54 Free Educational Apps

It’s getting to be that time of year again; back to school…or in our case “back to homeschool.”  I don’t do much blogging about homeschooling, mainly because I still feel rather new to it.  I suppose I shouldn’t since we started homeschooling half way through my 8 year olds pre-school year, but I’m still figuring out what works best for us, which I think will be a continuing process.

*This post contains affiliate links that help provide for my family at no extra cost to you! Please see my full disclosure for more info.*

One thing I am somewhat proud of though is the educational apps that we utilize on our iPad and Kindle Fire.  I spent HOURS searching for and previewing free apps to find the best ones, that fit our needs.  While I found it fun, I know not everyone has those hours to spare (like me currently!!!)  I hope you find this list helpful, and that it saves you some ever-precious time.

These apps are for pre-school up through lower elementary (2nd-3rd grade.)  I am going to do a separate post on apps for foreign language lessons, so check back for that, or better yet, subscribe! Seriously though, thanks so much for stopping in, and I hope you find this helpful.

 

54 Free Educational Apps for iPad and Kindle Fire

LibAnwhere:  Has a large database of library’s.  If your library participates (my 2 out in the country do!!) then you can use your card to log in to your account, just like you would at the library’s online portal, and from there you can request books, renew what you have out, and put books on hold.

Toddler Math

Lego Junior

AlphaBabyFree:  This is one of my absolute favorite apps! You can add photo’s and your own voice (I never have yet though.) The shapes and letters grow and shrink, it’s colorful, yet simple, and introduces baby to colors letters and shapes…it can even entertain rather young babies…while on my way to a blogging conference I entertained my then 7 month old with it on the train!

AbcMagic

BobBooksLite:  This is a great supplement to the books, which my kids love.  I plan to buy the full version.

BuildAWordExpress

TabTale Counting 123: Tab Tale has a collection of apps, some are great, some, not so much…check it out and find the ones that work the best for you.

First Words Sampler

Lego Duplo

Mancala FS5: This is a simple game, but it uses counting, is fun, and can be played alone or with 2 players.

Coloring

Sight Words

Adventures Under Sea Math:  We love this app.  There is a picture, covered with a grid of math problems, the student picks the answer from multiple selections in the side bar and slides it on top of the box the problem is in.  If it is correct, it disappears, revealing a small part of the picture underneath.  The problems get progressively harder with each level (and I think you can purchase additional levels.) You can also set the difficulty level in the settings.  You can also increase difficulty by adding a timer.

Animals in Pieces HD

Audio Slide Math: I loved this for early math (pre-school and kindergarten) because not only does it use manipulatives, but it tells you the correct answer.  It’s also fun!

Dino MathFree:  This is one of my kids favorites.  Kids can do math or subtraction.  They count the dinosaur manipulatives to help find the answer, and if they get it correct they get “prizes” which are just little pictures, like a smiley face that pop up at the bottom, but my kids get excited over them!

ShapePuzzle HD:  Another favorite here…this is a fun puzzle game that you can adjust the difficulty on, that also builds vocabulary.

WorldCraftHD: For the Minecraft lovers in your home!

Rainbow Car Tab Tale

Human Anatomy:  Simple app that allows you to look up and display parts of human anatomy for reference.

Star Walk:  We love this app also.  It’s like a planetarium in the palm of your hand.  It shows constellations and planets, in real time so you can hold it up to the sky to locate certain stars, planets or constellations, then look to the actual sky to match them up!

All Aboard Dinosaur Train PBS

iBirdLite

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally

Friendly Toys TT

AbcSpellingMagic

 

Kindle Fire Apps (These should be available for any tablet with an Android operating system as well.)

Veggie Tales

Discovery Channel

Match ‘Em Up

Uno and Friends

Build and Teach Handwriting Free

Kids Academy 123 Tracing Free

2nd Grade Learning Games: This only offers a few categories for free, but it is a game format that teaches alphabetical order, greater than and less than, positive and negative number, and even and odd numbers.

