April 28, 2010

Man cannot live by bread alone...

...but my kids sure are trying. For the past month or so I've made all our bread and bread products. I even grind my own grains for it and feel just like the Little Red Hen. My kids don't want to eat sandwiches now - just bread and butter with a little honey or jam.

I bake once a week, 5 or so loaves at a time. Well, sometimes I have to bake twice a week because I have growing boys who eat a whole loaf for a 'snack'.

I love to mix and match flours. I regularly use white wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, amaranth, millet, brown rice and quinoa for bread. It's a tricky balance since some of those are non-gluten flours. Sometimes you can use them as an "extra", like yesterday I made bread using the normal amount of flour but added a cup of amaranth (not ground into flour) to give it a "crunch". I have found that I can add about 2 cups of non-gluten flour and have the bread turn out just fine.

So, here's the recipe (from The Urban Homemaker) and how I make it.

Add 6 cups warm water to my Bosch mixer (which I love, love, love)
Melt coconut oil to make 2/3 c. - add to water
Add 2/3 c. honey to water
then 3 tbsp. yeast (I recommend SAF)

Then I start grinding. You'll need between 16 and 18 cups of flour, depending on which flours you use and the humidity. I measure it in as I go. You can use all wheat, you don't have to mix it up like I do.

Add 2 tbsp. sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 c. gluten (I'm trying to figure out how to make a good loaf without using gluten)

Jog it on "M" for a few seconds to get it slightly mixed, then go to Speed 2 for 6 to 10 minutes.

At this point you can bake it, but I like to let it rise once, then punch it down, put it in pans and let it rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. This makes 4 to 6 loaves, depending on the size of pans you use.

To grind I follow this crazy method: I add in a bunch of white wheat. Once it's ground I measure 6 cups into the Bosch. Whatever is left over I put in a gallon size baggie to freeze. Then I grind some kamut (I just throw a bunch in). I measure out a few cups into the Bosch and throw the rest in the SAME baggie as the wheat. I grind something else, use some for the bread then put the rest in the SAME baggie as the wheat and kamut. I use this "mystery flour" for making pancakes, muffins, waffles, whatever. Or bread. Sometimes I have no idea what kind of flour is in my baked goods, but I know it's whole grain and I know it's fresh. (If you don't use the flour right away, it should be stored in the fridge or freezer).

I really want to learn to make bread without adding extra gluten. I'll need to research natural dough conditioners. I'd also like to learn to soak my flours overnight before making the bread, but thus far it's resulted in a big, gloppy mess. For more about soaking you can read here or here or here.

I grind the quinoa, millet, and amaranth in my Blendtec. They are too small to grind in my Whisper Mill (which I love, love, love).

Here's the recipe without all my commentary.
6 cups warm water
2/3 c. oil (I prefer coconut)
2/3 c. honey
3 tbsp. yeast
16-18 cups flour
2 tbsp. sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 c. gluten

April 27, 2010

My Spring Menu

A dear friend and I decided to make seasonal menus and print them up with all the recipes and stick them in a binder so we will never, NEVER have to menu plan again. Pause for a moment and feel the wonder of that statement.

Each menu will be repeated for 3 months. So the Spring menu will be used for 3 months then we move into the Summer one. Thus far I have the Spring and Summer ones done. Still working on the others. I'm also working on a Breakfast and Lunch menu. I've had to make some adjustments already. Like last week when I made the Russian Mushroom Soup (which we've eaten many, many times and everyone likes) I was told to "never make this disgusting soup again." Nice. Also, I want to find more vegetarian and bean recipes so I'll be trying those on New Recipe days and if they work, I'll swap them out with a meat recipe. With each recipe on it's own page (in a plastic sheet protector) it will be easy to change the recipe.

Wednesdays are our busiest night because of Scouts so I tried to make sure that meal was the fastest/easiest to prepare.

Spring Menu

Week One
Monday –Hamburgers, baby carrots, fruit
Tuesday – Fried rice, fruit
Wednesday – French dip sandwiches, coleslaw, fruit
Thursday – Black beans and quinoa, veggies and dip, fruit
Friday – Cottage Cheese Enchiladas, salad, fruit
Saturday – Runzas, broccoli salad, fruit
Sunday – Chef Salad, bread/rolls, fruit

Week Two
Monday – Succotash, fruit
Tuesday – Falafel, salad, fruit
Wednesday – Make your own subs, baby carrots, fruit
Thursday – Kielbasa bowtie skillet w/peas or green beans, fruit
Friday – Pancakes, bacon or sausage, cottage cheese or yogurt, fruit
Saturday – Make your own pizza, veggies with dip, fruit
Sunday – New recipe

Week Three
Monday – Baked potato, salad, fruit
Tuesday – Creamed Chicken Over Something, green beans w/bacon, fruit
Wednesday – Mexican Stew, fruit
Thursday – Chef Salad, bread/rolls, fruit
Friday – Asian Pancakes, fruit
Saturday – Appetizer Night, spinach dip w/veggies, fruit
Sunday – Honey Lime Enchiladas, salad, fruit

Week Four
Monday – Chicken Salsa w/rice, baby carrots, fruit
Tuesday – Manicotti, asparagus, fruit
Wednesday – Fish tostadas, fruit
Thursday – Sausage, Potatoes, Sauerkraut, sugar snap peas, fruit
Friday – Lo Mein, fruit
Saturday – New recipe
Sunday – Leftovers or a recipe I missed earlier in the month

April 26, 2010

Will it blend?

