Letter from a Military Spouse

This by a friend of ours who is a young military wife.


SD: South Dakota

BAH: Basic Allowance for Housing- a subsidy the military pays its members who live off base.

E5- Enlisted paygrade.



This infuriates me. When we moved to SD my husband’s BAH (for an E5) was $987. That was suppose to cover rent and most utilities. Only by the grace of God did we find a place to live that was less than that, at $950. Left us with $37 for utilities. Our gas bill alone was nearly $200 during the winter. And then there was electric, water, and sewage. We were barely making it, hence the move onto base which freed up enough that we were able to breathe a little. BAH was raised slightly after we moved and for an E5 BAH became $1113 for this area. Ironically we noticed rental prices went up around the same time. And even though it is cheaper, us buying a house in an area we are only going to live for 4-6 years isn’t a financial move we wanted to make.

I do not expect that my husband be paid like he’s royalty. But certain promises were made in regards to his benefits and those who serve our country. Housing is one of those. Congress now plans to cut BAH from covering housing costs 100% to 95%, and expects the troops to cover the rest.

This shows how out of touch our politicians are with the communities they are suppose to be serving. How do they expect troops, especially young enlisted families, to be able to pay for this when they cut BAH, cut base pay raises, and place us in communities where we aren’t properly compensated?

I have friends who’s husbands are higher ranking than mine (mine has been in for 11 years btw and is an E6), and they are on food stamps trying to be able to feed their families. I know military families who had to choose between buying groceries or paying the electricity bill. I know military families who after bills are paid and food is bought have less than $50 left for the month. My husband and I have had a few months where that was the case for us. And we are very careful with our budget.

When you take a pledge to defend your country with your LIFE, I kind of feel like you shouldn’t be trying to choose between feeding your kids and paying a bill. There should be some support there.

Meanwhile Congress will continue to give themselves raises, enjoy being exempt from horrible healthcare laws, and send people into pointless wars that have very little to do with the purpose of our military.

I am thankful for a lot of things the military affords us. Up until recently our family has been taken care of, and we’ve been able to live within our means and enjoy a warm home, food for our kids, and even extras like Christmas presents and birthday presents.

But with the way these cuts continue, I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to say that I’m thankful for what we have and mean it??”

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Free Printables: Vintage winter pics- snow babies, poinsettia, holly

vintage designs snow babies poinsetta holly

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

printable measuring chart


Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Free Kindle Books, 10 fast links

Simplify Your Homeschool Day: Shorten Your Day, Sweeten Your Time

Blurb: What if you and your children could have more time pursuing your passions?

As a former elementary teacher and tutor and a veteran home educator of 15 years, Tamara Chilver has discovered over 100 simple teaching tips that have dramatically shortened her children’s homeschool day. These tips have also directly impacted her teaching to make it a much more effective process. Now her family is able to spend more time focusing on their passions.

In Simplify Your Homeschool Day, you will learn:

*Practical tips that can save you hours of teaching, planning, and grading each week;
*Effective communication techniques that can eliminate frustration and dramatically impact your child’s learning;
*When you should enlist help;
*Creative learning strategies that can be applied on the go; and
*How to pursue your own passions.

These time-saving tips will increase your child’s enjoyment of learning by reducing the time it takes him to complete school work without decreased learning. Put some extra time back into your day right away with this Christian resource!

book shelf border small

by the same author as above: How to Teach Your Child: Simple Tools for Homeschool Moms

blurb; How to Teach Your Child addresses one of the most common concerns homeschool moms have – How do I teach my child? Tamara L. Chilver reveals the tools of the trade while providing parents with simple teaching tips in the core subject areas that engage children in the learning process.

In this practical guide for the elementary years, you will learn how to:

*Make learning FUN.
*Enhance your existing curriculum.
*Use successful teaching tips.
*Prevent burnout for you and your child.
*Save money by using practical teaching tips.

How to Teach Your Child is also an invaluable, Christian resource for parents who do not homeschool but would like to learn strategies to help their children with homework and learning activities at home.

Publisher’s Note: How to Teach Your Child is a revision of the book formerly titled Homeschooling with TLC in the Elementary Grades.

book shelf border small

50 Cheap Healthy Meals – Easy Vegetarian Recipes On a Budget (Vegetarian Cookbook and Vegetarian Recipes Collection 2)

Reader Review; You read the words “Cheap”, “Vegetarian”, and “Budget” and instantly you wonder if any of the recipes in this book taste good.

Surprisingly, every recipe in Pam’s new book Cheap Healthy Meals – Easy Vegetarian Recipes On a Budget (Vegetarian Cookbook and Vegetarian Recipes Collection) [Kindle Edition] will impress any one who loves to cook. Skip the introduction and go straight to trying out the recipes which are particularly helpful for busy people like me. With the use of simple yet flavorful ingredients, the book offers great dishes and really easy to cook recipes for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner which would appeal to kids and adults alike.

Starting with the “Quick Mushroom Quiche”, I found myself reading the entire book from cover to cover like I was reading a suspense/adventure novel excited to find out what’s next.

If you have these basic ingredients in your kitchen like onions, peppers, potatoes, mushrooms, or broccoli, you are on your way to making “Roasted Pepper Salad”, “Garlic Broccoli Soup”, “Potato Skin Casserole”, and “Mushroom Parmesan” which I would definitely try this weekend.

book shelf border small

Some Trust in Chariots (Intents of the Heart)

Woven in the grit of the Great Depression and the determination of the Second World War, “Some Trust in Chariots” is an endearing love story that will thrill fans of the “Intents of the Heart” Series while welcoming new readers to the joys and sorrows of the Preston family saga.