Preschool and Kindergarten Learning games

Sight Words Free

The Arithmemouse Addition/Subtraction Game

22Learn Baby Bubble School

History Channel Free App

Easy Verbs

Serpodile 1 Learn cursive writing

Flash Apps English Flash Cards

123 Kids Fun (music)Collection

Letter Paper: We use this with a stylus to save on paper consumption, and just to switch up our writing practice a bit, since neither of my big kids care for physically writing too much yet!

World History Quiz

US History Quiz

Smithsonian Channel Free App

Animal Planet

US President Facts

Lets do Math2

EFlash Apps Genius Baby Flash Cards:  This is a fun collection of flash cards for infants, toddlers and preschoolers to help them learn various things.  We use it to keep my 3 year old (she was 2 when we got it) occupied when we are at a restaurant and she’s getting stir crazy, or similar situations elsewhere.

Awesome Arithmetic Free

 

*You should be able to find any of these by going to the app store and typing the app name in the search box.*

 

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and I have yet to do a new search for the current school year.  Typically I take one night, put on a movie, and do an extensive search before starting the new school year to see if there is anything new, exciting, or useful that I’d like to get.

We use a number of apps in our foreign language study also.  We are currently doing Spanish.  We will have an introduction to Greek this year.  Next year we will add in Latin, and either French or German.  I will do another post that highlights the free apps that we use for foreign language.

Do you use free apps in your homeschooling, or as supplements for your out-of-the-home schooled children?  I would love to hear about free learning apps that you love!

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DIY Pop-Up Cloth Wipes! Frugal and Green!

This post is for Day 3, which is a topic of my choice for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge, so I’m going to show you how to DIY Pop-Up Cloth Wipes.  I use these for baby wipes for changing diapers, and cleaning little hands and faces, but you could switch up the ingredients and use this idea for natural cleaning wipes as well!

I make a simple wipes solution out of a couple drops of olive oil, and a couple drops of Dr. Bronners as mentioned in my Day 2 post, which I dissolve in about an inch of water in the bottom of the wipes container.  You can use baby soap/shampoo or any other mild soap of your choice, and the olive oil can be omitted if desired. You can also use baby oil if you are not using cloth diapers, or you can use your choice of essential oil to scent the water and give it different properties. Obviously use different ingredients if you are using them for cleaning.

  • Open Wipes Container
  • Fill with wipe solution (about an inch in the bottom.)
  • Fold wipes as shown in picture (approx 8-14)
  • Insert folded wipe stack into container and press down firmly until all cloths are saturated…flip and repeat or add extra water if necessary.
  • Feed top half of top wipe through the pop up hole and close.
  • Use as needed!

I’ve found these to keep well for up to 2 weeks, but I usually use them faster than that.  I only make up a stack of between 8 and 14 or so wipes so I go through them pretty quickly. It’s so easy to set up though that it’s no big deal to re-fill it as needed.

I hope you will try this and see how easy, frugal, and green it can be! I’d love to hear about it if you do.

Already use cloth wipes? What do you love about it?

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Laundry Without A Washing Machine

This post is for Day 4 of the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  We talked about the why we’re using flats, and what is in our stash, and I showed you how to make cloth wipes…now it’s time to show you how to clean all of that so you can use it again and again, even if you don’t have a washer and dryer!

A load of diapers, wipes, and covers in the “camp style” washer.

My washing routine is quite simple.  As I mentioned on Day 2, I use a 3 gallon tub (you can use a 5 gallon bucket, your tub, or anything comparable,) and blue plunger with a little Dr. Bronners Magic Soap to wash my diapers, wipes, and covers.

