Saturday, September 24, 2011

This Week's Picture Book Library Picks

Two quality young children's picture book finds this week from our public library:

A bit like Aesop's Fables, The Lion and the Mouse, the Snail and the Whale book by Julia Donaldson is a cute story written in clever rhyming prose about an adventurous snail who meets a friendly whale willing to take him beyond his small world on a rock. After a trip around the world, the little snail finds a way to rescue the whale when they find themselves beached.

The Pea Blossom
A story about a pea, set in Beijing, China, who put his trust in faith. His purpose is revealed in the end upon the healing of a little girl with a chronic illness who miraculously heals after he blooms in front of her sick bed window. Although, not expressively mentioned, this book could easily be interpreted from a Christian standpoint of having faith, and letting God guide us to our life's purpose.

Review from Amazon:

K-Gr. 2. In this lovely retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Pea Blossom," five little peas wait impatiently in the sun to ripen. The first four peas have grand aspirations--one wishes to dine with the emperor; another plans to visit the moon--but the fifth and last little pea declares, "I shall go wherever it is that I am meant to." The fifth pea's destiny is to land on the windowsill of a gravely ill young girl, where it sprouts into a beautiful, blooming plant that brings about miraculous healing: "As the peas grew fat in their pods, so did the girl thrive and become healthy again." Choosing to set her version in Beijing, China, Poole illustrates her simple, elegant prose with watercolors on rice paper that are clearly reminiscent of Chinese paintings. The delicate, graceful scenes are imbued with just the right touch of whimsy; children will particularly enjoy the expressive faces of the anthropomorphic peas. A poignant read-aloud that will enhance any folktale collection. Jennifer Locke

Free original story by Hans Christan Anderson here. To print and/or save, simply right click on the images of the pages.

Paper Chain Craft Templates

Simple fun and free to print. See here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Make a Large Decorative Driftwood Sailboat

Even though summer is almost over, these would still be fun to make if you have access to driftwood. It's on my list, and this is a great time to look for seaside driftwood, after the all the storms and hurricanes.

See here for post.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Organize Your Measuring Spoons and Cups

If you don't mind putting holes in your cabinet, this is a great idea to keep organized. I am always searching for my measuring spoons and cups.
Picture and idea from here. I might try this with that sticky picture hanger tape instead of screws

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Store Sheets Neatly Away

Sheets folded and stuffed into the matching pillow case.

If I could get them to fit, this would be a great idea!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The 50 Best Websites of 2011

Time Magazine ran this article recently. Interesting educational choices:


Read more here.

The only one I've used in the past is Starfall, which really is excellent. I haven't checked out the other sites in depth.

Helpful Home Economic Tutorials

Super quick housekeeping instructionals to watch and read. Although they are not made specifically for young people, I think they are helpful for tweens and up, who are just learning to do housekeeping chores.

Indira Fernandez with Cinderella's Cleaning Services in Houston, Texas(videos and transcripts):

How to Vacuum Efficiently

15-Minute Bathroom Cleanup

How to Do a 15-Minute Kitchen Cleanup

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maine Couple's Stylish Frugal Lifestyle on $17,000 a year

Mr. Fleming and Ms. Wurst are a couple with a talent for living and for furnishing a home stylishly on a budget. Their annual income these days is about $17,000, now that Ms. Wurst has stopped teaching to spend more time with their son, and Mr. Fleming is concentrating on his artwork and home-furnishings business, Designs Adrift.

They decorated their home for just under $4,000, and the furnishings in their living room came to $828: that includes the priciest item, a $150 sofa from the Brimfield, Mass., antiques market, slipcovered in an antique linen sheet; mirrors created out of discounted glass remnants for which Mr. Fleming made driftwood frames; and the plant stand, the small grass rug, the ottoman and the shelves.

Ms. Wurst’s favorite shopping site: a parked trailer at the Phippsburg dump.

