Friday, July 27, 2007

Frugal Friday--Recycle Old Clothing

One of the most useful, frugal, and creative things you can learn to do is how to sew. You may not feel very excited when you look at your mending basket, but, like other frugal habits, you can achieve great satisfaction from your efforts. And some mending projects require a bit of creativity to fix the problem, so you get to exercise that part of your brain, too. Some pieces may be beyond repair, but you may be able to recycle them into other uses, either reworking the piece into clothing or something beautiful for your house or for a friend. Reworking pieces might require more than "bachelor sewing skills," so you'll need to take the time to hone more advanced skills. For less than perfect (collectable) pieces, updating vintage clothing is all the rage now, even among teens. There's not a better time to combine your skills and creativity to make something new out of something old. Here are some links to information to help you do just that.

Beginning sewing lessons:
Online Free Sewing Book
Sewing Lessons
Learn to Sew at

Easy Clothing Repairs (pdf)
Mending an "L" tear with iron-on mending tape (video)
How to Mend Clothes from How Stuff Works

Repurposing Old Clothes, Sheets, and Tablecloths
Ideas from Rachael Ray
Recycling Clothing Using Your Sewing Skills
Make diapers, soakers, wipes, & doublers from old clothing
More Clothes Recycling
31 Uses For Old Clothing

Article on the comeback of sewing among young people: Circling Back to Sewing

I hope you're inspired to see what you can creatively recycle and repurpose.

More Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shabby Chic I Corinthians 13

If all of my furniture is distressed and white but I can’t speak kindly to my children, I might as well have plastic from KMart.

If my shower curtain hooks are rosebuds and my shower curtain is embroidered organza but I don’t care for the poor, I might as well have mildewed vinyl and snap-together rings.

If my table is covered with Victorian quilted runners and cherub napkin rings but I don’t show respect to my husband, I might as well have paper coasters and…well, just paper coasters.

If my throw pillows are beaded and bangled and fringed and laced but I’m not thankful to God for my daily bread, I might as well have lumpy pillows with the stuffing spilling out.

If I have a teacup from every decade arranged on delicate hooks but don’t ask God what He wants me to do each day, I might as well have big ol’ fast food cups stacked on the window sill.

If I have lavender sachets hanging on every doorknob but am not concerned for wounded souls, I might as well have unchanged kitty litter in my corners.

If I have fresh roses on my mantle and carry a quilted tote but don’t take good care of my employees, I might as well have a plastic cactus and a backpack.

By Nancy Guenther of Teacups and Roses, posted at her Teacup Talk Blog. Do have a visit at her shop, she has so many lovely things.

Get "Shabby Chic Rose I" print by Mary Elizabeth at Art Posters.

Wordless Wednesday

More Wordless Wednesday here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Ladies Finishing School

This week's Ladies Finishing School is hosted by Meridith at Like Merchant Ships. Her theme is Lovely Living on a Budget, and she's made several inspiring posts already, so please go visit.

(The link is fixed now. Thanks, Heather!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Adventures in Cake Making

Julieanne at My Daily Life as a Wife and Mother hosted this week's Ladies Finishing School, giving step by step lessons on making a lucious yellow cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. I had originally wanted my dd to do the whole thing, but between her natural inclination to daydream and lack of concentration from low blood sugar problems that we've just recognized, she's really behind in her Worldviews of the Western World I. In order to let her get some of her work done, I made the cake layers, which was a lot of fun for me as I don't normally make cakes, especially from scratch (reference the above mention of low blood sugar problems--it runs in the family). It was so easy I don't think I'll bother with a cake mix anymore. We'll at least avoid the preservatives that way. Since I didn't want to heat up the kitchen, I used my relatively new countertop oven, which means the first layer was a bit of an experiment. It turned out okay, but the second layer was better. The cakes smelled heavenly, much better than a mix.

As I said, I don't often make cakes. Maybe that's why my 10yo ds couldn't resist having some. Yes, he took a small chunk out of the side. And when I went to add the second layer to the cake this morning, I discovered he'd taken a chunk from the top and flipped the cake over to keep it from being seen. This explains why the top of the frosted cake looks a bit like a photo of Mars rather than nicely swirled icing.

