Monday, January 30, 2012

More Fancy Snowflake Templates

Click to enlarge, or follow link below image to full size version. These are fun, but my fingers are killing me! ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frugal Effective Moisturizer - Crisco Shortening

After reading about the excellent moisturizing properties of Crisco shortening, I finally tried it on my face and hands. It works better than any of the natural oils that I use, and doesn't break me out. Crisco absorbed quickly, and my hands remained soft even through frequent hand washings. It has balanced my face which is middle aged and temperamental; I alternate between dry and blemish prone. Best of all, it doesn't stay greasy and has no odor. This is definitely something that I will continue to use on my skin. It may be too heavy for the summer, but I usually go moisturizer free during the warmer months.

Read reviews here at Make-up Alley.

Also see: Benefits of Crisco on Eczema



Monday, January 23, 2012

Library Finds: International Fairy Tale and Folktale Picture Books

Random fairy tale and folktale books that we enjoyed this week. All are from different countries which is great for extending learning to geography. Preschool - grade two.

Very short and a bit silly: Tikki Tikki Tembo, a Chinese tale. The boy's purposely ridiculous long name will get a giggle with younger children, especially while the parent struggles to pronounce it!

A classic Irish tale, beautifully illustrated and medium length for older "littles": The Children of Lir

Humorous retelling for young children: The Monkey and the Crocodile: A Jataka Tale India by Paul Galdone

A tale from Spain(Moorish Iberia):Miller, the Boy and the Donkey, Based on the La Fontaine fable by Brian Wildsmith

Exciting third person, lyrical retelling of the final, "and most difficult, labor of Hercules, known as Heracles in Greek mythology, in which he must go to Underworld and bring back the three-headed dog, Cerberus". Beautifully illustrated and just short enough to catch the interest of small children. Hercules

The Magic Grove: A Persian Folktale

Lusciously illustrated Persian(modern day Iran) tale, surprisingly Christian in tone, only because I'm ignorant of Persian values and morals(I'm sure). The characters of this lovely tale of love and compassion continue to choose others before themselves despite desperate hardships. They are rewarded in the end for their kindness to some fantastic birds(of grace?) whose lives are spared.

The age old classic Greek myth, King Midas and the Golden Touch

Source of world map.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Shadow Puppets

Active storytelling.

I'm reading Grimm's fairy tales to my daughter. I might have to try this.

Lots of ideas here.

Many free to print vintage silhouettes here.

Printable puppet stage.

Washing Painted Walls

I was thinking the only way to brighten up our walls was to repaint, but I've spent a few days wiping down the walls top to bottom, and they are so much brighter! I take the time to spot clean every week, but this thorough cleaning made a bigger impression of cleanliness. I found that a dampened microfiber towel wrung out with dishwashing soap removed dirt the best. Some of my spray cleaners that I've used in the past were too strong and caused paint to fade, especially on my door frames and wall corners in heavy traffic areas.

I rinsed the towel in clean water frequently and worked from top to bottom in a circular motion. Our walls are especially tough to clean because they are textured with plaster swirls. I use Palmolive dish soap, and this gets all the grubby hand prints, pen and watercolor marks, and other kiddie "art" out of the crevices and off of the wall.

Anyway, I think we'll get another few years out of our wall paint before I need to repaint. I got a good work out for my arms as well!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Early Spring?

View from my window today. It's oddly spring-like this winter. I've even got daffodils and radish coming up! Our spring bushes are heavy with buds. I'll be back...I've been deep cleaning the house this week, and purging collections of outgrown toys and clothes. Tomorrow is donation day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Zero Cost Preschool Math

My daughter is too old for this, but the simplicity of this idea caught my eye. I think those are toilet paper rolls holding the number places. The sticks are nice for little hands to hold, and not likely to be a choking hazard like small round counters. Fun for children to collect and break as well.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Children's Bathroom Organization

I am so doing this! I'll have them use the longer space for toothpaste

Discounted Gift Cards - Money Back on Purchases

In January, people begin unloading their unwanted Christmas gift cards, so it is a good time to purchase discounted gift cards. Mostly, I use Plastic Jungle to purchase gift cards at a discount, and stick to merchants that I use regularly like Jiffy Lube, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Rite Aid, etc. Plastic Jungle is an online place to buy and sell gift cards. Plastic Jungle buys from individuals, and sells the cards at a discount online. All cards are verified and guaranteed by Plastic Jungle. I was able to get a Barnes & Noble gift card last night at an 11% discount(off face value), and it does not expire, so I can take my time using it. Since it's a gift card and just like cash, I can pair coupons with it and my member discount. This adds up to some nice savings.

Shipping is free and fast. I've had nothing but good experiences with Plastic Jungle. They offer e-gift cards as well, but I like to have the ones I can use both one and off-line.

