Friday, June 29, 2007

Frugal Friday--Decorating Children's Rooms


Create book art for decorating your children's bedrooms. To start, choose favorite children's books with appropriate artwork on the covers. Photocopy the front covers only at a copy shop, or on your own printer/copier if you have it, in a size 8-1/2 x11 size or 11x14. Next, buy pre-stretched canvas boards slightly bigger than the photocopies. Then, paint a background with the matching colors of the picture or paint the canvas with a single color. Let dry. Glue photocopy down on canvas. Allow to dry again. Attach picture hooks on back and hang up in bedroom. This costs less than $6 per art work and only one hour to make. With coupons, it's even cheaper.

Another idea is to frame a piece of the fabric used for decorating the room with a desired motif in a wooden embroidery hoop. Tie ribbon bows with narrow ribbon in the metal tightener on the hoop. Embellishment can be added with fabric glitter paints, if desired.

This idea involves the use of a projector, which you can purchase for around $75. Not exactly cheap, but you could try to borrow one, or this could be the beginning of a part time business! The idea is to use the child's favorite show, movie or book and paint a mural on the wall in his room. It's actually easy. With the projector, project the chosen picture on the wall. Trace the outline of the picture, detailing everything that you want to paint. You don't have to be experienced painter either, it's like color by number. After you have traced the image on the wall, fill in with acrylic paints. Simple and original.


What if you have a favorite picture, but aren't sure of which colors to use in the room to coordinate with it? It's simple, if you can find the picture location on the internet. Here's an example: Frog Princess. Copy and paste this URL (http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/storybooklane/frogprincess.jpg) into the box at Degraeve.com, and you will have custom colors! Degraeve conveniently gives the HTML color numbers, as it's meant for web page design, but, as you will see, you can use it for finding decorator colors as well.

More Frugal Friday tips at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ladies' Finishing School is Up


Elizabeth at The Merry Rose and Emma at Charming the Birds From the Trees have the Ladies' Finishing School up and running. The first week's lessons on Personal Presentation are posted at Emma's blog. There will be lessons running all summer and into September, except for the week of July 4 for Independence Day. We will be learning about such things as French culture, etiquette, needlework, flower arranging, table settings, and more. I'll be teaching how to make a pretty hankie and embellish it with silk ribbon embroidery in August. Please visit Elizabeth's and Emma's sites and consider participating in the first online Ladies's Finishing School.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Kilted men at the Texas Scottish Festival & Highland Games Yahoo Group's annual "Scottish Invasion" at a local restaurant. The next "Invasion" is at the end of next month. The littlest guy is my youngest, and my oldest son is the young man on the right of the photo. They are wearing Gunn Ancient tartan.

More Wordless Wednesday links.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What the World Eats


This photo, posted at Dr. Mercola's site, along with several other revealing photographs, was shot by Peter Menzel for the book Hungry Planet. This is an incredible comparison of what families around the world eat, and it is very telling comparison indeed. There's no doubt that the amount of processed foods in our diet is contributing to the obesity epidemic in this country, as is the sheer amount of food we eat. Processed foods are not only calorie dense, but the MSG (which goes under 25 or more different names) which is added to most foods actually increases one's appetite (that's why the manufacturers put it there , there is no other reason for it). Please see all the photos at Dr. Mercola's blog.

Secret Garden

Such a beautiful place. I wish it was mine!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

On Politeness and Good Manners


It will be accepted as a truism, that the heart should be educated as well as the mind and body. Good behavior, a pleasing carriage, civility, decent and respectful deportment, are the products of an educated heart. The cultivation of these traits, called, in a word, good manners, is a very important part in the education of every person of whatever call or rank in life. It may not be possible for every one to cultivate and expand the powers of his mind, but it is possible and requisite for every one who would associate with his fellow men, to learn and practice pleasing, affable manners. We believe it as much a duty to be genteel, courteous, gentlemanly or lady like , as it is to be honest or truthful. So it is as essential that our children and young people should be carefully instructed in the principles of good manners, as it is that they should be developed intellectually, or encouraged to become intelligent, to improve. A graceful bearing and pleasing ways are not picked up in a day; they are not assumed and thrown aside as occasion may demand, but come to us as the result of careful attention and long practice. Man has been made a social being. Whether he wishes it or not, he can not very well help associating with his fellow men. In these associations he may be agreeable, pleasant and amiable, or he may be disagreeable, rough, vulgar and unbearable. That ease and gracefulness of manner, arising from a desire to please others, giving careful attention to the wants of others, which make one pleasing, attractive and sometimes even lovable, may properly be termed.

From Rules of Etiquette and Home Culture; or, What to Do and How to Do It, by Prof. Walter R. Houghton, A. M., et al.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some Thoughts on Worldview

"For when there is a question as to whether a man is good, one does not ask what he believes, or what he hopes, but what he loves. For the man who loves aright no doubt believes and hopes aright...."
-St. Augustine, The Enchiridion §117

“But there are some people, nevertheless—and I am one of them—who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.”
—G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

“We must now go back a bit and explain what the whole scene [of the founding of Narnia by Aslan] had looked like from Uncle Andrew’s point of view. It has not made at all the same impression on him as on the Cabby and the children. For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.”
—C. S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” —Proverbs 4:23

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
—Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince

“The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the foundation of actions. The eye of God is, and the eye of the Christian ought to be, principally fixed upon it.”
—John Flavel, Keeping the Heart

“The Christian, who sees everything in the light of the Word of God, is anything but narrow in his view. He is generous in heart and mind. He looks over the whole earth and reckons it all his own, because he is Christ’s and Christ is God’s (1 Cor. 3:21-23). He cannot let go his belief that the revelation of God in Christ, to which he owes his life and salvation, has a special character. This belief does not exclude him from the world, but rather puts him in position to trace out the revelation of God in nature and history, and puts the means at his disposal by which he can recognize the true and the good and the beautiful and separate them from the false and sinful alloys of men.” – Herman Bavinck

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world-view, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People's presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions.- Francis Shaeffer

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Think He Knows

I've been reading Barry Farber's book, How to Learn Any Language. I haven't read any of his articles at NewsMax (that I recall off hand), but Mr. Farber apparenlty isn't impressed with the way American public schools try to teach foreign languages, or the public schools in general:

Language teaching used to be in the control of "the faculty," a Prussian guard of grammarians who taught that after all the conjugations, declensions, irregularities, and exceptions were mastered, surely fluency would follow. What followed instead was a parade of hapless Americans who, after eight years of good grades, could not go to the desk clerk at a hotel in a country whose language they'd studied and ask if they had any messages! (p. 113)

Wordless Wednesday



Wordless Wednesday links.

And because everyone is so curious:

Those galloping creatures represent the world's largest equestrian sculpture, the Mustangs of Las Colinas, captured in bronze as they move across a granite stream at Irving's Williams Square. African wildlife artist Robert Glen installed this spectacular piece in 1984, as a memorial to the heritage of Texas. The sculpture recognizes that "Texas is not only a geographical place on this continent, but that it represents a distinctive spirit and way of life of a people who are committed to the freedoms of action, initiative and expression for each individual man and woman as no other culture before has exhibited."
Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau

Monday, June 18, 2007

Carnival of Homeschooling


This week's CoH is up at Consent of the Governed.

Great Mathematicians


Pythagoras--about 560-480 B.C. Greek philosopher and founder of a devout group of disciples, the Pythagreans. He proved the Pythagoras's Theorem, so it's named after him and not the Babylonians who first used it. He studied harmony and came up with the ratios that make up the musical scales. He studied astronomy, but had a geocentric view of the universe. A very interesting person to study, find out more at

Pythagoras1
Pythagoras2
Pythagoras3

Euclid--about 325-270 B.C. Also Greek, Euclid wrote the Elements of Geometry, which was the standard text on the subject for 2000 years (What modern textbook could hold a candle to that record?).

Euclid1
Euclid2
Euclid3

Archimedes--about 287-212 B.C. Archimedes was an amazing thinker. He's been called the greatest scientific mind of the ancient world.

Archimedes1
Archimedes2
Archimedes3 (unfortunately, this site says that Archimedes discovered pi, which is simply not true. It was Pythagoras who discovered that pi is an irrational number, so it's existance was known well before Archimedes. However, the site does have some great illustrations.)


Leonardo Fibonacci--about 1170-1240. One of my favorites, Fionacci was born in Italy toward the end of the Middle Ages. His writings introduced the decimal system to Europe. He illustrated the Phi sequence of 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, etc., with his famous rabbit problem.

Fibonacci1
Fibonacci2
Fibonacci3

Pierre de Fermat--1601-1665. Fermat was a French mathematician who worked math problems for his own enjoyment (though one would think that they all rather enjoyed what they did). He was a lawyer by profession. He had a bad habit of not furnishing proofs for his results. Fermat worked with Pascal to develop modern number theory and the laws of probablility.

Fermat1
Fermat2

Blaise Pascal--1623-1662. Another Frenchman, Pascal was a scientist and mathematician who built a mechanical calculating machine. He worked in many areas of mathematics and theological works which are still read today.


Pascal1
Pascal2
Pascal3

Rene Descartes--1596-1650. Also a contemporary of Pascal, Descartes was a French philosopher who had great influence on mathematics as well as philosophy. He applied algebra to geometry, making it possible to plot algebraic equations as geometric curves; this is called Cartesian or analytical geometry.

Descartes1
Descartes2
Descartes3


Isaac Newton--1642-1727. An English scientist and mathematician, it is hard to overestimate his impact upon the world. He actually spent more time in Bible study than in any other area.

Newton1
Newton2
Newton3

Leonhard Euler--1707-1783. Euler was Swiss, but spent most of his life in Russian and Germany. The most prolific writer of the great mathematicians, he was totally blind the last seventeen years of his life. He is credited with inventing most of the symbols used in mathematics.

Euler1
Euler2
Euler3

Karl Friedrich Gauss--1777-1855. A German mathematician and astronomer, Gauss invented the method of least squares, which allowed scientists to predict outcomes without having complete data. He was only 20 years old at the time. He also developed non-Euclidian geometry and learned new languages throughout his life to keep his mind sharp.

Gauss1
Gauss2
Gauss3

Each of these men could be studied in great depth, and should be studied to some extent in order to add a living dimension to learning mathematics. Sadly, the fact that from Fibonacci forward these men were Christian believers or at least strongly influenced by their Christian culture to accept that God created an orderly universe, making mathematical systems possible, is often left out of their biographies.

Living Math offers ways to "humanize" math through history and literature, and you'll find many helpful resources there.

This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is hosted by The Consent of the Governed.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Crochet: Spa Bath Collection



Add a little luxury to your bath time. Lion Brand Yarn just came out with these free patterns for a Spa Bath Collection of four wash rags and a bath mitt. Wash rags are a great way to practice a stitch without committing to a large project. And they don't require much yarn.

And if, once you make the rags and mitt, you set the collection up in a little still life in your bathroom, you may get the feeling of luxury even before you use them.

We'll Miss You, Dear Lady!

Ruth Graham passed away yesterday. There must have been no small amount of rejoicing at her heavenly reception. Chad Payne has a great tribute on his blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Frugal Friday--Pillowcase Recycling


What to do with a pillowcase with no twin (or maybe you have twins and can use both!), or you make a fabulous pillowcase find at the thriftstore or garage sale? You can't just pass up a good deal! Here are some ideas for using those wonderful pillowcases to make some both useful and beautiful items.



At Red Instead BLOG you'll find a step-by-step photo presentation of how to change a pillowcase into this adorable dress:



This one needs a onesie or t-shirt for the top. I really liked little slipover dresses when my girls were toddlers.



This is very similar to the first, but I love the look and wanted to show the dress with the pretty embroidery. Notice, too, the addition of cute bloomers to extend the life of the dress.



The thriftstore pillowcase skirt at leahdramer.com may be just the thing. Leah writes, "This is a really satisfying and instantly gratifying sewing project. Perks include: (1) it's almost all sewn for you, (2) you have an excuse to visit thriftstores (to look for great old pillowcases), (3) the materials are cheap, (4) the fabric in old thriftstore pillowcases is often nicely worn in and has a great feel to it." It has a drawstring waist.



This Pillowcase Skirt has an elastic waist.



So now you know what to do with that extra pillowcase, and yes, you do have an excuse for buying that pretty pillowcase in the yard sale.

For more Frugal Friday, visit here.

Pass The Torch


Kelly at Pass The Torch has posted this request on her blog:

Next week, I’ll share the results of our homeschool experiment. I’ll take most the week to do this, and I expect that many families considering homeschooling will click on the series over time. I’d like to end the week with a group collaboration of homeschooling tips.

So if you’re a homeschooler, please consider joining me next Friday, June 22, to write about your best advice for new homeschoolers. I’ll post a Mr. Linky, and you can link yourself to a new post you’ve written for this collaboration, or an older post, that meets this criteria. You can share one tip, or ten!

Please tell people about this writing project, so that others can participate as well. (Feel free to use the graphic above in your announcement.) I’d love to be able to provide Google searchers a “tips” post that contains all our collective expertise.

I’ll be leaving on a trip shortly after the Mr. Linky goes up next week, so your links will be the reading material for my readers while I’m gone. I hope you’ll join me!


So if you can help Kelly and others considering homeschooling, please consider sharing your knowledge and linking to her tips and helps project.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


What? You didn't know that Riley, the Wonder Westie, is one of The Incredibles?

The story: I had ordered the p.j.s in a size 12, but Disney sent a size 2. My oldest DS wasted no time getting the wee shirt onto the wee doggy.

Wordless Wednesday

Amen!

The Church's Impact: An Urban Legend?

A new study on urban families by University of Virginia professor W. Brad Wilcox confirms what many of us already suspected--religious fathers tend to have better relationships with their spouses and children than unbelieving men. Among the highlights of Wilcox's research, churchgoing fathers are 95 percent more likely to be married when their child is born, significantly more likely to rate their partner as "supportive," and more likely to have "excellent" relationships with their spouse and children. Up to this point, no studies had zeroed in on the effect that religious beliefs have on the marriages and relationships of African-American and Latino parents in urban America. Research has already established that marriage is the most effective antidote to poverty. Now we can say with scientific certainty that church is the social glue that holds most of those marriages together. As Wilcox says, "Men, more than women, it would seem, turn their hearts and minds to the needs of their spouses when they are regular churchgoers, in large part because churches foster a code of decency that makes them more responsible and considerate." He added, "When mom is happy, everybody is happy. This study suggests that mom is more likely to be happy when dad is in church."


From Family Research Council.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Now Here's a Question

You really don't expect me to take you seriously, do you?



I think I've come across an interesting creative writing question for those in search of something different. Consider this:

"If your pet(s) wrote a paragraph about you to describe you to us what would it(they) say? (If you have no pets then just pretend you husband or best friend wrote it! This is a 3rd person writing exercise that is always fun.)"

Yes, it's from a meme, specifically the Hurricane Sock Party Questionaire. Now we don't have too many hurricanes in North Texas, but it struck me as being a really fun creative writing assignment which could produce some humorous papers. It would also be fun if bloggers posted the results for all to read. You know your child wants to be published, right?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

"8 Things" Tag


Elena of My Domestic Church has tagged me for 8 Things about myself. I guess the 7 Random Things OC Mom tagged me for just wasn't enough. (I thought the koi pond was quite the thing.) So....


“Here are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.”

1. I'm an Aggie. Yep, I have a B.S. degree in Floriculture from Texas A&M.

2. I took flight lessons back in high school. Never got my license, though.

3. I'm an advanced seamstress, so it's a doggone shame that I don't make more time for sewing. (It could have something to do with the computer and internet. I dunno, I'm still thinking about it.)

4. I have Scottish, Welsh, English, and Cherokee heritage.

5. I have always homeschooled my children, and I wouldn't do it any other way.

6. I'm a native Texan.

7. I have been trying to learn to play the violin for about 4 years now. My main goal was to play Scottish fiddle, so I concentrate on that. I had no idea what an upfront learning curve the violin has.

8. When the Texas summer heat comes on I want to head to the mountains of New Mexico or Colorado, or mountains anywhere. Just so long as it's cool.

Alright, if you want to take up the challenge yourself, leave me a comment letting me know to check it out.

A Little Reading Feast


No Apologies has posted a thoughtful and compelling blog post entitled Grieving for America. I remember reading that interview with John Taylor Gatto. I'm glad for the review. After reading that article, head over to Memoria Press to request a copy of their catalog, which is really a magalog,as it always contains several excellent articles related to Classical Education. Here's a couple of cogent quotes from this issue:

"Being educated, they will know that they do not know everything; that there exist objects in life besides power and money and sensual gratification; they will take long views, they will look forward to posterity and backward toward their ancestors. For them, education will not terminate on commencement day." Russell Kirk, The Conservative purpose of a Liberal Education

"It was primarily religious skeptics and men who were more enamored with the possibilities of practical science of the time than spiritual realitiies who took a dim view of classical education...." Martin Cothran, The Classical Education of the Founding Fathers

Memoria Press also has many articles from past catalogs archived on their site.

I hope you've had a nice little reading feast. Afterall, not only will you have much to think about, it's also free reading material.

Too Cute!


The sun is coming on strong and young skin is tender skin. Have a gander at these sewing directions for this adorable Toddler Sun Bonnet With a Ruffle Brim. It only requires 1/2 yard of 45" wide fabric. The pattern is in PDF format.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Frugal Friday--A Collection of Good Tips


Here's a collection of helpful hints I've recently come across. Hope there's something helpful for everyone.


Hotel Tip

My family recently decided to go on vacation. I found that if I looked up the rates from the hotels directly, I saved about $10 per room per night. But that is not my tip. My tip is to call your chosen hotels 1-800 number to make the reservation. Of the three I called, all three of them offered me freebies to book with them. The one I chose sent me $40 off for gas! And my children got to stay for free!

A Bit of Extra Money From Your Garden

While weeding my garden from unwanted plants, I wondered if someone else would like some of my surplus plants. I had extra
spearmint, garlic and chives. I put them in some peat pots, took them to a flea market, and sold them for $1.00 each. The
money came in handy, and the buyers found plants that were less expensive plants than they could buy elsewhere.

Cleaning CDs and DVDs

I needed to clean some of my music CDs and a DVD (which didn't work when I first received it) and so I carefully used an
optical lens cleaner sheet (like you get from Sam's in the eyeglass section). These sheets are less than $6 for 180 (large ones) compared to $7 or so for about 20 in an electronics store. I had to unfold the section that I wanted to use and gently wipe off the disk in the right direction (from the center to the outside). Now, the DVD works and the CDs are clean. This is quite inexpensive, and I figured that it was worth a try since the lens cleaner was safe for my glasses.

Always Have White Sauce Available

Instead of using canned soup in casserole recipes, use frozen white sauce cubes you make yourself. Use your favorite white sauce recipe or try this: Put equal parts flour and butter, say 2 Tbsp., in a pan over medium low heat. Mix them together as the butter melts and let brown slightly, then add milk and stir. As it thickens, add more milk to your desired consistency.

Longer Life for Decorative Candles

Keeping large pillar decorative candles forever. When I buy a decorative pillar candle I burn for a little bit until I can fit a tealight candle inside. This way, I just have to replace the tealight and the expensive decorative candle keeps its shape and it's cheaper to buy tealight candles.


Protecting Silk Flower Arrangements for Gravesites

Spray the arrangement with a couple coats of WD-40 to help repel water from rain and sprinklers, and to protect silk flowers' colors from fading due to sunlight. After spraying with WD-40, the silk flowers or greenery will stay beautiful and vibrant for a longer period of time while placed near your loved one's grave.

More Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Katy Bar the Door


"When Conspirators Seek to Murder James I of Scotland"
by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale


"Katy bar the door" is an expression used mainly in the Southern U.S. to mean "better take care, trouble is coming." It's origin is not totally certain, but a very likely, although be it romantic, source is the story of Catherine Douglas, who tried to save King James I of Scotland in 1437.

He was attacked by discontented subjects in Perth in 1437. The room he was in had a door with a missing locking bar. The story goes that Catherine Douglas tries to save him by barring the door with her arm. Her her arm was broken and the mob murdered the King. The 'lass that barred the door' - Catherine Douglas, was henceforth known as Catherine Barlass. The story, although in it is the full Sir Walter Scott romantic history style, is quite well documented from contemporary records and the descendants of Catherine Douglas still use the Barlass name. Source

James ascended the throne at the age of 30 almost a foreigner in his own country, having spent the previous eighteen years of his life as a prisoner of the English. Not that he was clapped in a dungeon: for prisoners of his rank captivity meant living more like a permanent house-guest, accompanying the life of the English royal court in sport and banquet.

Educated for the most part in England, and having spent his formative years at the English court, young James absorbed some distinct ideas about the nature of kingship. Centralized government and royal absolutism may have seemed to James to be progressive ideas that were lifting Europe out of the chaos of the Middle Ages, but to the lairds [Scottish for "lord"] back home these newfangled notions were dangerous, un-Celtic, and very un-Scottish.

At last crowned king of Scotland, James wasted little time in setting his hard-line government into effect, not hesitating to have obstructive nobles indicted for treason. Although there was much concern about James’ power-grabbing, over the first ten years of his rule he won a grudging respect for his energy and administrative competence. But as he sought to gather still more power unto himself, it was only a matter of time before opposition to him would coalesce. James’ own palace chamberlain, Sir Robert Stewart, would become the “inside man” for an assassination plot carried out by a group of dissident nobles.
More

Dante Gabriel Rossetti commemorated the event in his poem, The King’s Tragedy (1881):

Then the Queen cried, "Catherine, keep the door,
And I to this will suffice!"
At her word I rose all dazed to my feet,
And my heart was fire and ice.
...
Like iron felt my arm, as through
The staple I made it pass:-
Alack! it was flesh and bone - no more!
'Twas Catherine Douglas sprang to the door,
But I fell back Kate Barlass.

Read the whole poem (all 173 stanzas) here.

Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, 1872-1945, was highly influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. Read more about her and see more of her work at Art Magick and at Pre-Raphaelite Women,The Art-Sisters Gallery (and enjoy the other Art-Sisters there, too).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Distortion of Beauty

Interesting how no one is beautiful enough for marketing purposes. Naturally beautiful women have to be transformed into something unreal. No wonder we feel dissatisfied with our looks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday



We spent Saturday at the Texas Scottish Festival. Riley, the Wonder Westie, was one pooped pooch!

More great photo links at Wordless Wednesday.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Frugal Friday--Cooking With the Sun/CoH Too!


No, I'm not crazy. Not much, anyway. You really can cook with the sun. Solar power is free! When you cook with the sun, you don't heat up the kitchen. This is also a great project for the family. You'll only need simple supplies, such as cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, glue, and oven cooking bags. This article at Wikipedia for the Minimal Solar Box Cooker has the plans and instructions, as well as links for further help in using the solar oven. Backwoods Home also has a great article on making a solar cooker and cooking with the sun. Knowledge Hound has a page of links to check out, including a link for a making S'mores in the solar oven. (Are you hooked yet?) You'll quickly see that there are variations on the design.



According to Solar Haven, "You can bake bread and cook stews and casseroles, using only the energy of the sun. The sun's rays are concentrated with one or more reflectors and collected in a black, well insulated box. Its hard to believe, but it works--with temperatures in the oven of 300-350 degrees on a hot sunny day, 175-250 degrees with partial sun and clouds. Since food is cooked slowly at relatively low temperature in a solar oven (as in a crock pot), food retains more of its flavor and vitamins and is quite simply delicious. Cooking in a solar oven retains more of the moisture in the food than in a traditional oven. Place the ingredients in the oven in the morning, enjoy your day, and return to a hot meal ready to serve. For days when the sun doesn't shine, you can always go back to your regular stove and use some of the electricity or gas you have saved."

Not only can you save cooking and house cooling costs by using the solar oven, you and your family can learn about how the solar oven works, explore cooking different foods in the oven, and discuss how people in poor countries can use the sun to cook their food without electricity, gas, or wood.

"In areas where people have always cooked with wood, there is now serious deforestation and associated problems. Women must spend days searching and carrying firewood simply to cook meals. There is however no lack of sunshine and with SCI's help, these women and men learn to build solar cookers and this simple technology has a profound effect on their lives and the environment."Source

If you wish to purchase an oven or support the purchase of ovens for people around the world who lack resources to cook for themselves, you'll find much resource information at the Solar Oven Society.

For further studies and uses (such as canning, food dehydrating, water pasteurization, and medical uses) go to The Solar Cooking Archive. Also, check out their Wiki for more info.

More Frugal Friday.

For more Carnival of Homeschooling, head over to Homeschool Buzz.