Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wednesday tip: Free Classic Audiobooks for Android, itunes, or 'puter

Once upon a time there was a mom who liked the idea of reading books to her kids. She read and read, her voice ragged with winter cold,  until she wondered if there was a free source for books in audio so she could rest her scratchy throat.

She looked and typed and browsed the various apps and options on her phone and computer and one day happened upon an place which enchanted her. Old books, classic books, long lost books, all read by volunteers, some with interesting accents, but most completely understandable and easy for listening, every last one free in the public domain.

This was too good to be true! A whole new world opened up to her. Foxes Book of Martyrs became her kitchen companion, as she listened and worked. A voice read The Story of the World to her kids as they colored and she tidied. The Book of Art for Young People rounded out her homeschool curriculum, as well as Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare. She found Elsie Dinsmore, all the works of Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Gatty's Parables from Nature(in progress), The Bobbsey Twins, Anne of Green Gables, and these only a few from the 549 books in the Children's Genre.

As far as I can tell, there are almost 8000 English titles in the library, all free with no rights reserved!

Download the app Traveling Classics (It's free.) to your Android phone or go to Librivox.org and load any book you wish to your itunes account. Or download to your computer. Browse by Genre or search for your favorite classic by name.

Hours of listening await you!

I was not paid for this so called endorsement in any way, nor am I being compensated in even the smallest amount. I may or may not agree with the content of all the books that they offer, nor do I claim to understand German or Russian or Latin or French, just a few of the languages many books are offered. I do remember three Russian words, one from each month I spent there, but that is irrelevant.

Librivox is completely free and is so great a find that I just HAD to share this source of great classics in audio. Please don't tell me if you've known about this forever. I'd be so embarrassed that I just found out. Thank you. Or alternately, you are so welcome!

Friday, March 18, 2011

FB Friday

Soooo, I've been MIA here, but you're getting used to that, right?

Here's a recap pf what I've been doing in my real life straight from Facebook:

Is afraid. I packed my retreat bag while on the phone.
A couple weekend ago, our church had a ladies retreat, so, not one to turn down a social event, I went. Thankfully I didn't forget anything important! It was great. Speaker great. Company super. Conversation meaningful. Food not so nice. I said some rather rude things about the grub. And then at the end of our time there I found out that the cook was brand new. Sigh. When will I ever learn to show a little compassion, grace? Even for bad camp cooks.

Best LRC retreat yet. Even with the individual cups of canned peaches.

Oh my goodness and praise Jesus! I think I finally fixed my computer! I played a video and did not get the blue screen of death! Yay! Yes, I fixed it. At least that problem, I did. Then my beloved machine began freezing every time I used MS Office. Tired of computer problems. One problem solved, another springs up. My eyes are crossing. Off to bed. Sigh.

Praying for a friend who's having kidney cancer surgery today. The report is that his lymph nodes were negative, and my friend's dad is doing great! A great answer to prayer!

Battle of wills with Madison over school today. I won. The end. Seriously, this girl is showing her baby of the family colors, and I need to gear up every morning and remind myself that sometimes family peace needs to be sacrificed temporarily for some character development. It's not pretty presently, but I trust it shall end beautifully.

Madison's sick, but she's quiet and sweet, so it's not all bad. Today, school shall be, in large part, documentaries. Again, not bad. This was a lovely break from the aforementioned debacle.

Irreducible complexity. What Mitchell learned in school today. The result of documentaries about the evidence that supports creation. Yes, there is evidence. But you can research that yourself.

Incubating yogurt tonight. Yes, I did. I still need to work on my methods, but hope to perfect my process. Yum. 21 comments on this status, so I have lots of advisers!

Sometimes you just have to make a spreadsheet of all the homeschool stuff you've done so far in the year. Yes, I do. And now I feel better, thank you for asking.

