Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sweet Chicken with Tamarind, Apricots, and Chipotle Sauce

Recipe and photo tutorial here. I haven't tried this yet, but it looks delicious. Recipe is from Pati's Mexican Table.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Printable Domino Math Recording Sheet

See here. Click on "print" at link and you'll see an option for a PDF download, otherwise it goes to a PowerPoint document which requires an app.

If you slide the page into a plastic sleeve you can use a wipe-off pen, making it re-useable without having to reprint.

Original link here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Living History Revolutionary War Period(1776) Library Book Find(Grades 6-8)

Found at our public library today for my son(age 14): Going to School in 1776 by John J. Loeper, published in 1973. I've skimmed through it and liked what I saw. The writing is clear and crisp, packed full of historical information written in interesting small bites, shorts sections peppered with old wood cut prints from childrens' books of the time. Highly readable, light, and not dumbed down, this is a super living book for history studies, especially to wet the interest in history of that time period. Although the children's names have been changed in the book, all the the events are real, based on historical record. It covers everyday life of several children against the backdrop of the political and military drama of the Revolutionary War. This slice of life coverage helps add a face and heart to historical facts, a stepping stone to in-depth study, or adjunct to current studies.

Sections covered: The Word of 1776(historical background), Being a Child in 1776, How Children Dress in 1776, The Schools of 1776, The Teachers of 1776, The School Books of 1776, The Lessons of 1776, The Discipline of 1776, Being a Girl in 1776, and Having Fun in 1776.

Loeper also wrote Going to School in 1876, and about a dozen other living history books for children.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dishwashing Made a Pleasure

From Things Mother Used to Make (1914).

First of all, remove all refuse from the dishes.

Place them near the sink, large plates at the bottom, then the smaller ones, then saucers.

Have a large pan full of very hot water.

Make a good soap suds by using a soap shaker.

Wash the tumblers and all glassware first, and wipe at once.

Use a handle dish cloth (which can be bought for five cents), for these, as the water will be too hot for the hands.

Wash the silver next.

Have a large pan, in which to place the clean dishes, cups and bowls first.

When all are washed pour over them boiling or very hot water, and wipe quickly.

Pans and kettles come last.

Always have a cake of sand soap or a can of cleaning powder, for scouring the pie plates and bottoms of kettles.

It is very little work to keep baking tins and kitchen utensils in good condition, if washed perfectly clean each time they are used.

Wash the dish towels, at least once every day, and never use them for anything else. With clean hot water, clean towels, and plenty of soap dishwashing is made easy.

If you live in New England, your sink will be in front of a window. Be sure and plant just outside of this window nasturtiums, a bed of pansies, morning glories, and for fall flowers, salvia. These bright blossoms will add to your pleasure while washing dishes.

More about vintage dish washing and kitchen cleaning hints here, at Vintage Recipes.

Pictured here, my next sink: farmhouse sink with double drainboards. Ideally, I'd like to find a vintage one in good shape for the rounded edges where it mounts on the wall. I don't like the utilitarian look of the angular edges.

Modern dish hand-washing tips for water conservation:


• Turn it off. Don’t leave the faucet running constantly as you soap-up then rinse off each dish.

• Divide and conquer. If you have a double-basin sink, fill one side with wash water and the other with rinse water. You can reuse the rinse water for each dish, and then reuse it again to water your lawn.

• Aerate. You can increase the efficiency of your rinsing with an aerator that limits output from 2.5 gpm to 1.5 gpm or less (going below 1.5 gpm, however, may be frustrating, given the time it wou
ld take to fill up the sink).

• Do you even need to rinse? In some European countries, water costs are so high that people wash their dishes and then just wipe the sudsy water off, without rinsing.

- From This or That: Dishwasher vs. Hand-Washing

Cute pink gloves from Oilcloth Alley.