It is the story of Malcolm & Carolyn Thomas Preston, the Christian couple who would later open their home and hearts to Lauren Mitchell, the troubled youth who is the central character of the novel series. Discover childhood influences, such as the unflappable Granny Preston, and search the deep spiritual roots that grounded them not only in their faith in God but in their commitment to each other. Laugh as courtship mishaps abound as these two independent forces collide, and weep with them as a global war turns their world upside down with a traumatic separation.

Reunions are sometimes bittersweet, and difficulties are sure to follow. Faith and prayer are their only weapons…come along for the journey to the beginning of their remarkable legacy that will be revealed in “Intents of the Heart.”

Malcolm Allister Preston

The youngest of four boys and the son of a schoolteacher and part-time farmer, Malcolm is the favorite of his grandmother, Elizabeth. When tragedy strikes his home, he moves to the farm he has always treasured. Determined to finish his education at Edenton University, his studies leave little time for pleasure. Fortunately, one of these rare moments would lead him to her…

book shelf border small

Land Without Christmas

Blurb; The news of simultaneous terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassies in Jordan, Kuwait, and Belgium reminded Kathy Mitchell that the world was tumultuous. Little did she know that she and her family would soon be embroiled in the aftermath of the attacks as her father accepted an assignment to be the new ambassador to Jordan.

The move to Jordan became an adventure that opened her eyes to different cultures and helped her learn the true meaning of Christmas in a land that didn’t celebrate the birth of the Savior. When the king’s grandson offered to be her tutor, mutual admiration sparked a careful romance that made her friend compare her to Cinderella.

Amid more terrorist threats, Kathy came to realize that one threat was real. With time running out and her friend in danger, Kathy was the last hope.

book shelf border small

Agnes Campbell’s Hat

Blurb; After an old hat and a storm leave modern girl, Tessa Hensen, trapped in a past century and living in the hobbit-like house of a homesteader’s family on the Oklahoma Territory prairie, she is forced to accept help from an infuriating farm boy to get back to her real life.
Tessa lives as twelve-year-old Agnes Campbell while Judd Howard helps her solve the mystery of the hat. Sparks fly between the two of them as his old world and her new world collide. He does everything possible to get rid of her; she longs to escape him and his grumpy, old-fashioned ideas about everything.
Gradually, her unwanted family’s everyday struggle for survival draws Tessa into the past. When Elizabeth—a Kiowa Indian girl—befriends her, the hardships finally seem bearable.
The two girls face a terrifying encounter with an outlaw and an old Christian man sacrifices his life for theirs, forcing Tessa to ask herself the question: Does she really want to leave behind the past…and Judd?

book shelf border small

Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas

Blurb; This bold retelling of Luke 1–2, based on Eugene Peterson’s Message translation, reads like a novel and invites readers to experience the Nativity with fresh wonder.

To Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible translation, John Blase adds his own storytelling voice, exploring the familiar events from multiple first-person viewpoints. What emerges is the intimate story of unlikely people—a frightened teenaged girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd—meeting up with the divine as they bumble and stumble toward the realization that the little one just born is the One.

This retold story of Word made flesh invites readers to react appropriately—with eyes opened wide in wonder, jaws dropped in amazement, and hearts rejoicing. The beautiful design and Amanda Jolman’s lively line drawings make this book a fitting gift as well as a Christmas tradition that families will treasure for years to come.

book shelf border small

The Twelfth Juror
by Alexandra Swann and others

Young, beautiful, ambitious Megan Cleary seems to have the perfect life: a dream job in a prestigious law firm in New York City, an upscale boyfriend, and a fabulous apartment. But her perfect world is shattered when one night, while she is working late, she is brutally beaten and raped by a stranger. Afraid and ashamed, she refuses to admit what has happened to her, but she cannot forget her terrifying ordeal, and shortly afterward she illegally buys a handgun to protect herself. A few months later Megan is attacked again, but this time she is armed and ready. She shoots her assailant and flees the scene before the police arrive and discover the body. She never tells anyone that she owns a gun, or that she has killed a man, but her professional and private life begins to unravel as she struggles to gain control of the fear and guilt from which she cannot free herself. When events beyond her control leave her financially destitute and emotionally drained, she returns to her parents’ home in Buffalo to start over. This page turning story of loss and redemption will leave the reader guessing to the very end.

book shelf border small

Fuel to the Fire

Blurb: Having spent her entire life disguised as a boy to avoid the risk of being forced into sexual slavery, fifteen year old Davran finds herself transported to a world thought to be legend. With sunlight, an abundance of food and people that trust, this world is everything her home is not. She could be happy, she could disclose the love she feels for Ronyn (the dragon trainer’s son), but when Hesperus (the Keeper-of-Knowledge) discovers her, she may have to return to a world of misery where even suicide is no escape and where the most frightening monster is not the dragons or the razor-hounds, but the tyrannical ruler, Saurian.

book shelf border small

TUPPENNY HAT DETECTIVE (Tuppenny Hat series Book 1)

Blurb; A Period Murder Mystery: Was the old Star Woman murdered? Young Billy Perks, who found her body, is sure she was, but the authorities disagree. Their haste to close the case heightens Billy’s suspicions and he and his pals decide to investigate. They turn detectives, unwittingly provoking a long hidden killer and unearthing secrets of wartime conspiracy and betrayal.
Written for those teenage and adult readers who like a genuinely intriguing mystery, the story is set in Sheffield in 1951 as the bomb damaged steel city struggles to recover from World War Two. It’s funny and nostalgic, but a genuine whodunit nonetheless – and with a surprise at the end.

book shelf border small

The Mystery of Smugglers Cove (The Mystery Series, Book 1)

Blurb; Are you up for a thrilling adventure?