My boys (husband included) are addicted to the Blendtec commercials on YouTube. They spend hours laughing over all the zany things Tom blends. It got me thinking about actual foods I could make in a blender which got me reading about green smoothies which got me making them. I started with my WalMart $20 special so my drinks would more properly be labeled Chunkies. I drank/chewed my Chunkies for about a month and lost 7 pounds and felt a little more energetic. My kids wanted NOTHING to do with drinks you have to chew and some of them looked like mud. Wimps.

My husband was so impressed with my weight loss he bought me a Blendtec. Which I love. The one rule in the family though is that only food is allowed in the blender. I have to repeat that rule many, many times a week.

To make things easier for myself I freeze a lot of stuff. I buy 2 or 3 bunches of bananas, peel them and break them in half then put them in gallon size baggies. When I need a banana, I just grab one or two. I freeze grapes then put them in baggies. I peeled 5 or so pounds of grapefruit one day, broke them in half and put them in baggies. Most berries I buy already frozen (but if I find a great sale I buy them and freeze them myself). It works best to lay the fruit on a cookie sheet and freeze them for a few hours before putting them in a bag.

For the greens, I wash and cut them into largish chunks all the day I bring them home and store them in "produce" gallon-size baggies. This way I can just grab a handful of each and throw it in the blender. I also peel the beets all at once and cut them in half. Oh, you can use the stems of chard and beets, but I'd only put them in a reddish smoothie or it will make it brown.

I try to buy organic or local produce but that's not always possible. Or cost effective. If it's not organic I usually peel it first (like apples and pears). If it costs too much I just buy the regular and think of all the great benefits eating more fruits and vegetables brings to my life.

I eyeball amounts based on who is going to be drinking it. The kids will drink a small one with breakfast or lunch. I drink a quart at breakfast and a quart at lunch. Usually with lunch I'll also have "something to chew" like a piece of toast or a small helping of leftovers.

Here are the base recipes I use:
My basic RED/PINK smoothie:
Coconut water or regular water if I'm out of coconut
half a Beet
One or two large carrots
a small handful of raw cashews or almonds
a scoop or two of dark colored flax seeds

I then mix and match whatever else I have on hand which would include any of the following:
Yogurt or kefir (any flavor except chocolate and such)
Red grapes

For GREEN smoothies
My base recipe is:
1/2 to 1 pear (if it's organic I throw the whole thing in, otherwise I peel)
1/2 to 1 apple (same as pear for organic)
vanilla yogurt (about 2 or 3 large spoonfuls)
1 banana
a small handful of raw cashews or almonds
a small scoop of light colored flax seeds
a few inches of water at the bottom

Then ANY of the following:
Beet greens
Green grapes
Romaine or green leaf lettuce
Lemon (1/2)
Radish tops

For a MIXED smoothie:
Add any of the RED and GREENS together. If you don't want it to look like mud make sure you add the beet.

For an AMAZING CITRUS Smoothie:
1/2 grapefruit (cut off just the rind, leave as much 'white' as you can)
2 oranges (same as above)
1 banana
a cup or two of frozen berries like blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, even cherries
a few large spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt (about 1/2 cup)

I also make a great PEACH/MANGO smoothie by accident.
1/2 grapefruit
1/2 banana
2 oranges
some peach-mango juice
a few spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt
a small container of peach applesauce my kids refuse to eat

April 17, 2010

American History Books

Here is a list of books we have used, will use or want to use for American History. While I'm sure I've missed some good ones, I've tried really hard to include the best. Some great books are not listed here because I have chosen not to use them for my family. And while I have not read all of these, I have read reviews of them and feel that each of them passes at least the first test of usability.

We will not read every book in a category. Some categories have lots of books because there are many good books in that time period; we will choose a couple. Others have very few. When you see an "OR" listed after a book it is because two or three books are so similar I couldn't decide which one to use so I'll either try the library to pre-read them or punt and buy one.

We are currently working our way through this. I will update on Goodreads and at the very end of our studies I will post my final thoughts on the whole thing. If you want up-to-date reviews then click on my Goodreads link on the right. You can even become my friend! I've decided to come back through and bold the ones we've read so you know a review is available.

We school year round and I don't particularly worry about semesters or terms. We will most likely be working on this list for a year or two. We'll just keep going until we're done then find something else to study.

If I've missed an important date (or person) or put something in the wrong order, please let me know. If I've left off your favorite book, please tell me!!!!

Spines - books we will be using throughout the year. We will read a bit, then read some of the books listed for that time period.

Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Story of the Great Republic, both by H. A. Guerber

For Junior High Spine – Quest for a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle (can use text only or text and study guide www.learntheconstitution.com)

For High School use 5,000 Year Leap and Making of America by Cleon Skousen. Study guides can be purchased at www.nccs.net

North American Indians – Marie Gorsline
Indian Book – Holling C. Holling

America Begins – Alice Dagliesh
Discovery of the Americas – Betsy Maestro
Leif the Lucky – Ingri D’aulaire

Beyond the Sea of Ice (Henry Hudson) – Joan Goodman
The Island-below-the-Star - James Rumford (discovery of Hawaii)

Picture Book of Christopher Columbus – David Adler
Columbus – Ingri D’aulaire

I Discover Columbus – Robert Lawson

Jamestown & Pocahontas
Jamestown: New World Adventure – James Knight
Pocahontas – Ingri D’aulaire

Middle School/Junior High
Pocahontas and the Strangers – Clyde Robert Bulla OR
Double Life of Pocahontas – Jean Fritz
1607: A New Look at Jamestown – Karen E. Lange

High School
Jamestown: The Perilous Adventure – Olga Hall Quest
Blood on the River – Elisa Carbone

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 – Ann McGovern
Samuel Eaton’s Day – Kate Waters
The Pilgrims of Plimouth – Marcia Sewell
Three Young Pilgrims – Cheryl Harness
Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving – Ann McGovern
Eating the Plates – Lucille Penner

Middle School/Junior High
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims – Robert Clyde Bulla
Landing of the Pilgrims – James Daugherty (1607 – 1648)
Tapenum’s Day – Kate Waters

High School
Of Plymouth Plantation – William Bradford (1620 – 1647)
Mourt’s Relation – Anonymous (William Bradford, Dwight Heath)

The New American’s – Betsy Maestro
The Courage of Sarah Noble

Middle School/Junior High
The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare (1687 – 1687)

French and Indian Wars
Struggle for a Continent – Betsy Maestro
Matchlock Gun – Walter Edmonds

Middle School/Junior High
Calico Captive – Elizabeth George Speare (1754)

Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone – Augusta Stevenson

Middle School/Junior High
Daniel Boone: His Own Story – Daniel Boone (1769 – 1818)

Stamp Act
Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams? – Jean Fritz

Middle School/Junior High
Chronicle of America: American Revolution – Joy Masoff
American Revolution – Bruce Bliven

Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party – Steven Kroll
George vs. George – Rosalyn Schnazer

Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? – Jean Fritz (1738 – 1820)
Katie’s Trunk – Ann Turner (1775 – 1783)

Middle School/Junior High
Johnny Tremain – Esther Forbes (1773)
King George - What Was His Problem? Steve Sheinkin

Lexington and Concord
Sam, The Minute Man – Nathaniel Benchley (1775)
George, the Drummer Boy – Nathaniel Benchley (1775 – 1783)

Middle School/Junior High
Let it Begin Here! – Dennis Brindell Fradin

Paul Revere
Paul Revere’s Ride - illustrated by Ted Rand
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? – Jean Fritz (1735 – 1776)
America’s Paul Revere – Esther Forbes (previewed and didn't like)

Middle School/Junior High
Early Thunder – Jean Fritz (1775)
A Young Patriot – Jim Murphy
Mr. Revere and I – Robert Lawson

Bunker Hill
Liberty or Death – Betsy Maestro (1763 – 1783)

Declaration of Independence
Guns for General Washington – Seymour Reit
If You Were There in 1776 – Brenner
The Fourth of July Story – Alice Dalgliesh
Give Me Liberty – Russell Freedman

Middle School/Junior High
Declaration of Independence (the actual document)
The Signers – Dennis Brindell Fradin OR
Lives of the Signers – Benson Lossing

High School
Declaration of Independence (the actual document)
Common Sense – Thomas Paine (1776)
Federalist Papers

The Flag
Stars and Stripes – Sarah Thomson

More Fighting
Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys – Patricia Lee Gauch
Buttons for General Washington – Peter Roop

Valley Forge
Winter at Valley Forge – James Knight
Winter at Valley Forge – F. VanWyck Mason (Landmark)

John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones – Iris Vinton

Swamp Fox
Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox – Kate Salley Palmer

Benedict Arnold
Middle School/Junior High
Traitor, the Case of Benedict Arnold – Jean Fritz (1741 – 1801)
Twice a Hero – Dirk Wales

George Washington
George Washington and The General’s Dog – F. Murphy
George Washington – Ingri D’aulaire
George Washington – James Giblin
Adventures of George Washington – Mickie Davidson
George Washington’s Teeth – Deborah Chandra

Middle School/Junior High
George Washington’s World – Genevieve Foster (1732 – 1799)
Why Not, Lafayette? – Jean Fritz (1758 – 1834)
Justin Morgan Had a Horse – Marguerite Henry (1747 – 1798)
The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth George Speare (1768 – 1768)
Toliver’s Secret – Esther Wood Brady (1776-1778)
The 18 Penny Goose – Sally Walker
Reb and the Redcoats – Constance Savery

High School
1776 – David McCullough (there is an illustrated version which is amazing)
Real George Washington – Andrew Allison

John Adams
Revolutionary John Adams – Cheryl Harness

Samuel Adams
High School
Samuel Adams: The Father of the American Independence – Dennis Fradin

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin – Ingri D’aulaire
Meet Benjamin Franklin – Maggi Scarf
Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares – F. Murphy
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? – Jean Fritz
Ben and Me – Robert Lawson
How Ben Franklin Stole the Lightning – Rosalyn Schanzer

Middle School/Junior High
Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography – Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1757)
Amos Fortune, Free Man – Elizabeth Yates (1725 – 1801)
Go Free or Die – Jeri Ferris

High School
The Real Benjamin Franklin – Andrew Allison

Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution – Jean Fritz
Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? – Jean Fritz
Where Was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? – Jean Fritz
We the People: The Story of Our Constitution – Lynn Cheney

Middle School/Junior High
Constitution (actual document)

High School
Constitution (actual document)

Thomas Jefferson
Meet Thomas Jefferson – Marvin Barrett (not worth reading)
Pass the Quill – Robert Quackenbush (Jefferson)
A More Perfect Union – Betsy Maestro
If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution – Elizabeth Levy
Journey to Monticello – James Knight

Middle School/Junior High
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – Jean Lee Latham (1779 – 1800)
The Cabin Faced West – Jean Fritz (1784)
What's the Deal?: Jefferson, Napoleon, Louisiana Purchase – Rhoda Blumberg (1803)

High School
The Real Thomas Jefferson – Andrew Allison

Lewis & Clark
How We Crossed the West – Rosalyn Schanzer
Lewis & Clark: Explorers of the American West – Steven Kroll
Incredible Journey of Lewis & Clark – Rhoda Blumerg
Louisiana Purchase – Gail Sakurai OR use the Blumberg What’s the Deal book OR Louisiana Purchase - Peter and Connie Roop
Seaman’s Journal – Pattie Reeder Eubank OR
Lewis and Clark and Me – Laurie Myers
Sacagawea – Stacy DeKeyser OR
Sacagawea – Liselotte Erdich
Year of the Horseless Carriage – Genevieve Foster (1801)
Diary of an Early American Boy – Eric Sloane (1805)

Middle School/Junior High
As Far As the Eye Can Reach – Elizabeth Kimmel (1803 – 1806)
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery – Dayton Duncan (1804 – 1877)
Sacajewea, Guide to Lewis and Clark – Della Rowland

War of 1812
Star Spangled Banner – illustrated by Peter Spier
War of 1812: Expanding and Preserving the Union – Jill Mulhall
War of 1812 – Don Nardo (won't use)
Cornstalks and Cannonballs – Barbara MItchell

Middle School/Junior High
Barbary Pirates – C.S. Forester
Battle of New Orleans – Robert Vincent Remini
1812: The War Nobody Won – Albert Marrin

Davy Crockett (1786 -1836)
A Picture Book of Davy Crockett – David Adler
Davy Crockett Saves the World – Rosalyn Schanzer
Story of Davy Crockett – Enid Lamonte Meadowcroft OR
Davy Crockett – Stewart Holbrook (Landmark) OR
Davy Crockett – Walter Retan
Heroes of the Western Outposts – Edith McCall
Hunters Blaze the Trails – Edith McCall
Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales – Andrew Glass
Mountain Men – Don Berry

Erie Canal (1825)
Amazing Impossible Erie Canal – Cheryl Harness
Story of the Erie Canal - R. Conrad Stein

The Alamo (1836)
Story of the Alamo – Norman Richards OR
The Alamo (Cornerstones of Freedom, Second Series) – Tom McGowen
Boy in the Alamo – Margaret Cousins

Start of the Westward Movement
Which Way to the Wild West? - Steve Sheinkin
A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family – Barbara Greenwood (1840)
Wagons Westward – Armstrong Sperry (1846)

Gold Rush
Gold Fever – Rosalyn Schanzer (1848)
California Gold Rush – Peter Roop

Lincoln and Civil War
Abraham Lincoln – Ingri D’aulaire (1809 – 1865)
Lincoln: A Photobiography – Russell Freedman (1809 – 1865)
Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House – Sterling North (1809 – 1865)
Two Miserable Presidents - Steve Sheinkin
Billy and the Rebel – Deborah Hopkinson
The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale – Trinka Hakes Noble
Picture Book of Robert E. Lee – David Adler (1807 – 1870)
If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War – Kay Moore (1861 – 1865)
Kids During the American Civil War – Lisa Wroble
Strength of These Arms – Raymond Bial
A Right Fine Life (Kit Carson) – Andrew Glass OR
Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier – Ralph Moody
Civil War Sub: Mystery of the Hunley – Kate Jerome
Pink and Say – Patricia Polacco
Drummer Boy: Marching to the Civil War – Ann Turner
Gettysburg – Neil Johnson
Gettysburg: A Day That Changed America – Shelley Tanaka
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln – Jean Fritz (1863)
Gettysburg Address – Michael McCurdy
Escape North – Monica Kulling

Middle School/Junior High
Abraham Lincoln’s World – Genevieve Foster (1809 – 1865)
Across Five Aprils – Irene Hunt (1861 – 1865)
Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
Rifles for Watie – Harold Keith
Iron Thunder – Avi (1862)
Billy Yank and Johnny Reb – Susan Beller
History of the Civil War: Ordeal By Fire – Fletcher Pratt
Emancipation Proclamation (1863 - actual document)
Gettysburg – MacKinley Kantor OR
Long Road to Gettysburg – Jim Murphy
Gettysburg Address (1863 – actual speech)
Stonewall – Jean Fritz

High School
Emancipation Proclamation (1863 - actual document)
Gettysburg Address (1863 – actual speech)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Unconditional Surrender – Albert Marrin (1822 – 1885)
Virginia’s General – Albert Marrin (1807 – 1870)
Lee and Grant at Appomattox – MacKinley Kantor
Up From Slavery – Booker T. Washington (1858 – 1915)

More Western Expansion
Geronimo: Wolf of the Warpath – Ralph Moody (born 1829)
Journal of Jesse Smoke – Joseph Bruchac (1837)
Buffalo Bill – Ingri D’aulaire (1860)
Cowboys – Sanford Tousey OR
Book of Cowboys – Holling C. Holling

Industrial Revolution (covers 18th and 19th century, but we’ll fit it here!)
Mill – David Macauley
Kids During the Industrial Revolution – Lisa Wroble
Life in a New England Mill Town – Sally Isaacs
Working in the First Factories – Patrice Coupry

Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink (1864 – sequel is Magical Melons)
Coming to America – Betsy Maestro
Ox Cart Man – Donald Hall (1800-1900)
Little House on the Prairie series – Laura Ingalls Wilder (1836 – 1957)
I Walked to Zion – Susan Arrington Madsen
The Donner Party Chronicles – Frank Mullen OR
Perilous Journey of the Donner Party – Marian Calabro
Stout-Hearted Seven – Neta Lohnes Frazier (1840s)

High School
Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder – Donald Zochert (1836 – 1957)
The Price We Paid: Willie and Martin Handcart – Andrew Olsen

Inventions and Railways
Always Inventing: Alexander Graham Bell – Tom Matthews OR
Alexander Graham Bell – Elizabeth MacLeod
Story of the Statue of Liberty – Betsy Maestro (1875 – 1886)
Liberty! – Allan Drummond
Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad - Rhoda Blumberg (1860s)
Ten Mile Day: And the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad - Mary Ann Fraser (1869)
Coolies – Yin (1869)

More Pioneers
The Sweetwater Run: The Story of Buffalo Bill Cody and the Pony Express - Andrew Glass (1860)
Frontier Living – Edward Tunis
Custer’s Last Stand – Quentin Reynolds (1876)
Across America on an Emigrant Train – Jim Murphy (1879)
Charlie Drives the Stage – Eric Kimmel
Dandelions – Eve Bunting
Dakota Dugout – Ann Turner (pioneers – 1885)
Sod Houses on the Great Plains – Glen Rounds
Treeless Plains – Glen Rounds
Story of My Life – Helen Keller (1880 – 1901)
Story of Geronimo – Ronald Syme (1886) OR
Geronimo – Ralph Moody
Steamboat! The Story of Captain Blanche Leathers - Gilliland (DK Publishing - late 1800s - Miss.area)
Twenty One Elephants and Still Standing – April Prince (1884)
Story of Wounded Knee – R. Conrad Stein (1890) OR
Wounded Knee – Neil Waldman
Chief Joseph – Guardian of His People – Elizabeth Montgomery OR
Chief Joseph: Nez Perce Leader – Marian Taylor OR
Chief Joseph: Guardian of the Nez Perce – Jason Hook

Spanish American War - 1898
Spanish American War – Robert Somerlott (if use this don’t use the Kent books) OR
Spanish American War – Mary Collins (1898 - much shorter)
Story of the Sinking of the Battleship Maine – Zachary Kent
Rough Riders – Zachary Kent
One Bad Thing About Father – F.N. Monjo (1901 – 1909)
Bully For You, Teddy Roosevelt! – Jean Fritz (1859 – 1919)

Wright Brothers (1903)
Bud & Me – Alta Abernathy (1905)
Orphan of Ellis Island – Elvira Woodruff (1908)
Kids on Strike – Susan Bartoletti (early 1900s)
Eat My Dust! Henry Ford’s First Race – Monica Kulling OR the Mike Venezia book (1901)
Little Britches series – Ralph Moody
The Glorious Flight – Alice Provensen (1909)
Inside the Titanic – Hugh Brewster (1912)
The Great Ships – Patrick O’Brien
Steam, Smoke and Steel – Patrick O’Brien
American Tall Tales – Mary Pope Osborne

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World – Jennifer Armstrong (1914) OR
The Endurance – Meredith Hooper OR
Ice Story – Elizabeth Kimmel OR
Trapped by Ice – Michael McCurdy

World War I
The Yanks are Coming – Albert Marrin (1914 – 1918) OR
A Short History of WWI – James Stokesbury
Sergeant York and the Great War – Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler (1887 – 1964)
Impossible Journey – Gloria Whelan (1930s)
Singing Tree – Kate Seredy (1914 – 1918, WWI)
Eddie Rickenbacker: Boy Pilot and Racer – Kathryn Sisson
Where Poppies Grow – Linda Granfield
Rascal – Sterling North
Christmas in the Trenches – John McCutchen (1914)
Casey Over There – Rabin Staton
America’s First World War: General Pershing and the Yanks – Henry Castor (Landmark)
Flying Aces of World War I – Gene Gurney (Landmark)
Story of World War I – Robert Leckie

