pumpkins to make for a table decoration

I think the pies are silly, but the vines are pretty. From an old Good Housekeeping

Amelia Beard pumpkin craft 1

Amelia Beard pumpkin craft 2

pumpkin vine

Adelia Beard was Daniel Beard’s sister (he wrote the American Boy’s Handybook). She wrote the following books as well:

7.99 for Kindle The American Girl’s Handy Book: Turn-of-the-Century Classic of Crafts and Activities (Dover Children’s Activity Books)

10.99 for paperback; American Girls Handy Book: How to Amuse Yourself and Others (Nonpareil Books)

Free for Kindle; On the Trail An Outdoor Book for Girls

2.99 for kindle; Mother Nature’s Toy-Shop by Lina Beard and Adelia B. Beard : (full image Illustrated)

1.99 for kindle; Mother Nature’s Toy-Shop (illustrated)

Free!! Little Folks’ Handy Book

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1917, How Illness Spreads

Dr. Evans “How to Keep Well: A Health Book for the Home” (Google eBook)

Front Cover
William Augustus Evans
Sears, Roebuck & Company, 1917

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Assumptions That Come Between Frugality and You

assumptions lead to defaultsA while ago I was reading a financial blog that promised to save me 120 dollars a month in just minutes.  Here’s how:

Switch from a cell phone postpaid to prepaid

Change the cable plan from all-inclusive cable to basic cable

Cancel Blockbuster and move to  Netflicks

I appreciate that such basic advice is out there for newbies, but doesn’t it seem to aim too low?

Cell phone- I know they are handy, but sometimes you might reevaluate whether you need one at all.  I did not have one for years.

This is how it worked for a while in my family (your circumstances may differ):

My mother has a family cell phone plan.  She can get up to five cell phones on her plan.  She has one, one of our married daughters has one, two of our single girls in their early 20s each have one, and my husband has the fifth. It used to be mine, but when he lost his job, he lost his cell phone, too, and it was obvious he needed it more than I did.  I am seldom away from home alone, and usually whoever I am with has a cell phone of their own for emergencies.  We split the bill five ways, and that makes it cheaper than prepaid phone.

A little bit ago Granny Tea said she didn’t want to do that anymore.  Now that there are just five of us at home, really (Jenny is here, but only until the wedding)- we canceled the landline.  The two teens bought their own phones and paid for their own plans. We went with Republic.

Cable- you can eliminate Cable altogether.  We have never had it in 30 years of marriage, except for a six month period when the trailer park we lived in then provided it.  I tell people this and you know what their first response is?  “That’s a good idea, but where we live, we don’t get reception without Cable.”  Um.  Us, too.  We have almost always lived in places where no cable meant no television.  So that’s what we did, or rather what we didn’t do.  We played games, read, and worked on projects during the time other people typically watch television.  For a few special occasions we went to a friend’s house to watch something special- the elections, the Olympics, the Superbowl.  One memorable election year we had just moved to a new state and we knew nobody.  We looked into getting Cable turned on for one month only in our new home.  We discovered that it was cheaper to rent a local hotel room (in a hotel with a pool) and watch the election results there than it was to get cable, so that’s what we did.  One way of looking at it is certainly that the cost per night would have been cheaper with cable, but since we had no intention of using more than one night of the service, it wasn’t cost effective to buy that much more than we wanted.

Cancel Blockbuster?  We never had a monthly membership to Blockbuster. In fact, we did not even rent movies ever until about ten years ago, and it was still a rare treat.  If we wanted to watch a movie, we checked it out from the library, or watched one we had picked up inexpensively for a birthday present.  We watch more movies now than we used to- and I don’t think that is a good thing.  But we still do not have Netflix, Blockbuster, or Cable.  We still check them out from the library.  Sometimes we watch movies  or TV shows on Hulu.com.  Well, that’s how it was when I wrote this. Now one of the kids pays for Netflix, and they all love Redbox.

It’s not that any of the above solutions the one true and right way to be frugal.  Each family has its own dynamics and logistics that need to be worked out – most of our friends had canceled their landline long before we did, but that wasn’t feasible for us because there were often minor children at home alone who didn’t have cell phones- and we live in the country.  So the best frugal choice for you won’t be the best choice for somebody else.  On truth that is universal though is that we all need to check our assumptions.

I’ve often blogged about the concept of ‘what do you have in your hand,’ the idea being it’s better to make do with what you have than to run to the store for something.  It’s usually better to repurpose what you have, or at least what you can get for free or very, very cheap, than to spend three times as much for something new.  Often our assumptions prevent us from really discovering those ‘what’s in your hand’ moments.

It’s hard to test your assumptions though, because they are assumptions. They aren’t decisions you consciously, deliberately, and thoughtfully made. They are default positions you haven’t  even noticed you accepted.

One way to check them is to listen carefully to others and yourself- what you’re listening for is anything at all said in a somewhat incredulous tone with words like this:

Well, you can’t…..

Obviously, you have to…..

Everybody needs….

You can’t get by without….

Times have changed…..

Nobody does that anymore….

Whenever you hear (or think) something like one of the above statements, perk up your ears and start thinking.  Think:

Why can’t I?

Why do I have to?

Needs?  Have people always needed whatever that is, or did they get by without it in the past? If so, how?

Why couldn’t I?

Why shouldn’t I?

If times have changed, they can change again?  Am I a follower or an independent thinker?

Nobody? Really?  And if this is true, why couldn’t I start?

So what?

Now it might be that once you have asked yourself all those questions, you still won’t see a reason to change what you’ve done.  That’s fine.

Here are a few examples of things I have been told could not be done that we have, in fact, done:

Lived through midwestern summers with no air conditioning

use cloth pads

Travel cross country with small children and no DVD player

Provide our children with fun and meaningful cultural experiences on a single income.

And so much more.  What are things you do that other people assume just can’t be done?  What assumptions have you learned to overturn?

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Whole Grain Fig Muffins

2014-11-19 08.39.39Here’s the recipe for these whole grain fig and nut muffins (back story and pictures further down):

Preheat oven to 400
Grease two regular sized muffin tins

Dry ingredients:
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups freshly ground kamut flour
1 cup freshly ground buckwheat flour
1 scant Tablespoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves (the spices are optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of diced figs (you may substitute any dried fruit)
1 cup of chopped walnuts

Combine dry ingredients, except the figs and walnuts. Put about a cup of the mixed flour in a food-processor with S blades, along with the figs and walnuts. Grind or pulse until the figs are chopped to pieces about the size of raisins.

(you do this with flour because otherwise you will get a sticky nut butter. If you do not have a food processor, use kitchen shears to cut up the figs and put the nuts in a ziplock bag and use a hammer or roll over it with a rolling pin to “chop” the nuts)

Liquid Ingredients:
3/4 cup of honey
2 cups of plain yogurt
4 eggs, beaten until lemon coloured
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Combine the liquid ingredients, whisking them together. Pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon or fork just enough to mix in the dry ingredients. Lumps are fine. Never overmix quick breads.
Use a measuring cup to pour into greased muffin tins- fill them just a little below the top to make 2 dozen muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes– mine were just a tad dark on the outside at 15 minutes.

