Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chicory Tea

     I am teaching a class at our Homeschool co-op, on homesteading skills. Each week I am focusing on a different traditional skill that can possibly be condensed into an hour long class. Last week we canned pickles, and this week we are foraging.
     I foraged a lot as a child, but not much as an adult.  I am trying to get back into it, though, and actually prepare dishes from foraged food.  I've made some tasty dandelion dishes this spring, and today I made chicory root tea for the first time. I was very impressed with the flavor; like nutty, rich black tea. I will be serving it during my lesson tomorrow.
      It was very easy to make. The hardest part was cleaning the dirt off the roots. I used a butter knife, and scraped them clean. The basal leaves of chicory look almost identical to dandelion, so I only pulled up plants that had flowers. Dandelion roots are edible too, but I wanted to know what I was getting.
     After cleaning the roots, I chopped them up and roasted them at 350 for about two hours. It looked like dried up bits of twigs when they were done. I did not grind it before making it into tea, but just put about a tablespoon into a tea ball, and poured 8 - 10 oz of boiling water on it, and let it steep. I drank it with cream and sugar, which is probably why it tasted so good.
     While roaming around outside, I couldn't help but notice the way the nectar gathering insects love my Autumn Joy. I have several of these plants in my yard, and each one is covered with bees and butterflies!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Anna's Room (After)

      I've been so busy, I haven't had a chance to blog any, but I thought I would post some after pictures of Anna's room, since I showed the chaos that was the "before".
      Here is her new "art wall". It gives her a room a personal touch, and a place to showcase her talent.
     Her new shelves I built at the foot of her bed.  She was is desperate need of bookshelves and something to take up the extra space in her built-in bed.  I also repainted the entire room, put in crown molding, and rehung her closet doors. (This was taken before I put the doors in.)
    One of her closets; nearly empty now!  
The other closet, nice and airy.

     I still need to make a desk for her room, hang a light next to her bed, and touch up the pant in the closets, but already things look so much nicer.  I think it will help her allergies, too, having all the clutter cleared out.

My Homeschool Planner

     As part of getting my house organized, I've also been working on getting my homeschool organized for this coming year.  I've always kept school records in a very loose informal way, but this year I wanted to have everything in one place, and easy to access and look back on.  I started looking for homeschool planners that would meet my needs, but didn't really find anything that recorded information the way I do.  Or they were ugly, and since I will be looking at it a lot during the year, I wanted something I enjoyed looking at.  So I decided to make my own, and I couldn't be more pleased with it!
     It has everything I need, and nothing I don't.  Making it was a fun experience, and I definitely want to make another one for next year.  For those who are interested in making their own planner too, this is basically how I did it. (If you don't have time to make your own, I am sharing the pages I've made with you.)
    Starting with the cover, I went outside, found a couple of my favorite flowers, and painted them, keeping a space in the middle for the text.  I then scanned the painting onto my computer, and printed it off on card-stock. The text is a separate document that I printed out over the picture.  This took a few tries to get it right.  I then laminated it and another blank piece of card-stock for the back cover.
     The first pages in my planner are attendance keeping charts for all of my children. It seems silly to keep attendance for a homeschool, but the state I live in requires it.  I don't have copies of this to download, but you could easily make your own. Next I have student schedules.  This helps the kids and I keep track of what needs to be done each day.
     Most of my planner is taken up with a calendar and weekly planning pages.  For the calendar, I printed one off from my computer's Works program.  I printed out as many copies of the weekly planing pages as I do school. In hind sight, I wish I had went ahead and printed out 52. I use these to keep a journal of our year, and the calendar is used for planning ahead. I printed out double sided whenever I could, while still preserving the layout I wanted. To do this, you will need 24 lb. paper, as 20 lb. paper is too transparent.

      The rest of the planner has grade record sheets, a place to record what curriculum we are using this year, reading logs, craft ideas, field trip recorder, and my History book schedule, as I make up my own curriculum, and then tend to forget what I had planned.
      After I got everything printed up and arranged the way I wanted it, I went to Office Depot, and had it spiral bound for about 3 bucks. Not bad for a customized planner.
     Here are the PDF links for most of the pages I made for my planner.  The cover is in two parts; the text and the picture. The text will need to be printed out first, then placed in the printer again, and the picture printed out over the text.  Of course, you could also make your own title, and print that over my picture, or vice versa.  Feel free to make it your own.  The only stipulation I have, is that you do not sell it.  Good things should be free!  Enjoy.
cover text
cover picture
weekly planning pages
Student Schedule
Book log
Christmas crafts
history crafts
field trips
grade record keeper