Aunt Minne McGranahan – Mary Prigger (1920s)
Roaring Twenties – R. Conrad Stein AND/OR
Ticket to the Twenties – Mary Blocksma

Depression (1929)
Great Depression - R. Conrad Stein (1929 on)
Turning Points in American History – Bruce Glassman (Depression and rebuilding)
Rocks In His Head – Carol Hurst
Bravest Dog Ever: Balto – Natalie Standiford
Children of the Dust Bowl – Jerry Stanley (1930-1936) AND/OR
Dust to Eat – Michael Cooper AND/OR
Dust for Dinner – Ann Turner
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
The Gardener – Sarah Stewart (1930s)
When Grandpa Wore Knickers – Fern Brown

Sky Pioneer: Amelia Earhart – Corinne Szabo (1937) OR
Amelia Earhart: More Than a Flier – Patricia Lakin

High School
Zimmermann Telegram - Barbara Tuchman (1917, about US entering WWI)

World War II
The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won – Stephen Ambrose
Victory in the Pacific – Albert Marrin (WWII) OR
First Book of World War II – Louis Snyder OR
Story of Word War II – Robert Leckie (Landmark Giant)
A Day That Changed America – D-Day – Shelley Tanaka
Battle for Atlantic – G.C. Skipper OR
Battle for Atlantic – Jay Williams (Landmark – much longer)
Battle of Britain – G.C. Skipper (1940)
Dunkirk – R. Conrad Stein (1940)
Snow Treasure – Marie McSwigan (1940)
World War II for Kids – Richard Panchyk

Pearl Harbor
Air Raid- Pearl Harbor – Theodore Taylor (1941)
Pearl Harbor – Stephen Krensky

WWII continued
Number the Stars – Lois Lowry (1943)
North to Freedom or I am David – Anne Holm
Anne Frank – Anne Frank (1942 – 1945)
Twenty and Ten – Claire Huchet Bishop
General George Patton: Old Blood & Guts – Alden Hatch
A New Coat for Anna – Harriet Ziefert (1945)
Little Riders – Margaretha Shemin
V is for Victory – Kathleen Krull
The Unbreakable Code – Sara Hunter
Pennies in a Jar – Dori Chaconas
Baseball Saved Us – Ken Mochizuki
Tuskegee Airmen Story – Lynn Homan
Wind Flyers – Angela Johnson

Middle School/Junior High
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred Taylor (1933)
Invasion: The Story of D-Day – Bruce Bliven Jr.
Hey Mac: A Combat Infantryman’s Story – William McMurdie
So Far From the Bamboo Grove – Yoko Kawashima Watkins (WWII)
Navajo Code Talkers – Nathan Aaseng (WWII)
A Conspiracy Of Decency: The Rescue of the Danish Jews - Emmy Werner
George Preddy, Top Mustang Ace - Joe Noah (WWII fighter pilot)
Donald's Story - Sandra Merrill (WWII fighter pilot)
Journey Through the Night - Anne DeVries (WWII occupation of Holland)

High School
Stalin: Russia’s Man of Steel – Albert Marrin (1930s)
Hitler – Albert Marrin
Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom (1898 – 1947)
Story of the Trapp Family Singers – Maria Augusta Trapp (1905 – 1940s)
No Promises in the Wind – Irene Hunt (1930s)
Tell Them We Remember – Susan Bachrach
Escape from Warsaw – Ian Serraillier (1942)
The Endless Steppe – Esther Hautzig (1942)
Hiroshima – John Hersey (1945)
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes - Eleanor Coerr (Japan after WWII)
Code Talker – Joseph Bruchac (WWII)
Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
Thomas Edison: The Great American Inventor – Louise Egan

Korean War (1950-1953)
Korean War: The Forgotten War – R. Conrad Stein
Korean War Soldier at Heartbreak Ridge – Carl Green

America and Vietnam – Albert Marrin OR
Vietnam War: How the US Became Involved – ed. By Mitch Yamasaki OR
10,000 Days of Thunder – Philip Caputo OR
America and Vietnam – The Elephant and the Tiger – Albert Marrin
Escape from Saigon – Andrea Warren

Team Moon – Catherine Thimmesh (1961 – 1969) OR
One Small Step: A Scrapbook – Jerry Stone
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 – Brian Floca
Look at the Stars – Buzz Aldrin
As Good as Anybody (Martin Luther King) – Richard Michelson OR
Speaking Out: Civil Rights Movement – Kevin Supples
The Story of Ruby Bridges – Robert Coles
Whatever Rosa Parks book we have (I think we have one)
Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine – John Bankston
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet – Eleanor Cameron
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain – Peter Sis (1940s to 1989)
The Fall of the Soviet Union – Miles Harvey
Desert Storm: The First Persian Gulf War – Debra McArthur
Gulf Crisis – Michael Evans
Basher Five-Two – Scott O’Grady (1995)
September 11 (We the People) – Mary Englar OR
New York Times - A Nation Challenged – Nancy Lee
America in the 1990s (Decades of American History) – George Ochoa (maybe look at others in the series too, by other authors)

Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out – David McCullough (1792 – 2008)

Consider reading some of the Presidents books by Mike Venezia

If we feel we need some hands-on activities try these books:
World War II for Kids – Richard Panchyk
Native American History for Kids – Karen Bush Gibson
American Revolution for Kids – Janis Herbert
Civil War for Kids – Janis Herbert
Lewis and Clark for Kids – Janis Herbert
Heading West: Life with the Pioneers – Pat McCarthy
Colonial Kids – Laurie Carlson
A Kid’s Guide to Native American History – Yvonne Dennis
More Than Moccasins – Laurie Carlson
Kickin’ Up Some Cowboy Fun – Monica Hay Cook
Westward Ho – An Activity Guide – Laurie Carlson

History Pockets: American Revolution – Even Moor Publishers
Colonial America
Civil War
Moving West
Native Americans
Life in Plymouth Colony
Explorers of North America

Discover the Past series – David King
Colonial Days
Civil War Days
Victorian Days
Pioneer Days
Wild West Days
Revolutionary War Days

April 15, 2010

A serious conversation with a 6-yr-old

Today at lunch my 6-yr-old asked, very seriously, "Mom, what does troll snot look like?" After thinking carefully about this I replied that I thought 'it looked like his snot, only bigger and slimier'.

He replied, "That sounds right. Except I think the snot is the same color as the troll. So if it's a blue troll he has blue snot." He happily ate his sandwich and went on with his day, having solved one of the world's longest unanswered and most important questions.

I love raising boys.

Oreo cookie phases of the moon

Today we made the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies. Similar to this, except we took the top off of each of them and carved the creamy filling to make the shape we wanted. We choose the Double Stuffs because a) they are easier to take to top off of and b) I appreciate the filling to cookie ratio of the Double Stuff.

I don't have any pictures because by the time I got back with my camera the cookies were being eaten.

As one of my 9-yr-olds said, "Who knew science could be so delicious?"

April 13, 2010

I am a lapbooking drop out

Yes, I am. For years I have seen all the wonderful lapbooking do-dads that homeschoolers have been making and feeling somewhat jealous, somewhat left out. I'm not a crafty person by nature (read not at all) so always felt it wasn't for me. But after seeing it so often, everywhere, by everyone, I started to worry that maybe I was short-changing my kids. Obviously we were missing some fantastic learning opportunity. Right?

So, feeling like I could really help them learn on a whole new level I spent a few days printing out all sorts of little booklets and flap things and foldy stuffs for our science and geography studies. I was ready to face the next few weeks as a serious lapbooker and we would LEARN.

Well, one of my sons hated it and let me know it in no uncertain terms. Another son cheerfully cut and colored and glued and couldn't tell me anything about what he was doing. The other son just skipped off to play with his younger brother. I kept at it. I had papers already printed out, darn it, and we were going to use them.

So forward we moved. Except on the days when something happened and we didn't finish gluing or cutting. Or just plain didn't get started because someone was crying or needed help in the bathroom or was starving or whatever little crisis happens a million times a day. And those cute little thingamabobs started piling up, and falling off the shelves.

The solution, a marathon lapbook day. There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I was no longer the favorite mom. I looked about me, surveying the stands of things to be added to the lapbooks, the folders of papers yet to cut and my unhappy children.

And thus ended my career as a lapbooker.

There, I've said it. I don't lapbook. Go ahead and disown you if you must. But truth be told, I am just not that kind of person. More power to those of you who are and I truly admire the lovely pictures on the internet of those fantastic lapbooks. But it's not me. When I asked my boys about it they replied, "We just want to read and do experiments." Amen.

April 7, 2010

Chemistry Booklist

Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry, Pre-level 1 and Level 1

Additional references:
Elements: Ingredients of the Universe – Ellen McHenry
Carbon Chemistry
Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope
Usborne Internet-Linked Mysteries and Marvels of Nature
Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia

We rent the videos listed below from A Plus Video Rentals since our library doesn't have anything.

BrainPop and BrainPopJr – www.brainpop.com or www.brainpopjr.com

Chapter 1 Atoms (periodic table)
Basher Periodic Table: Elements with Style – Simon Basher
Elements: A Visual Exploration – Theodore Gray
Mystery of the Periodic Table – Benjamin Wiker
Simply Science: Atoms – Melissa Steward
True Books Series: The Periodic Table – Salvatore Tocci
What’s Chemistry All About? - Alex Firth
What’s Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? – Robert Wells
World of Elements and Their Properties – Lynn Van Gorp

BrainPop – Atoms
BrainPop – Atomic Model
BrainPop – Periodic Table of Elements

Bill Nye – Atoms and Molecules
Atoms & Molecules (Physical Science in Action series)
Periodic Table (Physical Science in Action series)

Chapter 2 Molecules
Atoms and Molecules: Building Blocks of Matter – Louise Spilsbury
Atoms and Molecules: Building Blocks of the Universe – Darlene Stille
Elements and Compounds: Building Blocks of Matter – Louise Spilsbury
How to Think Like a Scientist – Stephen Kramer
Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom – Donald Lemke
States of Matter (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin
True Books Series: Hydrogen and the Noble Gases – Salvatore Tocci

BrainPopJr – Scientific Method
BrainPop – Ions
BrainPop – Isotopes

Chemistry- Bill Nye

Chapter 3 Molecules Meet (reactions)
Basher Chemistry: Getting a Big Reaction – Simon Basher
Chemical Reactions: Building Blocks of Matter – Louise Spilsbury
Chemical Reactions (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin
True Books Series: Calcium – Salvatore Tocci

BrainPop – Radioactivity
BrainPop – Water

Bill Nye – Chemical Reactions
Investigating Chemical Reactions

Chapter 4 Acids and Bases
Acids and Bases (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin
True Books Series: Carbon – Salvatore Tocci

BrainPop – Acids and Bases
BrainPop – pH Scale

Chapter 5 Acids and Bases React
True Books Series: Oxygen – Salvatore Tocci

BrainPop – Chemical equations

Chapter 6 Mixtures
Day-Glo Brothers – Chris Barton
Floating and Sinking - Franklyn Mansfield Branley
Matter and Materials: Hands on Science – Sarah Angliss
Mixtures (Material Matters)– Carol Baldwin
Mixtures and Solutions: Building Blocks of Matter – Louise Spilsbury
Compounds and Solutions (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin

BrainPop – Compounds and Mixtures
BrainPop – Diffusion

Bill Nye – Phases of Matter
Bill Nye – Fluids
All About Solids (Physical Science for Children)
Elements, Compounds & Mixtures

Chapter 7 Un-Mixing
Crazy Chemistry (A Weird History of Science ) – John Townsend
Hot As an Ice Cube - Philip Balestrino
Metals (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin
Nonmetals (Material Matters) – Carol Baldwin
Simply Science: Solids, Liquids, and Gases – Simon Charnon
What is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases - Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

BrainPopJr – Changing States of Matter
BrainPopJr – Solids, Liquids, and Gases
BrainPop – Matter Changing States
BrainPop – Property Changes
BrainPop - Metals
BrainPop – States of Matter


Chapter 8 Food and Taste (energy molecules)
Story of Salt – Mark Kurlansky

BrainPop - Salt

Chapter 9 Molecular Chains (polymers, plastics)
How We Use Plastic – Chris Oxlade OR Plastic - Holly Wallace
Transformed: How Everyday Things are Made – Bill Slavin

BrainPop - Plastic

Chapter 10 Molecules in Your Body (DNA)
Amazing Schemes Within Your Genes - Frances Balkwell
Cell Works: Microexplorers - An Expedition into the Fantastic World of Cells - Patrick A. Baeuerle
Cells Are Us - Frances Balkwell
DNA is Here to Stay - Frances Balkwell
Enjoy Your Cells - Frances Balkwell
Gene Machines - Frances Balkwell
Have a Nice DNA - Frances Balkwell
How the Y Makes the Guy: Microexplorers - A Guided Tour Through the Marvels of Inheritence and Growth - Patrick A. Baeuerle, Norbert Landa
I Know How My Cells Make Me Grow – Kate Rowan
Ingenious Genes: Microexplorers - Learning About the Fantastic Skills of Genetic Engineers and Watching Them at Work - Patrick A. Baeuerle, Norbert Landa
They Came From DNA - Billy Aronson
Supercell - Frances Balkwell

BrainPop – Body Chemistry

Genes – Bill Nye

These links contain other links to all sorts of chemistry videos -
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/03/top-10-amazing/ http://www.kentchemistry.com/KentsDemos.htm
http://science.discovery.com/videos/how-its-made/ (shows how things are made)

Experiment books:
Adventures with Atoms and Molecules – Robert Mebane
Fizz, Bubble & Flash – Anita Brandolini
Super Science Concoctions – Jill Frankel Hauser

Manipulatives to use:
Ein-O’s Box Kit: Molecular Models
Thames and Kosmos Chem C2000 Chemistry Experiment Set
Young Scientists Club experiment kits (# 5, 12, 13, 15, 34, 35)

Biographies (to be read throughout study):
Antoine Lavoisier – Lynn Van Gorp OR Antoine Lavoisier – Lisa Yount
Henry Cavendish – Josepha Sherman
Dmitrii Mendeleev – Susan Zannos
Joseph Priestley – Kate Conley
J.J. Thomson – Josepha Sherman
John Dalton – Jim Whiting
Henry Bessemer – Kathleen Tracy
Marie Curie – Mike Venezia
Early Biographies: Marie Curie – Meachen Rau
Manya's Dream: A Story of Marie Curie – Frieda Wishinsky
Marie Curie: Courageous Pioneer in the Study of Radioactivity – Beverly Birch
Marie Curie: Pioneer Physicist – Carol Greene
Marie Curie’s Search for Radium – Beverly Birch
Pasteur’s Fight Against Microbes – Beverly Birch
Louise Pasteur: Founder of Modern Medicine – John Tiner
Germ Hunter: A Story about Louis Pasteur - Elaine Marie Alphin
Robert Boyle: Trailblazer of Science – John Tiner
Giants of Science: Robert Boyle – John Allen