The muffins are light, with a tender crumb, but also hearty.

You can freeze extra muffins and reheat later.

Or freeze muffin batter and thaw and bake later.

Or line tins with muffin papers, then bake the muffins for about 6-8 minutes, freeze, then bag.  Later, thaw in muffin tins and finish baking them (or bake at about 350 for 15 to 20 minutes) so you can serve hot muffins in a few minutes without messing up your kitchen.

2014-11-19 08.10.29Backstory:

At 7 a.m. this morning I got up and made a muffin recipe.

By 8 a.m. I had finished browsing my cookbooks and thinking about the ingredients I had that I wanted to use, got the muffins in the oven, put the dishes in to rinse, switched laundry, cleaned off two kitchen shelves, put away the ingredients, texted back and forth with my firstborn about pink eye and ebay sales,  picked up and put away a few things in the kitchen, and woke up the Boy.

This last task requires as much or more energy than all the previous tasks combined- also, much lung power. He would probably insist that I tell you this is because I do not like to have to go upstairs and across the length of the Common Room to pound on his door, but I have done it that way, too, and it took about the same amount of lung power but was harder on my bad knee and ankle.

I had a little reminder of an important life lesson- Always, always, always check your oven before preheating, else last night’s leftover Potatoes Anna become this morning’s baked potato chips.

2014-11-19 08.20.56 2014-11-19 08.21.02


What I do not understand is why on earth the last person to have any steak from that bottom pan didn’t remove the pans from the oven, especially since it was being kept warm IN THE OVEN FOR HIM WHEN HE GOT OUT THE LAST OF THE STEAK.  Also, that is the same person who washed the supper dishes (or didn’t wash them, as the case may be).  I am not, it must be said, as bitter as I was over the pans (plural) of my painstakingly made grassfed beef cuban meatballs that were left in the oven by that night’s dishwashers (one of them the same person who left these pans in the oven). I had made extra for the freezer, but instead had to toss them.  Anyway.  Deep cleansing breath. Hooo.  Hooo.  Hoooo.

At 8:15 a.m. I wasted those deep cleansing breaths and committed murder when my son looked at the 30 wholesome, nourishing, practically perfect whole grain fig muffins rising fragrantly and gloriously in the oven and said, “Can I go get a bag of seafood out of the oven and cook that for my breakfast instead?’ Said bag of seafood is 8 dollars.

To be precisely accurate, of course I didn’t kill him because I love him more than I love my own life. So.

We compromised.

I agreed not to kill him and I let him fry himself six hormone-free, nitrate-free, and sugar-free turkey sausages because I love him and he agreed to unload and load the dishwasher, scour the glass baking pans with baking soda and eat a couple of muffins as well because he appreciates not being killed.

At 9 a.m. I sat down with my plate of muffins- in bed, with my legs straight and warm covers over me because IT’S COLD.
Also, to be precise, I did not ‘make a muffin recipe,’  I adapted a recipe I already had and used up an ingredient that has been in my fridge a while and I am not entirely sure why (wheat germ).
Here’s the original:
2014-11-19 09.48.44

The short version is at the top of the post.  Here’s the longer version of what I did instead- doubling it because I’m not bothering to go to the trouble of muffins for just a measly 12 muffins.

Preheat oven to 400
Grease two regular sized muffin tins- I underfill my tins so I got 30 muffins, which is why every cook should have a half-muffin pan, one that holds just six regular sized muffins.

Dry ingredients:
1 cup wheat germ- this jar of wheat germ has been in my fridge- well sealed- for a while. I don’t know if I ever knew who bought it or why.  And yes, it very easily could have been me.
2 cups freshly ground kamut flour
1 cup freshly ground buckwheat flour
1 scant Tablespoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves (the spices are optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of diced figs (you may substitute any dried fruit, I used figs because I was nibbling on Trader Joe’s dried figs and thinking how absolutely delicious they were and wouldn’t they be great in some hot muffins this cold, blustery day and because raisins are an abomination and don’t belong in anything but chocolate, and even then, only if you are at the movies and have popcorn, too.  And also Dr. Pepper)
1 cup of walnuts

Combine dry ingredients, except the figs and walnuts. Put about a cup of the mixed flour in a food-processor with S blades, along with the figs and walnuts. Grind or pulse until the figs are chopped to pieces about the size of raisins.2014-11-19 08.10.10

(you do this with flour because otherwise you will get a sticky nut butter, which would be great on your graham crackers or by the spoon, on spread on the muffins after they are baked, but is less useful for muffin batter. If you do not have a food processor, use kitchen shears to cut up the figs and put the nuts in a ziplock bag and use a hammer or roll over it with a rolling pin to “chop” the nuts.  To be honest, if I didn’t have a food processor with s blades, I just would have eaten the figs and made blueberry or date muffins because I had dates already diced and blueberries in the freezer.  Neither would be as good as the fig muffins, IMNSHO)

Liquid Ingredients:
3/4 cup of raw honey because I am a complete and total honey snob.
2 cups of plain yogurt- whole milk, only.  I like Nancy’s organic.
4 eggs, beaten until lemon coloured
1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla (totally optional)

2014-11-19 08.10.14

Combine the liquid ingredients, whisking them together. Pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a spoon or fork just enough to mix in the dry ingredients. Lumps are fine. Never overmix quick breads.
Use a measuring cup to pour into greased muffin tins- fill them just a very little below the top to make 2 dozen muffins. I went with 3/4 of the way and got 30 muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes– mine were just a tad dark on the outside at 15 minutes because that is something you have to watch for with honey and figs in muffins.

2014-11-19 08.34.46 2014-11-19 08.39.33


The muffins are light, with a tender crumb, but also hearty.  I like the bits of fig throughout.

The original is from the 1982 cookbook Feasting naturally with our friends by Mary Ann Pickard.

The Pickards were people of faith- she mentions prayer more than once and the frontis page of her book is 1 Peter 5:6,7.

The book was self-published, and ended up being the third Feasting Naturally cookbook she had self-published in 3 years. The series filled a need, and was far more popular than she had expected.  She was interviewed on radio programs and featured in Mother Earth News (you can read that article and get two more of her recipes here) and also Focus on the Family.

The recipes in this particular book came from Feasting Naturally readers. In the Preface she says that she or one of her ‘team of topnotch cooks’ tested every recipe, and nothing was included that wasn’t ‘yummy, yummy, yes.’

She started her journey into health foods because of some severe health problems her husband developed. Her goal was to share only recipes that included no ‘refined sugars, flours, or food grains, and few if any harmful flavorings, colorings, additives, or preservatives.’ This was the early 80s, though, so ideas about what constituted ‘refined food grains’ are not quite the same today. Many of the recipes call for ‘unbleached flour’ and corn meal.  It’s pretty sad that bleached flour was so ubiquitous back then that merely not bleaching it constituted a ‘health food.’

