Important: August Sales Tax Holiday Repealed

I noticed recently that our state legislatures managed to find time to repeal this law that allowed hardworking parents and students a 4.75 % sales tax break for one weekend every year -just as students are preparing to return to school.

I am disgusted that they wasted no time in changing this law that helped families in our state. They hurried to protect their tax money, while so many other issues are just left on the table or ignored.

This tax holiday was only on educational items, basic technology, and clothing necessities – not on luxury items, so those most affected will be parents and students who truly valued saving that small amount, including the 6% of NC families that are out of work completely.

Workers in North Carolina already earn an average salary that ranks toward the bottom half of our nation. In fact, their wages are, on average, 8.8 percent lower than the national average of $45,230 per year.

All this while we continue to see large state and local tax breaks for corporations. You can go here to see the number of tax incentives available to businesses in our state.

I am aware of very few state tax breaks or incentives that are available to individual workers and their families and now there is one less!

Current Events Commentary

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: AUGUST SALES TAX HOLIDAY REPEALED

Effective July 1, 2014, N.C. Gen Stat. § 105-164.13C, which provides a sales and use tax
holiday for the first weekend in August, is repealed per Session Law 2013-316. The
following items of tangible personal property if sold between 12:01 A.M. on the first Friday of August and 11:59 P.M. the following Sunday are no longer exempt from sales and use tax under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.13C…

Tofu Italian Meatballs

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Tofu is a great source of protein, calcium and iron.  It picks up the flavors of the foods you cook it with, so you can use a firm tofu in a stir fry or a creamy tofu in a dessert recipe and both taste great. This recipe calls for a firm tofu.

By the way, this recipe was my grandmother’s -yes, I am proud to be third generation “crunchy”!

As you can see, I still have her original recipe card which was typed up on a manual typewriter way back in the 70’s (when else!). I have modified it just a bit- I lowered the salt content and added oregano, because I like mine flavorful and then I get to use the herbs I grow and dry:

Tofu Italian “Meatballs”

12 oz. tofu (Medium to Firm)

1/4 Cup finely ground walnuts

1/2 onion minced

1/4 – 1/3 Cup bread crumbs

1 egg slightly beaten

3 Tablespoons minced parsley (you can use dried or fresh)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Mix the above ingredients well, and shape the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Fry in a healthy oil until they are cooked and well browned. Place in a pan and cover them with pasta sauce. Cook “meatballs” on low heat for at least 30 minutes. For best flavor allow them to simmer in sauce for at least 4-6 hours.

The “meatballs” sometimes crumble, but this is a very tasty recipe and good for the crock pot. Just mix them up, brown them and leave them in the crock-pot with the sauce. You can easily double or even triple the recipe for larger families.

You can modify the recipe easily to make “meatballs” in a sweet/sour sauce to serve with rice and veggies by changing the spices you use. Add a little curry to make an Indian dish or skip the herbs and simmer them in a barbecue sauce.

Vegan Friends: I have not tried to make this without the eggs- you might try adding a little arrowroot starch to use as a binder instead of the eggs. Let me know how you do with this if you get a chance!

Teaching Math With Real Life Experiences

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What a creative way to teach math and ignite a love for learning! This Webisode is geared toward 4-8th grades, but all students will get something out of it. You can register your homeschool. It will ask for your school information, I just put that I was a Home Schooler and used my county school district information.

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Registration is now open for Scholastic’s Math@Work web series!

The premiere webisode, focusing on fashion, will be released on November 14, 2013 at 1:00pm EST, and will be hosted by Project Runway’s Tim Gunn.

The webisode will tie students’ classroom learning to their career aspiration and show them why math is an important skill for careers like fashion design. Engage your class as you watch students discuss the importance of math from industry leaders and math experts.

Register your class or homeschool now !

A Healthier Pie Crust Recipe

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Well, the weather is finally feeling “Fall-ish” around here and I am getting ready to take out all my autumn decor! Things have been crazy around here since I recently got one child off to college, transformed her room into an office/ guest room for my work at home business and began another paid blogging/ghost writing gig!

I have also been working on making applesauce out of our heritage apples, preserves, juicing our grapes and digging the last of the potatoes out of our garden. My current project involves pulling everything out of the craft cabinet in order to organize it. I am humbly realizing just how bad of a “pack rat” I have become!

I will share more about that project later. Right now I wanted to share a great recipe with you. Recently a friend was asking me about Scuppernong pie (another post!) and I mentioned what a great crust recipe I had.

It is really easy, and healthier than those made with butter, lard or Crisco. Since it is made with oil, it can be considered a Vegan recipe for those who are avoiding animal products.

It was passed down to me from my Mother-law-law, who had it passed down to her from my husband’s Grammy.  It is flaky and tasty as well as healthier.

Since a couple of people have asked me about it now, I thought I better get busy and post the recipe for them:

Pie Crust – Makes Two Crusts

2 cups of unbleached flour

1/2 cup of your favorite oil

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of water

Mix all the ingredients together with a spoon. Knead slightly and then roll between waxed paper. Bake at 450 degrees for 5-10 minutes or according to your pie filling directions.

I always use this Pie Crust Bag from  King Arthur’s baking supplies,  for rolling out my crusts since it enables me to get a thinner crust than I can get with my roller alone. I think the waxed paper tip from Grammy, would work great too though!

You can also adjust the recipe to use whole grain flour, or gluten-free flour. You would likely just need to add more water and maybe a teaspoon more of the oil.