Because Boxes are Fun and Useful

My daughter made this doll house the other day, and it works as a portable craft table as well! She has been carrying it upstairs to color or paint on it while I do chores. We've got a children's chair(thrifted for a $1.00 last week) that is just the right height for it.

To waterproof a cardboard box table, cover it with contact paper.

Nature Crafting: Winter Pinecone Man

Click on "Source" above to see directions.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tea Party Kittens

Today at tea-time, I was instructed to cover the tea party with numerous pictures of the goings-on. That's Fluffy; she's one of those motion activated Fur Real cats.

It was a welcomed break from helping my son with a unit on Polynomial Algebra(gag). The (real) cat was making a nuisance of himself anyway.

This guy wasn't invited, even though he eventually grew hands to hold the cups(which seemed to improve his mood). I'll make sure he's included next time.

Winter, The Phlegmatic Temperament

"...Sir Winter is also motivated by his physical being. Winter prefers to communicate in action and pictures and not as much with words. When one walks out into a winter wonderland they don’t hear the laughter of the summer brook, the chirping of spring birds, or the chattering of autumn squirrels. Instead one must switch their focus to the visual and the physical and notice the sloping snow drifts, the gently dripping icicles, and the physical beauty of each snowflake. When winter wants to communicate he does not shout, cry or laugh – he moves. Winter’s philosophy in life is “don’t talk about it – do it.”

However, as much as Sir Winter likes to keep to himself and is motivated by his own inner world, he can also be influenced to change by others. A snow-drift can be transformed into a snow-fort, a pile of sticky snow can become a snow-man, ice on the walk can be melted by salt and an avid skier can create modern art on Sir Winter’s powdery white surface. To the casual observer Sir Winter may seem impenetrable. However, to those that know him well, the secrets to bringing him out of his comfort zone are revealed. Because above all, the comfort zone is what matters most to Sir Winter."

What a wonderful description of the Phlegmatic temperament. Read more here. We've got an entire household full of Phlegmatics right down to the cat! ;) It's a winter landscape here, although my daughter has a few drops of sunshine(Sanguine).

More about the four personality temperaments(Waldorf homeschool) here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

Craft Some Gold Brick Bookends

I need to try this. Simply spray paint a brick gold...or silver, or any favorite color.

Craft a Mini-winter Scene

Now I just need to find a brandy type glass at the thrift or dollar store.

General Cleaning of a Room, 1918

From Household Science in Rural Schools (1918):
"Rooms which are in constant use should be swept and dusted every day. A thorough cleaning of each room in the house will be necessary every week or two, even though the room is swept and kept in order daily. First, all cupboards, drawers, and other receptacles in which articles collect should be cleaned; then all large movable articles should be dusted and moved out of the room; those that are not readily movable should be dusted and covered. The floor should be swept with the windows open; the ceiling and walls should be brushed with a covered broom, and the dust allowed to settle. The floor should then be wiped with a damp cloth on the broom. If the floor is of unfinished-wood, it will require a thorough scrubbing. After sweeping the floor and allowing the dust to settle, a small portion at a time should be scrubbed with a floor-brush and soap. When scrubbing, the grain of the wood should be followed. The scrubbing-water should be changed frequently. For rinsing and drying the floor, a cloth should be wrung out of clear water. The woodwork should be cleaned with a damp cloth and a soap that is not too strong. Soda or sapolio should not be used. The furniture should be carefully uncovered, and everything arranged in perfect order.

The things that are highest should be dusted first, and care should be taken to collect all the dust in the dust-cloth. After collecting the dust, the cloth should be shaken out-of-doors, washed thoroughly, and boiled. The dust-cloth should be dampened before using on all surfaces except the polished furniture and windows.

Sweeping should be done with short strokes and the broom should be kept close to the floor, so that the dust will not be scattered. The corners of the room should be swept first, the dust gathered in the center, and then swept into the dust-pan. The dust should be burned, for it may contain disease germs. Loose hairs and fluff should be removed from the broom after using, and it should also be washed periodically.

Small rugs should be cleaned out-of-doors. They should be swept, beaten, and re-swept, then rolled until ready to be put on the floor. If the rug is a large one and cannot be removed, it should be wiped over with a damp cloth, rolled, and the under side of the rug and the floor beneath it should be wiped.

After the room has been cleaned, the windows should be arranged so that a supply of fresh, clean air can come constantly into it. This is essential to every room in the house, if perfect health is to be maintained."

Wow! Now that's a clean room. I need a carpet beater.

Beatrix Potter and Originality

Thank goodness I was never sent to school. It would have rubbed off some of the originality. ~Beatrix Potter portrait and quote

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: