Friday, April 29, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Study what worked in the past

Food prices, along with everything else, are skyrocketing.  I just saw that it costs almost $6.50 for four sticks of organic butter at the food store!  I can't help but think there's got to be a better way, especially in light of all I have read in Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind.  The more I learn about the past and frugal living though, the more I realize how ignorant and how little I know!  So this week I took the girls on a field trip to Fosterfields Living Farm in Morris, NJ where they churned up some real organic butter that cost nothing but a little bit of work! 
Fosterfields Living Historical Farm is a 200-acre National Register Historic Site demonstrating farm life as it was 100 years ago.  It is complete with farm animals, crops, period furnishings, and machinery from the turn of the 20th century.  The girls had a blast and we had a refreshing insight into the way things used to be.

churning some cream into butter

wood stove

ice box

laundry time!

I follow the blog "Raising Homemakers" and really enjoyed her post this week on Simple Homemaking - A Return to My Roots.  In it she talks about the book The American Frugal Housewife which I discovered you can get for free on your Kindle (and I did!).  I started reading it last night and it is full of tips and encouragement. 
I also highly recommend Agrarian Nation for a look at the old agricultural writings written between 1825 and 1900.

Also, jump on over to the Vintage Healthy Home Link-Up for some more encouragement!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

HSV Garden Challenge Post #2

We have been away from home so I honestly have no idea how our gardens back home are doing.  Between not being able to care for the garden and the recent tornados that moved through the area, I am thinking that we may need to replant when we return home.  So far we had planted peas, spinach, kale, parsley, basil, beets, and broccoli.  We plan on planting okra, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, and rosemary.  Also tossing around the idea of planting some sweet potatoes, strawberries, or other kind of berry.

Before we left we were able to eat some peas from our garden and I dehydrated lots of yummy parsley!  "M" LOVES the peas!  She would eat handfuls of them at a time.  You can see my blog on that here. 

One of the first projects we did at Grammy and PopPop's house was plant some basil and parsley in mini pots.  "M" cares for and waters these plants as necessary.

Swing by the Homeschool Village to read about what others are doing as part of their Garden Challenge! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vacations are for Laughter

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

Tot School Tuesday - Vacations are for Learning

Vacations are such wonderful opportunities for learning!  They are full of new experiences and teachable moments.  I brought a few printables which you will see highlighted in next week's Tot School Tuesday, but for the most part our daily activities and adventures are guiding our learning.

To get there we had to drive on a 13 mile bridge/tunnel!
Teaching moments:
How to sign bridge in ASL.
Opposites "over" and "under".
Definition of "island".

Near my sister's house is a hiking trail through First Landing State Park which runs through a forest and swamp.  Along the trail they had a hut and canoe.  We learned about the parts of a tree (roots, trunk, branch, and leaves).
Some of our observations:
Roots made the ground bumpy.
The canoe was carved out of a tree trunk.
Branches could be used for the structure of the hut.
Leaves could cover the hut for protection from rain and other elements.

As we walked through the swamp we discussed animals that could live there.  "M" was very disappointed to learn that there were no elephants!

We were also very close to the beach, so we collected some shells and sand for some art projects.

My parents and sister have dogs, and "M" loved to study them.

"M" practiced some responsibility as she fed and walked the dogs.  Both dogs may need to go on a diet though when we leave!  "M" just loves giving them treats!

Lots of driving this week, so these are a few of the DVDs that helped "M" pass the time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vacations are for Exploring

"And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good." ~Genesis 1:9-10

"And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day." ~Genesis 1:20-23

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone,
but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.
~ Martin Luther ~

Friday, April 22, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Local Library

Don't judge a book (or a library!) by it's cover...
Lesson learned!

We've lived here for over three years, and it was not until recently (within the last few months) that I visited our local library.  We do not live in the best of towns and I carried that image over to our public services.  I actually went to our library only to get a passport library card so I could check out books from the next town over (which is known for it's awesome school districts, and therefore in my mind would have much better library services).  Oh how wrong I was!  I was shocked to find out that the story time at the library is put on by a Montessori teacher, and the program is phenominal!  The children love it (mommy does too!).  They also offer lots of other wonderful programs, like knitting and crafting classes, family movie nights, and even host a clothing swap once a month.  I've learned that a library is more about the heart of the poeple that live there rather than the town budget.  They may not have the largest selection of books on their shelves, but they are always willing to search, hunt, and even purchase books that you request.  And I was shocked to learn that they allow way more books out at a time than I ever imagined (or would need).  I presently have 38 books checked out :o)  "M" loves to read, and I love to be able to feed that curiousity (for free!).  So I encourage you to check out your local library, get to know your librarians, and utilize their FREE services.

 "Boo" playing at the library after a story time.

Other ways to get free or discounted books:
1.  Purchase a Kindle Wireless Reading Device.  Okay, the device is not cheap!  But, there are tons of free books you can download and many more that are significantly cheaper than a hard copy.  You can also preview the first two chapters of the book before purchasing. 
2.  Search garage sales, thrift stores, consignment shops, etc.  We found one thrift store where all childrens books were between 25 to 50 cents!!!
3.  Share books and resources with friends.  If you are part of a homeschooling group, set up your own little library.
4.  You may find "libraries" in unlikely places!  Our chiropractor has a lending library that is filled with some wonderful books that he and others are willing to share.