Some of these recipes include canned soups or worcestershire sauce-  her own recipes did not, but the ones in this collection are from her readers. She recommended soy tamari sauce as a substitute.  Today you may be able to find worchestershire sauce without sugar, and you can use amino acids and coconut aminos (vitacost has the best price anywhere I’ve found, and don’t forget to go through ebates so you get an additional discount), but you can also get authentic fish sauce (Red Boat is sugar free, just anchovies, salt, and water, and also at vitacost for a good price).

As another example of how much our standards about what is and isn’t healthy have changed, she also recommends that instead of “Cola drinks” you substitute “Shasta drinks made with fructose corn syrup.” Wow.  I am both astonished that Cola drinks were still made with sugar when I was a young wife, and that corn syrup was ever recommended as healthy.

To be fair, that was only stage 1 of a 3 level plan she offered for gradually switching from refined grains and sugars to more natural eating. At this level she also recommended replacing sugary cereals with grape-nuts, shredded wheat, granola, and nutri-grain.

At the next level, she suggests (among other things) replacing cola type drinks with sodas made with juice concentrate and club soda (1 1/4 cup of concentrate to 1 qt of soda), replacing chocolate with carob, and packaged breads with homemade muffins.

At the final level, she suggests replacing sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, dextrins, dextrose with honey, 100% maple syrup, and  fructose (which she claimed doesn’t raise your blood sugar and now we know that’s not true), juice concentrates, date sugar, and raisin syrup. She recommends replacing pasta with whole grain pasta, white rice with brown, using homemade bread instead of storebought, herbal teas and water instead of coffee and black teas, sprouts instead of lettuce, and home prepared foods instead of convenience foods.

For cooking fats, she prefers safflower oil.

It occurs to me as I read this that she published this book the same year I got married, and this essentially how I cooked and prepared our meals for the first 20 years or so of our marriage. However, I never did use much maple syrup (couldn’t afford it) or fructose (I didn’t believe it was healthy). I did use molasses, and still do (blackstrap). And now, 30 plus years later, now that white rice tastes like soap to me, I’m reading that white rice is actually better for you than brown rice after all.

Her concerns about sugars were mainly about calories, sugar spikes and crashes and hypoglycemia. She recognized that “insulin over-reacts to the surge of sugar and overcorrects,” but I don’t know if anybody realized then that the real problem was that the excess insulin trigger’s the body’s fat storage- all calories are not created equal.

However, she does connect the insulin crashes from eating refined sugars with many other problems- depression, anxiety, narcolepsy, insomnia, lack of sexual drive, fast or notisable heartbeat, itching or crawing sensations, cold sweats, allergies, diabetes, dental disease, depletion of B itamin stores, learning disorders, schizophrenia, hyperactivity, alcoholism, and more. Much of this information comes from the book Psychodietetics by Ringsdorf and Cheraskin, one of the first, if not the first, book to connect our refined foods dependent diet on a wide array of health issues, including mental health.

At the time that she published her books, most of the healthy foods cookbooks I was finding- books that focused on whole grains and didn’t use cans of soup and prepackaged convenience foods for every recipe were vegetarian cookbooks.  Hers was one of the earliest cookbooks I knew of that emphasized whole grains, replaced white sugar with healthier options like honey, and also included meat.

These days, she’s not publishing cookbooks anymore, but she is publishing a few recipes for an orthodontics program.  She’s cooking with stevia, but relying more on low fat and nonfat products and not avoiding refined foods as much.

It all makes me wonder, thirty years from now, what health trend will we look back on and think, “That was nuts. It wasn’t healthy at all!”  Or, if not ‘we,’ because I’d be 83 if I’m still around 30 years from now, at least some of you.

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November Colouring Page, Free Printable

vintage turkey to colour, cut, watermark Taken from The Kindergarten and First Grade, Volume 3,
Milton Bradley Company, 1918

November vintage poster watermark

November vintage poster

vintage turkey to colour, cut

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Free Kindle Books, Some Public Domain Goodies

Books are free at the time I found the links and pasted them here. This changes sometimes, so be sure to note the price before you add it to your cart.

Sometimes, for some reason, the links get stuck while loading. Just refresh the Amazon page and that should help.

You don’t need a Kindle to read these. More at the bottom of the post.

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Margarita’s Soul The Romantic Recollections of a Man of Fifty

Excerpt: Roger Bradley was walking up Broadway. This fact calls sharply for comment, for he had not done it in years; the thoroughfare was intolerable to him. But one of its impingements upon a less blatant avenue had caught him napping and he found himself entangled in a mesh of theatre dribblings, pool-room loungers, wine-touts and homeward bent women of the middle, shopping class. Being there, he scorned to avail himself of the regularly recurring cross streets, but strode along, his straight, trim bulk, his keen, judicial profile—a profile that spoke strong of the best traditions of American blood—marking him for what he was among a crowd not to be matched, in its way, upon the Western Continent.

At the second slanting of the great, tawdry lane he bent with it and encountered suddenly a little knot of flustered women just descended from the elevated way that doubled the din and blare of the shrieking city. They were bundle-filled, voluble, dressed by any standards save those of their native city, far beyond their probable means and undoubted station. As they stopped unexpectedly and hesitated, damming the flood of hurrying citizens, Roger halted of necessity and stepped backward, but in avoiding them he bumped heavily against the person behind him. A startled gasp, something soft against his shoulder, the sharp edge of a[12] projecting hat, told him that this person was a woman, and stepping sidewise into the shelter of a neighbouring news-stall, he raised his hat with a courtesy alien to the place and hour.

“I beg your pardon, madam,” he said, “I trust I have not hurt you?”

“No,” said the woman, who wore a heavy grey veil, and as that is literally all she said and as her method of saying it was as convincing as it was simple, one would suppose the incident closed and look to see Roger complete his journey to his club without further adventure.

Do I wish he had? God knows. It was undoubtedly the turning-point in his life and he was forty. Had he gone on to the club where I was waiting for him; had we dined, played out our rubber, dropped in at the occasional chamber concert that was our usual and almost our only dissipation in those days, I should not now be ransacking old letters and diaries from which to make this book, nor would Margarita’s picture—her loveliest, as Juliet—lean toward me from the wall. She is smiling; not as one smiles in photographs, but as a flesh-and-blood woman droops over the man she loves and smiles her heart into his lips, reaching over his shoulder. Everything slips behind but you two, herself and you, when you look at it. Sarony, who took it, told me he had never posed such a subject, and I believe him.
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Boys and Girls of Colonial Days

Extract: Peering over the edge of the boat rail, Love strained her weary, blue eyes for a glimpse of land. The sun, a ball of soft, gold light, showed now through the haze, and suddenly, like a fairy place the city appeared. There were tall, shining towers, gold church spires, pointed roofs with wide, red chimneys where the storks stood in one-legged fashion, and great windmills with their long arms stretched out to catch the four winds. Amsterdam, in Holland, it was, the haven of this little boat load of Pilgrims.

Love Bradford, ten years old, flaxen haired, and as winsome as an English rose in June, wrapped her long, gray cloak more closely about her and turned to one of the women.

“Do you think that my father may have taken another boat that sailed faster than this and is waiting for me on the shore, Mistress Brewster? The last words that he said to me when he left me on the ship were ‘Bide patiently until I come, Love; I will not be long.’ That was many days ago.”

Mistress Brewster turned away that the little girl might not see the tears that filled her eyes. Love’s father, just before the ship that bore the Pilgrims from England had sailed, had been cast into prison by the King, because of his faith. Love was all alone, but Mistress Brewster did not want her to know of her father’s fate.

“Perhaps your father will meet you some day soon in Holland. Surely, if he said that he would not be long, he will keep his word. See, Love, see the little boy of your own age down there in the fishing boat.”

Love looked in the direction in which the woman pointed. A plump, rosy little boy with eyes as blue as Love’s own and dressed in full brown trousers and clumsy wooden shoes sat on a big net in one end of the boat. He looked up as the sails of the little fishing craft brought it alongside the boat that bore the wanderers from England. At first he dropped his eyes in shyness at sight of the little girl. Then he lifted them again and, as his eyes met hers, the two children smiled at each other. It was like a flash of sunshine piercing the gray haze that hung over the sea.

There were friends waiting on the shore for all save Love. Older brothers these were, fathers and other relatives who had made the pilgrimage from England a few months before and had homes ready for them all.

Reader Review: What have we lost? What have the collectivists taken from us? Here it is. Children, burying silver before it is confiscated. Kids, asking God to win the battle and give them back their father. A father? God? Kids that work and are devoted to their family and country? Kids that understand George Washington to be a great man? Kids that do all sorts of “unsafe” things, and still somehow survive without State assistance? Buy this book. Remember our heritage, and pass it on.

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Also by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey:
Wonder Stories The Best Myths for Boys and Girls
How the Myths Began
What Prometheus Did with a Bit of Clay
The Paradise of Children
What Became of the Giants
How Vulcan Made the Best of Things
How Orion Found His Sight
The Wonders Venus Wrought
Where the Labyrinth Led
How Perseus Conquered the Sea
Pegasus, the Horse Who Could Fly
How Mars Lost a Battle
How Minerva Built a City
Cadmus, the Alphabet King
The Picture Minerva Wove
The Hero with a Fairy Godmother
The Pygmies
The Horn of Plenty
The Wonder the Frogs Missed
When Phaeton’s Chariot Ran Away
When Apollo was Herdsman
How Jupiter Granted a Wish
How Hyacinthus Became a Flower
How King Midas Lost His Ears
How Mercury Gave up his Tricks
A Little Errand Girl’s New Dress
When Proserpine was Lost
The Ploughman who Brought Famine
The Bee Man of Arcadia
When Pomona Shared Her Apples
How Psyche Reached Mount Olympus
How Melampos Fed the Serpent
How a Huntress Became a Bear
The Adventure of Glaucus
The Winning of the Golden Fleece
Medea’s Cauldron
How a Golden Apple Caused a War
How a Wooden Horse Won a War
The Cyclops
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The Complete Home

Published in 1907. How to plan, furnish, decorate, and run a house room by room, and to some degree task by task. Here’s an extract:


“Solomon Grundy,
Born on Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday.
That’s the end of
Solomon Grundy.”

This little tale serves to show how it simplifies life to have a time for everything and everything in its time. System was probably a habit in the Grundy family, and was so bred in Solomon’s bones that it never occurred to him that he could reverse the order observed by the Grundys for generations back and be married on Thursday, for instance. And yet there is room for conjecture as to how much difference it might have made in his life if he had elected to contract an alliance on that day instead of a fatal illness. System is a fine servant but a poor master. Simply because custom has decreed that Monday shall be wash day, Tuesday ironing day, and so on, it does not necessarily follow that this programme must be strictly adhered to in every family, or that the schedule of the week’s work, once made out, cannot be changed to meet the unexpected exigencies which are apt to arise. To be sure, Monday as wash day has many points in its favor; but if it must be postponed until Tuesday, or the clothes have not dried well and the ironing has to go over into Wednesday, there is no reason why the whole domestic harmony should become “like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.” Although order is heaven’s first law, it occasionally happens that it is better to break the law than to be broken by it. And so, when the young housekeeper’s nicely arranged plans for each day in the week are suddenly turned topsy-turvy, let her take heart of grace, remembering that there are whole days that “ain’t teched yet,” and begin again.


The chief objection to washing on Monday is that it necessitates sorting and putting the soiled linen to soak on Sunday, which not only violates the religious principles of many households, but shortens and spoils the flavor of the maid’s free Sabbath evening. Then, too, the sorting of the linen often reveals holes and rents which should properly be repaired before laundering increases the damage, and a Tuesday washing makes this possible, with the straightening out and readjustment generally necessary after Sunday. On the other hand, the longer the linen remains unlaundered the more difficult it is to cleanse, with the risk that good drying days may tarry and the ironing thus linger along till the end of the week, which is inconvenient and bothersome all round. Therefore it seems quite advisable for Mrs. Grundy to wash on Monday, and an occasional postponement until Tuesday will not then be a matter of any great moment. The routine work of every day—the airing, brushing up, and dusting of the rooms, the preparation and serving of meals at their regular hours, the chamber work, dish-washing, in short, all the have-to-be-dones, must not, and need not, be interfered with by the special work which belongs to each day. There are hours enough for both, and rest time, too, unless the housekeeper or maid be cut after the pattern of Chaucer’s Sergeant of the Law:

“Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he semed bisier than he was.”

Wash day is always somewhat of an ordeal, and a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together is necessary to carry it successfully through. A simple breakfast will give the maid an opportunity to sort and put the clothes to soak, if this was not done the night previous, heat water for the washing, and perhaps prepare vegetables for the day’s meals, before breakfast is served; and if her mistress lends a helping hand with the dishes, dusting, or other regular work of the day, she can go to her tubs just that much earlier. Getting up in the wee sma’ hours and working by early candle light is misdirected ambition. The maid needs her rest to fit her for her day’s labors, and washing well done requires the light of day. Set the breakfast hour ahead half an hour and so gain a little extra time. Foresight and extra planning on Saturday will provide certain left-overs from Sunday’s meals which can be quickly and easily transformed into Monday’s luncheon. Dinner, too, should be a simple meal, but don’t add to the other trials of the day cold comfort at meal time. A smoking-hot dinner has a certain heartening influence to which we are all more or less susceptible. The doors leading from the room in which the washing is done must be kept closed to exclude the steamy odor from the rest of the house, and the maid allowed to proceed with her work without interruption. By eleven o’clock she will probably have reached a point where she can stop to prepare luncheon. If the family is very small, she can frequently do not only the washing but considerable of the ironing as well on Monday, but that is crowding things a little too much. After the washing is accomplished the line should be drawn at what must be done, and nothing which is not absolutely necessary put into the few remaining hours of the day, for the maid’s back and arms have had quite enough exercise for the time being. If a laundress is employed, the cleaning of the kitchen floor and the laundry and the ironing should be about accomplished by night, unless it seems best to have her clean and do other extra work after the washing is finished. If the housewife is her own laundress, she must acquire the gentle art of letting things go on the hard days, for she cannot possibly be laundress, maid, and house-mother all in one, and her health and well-being are of prime importance.

