Friday, July 11, 2014

The first ever "Build Your Bundle" - Homeschool Edition sale is almost here!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

You can enter to win $100 towards your purchase to use when the sale goes live on 7-21-14! Enter now through 11:59PM EST on 7-20-14. The winner will be announced the day the sale starts!

Be sure to look for the special coupon code you will get when you pin the giveaway on Pinterest!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Enter to win $100 towards your purchase!

For one week only (July 21-28) save up to 92% on bestselling homeschooling products, including MANY on Cathy Duffy's Top 100 list!

Not interested in entering the giveaway, but you want to be reminded when the sale goes live? They will send you a reminder email! Click here and enter your email address and click "Remind Me!"

Take a Sneek Peek at Our Bundles:

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Tots & Preschoolers Bundle

This Bundle includes products for little ones:
  • Character Training Resources
  • Handwriting Curriculum
  • Preschool & Toddler Activities
  • Bible Curriculum
  • Full Preschool Curriculum
  • & More!

Kindergarten - 3rd Grade Bundle

The K-3 Bundle includes products in the following subjects:
  • Reading
  • Math
  • Science
  • History
  • Handwriting
  • Character Training
  • Bible Resources
  • Full Kindergarten Curriculum
Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Elementary: 4th-6th Bundle

The 4th-6th Bundle includes products in the following subjects:
  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Math
  • Bible
  • Keyboarding
  • Writing Guides
  • Handwriting andCopywork Resources
  • Timeline Cards & Notebooking Pages
  • Customizable Homeschool Planner

Middle School Bundle

This bundle features a full language arts curriculum from Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 picks and two science curricula, one of which is also from Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 picks, as well as:
  • A Complete Geography and History Curriculum
  • History Timeline/Book of Centuries
  • Renaissance and Reformation Notebooking Pages
  • Classical Music Curriculum
  • Creative Writing Course
  • Math Materials
  • Keyboarding Course
Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Bundle for High Schoolers

This bundle features:
  • New Testament Bible Curriculum
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • A full year of math curriculum
  • Resources for World History and Geography
  • Philosophy
  • Home Economics
  • College Prep Tools
  • Grammar
  • Creative Writing Course
  • Anatomy Science Unit study from Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 picks, and more!
You will receive enough materials for a full year of high school!

Charlotte Mason Bundle

This bundle features a complete curriculum using the Charlotte Mason Methods for:
  • Language Arts
  • Handwriting, and Reading
  • Geography
  • Nature Study
  • Artists Study
  • Poetry
  • And a variety of "extras" just for mom!

    Learn all about Charlotte Mason and enjoy a special bonus (a $90 value all by itself) of great, classic audio books!
Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks! Bundle Just for Moms!

Save money, strengthen your marriage, and streamline your schedule using our Mom Bundle. Find the encouragement you need and the insight to speak to your child’s heart (even that difficult child!). Whip your home into shape and train your children to do their chores effectively using a popular book "chores program".

This bundle brims with useful tools to help you bring calm to the chaos. Get them all for just $10!

"Build Your Own" Bundles

Our "Build Your Own" bundles offer you the opportunity to select a certain number of products with a retail price of $19.99 or less for up to 80% off! We have MANY items to choose from, including Cathy Duffy Top 100 Picks!

When you purchase a combination of any 2 "Build Your Own" bundles, you will get the 3rd one at 50% off!

Build Your Bundle - Homeschool Edition Sale: July 21-28 Save up to 92% on Popular Homeschooling Curriculum, Many from Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trial & Error Summer: Screen Addiction

Summer vacation is coming up!!  Every year, I enjoy the month of May.  While my oldest is still in school and my husband is still working, the house is quiet and I can get a lot done.  But this year, the house is quiet and I'm stuck on the couch keeping my leg elevated.  The silence is making my cabin fever worse!

This summer I hope to write about how we deal with boredom in our house.  The easiest part of that is to keep a schedule, so my kids know what to expect and when to expect it.  Mom & Dad are both home in the summer, so we get to travel and do all kinds of fun things!  I try to follow some simple homeschooling lessons to make sure nothing gained during the school year is lost.  And, we like take advantage of any community programs or activities that our kids might enjoy.

But, before we can do any of those things, we need to change our mindset a bit when it comes to dealing with "free time."

Screen Addictions

My goal this summer is to break a our addition to electronics.  Maybe it's because I've been sitting here for 8 weeks, but I am just sick of watching TV.  I still check Facebook fairly frequently to keep in touch with some long-distance friends, but I get bored very easily reading the same things over and over.  I listen to music on the iPad, but I had lost interested in Candy Crush months ago.  My husband doesn't use the computer when there aren't sports scores to check.  And, I haven't seen him play the Xbox360 for months.  It just gets old.