Our frosting was a bit on the soft side, maybe because the cream cheese had been frozen for a good while. We didn't realize this until most of the cake was frosted, so we didn't have the chance to add in more sugar. The second layer kept sliding and I finally had to push in a couple of toothpicks to keep it in place. Sissy sliced the lemons before I could tell her to make the slices thin, which is why the cake looks a bit juicy at the bottom. Sissy also learned that just because there's lots of frosting in the bowl, it doesn't mean you are required to try to use it all! Heehee. So, after a bit of ado, here's the new creation:

And it tastes great, too! It's rather sweet to me, so I'd prefer a cup of coffee with it. Yum.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Frugal Friday--Grocery Store Secrets

I'm sure you know a few of these, but some will be a surprise to you. Knowing these tips will help you save money on your food purchases and avoid health problems, and therefore save on medical costs. As always, caveat emptor!

10 Things Your Grocery Store Doesn't Want You to Know
By Sally Wadyka for MSN Health & Fitness

Grocery shopping seems like a harmless enough activity. It’s a chore, but it’s one that most of us do at least once a week, without giving much thought to what’s going on behind the scenes at the supermarket.

How we shop has become a science that’s studied endlessly. “Market researchers have worked for years to come up with ways to make sure shoppers see as many products as possible, because the more they see, the more they buy,” says Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating.

So to make yourself a smarter shopper, learn about the top tricks and other secrets lurking at the supermarket.

1. The shopping carts have cooties.

According to studies done on shopping carts, more than 60 percent of them are harboring coliform bacteria (the sort more often associated with public toilet seats). “These bacteria may be coming from raw foods or from children who sit in the carts,” says Chuck Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at University of Arizona. “Just think about the fact that a few minutes ago, some kid’s bottom was where you are now putting your broccoli.” According to studies done by Gerba and his colleagues at University of Arizona, shopping carts had more bacteria than other surfaces they tested—even more than escalators, public phones and public bathrooms. To avoid picking up nasty bacteria, Gerba recommends using sanitizing wipes to clean off cart handles and seats, and to wash your hands after you finish shopping.

2. Dates are open to interpretation.

Except for baby formula and food, product expiration dates are not required by Federal regulations (some states, however, have their own rules requiring product dating). Labels that give a “Best if Used By” date are more of a suggestion than a safety issue—the food will taste best if eaten by the date on the label, but won’t necessarily be unsafe if eaten after that. If a product is stamped with a “Sell-By” date, that is how long the store should display it. Once you bring it home, perishable products (like meats) should be kept refrigerated and used within a few days. For more detailed charts explaining the shelf life of various products, go to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

3. Kid-friendly food is purposely placed within their reach.

Anyone who shops with a child (or several) in tow has to keep an eye out for products the kids grab and toss into the cart. “I always tell parents never to bring a kid to a store,” says Nestle. “The packages with the cartoons on them are often placed on low shelves where even toddlers can reach for them.” A trip down the cereal aisle will confirm this. “Sugary cereals are at kid’s eye level, while the healthier, all-bran options are usually on the highest shelves,” says Tara Gidus, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. It’s the same situation at the cash register, where candy and gum are strategically placed to encourage impulse buys by adults and kids can easily grab low-lying products.

4. They cut up food so they can charge more.

In the produce department there are luscious-looking slices of pineapple and melon, veggies cut up and ready for cooking or salads. At the meat counter, chicken breasts and beef are cut into chunks and marinated—ready for immediate grilling. There’s no denying that these pre-cut foods can make life incredibly easy. And nutritionists agree that if they get people to eat more healthfully, there’s nothing wrong with them. But realize that you’re also paying a tremendous premium—sometimes up to twice as much as uncut versions of the same food—just so you don’t have to bother picking up a knife.

5. Good-for-you foods require bending and reaching.

Not surprisingly, grocery store eye candy (which sometimes is actual candy)—those foods with enticing come-ons and delectable photos on the packaging that aren’t on your shopping list—are prominently placed to encourage you to reach for them. Even in the pasta aisle, you’ll find the most popular noodles (including packaged mac and cheese) at eye level. Look up to the highest or lowest shelves if you want to find healthier whole wheat options.

