Friday, January 27, 2012

The Happy Scientist

Of the many books on our living room shelves, two are specifically science experiments for children, "101 Great Science Experiments", by Neil Ardley, and "101 Nature Experiments", by David Burnie.  The other day, my son was browsing through them and decided to try making the homemade flashlight.  For perhaps a variety of reasons, he could not get it working.  Possibilities include not having the exact bulb holder the directions called for, weak batteries, bad wires.  Whatever it was, after a number of failed atttempts, he put the whole thing away.  The impressive thing here is that he went after it on his own, and though his several attempts failed, I assured him it is not always so.  It could even have been faulty directions.  At any rate, after his initial disappointment wore off, I caught him gathering supplies for a new experiment, this time from his science book.  I expect he'll have better results with this one - it's non-electric.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Homestead Blessings - The Art of Bread Making

Watch the West Ladies teach you how to make bread in their cozy homestead kitchen.  With their modest dress, beautiful long hair and colorful aprons, Jasmine, CeCe, Vicki and Hannah make you feel right at home while they explain how to make a number of different hearty, whole grain breads.  I've been making my own breads for many years, but I found their cornbread recipe (be sure to watch the video for some special tricks not included in the PDF recipes) to be out of this world.  I will never go back to my old ways of making cornbread!  I also plan to try their hamburger bun/cinnamon roll recipe, now that I've seen them do it a few times.

Though I didn't think I necessarily needed the how-to's in this video, I really enjoyed the presentation and I was reminded that you can almost always learn something from another's experience.  Guitar-picking in the background sets the mood for good ole' country cooking.  The West kitchen set is a homesteader's dream of honey-colored wood paneling and pantry shelves lined with dozens of canning jars with colorful contents.  I kept looking for the old-fashioned cook stove, but the bread was baked in a state-of-the-art electric range-oven.

The Homestead Blessings Series is a collection of 11 DVD presentations by the West ladies and Franklin Springs Media.  Homestead Blessings - The Art of Bread Making, copyright 2009, is delightful, instructional and entertaining; printable recipes are included.  Vicki and the girls are inspiring to watch.  Canning, gardening, quilting and crafting are just a few more titles for homesteaders or city folk who want to try their hand at these basic survival skills.