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Mrs. Beeton’s The Book of Household Management

Reader Review: This book is written in such a way that you are drawn into the past and standing alongside the mistress of the house…planning your day and making sure the “household help” do their jobs well. It certainly reminds us of the benfits we have currently – with washing machines, dishwashers, automobiles, pre-packaged food and yes,fast food, yet still don’t have enough time to do all the things we need/want to do. How would you like to dress your own cow or help make every article of clothing you wear (even though the “hired help” did most of it)? A brief introduction to the book instills in the reader a sense of where Mrs. Beeton arrived at her thoughts for “proper household management.” She seems to have been frustrated by societal changes she was witnessing and wanted her “good ol’ days” to return. It is a book I highly recommend not only for the history, but for the entertainment value. I could not put it down once I started.
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A Modest Proposal

Classic satire by Jonathan Swift

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An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

Excerpt: As it is by treaty, by barter, and by purchase, that we obtain from one another the greater part of those mutual good offices which we stand in need of, so it is this same trucking disposition which originally gives occasion to the division of labour. In a tribe of hunters or shepherds, a particular person makes bows and arrows, for example, with more readiness and dexterity than any other. He frequently exchanges them for cattle or for venison, with his companions; and he finds at last that he can, in this manner, get more cattle and venison, than if he himself went to the field to catch them. From a regard to his own interest, therefore, the making of bows and arrows grows to be his chief business, and he becomes a sort of armourer. Another excels in making the frames and covers of their little huts or moveable houses. He is accustomed to be of use in this way to his neighbours, who reward him in the same manner with cattle and with venison, till at last he finds it his interest to dedicate himself entirely to this employment, and to become a sort of house-carpenter. In the same manner a third becomes a smith or a brazier; a fourth, a tanner or dresser of hides or skins, the principal part of the clothing of savages. And thus the certainty of being able to exchange all that surplus part of the produce of his own labour, which is over and above his own consumption, for such parts of the produce of other men’s labour as he may have occasion for, encourages every man to apply himself to a particular occupation, and to cultivate and bring to perfection whatever talent of genius he may possess for that particular species of business.
The difference of natural talents in different men, is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very different genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions, when grown up to maturity, is not upon many occasions so much the cause, as the effect of the division of labour. The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education. When they came in to the world, and for the first six or eight years of their existence, they were, perhaps, very much alike, and neither their parents nor play-fellows could perceive any remarkable difference. About that age, or soon after, they come to be employed in very different occupations. The difference of talents comes then to be taken notice of, and widens by degrees, till at last the vanity of the philosopher is willing to acknowledge scarce any resemblance. But without the disposition to truck, barter, and exchange, every man must have procured to himself every necessary and conveniency of life which he wanted. All must have had the same duties to perform, and the same work to do, and there could have been no such difference of employment as could alone give occasion to any great difference of talents.

Excerpt: The institution of long apprenticeships can give no security that insufficient workmanship shall not frequently be exposed to public sale. When this is done, it is generally the effect of fraud, and not of inability; and the longest apprenticeship can give no security against fraud. Quite different regulations are necessary to prevent this abuse. The sterling mark upon plate, and the stamps upon linen and woollen cloth, give the purchaser much greater security than any statute of apprenticeship. He generally looks at these, but never thinks it worth while to enquire whether the workman had served a seven years apprenticeship.
The institution of long apprenticeships has no tendency to form young people to industry. A journeyman who works by the piece is likely to be industrious, because he derives a benefit from every exertion of his industry. An apprentice is likely to be idle, and almost always is so, because he has no immediate interest to be otherwise. In the inferior employments, the sweets of labour consist altogether in the recompence of labour. They who are soonest in a condition to enjoy the sweets of it, are likely soonest to conceive a relish for it, and to acquire the early habit of industry. A young man naturally conceives an aversion to labour, when for a long time he receives no benefit from it. The boys who are put out apprentices from public charities are generally bound for more than the usual number of years, and they generally turn out very idle and worthless.
Apprenticeships were altogether unknown to the ancients. The reciprocal duties of master and apprentice make a considerable article in every modern code. The Roman law is perfectly silent with regard to them. I know no Greek or Latin word (I might venture, I believe, to assert that there is none) which expresses the idea we now annex to the word apprentice, a servant bound to work at a particular trade for the benefit of a master, during a term of years, upon condition that the master shall teach him that trade.
Long apprenticeships are altogether unnecessary.

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Three Men in a Boat

I love this book and find it delightfully funny.

Excerpt: We sat there for half-an-hour, describing to each other our maladies. I explained to George and William Harris how I felt when I got up in the morning, and William Harris told us how he felt when he went to bed; and George stood on the hearth-rug, and gave us a clever and powerful piece of acting, illustrative of how he felt in the night.

George fancies he is ill; but there’s never anything really the matter with him, you know.

At this point, Mrs. Poppets knocked at the door to know if we were ready for supper. We smiled sadly at one another, and said we supposed we had better try to swallow a bit. Harris said a little something in one’s stomach often kept the disease in check; and Mrs. Poppets brought the tray in, and we drew up to the table, and toyed with a little steak and onions, and some rhubarb tart.

I must have been very weak at the time; because I know, after the first half-hour or so, I seemed to take no interest whatever in my food—an unusual thing for me—and I didn’t want any cheese.

This duty done, we refilled our glasses, lit our pipes, and resumed the discussion upon our state of health. What it was that was actually the matter with us, we none of us could be sure of; but the unanimous opinion was that it—whatever it was—had been brought on by overwork.

“What we want is rest,” said Harris.

“Rest and a complete change,” said George. “The overstrain upon our brains has produced a general depression throughout the system. Change of scene, and absence of the necessity for thought, will restore the mental equilibrium.”

George has a cousin, who is usually described in the charge-sheet as a medical student, so that he naturally has a somewhat family-physicianary way of putting things.

I agreed with George, and suggested that we should seek out some retired and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes—some half-forgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world—some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far-off and faint.

Harris said he thought it would be humpy. He said he knew the sort of place I meant; where everybody went to bed at eight o’clock, and you couldn’t get a Referee for love or money, and had to walk ten miles to get your baccy.

“No,” said Harris, “if you want rest and change, you can’t beat a sea trip.”

I objected to the sea trip strongly. A sea trip does you good when you are going to have a couple of months of it, but, for a week, it is wicked.

You start on Monday with the idea implanted in your bosom that you are going to enjoy yourself. You wave an airy adieu to the boys on shore, light your biggest pipe, and swagger about the deck as if you were Captain Cook, Sir Francis Drake, and Christopher Columbus all rolled into one. On Tuesday, you wish you hadn’t come. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you wish you were dead. On Saturday, you are able to swallow a little beef tea, and to sit up on deck, and answer with a wan, sweet smile when kind-hearted people ask you how you feel now. On Sunday, you begin to walk about again, and take solid food. And on Monday morning, as, with your bag and umbrella in your hand, you stand by the gunwale, waiting to step ashore, you begin to thoroughly like it.

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The original version of My Fair Lady, rather different from the American movie.