When twelve year old Joe and his two younger sisters visit Smugglers Cove for the summer holidays, they get caught up in a thrilling adventure that is beyond their wildest imagination.

Follow the children as they flee down a river, are chased by ferocious dogs, locked up in an old manor, get lost at sea, expose a spy, and more!

Book 1 in The Mystery Series, this adventure novel is set in 1950′s Britain and will suit people who enjoy Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys or the Famous Five.

book shelf border small

The Christmas Dog

Blurb; Christmas miracles can come from unlikely sources

Betty Kowalski isn’t looking forward to the holidays. She just can’t seem to find Christmas in her heart. Maybe it’s because her husband is gone. Maybe it’s because she’s missing her children. Or maybe it has something to do with her obnoxious new neighbor, who seems to be tearing his house apart and rearranging it on the lawn.

But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn what Christmas is really all about.
book shelf border small

Butter Coffee Recipes: 45 Awesomely Delicious Butter Coffee Recipes For Weight Loss & Healthy Body The Paleo & Bulletproof Diet Way

book shelf border small

Above links are affiliate links, although they only do the affiliate link goodies if you buy something while you’re there. 0% of 0 is zero.=)

Take an Extra 25% Off Any Book: Use promo code BOOKDEAL25 at checkout to get an extra 25% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

News, views, etc and misc.

Apologizing for the tyrannical, unprofessional behavior of his chaebol heiress daughter:

“Please blame me; it’s my fault,” Cho Yang-ho, the chairman of Korean Air Lines, said in front of a bank of cameras, at one point bowing deeply. Following a Korean tradition of showing public contrition when one’s children misbehave, he added, “I failed to raise her properly.”

Irony: Sabrina Rubin Erdley, whose Rolling Stone story about a horrible rape on UVA’s campus has been exposed as almost entirely false from start to finish (there is a girl named Jackie. She had some friends.), once wrote about Stephen Glass’s exposure as a fabulist:

I struggled to make sense of his actions. I resisted the explanation I’ve come to believe since then: that the adorable little weenie I knew from our days at The Daily Penn-sylvanian was nothing but a con artist.

She says he wasn’t caught sooner because his peers just wanted to believe him, which may explain a lot about Erdley. Here she admits that her very first article for RS (which won an award) was not based on firsthand reporting, but she simply cobbled together bits and pieces from other people’s stories- and it happened to be all wrong.

Pentagon considering redeploying nulear missiles in Europe:

The Pentagon is considering the re-deployment of nuclear cruise missiles in Europe in response to a new Russian cruise missile that the United States has charged violates a 1987 nuclear treaty, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

CA Attorney General accused of unfairly targeting conservative groups.

I am already sick to death of these ‘Romney thinking about running again’ stories. Is that the goal? To wear us down?

Ohio abortion clinic with a history of problems sends two women to hospital on the same day. Protecting butchers from women is what the prochoice lobby does.

According to Ohio law, abortion facilities must maintain a valid transfer agreement with a local hospital to meet licensing qualifications. However, Haskell could not qualify for such an agreement. Instead, he has operated his Women’s Med Center, which does abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy, on a variance granted by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

ABortion regulations save lives.

Nareshkumar Patel, abortionist arrested for fraud against women- he tells them they are pregnant and then sells them abortion drugs, but they aren’t pregnant. This is not a new scam for abortion doctors.

Johnathan Gruber, ObamaCare Wonder Boy come Blunder Boy, on the record in favor of abortion as eugenics;

Gruber’s abortion advocacy is of a particularly pungent eugenics variety. He’s on record repeatedly making the case from social science that abortion is a “social good” because it reduces the number of “marginal children,” by which he means urban poor—those he says can be counted on to commit crimes if they were ever born.

Gruber co-authored a paper during the Clinton years which argued that legal abortion had saved the U.S. taxpayer upwards of $14 billion in welfare benefits and that it also lowered crime.

Ferguson store owners talk about the lootings.

From the Torture Report- one victim, chained and frozen to death, was a case of mistaken identity. The man who gave the order that caused his death received a cash reward of 2500 dollars for his work.

Illinois Assembly bans recording police (& other taxpayer employees), as a class 3 felony, recording private citizens is only a class four, making it clear that they want to intimidate private citizens from recording those in power.  http://bit.ly/1B2AZ8v

Judge rules Hastings auto dealer needn’t cover contraceptives that hinder implantation.