Here’s how I do it…

  • Add cold water to the tub to rinse the diapers.  I throw the dirty diapers in the tub as soon as I take them off my baby’s bum.  I fill the tub with cold water so they can soak.
  • Put the plunger in the center of the bucket, and PLUNGE! After I get about 6-10 diapers in the tub I make sure it’s still full of water, then use my plunger to help rinse the diapers by plunging in the center of the bucket.  After I do that several times, I pull the plunger out, move the diapers around a bit and do it again.   I do this about 5-8 times.  If the water is really gross I will do one additional cold rinse before washing with soap.  You want to keep the plunger somewhat low and do small, quick, up and down plunges so that the plunger is actually moving the water through the diapers and not just sort of stirring it.
  • Empty the bucket.  If you need a second rinse, do that now. Don’t worry about getting all the water out of the diapers, just dump out what you can.
  • Fill the bucket with hot water from the tap, and add your soap. You want the water as hot as it gets…add a TINY amount of soap…I just do a quick “tip” of the bottle and several drops come out.  When using cloth you want to avoid using too much soap, because in the next step you have to make sure you rinse ALL of the soap out to avoid diaper rash, and soap build-up.
  • Plunge the load several times.  Plunge away until the diapers look reasonably clean and you feel happy with it.  Move the diapers around to be sure you are moving the water through all of them.  If the water is really dirty, you can repeat this step as well.
  • Dump the dirty water off. Don’t worry about squeezing the excess out yet.
  • Fill the tub with cold water.  Plunge the load to rinse all the soap out. Repeat until water is clear and there are no more suds.  This is very important because if soap remains in the diapers it can affect absorption, probability of diaper rash, and can cause the urea to break down into ammonia faster; which is not something you want on your babies bum!  Don’t let this scare you, it’s not hard, just be thorough.  I do 2 rinses and have had no problems.
  • Empty the water after the last rinse.  Empty the water, and then I press down with the plunger to get a little extra out.
  • Carry out to the line, or drying rack or hang around your house.  Now it’s time to get them dry.  I hang mine outside so I wring them and shake them out before hanging on the line, if you need to hang them around the house you will want to wring them ahead of time over your tub or sink.

Diapers drying on the line…these diapers are pretty old, so some are a bit stained, but at the end of the day…they are for catching poo, so I don’t mind!

I really enjoy washing diapers this way…so much in fact that after I did the challenge the last time, I took my camp-style washer on the road and washed dirty laundry, towels, and cloth diapers each time we went camping! It was so nice having clean clothes, being able to take my cloth diapers with me, and not having to take sandy towels home!

If you don’t have Dr. Bronner’s soap, or don’t want to use it, fear not, you can use pretty much any homemade, or commercial laundry detergent, just use a reduced amount since it is a smaller receptacle.  You can even use a couple drops of dish soap!

If you are finding that your laundry is a little stiff after it gets done drying you can try adding a little baking soda or vinegar to your wash.  Both are said to help, and they won’t hurt the laundry at all.  I haven’t had much issue with this yet because it’s been very windy, which naturally softens the fabric as it dries.

I hope you’ll give this camp-style washer a try, and I would love to hear about it if you do!

 

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Is that a blanket on his bum???

     *This post contains affiliate links. If you follow the link and make a purchase I will make a small profit at no additional cost to you.  For more information please read my full disclosure.*

If you missed Monday’s post, I’m using flat diapers and handwashing them for a week for the 4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  You can find out why by following the link, and by checking out the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog.  Today we are talking about our “stash” aka what diapers, covers, etc that we are using for the duration of the challenge…and what they cost.

Diapers, Covers and Wipes

The idea is to keep it affordable, while still using diapers that work well so that this could really be a feasible option for families in need.

