Earn money with Cash Crate

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nutty Autumn Apple soap

Nutty Autumn Apple lye soap
slices available: $2 each, about 3 oz. of homemade soap

made with: olive oil, coconut oil, water, lye, castor oil, fragrance, color, natural spices

photos of my new soap

New lye soap: Romance for Women type
Slices still available, $2 each
made with olive oil, coconut oil, water, lye, castor oil, fragrance, color

TOS Focus Group!!!!

I made it, I made it!!! Tonight I received an email from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine saying I made it into their focus group!!! *doing the happy dance* I had thought I was listed only as an alternate. Now I can try all those nifty free homeschool products! *dancing again* Not only that, but they are producing an e-book soon, and I may get a chance to write for that also, WITH PAY!!!! Whoo-hoo!
Just wanted to share. After a confusing last few months, this has been wonderful news.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Feels like we're starting over

Nick, my oldest, is now in 8th grade. 8th grade...I can't believe I am that old. We've been homeschooling since he was 4 years old. I remember all the feelings that came with starting to homeschool. Oh, there was fear alright ...mostly fear of what people would think of me, fear of being unable to do it, fear of getting in trouble with the law and complying to the laws in TN, fear that we might enjoy it and actually want to continue. But there was joy too, joy as I obeyed the Lord in my calling, joy as we succeeded, joy as we kept going and the Lord blessed our home, finances, husband's job; joy as we learned together. For 8 years now we've felt settled in our choice and for the most part, stayed joyful.

Then suddenly this monster called "high school" climbed out from under the bed with its clawed hands, ready to snatch away any dangling limbs we presented to it. It brings with it those same emotions I felt 8 years ago, but now they are stronger, more real...my son will be doing high school somewhere. Will it be home? Will it be public or private? I am torn at heart waiting for an answer from the Lord.

Questions run through my mind: can I handle his needs at home? Will he ever regret homeschooling? How can I possibly take my little ones on field trips/to parties with a high schooler who has to work 6 hours a day to get credits done? What about those difficult classes? If we keep him home to "try" 9th grade, then the public school might not let him in easily if we change our minds? Would his at-home credits transfer or would he then be behind? Once we start, it feels as though its a 4-year roller coaster ride that you cannot get off of.

Websites encourage me that this is actually the easy time to teach...I find it hard to believe. Credit hours must be logged. Social needs must be met. Curriculum is suddenly much more expensive than before. They say the high schooler is more of an independent learner and you are there to simply guide and correct. My umbrella school tells me this is the most important time to build Godly new adults. Home School Legal Defense lets me know that most colleges accept homeschoolers and actually look forward to having them. People do this everyday; those who do it with their hearts led by the Lord seem to be pumping out decent adult Americans. Maybe this is do-able...I know if it is the Lord's will, He will provide all we need. He's done it for 8 years.

Private school might be an option; as a Christian I want my son to continue building a Godly foundation in his life. But tuition is so expensive, about $3000 a year. I'd have to return to work for the sole purpose of paying for it. Yet, it offers all the fun of a high school setting without all of the ungodliness of the secular world....what to do?

I pray and pray some more and then decide to rest on it...wait for confirmation of the Lord's will.

Nick and I talk about it...too much...I am driving him crazy asking his opinion. I ask him does he like homeschooling...yes. Would he be content to continue on?...yes, is the answer, "as long as I can hang out with my friends a lot". Ok...I ask about private school. He says maybe, if we try high school at home and don't like it. I explain to him that we need to follow the Lord's leading and that we need to always be open to what He is showing us. Even if he someday shows us public schooling.

We agree that if nothing changes, we'll plan to try high school at home, using Blessed is the Man curriculum, plus a video Algebra 1 course, for 9th grade. We'll be sensitive to the Spirit and His perfect will in our lives. If things go well, we'll either continue on in this curriculum or perhaps use one of the high school correspondence programs such as Keystone or Citizens high school. Just to be sure we've covered all the bases. Homeschooling high school will be fine as long as 1) the Lod leads us 2) I get the hard courses on DVD 3) and we continue on in our extracurricular pursuits so Nick will always feel he has a life outside of home. Nick will probably stay in scouting , 4-H, and youth group, and maybe even go on to form a praise band. Then there are Jaycees sports that he can participate in each year, or perhaps continue on in his newly-found enjoyment of karate. It will be alright. *sigh* calm down..breathe. It will be alright is my new mantra.

