About the title

In our home we want learning to be fun. We want to entertain our children first in order to get their attention. Once we have their attention, the learning can begin. School does not have to be boring. So our journey starts with Entertaining to Educate...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeade Dishwasher Detergent

I hate to buy dishwasher detergent.  I have looked at making my own, and wondered if it would really work.  Well, yesterday I was out of dishwasher detergent and my dishwasher was full of dirty dishes.  I didn't want to wash them all by hand...  I got online and searched for "recipes" to make a batch.  I looked at several different combinations and read comments posted about them.  I ended up going with the basic mixture and trying it out.  It really worked.  I am pleased with the results. 

Now, some people posted about build-up after time so I will have to wait and see if that happens.  Depending on what brand of dishwasher detergent you buy (if you use coupons, etc.) it may not be that much more expensive.  The homeade stuff costs about $.03 per load and the brand stuff is about $.09-$.15/load best I can figure.  Not a huge savings.  If you washed one load every day, it would add up to somewhere between $21 - $43/year savings.  Using the homeade stuff I am putting less chemicals into my septic tank.  It is also nice to know I have another option if I don't want to go to the store or don't have coupons.

The recipe:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
4 packets lemon kool-aid with NO Sugar (for the citric acid)
1/4 cup white vinegar (as a rinse aid ~ optional)

Mix the borax, washing soda and kool-aid together.  Use about 1 tsp (I used a cereal spoon).  Add the white vinegar as a rinse aid if needed.  I didn't do this as my dishwasher is old and doesn't have a rinse-aid compartment and I don't typically use one anyway.  I was going to try it, but forgot until after the rinse cycle was already finished.  I realized I didn't need it anyway.  I think I will continue using this method instead of the other commercial brands (unless I have a great coupon which gets it for free.....)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Kindle

I love to read.  Both my kiddos love to read.  Our house is full of books.  We also love our local public library.  I was skeptical of this whole e-reader thing.  I have tried to read a book on the computer and didn't like it at all.  I do well to read a long article on the computer.  I really wasn't sure that I would ever like an e-reader.

For my birthday, my mom gave me a Kindle.  I started shopping on Amazon's site for free books.  I loaded it up with plenty to read for our beach trip in May.  I first had to read the newest Karen Kingsbury book, Leaving.  After that was finished I picked up the Kindle.  I had all my books right there.  As soon as I finished one book, I started on the next one.  I didn't have to dig in my bag or go back to the room for another book.  I think it was easier on my eyes than a real paper book in that bright beach sunshine.  I am totally hooked!  I will never fully abandon books, but the Kindle is awesome!

My kids beg to read my Kindle.  I set up collections for each of them on the Kindle as well.  My 11 yr old started reading Great Expectations because it was on the Kindle.  I don't think she would have even considered it if she saw the print copy. 

For those of you that homeschool or take long car rides, the Kindle is a great solution.  One device with the capability of holding 3500 books vs. a bag of reading material?  You can hold all your books in one small place.  It easily fits in your purse, backpack, etc.  It also has the feature to rent textbooks for college now.  Stuck in traffic, waiting for an appointment, whatever the case may be you have your books right there with you.  I even have several translations of the Bible loaded on mine and have used it for church and Sunday School.

The Kindle is now available for as low as $114.  I know that even that amount is too much for some families.  For families that have avid readers, I think it would make a great gift for an older child.  An initial investment, then for other birthdays, Christmas, etc. give a gift card so they can purchase additional books and / or games.  There are so many free books available that you don't have to actually purchase books at all.  They range from old classics to plenty of contemporary books.  All genres have offerings for free books.  A great site to help with this is www.pixelofink.com .  They post  freebies and bargain books every day.  Better act fast though, because some of these are only available at free or bargain prices for a day or even a few hours. You can also load pdf files on the Kindle. 

There are only a couple negative things I could say about the Kindle.  But, even these things are not necessarily negative ~ depending on your preferences/use.  Currently, the Kindle does not support the format used for reading of library loaned e-books.  However, Kindle has announced that it will support this feature sometime later this year.  While this will be a nice feature to have, I have found that most e-books that I want to "borrow" from the library are rarely available and have such long hold times, I opt for the print copy of the book instead.

The other negative feature is that while the Kindle does have web-browsing capabilities, it is difficult to get used to.  If you are wanting to use your device for lots of web-browsing along with reading books, you might want a different device.  If you are using your device primarily for reading books ~ Kindle is the way to go!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Banana Bread in the Crockpot....

Ok, so I bought a bag of ripe bananas at the grocery store.  I really didn't want to heat up the house making banana bread so I was searching for recipes.  Lo, and behold I found a few for banana bread in the crockpot.  Weird, I know.  It was easy and was really quite yummy.  It was actually a little more moist than oven baked bread.

You just follow the recipe for your favorite banana bread.  You take out the insert (glass crock) for your crockpot.  Grease and flour the insert.  Turn your crockpot on high.  Mix the batter for the bread and then pour it into the greased and floured insert.  Place it in the crockpot and put the lid on tight.

No matter how tempted you are, do NOT open the lid for 2 hours.  After 2 hours has passed you can check it.  It may take up to 3 hours.  Mine took a little less than  2 1/2 hours.  It was very yummy.  The hardest part was flipping it out of the pan.  That crock is so heavy when it is hot and you are trying to flip an oval crock onto a round plate, but at last, I did succeed.

My library friends seemed to enjoy the bread and so did I.  I will definitely do this again!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Entertaining to Educate what does that really mean?

I remember when I was a kid and often being bored at school.  I enjoyed the socialization and I did have some great teachers along the way.  But, I do not remember a lot of what I studied in school.  My husband hated school and couldn't wait to graduate.  We wanted a different experience for our two children.

After we had children we decided that we wanted to homeschool our children.  I must say the phrase came from my husband, but it makes sense.  He told me one day that we should entertain them in order to educate them, at least to get things started.  In order to get the kids interested and enjoying learning ~ we try to make it fun.  We do not have the traditional school setting:  sitting in a desk for eight hours a day doing lots of boring workbook pages.  For us, we may have school on the couch, on the bed, sitting in the swing, on the trampoline, or even in the tree!  While certain aspects are not as "fun" as others, we try our best to make it as fun as possible.  We try to do hands on things and learn through exploration.

As for the way we do things, it works for our family.  Our kids are learning with this method and surprise us often with things we did not even realize they know.  I am looking forward to this upcoming school year.  I can't wait to get started in full swing.