6. End-of-aisle displays are there to distract you from your mission.

“Food companies pay the stores to place their products where they can be seen most easily—such as in a display at the end of an aisle,” says Nestle. That prime real estate is likely to hold high-profit items or grouped items (such as marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers for s’mores) designed to inspire impulse buys. And although sometimes those aisle-ends are used to promote sale items, we will buy even when there is no discount. “People are 30 percent more likely to buy items on the end of the aisle versus in the middle of the aisle—often because we think what’s at the end is a better deal,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating.

7. Bargains aren’t always a bargain.

Who can resist an offer like “buy five, get one free,” or “three for $1”? Apparently, very few people can. “Any time you see numbers in a sign, you’re likely to buy at least 30 percent more than you may have purchased otherwise. “So if you go looking for soup and the sign says “limit 12 per person,” chances are you’ll purchase several more cans than you intended to buy,” he says. And of course, if you buy more than you need, it’s not necessarily a bargain. Or worse yet, it could lead to over-indulging. “Mindless shopping leads to mindless eating,” says Wansink. “Once the stuff is in the house, you’ll eat it whether you really want it or not.”

8. You’ll walk the store the way they want you to.

There’s nothing haphazard about the layout of your grocery store. Sure, some of it is practical (like refrigerated cases along the periphery or meat cases in the back by the store’s loading dock), but some is carefully calculated to help you part with more money. Walk in the front doors and chances are you’re faced immediately with hard-to-resist items (not on your list) like fresh-cut flowers or just-baked loaves of bread. Just try walking past them en route to a carton of milk without tossing something extra into your cart. In fact, research has shown that 60 percent to 70 percent of what ends up in our carts is unplanned.

9. The salad bar can make you sick.

Raw produce at the salad bar, pre-made salads at the deli counter and other pre-cooked prepared foods all have the potential for harboring harmful bacteria (like E. coli, salmonella and Norovirus). “The biggest contributors to unsafe food are foods that are held at unsafe temperatures, handling of food by individuals with poor hygiene, and refilling partially used containers of perishable food with fresh food,” says Michael Doyle, Ph.D., director of the Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement at University of Georgia. He recommends that consumers pay attention to cleanliness, freshness (all prepared food should be thrown out if not sold by the end of the day), and way food is stored (cold foods need to be kept at 41 degrees or below; hot foods at greater than 135 degrees). As for those bulk bins of candy and trail mix—while it might be a bit gross to think about people reaching in and “sampling” the goods with their dirty fingers, according to Doyle, the risk of catching anything from them is very low. “Harmful microbes are not likely to grow in bulk-bin foods because most of those foods do not contain enough moisture to support microbial growth,” he says.

10. They don’t always clean as often as they should.

Health inspectors routinely visit supermarkets to look out for the red flags that may signal unsafe conditions for your food. But you can do a little snooping yourself. Flies in the produce or meat departments could be depositing bacteria on raw food. Roaches scurrying across the floor could also be harboring dozens of different diseases. And of course, check the shelves and products for dirt and grime—cans that are covered in dust may be an indication that they’ve sat around past their shelf life.


Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood

Monday, July 16, 2007

First Ever Carnival of Modesty

The first ever Carnival of Modesty has been posted at The Space Between My Peers, and there's some great posts linked in it. The next carnival is scheduled for August 10, and you can submit a blog article at Blog Carnival. Home-Steeped Hope will be hosting, and is also a great blog to visit. Min The Gap owns the carnival.

Poster is Summer's Day in the Flower Garden.

Websites for English Translations of the Classics

The Bluedorns kindly shared this list of links for classical works on their e-loop. I'm passing these along as I know many people are interested.

The Internet Classics Archive by Daniel C. Stevenson-- Select from a list of 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors. Mainly Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive -- an integrated collection of over 1000 biographies and historical articles of a mathematical nature at St. Andrews University, Scotland.

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project by Paul Halsall -- collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly for educational use. Includes ancient, medieval, and modern history.

The Perseus Digital Library -- Greek and Latin classics.

The Internet Public Library -- numerous online texts.

The On-Line Books Page -- search their 25,000+ listings.

EServer -- publishes online quality works (35,000 of them) in arts and humanities.

History Central Catalog -- the WWW Virtual Library HIstory Catalog at European University Institute, Florence, Italy.

Classic Christian Books, including all the Church Fathers, in electronic format.

Project Gutenberg -- 100,000 titles available.

Athena -- nearly 10,000 links to books on all subjects.

Early Christian Writings -- New Testament and Fathers.

3. Large public, college, or university libraries

a. In libraries with the Library of Congress numbers, Greek and Latin literature can be found from PA3301 to the end of the PA's.
b. The Loeb Classical Library is a series of volumes which include the text of classical authors in the original language along with an English translation.

4. Purchase from catalogs

Besides the ordinary book catalogs which may provide many of the literary sources, some catalogs have a special focus on classical and historical materials.

a. American Home-School Publishing, 5310 Affinity Court, Centreville, Virginia, 20120
b. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 1000 Brown St., Unit 101, Wauconda, Illinois, 60084
c. Veritas Press, 1829 William Penn Way , Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601

Visit this week's Carnival of Homeschooling, Teacher In Service Training at Principled Discovery.

This Week's Finishing School

The Ladies Finishing School is up at Julieann's blog, My Daily Life As A Wife and Mother. She's starting off with The Cake, a yummy lemon cake recipe which is also easy to decorate. This looks simple and elegant, and I'm looking forward to trying it.

Cost of Government Day Justs Keep Getting Later

Cost of Government Day

Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on the federal, state and local levels.

Cost of Government Day 2007
Cost of Government Day for 2007 is July 11th. With July 11th as the COGD, working people must toil on average 192 days out of the year just to meet all the costs imposed by government. In other words, the cost of government consumes 52.6 percent of national income.

Cost of Government: Trends
Cost of Government Day falls two days later in 2007 than last year’s revised date of July 9th. In 2007, the average American will need to work an additional 11 days out of the year to pay off his or her cost of government compared to 2000. Slower economic growth, a recession, the war, Hurricane Katrina, increased spending and corporate scandals were responsible for the dramatic increase from June 29th in 2000 to as high as July 12th in 2005.

Consistent with historical changes in the index, as the economy expanded, the cost of government declined due to lower levels of spending and higher incomes of workers. However, the drop in the cost of government was short lived and the index increased by two days in 2007. The increase in the index is tempered by slowing national income growth despite significant spending growth.

To view the full 2007 Cost of Government Day report and to see how your state ranks in comparison with others, click here:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frugal Friday--"Secret" Lawn Tonic

Well, I don't know how secret it is, having been on the nightly news and on the internet. The recipe came from Tim Heffron, a former groundskeeper at a golf course. Apparenly this started in Colorado and has been popular there. Now, y'all, I'm posting this for your benefit, since with the highly unusual amounts of rain we've had here in Texas, we really haven't needed anything that helps the grass grow. Our grass has been partyin' all summer--so far. But for those of you who aren't getting enough rain, this could do the trick. The recipe is simple and uses easy-to-find ingredients and a 10-gallon hose-end sprayer. If it's as effective as everyone says, you'll save a bundle over the high-cost garden center fertilizers.


One full can of regular pop (any kind-no diet soda)
One full can of beer (no light beer)
1/2 Cup of Liquid dishwashing soap (do NOT use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid)
1/2 Cup of household ammonia
1/2 Cup of mouthwash (any brand)

Pour into 10-gallon hose-end sprayer (other sizes will work too)
In high heat, you're supposed apply every three weeks.

This is why the tonic works, according to Heffron who explains the science behind the homemade tonic thusly:

The liquid soap is a wetting agent, helping the formula penetrate the roots.
NOTE: Do NOT use anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid in the mixture as it will kill off important microbes in the lawn and soil that help "digest" thatch.

