Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sugar Shortage?

So I am just now hearing of this sugar shortage that we are suppose to be in, and I am telling you it just won't work out with my plans. Exactly how am I suppose to bake glorious pies, cakes, cookies, and all sorts of goodies with a sugar shortage going on?

I had noticed that the price of a bag of sugar had gone up, but I just assumed the store I shop at was using the fact that it had no competition to raise the prices. It looks like I am going to have to go buy several of the twenty-five pound bags of sugar to store because I just simply can not be without sugar. I am telling you a sugar shortage will just not do.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

$1 Megabus Tickets

As you will learn I am very frugal, not because I am cheap but because I like to save money where I can so I have more money to spend in other places. I don't know if that makes any sense at all to you but in my dillusional mind it makes plenty of sense. Anyhow, I love travel deals. From September 14th until November 19th Megabus will be offering $1 bus fares. Be sure to use the promotional code "HOTDEAL" to get the deal.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

These Snickerdoodle Cookies are easy to make, and they taste great. They never last too long at our house.


Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup of butter softened
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Sugar Topping:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine sugar and butter with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in corn syrup, vanilla, and eggs. Gradually add in the flour mixture beating until just combined. Mixture will be dry and pebbly. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for ten minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and prepare Sugar Topping.

With moist hands shape dough into one inch balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place on a well greased cookie sheet. Flatten balls with fingers.

Bake cookies for five minutes. Cookies will be slightly soft when removed from oven. Allow cookies to cool on pan for two minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homeschool Curriculum Review: Christian Kids Explore Biology

After a lot of researching and searching I decided to use Christian Kids Explore Biology this year for my third and fifth grade daughters. We are loosely following the Well Trained Mind method of education, and were looking for a classical science curriculum that could be used with both girls, and this seemed to fit the bill.


The curriculum is written by Stephanie Redmond, who is a Christian author that has developed a full set of science books that follow the classical method of education. In addition to Christian Kids Explore Biology, she also has written Christian Kids Explore Chemistry, Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space, and Christian Kids Explore Physics. The curriculum is designed for students in third through sixth graders, but my younger son has been following along with no issues whatsoever, making it easily adaptable for younger students.

One of my factors in my decision to go with this program was the fact that the curriculum is written by a Christian author, so Biology is taught with a Christian perspective. However, the curriculum covers both the theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Even though we are Creationists, I still want my children to understand that there are other theories on how the Earth was created. I do not want them to be in high school or college before they are exposed to these ideas and I want them to be exposed to them for the first time on my terms.

Another factor in my decision for choosing this curriculum was both the cost, and publisher. Christian Kids Explore Biology is published by Bright Ideas Press, who also published Mystery of History, a history curriculum we really like and use. The book is very inexpensive compared to many science curriculums with a list price of just $29.95.

There are thirty-six lessons in the book, with the intention of students covering one lesson a week. I think that they could be covered much more quickly than that however. The book includes review questions for each lesson, coloring pages, hands on activities, experiments, bible memory verses, vocabulary words for each lesson, and plenty of supplemental reading suggestions. The curriculum is very easy to use as is, with minimal prep required on my part as a teacher. The majority of the prep work is running copies, or collecting the items needed for the day’s activity or experiment.

At this point I am absolutely thrilled with my decision to purchase this curriculum, and plan to continue through all of the books in this series by Stephanie Redmond.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Italian Herb Rolls

A perfect compliment to any Italian dish, these Italian Herb Rolls are easy to make. It took me just a few trys to get the ingredients just right. I use my breadmaker to mix the dough for me.

Ingredients
1/2 cup Warm Water
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1 Egg
1/3 cup Butter Softened
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Each of Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Rosemary
3 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1 (.25 Ounce) Packet Active Dry Yeast


Place all ingredients in the pan of the breadmaker in the order suggested by your manufacturer. With my breadmaker I put them in the breadmaker in the order that they are listed. Select the Dough Cycle.

Once the Dough Cycle is through turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out. Using a biscuit cutter cut out your rolls, and form into smooth round balls. Place cut out rolls on a greased cookie sheet. Place rolls in a warm place, and let rise for about an hour.

Bake rolls in a preheated 400 degree oven for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden. Brush cooked rolls with melted butter.

Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

Baked Ziti is one of my favorite meals to make. It takes just a few minutes to prepare it, so it is great for a fast meal.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground Italian Sausage
1 Quart of Spaghetti Sauce (I use my Spaghetti Sauce Recipe)
1 Pound Box of Penne Noodles
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Brown ground beef, and Italian Sausage in a skillet. Once you have browned it drain the excess grease from the meat. While you are browning the meat, cook the Penne Noodles in a pot of boiling water. Do not cook the noodles until they are all the way done, you will want to remove them from the heat right before they are done.

In a large bowl mix cooked meat, noodles, spaghetti sauce, and 1 cup of Mozzarella Cheese. Once everything is well blended put the mixture in a 12" by 18" baking pan. Cover with remaining Mozzarella Cheese.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Restoring a Vintage Camper

A few months ago my husband and I watched a show on the Travel channel that featured several vintage campers. I fell in love with the cute campers on the show, and knew I had to have one for myself. Today my dream came to fruition when we found a gem, that I knew would be perfect. We ended up getting this 1968 Shasta travel trailer.




It isn't much to look at right now but in the future I expect it to be wonderful. We are planning on painting it first. We are going to go back white, but where it is currently painted black we are going to be painting it red. We plan to update, or should I say restore, the interior as well. We plan to do a diner style decor on the inside by covering the cushions with red and white interior, as well as making new curtains for the windows. I can't wait to get started on this project.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lobster Cheaper Than Hot Dogs?

That's right according to a new article on Yahoo Finance (read it here), buying lobster is now cheaper than buying hot dogs. It may not really be cheaper than hot dogs but lobster has reached an unbelievably low wholesale price averaging just $2.25 per pound. If the price keeps dropping lobster may just become a regular dinnertime treat.