Saturday, February 6, 2010
Author: Book Lover | Posted at: Saturday, February 06, 2010 | Filed Under: Freebies
Author: Book Lover | Posted at: Saturday, February 06, 2010 | Filed Under: Homeschooling
. . .But Were Afraid to Ask
Part 2: How?
In Part One of this series, I discussed my own reasons for homeschooling—the Why? If you’re considering this lifestyle—and it truly is a lifestyle!—you may be wondering how to make it happen.
Each state has laws governing how parents go about this process. When I lived in New Jersey, we were only responsible for informing our local school district that we intended to educate our kids at home. Other states have far more involved procedures, and it’s always a good idea to be familiar with the laws in your own state and community. A local homeschool support group would have those requirements posted.
But beyond that, what’s the best way to ease your child out of public school and into the homeschooing routine? That all depends on your family. We’ve tried it a number of ways; with two daughters, we simply did not send them to school at the end of the summer. With another, we pulled her out shortly before Christmas break. Your situation will dictate how you handle it. If there is something urgent that is causing you to consider homeschooling—such as an unsafe environment or mid-year relocation—you may have to do it in the middle of school term. If this is the case, it’s important to reassure the child that she hasn’t done anything wrong to precipitate this change. Inasmuch as you can, share with her why you’ve made this decision, and be positive. Kids pick up and reflect their parents’ emotion and moods, and your feeling that you’ve made a good decision will go a long way to helping your child happily anticipate this new lifestyle.
Many parents recommend making the break over the summer, and I agree that it’s wonderful if you can do this. It gives you entire summer to work on planning your homeschooling schedule, choosing curriculum and building up positive expectations within your family.
Research is so important! Spend as much time as you can reading about homeschooling styles, and think about which one might best match your own family. Investigate curriculum: will you go with a complete package that covers all the topics, will you pick and choose among the hundreds of options, or will you do your own thing, supplementing with the library? All are valid choices! And take it from me: no matter what you decide on, you’ll change your mind on something at some point over your homeschooling journey.
You won’t really know what works with your own child until you put it into practice, so try not to invest too much money into any program until you’ve tried it for a while.
My own first year began with one school-aged child at home and ended with two. I was a genuine rookie, and the Internet was really in its infancy, too! I did my research at the library—God bless our wonderful librarians. I didn’t know anything about support groups, and I think I knew one other family who was homeschooling, too. I chose some topics and some workbooks and off we went. When my oldest daughter joined us at mid-year, my husband found a college-level textbook for her to use for math. It wasn’t until that summer that I began investigating “real” curriculum.
I attended our state’s annual homeschool convention, and believe me, my eyes were opened! I didn’t know how much was out there, and I was a little bit like a kid in a candy shop. I poured over all the catalogs that summer and agonized over which choice was best for the three girls I would be educating at home come September. Part of the issue was the age range: I would have an 8th grader, a 5th grader and 1st grader.
We finally decided on a fairly comprehensive program that would include language arts, reading, history, geography, science and math. We were all thrilled when boxes of books arrived, and we couldn’t wait to get started.
It was an excellent program. . .but not for us. The first problem was time. Because of the age groups of my children, I had to purchase three separate grade levels (frequently, children who are closer in age can use the same level). This meant I was teaching three complete packages, beginning at 8 AM and not ending until 5 PM, with a short lunch break. This curriculum was heavy into read-alouds, and I was frequently without a voice by the end of the day. I also had two babies at home and often was juggling feedings with reading.
It was a lesson learned. I realized that the most important first rule of homeschooing is Know Thy Own Child. Why was I homeschooling? Because I know my children better than anyone else could. So why didn’t I remember that when choosing a plan? When we implemented our own way of doing things, everyone relaxed and suddenly, it was fun again. My children were coming to me, eager to share what they were learning on their own. Together we marveled over what we discovered together. We found the joy again.
So the lesson here? Take it slow. Borrow what you can from friends before you invest time and money. Ask questions from other homeschoolers who have been at it longer than you, and take into account those families’ similarities and differences to your own.
But above all, trust yourself. Remember that this is a process, and you’re learning as much as your kids are! Relax, smile and find the joy!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Once you have put together your home herb garden, whether it is in your backyard or in pots, you need to figure out what to do with your herbs. Making use of herbs from the garden is lots of fun and here we are going to focus on two essential ways: cooking and medicine. Some plants that are primarily used in cooking can also have healthy side effects, while conversely some plants that you thought were just for home remedies can also taste great.
The first step in using the herbs from your home herb garden is to know the best way to remove the part of the plants that you need out of the entire plant. Many herbs, including the common varieties like basil and dill only yield edible leaves or shoots. Therefore just pinch off the amount of leaves you need with your fingers or, if you prefer use a pair of scissors - that way you will not crush the remaining part of the plant. Other plants from the home herb garden like horseradish, ginger or turmeric have edible roots which you need to dig up and wash, then simply slice or grate them.
Most times we think of using plants from the home herb garden for our cooking since they add many levels of flavor to the dishes and you will be able to reduce the amount of salt because most herbs make the food more savory and you get a delicious taste. Sage is a favorite of any home herb garden and it is a great rub for red meats like pot roast and mutton, while oregano is the quintessential ingredient in Italian cooking, giving it a slightly pungent and fragrant taste.
Herbs have also been used throughout the ages for their medicinal properties, but with the dawn of modern medicine, herbal remedies have taken a backseat to conventional medicine, although they are still a great option for maintaining your health. Many herbs from the home herb garden can be brewed in boiling water to create soothing and healthy teas, two of the most popular being mint and chamomile. While chamomile is great to seep in the evening as a relaxant, mint is more stimulant and is an excellent tea to have in the morning.
The home herb garden can be a wonderful source of medicinal herbs: St. John’s Wort is recognized to help relieve tension, both mental and physical, while wormwood has long been known to aid many digestive ailments. Woad was primarily used for its indigo-colored dye in the West, but has long been known to Chinese physicians as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral treatment and it is said that taken orally it can help prevent the flu. I grow several plants of anise in my home herb garden and I love drinking the aromatic tea obtained from the seeds. Anise syrup is well known for relieving coughs.
In addition to the common culinary and medicinal uses, some herbs can also protect your home herb garden and your house from unwanted pests. Dill is known to keep the white butterfly from laying eggs on cabbages, while fennel is a fantastic deterrent for fleas and that is why it is best grown just outside the dog kennel. Bay leaves keep weevils away; just put a leaf or two in the rice container or spread a few leaves on the pantry shelves where you store your grains and flour.
Because herbs come in a wide array of sizes and textures, they can create visual interest in the home herb garden while still being useful in several ways for cooking, in medicine and as pest deterrent, therefore using herbs from a home herb garden is a wonderful hobby that also offers practical advantages.
Lisa Summerfield is an herb garden lover and author of "Secrets To A Successful Home Herb Garden" - compulsory reading for anyone considering to grow a thriving home herb garden. Her website contains valuable information on using and growing herbs... Even if you have never grown a garden before! For a FREE 10 part mini-course on "The Secrets To Growing Delicious Herbs at Home!" go to http://herbgardensolutions.com
2 tb Chocolate syrup
1 tb Maraschino cherry juice
Combine coffee, chocolate syrup, and cherry juice in a cup; mix well. Top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and a cherry.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Goes well with fish or chicken, or even over rice as a side dish.
15 MinCook Time:
15 MinReady In:
Original Recipe Yield 4 servings
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 small ripe bananas, quartered
1 shallot, quartered
1 clove garlic, halved
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia®)
1 3/4 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 pinch salt
1.Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bananas, shallot, garlic, and onion. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the chicken chicken broth and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.Pour the curry mixture, rice vinegar, honey, and salt into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the curry moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the curry right in the cooking pot.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
By Carrie Lauth
Along with the benefits of breastfeeding such as exceptional nutrition for your baby and a close knit bond between mother and child, the mothers can often experience some sort of breast pain. It’s important to know what methods are a combination of effective, natural, and won’t harm baby or mom.
Cracked or Dry Nipples and/or Areola:
Cracked nipples can occur a number of ways. The most common is if the baby is not latched on correctly. Make sure your baby’s mouth is taking in the entire areola. If not, you will soon experience cracking of your nipples. Another way cracked or dry nipples can occur is by naturally just being used more than normal. Your body is still getting used to breastfeeding several times a day and the result can dry out the skin.
The most common way to help correct this is after each feeding, squeezing a small amount of milk onto your areolas and nipples. Allow to dry naturally, soaking in the breastmilk. If you continue to have cry and cracked nipples, especially ones that really hurt, proceed to using lanolin.
If you are vegan, lanolin is not the product for you since it is extracted from wool. However, it is an all natural product. If you purchase the Lansinoh brand of lanolin, you’ll find it is the purest form out there, without any additives. Take the lanolin and generously apply to your nipples and areola. You might want to cover your breasts with a light breast pad to keep your clothing from getting sticky. The good part is that lanolin is safe for baby (and for you), just be sure you’re not super gooey before feedings. But a thin layer is appropriate to remain on.
Your body will soak in the lanolin and within a day’s time you should start to see a major difference.
Hard or Tender Breasts:
If you go too long without feeding, your breasts can become very hard. They are filled with milk and can feel like rocks living inside. It can be quite painful to some, especially to the touch. What you’ll want to do is carve out a little “me” time to take care of the soreness. If you have warm heating pads, such as a dyi rice sock or gel pack, warm up and then place on each breast, paying special attention to the sorest parts of your breasts. You can even use a warm compress such as a washcloth soaked in warm water. Other ways are to take a warm bath or lightly massage the hard areas with olive oil. Depending on the severity of the problem, the above method can start to take effect within hours or even days.
If you sense this is normal itchiness due to irritation, there are some natural steps you can take on your own. If you’re worried it could be thrust or a bacterial infection, you should talk with your doctor on what she or he believes you should do to help cure it.
However, many moms often experience itchiness of the nipples early on. The skin can become irritated from constant use or from exposure to certain fabrics. First of all, you’ll want to start using a bra that is made from organic cotton. You can even look for a specially-made nursing bra that removes the cups for easy feedings. This should make a major impact on the itchiness.
During shower time you’ll want to avoid using any sort of soap on the breasts. Just use warm water and be careful to be tender when washing. This will help remove any bacteria and cleanse the area naturally, without irritants.
For more advice and tips from moms who have been there, visit Nursing Bras - because motherhood is too short to wear an ugly nursing bra!
Monday, February 1, 2010
For Sonny Flannery, one of the Janus Guards charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the lands of Faerie that lies within Central Park, the pretty young actress presents an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker and he can't get her out of his mind. As Hallowe'en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike.
This debut novel that puts a fresh new spin on classic fairy lore. Wondrous Strange blends a gripping plot with fully-believable characters, fascinating ideas and just the right amount of romance to create a story that is vivid, thrilling and engaging. Readers of Herbie Brennan, Holly Black and Melissa Marr will find a new favorite in Lesley Livingston.
Author: Book Lover | Posted at: Monday, February 01, 2010 | Filed Under: Menu Planning
Here's what we are having this week...
Fried Fish, Cheesy Grits, Mango and Spinach Salad with Keylime Honey Mustard Dressing