“Some days it’s pure excitement, running back to the car to unload armfuls of stuff, only to go back for more!” she wrote in an e-mail. “It’s amazing what people throw out. I have found completely new (still in packaging) items such as my Bodum tea press/pot and even down throw pillows (still in packaging) and a fabulous ’50s-style wall-mounted can opener.”

She added, “It’s perfectly suited for the pantry in this house and we needed one and it was free.
Read rest here.

Check out the slide show of their home at the link, just beautiful.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Extending the Table Cookbook: Ginger Tea

In the spirit of the More-with-Less Cookbook(eat better, use less), this book, Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook covers recipes for frugally prepared food and drink from across the world, mainly from under-developed parts of the world. I'm working my way through this cookbook. Tomorrow I plan to try an African(Kenya) recipe for ginger tea.

2 cups water
1 Tbsp diced ginger root
Simmer for ten minutes

5 tsp black tea leaves
Simmer for 3-5 minutes
Add: 2 cups hot milk

Friday, September 09, 2011

Young Children's Dice Math Game

ThinkFun Math Dice Jr.

My daughter actually picked this out at Barnes & Noble with some birthday money from grandma. This kind of shocked(that she picked it) and excited me at the same time! Woo-hoo, learning games that she actually enjoys. This is something you could make yourself with a few dice and a handmade number wheel, but for the price, it's an affordable option. Adding(and subtracting) is learned quickly with this set. The number die is twelve sided. Ages 6 and up.

Math Dice Game Ideas

Check Utilities for Discounts and Rebates

Recently, I checked all our utility websites for discounts. I found a few good deals like rebates for an October heating tune-up, free programmable thermostat, free rain barrel(make and take workshop), rebates on energy star water and HVAC units, $40.00 back on enrollment in energy saving program, discounted light bulbs, and a free energy audit. They also had some free .pdf printables and facility tours for children. Some years offer better discounts than others. It's worth checking out.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Vintage September Child Birthday Verse Printable

I found this in a 1910 teacher's magazine. To enlarge click on image, and then right click on image to print/save.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Vintage 1910 September Blackboard Calendar

I print out these old calendars for our homeschool. This one was found in a 1910 teacher's periodical. To print, click on image to enlarge and right click.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Someone is Turning Six

We had a pizza lunch and some fun at Chuck E. Cheese today for my daughter's birthday.

The cake was a simple low calorie white cake with a sour cream and vanilla pudding frosting. The butterfly was made with a cut-out of an image found here. The template was printed out in 8x5. All you do is cut out the middle, apply it to a frosted cake, and frost in a different color and/or add sprinkles. After you frost, just peel the template off carefully. In order to make room for the pink frosting, I ended up skimming off some of the bottom yellow frosting while the template was in place. Otherwise, the template frosting would have stood higher on the cake.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

DIY Replacements for Velcro Wood Play Sets

This is a Melissa & Doug set which had a missing cookie top. I was able to reproduce the missing piece with some thin pressed board and some very sharp utility scissors(Friskars Shop Snip 8.0), both found at a big box store. The pressed board was free, discarded in the wood scraps bin.

Easy directions:

Trace the missing part, cut, sand, and paint. Apply the appropriate side of self adhesive velcro, also found at a big box store, to the back. I used some craft paint that we got from a thrift store, a big bag full of small individual paint pots in many different colors.I'm guessing it is acrylic. I think I've seen these sets at Wallyworld in the crafting aisle. The piece came out a bit larger, but passed muster with my daughter.

It's a bit hard on the hands to cut, but I was thinking about making a velcro pizza set - good for teaching fractions as well as pretend. A jig-saw(don't have one) would be much easier, but the snips do cut fairly well through the thin particle board. Circles are the most difficult to navigate, requiring numerous straight cuts in, and discarding sections before being able to work around.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Printable Vintage Paper Cut-out: Whimsical Squirrel Family Carrying Home Acorns

Completed today for an autumn unit study. We lightened the original before printing to make coloring easier. Not bad for a free printable from 1917. I had to made extra cardboard supports in the back to make it stand.

Click here for the free printable. Simply right click on the image at the link to enlarge and save. It comes with a little story and instructions.

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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: