Monday, August 8, 2011

Super Sale! 50 - 70% Savings Storewide!

In order to completely revamp our product line, I am currently offering everything on the site at a superb discount: 

50% off all babywearing items, and 70% off EVERYTHING else!

Visit today to take advantage of these awesome savings (WAY below cost), and be sure to let your friends know, too!

Plus, as an extra bonus, every 10th order - from this date on - will receive free shipping on their entire order! (it will be refunded to you)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crystallized Ginger Recipes

Last week I gave you a recipe for making your own crystallized ginger. Today I'm giving you some recipes that call for crystallized ginger.

Gingerbread Scones
(I don't remember where this one came from)
2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut in butter. Add egg, molasses, milk, vanilla, ginger, and raisins; stir just until combined. Pat into 8" circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Using a floured knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Note: The original recipe didn't call for crystallized ginger, but I think it makes a great addition.

Soft Ginger Cookies
(from King Arthur Flour)
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup soft diced ginger (crystallized ginger may be substituted, finely chopped)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup light molasses

Cream the butter, sugar, spices, salt, and baking soda until well blended. Beat in the egg and ginger, then the flour, alternately with the molasses. Refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight; it needs to be stiff enough to handle easily.

Roll half the dough about 1/4" thick on a floured surface. Cut into whatever shapes you like. Transfer cookies to an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until they're puffy and the edges are firm. Remove them from the oven and cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Run to the kitchen and get started! Don't forget a glass of cold milk. You're gonna need it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homemade Crystallized Ginger

I love adding little pieces of cyrstallized ginger to my gingerbread man cookies and gingerbread scones, but it's so expensive! At least it is in my town. I can't remember how much it is at Whole Foods, but it really doesn't matter since the nearest one is about 3 hours away. On the rare occasion I'm there, I buy a big bag. I searched the internet and found a recipe that sounded good. It was! I tweaked it just a tad and here it is.

10 oz fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup water

Combine ginger, 2 cups sugar, and water in a large, heavy pan. Bring to a very slow simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. The ginger will become translucent and the sugar will crystallize on the edge of the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar on baking sheet. Lay drained ginger on sugar. Toss the ginger in the sugar when the ginger has cooled enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Store in airtight container. The syrup that's left in the pan can be used on pancakes.

A word of caution: if you're used to the store-bought kind, try a SMALL piece of this. It'll light you up. I don't think I'll dump a cup of this in my gingerbread man cookies. Maybe half a cup. Or maybe a fourth.

And now for some pictures. Because I like pictures :)

Scrape the skin off the ginger with a spoon.

Unpeeled ginger and peeled ginger.

I sliced it as thin as I could.


Just out of the pan and HOT.

All done!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Accidentally Stole a Watermelon

I know what you're thinking. "How can you accidentally steal a watermelon?!" Well, I'll tell you in a minute. My husband asked the same question when I sent him a message last week asking him to go by the grocery store and pay for it. He e-mailed our family the conversation he thought he would have with the manager. Our family thought this was hilarious so, against my better judgement, I've reproduced this hypothetical conversation below. I hope it brings you a chuckle.

Hubby: My wife accidentally stole a watermelon from your store this morning.
Manager: Oh yeah? How did that happen?
Hubby: I have no idea. My wife told me to go pay for it.
Manager: So she can get out of jail?
Hubby: I don't think so.
Manager: We don't have a way to ring that up.
Hubby: Silence.
Manager: How much was it?
Hubby: I have no idea.
Manager: What was the bar code?
Hubby: You've got to be kidding!
Manager: What kind of melon was it?
Hubby: I have no idea.
Manager: Are you sure she "accidentally" stole just one?
Hubby: She only mentioned one.
Manager: I guess she got it from the box outside?
Hubby: I don't think that would be an accident.
Manager: I don’t think so either.
Hubby: So how do you want to do this?
Manager: I have no idea!

So this is what happened...
After an hour at the library and an hour at WalMart (where I had to park half a mile from the store in 98-degree weather) with two kids, I stopped at Krogers. I was pushing one of those buggies with the car on the front. The kids were "driving" and honking at the other customers. I put the watermelon under the buggy to leave room in the buggy for shopping bags (save the planet!), strawberries, cherries, lettuce, bananas, onions, tofu, brisket, chicken, cheese, 3 gallons of milk, and eggs. After unloading (what I thought was all) my groceries onto the conveyor belt, making sure there were still two kids in the "car," and handing over my loyalty card so as not to be overcharged $30, I began sacking my groceries. (I was excited to do this because it meant there was no way the brisket was gonna end up on top of the bananas.) I ran my credit card through the machine, signed the electronic dotted line, and went outside to load stuff in the car. I got half the groceries unpacked when I saw that @%#*$% watermelon. No way was I gonna leave the groceries (including the butter and chocolate I had gotten at WalMart) and take two kids BACK into Krogers to pay for a $7 watermelon.

My sweet hubby did swing by Krogers and pay for the watermelon :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Where to Begin

Homeschooling can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. My daughter will be starting first grade this fall. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a boxed curriculum, I decided to create my own. There are several places to find a curriculum or scope and sequence for various grade levels. You might be able to get one from your local public or private school. Here are some websites I consulted:

A Beka scope and sequence nursery through grade 12
Time 4 Learning scope and sequence preschool through grade 8
BJU Press scope and sequence preschool through grade 12

I found a couple of textbooks at Goodwill and the Women's Shelter Resale Shop. A friend of mine who is no longer homeschooling gave me some books. Most of our "textbooks" will come from our public library and university library. I picked up a math workbook at the Women's Shelter for $0.59! And it just happens to be the level we need! If I hadn't found that, I was planning to buy the workbooks from Horizons. My cousin uses their math curriculum so I got to look over hers and I really liked it. I may use it next year.

The following sites have a variety of worksheets, activities, and crafts. Some of the activities would be fun for kids to do on the weekends or during summer, not just for homeschooling. Some of the sites are geared toward younger kids.

A to Z Teacher Stuff
Easy Fun School
Family Education
TLS Books
The Home School Mom
Super Teacher Worksheets
DLTK's Sites

If you've been homeschooling for a while, you probably have a list of favorite sites. If you're just getting started, I hope these will help you. I think I've got a science activity/experiment for every week! I'll probably be posting some sites by topic later. Having them categorized is helping me find what I want more easily.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Homeschool Mom

I've been scouring the internet for free materials to use with Olivia, so I've got homeschooling on the brain. I stumbled across a site the other day with the following ad for a homeschool mom. Some of the responsibilities and characteristics apply to all mothers but other parts are more specific to homeschool moms. I had to share it!

Now accepting applications:
Family seeking fun-loving, godly homeschool teacher. Applicant will be responsible for providing total educational development and daily personal care for children of multiple ages. Applicant will assume the following roles: cook, housemaid, nurse, taxi driver, administrative assistant, accountant, athletic coach, social director, computer technician, household and automotive repairman, gardener, course instructor in multiple subject areas and grade levels, and various other responsibilities. This is a full-time position — approximately 120 hours or more per week. Qualified candidates must be able to work well under pressure, multi-task, and prioritize work loads while maintaining a friendly, enthusiastic attitude. Quick thinking, good memory, and a varied background in extensive subject matter are a must. Promising candidates will be resourceful, adjust easily to distractions, and display creative, hard-working leadership abilities. Organizational and problem solving skills are a plus. Previous teaching experience and/or college preferred, but is not required. If you're interested in working in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment, this is the position for you! For more information on this exciting opportunity to earn fulfilling, one-of-a-kind rewards, please apply in person today.

I also found some great homeschooling advocacy products at CafePress. Here are a few of them that I may just have to order.

You might be homeschooled if... t-shirt
You know you are a homeschool mom when... t-shirt
My mom is the principal... t-shirt

There are also bumper stickers and t-shirts that say "I have seen "the village" and I don't want it raising my child."

In the next few weeks I'll share some websites that have free materials and activities. These are not just for homeschooling. They have worksheets that could be used if your child needs extra practice. Some of the activities and experiments would be fun to do with your kids during summer or spring break.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Music for Children

We love music - listening to it and playing it. I started playing the clarinet in the 6th grade and played it through high school. I also picked up the alto sax in high school. I can play tunes on the guitar and mandolin but never learned the chords. (That's one of the many things I'd like to do.) Hubby plays guitar (chords and melodies) and took some piano lessons. We used to play guitar and mandolin together quite frequently...before kids. Kids seem to take up a lot of time! And it's hard to play when a 2-year-old is plunking on the strings. Hopefully we'll be able to play more as the kids get older.

Olivia and Jesse like listening to music and playing around on the keyboard. Lately Olivia has shown an interest in reading music and picking out tunes. I've been helping her with the notes - we've been talking about their names, where they are on the keyboard, and how many counts they get. I plan to include music in our homeschooling. I want to study music not only for its own sake, but it will help her with math. Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes = fractions! Music and math are closely related. Scales follow a pattern of whole steps and half steps. Chords are also mathematical. It's not uncommon for people who do well in math to do well in music and vice versa.

I've been trying to expose Olivia (and Jesse, too, when appropriate) to a variety of music. Olivia has been to Phantom of the Opera (Dallas), Riverdance (Orange), Lord of the Dance (Tyler), Oliver (community theater), The Little Mermaid (university theater), and others. Both kids have been to programs the library sponsored that featured bluegrass, harp, and opera. We have plans to take them to Beauty and the Beast (university theater).

You might check with your local university or college and see what they have to offer. They probably have child-friendly performances. They may also offer Kindermusik or music lessons. If you're not in the Nacogdoches area, these sites will give you an idea of what you may find in your area.

Below are a few websites I found this week that I plan to use when working with Olivia. Although my husband and I have lots of sheet music, not all of it is suitable for beginners. These sites offer a variety of music - from quarter and half notes in the key of C to more complicated pieces.

Blank Sheet Music Print blank sheet music. You can add treble clef, bass clef, time signature, and key signature.

Music Tech Teacher Lots of things to print, including treble and bass notes and ledger lines on the staff, sharps, flats, major scales, rhythms and rests.

8Notes Free sheet music of varying degrees of difficulty and for a variety of instruments.

Take a Piano Sheet Music Break Free piano music of varying degrees of difficulty, as well as lessons.