Encourage the exploration of history!

Posted by Annie on Aug 20, 2016 in Education, Young Authors

When I was a child history was something that happened a long time ago, what could it possibly have to do with today. I’m sure many of you have discovered as I have that the future is intertwined with our past.  Patterns emerge because governments have developed a pattern of operations.

Best Family Game - Settlers of Catan

In case you were wondering, our government is a hot mess and while they can collect all the data in the world, it takes time and money to analysis the data. I think half the time they are bluffing the citizens with their show of power and might. It’s important to understand our past so that we can understand where we are and what to expect in the future.

I would encourage you to explore the holocaust, there are some really good diaries that just might convince your boy or girl that history isn’t all that boring. I made sure I exposed my son to:

  1. The Hiding Place — The book is good but I love the movie, do consider watch it.
  2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl — A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday.

  3. The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna — Nonna Bannister carried a secret almost to her Tennessee grave: the diaries she had kept as a young girl experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust. This book reveals that story.

  4. Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz — This is the story of a woman who spent about seven months in Auschwitz and survived to tell the tale. She wrote this book shortly after her ordeal, while her horrific experience was still fresh in her mind.

  5. Alicia — After losing her entire family to the Nazis at age 13, Alicia Appleman-Jurman went on to save the lives of thousands of Jews, offering them her own courage and hope in a time of upheaval and tragedy.

You will find so many really good books out there on the holocaust. Encourage your children to explore history from all angles.

"Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Here are some excellent movies. These are among my favorite that I enjoy watch time and time again.

  1. Miracle at Midnight — I’ve only seen the movie.  A family helps their neighbors escape the Nazi’s.
  2. Jacob the Liar — In Nazi-occupied Poland, poor Jewish cafe owner Jakob Heym (Robin Williams) accidentally overhears a forbidden radio news bulletin. Jakob invents fictitious news bulletins about Allied advances against the Nazis. These lies keep hope and humor alive among the ghetto inhabitants. [Read the book]
  3. The Devil’s Arithmetic — The film proved to be the most riveting and attention-holding movie I can ever recall showing. In it are contained superb acting, eerie (and effective) musical interludes, and a suspense of time-travel that will hold teenagers absolutely spellbound!
  4. Hidden in Silence — Przemysl, Poland, WWII–the city comes under Nazi control. The Jews are sent to ghettos. Catholic teenager Stefania Podgorska (ER’s Kellie Martin) sneaks 13 Jews into her attic.


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Passing on the skills of life.

Posted by Shawn K. Hall on Feb 24, 2016 in Education, Seasonal
English: Homemade White Bread with Strawberry Jam.

Homemade White Bread with Strawberry Jam.

I just love that people are finally appreciative of homemade items.  There was a time when it was considered old fashioned, and thrifty but certainly not preferred.

I made some strawberry jam recently. It was a project well suited to my needs. It didn’t require a lot of my time but it was a slow process that I could do at my leisure and that was important. The recipe I used required the heating and cooling of the jam over a three day period and requires no added pectin, which is important to me because our family is avoiding GMO’s.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam – This old fashioned strawberry jam recipe was amazing. It was so easy to make, and had a perfect texture. Plus it doesn’t use Pectin!! Did you know you don’t need to use pectin in homemade jam making? Neither did I until now. Pectin isn’t necessarily bad for you but I would way rather make it the old fashioned way and let the natural pectin in the fruit do the work. Plus I prefer a softer jam to a more gelatinous one.

How to Make Low Sugar No Pectin Strawberry Jam Recipe – I don’t know about you, but homemade jam that contains more sugar or as much sugar as it does fruit, just doesn’t sit right with me. I want my homemade strawberry jam to taste like strawberries, not a bucketful of sugar. Not only is this low sugar strawberry jam recipe healthier, it’s also much more frugal without pectin from the store and loads of sugar.

Three Day Strawberry Jam – The method simply involves simmering the strawberries in an equal weight of sugar to release the juice and then leaving it on the stovetop. Then on the second and third day doing the same but on the third day you pour it into jars.

These recipes are all great tasting and can be used over pancakes, with peanut butter for sandwiches, on English Muffins, it’s great on top of ice cream, in smoothies…

If I could buy decent food I would, but it’s much safer these days to can or freeze your own food. I am literally canning and freezing something all the time.  I make my own mayo, and my own bread, jams, minced garlic, and salsa, there is always something to going on.

The kids will find so much to do and if you keep the periods short and pleasant the memories will stick, and you will have taught a new generation how to care for itself and their loved ones.  I am so thank that my grandmother took the time to teach me.

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What to do with the kids?

Posted by Annie on Jan 31, 2016 in Activity, California, high school, Parenting

It’s January, the weather sucks.  I haven’t seen a blue sky for days (note to self: must remember to take extra Vitamin D). The kids are home, they are bored, fighting and you’ve had it…

English: This image is a picture of a Motorola...

But wait a minute. Are you going to let your children get the better of you? You can outsmart them. Make it a game of wits. My children never told me they were bored, because I found things for them to do and they never knew what hairbrained scheme I would come up with.

We used to go to the zoo the first Monday of the month, when they offered free admittance. We would pack a lunch, take our books and put everything in a wagon. The kids were free to explore, we even had walkie talkies for each of them.  It was really fun.

The children had one assignment, choose an animal and discover as much as they could about the animal, then write about what they have learned. The kids sometimes got very involved and spent hours in our library at home (this was before we had computers). We had an extensive library of around 5,000 books, to explore on everything from Atoms to Vitamins.

The best part is to watch your kids interact with others and get involved with their community.  Offer to help on your neighbors farms, take a knitting class, book time at the gym. Change it up, keep them guessing, but most of all, keep them busy exploring, learning and engaging in the world around them. You keep trying until you find something that clicks for them.

Volunteer positions can and often do turn into career changers.

These are some excellent ideas of places you can volunteer, listed by county. The organizations listed in this resource guide welcome kids and/or families as volunteers.

Volunteer in California – Listed By County

Are you ready for a challenge? The National Park Service’s centennial year is here, and we want to encourage everyone to take part in the celebration! We invite people of all ages to find their park and discover the national parks in their community through volunteerism. Registered volunteers who contribute 201.6 hours of service between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 can earn a Centennial Volunteer Challenge Coin!

Volunteers-In-Parks – National Park Service 

Heck, the kids and I used to protest abortions at the local abortion clinic. We volunteered as a family to clean our church. We saved all our change for a trip. The opportunities are endless. The most important thing is to keep the kids busy and out of trouble.  🙂

Be sure to allow plenty of time for personal reflection, kids need time to process just like adults do.

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