Here’s what I’m using…

  •  About 9 Gerber flat diapers (a few aren’t pictured)
  • About 6 100% cotton flannel receiving blankets to be used as flats (a few aren’t pictured) I LOVE these…like, so much that I am considering switching my ENTIRE stash over to them! They are soft, adorable, absorbent, and affordable!
  • 3 T-Shirt Diaper Flats
  • 5 Alva Baby Pockets used as covers (3 not pictured) (I am LOVING these as covers!!! Cute and affordable! These diapers would be a good possible option as well for pockets/covers.)
  • 1 fleece cover
  • 1 recycled wool cover
  • About 1 dozen cloth wipes…a combination of homemade flannel wipes from an old receiving blanket, and dollar store baby washcloths that were gifted to me.
  • An old wipes container (You could use a small plastic container just as well.)
  • This blue plunger as part of my washing equipment
  • A 3 gallon plastic tub similar to this one, that was gifted to me. I believe it was bought at the dollar store several years ago.
  • Dr. Bronners Magic Soap 18 in 1 Hemp Lavender Pure Castile Soap for washing diapers, making wipe solution (and baths too!)
  • Snappi Fasteners for holding diaper on baby…I have a 3 infant size, and 1 toddler size. You really only need one, but I like a back up in case one breaks or, like me, you are constantly losing it!
  • Diaper Pins Yup, the old school, like your granny used, diaper pins.  I have a few Dritz Pins, but honestly, my favorite pins are from the dollar store…they’ve always held well for me, and are easy to maneuver and fasten one handed.
  • A small wet bag for putting dirty diapers/wipes in.  I actually have 3 of these…but if I wouldn’t have had one, I would have just used a plastic grocery bag, or gallon size ziploc baggie.
  • A scant amount of olive oil
  • clothespins
  • camp clothesline

Total Cost for my stash…

$13          One Dozen Gerber Flats

$  4          Receiving blankets bought second hand, and some from previous babies that were stained

$  O          T-Shirt Flats…these t-shirts had lived their life, and were going to head to Goodwill but I decided to re-purpose them.

$18          5 Alva Baby Diapers…this included inserts, and I bought them through a co-op at a discount. You could get away with 3.

$  O          Fleece Cover…got for free in a trade…have not even used it once during this challenge.

$  1          One Recycled wool cover…I bought the sweater during dollar clothing days at Goodwill and sewed it myself.

$  O         A dozen cloth wipes…Free because I cut up an old receiving blanket, and I got 3 packages of wash cloths from a friend.

$  2          An old wipes container…bought new, with wipes in it, I like being able to have pop up wipes.

$10         Blue Plunger…I don’t think I spent quite this much on it, but I can’t find it for less online. I think I bought it at Dollar General.

$  O          3 Gallon Plastic Tub…I got this as part of a gift basket, but I think you could find something comparable at the Dollar Store.

$14          Dr. Bronners soap.  I got this at Meijer, I like the Lavender scent, but the Free and Clear is $10 and it lasts a long time.

$  2          Snappi Fasteners…I bought a couple second hand and a couple in a co-op. One was a gift.

$  O          Diaper Pins…I got mine for free at my baby shower

$   6          Small Wet bag…I bought mine through a co-op.  I used gallon size ziplock baggies until it was in the budget to buy one.

$   O          Olive Oil…I already buy the olive oil for cooking, so no extra cost really.

$   1          Clothespins…I got mine for $1 at Walmart several years ago.

$   3          Camp Clothesline…I got mine in the camping section at Meijer.  I love it because it came with clips for easy set-up/take-down.

$74          Grand Total

Budget Cloth Diapering Can Still Be Adorable! Here’s Everett modeling a minkee Alva Baby Pocket as a cover over a receiving blanket flat.

That may seem like a lot, but pricing EVERYTHING out.  Most people will have a lot of items on hand, and can substitute items as needed to fit their budget.

If I was committed to starting TOMORROW, was on a very tight budget, and had NOTHING, this is what I would buy/use and what it would cost.

Diapers:  I would search my house first for old receiving blankets, tea towels, and t-shirts that were no longer needed.  If I still needed to buy some (I would suggest at least 1 dozen diapers per child to start) then I would look for a “lot” of receiving blankets on craigslist, e-bay, at Goodwill, and on any local swap sites, put a request in on several local free-cycles, and in the meantime I would buy however many 100% cotton t-shirts I needed from Goodwill, from the selection of shirts that are the half-off color.  At my Goodwill t-shirts are $1, if I buy the half off color, that would make them $.50 each.  For our purposes, lets assume you have NOTHING on hand…1 dozen t-shirts from Goodwill (or your local second hand store or Salvation Army) would cost $6.

Wipes:  Search your home for a flannel blanket, old towel, t-shirt, or baby wash cloths you can use (cutting if necessary.)  If you can’t find any of those things, you can spend $3 at the dollar store for a dozen baby washcloths.  Wet them in the sink before using.  If you have a wipes container, you can make my wipe solution and put them in there.

Covers:  If you are handy, and especially if you can sew, you can make covers from an old fleece blanket (2 layers is better than 1) or from a felted, 100% wool sweater.  If you can’t sew, you can cut out a diaper shape from either of those fabrics, and pin it on as a cover.  if you do that you can get 2 covers (and a pair of pants or shorts if you can sew) from a 1/2 off sweater from goodwill which would cost around $2.  You should be able to get 2-3 covers from a fleece blanket depending on the size. If you don’t have either of those things, and don’t feel confident in making your own, as a last resort you can use Gerber plastic pants (made for potty training) available at most large retailers.  They come in a 4 pack and cost about $6.  My advice though, is to invest as much as your budget allows in at least 2-3 decent covers…covers prevent leaks, and make the cloth diapering experience much more pleasant.  You can check for second hand diapers and covers on Diaperswappers as well as many local re-sale sites.  So, again, for our purposes we will use the most easily available, affordable, option…Gerber Covers for $6.

Closure:  Grab a pack of diaper pins for $1 at the dollar store…if you don’t like them, save up for some snappis, but this will get you started at least.

Wet bag: Gallon Zip Lock bags, $1 at the dollar store.

Washing:  If you are really tight on money, and you don’t have a washing machine, you can wash them with your feet, in your tub, use the detergent  you already use for your clothes (if you want to save money, make my DIY Laundry Detergent.)  Hang to dry in whatever way you can if you don’t have pins. This would be $O out of pocket cost.  If you have a washer and dryer, use that.  Wash diapers and wipes separate, don’t use fabric softener, and dry in the dryer (no dryer sheets!) If you don’t feel comfortable using your feet, and you don’t have a washing machine, but can’t spring for a plunger and plastic tub or bucket (you can use your bath tub as well) then buy a pair of plastic gloves from the dollar store.  This should be no cost, but we will allot $3 in case you need to buy gloves, clothespins, and a clothesline from the dollar store.

Add it all up, and you can start cloth diapering for $20 if you have nothing and have to buy EVERYTHING you would need, which most people won’t.

I know that cloth diapering can seem intimidating, but I urge you to try it.  Whether you start with a really affordable method, or borrow some from a friend to try, I think you (and your budget!) will be pleasantly surprised!

E in a winnie the pooh receiving blanket flat fastened with a snappi.

Next in the FaHWC series is an open topic, so I’m going to share how I make and use cloth wipes to save money, and how you can too, even if you use disposeables!

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Why I’m Handwashing Diapers for a Week

Bear with me, I’m posting from mobile for the first time ever! I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty stoked about the possibilities! But I know, I know…what’s with the diaper thing?

So, this week, I’m participating in an awareness campaign called “The Flats and Handwashing Challenge” and link-up which is hosted by Kim Rosas over at Dirty Diaper Laundry. The premise is simple, follow the rules…use inexpensive, flat cloth diapers (or a few other acceptable substitutes) and inexpensive, easily accessible covers (if you’ ve been here awhile you probably know by now that I use cloth diapers, but if not…yes, i mean cloth…that you hook with pins and :gasp: wash and re-use) to show that cloth diapers could REALLY be an option for families in need…even those without access to a washing machine and dryer

I love the idea that this might help families save money, and it’s good for the planet. I hope that by participating I will not only encourage those in need, and/or organizations who aid them, to consider cloth, but I also hope that it will raise awareness of this very real need of families right in our own communities.

I hope you’ll follow along with me this week, maybe even join in, or spread the word, and check out the cute pictures I’ll be posting of the baby in diapers (sorry I haven’t formally introduced him yet) different flat diaper folds and types of recycled diapers/covers, and my experience with it all.

 

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A Week’s Worth of Groceries Link-up!

Have you ever stopped and taken a good look at what your family consumes over the course of a week? One photographer did and it inspired me to host this link up so we could too!

Are there any unhealthy foods that seem to be sneaking in on a regular basis without you even realizing it?  Do you think you consume more or less than the average family of similar size?  If you had to guess off the top of your head, do you think you’re getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet? We can answer all these questions and more if we take a step back, and look at everything our family will actually consume in a week.  I thought it would be fun to do a link up so that we can take a peek into what other families are including in their diets as well.  My hope is that this will be a tool for you.  How you use that tool is up to you.  Maybe you will realize you would like to do more meal planning.  Maybe you’ll be pleased with how little you waste.  Maybe this will allow you to take one baby step towards eating a little healthier.  Most of all I hope we all have fun with it!

The guidelines:

There are no hard and fast rules, just do your best to meet these.

 

1.  You don’t HAVE to post a picture of groceries fresh from the market…just a picture of what you consume in a week…if it’s all in your house already…Yay! You don’t have to shop to participate!  However, if you do decide you need to shop, please make sure you include as much as you can, and if there is something in excess or that is missing from the picture…just make a little note of it.

 

2.  If you eat out during the week on a regular basis, or is you plan to eat leftovers from a meal, make a note of it so we get a better idea of how the food is being “spent.”

 

3.  Try to be authentic.  No one is here to judge, and none of us are perfect.  So, don’t go changing everything you normally buy just for the sake of a picture.  I promise I won’t judge you for buying a package of Oreo’s if you don’t judge me for feeding my kids Fruity Pebbles. :)

 

4.  For the sake of clear, easy to visually assess pictures, try to put tall items in the back, and try to group like items together.

5.  Visit the site of the person that linked up before you.

6.  Please link back here in your post. :) Feel free to use the picture above in your post.

Here’s what  a weeks worth of groceries looks like for my family of 6.  Our family consists of 2 adults, and 4 children ages 7, 5, 3, and 2.  We shop once a week.  We try to avoid processed foods, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, soy, artificial dye, and artificial preservatives.  We’ve been going over budget lately, which puts our grocery budget at about $380-420 a month.  I’d like to get it at a consistent $350.  For the most part I make all of our bread products, and we eat a good amount of fresh fruit and veggies.

I don’t always buy organic milk, this was our second week trying it…it’s been on my list to switch to for a long time, but I had to cut back the amount of milk that we drink first.  Organic milk was a bit of a flop for us though as the quality of the kind we got was poor and it did not have a good taste.  For now we are opting for local milk that is not organic, and is pasturized, and is from grass fed cows that are hormone, antibiotic, and gmo free.  The milk is tasty and I feel it’s a good alternative “baby step” for the time being.  If anyone is local, the type of milk we drink now is “Crooked Creek” brand.  The “Pure” brand milk in this photo was very tasty, but I only bought it because I had a great coupon and it was on sale.  Even though it taste’s good I would not pay twice as much for milk that is essentially no different than anything else in the store, just filtered differently.  We also drink a lot of water throughout the week, and not included in the picture are about 2 dozen fresh eggs from our chickens and ducks.  I will share my menu, and a more detailed budget soon! Most of the processed foods you see are for my husbands lunch.

I also snapped a quick picture of our groceries in the cart when we shopped last week.  I wanted to share it because I noticed that the cart looks rather empty compared to what you might be used to if you eat more processed foods simply because they don’t take up as much room in the cart.  I just thought that was a neat way to gauge what types of food you might have in your cart.

I just think this was such a neat, and fun exercise and I can’t wait to see what all of you post!

If you want some help trying to eat healthier, and budget better check out the e-book Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne Simpson! (If you follow this link I will get a modest commission from the sale that will help me keep writing here and providing for my family.  Check out my full disclosure for more info.)

 



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Life Happened

Well, I’m sorry to say, life happened and I got busy on this holiday weekend.  I got caught up spending time with my hubby that I haven’t seen nearly enough lately.  So, will you please give me some grace, and come back and visit me tomorrow for the “Weeks Worth of Groceries” link-up?  Thank you for your understanding, and I hope you will join me tomorrow!

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Easy and Delicious Bread and Butter Pickles!

You’ve got to try this awesome, real food, snack!  They would be perfect to whip up for a barbeque as well!

Photo Credit: Recipe Girl Blog

Last summer we had a decent cucumber harvest from our meager garden.  My kids love sweet pickles, so I was trying to find a recipe for those, when I stumbled upon these.  One thing I particularly love about refrigerator pickles is that they are almost instant gratification instead of having to wait 3-7 days for the pickling process to complete!  They are best after about 24 hours, but they are good within a few minutes in the pickling liquid!  These aren’t quite sweet pickles, they are technically bread and butter pickles, but they have a flavor that beats anything you can find in the store.  They aren’t spicy, so they are great for little one’s AND they don’t have any soy, or high fructose corn syrup (like most store bought pickles) or artificial dye.

We love to snack on them in the afternoon and set them out on the dinner table as an additional side.  The recipe says they will keep in the fridge up to 2 weeks…others that are similar that I’ve seen say they will last much longer, but that the cucumbers might get a little softer…if your house is anything like ours though, they won’t last more than a couple days!  They only take minutes to make though, so that is no problem!

The other great thing I loved about this recipe is that it’s very forgiving, AND it makes about 4 cups of pickles, instead of a GALLON like many of the other recipes for refrigerator pickles that I’ve found.  I made a few substitutes, so I’m going to fill those into the recipe here…if you would like the original recipe, please visit Recipe Girl’s blog.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Recipe Girl.  If you enjoy it, please stop by her blog and give her some love as well. :)

 

Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles

Serves 4 cups
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue
Website Recipe Girl
Quick, Easy, and Delicious Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar ((I used organic cane sugar, I would think raw sugar would work as well. I'd like to play with honey as well.))
  • 1 cup White Vinegar ((I used 1 1/2 cups))
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar ((I used 1 cup))
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar ((I used 1/3 of a cup))
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds ((I used 2 Tbs Mrs. Fields Pickling spice in place of all the seasoning because that's what I had)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Seeds (See note on Mustard Seeds)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Tumeric (See note on Mustard Seeds)
  • 5 1/2 cups Pickling Cucumbers (Approx. 1 1/2 lbs. (I used regular cucumers...4 medium sized))
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Salt (Recipe girl recommends Kosher, I used Pickling, and/or Sea Salt)
  • 1 Small Yellow or White Onion (I used half a large vidalia sweet onion)

Directions

Step 1 Slice cucumbers, not too thin, but not incredibly thick either. Place in a container, and sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate for 3 hours. (I've left them overnight before and they've still turned out perfectly fine! Sometimes I add water as well to make a "brine.")
Step 2 Once the Pickles are done brining, remove from the fridge, and rinse thoroughly.
Step 3 Chop onion and add to cucumbers in container.
Step 4 Add sugars, vinegars, and pickling spices to a medium sauce pot. Heat over medium heat until sugar is melted...do not boil! (You can tell when the sugar is melted because the liquid will be more translucent and when you let it run off your spoon you won't see granules. If it looks a little cloudy, it's not done yet.)
Step 5 Pour pickling mixture over pickles and onions, cover and let sit on the counter for an hour.
Step 6 Move container to fridge to "pickle" for 24 hours...and try to resist munching on them while they're processing!
Step 7 Enjoy! Store in fridge until devoured!

 

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to hear if you make it!

 

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I Don’t Want to be Supermom

In this day and age it is so easy to get caught up in the plethora of parenting books, the sea of parenting information on the internet, the menagerie of different parenting styles, and not to mention the endless supply of ideas for projects, crafts, and activities on Pinterest that you can do with your kids to be a “better” mom.

Of course we should try to do our best, and we should make raising our kids well a top priority, but too many of us are holding ourselves to impossible standards, comparing ourselves to Suzy homemaker from next door, and barreling endlessly forward in the pursuit of perfection.  I finally decided…I just can’t do it anymore!

Then I realized…I don’t want to!  Sure I want my kids to have a fulfilling childhood. I want to make memories, have lots of quality time, and hopefully instill them with priceless values.  One of those values should be compassion though.  I decided, I want my kids to see me for what I AM…a fallen, broken, imperfect, sinner.  Why?  Because it is a fabulous example of Christ’s love and grace.

I want my kids to know that it’s ok to make a mistake, and if they do, Mama and Daddy, and Jesus will all still love them.  I want to give them the grace that God show’s me every day, and the good Lord knows, that’s a LOT.

Now, don’t be mistaken…giving your kids grace doesn’t mean permissiveness…but it means maybe thinking about dealing with some situations in a new way.

My kids sometimes grumble about doing chores.  Now, I know NONE of yours do that, but when mine do, rather than immediately taking away privileges or some other form of punishment I try to step back and think like they are.  I realized one day while they were in the midst of telling me that “Chores are no fun” and “I’m too tired to do chores” that I OFTEN felt the EXACT same way….but that didn’t mean I could just skip doing them either.  I decided to tell them how I was feeling, and explain that we all need to work together since we are a family.   I told them that I couldn’t do it without them, and that while I understood that they didn’t want to do any chores, that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because they need to get done.  I asked how they would feel if I didn’t make them dinner one night “because I was too tired.”  They didn’t like that idea, and realized that we all have to do things we don’t want to sometimes, so that we can all have the things we need.

Now, your kids might know all that, and if they do, kudos to you! Maybe you can apply it another way.  My kids are still young (age 7 and under) so it may look different in your home.

Just remember they (whoever they is) say “The days are long but the years are short” so give yourself some grace, accept God’s grace, and empower your kids to do so too.

 

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An Invitation

So…here’s the deal…this post isn’t perfect but I’m hoping you’ll give me some grace on that…see…I tried to make it perfect, but I just can’t quite put my finger on what perfect is this time!  I’ve decided I need your help…but more on that later.

So here’s the skinny.  I saw this awesome article about a pictorial that was done on what a week’s worth of groceries looks like all around the world.  You can find that here…What A Week’s Worth of Groceries Looks Like Around the World.

Ok, so I saw that and I thought…how fun would it be to do a link up where everyone posts a picture of their own week’s worth of groceries!!!  I think it would be so neat to take a peek into what a larger group of real families’ groceries look like for a week.  The thing is…I can’t quite pin down a why! That’s where I need your help.  I think it will be a great way to really take a look at what we are putting into our bodies each week.  I think it will be an awesome way to compare and contrast and be inspired by what others regularly have in their diets as well.  I’m hoping something bigger comes from it though…whether it is a series to help each other take one baby step towards healthier living, or a campaign to fight hunger, I’m not quite sure yet.  Holler at me in the comments and give me your ideas so I can nail something down by the time the link up goes live!

So here’s what I hope you will join me with!

on Monday May 27th I will post about what MY week’s worth of groceries looks like, along with a link up…so just mosey on back here and link up your own post then about your own week’s worth of groceries!  It can be just pictures, or have info about your budget, meal plans…whatever you’d like.

There are, however, a few guidelines to help keep things consistent (no hard and fast rules, just do your best to meet these.)

1.  You don’t HAVE to post a picture of groceries fresh from the market…just a picture of what you consume in a week…if it’s all in your house already…Yay! You don’t have to shop to participate!  However, if you do decide you need to shop, please make sure you include as much as you can, and if there is something in excess or that is missing from the picture…just make a little note of it.

2.  If you eat out during the week on a regular basis, or is you plan to eat leftovers from a meal, make a note of it so we get a better idea of how the food is being “spent.”

3.  Try to be authentic.  No one is here to judge, and none of us are perfect.  So, don’t go changing everything you normally buy just for the sake of a picture.  I promise I won’t judge you for buying a package of Oreo’s if you don’t judge me for feeding my kids Fruity Pebbles. :)

4.  For the sake of clear, easy to visually assess pictures, try to put tall items in the back, and try to group like items together.

 

Anything else you want to add is up to you!  Menu’s, recipes, grocery list’s, budgets, the sky’s the limit…but none of those are required.

 

So that’s it!  I look forward to meeting with you in the comments and I really hope you’ll come back and join me on May 27th to add your link!

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