Time Radio Easter Shows

"Happy Easter from! Please enjoy these Easter-themed old time radio shows free to download from the Easter Collection. Read about each episode and listen to these special holiday shows!"

Minnesota School of the Air - (Drama)

"The Smallest Angel's Easter" from March 16, 1951
In this show intended for "Primary School" and young children: The very smallest angel in heaven wants to help get ready for the big day for Christ's homecoming to heaven--Easter!

Treasury Star Parade - (Drama)

"Easter Story" (Episode 34)
With beautiful choir music celebrating the Resurrection and Eastertide, this program features a dramatized monologue for Easter . A fictional German minister gives a sermon about the meaning of Easter during wartime. He prays that we are merciful to the Jews during WWII.

Ozzie & Harriet - (Comedy)

"Easter Sunrise Service " from April 17, 1949
Wishing you a happy Easter, Ozzie is determined to get Harriet, and the boys, David and Ricky Nelson, to wake up bright and attend the Easter services which begin at the crack of dawn... literally.

Burns and Allen - (Comedy)

Easter Program from March 25, 1948
Starring Hans Conrad, Gale Gordon, Frank Nelson, and of course George Burns and Gracie Allen: Gracie only has two shopping days left before Easter and she needs a new schmancy Easter Dress!

Comic Weekly Man - (Children / Comedy)

"Easter" from March 25, 1951
Enjoy the funny papers dramatized on a special Easter program from 1951 by the Comic Weekly Man!

Downloadshere. To download, right click on links and "save as".

Friday, April 15, 2011

DIY Leaf Mulch

Our new neighbor raked up twenty-six bags of leaves from his tree-filled backyard. Although we left him scratching his head, he handed us all twenty-six bags over the fence. We've spent several days on this project, emptying and mowing over these leaves with a mulching mower to make finely chopped leaf mulch. I was able to cover the beds in the backyard with this mulch. The bags also had a lot of tiny brittle sticks mixed in with the leaves. It was a heavy leaf mulch, and will make an excellent cover for weeds. It will hold in moisture during our hot summers, and provide plant fertilizer as it decays. Worms love eating through old leaves, so I'm hopeful for lots of worm castings among the plants.

We used to get free wood chips delivered by local tree cutting businesses, but for some reason they no longer do this. Leaf mulch is a frugal option.

Pictured: our tall white iris just about to bloom.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vintage April Blackboard Calendar

From a 1910 teachers education periodical. The dates are the same as 2011. Click on the image to enlarge and save.

"The Tree" Cut and Paste Nature Science Story, Elementary School

This might be fun to put together with drawings, and further research(extended study) by the student. Notebooking can to mind.

Click here.

To print and/or save, simply right click on the image of the page at the link.

April Teaching Guide: The Study of Buds(Elementary School)

From Primary Education, 1897: The Study of Buds, pages 135-136. Free and in public domain. To print and or save, right click on the image of the pages at the link.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy No Yeast Pizza Crust(Dough)

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt(less if you like it plainer)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients and then knead well by hand, adding oil if too dry. I use a few sprays of canola oil from a can to make it a bit more workable. Roll out or push out with fingers into a circle. I can make a thick one in a cake pan with this recipe, or one big thin crust one(pictured) on a pizza pan. The children really like this crust. It tastes like a Bisquick crust only better.

For the pizza, I use spaghetti sauce and a pre-packaged shredded pizza cheese mix.

These freeze well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Free Jon Gnagy Video Art Lessons

Broadcast in the 1940-1960's, Jon Gnagy's original learn-to-draw broadcasts. Each lesson is 10 minutes. Read more here.

Art lessons here(YouTube).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Apple Tree Seedlings

These sprouted quite well! My son saved all his apple seeds from his green apples, and they grew rather quickly from these seeds in a starter soil(dollar store) under plastic.

We'll be transplanting these in our garden when they grow larger.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Discounted Gift Cards

I saw an article in Times Magazine online about the savings benefits of purchasing discounted gift cards, and was one of the vendors mentioned. I tried it out last night and was able to purchase an AMC and Home Depot gift card at a combined savings of 16% - not bad! The AMC gift card will be an actual gift, and the Home Depot card will be used for a tile job in a bathroom.

Update: Forget I just got an email stating that they canceled my order because they couldn't get in touch with me to verify some information. I guess they tried to call me(but no messages?) because I never got any emails until today(almost two weeks)! What a hassle. Meanwhile Plastic Jungle sent out my discounted cards immediately, and I received them within a few days - much more professional, and better communication with emails when items are shipped, etc.

I'd recommend Plastic Jungle over Cardpool.

More DIY Pallet Furniture Ideas

I think these are from Norway. See more here at Stylizimo.

And here at French by Design

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Elementary Level Paragraph Writing Exercise: All Things Bright and Beautiful


1. Write a paragraph telling how insects prepare for winter. Correct the paragraph and copy it into your notebook for future use. Think of —

Cold — enemies — bees — caterpillars

2. Write a paragraph telling how insects leave their snug winter cradles.

Home Reading. — It is a sign of a gentle spirit to take note of the little creatures that people this great world of ours. Poets look into the meaning of all forms of life. They find things to say that you and I should never think of. Sometimes they say these things in a beautiful way, sometimes in a humorous or whimsical, yet delightful way, as you may learn from these poems: —

All Things Bright and Beautiful.—Cecil Frances Alexander. Ladybird, Ladybird. — Caroline B. Southey. How doth the Little Busy Bee. — Isaac Watts. The Bee and the Flower.—Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The Housekeeper. —. Charles Lamb. To a Butterfly. — William Wordsworth. White Butterflies. — Algernon Charles Swinburne. To an Insect. — Oliver Wendell Holmes. "He prayeth well who loveth well." — Samuel Taylor Coleridge (from the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner " ).

If possible, read one or more of the poems. Commit to memory one that pleases you.

See here for printable page. Right click on image of page at link to print and/or save.

From: Modern English: Elementary Lessons in English, 1906.

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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: