Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Make It Monday (on Tuesday!): Laundry Soap

Here is my version of homemade laundry detergent! It's so simple and very frugal! This is the recipe that I use (it's stuck on the inside of one of my cupboards:

You can find washing soda at most smaller grocery stores, the baking soda and borax you can find at big name stores like Wal Mart.

I use any bar of soap that I can find, if you want unscented or a certain smell, choose your favorite soap! You can also customize this recipe to use a vegan soap.

Grate the bar of soap with a cheese grater. Then I put all the ingredients together in my food processor and give it a whirl!

Use 1 T per load, and store in an airtight container.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What We Did This Week: Fire Safety and Armor of God

This was our first week of doing a routine for school. We learned about fire safety this week. We used some ideas from Confessions of a Homeschooler's Fire Safety post. It was great!

Using candles, a spray bottle, a cup and a lighter we discussed what fire needs to "live". We showed what happened when you the the HEAT away by spraying the fire with water. We looked at what happens when the FUEL is gone (let the candle burn down to the bottom and it burns out). We also looked at what happens when AIR is taken away from a flame, it goes out!

The kids thought it was really neat to watch the flame extinguish when the cup was over the candle.

We also made a map of our house and talked about where all the exits were (doors and windows). We practiced a fire drill with the whole family (this is a great way to check your batteries, we noticed that one of our smoke detectors needed a new battery). We also practiced STOP, DROP and ROLL. We also got several books from the library about fire safety. We were hoping to get to the local fire department to see the trucks, but they weren't open when I called, another time.

This was the baby's newest trick this week. Crawling over then under the stool bar and getting stuck!

Our scripture for this week was Ephesians 6:13-17. I thought talking about protection in scripture was fitting for safety week! It is a bit of an abstract idea for young children so we got a little hands on! First we got a huge piece of paper (you could also do this small scale with a small outline of a person and make paper doll like clothes).

We traced each of the kids:

And let them decorate themselves:

Then everyday during the week we made and decorated each piece of the armor of God:


They thought it was great fun!
Today was our free day, sketch books and "school pictures" as well as a field trip to the pool!
Did you do "school" with your kids this week?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

General Canning Guidelines

People tend to think that canning and preserving your own food is difficult, when in reality it is quite simple. Depending on what you are preserving there are a few specifics (canning fruit is different than making jam) but for the most part there are some simple rules to follow. Here is how I do it!

Tip 1: Keep it HOT!
Keeping your food, jars and lids hot prevents any bacteria from getting into your food.

Tip 2: Work in Large Batches
Although canning isn't difficult it is time consuming. Working with large batches of food makes the process quicker. Peeling, cutting and preparing is what takes the longest.

Tip 3: Use good equipment
Buying good canning jars (or inheriting them) is an investment. Also check you lids if you want t try and re-use them. Don't use rusty or dented lids because they can cause the vacuum to fail and your jar will not seal.

So here is a general overview of how I go about canning.

Gather all your equipment first, I store my caner and jars in the basement so I need to gather them up before I start. Here's the basics of what you'll need:

  • Glass jars
  • Lids
  • Large canning pot with a rack, or a pot tall enough to cover your jars (place a towel in the bottom to keep the jars from banging and breaking)
  • tongs
  • jar lifter
  • funnel with a large spout
  • butter knife
  • sharp paring knives
For canning fruit you will want to get some Produce protector.

Clean your produce, get rid of any rotten or pieces. Peel fruit or trim veggies of their stems. Fill your caner and get it on the stove while you are peeling, it takes a while for it to heat to boiling. Heat your lids in a small pot, they don't have to stay at the boiling point but you want them sterile. I heat my jars in the oven at 200F, some recipes call to boil them. When filling your jars use the wide funnel and make sure before you put the lids on, to wipe the edge of the jar so there is no juice or debris that can hinder the seal. Also before you put the lids on, run a knife inside the jar to get rid of any bubbles and then top up with whatever liquid you were using, or add more jam/jelly. Most recipes for fruit and pickles call for a "hot pack". This means that you are going to boil whatever you are preserving before you put it in the jars, just follow the recipe on this one. After you give your filled and sealed jars a water bath (boiling them in your caner or large pot for a specific amount of time) they should all "pop" and seal themselves shut. If they don't you can always put the unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use them sooner than later.

These are just general guidelines, here are some sites that you can get recipes and instructions from:

What types of foods do you want to preserve?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recipe Collection: Southwest Veggie Dip

Recently I was enjoying some of my favourite store bought veggie dip, it was spicy it was smokey... it had chicken fat as one of the ingredients!? I almost gagged when I read through the ingredient list. How disappointing! I was craving some of that very dip yesterday, so I decided to try and make my own version of it and here it is!

Spicy Southwest Veggie Dip:

1/2 container (8 oz.) Sour cream
1-2 T mayo (this is optional, some people steer clear of mayo)
1/4 onion minced
1 T garlic Powder (use less if you don't like a strong garlic taste)
1 t Paprika
1t Cumin
1 t parsley or cilantro
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and let rest for about 1 hour, to blend the flavours. Serve with veggies of your choice! Be careful not to lick the bowl in front of other people, because you are going to want to!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crayon Rainbow

You might have seen these around on the Internet, I saw it first on Pinterest. We got our instructions for it from Pink and Green Mama, she's pretty crafty and great! Here's what we did!

You'll need:
  • 2-3 boxes of crayons
  • 1 large canvas
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • blow dryer

We lined up the crayons in a rainbow (ROY GBIV!) and then hot glued them to the canvas (oops that one's sideways!)

I figured taking it outside was best for clean up and messes.

This part takes the longest. Hold your blow dryer about 2-3 inches away and wait!

It's starting...

 Look at it go!!

Once it starts it really goes!

Ours is much more blended than some I've seen.

W holding the finished masterpiece!
SO much fun! They boys want to hang it in their room!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What We Did This Week!

This week we....

Counted to 10 and gathered objects for each number:

Went to a local petting zoo and fed animals:

Though about God's amazing creations!

No my kids are not biking the wrong way on the road! We went to Bike Safety Town this week. A local park for kids to ride their bikes and learn about road safety!

Used our new sketch books to document the fun we had at Bike Safety Town:

We made I Love You cards for Daddy's lunch pail:

Mommy cleaned her infamous junk pile on the counter, it is now somewhat under control again!

We melted crayons to make art!

And we tried to make Mayonnaise, and failed miserably! The lemon juice was bad... yuck! :)

What did you do this week?