As for me, I take refuge in the fact that God has blessed me with the knowledge and materials needed to start an in-home preschool. So if something ever feels wrong, and the Lord leads us to private schooling for high school, I have everything I need to start up my in-home preschool business and make the money I'll need to pay for tuition. Adrian and Ashleigh could continue on at home while I keep little ones, doing most of their work online or by using Lifepacs or Switched on Schoolhouse. Then, before we know it, they'll be approaching high school and once again, it'll be just like starting over. Say it again...it will be alright.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Them's fightin' words!

You want to rile up a SAHM mom real quick? Accuse of her of doing nothing all day. And if you say this to her after she's been up all night with a little one, well, you might not walk away with a head...attached anyway.

What did I do today? Well, let's see--it begins right after midnight...I went to bed at 2 am after making two new batches of lye soap (Nutty Autumn Apple and Grapeseed Exfoliating) and a batch of homemade grape jelly (my first time to make it...good stuff). Slept pretty good and awoke at 9 am to the sound of hubby ripping, I mean using packaging tape in the kitchen. Shut the door and tried to return to sleep but it never came back. Got myself and the kids up and while they did their morning chores, I checked emails. Sent out 4 emails to our homeschool group, checked on the cost of allergy drops, and downloaded a freebie for school. Updated Adobe reader. Got the kids started on silent reading while I showered and prayed and enjoyed the quiet of the bathroom. Ate...I think. Threw in a load of clothes. Got the preschooler dressed. Back to the "schoolroom" for a white-board lesson on the Old Testament. Let the kids take an online quiz on the Renaissance. Let them then help me write up a longer test on the Renaissance using their study notes. Used www.easytestmaker.com to make the test. Used the test as a study guide and helped kids work through it.

Then sent the kids out to jump on the trampoline as I called the guitar lesson lady to get this week's homework assignment and the hairstylist to set up appointments. Tossed a frozen dinner and some veggies in the microwave while making a to-do list. Put clothes in dryer. No wait, forgot the fabric softener. *sigh* Tossed them back into the washer, added the softener, and started the rinse cycle again. Finished lunch and tossed them back in dryer. Called kids in to wash up and eat. Let the kids watch a 30 minute Bible show while I labeled bath and body product samples for giveaway, and then we were off to the orthodontist for band adjustments. Ran by the post office to mail out hubby's Ebay and left the clerks with samples.

Back at home started schoolwork again. While oldest used time4learning.com to do math, I set the printer to print out my 75- page Mineral Girlz consultant manual. Glanced at the home party section while middle child began 2 saxon math sheets. Checked on both boys and then went to gather clothing and items from closet for a consignment sale. Tagged multiple items and then came back to couch to work in unit with all three kids. I read aloud from our daily lesson plan and we covered more of the Renaissance, including Italy's city-states, the RCC, and the transition from the middle ages to the Renaissance. The boys copied their spelling words two times each and we were done...5:20 pm. *sigh again*

Kids had free time while I went back to finish the consignment sale labeling. Noticed a sack of clothes I had missed. Oh, they smelled musty. Another load to the washer. Took out the dry load from earlier (wadded). Tried to smooth them down somewhat. Hung them on the appropriate doorknobs for the kids to put away.

Fixed dinner...leftover chicken wraps for all. The boys took Ashleigh to jump again as I tagged more stuff. Crying...an injury...kid down. Nick returned a teary-eyed Ash to me, saying he thought she had broken her little toe. I took a look at "broken toe" (which was red and swelling somewhat) and applied an icepack and did some snuggling. Gave a bit of Tylenol to invalid. Held her until she fell asleep. Put her down to return to tagging, and finally finished it. Yay!

Checked emails to find I made it into the alternates list of writers for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Good enough.

Cleaned up soap mess from night before and called for boys to do the dishwasher and shower. Awakened Ash to change into jammies and brush teeth since she was sweating anyway, and put her back to bed. Got big boys off to bed and sat down to read up on Mineral Girlz. Dad called home to see how we were. Got back online and found a site called Cafemom...joined it. Got sidetracked by a game that tests your intelligence. Played it for a bit and then began looking over preschool lessons for this week's homeschool co-op. Ash woke up for a drink and snack. Wide awake from her "nap", she watched a Dora video while I blogged. Then finally, one bedtime story later, at 1:14 am, I fell into bed.

Don't tell me SAHMs don't work---"them's fightin' words!!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

make your own cocoa butter body kisses

Ladies...this is one delightful way to pamper dry skin. What's that you say? "Its not even fall yet; my skin isn't dry." Well, give it a few months and you'll be wishing you had some of these little gems to slather on that alligator hide (and then you'll thank me for sharing this little secret with you. ). Make some for your honey and give him a little massage by the fireside on a cold January evening and I am sure he'll thank me too. :)

Mix 2 parts cocoa butter (melted) to one part oil of choice (olive is good, Castor is good, but I like sweet almond oil best). Add in a tsp. or so of your favorite skin-safe fragrance oil (optional but makes them nicer and more personal). Mix and pour into tart-shaped candy molds to set. Pop out when hardened and store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

To use:
drop one into tub to melt OR rub onto damp skin after shower. Let soak into skin for a moment before toweling off. Caution: Tub/shower will be slippery! But you will be soft, glowing, smelling so divine! Remember that these are designed to melt on contact with skin and will melt in the slightest heat. But that's okay and your melted kisses are just as usable.

Choose your scent with the idea that cocoa butter tends to smell like yummy chocolate. Scents like mint, cherries, German chocolate cake, etc. are great! "Chocolate-covered cherries" are my favorite "kisses" to date, followed by "Butter cream Frosting" and "Toasted Marshmallow"...YUM-a-YUM!

Need some bath & body supplies? Just ask and I can order some for you.

soaping business goes down the drain

That could be the title of a newspaper headline soon. The FDA is trying to pass new regulations on small soap/cosmetics businesses that would put many farmer's market/hobby sellers/mom and pop businesses out. If this new regulation passes, it is my understanding that all soap/cosmetic businesses would have to pay $2000 a year just to be legal and operate. For myself, that won't happen. I barely sell enough soap to cover my website fees and supplies. But lest you think I am crying out for sales or money, let me say that I have been okay with that knowledge from day 1. A creative person I am; a salesperson I ain't and never have been. Would I like to make extra cash from home doing something I love? Well, SURE! But I knew when I began if I could just start out earning enough to cover my own hobby money and keep homeschooling no. 1 at the same time, would be fine and dandy. So I prayed for the Lord to grow my business only if He knew 1) it would not take me to a new level of insanity 2) or keep me from my family; so far, He has chosen not to grow it much so that tells me He is protecting me from something. He has blessed my husband with a great job and we are taken care of and my piddle money doesn't mean much anyway in the great scheme of things.

But I do feel for those for whom their soaping business is their only livelihood. I know of another homeschooling mom who has a soaping business online, and she has many serious health problems that would prevent her from working outside the home, including battles with cancer. I can't imagine what stronger regulations might do to her company or to the suppliers we all buy from.

I became a consultant for a few other bath/body/cosmetic companies months ago, just to be able to offer a variety of items that are more upscale in their look than my hand-made goods. I know I can fall back on them and really work those businesses and probably make good, so I am still not panicking. But I hate to see others who have no other means lose their income over more govt. intrusion. It's in the name of safety to the public, but it makes me wonder if the big cosmetic companies aren't behind it to wipe out the little people and have more customers to themselves...I feel more "conspiracy theory-ish" the older I get....


back to the grind

Well, after 2 weeks of "gradual schooling", we are back at it full-force. We are working on our newest unit study on the Renaissance and Reformation, and for the first time in a long time, I am actually bored. I usually love history. We are only on unit day 3 and yet it feels like we have been doing this one for weeks.

I still blame it on my lack of a real (translated LAZY) summer vacation (we had to year-round school last year due to sicknesses, deaths, and getting behind due to other issues), so I guess I am just not in the mood for hands-on projects and 300-page library books and worksheets just yet. I wonder if perhaps I am losing my touch with unit studies? We have used them almost exclusively since the fateful day we began homeschooling the oldest in pre-k...could it be that I am actually growing weary of them? I am finding myself thinking more often, with delicious anticipation, of the children working on Lifepacs this year, with mom grading finished papers and not much of anything else. Less work planning...less work making projects..less work trying to assign a fair grade to those projects...yes, workbooks would be the easier way for me to go this year. But I look back on past units...how we studied the ancient Egyptians and made mummies and a model of the Nile river; how we studied Creation and the universe and its wonders; how we came to the Middle Ages and learned so much we never knew about Europe, the plagues, castles, and the daily life of the people who lived then via our projects and so many wonderful read-alouds. I know if we had only used workbooks and texts, out learning experiences wouldn't have been as rich. So, onward we go. Tomorrow we meet Queen Elizabeth!