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The Old Schoolhouse Expo Ticket Giveaway!

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Great online learning!

This is so convenient and you can access it when you need it! I just got this invitation from TOS last week.  The week-long Expo is such a great resource to start the new school year with. I have listened in and downloaded Expo audio files in previous yeasr and I can’t wait for all the information I know I will glean to help me be the best home educator I can be!

Parents, students and educators will benefit from the topics discussed. There will be information on teaching during the teen years and teaching students with special needs, as well as topics that will encourage you and enrich your children’s home education experience.

I will be drawing a name on Friday for a FREE ticket to this event. Just leave a comment here and you will be entered into this contest sponsored by TOS.

Here are all the EXPO details for you:

Get Ready!  Get Set!  No need to “go”! 

The Old Schoolhouse invites you to attend a week long Expo event from the comfort of your home!  That’s right!  No fuel costs, no travel involved, no need for a sitter, no waiting in lines!  This Expo includes live presentations from some of the biggest names in homeschooling! 

All homeschoolers will benefit from the wealth of information and inspiration shared each day.  Don’t have time to commit to an entire week?  No problem!  The Expo will be recorded and you will have access to any and all sessions that you miss. 

What a great way to jump start the school year!  Mark it on your calendar and tell your family you will be attending your first Parent/Teacher conference of the year!  

Join us August 19-23 from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Eastern).  For more information and to purchase your ticket, go to www.SchoolhouseExpo.com

 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to a bunch of “big-name” homeschoolers all in one place?  Just think how refreshing it would be to gain perspective through the eyes of the ones who have years of homeschooling experience and advice to share!  The Old Schoolhouse is about to make this a reality!  You are invited to join us for a week long Expo Extravaganza event August 19-23 from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM – all from the comfort of your home and through your favorite device.  You’ll hear sessions from special guests including:

Ray Comfort Carol Topp
Dean Butler Adam Andrews
Todd Wilson Andrew Pudewa
Jessica Hulcy Ann Dunagan
Diana Waring Christine Field
Dr. Jay Wile David C. Gibbs III
Hal & Melanie Young David Stelzl
Kim Kautzer Davis Carman
Antony Kolenc Evonne Mandella
Terri Johnson Tyler Hogan
Andy Harris Marie Rippel
Jennifer Courtney Deborah Wuehler
Joaquin Fernandez Heather Laurie
Malia Russell and MORE!

Don’t wait!  Seats are limited!

Go to www.SchoolhouseExpo.com today and get signed up for an event that will leave you equipped, refreshed, encouraged, and ready to tackle a new school year.

Remember, leave me a comment to enter the drawing for a FREE EXPO TICKET. I will draw a name this Friday, August 9, 2013!

TOS is sponsoring this “giveaway” of a free ticket to the EXPO and they are offering me a free ticket too just for sharing about it with you! Regardless, I only recommend things on this blog that I like and have used and that I know will benefit my readers!

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P.S. Just In case you miss all of this and are reading my blog post after the giveaway- you should know that you can join the “Schoolhouse Teachers” site ($1 for the first month) and you will get access to past EXPOs with your membership. Along with that, you also get great online classes, “printables” and planners! I have loved the site. Below you can see what others thought of it also:

 

Free Digital Scrap-booking Pages from “MyMemories”

One of the things that I love about the easy to use “MyMemories Suite” digital scrap-booking program is all the free items they give me to use with the program!

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Happy Independence Day!

Every Friday I get a “Friday Freebie” in my inbox! In the past there have been crafty type items to print out as well as scrapbook pages. You can get free embellishments and background papers too.

I just thought I would share the link to this cute free page from designer, “Touched by a Butterfly”.

You can get 25% your purchases at the “MyMemories” website until July 6th and get a FREE photo-book when you purchase the software.

This software is user-friendly as well as inexpensive.

I hope you will check it out and use my code to get $10 off the purchase price of the software:

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“Like” them on Facebook to have a chance to win a free download of the latest version of the #1 rated scrap-booking software! MyMemories Facebook Page

Note: this post contains an affiliate code, so if you use it, you can get the discount and I get more $ to spend on digital addictions like my scrap-booking :)

 

Make Your Own Natural Air Freshener Spray

Make Your Own Natural Air Freshener

Strong smells and chemicals have always been a problem for myself and my hubby. He will actually get a headache from some strong smells, so I have always tried to avoid them.

I really like to have lightly scented candles and natural potpourri sitting around to “scent” the air, but I have been wanting to replace “spray” air fresheners for a long time because of the chemicals they use in them. (Who even knows what is in them!?)

My latest experiment involves Witch Hazel instead of Isopropyl Alcohol which is what I used first. Some recipes call for wood grain alcohol or vodka as well. I switched because the Witch Hazel has a lower amount of alcohol in it and I don’t have to worry as much about the spray damaging any wood furniture or cabinets that it might touch.

This simple recipe is working great:

Natural Air Freshener Spray

Ingredients: Witch Hazel, Essential Oils, 2 oz spray bottle

Directions: fill the spray bottle with the Witch Hazel and then add the essential oil drops. I used about 30 drops of Aura Cacia’s Lavender essential oil for a lavender-scented spray and around 20 drops of peppermint for a peppermint scented one.

Add the liquid before you add your oils- the concentrated oils sometimes can react with the plastic.

Both of the sprays I made have a refreshing, clean smell and I don’t have to worry about what else might be in them!

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Stay tuned for another post in the near future about natural room fresheners such as herbal potpourri!