The ammonia promotes growth and turns your lawn green. (Ammonia has nitrogen in it, which is the ferilizer ingredient that greens up the lawn.)

The mouthwash kills the bugs and grubs. Says Tim, "It essentially messes-up their re-productive cycles and keeps them out of your lawn and makes it look a lot better and leaves it minty fresh." lol

Also, the direct application method saves on water: "When you don't have a lot of water and we're on watering restrictions, this is another way to get the nutrients to your lawn and keep it growing."

Of course, you could just turn your lawn into a meadow and not worry about the grass.

More Frugal Friday here.

I have been remiss...

I can't believe it's Thursday evening, and I am just now reminding everyone of this week's Ladies Finishing School over at The Merry Rose. Elizabeth has been posting on French culture since last Saturday, so break out the bon-bons and enjoy les bons mots at The Merry Rose.

'The model of gracious Southern womanhood'

I don't agree with her husband's political stances, but she was loved like the Queen Mum here in Texas.

'The model of gracious Southern womanhood'

Lady Bird Johnson, widow of former President Lyndon Johnson and lifelong advocate for the beautification of her native state, died Wednesday afternoon at her Austin home. She was 94.

Mrs. Johnson had been in poor health for several years. She had a stroke May 2, 2002, and lost her ability to speak, and she was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons several weeks ago.

Tributes immediately poured in.

President Bush said he and first lady Laura Bush "mourn the passing of our good friend, and a warm and gracious woman."

"She was much loved in our home state of Texas, and the Bush family is fortunate to have known her.

"Those who were blessed to know her remember Mrs. Johnson's lively and charming personality, and our nation will always remember her with affection," Bush said. "Mrs. Johnson became first lady on a fateful day in November 1963 -- and was a steady, gentle presence for a mourning nation in the days that followed."

Bush credited the former first lady for working closely with her president-husband to advance education, civil rights and environmental quality. "The native wildflowers that bloom along roadsides today are part of her lasting legacy," he said.

The rest of the article here.

To see some of the wonderful legacy of wildflowers she left to our state, visit The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Baskets of Bread--a Bit of History & Pleasure

Who derives greater pleasure.the person who gives the basket of bread or the recipient? It's an interesting question, especially at this time of year when baskets of bread and rolls are appearing at picnics and outdoor buffet tables across the country.

There's no doubt that baskets - filled with delicious-looking bread that is just waiting to be enjoyed - make an impression. That's something that high-end restaurants have discovered. They are well aware that bread is frequently the first morsel their patrons sample, and that an attractive basket can set the tone for what is to follow. That's also why so many chefs and restaurant owners make sure that the basket and the bread that appear on your table are instantly, spectacularly inviting, spurring your appetite and encouraging you to order a full complement from the items featured on the entire menu.
Beyond making a good impression, baskets of bread have had symbolic connotations in various cultures almost since time began. That's no surprise since basket weaving appears as an early art form in countries on every continent. Historically and in ancient literature, there is a multitude of references to baskets of bread, most of them symbolic.

Consider the book of Genesis in the Bible, where we read how the imprisoned Joseph (of the coat of many colors), interprets the dreams of the chief butler and the chief baker who are also in prison. The chief baker relates to Joseph his dream of having three white baskets on his head, the top basket filled with bread and food for Pharaoh. The baker tells Joseph that in his dream, birds fly to this uppermost basket and eat its contents. Joseph's interpretation is grim. He tells the chief baker that the three baskets stand for the three days after which the Pharaoh will lift the baker's head and hang the baker on a tree. Unfortunately, the prophecy is realized.

In the New Testament of the Bible, there are two occasions where Christ feeds an assembly of followers by multiplying baskets of loaves of bread and fish. Five loaves are multiplied to feed 5,000 in one reading; seven loaves and a "few" fish feed 4,000 in another scripture. These numbers of baskets and recipients are interpreted differently in the works of Christian artists but there is complete consensus among Christians that these are miracles.

Once again, we find baskets with fragments of loaves and fish when Jesus appears to his Disciples prior to His ascension. He invites his band of fishermen to another symbolic banquet that takes place on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

But references such as these are not limited to biblical writings. In works that record pagan celebrations of ancient Rome, there are numerous references to baskets of bread. Publius Papinius Status, 45-96 AD, describes a festival which the Emperor Domitian provided for the citizens of Rome. In his description of a lavish display, he writes "Scarce had Dawn got out of bed when sweets began to rain down on us.(the audience) carried baskets of bread.and served languorous wine in brimming measure."

It's impossible to cite all the references to bread and baskets through the annals of history in every corner of the world. But there are a few noteworthy examples of symbolism in the importance of bread and baskets in the United States.

For example, some Native American wedding ceremonies called for the bride and groom to exchange baskets. The groom gave his bride a basket full of meat and skins, a symbol of his commitment to provide food and clothing. The bride gave a basket of bread and corn to her husband to demonstrate her vow to nurture and support her husband and the family that was to come.

A stunning collection of Native American baskets, which includes bread baskets made by some of the foremost contemporary Native American basket makers and scholars, can be found at the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian. It's worth a visit if you have travel plans to see our nation's capital.

In images that we find in literature and film, colonial and pioneer families are often depicted around the hearth, sharing and breaking bread that has been placed in home-crafted baskets. The combination of bread and baskets is a perennial symbol of warmth and caring, also seen in many still life paintings.

You can find some good looking, inexpensive baskets at outdoor markets and retail outlets. Reasonable prices make them ideal to give as gifts along with your homemade baked items. Imagine their smiles when you say, "Please, no need to return the basket after you've enjoyed what it has held."

From Fleischmann's Yeast. You can get Bread Activity Booklets & Teacher's Guides, too

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Laughter Makes Breast Milk Healthier

Not only is laughter healthy for you, it's healthy for your precious wee one as well:

Laughter Makes Breast Milk Healthier

Hands and Hearts Benefit Sale

This is an unbelievably generous offer to raise funds for the Estes family of Many of you already know Jeff and Kate Estes and their children, but you might not be aware of the many difficulties their family (and particularly 9 month old baby Noah) have gone through this past year. If you are not familiar with their story, please take some time to read this post on their blog to see what they have been through the past several months. The purpose for this benefit sale is be a blessing to this dear family, who have been such a wonderful example and encouragement to others, even as they have gone through some very trying days themselves.

Many family business retailers have gotten together to make up a incredible package of ebook and audio offers for a mere $27 donation. I have spent the day going through all the fantastic products in this package. Bear in mind that on the page linked below there is the option to donate more for this package, and if you are able to do so, I would encourage you to donate more than $27. I can assure you that this package is worth far more than that! So please go to the link below and see for yourself the many goodies offerred for your kind donation. There's just a little over 6 days left to take advantage of this great offer.

hands and hearts benefit sale

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Frugal Friday--Treats & Pillowcase Dress Update

Kool-Aid Snow Cones

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 pkg. unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mix, any flavor
Bring water and sugar to a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in the Kool-Aid drink mix. Cool completely.
Crush ice in a blender and spoon into cups. Spoon homemade syrup over crushed ice, or put into a squeeze bottle. Squueze over ice and enjoy!

FunBook tips courtesy of Magazine --

Berry Ice Cube Lemonade

Make and chill your favorite lemonade, or try this one. Empty one 11.5-oz. can frozen concentrate strawberry or any berry mix juice into a small pitcher and add one can of water, mixing well. Pour the juice into two ice cube trays, and add a raspberry or other berry or strawberry slice to each cube. Freeze. Slice lemons to fit on the lips of your glasses, add fruit cubes to glasses, and pour in the chilled lemonade. Garnish with mint sprigs, if you like.

Limeberry Crush

2 pints of hulled strawberries
1 1/2 cups of crushed ice
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1. In a blender, combine strawberries, crushed ice, confectioners' sugar, and lime juice.

2. Blend the mixture until smooth, then serve immediately. Makes 4 cups.

Sun Tea Punch

6 to 8 bags of decaffeinated tea
1/2 gallon water
4 oranges, 3 juiced and 1 sliced
8 lemons, 7 juiced and 1 sliced
1/3 cup honey
1/2 bunch of mint
Combine the tea bags and water in a large glass jar and let them steep in the sun for 3 or more hours. Remove the tea bags. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses. Serves 10.

The Pillowcase Recycling FF entry proved very popular, especially since the DHM featured it on her site. When I came across this, I knew my readers would want to know about it. Rebecca at her Rennaissance blog posted how she adapted a pillowcase with yet another shoulder treatment for a perfectly adorable toddler dress. Now can there ever be enough pretty pillowcases to recycle this way?

Inform yourself with more Frugal Friday tips.

The Little House

I want to have a little house with sunlight on the floor,
A chimney with a rosy hearth and lilacs by the door,
With windows looking East and West,
And a crooked apple tree,
And room beside the golden fence, for hollyhocks to be,
And room beside the golden fence, for hollyhocks to be.

Oh, all my life I’'ve wander’d ’round,
But the heart is quick at knowing,
Its own roof and its own bush,
And its own boughs ablowing,
And when I find that little house,
At noon or dusk, or dawn,
I'’ll walk right in and light the fire,
And put the kettle on,
I'’ll walk right in and light the fire,
And put the kettle on.

~~by Nancy Byrd Turner

The beautiful "Hollyhocks at Anne of Green Gables" painting is by Christine Montague.

Wish I Didn't Have To...

...but spammers are idiots. Therefore, I've had to reinstate the verification code for commenting. I hate that.

Spammers must be troubled people, because I just can't see the spamming bringing in any business at all. Afterall, I've never once read or heard anyone say that she's bought anything she saw in a spam message. Sadly, bad people force all of us to live under more restrictions.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

This Week's Finishing School

Elizabeth at The Merry Rose is running a fascinating historical series on American women. I thought the school would be off this week, which is why I'm just now posting about this, but I'm delighted to read these posts. Elizabeth is not only inspiring to the Ladies Finishing School participants, homeschoolers will find these posts interesting as well. So sashay on over to The Merry Rose for some great reading.

Sad News From Classical School Blog

Sad news from one of my favorite blogs:

Last week, we found that our lovely daughter Karina has an Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma, a malignant tumor of the soft tissues. This cancer is rare, but affects children, teens, and young adults. Please pray for her and the rest of our family.

We won't be able to update our blogs, but hope we can continue at some time in the future.

Thank you for your good wishes and prayers, Fernette and Brock Eide

Classical School Blog: Blog Hiatus

Free Classical Music Appreciation Curriculum

Barbara McCoy of The Heart of Harmony is offering the Harmony Fine Arts high school music plan for free on her website.

Currently the 9th grade plan is ready for downloading. It uses Classical Music Experience (book and CD) as the spine and the Harmony Fine Arts' plan schedules out the composers for each year with internet links for listening to the classical music selections online. The plan also schedules Classical Music Start-Up Kit volumes 1 and 2 to go along with the book. These three items are the only materials you will need to complete your four year high school music appreciation program.

She anticipates having all four years of the high school music appreciation plan ready by January 2008.

This plan was designed for the high school student to use independently.

Clear instructions are included with the download.

Barbara would love to hear any feedback you have about the program and the free download.

Barbara has a very nice blog, The Heart of Harmony, that I include in my blogroll. Her business site is Harmony Fine Arts at Home.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Using the Internet to Get Smarter

Find a Web Site For Every Interest
by Chan Parker

Ten years ago, if someone had told you that we'd all be using the Internet on a daily basis to find information, entertainment, and to communicate instantaneously with people all around the world... well, it would've been hard to believe. Oh, how far we've come in such a short amount of time.

With the Web at our fingertips—and some clever search tools—each of us are now practically geniuses. Who needs a photographic memory when you can look things up in an instant? We have access to a multitude of resources online—the greatest library imaginable—about every topic under the sun. Want to know how to build a robot? Learn a new language? Trace your family tree? There are scores of sites for every interest, and many of the best resources are free!

Here are some amazing sites where you can cram your head with knowledge and insights to your heart's content.

Follow the link for higher learning, online libraries, and language learning.