Excerpt; Covent Garden at 11.15 p.m. Torrents of heavy summer rain. Cab whistles blowing frantically in all directions. Pedestrians running for shelter into the market and under the portico of St. Paul’s Church, where there are already several people, among them a lady and her daughter in evening dress. They are all peering out gloomily at the rain, except one man with his back turned to the rest, who seems wholly preoccupied with a notebook in which he is writing busily.

The church clock strikes the first quarter.

THE DAUGHTER [in the space between the central pillars, close to the one on her left] I’m getting chilled to the bone. What can Freddy be doing all this time? He’s been gone twenty minutes.

THE MOTHER [on her daughter's right] Not so long. But he ought to have got us a cab by this.

A BYSTANDER [on the lady's right] He won’t get no cab not until half-past eleven, missus, when they come back after dropping their theatre fares.

THE MOTHER. But we must have a cab. We can’t stand here until half-past eleven. It’s too bad.

THE BYSTANDER. Well, it ain’t my fault, missus.

THE DAUGHTER. If Freddy had a bit of gumption, he would have got one at the theatre door.

THE MOTHER. What could he have done, poor boy?

THE DAUGHTER. Other people got cabs. Why couldn’t he?

Freddy rushes in out of the rain from the Southampton Street side, and comes between them closing a dripping umbrella. He is a young man of twenty, in evening dress, very wet around the ankles.

THE DAUGHTER. Well, haven’t you got a cab?

FREDDY. There’s not one to be had for love or money.

THE MOTHER. Oh, Freddy, there must be one. You can’t have tried.

THE DAUGHTER. It’s too tiresome. Do you expect us to go and get one ourselves?

FREDDY. I tell you they’re all engaged. The rain was so sudden: nobody was prepared; and everybody had to take a cab. I’ve been to Charing Cross one way and nearly to Ludgate Circus the other; and they were all engaged.

THE MOTHER. Did you try Trafalgar Square?

FREDDY. There wasn’t one at Trafalgar Square.

THE DAUGHTER. Did you try?

FREDDY. I tried as far as Charing Cross Station. Did you expect me to walk to Hammersmith?

THE DAUGHTER. You haven’t tried at all.

THE MOTHER. You really are very helpless, Freddy. Go again; and don’t come back until you have found a cab.

FREDDY. I shall simply get soaked for nothing.

THE DAUGHTER. And what about us? Are we to stay here all night in this draught, with next to nothing on. You selfish pig—

FREDDY. Oh, very well: I’ll go, I’ll go. [He opens his umbrella and dashes off Strandwards, but comes into collision with a flower girl, who is hurrying in for shelter, knocking her basket out of her hands. A blinding flash of lightning, followed instantly by a rattling peal of thunder, orchestrates the incident]

THE FLOWER GIRL. Nah then, Freddy: look wh’ y’ gowin, deah.

FREDDY. Sorry [he rushes off].

THE FLOWER GIRL [picking up her scattered flowers and replacing them in the basket] There’s menners f’ yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

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The Interpreter A Tale of the War

Extract: “And so, you see, my dear Egerton, it is out of the question. I own to a great liking for your character. I think you behaved yesterday like a trump. I am too old for romance, and all that, but I can understand your feeling, my boy, and I am sorry for you. The objection I have named would alone be sufficient. Let it never be mentioned again. Your father was my oldest friend, and I hope you will not think it necessary to break with us; but marriage is a serious affair, and indeed is not to be thought of.”
“No hope, Sir Harry?” I gasped out; “years hence, if I could win fame, distinction, throw a cloak of honour over this accursed brand, give her a name to be proud of, is there no hope?”
“None,” replied Sir Harry; “these things are better settled at once. It is far wiser not to delude yourself into the notion that, because you are a disappointed man now, you are destined to become a great one hereafter. Greatness grows, Vere, just like a cabbage or a cauliflower, and must be tended and cultivated with years of labour and perseverance; you cannot pluck it down with one spring, like an apple from a bough. No, no, my lad; you will get over this disappointment, and be all the better for it. I am sorry to refuse you, but I must, Vere, distinctly, and for the last time. Besides, I tell you in confidence, I have other views for Constance, so you see it is totally out of the question. You may see her this afternoon, if you like. She is a good child, and will do nothing in disobedience to her father. Farewell, Vere, I am sorry for you, but the thing’s done.”
So I walked out of the Baronet’s room in the unenviable character of a disappointed suitor, and he went back to his farm book and his trainer’s accounts, as coolly as if he had just been dismissing a domestic; whilst I–my misery was greater than I could bear–his last words seemed to scorch me. “I should get over it–I should be the better for it.” And I felt all the time that my heart was breaking; and then, “he had other views for Constance;” not only must she never be mine, but I must suffer the additional pang of feeling that she belongs to another. “Would to God,” I thought, “that we had sunk together yesterday, never to rise again!”
I went to look for her in the shrubbery: I knew where I should find her; there was an old summer-house that we two had sat in many a time before, and I felt sure Constance would be there. She rose as I approached it: she must have seen by my face that it was all over. She put her hand in mine, and, totally unmanned, I bent my head over it, and burst into a flood of tears, like a child. I remember to this day the very pattern of the gown she wore; even now I seem to hear the soft, gentle accents in which she reasoned and pleaded with me, and strove to mitigate my despair.

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Secret Adversary
by Agatha Christie


“WELL,” said Tuppence, recovering herself, “it really seems as though it were meant to be.”
Carter nodded.
“I know what you mean. I’m superstitious myself. Luck, and all that sort of thing. Fate seems to have chosen you out to be mixed up in this.”
Tommy indulged in a chuckle.
“My word! I don’t wonder Whittington got the wind up when Tuppence plumped out that name! I should have myself. But look here, sir, we’re taking up an awful lot of your time. Have you any tips to give us before we clear out?”
“I think not. My experts, working in stereotyped ways, have failed. You will bring imagination and an open mind to the task. Don’t be discouraged if that too does not succeed. For one thing there is a likelihood of the pace being forced.”
Tuppence frowned uncomprehendingly.
“When you had that interview with Whittington, they had time before them. I have information that the big coup was planned for early in the new year. But the Government is contemplating legislative action which will deal effectually with the strike menace. They’ll get wind of it soon, if they haven’t already, and it’s possible that that may bring things to a head. I hope it will myself. The less time they have to mature their plans the better. I’m just warning you that you haven’t much time before you, and that you needn’t be cast down if you fail. It’s not an easy proposition anyway. That’s all.”
Tuppence rose.
“I think we ought to be businesslike. What exactly can we count upon you for, Mr. Carter?” Mr. Carter’s lips twitched slightly, but he replied succinctly: “Funds within reason, detailed information on any point, and NO OFFICIAL RECOGNITION. I mean that if you get yourselves into trouble with the police, I can’t officially help you out of it. You’re on your own.”
Tuppence nodded sagely.
“I quite understand that. I’ll write out a list of the things I want to know when I’ve had time to think. Now—about money——”
“Yes, Miss Tuppence. Do you want to say how much?”
“Not exactly. We’ve got plenty to go with for the present, but when we want more——”
“It will be waiting for you.”
“Yes, but—I’m sure I don’t want to be rude about the Government if you’ve got anything to do with it, but you know one really has the devil of a time getting anything out of it! And if we have to fill up a blue form and send it in, and then, after three months, they send us a green one, and so on—well, that won’t be much use, will it?”
Mr. Carter laughed outright.
“Don’t worry, Miss Tuppence. You will send a personal demand to me here, and the money, in notes, shall be sent by return of post. As to salary, shall we say at the rate of three hundred a year? And an equal sum for Mr. Beresford, of course.”
Tuppence beamed upon him.

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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Excerpt:The way in which Athens came to be placed in the circumstances under which her power grew was this. After the Medes had returned from Europe, defeated by sea and land by the Hellenes, and after those of them who had fled with their ships to Mycale had been destroyed, Leotychides, king of the Lacedaemonians, the commander of the Hellenes at Mycale, departed home with the allies from Peloponnese. But the Athenians and the allies from Ionia and Hellespont, who had now revolted from the King, remained and laid siege to Sestos, which was still held by the Medes. After wintering before it, they became masters of the place on its evacuation by the barbarians; and after this they sailed away from Hellespont to their respective cities. Meanwhile the Athenian people, after the departure of the barbarian from their country, at once proceeded to carry over their children and wives, and such property as they had left, from the places where they had deposited them, and prepared to rebuild their city and their walls. For only isolated portions of the circumference had been left standing, and most of the houses were in ruins; though a few remained, in which the Persian grandees had taken up their quarters.
Perceiving what they were going to do, the Lacedaemonians sent an embassy to Athens. They would have themselves preferred to see neither her nor any other city in possession of a wall; though here they acted principally at the instigation of their allies, who were alarmed at the strength of her newly acquired navy and the valour which she had displayed in the war with the Medes. They begged her not only to abstain from building walls for herself, but also to join them in throwing down the walls that still held together of the ultra-Peloponnesian cities. The real meaning of their advice, the suspicion that it contained against the Athenians, was not proclaimed; it was urged that so the barbarian, in the event of a third invasion, would not have any strong place, such as he now had in Thebes, for his base of operations; and that Peloponnese would suffice for all as a base both for retreat and offence. After the Lacedaemonians had thus spoken, they were, on the advice of Themistocles, immediately dismissed by the Athenians, with the answer that ambassadors should be sent to Sparta to discuss the question. Themistocles told the Athenians to send him off with all speed to Lacedaemon, but not to dispatch his colleagues as soon as they had selected them, but to wait until they had raised their wall to the height from which defence was possible. Meanwhile the whole population in the city was to labour at the wall, the Athenians, their wives, and their children, sparing no edifice, private or public, which might be of any use to the work, but throwing all down. After giving these instructions, and adding that he would be responsible for all other matters there, he departed. Arrived at Lacedaemon he did not seek an audience with the authorities, but tried to gain time and made excuses. When any of the government asked him why he did not appear in the assembly, he would say that he was waiting for his colleagues, who had been detained in Athens by some engagement; however, that he expected their speedy arrival, and wondered that they were not yet there. At first the Lacedaemonians trusted the words of Themistocles, through their friendship for him; but when others arrived, all distinctly declaring that the work was going on and already attaining some elevation, they did not know how to disbelieve it. Aware of this, he told them that rumours are deceptive, and should not be trusted; they should send some reputable persons from Sparta to inspect, whose report might be trusted. They dispatched them accordingly. Concerning these Themistocles secretly sent word to the Athenians to detain them as far as possible without putting them under open constraint, and not to let them go until they had themselves returned. For his colleagues had now joined him, Abronichus, son of Lysicles, and Aristides, son of Lysimachus, with the news that the wall was sufficiently advanced; and he feared that when the Lacedaemonians heard the facts, they might refuse to let them go. So the Athenians detained the envoys according to his message, and Themistocles had an audience with the Lacedaemonians, and at last openly told them that Athens was now fortified sufficiently to protect its inhabitants; that any embassy which the Lacedaemonians or their allies might wish to send to them should in future proceed on the assumption that the people to whom they were going was able to distinguish both its own and the general interests. That when the Athenians thought fit to abandon their city and to embark in their ships, they ventured on that perilous step without consulting them; and that on the other hand, wherever they had deliberated with the Lacedaemonians, they had proved themselves to be in judgment second to none. That they now thought it fit that their city should have a wall, and that this would be more for the advantage of both the citizens of Athens and the Hellenic confederacy; for without equal military strength it was impossible to contribute equal or fair counsel to the common interest. It followed, he observed, either that all the members of the confederacy should be without walls, or that the present step should be considered a right one.

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Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The above books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing.  If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something.  Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless.  Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal.  And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books, even though I have two kindles.  That’s because my kids keep taking off with the Kindles to read their school books and they don’t remember to recharge them before returning.  I wouldn’t say I’m bitter about it, but I might be a little disgruntled. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers.  The second Kindle is actually one I was given in exchange for some writing work, and I gave it to my two teens.  It does not have 3G, which is why it’s their Kindle.  Personally,  I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently.  Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices.  Woot!

Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from  reviews on Amazon’s page.  Excerpts generally come from Gutenberg.

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I bought the Mother of the Bride Dress

From a cool place called HOly Clothing:

Cheyenne dress


Reminder- These are The Boots, which I bought from ThredUp, and which I could have bought at even greater discount if I had thought to check ebates first.

MoB boots

This was also in the running, but since the wedding is in a very large building in January and there is already snow on the ground here and has been since yesterday, I thought I would be far too cold:MoB dress roaman's lace blue



Now to find the Boy a pair of size 32/36 dress slacks in black  and a white dress shirt with long sleeves that will fit him the way he likes- slim in the trunk, long enough in the sleeves to actually reach his wrists.  He’s an usher.  He was in need of dress slacks and a dress shirt anyway, having outgrown his others.

I have a couple items I’m watching on eBay for him.  I also have a couple hats on my watch list, but I think I may have a hat of my great-grandmother’s that will work- a wool cloche with some sparkles here and there, about the same colour as my boots, which makes me happy.  I’m just not sure where it got put.

2014-11-18 16.35.37


This one might do- that’s a shadow on the top, not a stain.

2014-11-18 16.35.46

The cream one might do, but it’s not the one I’m looking for.

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It’s not here, either, although the blue velvet number to the left might work.

2014-11-18 16.39.09


It’s not here, either.

2014-11-18 16.42.53

 Nor is it here.  Hmmmm.

I also have this vintage blue cape/jacket that is deliciously bizarre. I’d love to show you a picture of it, but we can’t find it, either.  The HG had it for over a year, and then last month I thought she returned it. Her husband also thought she returned it.  But I can’t find it any of the places it ought to be.  This is beginning to annoy me.  Gremlins.

We get to reuse some of the silver and white things I bought for the last wedding, which is nice. And we’re borrowing a lot of glass things from Strider’s Mama, which is lovely.

The reception is cake and a hot cocoa bar, and we have some nice goodies planned from the little shop where the FYG works- peppermint sticks and so forth.

The two girls who are in the wedding bought their dresses already, and Jenny’s making hers.

She and the FYG are doing almost all the wedding planning and organizing.  I’ve been asked to do…. well, nothing, except be there.=)


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Contemporary Account of WWI, 1915

feb 1915 pop mechanics odd gun mountingIllustrations are from vintage copies of Popular Mechanics, two different issues from 1915

Volume XXIX

St. John, N. B., Canada, 1915
CURRENT EVENTS. The great war is growing greater — greater in its horrors, in its terrors, in its violence and in its area — and the end seems farther off than ever. To sum up in a few words the events of May and their results is quite impossible. The news of the day is more than usually contradictory and mis- leading; and many things have occurred the meaning of which is not yet understood. There has been little change in the position of the lines in France and Flanders, where the Allies, at great cost, have been able to hold back the German armies, or, for the most part, to regain any territory which they have lost. In some places where they have made slight gains, they have been able to hold their new ground. What success the Germans have achieved in Flanders within the last month has been won by the use of the poisonous gas, or gases, which they have intro- duced as a means of attack. Many of the men affected by gas die in the trenches; many more die in the hospitals, after living in the greatest agony for days; some who live through it will be permanently injured.

July 1915 Popular Mechanics Cover soldier in gas mask

vintage 1915 popular mechanics with the red cross on the field

The Canadians on the battle front have suffered terribly during the month. They are now all together, under General Alderson, holding their own part of the line, and doing their work as well as any of the trained troops of the British Expedi- tionary Force. On the eastern front, the German and Austrian armies have driven the Russians from the Carpath- ians, and recaptured the fortress of Przemysl; and are now advancing upon Lemberg, the capture of which would virtually put them in possession of the whole of Galicia. The Russians have been obliged to fall back for want of ammunition. It has long been expected that Italy would enter the war on the side of the Allies if she found that her help were needed. In the meantime her fleet and army were fully prepared for action. On the twenty-fourth of May, too late to save the Russians from severe defeat, but not too late, we may hope, to affect the final result, Italy declared war and sent an army into Austrian territory near the head of theGulf ofTriestc, and into the mountain regions on the west side of the Austrian Tyrol. Both districts are inhabited chiefly by Italian speaking people who have not been well treated by their Austrian rulers, and therefore welcome the Italians as liberators. Austrian and German troops are hastening to meet the Italians, but no great battle has yet been fought. The troops from Australia and New Zealand are making slow but steady progress on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and have gained an important position about four miles from the tip of the peninsula. Three more British battleships were lost in May in supporting these troops, which makes a total of six battleships of the Allies lost in the attempt to force the Dardanelles. Though the Canadian contingents in the British forces form the largest army that ever crossed the Atlantic, and though the British army in Flanders is the largest that ever crossed the channel, they are together very small and insignificant as com- pared with the immense armies of France and Russia; yet, for the want of munitions of war, these great armies are to-day unable to defeat the well prepared armies of the central empires. The war is to be won by the workmen in the factories and chiefly by the men in the British workshops if the Allies are to win. The British Government has been reorganized to meet this situation by inviting men of all parties to form a national cabinet; and Mr. Lloyd-George, former Chan- cellor of the Exchequer, has been appointed to the new office of Minister of Munitions. The new Minister has stated that we are fighting three enemies, Germany, Austria and Drink; and so far as he can see the greatest of these deadly foes is Drink. This refers to the fact that the output of the factories is greatly hampered by drunkenness among the workmen; and it is to be expected that Britain will follow the example of Russia and France by restricting the sale of intoxicating liquors for the sake of efficiency. Since the Germans began their submarine war- fare upon merchant ships and fishing vessels, in January last, there have been less than a hundred vessels sunk in that way, and about one-fifth of these were neutral vessels. Like the attacks by airships, by which a few persons lost their lives, and some little damage to property was caused, these submarine attacks were regarded as but ‘ instances of the German policy of frightfulness, of little effect as war measures. When, however, on the seventh of May, the great passenger steamer “Lusitania” was sunk, with the loss of more than a thousand lives, and when it was learned that this was done deliberately, and hailed with satis- faction by the German people, the whole world outside of Germany regarded it as wholesale murder. Several of the neutral nations, including United States of America, protested because some of their citizens were thus murdered; and it is not improbable that the incident will be the direct cause of bringing one or more of these nations into the war.


A new instrument now in use in England sends telegrams by a keyboard like that of a typewriter, and the message is received in typewritten charac- ters at the distant end of the wire. In the London Office of the Central Telegraph, women typists are employed in place of men telegraphists who are now at the front. It is estimated that by the first of July the number of officers and men sent overseas by the Canadian Government will reach approximately seventy thousand. More than five hundred nurses also have gone. It is said that the Canadian share of the expenses of the war is nearly a million dollars a day.

May 1915 Popular Mechanics machine guns on firing line



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Shopping Bargains!

Ebates-  If 2 more of my kind readers join by 12/31, I get $75, you get great savings!

ThredUp- offers 7.5% back on their already greatly discounted prices (I’ve bought several warm shirts and sweatshirts for three grandchildren and the Cherub for less than $5 each, and a great Lands End dress for her- not to mention The Boots). Sign up through that link and when you purchase, we BOTH get ten dollars credit, then go through ebates for additional savings!

I’ve also used them for discounts from Vitacost (the BEST price I have found on coconut aminos, which you need for whole30), Alibris, and Drugstore.com.

Right now, Kmart, LandsEnd, and Kohls offer 6% cashback- Landsend was the only American source I found when the Boy had a 28 inch waist but a 34 inch inseam. They also carry dresses that fit the Cherub and are warm and comfortable for her.

I am amazed at the online stores that continue to participate- ebay, too! Always check there first before you order something online, because who couldn’t use another little bit chipped off the cost?

(this post contains affiliate links)

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November, 1914: Printables to colour, to cut, to recite

turkey silhouettes for cutting 2 These are all from the November, 1914 publication of the journal Primary Education, published by The Primary Education Company. It had offices in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Australia, and Canada.
Subscriptions were 1.25 a year, or .15 for a single copy.

I found them at Googlebooks.com.  Every magazine has lesson plans, activities and games for schoolchildren, as well as models for the teacher to draw on the blackboard, tips for teachers, and more.

Some of the issues include paper models to cut out and put together- I’ve shared a couple of them here and will be sharing more. A few of those issues ended up in the Robert Freidus collection of paper models at the Victoria and Albert museum.

No paper models today- we have turkey silhouettes, a vintage illustration of a windblown little girl, and a turkey pulling a Cinderella style cart driven by a squirrel coachman.

The windblown child is intended as a sewing card, the turkey pulling a cart was a blackboard illustration.

turkey silhouettes for cutting

vintage colouring picture november winds


Intended as a sewing card, you can use it that way- print, cut and past it to cardstock (or print on card stock) and have the child sew on the lines as directed.  To make it a little easier to sew, you might laminate it first, and then use a thumbtack (or have the child do that), and push the tack in to make a hole everywhere the child would need to put the needle in.   You might want to let your student color the picture first, and then do the laminating, hole punching and sewing.



thanksgiving poetry and pumpkin coach 1 of 3


Thankgsgiving Poetry 2 of 3

Thanksgiving Poetry

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