Children's Art: Butterfield Horse from Twigs

We'll be making this tomorrow(first grade art). Our backyard is filled twigs after mulch mowing the Autumn leaves and oak tree debris. All that's needed is twigs, glue, and construction paper. We'll draw the picture first for an outline, and fill it in with the twigs, cut or snapped to size. I'll use some dead fluffy plant fibers(from the yard) for hair.

End of the Year Thrifty Thrifter

The end of the tax year approaches and that means a rush of last minute donations to non-profit thrift stores. If you enjoy thrift bargains, the end of this week, and the first week of January are ideal times to find many good quality items for the home and wardrobe. Some of the larger well known thrift stores will be packed with merchandise during the next week or two.

Not tax related, but I've noticed that our Craigslist had a good number more offers for kitchen ranges(other appliances) in very good condition. Many people swap out their stoves for new ones that were purchased at discounted Christmas prices. And some of them were not that old, a few had active warranties.

Are you a Night Owl or an Early Riser?

Just for fun, Morning and Evening Types: Exploring Their Personality Styles, Juan Francisco Díaz-Morales, Personality and Individual Differences:

...morning and evening types think differently. Early risers prefer to gather knowledge from concrete information. They reach conclusions through logic and analysis. Night owls are more imaginative and open to unconventional ideas, preferring the unknown and favoring intuitive leaps on their way to reaching conclusions. Social behavior diverges as well: Morning people are more likely to be self-controlled and exhibit “upstanding” conduct; they respect authority, are more formal, and take greater pains to make a good impression. (Earlier research also suggests that they are less likely to hold radical political opinions.) Evening people, by contrast, are “independent” and “nonconforming,” and more reluctant to listen to authority—which suggests that teachers may have several reasons to prefer those students who wake up in time for class. Read more here(scroll to bottom).Link

Hmm, I'm an night owl, but not a rebel in the strictest sense. I do like being independent and imaginative though. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bringing Back the Lard

From Lard: The New Health Food?, Food & Wine online:

In response to the news that New York City's health commissioner had asked local restaurants to stop using cooking oils containing trans fats, comparing them to such hazards as lead and asbestos, Kummer proposed that we bring back lard, "the great misunderstood fat." Lard, he cheerfully reporte, contains just 40 percent saturated fat (compared with nearly 60 percent for butter). Its level of monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat) is "a very respectable 45 percent," he noted, "double butter's paltry 23 or so percent." Kummer hinted that if I wanted to appreciate the virtues of this health food, I needed to fry shoestring potatoes or a chicken drumstick.
Read more here.

Homemade Lard Recipes, including Polish smalec.

Salo: Salo is a traditional Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian food: cured slabs of fatback (rarely pork belly), with or without skin.

Homemade Lard(Vintage Recipes)

Monday, December 26, 2011

1910 Paper Doll Kitchen

Follow link below picture to enlarge(click on "full size" at link) and save for printing.

Keeping it Simple, A 1910 Kitchen

A 1910 New England restored New England kitchen - simple, utilitarian, warm. This is going to be the inspiration for my new kitchen(someday). I'm considering a minimalistic freestanding kitchen without traditional cabinetry.

Thinking About a Shikibuton Futon Mattress

I've had a platform bed for years, but lately I've been thinking about purchasing a Shikibuton, an authentic Japanese mattress(futon). Unlike the American style futon, which can be very lumpy and hard, the authentic Japanese futons(Shikibutons) are very comfortable. I've slept on them during my travels as a child, and my parents had one for years as a temporary guest bed.

I've found a few companies which make these by hand in the United States. One of them is in New Hampshire, J-Living; and another hand makes these in New Jersey, White Lotus Home. Right now I'm partial to one made by White Lotus because it is thicker and comes with a wool outer layer, if desired. White Lotus Home does not add perfumes, formaldehyde, or dyes to the natural fibers and materials. They also offer certified organic cotton for a bit more. Custom sizes can be made to order.