Was crabby til I talked to my sister. She's pregnant & has a 1 yr old. So my life's not so bad. :) What ensued was a conversation about my mother's bedrest when Sara and I were teens and whether or not we were helpful in any way to her. I stated that was when I learned to cook Sara maintains we were not good helpers. I insist that is only because she did not change any diapers. Love you sis. Even if I had to change all  our sisters' diapers (and by all I mean mostly all when we were babysitting)!

The other day we had a couple friends over and En-Gedi held only twins. We could interrupt, finish each others sentences and talk over each other and no one thought we were rude. :) 1.If I ever interrupt you, now you know why. 2.I don't understand singly born people. 3.Talking over each other is so much more effective. 4.More can be said in a shorter amount of time. 5.It's a really good thing I married a twin.

Huh. My husband just joined foursquare. That's the first social media site that he's joined before me. Way to be a leader, honey! Robb went to a social media class for Realtors and this is what happened. This could be dangerous.

Forcing myself to get on the elliptical. And I did. Am I skinny yet? Yes, yes. I am skinnyish already. But I don't want to be like that ad with the supermodel on the red carpet that dies of a heart attack, you know?

My baby of the family showing her true colors needs to be put to bed. Again.
So. I. Must. Go.
See that face? It speaks for itself.

Forget editing this post.
For the love of all children with good character!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Never Wait for Caramel Popcorn Again, plus an upper body workout

This recipe came from my neighbor, Gerry, who lived next door to my parents. Gerry died of cancer when I was a teen and soon the house was sold. To my Grandparents! My grandma lives there now, probably using the same microwave Gerry used for this recipe.

This is for the impatient cook who doesn't want to wait an hour for the standard oven variety of caramel popcorn. Who wants to babysit the oven when you have another option? Not me!

Start by air popping 2 quarts of popcorn and putting it in a paper grocery sack.

Then you'll need:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda

Mix sugar, syrup, butter and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Bring to boil in the microwave. Boil for two minutes. This will take approximately 5 minutes on HI, but watch it to make sure it does not boil for over two minutes.

Mix in soda. Stir until foaming. Nice and foamy? Good. Now,
Pour over popcorn and shake the bag.

Shake it. Shake it. That's right.

Roll down the bag and smoosh it so it will still turn in the microwave.
Microwave on HI for 1 minute.

Take bag out and shake vigorously.
Everybody, move your body.
Up, down.
To the right. To the left.
Leave no two kernels together!

Microwave again for 1 minute.

Shake again. Even more vigorously. Put your whole body into it.
Shake it up.
Shake it down.
Shake it all around.

But don't hug it. It's a rather greasy dance partner.

Microwave for one more minute. It's smokin' hot by now, so,
pour out on cookie sheet to cool.

You've now had your upper body workout for the day. Or at least you've burned off the calories you're about to eat, so put your feet up and enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

FB Friday

So, the week flew by here, did it for you?

Here it is my second week of FB Friday... I think I 'm going to like this weekly review. :)

On Sunday, Megan and I went shopping, which rarely occurs, but alas, she needed new jeans and the patches weren't holding up. So away we went. Mitchell went to a friend's house and Robb headed home for a quiet afternoon with Madison. You can ask him if it was really quiet. HA!

Later that evening, I asked Mitchell about his time with his friend.

Mitchell, you didn't flirt w ur friend's sisters today, did u? No, I just stared @ them. Oh, why? I say. He laughs. Because they're girls.

Innocent as all get out, that boy is, but he's still a boy! He is nearing twelve, and though he's not interested in girls in that way just yet, and flirting for him is a silly giggle and pre-teen craziness, he is beginning to find them fascinating at least. I'm not so sure the girls find him fascinating.

More from Mitchell. He's just full of it, lately. What it is, I'm not sure.

Mitchell: "I had a dream last night that I was @ Walmart and it took me 3 hrs to find the webkinz." Yep, sounds like a kid's worst nightmare.

Speaks for itself, really. My kids are addicted to Webkinz.  It's what they spend their money and extra time on. We're reigning in screen time, for many reasons, but mostly because I'm tired of my desk being taken over by toys, kid papers, crumbs and whatever else they deem necessary while sitting in my chair playing on my computer. (How's one to blog when my office has been overtaken? Honestly!)

When we first moved to the farm, our only internet option was satellite. It's slow. When rain comes, it doesn't work. It stinks. We tried internet with our phone service, and we thought it would be the answer, but that was problematic, and limited, so we canceled the service, losing money on what turned out to be a failed experiment. But......

We may *crosses fingers* have finally found a solution to our internet difficulties. :) I've forgotten how high speed high speed can be. I hope to soon remember.

A technician comes today to install our new internet service. Praying incessantly that this solution works. Seriously!


Some device driver on my desktop keeps crashing it. Blerggggg. And on the day we hope to get faster internet. So. Technology conspires against me. It will not win.

As if our internet trouble weren't enough.... I did a system restore (Take that! also... Hold me!) and hope that solves my crashing issues. I'm tired of that blue screen. It doesn't match my decor.

Just picked a jelly bean up off the floor and ate it. yum.

There was some concern the morsel was from last year. People! Who do you think I am? I have standards, low as they are. A year-old jelly bean does not meet them. (It was from last week.)

I want to keep bees. And chickens. I am crazy.

This may explain my sudden desire to double my garden, raise foul fowl (Thank you, Molly), and risk anaphylactic shock (wow, that's hard to spell):

Watching Food Inc. followed by The Future of Food = research & shopping for organic foods. Did you know wheat bread has high fructose corn syrup in it? Mom, I'd like your wheat grinder now, thank you. :)

I promise our family will not turn into some weird homeschooling-granola-hippie-alarmist combo.  I think. :)

Bottom line: we want to be healthy, and that is so much easier when both husband and wife have the same goals. Break out the dehydrator, grinder, yogurt maker, breadmaker, honey! And promise to help me weed the garden? Please? (Oh, yeah, that's why we have children! *wink*)

Remember this face? Those teeth. Oh my.

Then this:

And now: Ta daaaaa! 

Retainer day. Hopefully we don't get stuck in the driveway like last week.

We made it. Without incident. The days of anyone (me{2x}, Robb{1x}, the UPS driver{1x, 30 minutes}, the bottled water delivery guy with bald tires{1x, then he avoided our place entirely} the propane truck {almost}) getting stuck are over. On some parts of the driveway, I can actually see dirt. I can only hope we've seen the worst of winter.

Her retainer is pink and sparkly. I spared you a picture.You can thank me now. Or later. Whichever.

Finally, something of substance to think about:

All who think people are good at their core need to stop being hypocrites and take the locks off all their doors. 
I stole that from Mark Driscoll's FB page. You'll have to come to our house to see if we lock the doors or not. If I'm out, you are welcome to use my bathroom. Or outhouse. Whichever isn't locked. :)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paint Something. It feels good.

Do you ever get itchy to change things up in your house, or is it just me? I've had the bug lately, but I've resisted well the urge to spend on things like new modern bedding or leather chairs for my living room and bedroom or whatever else I wish for but cannot finance right now.

Instead, I've been reinventing things I already have.

Case in point: wall item I bought at a garage sale.

I stated earlier that I wanted something new for above my kitchen sink, and decided this piece would work well if it was spruced up with some paint to match my new color highlights in there.

As is typical with me, I'm not quite done with it, as I need to spray some varnish over the whole thing, and I wasn't very particular in my painting method, but I rather like the way it turned out. I do plan to hang it on the wall rather than just setting it in the puddle of water that gets splashed up on my sink and counter.

All in good time, or next year, whichever comes first!

I did buy a canvas and paints for the other kitchen wall, but I haven't been brave enough to start it yet (or honestly taken the time to plan out my painting). But I will do it! Soon!

Have you reinvented anything lately?

If you don't do that kind of thing, check out the link below! Dayspring has great wall art!

Sharing at WFMW, because painting saved me money and that works for me!
And I'd like to disclose that the top link is a compensated link for which I will receive store credit to CSNstores.com.