Landon came home on Monday and ran outside to play.  Then, when he was asked to come back in to get ready for Cub Scouts, he proudly protested that he had not been active for a whole hour yet and kids his age need to be active for one hour every day.  He also, proudly, announced that it's recommended that kids his age play video games for no more than 2 hours - each week.  Since Landon is the one who shared the news, he was a lot easier to win over than I expected!  The whole thing is practically his idea now!

Can I just pause say how blessed I am to have a child with a respect for research?  No arguments - Just "this what the experts say, so I better stop playing video games".

I've learned the best way to break an addiction is to replace it with something, so you're not bored!  For Landon, he's obviously decided to replace his video games with some active outdoor time.

What about the rest of us?  Of course, the baby arriving in July will provide us all with plenty of distractions...

We've switched to non-smart phones.  Chris just brought home a STACK of books from the Book Fair at his school.  He also got a disc golf basket that has been entertaining everyone, even Raegan!  We even talked about setting up a volleyball net in the backyard.  We are going to stay BUSY & ACTIVE!!

While I'm stuck here on the couch, we enjoy eating dinner as a family gathered around tray tables watching an episode of a favorite show.  We're still together, eating as a family, and it fulfills a little of everyone's TV addiction.  But, as soon as everyone is home, we're going to eat at the table on the back porch as much as possible!  My husband loves to grill, so he will be more than happy to cook for us in the sunshine!

I'm getting excited for summer... are you?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge {Day 7}

Day 6 Recap:  Since I took a day off from laundry on Day 5, I was worried about running out of diapers on Day 6.  But, I have 12 FST and I had not cut up my flannel sheet set yet.  Then my husband told me that the kids were going to my in-laws for the night... and I'm not asking them to participate in my handwashing challenge!!  So I have two clean flats left for Day 7 when everyone comes home and the rest of the diapers are soaking.

Overall Experience:  What did you learn?  Would you do it?

Overall, this wasn't very hard!  I could totally do this every day if I were home full time.  I could do a much better job of it if I had use of both of my legs, too.  If only I could have used my clothesline to sun some diapers!!

I really like reusable covers.  They cut down on diaper laundry dramatically.  I would much rather wash 5 FST and 2 covers (only 7 pieces from 5 changes)-- when I double stuff my pockets, I would have to wash 15 things for those 5 changes!!  I will just need to find somewhere else to hang my covers between uses when I don't need my walker anymore!

Diapers clean up much more easily when they are soaked.  I might use the soak cycle on my washer instead of the rinse to start off the laundry -- or maybe I'll soak the diapers in the pail for a bit before tossing them into the washer.

I love the spin cycle on my washing machine.  Wringing out diapers well enough so that they would dry inside was probably the worst part - and it wasn't even difficult, it was just a pain.  And, it could be because of my leg.  By the end of my washing routine, my foot was swollen and my ankle was hurting and wringing out diapers was the last thing I wanted to do.  But nonetheless, I miss my spin cycle.

Would I do it?  Yes!  I will definitely take my FSTs and covers on our next camping trip.  I will definitely use more flats & covers in our rotation.  I loved washing diapers with Raegan.  I loved how excited she would get every time we walked into the laundry room.  I just hope she gets this excited about the other chores I show her as the years go on!!

I will definitely be participating next year!!

Check out my other posts about the challenge:

Day 3:  Open Topic
Day 6:  Open Topic

Friday, May 16, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge {Day 6}

Day 5 Recap:  I am tired.  But, it really has nothing to do with the challenge.  If anything, the challenge has kept my mind off of how miserable I am.  But, last night my ankle hurt.  And, we didn't have any #2 diapers on Day 4... then Day 5 more than made up for it.  So, I took a break.  Handwashing on one leg is tough.  And this mama needed a day off from laundry.

What to do with the poop?

A lot of mamas use diaper sprayers to clean off diapers before tossing them in the diaper pail or wet bag.  I've also read a lot of bad reviews about diaper sprayers... I have a giant bathroom/laundry room on my first floor where I keep my diaper pail.  Luckily, the shower is right next to the toilet, so I can use the hand held shower head to spray off stubborn diapers.

But, that poses quite difficult on one leg with crutches.  So, since I became less mobile, I resorted to the "dunking" or "sloshing" method... which is basically to splash the diaper around in the toilet and flush until it comes clean.  It's a longer process, but it works.

A very nice lady named Heather Lucas in the Flats & Handwashing Challenge Facebook group offered me a ScrubADoozy to try out during the challenge.  I had never heard of a ScrubADoozy, but I was looking for something new!  A ScrubADoozy is basically an in-toilet washboard to assist in the dunking/sloshing process.

Installation was a breeze.  With some plain old 3M adhesive, I stuck the ScrubADoozy to the front side of the toilet bowl (which was actually slightly complicated, because I never realized how contoured the inside of my toilet bowl was!).  I let the adhesive dry as long as I could -- not the recommended 12 hours, because I'm pregnant and this is the only toilet I can access on my crutches.  But, it's holding up well, and if anything happens, I will get more adhesive and try again when I'm not limping and not being kicked in the bladder.

One of my biggest challenges with both spraying and dunking was getting the leg elastic clean on the covers.  No matter how much I dunked or what angle I sprayed, the elastics just never came perfectly clean.  With the ScrubADoozy I rub each side of the diaper on the washboard and everything comes off!  The washboard comes clean very easily with a single flush.  So easy!

Stay tuned for other posts about the challenge:

Day 3:  Open Topic
Day 6:  Open Topic

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge {Day 5}

Day 4 Recap:  Washing at night is a lifesaver, but it broke my little girl's heart!  The diapers were all dry by the time we woke up (7ish)!  But, when Raegan got up and started moving around, she brought me the plunger and my Buncha Farmers stain stick and said, "Coming, Mommy?"  I didn't realize it had already become part of her routine.  So, I made sure I washed the diapers before she fell asleep last night.

My Flats Experience:  Folds I love & How they're working.

We haven't been too adventurous with folds.  I can't get the FST to fit correctly inside the covers unless I use a pad fold.  And I don't really do an "official" pad fold either.  I fold the FST into quarters then I fold both sides into the middle and fold the whole thing in half.  I just lay that in the center of a cover and snap her up!  When I do any kind of wrap-around-snappi set-up, the sides stick out of the cover and cause leaks... no matter how much I jellyroll.

The only fold I have really used is the Happy Anteater.  I tried the Origami fold, but the wings were just too big, so I like the modification on the Happy Anteater.  This fold gives me that extra absorbency in the middle like a pad fold, but allows me to use the FST without a cover.  So, on the second day of the challenge, when my laundry wasn't drying nearly as quickly as I thought it would, we used some FST without covers until the laundry was done.

Raegan doesn't seem to care which style she wears.  But, it is sort of difficult to fold a large flat in any creative way while I'm stuck sitting here on the couch.  She gets impatient waiting for me to tweak and perfect the flat.  If I was more mobile and could fold things ahead of time (maybe even iron them!!) I may be more inclined to use a fancy fold.  For now I'm good with a plain old thick rectangle!!

Stay tuned for other posts about the challenge:

Day 3:  Open Topic
Day 6:  Open Topic

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flats & Handwashing Challenge {Day 4}

Day 3 Recap:  I washed twice yesterday.. which goes along perfectly with today's theme, "What is your washing routine?"  I washed in the morning as soon as I got up so I could have my husband hang everything on the clothesline while we went to a doctor's appointment.  Then, I checked the weather and saw it was supposed thunderstorm at 8 am, so I hung everything inside again..  It didn't rain.  At all.  So, when we got home (after I got my lovely pink cast), my awesome husband hung my laundry outside!!  Drying inside is taking forever, but it's supposed to rain the rest of the week.  So I decided to do laundry before bed, so it has all night to dry instead of waiting all day for new clean diapers.

What is your washing routine?

I don't think I could hand wash all the time, until my leg is healed, unless I figure out a way to get things to dry much more quickly!!  Other than that, I really don't mind it at all.  Washing & scrubbing are my favorite chores.  I love soaking my hands in hot soapy water.

We have only been using around 4-5 diapers per day and even fewer covers.  I'm using my diaper pail as a wash tub and our normal everyday plunger as the "agitator".  I hobble to the "bathroom" with my walker and plop down in the office chair (we have a very strange laundry/bathroom/office room in our house).  I'm sure the whole thing is rather comical with my broken leg propped up on my walker.  But, it goes something like this:

1.  Change diaper, rinse if necessary, toss in diaper pail
2.  After bedtime, fill pail with cold water, agitate for about 1 minute or until water is dirty.
3.  Dump diaper pail, refill with cold water, add diapers and agitate again.
4.  Dump again, treat any stains, fill diaper pail with hot water and add 1 tbsp detergent.
5.  Add diapers, soak for 30-45 minutes.
6.  Agitate diapers by "plunging" for 5 minutes.
7.  Dump diaper pail, rinse each diaper with shower head, toss back into diaper pail.
8.  Fill diaper pail with cold water to rinse.  Repeat if necessary, until soap is gone.
9.  Wring as much water as possible out of diapers & covers.  Hang to dry.

I dunk & slosh any diapers that need it right away (more on this during Day 6!), then toss them into the diaper pail.  When I'm ready to wash, I fill the diaper pail with just enough cold water from the shower to cover the diapers.  Using the plunger, I agitate the diapers until the water is dirty.  Then I dump the pail into the shower and repeat.

After the diapers are rinsed, I treat any stains with Buncha Farmers Stain Stick.  Since the diapers are already wet, I just rub the stick onto the stain and then work the soap into a lather.  I toss everything back into the diaper pail, add 1 tbsp of Rockin' Green Hard Rock (this is actually Raegan's job), and fill with hot water.  I agitate the diapers just enough to get the bubbles started and then I let everything soak for 30-45 minutes.

After soaking, I use the plunger to get the diapers really clean.  I do my best to "plunge" the diapers (helps pull the water through the fabric), but when my arms get tired I just stab at the diapers to keep them moving around.  After 5 minutes, I dump everything into the shower again and turn on the cold water.  I rinse each diaper with the shower head and toss it back into the diaper pail.  I do two more rinses, just like the ones I did in the beginning, to make sure all of the soap is out.

Wringing is the worst. I try to wring everything until it's not dripping.  I haven't really found the trick to wringing out the covers, but the FSTs themselves wring out nicely.  It's just a lot of work.  I'm glad there are only 4 or 5 diapers in the wash!

My only wish is that I could use my clothesline, but it's just too hard on one foot, especially with the threat of rain.  I am using a drying rack I borrowed from my mom and I use pants hangers to hang diaper covers when needed.  Sometimes I just drape the covers over the backs of the dining room chairs instead, because the dining room has a ceiling fan to keep the air circulating and dry everything a little faster.

Stay tuned for other posts about the challenge:

Day 3:  Open Topic
Day 6:  Open Topic

Flats & Handwashing Challenge {Day 3}

Day 2 Recap:  I totally got caught up in my work yesterday morning and completely forgot to change Raegan's diaper between 9am and 1pm.  Oops.  Then she fell asleep (and so did I) so she didn't get changed until late in the evening.  Good thing FSTs hold a lot!!  I haven't cut up my flannel sheet yet, because I can't get to my sewing machine and I'm worried that the edges will fray too much before I get a chance to serge them.

Today's blogging challenge is an open topic.  Since the theme of the week is diapers, I'm going to rave about my favorite diaper rash remedy. CJs BUTTer Spritz o BUTTer Plus

This fall, Raegan ended up with a terrible rash.  Every time she had a BM, it practically ate her skin away.  I've seen other moms call it "battery acid poo" and that's an accurate description.

We tried Desitin.  We tried A&D.

The poor girl would get these blisters and as soon as I wiped her to clean her bottom the blisters would break open and bleed.  It was so bad that I took her to the doctor to get it checked out.  The doctor assured me it was a yeast rash, which I had never heard of, so I started researching.

We tried prescription cream.  When that didn't work, we went back to the doctor.  We tried Aquaphor, which actually worked for a short period of time.  We tried coconut oil with a splash of tea tree oil.

Then I came across CJs BUTTer Spritz o BUTTer Plus.  It's designed specifically for yeast rashes, with all natural ingredients.  I got a tube of regular CJ's Butter first, because the store I ordered from was out of the PLUS formula.  The regular stuff worked.  It at least kept the rash from getting any worse.  But, as soon as the CJ's Butter PLUS Spritz arrived, her rash was gone.  I swear by the stuff.

I like that with the Spritz, I don't have to actually touch her rash (so no more irritating those blisters). The Spritz also has lasted us a lot longer than the tube of cream because it's easier to control how much you use each time.  And, the smell of the PLUS formula is strong but not bad.  It's better than the fishy smell of Aquaphor.  But, the best part was that CJ's is cloth diaper safe!!

Just to be safe, the day care started using our cloth diapers and they restricted her diet a bit (no acidic fruit or juice, low fat milk).  The day care even started using wet paper-towels instead of baby wipes!  They were super helpful.

She ended up getting another rash just last month when I broke my leg.  She was with family for a few days while I adjusted to life on crutches and she used a lot of disposable diapers.  It seemed like her rash came back almost instantly, but a few days with CJ's PLUS and it cleared up again.

I use regular scented CJ's Butter Spritz for normal diaper changes.  We just finished out our bottle of Tis the Season, which smells like Christmas cookies!  I have a bottle of Monkey Farts scented Spritz in her dresser, but I can't get upstairs to grab it!  The Spritz lasts forever!  Monkey Farts has to be my favorite scent so far.  Bananas & coconut.  I also got some Pink Sugar scented Spritz for a friend and that was pretty yummy smelling.  CJ's has a ton of fun scents that I want to try.... Narwhales & Unicorns, Mango Sugar & Mint, Blueberry Crumble, Pixie Pie.. and then they have seasonal scents!  Who knew cloth-diaper-safe rash cream could be so fun??