Making Your Own U.S. History Resource Books

My husband and I often talk about the idea of homeschooling our children.  And at the very least, we will definitely be supplementing their education at home.  I know a lot of my readers are home school moms, and I know even more of you who are not homeschool moms like to have learning activities for your kids.

So with 4th of July upon us, I decided to share one of my ideas for part of a U.S. history curriculum.  As a history major myself, I believe the best way to teach our kids about U.S. history and government is to go to the original documents and sources, so we can draw our own conclusions.  However, we may not always have these immediately at our finger tips.  And if you’re on a budget it may be difficult to buy all the books and materials you’d like, so one of my ideas is to create a History Resource Book.
Essentially you’ll just need a 3-ring binder, and you will fill it with the documents and resources that you’d like to have on hand to share with your kids.  Documents to have in your book include copies of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  I’d also include a list of the presidents, states & capitals, a timeline of events, and basic facts about the government and how it’s structured.  It could also include a copy of the Articles of Confederation and a copy of The Federalist Papers, especially if you’re doing a close study of American colonial history.
To get you started on making your History Resource Book, I’ve looked up these documents for you, as well as some other pages which may be helpful to you.
Historical Timeline  – While I don’t emphasize the memorization of dates, I always find it helpful to have a general timeline for reference purposes and in order to keep track of when events happen in relationship to other events.  Here’s a comprehensive timeline of United States history, from the original landing at Roanoke up to the 2009 inauguration.  This is also a good list for general historical topics of study.
Declaration of Independence – Full text. And resource links.
Articles of Confederation – Full text of our first constitution.
United States Constitution – Full text of the Constitution, including Ammendments, signers, important dates, notes, and sources.
The Federalist Papers – Full text of The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 articles/essays advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution.
Presidents of the United States – I’ve always found it curious that I never had to memorize the Presidents in school.  This site not only has a list of the Presidents and the years of the term(s) in office, but each President has his own page of facts, including their homestate, religion, party, election results, cabinet secretaries, major events, and interesting facts. (I think it would be great to go down the list and teach about one president each week, and these facts would give you a good foundation to start and be a good quick reference for the kids to refer to.)
Government 101 – and wikipedia may not be legitimate sources for your college papers, but I usually find them helpful when I need to look up some basic facts or background on a subject.  This page breaks down the three branches of government for you, and there’s also a section on Federalism and our historic documents. List of all the 50 states. You can also look up all the state flags, birds, flowers, and seals. They also have all the state governors, famous people, statistics on the states, state mottos, attraction, and more.  (It could be fun to look up all the information on your homestate and share it with your child. Also, I think kid’s might enjoy looking at all the flags, or even reading the state mottos.)

USA Flag – This site teaches about the history of the flag and also rules of etiquette regarding the flag.  And there’s also lyrics to some patriotic songs and some links to other resources.

Other Sources: Government Made Easy All the basic information on the current agencies of government and our current offcials, including biographical and contact information. There’s a list of all the current Executive Departments/Cabinets (definitely worth learning!).  And there’s even an A-Z index of all the U.S. Departments and Agencies with links to all their websites (probably not worth printing because there are so many—but definitely a must see, just to give you an idea of how big the government really is).
I recommend the following two books as secondary sources: One is a history of the United States, and the other is about the Founders and the 28 Principles of Freedom, upon which the country was founded.


Friday Favorites – Week 19


I’m excited to report that we had the most link ups yet at last week’s party, a total of 46! Thanks everyone for sharing your posts here!  I guess you could call this week’s post the 4th of July edition of Friday Favorites, but personally I’d try these ideas any time of year!
And if you’re looking for some more ideas for the holiday weekend check out my 4th of July Links post for printables, worksheets, crafts, and more. I also posted some Kid’s 4th of July Fashion earlier this week, and tomorrow I’m posting some links and ideas for older kids and the whole family.  I also promised a giveaway for this week, however, I’m going to have to postpone this until next week. So stay tuned!
Now let’s check out our featured posts.  If you’re featured, please take a “featured” button for your blog!

Cupcake anyone? I’m sure these hamburger cupcakes and “fries” would be a big hit any back yard barbecue! Find out how to make these at There Was a Bright Flash of Light.

I just love this 4th of July tin can craft from Marvelously Messy. Go check out her other designs and get the tutorial. 

Don’t these look good?  I was very surprised to find out what’s in these Vegetarian Barbecue Bites from Angie’s Healthy Living Blog.  I’m definitely gonna have to give these a try!

Here’s a great activty for kids that doubles as a piece of decor.  This conversation jar idea from Just Sew Sassy can help you and your family to learn and discuss patriotic holidays and our history.
Yum! I love new takes on old favorites! You can learn how to make these S’mores on a Stick at Melanies Crafts.

I’m very excited to try this recipe!  These are homemade Three Musketeers from Let’s Dish. Be still, my beating heart! 

Links To Kid’s 4th of July Activities

If you’re looking for some fun activities and learning exercises to help teach your kid’s about the 4th of July and/or the history of the United States, this post is for you.  This short list of links will provide you with all the worksheets, printables, project ideas, and learning activities you need for your kids of all ages.

Also, check back in a couple of days, because I’ll be posting some links to resources for older kids and more advanced studies!

Conversation Jar at Just Sew Sassy – One of our blog friends and Friday Favorites participants, Staci, linked up this great post last week.  It gives you a tutorial on how to make a conversation jar, to teach your kids about our history and patriotic holidays.

Apples for the teacher has a lot of coloring sheets, worksheets, printables, craft projects, a reading list of kid’s books, and other great stuff for 4th of July.

Kaboose also has some 4th of July printables for you.

Family Fun has a ton of 4th of July crafts, recipes, and printables.

Activity Village has compiled together a lot of information, quizzes, activity sheets, crafts, etc.

Primary Games had a few color sheets that I thought were cute.

Brighthub has a user article that gives some ideas for lesson plans for preschool children.

Twiggle Magazine has some 4th of July recipes and snacks to make with the kids.


Fun Kid’s Fashions for 4th of July

Whenever I start to work on holiday-themed posts, I usually spend most of my time on food, crafts, and decor.  But today, I’m focusing on fashion!  Kid’s fashion to be exact!   I looked around and found some really cute and fun kid’s fashion items for the 4th.  Here’s just a few of the things I found. Some of these are items you can purchase online, while others are fun fashion crafts that you can make at home.  And all of them will look great on your little patriot!

Red, White, and Blue and oh-so cute! I found this adorable personalized 4th of July shirt at My Little Pumpkin Designs on etsy.

I thought this bald eagle shirt was just too cute!  Head over to Family Fun for the tutorial.

Another great fashion craft. It’s quite easy and economical to make this 4th of July crown from Family Fun.  How festive!

More 4th of July head gear.  Head over to Celebrations to find out how to make this Firecracker Hat.

I found these adorably sweet flip flops at Associated Content.  Then I followed the link and found them for sale, along with a lot of other cute fashion items at Oh So Cheeky Boutique.


4th of July Flag Treats

I just love new spins on old favorites!  I found these 4th of July Flag Treats on Class Brain.  Wouldn’t these be great to serve to the kids this weekend?  The Class Brain site also has other activities, worksheets, etc for the 4th.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need and the instructions to to make the treats.
What you’ll need:

Crispy rice treats
Airheads® Cherry bars
Airheads® White Mystery bars
Airheads® Blue Raspberry bars
Small kitchen knife or scissors
Small star-shaped cookie cutter (optional)

Cut crispy rice treats into rectangles. Cut part of an Airheads® Blue Raspberry bar to make the upper blue corner of the flag. Cut alternating strips of Airheads® Cherry and White Mystery to make the flag’s stripes. Arrange pieces on crispy rice treat. Trim to fit. Using either a star-shaped cookie cutter, or by hand, cut out a star shape from an Airheads® White Mystery bar. Place star on the blue square. And you’re done!

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Berry Cheesecake

Next week I’ll be back with some of my own creations, but till then I have another great recipe from Taste of Home. It is a very scrumptious, delectable berry cheesecake. This is a perfect summertime treat complete with festive coloring for your 4th of July party.

Recipe for Berry Cheesecake:


8 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup strawberry jelly

1 cup whipped topping

Sliced fresh strawberries and additional blueberries, optional

Directions: Place one phyllo sheet in a greased 9-in. pie plate; brush with butter. Repeat seven times; trim edges. Bake at 425° for 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned (center will puff up). Cool on a wire rack. For filling, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into crust. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes; cover edges with foil to prevent overbrowning. Bake 23-27 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate until chilled. In a small bowl, beat jelly until smooth; spread over filling. Spread with whipped topping. Garnish with strawberries and additional blueberries if desired. Yield: 6-8 servings.



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Patriotic Cupakes

This week’s recipe comes from Taste of Home. Their website is full of great recipes for all occasions, and they have great magazines that are very affordable.

These Patriotic cupcakes would be perfect for your Fourth of July party or picnic, and you could use different colors of food coloring for other occasions as well. It’s very easy and fun recipe that all you cupcakes fans should love.

Recipe for Patriotic Cupcakes:
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Red, white and blue sprinkles
Directions: Prepare cake batter according to package directions. In a small bowl, combine 1-1/3 cups batter and blue food coloring. In another bowl, combine 1-1/3 cups batter and red food coloring. Leave remaining batter plain. Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 2 tablespoons red batter, 2 tablespoons plain batter and 2 tablespoons blue batter. Bake at 350° for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with vanilla frosting; decorate with sprinkles. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.



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Blessed With Grace.
Homemaker Mondays is hosted by
11th Heaven’s Homemade Haven.
Making A Happy Home Monday is hosted by
As For Me and My House….
Make Something Monday is hosted by
Go Graham Go! and Jolly Mom and Diana Rambles.
Tasty Tuesday is hosted by
Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.
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Blissfully Domestic.
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Life as Mom.
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We Are THAT Family
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Help the Troops this Election Day

On this election day, I’ve chosen to write a post about a non-partisan cause that anyone and everyone can get behind. With all the campaign rhetoric and the talk of the “economic crisis” we seem to have forgotten that our soldiers have been fighting for our freedom overseas, and since Veteran’s Day is coming up, as well as the holiday season, I think it’s a perfect time to highlight some charitable organizations that help our men and women overseas.

So for today’s post I’d like to tell you about the 2008 Thanksgiving Thank You Project. This is a project to help our wounded veterans. All you have to do is visit the website and put your name & other information in the form to send a Thank You/Get Well card to a wounded Veteran. You also have the option of writing a personal message to the veteran. This only takes a minute or two of your time, and it will give the card a much more personal sentiment. You also have an option of giving a donation to the wounded veterans, but this is not required. Please take a moment to go here and send a card to our wounded troops. It’s the least we can do for our wounded vets.

I also encourage you to take a look at Operation Homefront. This organization does a lot to help military members and their families. They provide assistance in emergencies and they provide financial assistance, furniture & appliances, baby items, car donations/repairs, and other items and services for those in need. Their organization also has adopt-a-family opportunities & programs to send holiday gift baskets to military families. You can also visit Ecarepackage, which is a part of Operation Homefront. At this website you can learn about how you can sponsor a military member or family.

Also, check out The Wounded Warrior Project, which works to raise awareness of the needs of severely wounded vets and works to provide aid and services to these vets.

Hope you’re all having a good election day, and I hope you all consider giving to one of these great charities this holiday season. Thanks!

Recipe of the Week: Red, White, & Blue Shortcake

For this week’s recipe, I’ve chosen a simple, yet lovely shortcake recipe from Betty Crocker. Doesn’t it look fabulous? And even though it’s a 4th of July recipe, I think this one is definitely fit to stick around for the entire summer!

1 1/2 quarts strawberries, sliced (6 cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 2/3cups Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar
1. Mix strawberries and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Let stand 1 hour.
2. Heat oven to 425ºF. Mix Bisquick mix, milk, cherries, 6 tablespoons sugar and the butter until soft dough forms.
3. Gently smooth dough into ball on surface sprinkled lightly with Bisquick mix. Knead 10 times. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 3-inch star-shaped or round cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Stir blueberries into strawberries. Beat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Split shortcakes in half. Fill and top with berries and whipped cream.

Recipe of the Week: Flag Cake

This week’s recipe comes from Duncan Hines. It’s a very festive and patriotic looking cake that would be perfect for the Fourth of July. It’s a fairly light dessert that will add color and style to your buffet or dinner table, and it’s sure to taste great!

• 1 White Cake Mix
• 1 (3 oz) pkg red flavor gelatin
• 1 (8 oz) container whipped topping
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/2 cup cold water
• 1 pint strawberries
• 1 cup blueberries
• 1 cup miniature marshmallows
• aluminum foil/fancy foil – color of your choice
• star shaped stickers
• miniature American candy flags
Baking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch pan.
2. Prepare, bake and cool cake according to package directions.
3. Use a large fork to make holes in the cake about every 1/2-inch.
4. Pour gelatin into a large bowl. Add boiling water and mix until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in cold water. Pour gelatin over the cake allowing it to run into the holes.
5. Refigerate cake for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
6. Cover a cake tray with aluminum foil then place on tray to decorate.
7. Frost the sides and top with whipped topping. Then arrange strawberries, blueberries and marshmallows on the cake to create a ‘stars & stripes’ pattern. Use the blueberries to create a blue background in the upper left hand corner.
8. Take your foil stars and minature American flags and decorate the sides of the cake. Once you have finished decorating the cake, place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.