J-Living looks like the more authentic of the two Japanese futons. It has no wool outer layer and is made only with the traditional dense cotton batting. It can be easily folded away. Futon covers can be made to order with Japanese fabric, and they sell the Kakebuton, a traditional comforter.

I wonder if these Shikibutons will feel the same as I remember? We'll be using a tatami mat as a base. Reviews on both brands of futons have been favorable, so I hope it's a good experience when we purchase these.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Instructions for Vintage Adoration of the Kings Wall Hanging

I love these vintage crafts. This one is from the early 1960's and has a mid-century modern vibe to it. Printable instructions here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DIY Candle Stick Apothecary Jars

" You will need 3 candlesticks. They were primed, then spray painted green. The jars were old Fry's salsa jars soaked in bleach solution and labels peeled off. The lids were spray painted to match the candlesticks. Lastly, the jars were glued onto the candlesticks with gorilla glue."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Indoor Garden Grow Light System

I am still mulling over the idea of an indoor vegetable garden. This adjustable height grow light looks promising, and I may get this with Christmas money. I would love to grow green peppers, carrots, and cucumber indoors during the winter. Last winter, I experimented with indoor cucumber gardening and got one small cucumber(self pollinating organic) with no grow light, but full sunlight through a southwest facing window. I bet with grow lights I'd get much more. This one below is about $50.00.

Hydrofarm Jump Start Grow Light System

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Budget of Christmas Tales by Charles Dickens, An Anthology of English and American Christmas Tales, 1895

Unfortunately this book is no longer available via a PDF download at Google Books; however, you can read it on several devices. See the link for details; click on Read Book at the link. You can also read it online. I've switched the format to HTML, so you can right click on the image of the page to save individual pages to print or read later.

See here for contents and to read online, or save individual pages, or read via apps on your devices. Offered free at Google Books.

Free downloads at Project Gutenberg(just noticed this).

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mulch Autumn Leaves, Skip the Bags

With all this nice weather we've been having, the past two days have been spent on leaf clean-up. Instead of bagging them, we rake and blow them into big piles and mow over. We've got a mulching mower which makes short work of the leaves, chopping them into little pieces. Much of this remains on the grass to sift down to the soil as natural fertilizer. The excess is raked into piles, and shoveled off into the beds for mulch. We end up doing this several times in the fall in order to catch all the leaves, and make sure the leaves are chopped small enough.

Reason for leaf mulching:
  • Saves money on bags
  • Add nutrients back to the soil(free fertilizer)
  • Helps the soil retain moisture
  • Insulates plants from the winter cold
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Make sure your mower blade is sharp
  • Lower blade to about 2.5 inches high
  • Mow twice or thrice to thoroughly chop up leaves.
Here's a good link on how to compost your leaves over the winter.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dollar Map Coloring Books

I found these map coloring books at the Dollar Tree today. I'll add pictures of some the inside pages once my camera is operational again. They are nicely detailed with pull out maps, flags, and highlights of each country/state. Picture and links are from

Maps to Color and Learn Europe

Maps to Color and Learn United States

What's Important

Marjorie Pay Hinckley - “I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Little Christmas Shopping

I ordered this last night for my daughter:

Inchimals by Fat Brain Toys

Product Description from Amazon:
Inchimals is a set of 12 beautifully crafted, and thoughtfully designed wooden blocks which measure from 1" in height (the tiny ladybug) to the 12 " tall towering giraffe. Children learn math and have fun at the same time by combining the Inchimal blocks with the 100 write-on and wipe-off math puzzles. Kids explore counting, number value and recognition, scale, fine motor skills, language, and imagination. For ages 3 years and up. It can also be used for adding and subtracting.

She'll think this is more game than learning. I hope it's a hit.

I also got her a Blocks & Marbles Maze Super Set for her marble collection. She already makes her own marble ball runs with stuff around the house, so I think she'll love this.

About Me

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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: