Friday, January 25, 2013

Homemade Brown Sugar

For me, brown sugar is one of those things that I don't really think about until I need it in a recipe. Usually I have some on hand, but the last time I needed it - I was totally out! I had no time to go out to buy some and it was Sunday. We usually don't go shopping on Sunday. So I was stuck! What was I going to do? Thankfully, I remembered that I had stashed away a recipe on making your own brown sugar with two ingredients - sugar and molasses.

I dumped about 2 lbs. of sugar into a bowl, poured on about a half cup of molasses and started stirring. It definitely turned into brown sugar but it smelled very molassesy. It also had little molasses clumps in it. That had me a little concerned. But I didn't have time to worry about it and continued to make the sticky rolls I was in the middle of making. Well, to my surprise the molasses flavor baked out and everything tasted normal! How cool!

So, if you are in a pinch and need brown sugar, be sure to have some white sugar and molasses on hand. You'll be able to save your own bacon without having to go very far! :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Colonial Projects

Right now in homeschooling, my son and I are doing a unit on the colonists. So we started reading about the Jamestown settlement and now we're reading about the Mayflower. As a historian, I am very careful about what we read when it comes to history. History is a tricky thing because primary sources are often very biased, and reading secondary sources can be even worse! It is very difficult to find neutral accounts of history, so sometimes it proves to be rather difficult to find just the right books to read. (Don't even get me started on Christopher Columbus!) For now we're using Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage done by the Plymouth Plantation. We will also be taking a look at 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving also done by the Plymouth Plantation. Their books look very impressive, with photos of reenactments of the events, and I love that they really seek to bring an equal point of view from the Wampanoag people. 

Anyway, I also found some fun books on Colonial crafts. I was surprised with how many I found! Our first project was knotting a fishing net, because fish was a very important part of their diet. My son is still learning how to tie knots, so I helped him a lot, but it turned out really well, I think!

The cool thing about this project is that it could be applied in so many ways - for the fishing for food aspect, a religious context with Jesus and the apostles who were fishermen, for studying jobs or industries, etc. It was actually pretty simple! We found the project in Projects About Colonial Life by Marian Broida in the Hands-On History series. I think some of the other crafts in there are a little pointless, but I'm picky when it comes to crafts, so that's really just me. Check it out!

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