Scientists speculate earth got its water from comets. New research says prob’ly not.http://bit.ly/1vYMa24

Following the French principle of secularism which recently resulted in an order that there be no town hall nativity scenes, some local mayors rule there will no longer be school lunch substitutions for pork for religious reasons. http://bit.ly/1AqHCk8

Biden once said  to Hirsi Ali, “Let me tell you about Islam.” One of them grew up Muslim. The other is a putz. http://bit.ly/1wiV9eh

Yikes. Things now look worse for Jackie’s version, even more shameful for Rolling Stone ‘journalists.’ http://reason.com/blog/2014/12/10/rolling-stones-uva-rape-story-just-took

Amanda Hess says Feminism can stand w/o ‘Jackie’.   I say if it can’t, maybe it’s past its sell-by date.  Meanwhile, on Twitter, Sally Kohn, predictably, is equating a preference for honest truth telling and due process with rape advocacy, which I think indicates my point about sell-by dates. .http://slate.me/1wkJ7ji

Related: ’Barry 1′ wants to know why Lena Dunham waited so long to clear his name.http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2014/12/10/barry-one-tolena-dunham-why-didnt-you-clear-my-name

I think she waited so long because her attempt to smear the college republican was exactly that- an attempt to smear, not an honest recounting of a painful episode in her life.

New Lerner emails implicate Obama’d DOJ in IRS abuse of conservative groups. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/11/new-lois-lerner-emails-indicate-obamas-doj-involved-in-irs-targeting-scandal/

What I would love to see is for my liberal friends who insisted this was just a couple of rogue agents in the Ohio office to admit to me that they were snookered, and Obama’s administration really did use the IRS as a weapon against conservatives. But they never do. They change the argument, move the goal posts, forget that first they aregued that yes, if this is what happened, it would be terrible, but it didn’t happen, and now act like, “Well, what’s the big deal?”

Buyer’s Remorse from a former Obamacare supporter;http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/10/im-an-obama-supporter-but-obamacare-has-hurt-my-family/

The thing is, though, that  while it’s a good read,  what frustrates me is how dumb she was. Really, every single problem she has experienced under ObamaCare was completely, totally, predictable and we know this because all these issues actually *were* predicted. Will she learn from this?

Senate GOP requires staff to use O-care. Suggests the reluctant Dems do same. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/12/11/senate-gop-requires-staffers-to-use-obamacare-and-challenges-democrats-to-do-the-same/

” Until now, a loophole in federal law allowed both caucuses to designate their staffs as “unofficial,” meaning that they were not required to get their health insurance through ObamaCare. ” But, but…. I thought all the fact checkers ASSURED us this was not true.


Obama admin argues before SCOTUS it has right to conceal evidence to avoid liability.Yay transparency.http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-administration-claims-a-right-to-hide-evidence-before-supreme-court/article/2557143

Minimum wage increase cost 1.4 mill jobs, hurt unskilled most. Common sense. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/12/11/Minimum-Wage-Cost-Americans-1-4-Million-US-Jobs-Study-Finds

Harry Reid donated over a million to the “I” in Kansas- secretly, so voters wouldn’t know he was really a Dem. http://washex.am/1z4aoYn

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No precooking the noodles, Spinach Lasagna

In the pictures below, I skimped a bit on the sauce to eke out two pans, when I should have just gone out to the frigid garage to get the extra cans of tomato sauce. If you follow the directions, yours will look more like traditional lasagna and have more red sauce. While the ingredients are not traditional, even meat-lovers and spinach haters have asked for seconds of this recipe, and I get many requests for the recipe.

2014-12-11 18.13.22This lasagna recipe was a big hit with my family. For years it was what some of them requested as a birthday meal. They didn’t even know lasagna could be made with meat until the oldest was around 13 years old!
I love it because you don’t cook the noodles. YOu can also make it ahead, wrap and freeze it, defrosting and baking it another day.



1 pkg spaghetti sauce mix, or just seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, garlic, you know)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cup cold water
2 eggs
1 15 oz container Ricotta or a pound of cottage cheese (I also sometimes substitute half tofu and half ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 t. salt
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I would save the drained spinach for a vegetable soup base)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb uncooked lasagna noodles, break them as needed to fit the pan.
8 oz mozarella cheese, grated or sliced

Empty spaghetti sauce mix (or spices) into saucepan, add tomato paste, sauce, and water. Heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Beat eggs in a large bowl and add Ricotta or cottage cheese, spinach, salt and half the Parmesan. mix well.

Lightly grease the bottom of a 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Ladle a thin bit of sauce in the bottom (I tilt the pan to make sure there’s a bit of sauce all over, but it’s such a thin layer it’s translucent).
Now layer:
Noodles (dry, uncooked lasagna noodles)
half of the cheese/spinach stuff
half the mozzarella slices, and half the tomato sauce.
Repeat layers and top the final layer with remaining Parmesan.

Repeat layers and top the final layer with remaining Parmesan.  If you’re going to freeze it for a OAMC meal, write directions on foil, oil the other side of the foil, cover and seal tightly, and freeze. On cooking day, defrost, then bake as directed blow.  If you’re serving it for supper:

Lightly grease a sheet of aluminum foil OR the bottom of a cookie sheet, cover the dish with the oiled foil or cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (I almost never preheat) for 60 minutes (we generally find it takes about 45, your milage may vary), or until you can stick a fork in the noodles and they aren’t crunchy.
Remove covering and let stand for ten minutes before cutting and serving. This serves 8, allegedly, but we always doubled it because we were 9 and sometimes company, and we do like extras for leftovers.


My son, who had to go somewhere, grabbed himself a piece before I got to take a picture.

My son, who had to go somewhere, grabbed himself a piece before I got to take a picture.


1 pkg spaghetti sauce mix, or just seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, garlic, you know)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 3/4 cup cold water
2 eggs
1 15 oz container Ricotta or a pound of cottage cheese (I also sometimes substitute half tofu and half ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 t. salt
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I would save the drained spinach for a vegetable soup base)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 lb uncooked lasagna noodles, break them as needed to fit the pan.
8oz grated or sliced Mozarella cheese

Empty spaghetti sauce mix (or spices) into saucepan, add tomato paste, sauce, and water. Heat, stirring until well blended. Remove from heat. Beat eggs in a large bowl and add Ricotta or cottage cheese, spinach, salt and half the Parmesan. mix well.

Lightly grease the bottom of a 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Ladle a thin bit of sauce in the bottom (I tilt the pan to make sure there’s a bit of sauce all over, but it’s such a thin layer it’s translucent).
Now layer:
Noodles (dry, uncooked lasagna noodles)
2014-12-11 14.46.57
half of the cheese/spinach stuff

2014-12-11 14.49.34

half the mozzarella slices, and half the tomato sauce.

2014-12-11 14.53.15

Repeat layers and top the final layer with remaining Parmesan. If you’re going to freeze it for a OAMC meal, write directions on foil, oil the other side of the foil, cover and seal tightly, and freeze. On cooking day, defrost, then bake as directed blow. If you’re serving it for supper:

2014-12-11 18.13.22

Lightly grease a sheet of aluminum foil OR the bottom of a cookie sheet, cover the dish with the oiled foil or cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven (I almost never preheat) for 60 minutes (we generally find it takes about 45, your milage may vary), or until you can stick a fork in the noodles and they aren’t crunchy.
Remove covering and let stand for ten minutes before cutting and serving. This serves 8, allegedly, but we always doubled it because we were 9 and sometimes company, and we do like extras for leftovers.

I cooked it for dinner last night (12/11/14) and it served five of us, with enough left over for probably three more people, so, yes, 8. I served it with a green salad and Basil Biscuits.

Posted in cookery | Leave a comment

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

rockabye baby by Ella Dolbear Lee. Should all go as planned and hoped for, we shall be spoiling our 8th grandbaby in July when the Moptop and Pip get to hold their first baby.

We are very excited.  We’re also pleased by their timing, as it looks like the time will be right for everybody to come back for a visit, and the baby is just the right occasion  for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Free4Kindle: Mostly Historical Fiction

worthwhile books 2T. Tembarom
by Francis Hodgson Burnett, recommended in a 1914 edition of St. Nicholas Magazine as a good gift for Mother

Reader Review from Amazon: This is one of Burnett’s lesser known novels but highly worth the read. Young Tembarom suddenly comes into a large inheritence and a large estate in Great Britian. His American way of life comes into a sharp contrast and he keeps his chin up the entire time. His love of his life who he met before coming into money refuses to have him unless he stays one year among the posh and still wants her. The deal is he can’t see her and must surround himself with beautiful higher class women (with funny results). Old friends are found and new friends made and a ten year old mystery is solved by Tembarom. This is a typical Horatio Alger style book with a woman’s touch and far older characters that you usually associate with what we see as a children’s author. Very turn of the last century style of writing but highly enjoyable.

paper holly leaf chain

The Scientific American Boy Or, The Camp at Willow Clump Island

Things to make and do while camping- surveying tools, a make-shift table, a crossbow from an umbrella…

Gutenberg has the version with pictures;
“It ain’t such a bad notion,” said he, “only a crossbow would be better. I’ve seen them made out of umbrella ribs so they’d shoot like greased lightning.” Of course we had to have one of these wonderful weapons. Down in the ash heap we found two broken umbrellas with 27-inch ribs. Bill selected ten good ribs, from which he wrenched off the spreaders with a pair of pliers. The ribs were then bound together by winding
Fig. 51. The Trigger. stout twine around them. The winding was very evenly and closely done, so that the cord completely covered the ribs, making a solid rod of spring steel. But before winding we had laid in between the ribs a piece of heavy twine, to which the bowstrings could be tied after the bow was all wound. The stock of our crossbow was cut out of a board
Fig. 52. The Trigger Set for Firing. of soft wood 1 inch thick to as near the shape of a gun as we could get it. A hole was drilled through the muzzle end to receive the bow, and then the bowstring was tied fast. Along the upper edge of the barrel a V-shaped channel was cut. The channel was not very deep, only enough to receive 57 a tenpenny nail with the head projecting half-way above the sides. A notch was cut across the barrel, through this channel, at the trigger end, and a trigger made of heavy iron wire, bent to the shape shown in Fig. 51, was hinged to the gun by a bolt which passed clear through the stock and through both eyes of the trigger.

paper holly leaf chain

The Flower Princess The Flower Princess; The Little Friend; The Mermaid’s Child; The Ten Blowers

Late Victorian, early Edwardian era fairy tales written mainly for little girls.

Other books by the same author:

The Christmas Angel

A blatant take on Dickens’ Christmas Carol, but I enjoyed it anyway, and it’s less frightening for younger children.

Excerpt: “What have you there?” she asked, frowning, as she took the object into her own hands. “The Christmas Angel!” she exclaimed under her breath. “I had quite forgotten it.” Then as if it burned her fingers she thrust the little image back into the box and turned to Norah brusquely. “There, that’s all. You can go now, Norah,” she said.

“Yes’m,” answered the maid. She hesitated. “If you please’m, it’s Christmas Eve.”

“Well, I believe so,” snapped Miss Terry, who seemed to be in a particularly bad humor this evening. “What do you want?”

Norah flushed; but she was hardened to her mistress’s manner. “Only to ask if I may go out for a little while to see the decorations and hear the singing.”

“Decorations? Singing? Fiddlestick!” retorted Miss Terry, poker in hand. “What decorations? What singing?”

“Why, all the windows along the street are full of candles,” answered Norah; “rows of candles in every house, to light the Christ Child on his way when he comes through the city to-night.”

“Fiddlestick!” again snarled her mistress.

“And choir-boys are going about the streets, they say, singing carols in front of the lighted houses,” continued Norah enthusiastically. “It must sound so pretty!”

“They had much better be at home in bed. I believe people are losing their minds!”

“Please’m, may I go?” asked Norah again.

Norah had no puritanic traditions to her account. Moreover she was young and warm and enthusiastic. Sometimes the spell of Miss Terry’s sombre house threatened her to the point of desperation. It was so this Christmas Eve; but she made her request with apparent calmness.

“Yes, go along,” assented her mistress ungraciously.

“Thank you, ‘m,” said the servant demurely, but with a brightening of her blue eyes. And presently the area door banged behind her quick-retreating footsteps.

“H’m! Didn’t take her long to get ready!” muttered Miss Terry, giving the fire a vicious poke. She was alone in the house, on Christmas Eve, and not a man, woman, or child in the world cared. Well, it was what she wanted. It was of her own doing. If she had wished—

She sat back in her chair, with thin, long hands lying along the arms of it, gazing into the fire. A bit of paper there was crumbling into ashes. Alone on Christmas Eve! Even Norah had some relation with the world outside. Was there not a stalwart officer waiting for her on the nearest corner? Even Norah could feel a simple childish pleasure in candles and carols and merriment, and the old, old superstition.

“Stuff and nonsense!” mused Miss Terry scornfully. “What is our Christmas, anyway? A time for shopkeepers to sell and for foolish folks to kill themselves in buying. Christmas spirit? No! It is all humbug,—all selfishness, and worry; an unwholesome season of unnatural activities. I am glad I am out of it. I am glad no one expects anything of me,—nor I of any one. I am quite independent; blessedly independent of the whole foolish business. It is a good time to begin clearing up for the new year. I’m glad I thought of it. I’ve long threatened to get rid of the stuff that has been accumulating in that corner of the attic. Now I will begin.”

The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts

book of saints and friendly beasts bridget and the wolfSaint Bridget and the King’s Wolf 1
Saint Gerasimus and the Lion 11
Saint Keneth of the Gulls 30
Saint Launomar’s Cow 42
Saint Werburgh and her Goose 53
The Ballad of Saint Athracta’s Stags 69
Saint Kentigern and the Robin 77
Saint Blaise and his Beasts 88
Saint Cuthbert’s Peace 95
The Ballad of Saint Felix 108
Saint Fronto’s Camels 114
The Blind Singer, Saint Hervé 126
Saint Comgall and the Mice 148
The Wonders of Saint Berach 156
Saint Prisca, the Child Martyr 166
The Fish who helped Saint Gudwall 176
The Ballad of Saint Giles and the Deer 183
The Wolf-Mother of Saint Ailbe 190
Saint Rigobert’s Dinner 199
Saint Francis of Assisi 211
A Calendar of Saints’ Days 226

John of the Woods

Excerpt; It was late of a beautiful afternoon in May. In the hedges outside the village roses were blossoming, yellow and white. Overhead the larks were singing their happiest songs, because the sky was so blue. But nearer the village the birds were silent, marveling at the strange noises which echoed up and down the narrow, crooked streets.

“Tom-tom; tom-tom; tom-tom”; the hollow thud of a little drum sounded from the market-place. Boys and girls began to run thither, crying to one another:—

“The Tumblers! The Tumblers have come. Hurry, oh, hurry!”

Three little brothers, Beppo, Giovanni, and Paolo, who had been poking about the market at their mother’s heels, pricked up their ears and scurried eagerly after the other children.

Jostling one another good-naturedly, the crowd surged up to the market-place, which stood upon a little hill. In the middle was a stone fountain, whence the whole village was wont to draw all the water it needed. In those long-ago days folk were more sparing in the use of water than they are to-day, especially for washing. Perhaps we should not be so clean, if we had to bring every bucket of water that we used from the City Square!

paper holly leaf chain

A Little Housekeeping Book for a Little Girl Margaret’s Saturday Mornings

Reader Review from Amazon: I’m fond of this type of book, and heartily enjoyed this one. It’s a thorough manual of housekeeping in the olden days, meant, I’m guessing, for the instruction of those with no mothers or careless mothers. Yes, men can clean too, but they did not back then. It also extols the virtues of care, attention to the smallest of details, and of taking pride in one’s work. It’s also a useful book, even these days, as it offers a method of deterring ants, and of keeping kitchen drains from smelling. There is a rather amusing obsession with efficiency and spotless-white table and bed linens. The class distinctions are rather jarring to modern sensibilities, so take this into account. Enjoy!

Excerpt: It was Margaret’s grandmother who gave her the lesson on dish-washing. She said it was the part of housekeeping she really liked the best of all and did most easily, so everybody said, “Oh, well, if you really like it, perhaps you had better be the one to show Margaret how to do it properly!” and then they all laughed.

The gingham apron with sleeves was the one Margaret put on after breakfast. It buttoned around her wrists snugly, but on unfastening the buttons the sleeves could be rolled up and pinned out of the way, so they would keep clean. After she was ready the grandmother showed her how to stand all the dining-room chairs back against the wall and take up the crumbs[Pg 58] under the table, pushing this to one side and then the other, so that the rug would really be clean when they were done.

“Now,” she said, “run into the kitchen and see that the table there is quite empty, so there will be plenty of room for the dishes we are going to bring out; bring back with you the large tray, and get out the scraping-knife.”

Margaret found that Bridget had left some pans and dishes on the table after she had cooked the breakfast, and these she piled neatly at one end, out of the way. The scraping-knife was a long one with a thin blade which bent easily; a palette knife, such as artists use in cleaning their paints up, her grandmother explained.

“It seems funny to use an artist’s knife to scrape dishes with,” said Margaret, when she came back. “I should think we would just scrape the plates with the silver knives on them. That’s the way Bridget does.”

“But it is bad for the knives,” her grandmother said. “Besides, a stiff knife[Pg 59] cannot get the grease off, and this thin one can. You will see presently how beautifully it works. Now we must carry out the food.”

The dishes of meat, potatoes, bread, and other things were taken to the kitchen table and emptied; the bread was put back into its box; the bits of meat and vegetable were put on small dishes and put in the refrigerator; the butter on the small plates was scraped together into a little bowl and set aside to cook with. Then they were ready to get the dishes together on the dining-room table. They carefully emptied the tumblers and coffee-cups into the tray-bowl, so they would not be spilled in carrying them out. They piled the silver carefully on a dish, and carried out the plates and other things on the table. When it was quite cleared, Margaret took up the crumbs and laid the cloth and pad in the sideboard drawer. A centrepiece was put on the bare table with the fern-dish on it, and the two armchairs were pushed back in their places, one at each end. “There,”[Pg 60] said the grandmother, “when you have dusted the room will be right to leave until luncheon. Once or twice a week, of course, it has to be thoroughly swept and put to rights, but this is the way we do every day.”

by the same author; The Fun of Cooking A Story for Girls and Boys

For 1.99 Living on a Little by Caroline French Benton

paper holly leaf chain

The Half-Back A Story of School, Football, and Golf

The Lucky Seventh

The Turner Twins

Turn of the century sports stories for boys

paper holly leaf chain

John Halifax, Gentleman

by Charlotte Bronte

About these two books, Hildegarde Hawthorne, writing for St. Nicholas children’s magazine in 1914, writes:
“The days of the regent (George IV of England) were crowded with the extravagances of the rich and the privations of the poor. England had already seen difficult days in the changes brought into many of the industries by the advent of machinery. Two excellent books by two famous women give a moving picture of the suffering and the struggles and the riots that filled the last years of George Ill’s reign: Mrs Dinah Maria Muloch Craik’s John Halifax Gentleman and Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley. In the latter book Robert Moore is a fine portrait of the manufacturer of 1807 and thereabouts seeking to bring in new things, seeing where the new trend was taking the business of the country, and yet understanding the other side, too.”

She also recommends Through the Fray A Tale of the Luddite Riots
by G. A. Henty, which is set in the same period.

paper holly leaf chain

The Laughing Cavalier The Story of the Ancestor of the Scarlet Pimpernel by the author of The Scarlett Pimpernell

paper holly leaf chain

Uncle Bernac A Memory of the Empire
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Reader Review; Uncle Bernac, a historical novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was originally published in 1897. The story takes place in 1805, at which time the narrator, a Frenchman named Louis de Laval, is living in England. During the French Revolution de Laval’s father had fought on the side of the Royalists while his mother’s brother, Uncle Bernac, had sided with the Republican cause. When the King was ousted and the Revolutionaries triumphed, the de Laval family fled to England, taking up residence in a village in Kent, while Uncle Bernac took possession of the family estate of Grosbois, near Boulogne. Thirteen years later, Napoleon has assumed control of the French government and named himself Emperor. After the death of his father, de Laval receives a letter from Bernac. The uncle, who now works for Napoleon, invites his nephew to come back to his native soil, promises to let bygones be bygones, and assures him a position in the Emperor’s service. Though the young man is suspicious of his uncle’s intentions, he can’t resist an opportunity to return to his homeland.

Though the novel is called Uncle Bernac, the title character is little seen and doesn’t figure very largely into the book’s plot. He functions merely as a device to get de Laval into the presence of Napoleon.

paper holly leaf chain

The Hallam Succession


Excerpt: It was soon evident that there would be little sympathy between Richard and Antony. Richard Fontaine was calm, dignified, reticent; never tempted to give his confidence to any one; and averse to receive the confidences of others; therefore, though he listened with polite attention to Antony’s aspirations and aims, they made very little impression upon him. Both he and Phyllis glided without effort into the life which must have been so new to them; and in less than a week, Hallam had settled happily down to its fresh conditions. But nothing had been just as Antony expected. Phyllis was very lovely, but not lovely specially for him, which was disappointing; and he could not help soon seeing that, though Richard was attentive, he was also unresponsive.

There is one charming thing about English hospitality, it leaves its guests perfect freedom. In a very few days Phyllis found this out; and she wandered, unnoticed and undisturbed, through the long galleries, and examined, with particular interest, the upper rooms, into which from generation to generation unwelcomed pictures and unfashionable furniture had been placed. There was one room in the eastern turret that attracted her specially. It contained an old spinet, and above it the picture of a young girl; a face of melancholy, tender beauty, with that far-off look, which the French call predestinee, in the solemn eyes.

It is folly to say that furniture has no expression; the small couch, the faded work-table, the straight chairs, with their twisted attenuated legs, had an unspeakable air of sadness. One day she cautiously touched the notes of the instrument. How weak and thin and hollow they were! And yet they blended perfectly with something in her own heart. She played till the tears were on her cheeks, it seemed as if the sorrowful echoes had found in her soul the conditions for their reproduction. When she went back to her own room the influence of the one she had left followed her like a shadow.

“How can I bring one room into another?” she asked herself, and she flung wide the large windows and let the sunshine flood the pink chintzes and the blooming roses of her own apartment. There was a tap at the door, and Elizabeth entered.

paper holly leaf chain

Books by Harry Franck, about whom a bookseller in St. Nicholas wrote:
Are you going to Panama some time in the next few months? If so you must read the book which, of all books yet written, pictures the Canal Zone and its life most vividly. If you are not going don’t you want to read a book which it has been said over and over again is the next best thing to a trip to and through the Canal Zone and which gives a really better idea of behind the scenes than most tourists get? Do you know why the building of the Canal is one of the greatest engineering feats of all times? Do you know what the United States Government has done to make life in that tropical belt both safe and healthy? Do you want to read a story of actual experiences and adventures down there which is as fascinating as any story book you ever read and which makes the Panama Canal and all its myriad workers very real and very vivid? Then read Harry A Franck’s Zone Policeman 88.

Harry A Franck is a fine young American whose love of travel has taken him all over the world. He went through college on money earned in his vacations and then for several years he taught modern languages in different boys schools. But always he traveled in the summer and the books he has written of his experiences; A Vagabond Journey Around the World; Four Months Afoot in Spain; and Zone Policeman 88 show that he had most wonderful times. He makes friends easily with every one he meets and he sees the humorous side of every experience. The result is a book which makes delightful and worth while reading.

Four Months Afoot in Spain

Zone Policeman 88; a close range study of the Panama canal and its workers

Tramping Through Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras – Being the Random Notes of an Incurable Vagabond

Amazon reader review: ranck is the best travel writer of the 20th Century. He makes people like Orwell and Paul Theroux look like armchair dilettantes. This guy, with only pocket money, amongst other journeys, did a four year trek that took him from Laredo to Patagonia and back. He earned his money on the way. He drank from water collected in wagon wheel ruts. Most of the time he didn’t know where his next meal was coming from. On the way he worked in the Panama Canal Zone while the canal was under construction, to build a “stake” to cover expenses for the beginning of a two year long journey through South America, which he did mostly afoot. People into political correctness probably won’t like this book. Gosh, that’s too bad. Harry was a man of his times, as we are all people of our times. He’s literate– university educated– as well as being an astute observer of the human condition. Take him as he is, and you’ll never find a better travel writer.

BTW, all of Harry A. Franck’s books published prior to 1922 are in the public domain. You can go to the Gutenberg Project website and download them as ebooks, absolutely free, in Kindle, Epub, and many other formats. So don’t waste your money buying them, unless you want a print copy. The late, great Harry A. Franck was a frugal man, and would definitely approve.

paper holly leaf chain

Above links are affiliate links

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Teen Logic

Teen-age-mouse-comicYesterday, having gotten only about two hours of sleep myself, I overslept.  This means the Boy didn’t get up until about 11:00.

This morning I got up at 6.  I started the process of getting the Boy up at 8.  At 9:45 he deigned to get out of bed. When I chided him about this, I was told that it was my fault because his getting up when told was ‘never enforced’ because yesterday I overslept and didn’t get him up.


“What’s it like outside?” I asked, as the boy brought in the mail.  He was barefoot, in silk basketball shorts and a shortsleeved shirt.

“It’s pretty cold,” he said.  ”I still can’t feel my feet.”


“Can you make coffee?” I asked.

“You really should learn to do this yourself,” he said.

“I like to have you do it for me,” I said.  ”And I do things for you- I cook for you, for instance. This week alone I’ve baked you bread, muffins, pies, and made you soups and stir fries- ”

“I didn’t ask you to do those things.  I’m self sufficient and so when people do things for me I feel weird. I prefer to be self-sufficient.”

He said this as he was standing in the kitchen of the house where his parents graciously provide him with a roof over his head and all the amenities, while drinking the hot cocoa I bought with the marshmallows I bought in a cup that I bought, wearing clothes that I bought him right, and this was after taking a shower in the bathroom paid for his parents with the water pumped in by the well paid for by his parents and heated by his parents, and…. you get the picture.  You’re a parent, you have painted this picture.


I chanted this mantra to myself: ‘Their frontal lobes are not developed, their frontal lobes are not developed, their frontal lobes are not developed, their frontal lobes-”

‘What are you muttering about?” he asked.

“Nothing.” I said, “nothing at all.  But maybe I’ll tell you later.”


You might enjoy reading here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Winter Scene Printable Colouring Page

The Northwind Doth Blow coloring page

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment