This Month's Featured Resources...

Father's DayTravel - CookingLatin WW2

Tuesday, March 31

Make Me Smile (Chicago)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Laugh It Up

Laughing has some pretty amazing effects, which can last up to 45 minutes after the giggling is over...
  • decreases pain
  • relaxes muscles
  • boosts immune system
  • strengthens heart
  • reduces stress
  • releases endorphins
  • exercises abdominal muscles
  • improves circulation
  • helps us live in the moment 
 Laughter trumps stress every time.  Pencil some fun into your schedule, whether it's a comedy club date night, a funny movie, or just reading jokes with your kids!

Take it to the Next Level

If you're already the family comedienne, bring laughter to others!  You might even try some comedy at an improv class.

Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Many people think South Dakota is the home of the badlands but in reality, they can be found in Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and several other western states. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the home of beautiful scenery from canyons to grasslands, with the Little Missouri River flowing through it.  The park entrance is right outside of the tiny city of Medora. A rather cute western city that has preserved its history over the years.

This is the Maltese Cross Cabin where Theodore Roosevelt lived when he came out for his hunting trips.  If I remember correctly, the writing desk in the middle and the trunk (not pictured) are the only original items to Theodore Roosevelt in the cabin.
In the park are many small herds of wild horses. And these little guys were all over the place in the Prairie dog towns throughout the park. We waited patiently for this one to stand up...
 We got to see the aftermath of a horse and bison knock down drag out. We saw this young stallion limping and saw the gaping wound on his leg.  After we drove past the horse, the bully bison went running after him again. Yep, I was hanging out of the truck window so I could get this picture.

Lori is a Georgia Peach transplanted to the Southeastern corner of Montana. She shares about faith, family and homemaking at Frog's Lilypad.

Thursday, March 26

Grease (Frankie Valli)

Togas, philosophers, and gyros....oh my!  We've thoroughly explored (at an elementary level) the topic of Ancient Greece, and here are my favorite resources from this unit.  Use these websites, printables, crafts, and recipes to do your own hands-on study of this exciting period in history!




Tuesday, March 24

Toxic (Britney Spears)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Green Your Cleaning Supplies

Many household cleaners on the market are full of toxic chemicals that can be harmful to the health of your family.  They contain ingredients linked to asthma, cancer, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, and reproductive toxicity.

Many companies today are touting their products as green, but unless you read the ingredients, you won't know if that's the truth.  Check out this list...

Take it to the Next Level

Ensure that you're getting natural cleaning products by making your own.  Using a few simple ingredients, you can easily make your household cleaning supplies.

Monday, March 23

King Arthur & the Knights of the Bread Table

Recently, our home school group was selected to take part in the King Arthur Flour Bake for Good program - and we had a fabulous time!!!!!  For over twenty years, the Bake for Good Kids Program has been helping kids learn to bake and then share their homework with those in need.  In some cases, the company travels to a location to host an event, but we were provided all of the supplies and hosted the event through the home school group.
Imagine my husband's surprise when sixty pounds of flour and several other boxes of supplies arrived on the doorstep one afternoon!  The company provided ingredients, packaging, course booklets for the kids, and an instructional DVD.  The program is designed to teach kids in grades 4-7 how science, math, and reading all come together in a real-world activity.  The culmination of the project is a lesson in philanthropy, when they donate their efforts to a local charity.
The day before the BIG DAY, another home school neighbor and I got together and baked up a batch of practice bread.  We wanted to know exactly what we'd gotten ourselves long would it take?  Were there any extra supplies we needed?  What snags were we going to run into?  All the little things that you want to be apprised of before entering a room with lots of kids and open sacks of flour!  We practiced with our boys, to see how well the kids would do with the project.
We walked through the four hour process (which took more like six, that first day), from mixing the yeast, to letting it rise, to the baking process.  My friend and I found some science handouts that explained how yeast works, as well as some science experiments that you can do with yeast.  Then, seeing as how it was supposed to rain cats & dogs on baking day, we found a video about the process to help occupy the kids during the downtime.
Baking day came, and everyone arrived on time (yay!), excited to start the process.  Given the size of the oven, some of the moms had started a batch early.  This would allow us to bake two batches of bread and minimize the downtime for rising.  We were missing a few kids, thanks to illness and the weather, but that meant that everyone got to have several hands-on jobs!
During the downtime, we also had a costume contest.  Since this was the King Arthur Flour Company, and many of us are currently studying the Middle Ages, we had a Medieval costume contest!  They also enjoyed sampling some of the bread that was fresh from the oven.  Yum!

The following morning, we bagged up the bread and drove it up to Straight Street Ministries, a food charity in the next town over.  They were very happy to see us, and many loaves of bread were delivered to locals in need within a matter of hours.  Overall, it was a win-win event!

Want to learn the basics of bread making?  It's easy!

Ingredients :

Directions :
  1. A lot of the families at the event had only ever used a bread-maker.  While they are a great kitchen tool and very handy, they are not suitable for this particular recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, yeast, whole wheat flour, and warm water.  Cover with towel and let rest until bubbly.
  3. Stir in cooking oil and salt.
  4. Stir in 3 cups white flour, one cup at a time.  Measure out one more cup of flour and sprinkle half of that onto the sticky dough.  Work into dough.
  5. Flour hands and turn dough onto floured surface.  Knead well.  While it is resting, wipe oil onto inside of bowl.
  6. Knead a little bit more, then put the dough back into the bowl and cover.  Let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half.
  7. Punch down down.  Divide into half and form into loaves.
  8. Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet, and cover with a towel.  Let rise again for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.
  10. Remove covering, slash tops of loaves, and bake 30 minutes.  Let cool, and enjoy!