Frugal Milkshake: From the Recipe Files

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Cheap home-made milkshakes, and delicious, but not necessarily healthy, as you see.  I think the point of the corn oil is that it’s cheap, but you could use a better sort of oil. The girls used to make these frequently  on hot summer days when we lived in the little house.

I’m curious how it would work if we used coconut milk, some honey or even a bit of stevia, and a healthier oil.

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More Charlotte Mason Bookmarks

These have the twenty principles as found in the front of volume 6, plus a couple extra quotes because I could fit two more on the second page.

Click to enlarge.  Right click to save or print. Make sure your paper orientation is landscape, and the margins are .5.  It also helps to have coloured ink in the printer.

charlotte Mason bookmarks twenty principles 16-20 and a bonus

charlotte Mason bookmarks twenty principles 1-16

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This Explains So Much

woman-writing-a-letterIntroverts may often make a living with their words, but they have trouble talking:

Word retrieval is a problem for some introverts because, along with deeper processing, we use long-term memory instead of short-term memory. It takes longer to access long-term memory, and we need the right association (something that reminds us of the word) to reach into our long-term memory and pull out the exact word we want, writes Laney.

If we’re anxious — which may happen when we’re with people we don’t know well, or when we’re in a high-pressure situation like a first date — it may be even more difficult to locate and articulate a word.

Why it’s easier to express ourselves in writing

Introverts “often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation,” writes Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Introverts often prefer text messages and emails to phone calls. Many of us keep journals or compose lyrics, poems, or stories, and some of us make careers out of writing.

I have family members (extroverts, of course) who refuse to read anything at all about PTSD. “Just tell me,” one of them said. But that’s exactly what I cannot do. Besides the fact that it’s hard for me to just explain something verbally at any time, being unable to talk about PTSD and explain the symptoms is kind of one of the symptoms of PTSD.

I also cannot tell you how many times I’ve listened to extroverts lead a ladies’ Bible class and lay down the law about why a face to face discussion is the only Christian way to handle anything, that writing back and forth, exchanging letters or emails, is just plain wrong. After hearing this message for years from various people, I did finally ask one of them once how it is that Peter was able to communicate in writing, and Paul even chastised people in writing and yet that isn’t very Christian behavior. I was told it’s different today, but I disagree.

Where it may be easier to misinterpret or think the worst of somebody on the other side of a written communication I suspect that’s because we no longer expect charity and self-control of ourselves, and that perhaps the fault is with the willingness of the reader to take offense and think the worst of the writer. What was once a virtue we required of ourselves is now something we don’t even have on our radar- we are ‘free to think as we please,’ but:

“We are not free to think Hard Things about Others.––We may not ‘run a-mock’ in the world! To go, head down, feet foremost, for all we are worth, and run into whatever comes in our way, may be inviting, but it does not answer. Nobody is born a Hooligan; that lordly justice within our hearts is always down upon us for the claims of other people; and having considered the persons of these others, we awake to the fact that they, all of them, have claims upon us in regard to their character and reputation. Most of us know that we are not free to think what we like about our parents or other Heads, of our school household, or office. Some of us do not let ourselves think disagreeable things about our brothers and sisters, servants, or other inmates of our home. There are still a few more who are careful about thoughts regarding acquaintances and outside relations; but, having got thus far, most of us feel ourselves free to think what we please about the characters of outsiders, whether it be of the man who makes our shoes, or the statesman who helps to govern us, or an acquaintance in another set.
Justice to the Characters of Others.––Justice, holding court within, ordains that we shall think fair thoughts of everybody, near or far, above or below us.”
Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

I remember the first time I read that, and I was totally shocked. I was part of the ‘free to think what I please’ brigade, and it had literally never occurred to me that even in my thoughts I should strive to be fair and charitable in how I thought of others.

Then there’s this:

But for us introverts, the pathway is much longer. Stimulation travels through many areas of the brain, including:

The right front insular, which is an area associated with empathy, self-reflection, and emotional meaning. This is also the area of the brain that notices any errors.
Broca’s area, which plans speech and activates self-talk.
The right and left front lobes, which select, plan, and choose ideas or actions. These areas also develop expectations and evaluate outcomes.
The left hippocampus, which stamps things as “personal” and stores long-term memories.

Fascinating stuff. That noticing errors? Yeah, buddy. It’s only taken me fifty years, but I’ve finally learned to stop myself from blurting them out- it irritates other people, and they perceive it as nitpicking and looking for mistakes. I don’t look for them- they come to me with flashing lights around them.
And when I say I’ve finally learned- I mean, oh, about 25% of the time I manage to stop myself in time. But it’s hard. It’s like training yourself to trip without making any noise at all, because the mistakes to me are mental stumbling blocks.

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1894 Article On Homemaking and Women Working Outside the Home

I had some fun with an article on homemaking which I found on googlebooks. It was published in 1894 by Lillian Betts.

good housekeeping about art and science


vintage quote blue and yellow science is homemaker's handmaiden

vintage first essential of perfect home adaptation to family life

Reading the below article, you’ll be curious as to the first factor that increases the family income- that was strength or health, the idea being that the wife and mother has a responsibility to protect her strength, stamina, and health when young so that by her middle years she is not nearly an invalid from the dissipations and excess social activities of her youth. Betts specifically mentions Committees as particularly draining of strength and energy, without providing much by way of return.

vintage article on homemaking and convenience Lilian Betts page 1


vintage article on homemaking by Lilian Betts page 2


She may seem here a bit unsympathetic to the poor, but in fact, she was a noted philanthropist, a progressive in outlook, who actually went so far as to live in the tenements (if I understand one article correctly) so as to truly befriend and get to know the immigrant families who lived there, and help those who wished to help them do so wisely.  Other articles I found by her decry the lack of good schools and after school care for the children of mothers forced by necessity to work away from home, and decry the child labour that often befell children in the worst conditions.

Betts was a writer in the late 1800s, early 1900s. “Known for her work chronicling tenement conditions in New York City and the efforts of settlement workers to ameliorate them, Lillian W. Betts (?–1938) wrote essays and at least two books, The Leaven in a Great City, and The Story of an East-Side Family…” (The American New Woman Revisited: A Reader, 1894-1930, By Martha H. Patterson)
The Leaven in a Great City chronicled tenement life and the efforts by social workers to help those in tenements. She was passionate about helping new immigrants adjust and spent much time in the tenements of New York, getting to know the poorest.

She also spent time as one of the editorial staff of The Outlook, a weekly magazine/paper, published in New York. The Outlook began as a religious magazine, but by 1893 was more of a general family magazine covering the arts and news. In 1894 its circulation was 30,000.



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Um… Salad? From the REcipe Card Files

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This is one of those everything but the kitchen sink salads- I mean, look at that- oranges, carrot, red cabbage, cucumbers, celery, frozen peas, chickpeas, and your preferred form of onion.

For a whole30 version, you could substitute just about any diced, roasted vegetables for the peas and chickpeas.

As I recall, this one is really piquant, and very, very pretty for potlucks.

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Magi Shoeboxes for Children

Most of you are probably familiar with the shoebox projects various charitable organizations collect to give to children.

Samaritan’s Purse has one such program. In fact, they have perfected the program so that you don’t even have to go out and physically pack a box- you still *can*, but you can also spend 25.00 and pack it online, selecting things from the options they give you.

There are Magi Boxes

Healing Hands International also does Magi Boxes.

Here’s some great advice to think about when packing your boxes. Take it seriously. I’m pretty sure I’ve included stuffed animals or beanie babies in previous boxes I have done, and it never occurred to me that might be a terrible idea, but it definitely makes sense.

Hand Crank & Solar Powered 3 LED Flashlight (this looks like it would also be a good gift for a college student, a camper, the homeless.

For an older teen, something like this might be good:
Study 10-Piece Compass and Geometry Kit with Shatterproof Box, Assorted Colors (897010), along with various other school supplies, as mentioned in the above advice link.

Ribay Soccer Ball Size 5 + BONUS Soccer Ball Pump – Best Soccer Ball for Training & Matches. SELECT SOCCER BALL: Professional Quality for Major League Soccer & Kids

And I wonder about a roll of duct tape.

(this post contains affiliate links)

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More Charlotte Mason Bookmarks

These have the 18 principles found in the front of the first five of Miss Mason’s books on education.  In volume 6, she updated it to 20 principles.  I’ll do a set of those later.  I took the colours from the wood violets growing on our property.

Click to enlarge.

Set printer paper to landscape and margins to .5

Charlotte Mason bookmarks vintage violets principles 1-9

Charlotte Mason bookmarks vintage violets principles 10-18

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From the Recipe files

I’m sorting through my ancient index card box of some of the thousands of recipes I’ve saved over the years.  This quick crockpot beans and sausage recipe is fairly inexpensive, very fast and easy to put together, and tends to be popular with teens, making it a good one for when your teens are having a get together.
2015-05-17 20.56.42The ingredients list calls for 4-6 cooked brown and serve sausage links, cut into pieces.  Cook a bunch for breakfast and cut a few of them directly into the crockpot (hold them over the crockpot by one end, with tongs, a fork, your fingers… cut the other end with shears).

For the cans of kidney beans, you could use canned, or you could cook up a big batch in advance and freeze them, 2-4 cups per container, for easy meal prep later.   Or freeze them with some diced, browned sausage or even hotdogs to use in this recipe on another day.

The pineapple and vinegar give it a necessary tang.

It doubles very easily.

good side dishes to choose:




cucumbers and celery sticks

corn chips


It’s not the healthiest meal, but it’s tasty, fairly cheap, and easy.


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Maher and Rose on Islam

I want to share this important interview between Bill Maher and Charlie Rose, both liberals, both fairly hostile to Christianity, but one of them is more honest (and more informed) about Islam, and more honest about the double standard. I’ve also included a rough transcrip because I know that sometimes we have guests who are deaf or hard of hearing.

I apologize for the quality. This is far from a professional transcript. I listened to it over and over and typed it out as I heard it, but a few times there’s crosstalk where Rose keeps interrupting but I can’t really understand what he says, and some of it is just him making ‘I hear you’ noises, and I didn’t always include that.

Maher: I saw Howard Dean on tv the other day and he said something along the order about the people in Isis and he said “I’m about as Islamic as they are” you know distancing the vast number of Islamic people around the world from it. That’s just not true.

Rose: It is true.

Maher: it is not true, Charlie there is a connecting tissue between-

Rose: You mean behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical-

Maher: LEt me finish.

Rose: I thought I was doing that.

Maher: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people that I don’t

Rose. vast number of Christians, too.

Maher: No. no, that’s not true. Not true. Vast numbers of christian people do not believe that if you leave the christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of christians do not treat women as second class citizens. vast numbers of Christians –

Rose: I agree with that, I’m just saying

Maher: Do not beileve that if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should be killed for it. So yes, does isis do khmer rouge like activities where they just kill people indiscrimianately for not being just like them? Yes. Do most Muslims in the world do that or condone that? No, but most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think. For-

Rose: How do you know that?

Maher: First of all they say it. They shout it from-

Rose: Vast majorities say that?

Maher: absolutely. there’s a pew poll of egypt done a few years ago.

Rose: Saying?

Maher: over 82% do condone stoning as the appropriate punishment for adultery. I think it was over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion.
I’m sure you know these things.

Rose: I know (stammers) I know of them well I do but I don’t th-

Maher: so to say that this religion is like other religions is just naive and just plain wrong. It is not like other religions. The NYT

Rose: There’s a program I want to do.

Maher: The NYT pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia, just since Aug 4 I think it was, they have beheaded 19 people, most for nonviolent crimes including homosexuality.

Rose. Plus they cut the hands off of thieves.

Maher: Right, so we are upset that ISIS is beheading people which we should be upset about but Saudi Arabia does it, but they are our good friends. Because they have oil. Okay, but they do it too. This is the center of their religion, I’m not saying that-

Rose- (couldn’t understand part of it), saying that they are now joining us in the fight against ISIS, too, as is the emirates.

Maher: They are both fighting and for ISIS

Rose. Well, not the government.

Maher: certainly the government.

(cross talk and something I couldn’t understand about somebody named Cutter. I think the tape is cut here)

Maher: but I mean in mecca where infidels, nonmuslims, are not even allowed in the holy parts of the city. I mean, right there, we don’t have examples of that in other religions. They do behead people. Now, if they were beheading people in vatican city, which is the equivilant of mecca, don’t you think there’d be a bigger outcry about it?
So this is the soft bigotry of low expectations

Rose: Well, I’m not a fan of that term

Maher: that we have with Muslim people.
When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it’s just not talked about nearly as much.

Rose: Would you come to this table and have a debate about that with a moderate Muslim?

Maher: Find one. Yes. Find one. Find a Muslim-

Rose: Yes, I promise you I will. I do believe that what we have with ISIS is not representative of

Maher: Well, it’s as I said, connecting tissue

Rose: Is not representative of the Islam religion. I do not think the Koran teaches them to do this kind of thing.

Maher: WEll, you’re wrong about that. the koran absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidel should be treated. But for example, again, Isis says they should perform genital mutliation on all women 11 to 46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No. But as Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says can we really say

Rose- and and and I have tremendous respect for her, too.

Maher- and she would know, better than you,

Rose: (cross talk), and she’s been a victim, too

Maher: she said can we really say that women are treated equally int he muslim world? I mean, their testimony in court is counted as half. They need permission to leave the house in some places, so

Rose: But a lot of moderate, moderate, muslims would say that, in fact, one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women. Lots of them.

Maher: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts. And in all

Rose: As they should.

Maher: these other countries, they’re doing things like making them wear a burqha, and I hear liberals saying, “Well, they want to.”
They *want* to? They’ve been brainwashed. You know they don’t want… it’s like saying a streetwalker wants to do that.



Basically, Rose is totally schooled here by Maher, but I am not sure if Rose is able to see out of the liberal-think hole in which he lives enough to understand how confused he is about reality.  Rose was genial and friendly enough, he just doesn’t agree with Maher at all that Islam is an order more violent than Christianity today.  His reasons for disagreeing are basically that he doesn’t agree.   And somehow, the fact that there may be some moderate Muslims who think maybe they could look at rethinking the idea of how the Muslim religion treats women is supposed to render irrelevant the rampant genital mutilation, banning women drivers, stoning women for being the victims of rape, ‘honor killing’ of wives, daughters, and sisters, preventing girls from going to school, polygamy, wife beating, and more.

Updated to add this link.Beheadings in Saudi have increased so much that the government is advertising for new hires:

“A downloadable pdf application form for the executioner jobs, available on the website carrying Monday’s date, said the jobs were classified as “religious functionaries” and that they would be at the lower end of the civil service pay scale.”

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Mad Max and the F word

I don’t much care about the new Mad Max movie, although I find it bizarre that the author of the ‘vagina monologues’ was hired as a consultant.  It should be noted that while it’s being marketed in some circles as a feminist film, in other circles (viewers who watched it), that’s largely being mocked as mere marketing to dumb feminists who value the marketing puffery over the actual events and characters.  Still, I don’t care which is correct.

I do care about this, however, which is ubiquitous in action movies and television shows:

You know all those portrayals of dystopian post-disaster reality that the movies portray?  I have news for the movies.  I’ve been in such realities.  I’ve seen them.  I’ve smelled them.  I’ve lived them in more than one African nation plagued by war, or famine, or other disaster.  I know what dystopia means . . . and what it does notmean, ever, is any kind of female physical ascendancy.  It simply doesn’t happen.  Women don’t have the strength to endure against men who want to take anything and everything they have.  I’ve seen it time and again.  I’ve stopped (the hard way) men trying to do that to women . . . and it was never enough, because when you turned your back, there were always more desperate men with nothing to lose (and nothing to care about) who were prepared to renew the attack.

Any movie that tries to portray a woman kicking male ass and taking male names under such circumstances will get nothing more from me than scorn, derision and contempt.  It ain’t gonna happen, people, not in a thousand years.  If you don’t like reality, I’m sorry, but that’s your problem, not mine.  I’ve been around the block too many times to be in any doubt about the real world.  It’s a cold, ugly, hard place when the chips are down.

I get that action movies are not realistic to begin with.  But the thing that really bugs me about this trope of the female warrior who repeatedly beats up thugs three times her size, or two or three of them at a time, is the fact that in drama land, she’s not even an anamoly.  She’s now in just about every show with any fighting at all.   Warrior Chicks don’t lose those fights, and that is a total crock.  It’s a dangerous myth being sold to our culture.

Fight back all you want, and you should, and you might get lucky and place a surprising well timed blow- especially if you are fast and fight dirty.  But it’s not a given.  No matter how strong you are, no matter how well trained you are, the biological reality is the vast majority of men are going to be stronger than you in upper arm strength, that while women tend to have a vastly higher pain tolerance, pain also tends to cloud our thinking but sharpen theirs, and men are generally bigger, stronger, and faster.  There are a few exceptions, but that’s what they are, exceptions.

I’m not talking about value as a human being, I’m talking about being able to protect yourself in a time or place where western civilization’s values are trampled underfoot or never existed in the first place, and that ability will depend largely on access to good arms and marksmanship and, honestly, good men around you- not your hand to hand combat skills.

It was interesting as an out of the ordinary innovation the first few times the chick fighting the dude in hand to hand combat and winning thing got airplay.  But now it’s just boring, dumb, dishonest, and more than a little bit dangerous when people start to believe it.

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