All posts by Carol

IncuTherm Plus Review

Guess what!

A new batch of fluff balls has arrived.

quail chicks

Now, you are probably wondering why I’m hatching out quail in the dead of winter. This is why. I was asked to review a product for Incubator Warehouse. They sent me an IncuTherm and an IncuTherm Plus to try.

My first reaction? They work great.

This product is one of the best buys you can get to improve your hatch rate. It not only helped me to regulate the humidity in the incubator, but my quail hatched a day early. I have always had trouble with reading hygrometers with a dial. Dials are hard to read and take time to change with fluctuations in the humidity. With the IncuTherm and IncuTherm Plus, I can tell what the humidity is inside the incubator instantly.

The IncuTherm is an instrument that measures the humidity and temperature in your incubator.

incutherm

The IncuTherm Plus has a probe that goes through the vent hole of the incubator.

incutherm plus

I like the IncuTherm Plus better because it is easier to read and does not fog up with high humidity levels.

So, I strongly suggest buying this product. I had 10 out of 19 eggs hatch. That’s a 50% hatch rate. To purchase your own IncuTherm product, visit the Incubator Warehouse website today.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments,

JKA–The Chicken Boy

(I didn’t want to say anything, but then thought you would want to know my son, aka The Chicken Boy, wrote this post. When Incubator Warehouse approached me about reviewing a product, I thought he would be the best candidate for the job. And why not get a homeschool writing assignment out of the deal, right? Furthermore, Incubator Warehouse provided us with these products to review in exchange for this post. We have given our honest opinion in their usage and quality. Blessings, Carol)

Housekeeping Details

I know, I have been AWOL around here, lately.

BUT I wrote a book. And it’s done! And it is being released on Monday! Don’t you just love the cover?

homestead cooking with carol

Maybe you already heard that. Maybe you ventured to open one of the emails I’ve been bombarding my readers with this week. I hope it’s not too much. I’m just excited as all get out.

Please hop over to Everything Home with Carol on Monday for the release and drop by the Everything Home with Carol Facebook page between 8-10 pm EST on Monday for our Facebook party on homestead cooking. I covet your input.

Speaking of input…

I’ve already mentioned that I’m planning on combining this blog with the Everything Home with Carol blog soon. (It’s gotten postponed because I’ve been so busy with my book.) So if you get emails from that blog, don’t get alarmed and please, don’t mark them as spam. I’ve combined my email lists so that I don’t miss anyone.

So, here’s what I want the input on. What kind of questions do you have about homeschooling on the homestead? Really. I want this space to be useful for you, not just another message to clutter up your inbox. I want to be of value. So let me have it. You can leave your questions in the comments, email me, ask them on the Facebook page. Whatever. Just ASK. 🙂 And then I will gear my posts to what you want to know.

Speaking of posts…

Here’s what I have coming up. The chicken boy has been busy. We have a batch of newly hatched quail in our living room right now. I know, folks don’t normally hatch chicks in the dead of winter. But he was reviewing a product and will be writing a post about it for you. So stay tuned about that.

quail chick

And the chicken boy’s little brother has not been sitting idly by. In fact, he’s been quite the entrepreneur himself. And I want to share his efforts with you.

Also, my regular column “Homeschooling on the Homestead” in From Scratch Magazine is due out February 1st. So if you don’t subscribe (it’s free) do so now.

Guess that about covers the housekeeping for now.

Blessings to ya,

Black Friday/Cyber Monday E-Book Sale

Lessons from the Homestead ebooksGet My Lessons from the Homestead E-books at a Greatly Discounted Price

Friday, November 29 through Monday at midnight, December 2

Here’s how it works:

Want just one or two of the Lessons from the Homestead series? Then it’s Buy One/Get One FREE. Simply go to the tab above for the e-book you wish to purchase and click the Buy Now button. Once you log into your PayPal account, click on the Add button next to “Note to Seller.” When the text box opens, type me a note letting me know which e-book you would like for free. When I get your payment for the first book, I will email you your free one.

BUT, if you want the Lessons from the Homestead 5-E-book Set, it is on sale for $10.95. That’s $4 less than the normal price, and half of what it would cost to buy them individually. To snag this special offer, go here. At the bottom of the page, put “holidayspecialvol1” (without the quotation marks) in the Discount Code box and click on Buy Now. The discount will be applied.

Don’t forget, this offer expires at midnight on Monday!

Blessings for a peaceful Thanksgiving and Christmas season with loved ones,

Homeschool Co-ops 101 Review and Giveaway

homeschool co-ops 101

Essential co-op tools, tips, and options for today’s homeschool families.

Thinking about joining or starting a homeschool co-op? Not sure if a co-op is a good fit? Homeschool Co-ops 101 weighs the pros, cons, and creative options available for today’s homeschool family.

  • Section 1 includes essential, digestible info on co-op ingredients such as planning and organization, schedules, teaching, finances, and addressing conflict and burnout.
  • Section 2 shares a sampling of co-op games and activities, and
  • Section 3 contains five hands-on unit studies. These ready to use studies include lessons on Leonardo da Vinci, Birds of Prey, Public Speaking, Tall Tales, and Creative Writing, and are suitable for co-op or home use. This section also includes unit study guidelines that are easily customized to suit any topic.
  • Section 4 offers suggested books, curriculum, and other resources.

Karen Lange has gathered insight from years of co-oping and now shares her own and others’ experiences in this valuable and encouraging handbook.

Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available at:

~~~Amazon~~~

~~~Barnes and Noble~~~

~~~Kobo~~~

karen langeAbout the Author

Karen Lange, her husband, and three children were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her experience includes serving as a local homeschool support group coordinator and consultant for a state homeschool network in New Jersey. Karen’s children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for homeschooled teens.

You can connect with Karen at her Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.

homeschool co-ops 101

 

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The Giveaway

Open to US addresses only. One person will receive a $25 Amazon GC and a copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101. Please use the Rafflecopter below to be entered:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be chosen from those entries and announced December 5, 2013. Good luck!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as e-mailed, and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Diane at That’s What I’m Here For… and sponsored by the author, Karen Lange. The author provided me with a free copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free book.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Interview with Karen Lange–Author of Homeschool Co-ops 101

homeschool coopsToday I have a special treat for you. A couple years ago, I reviewed this little booklet on Everything Home called The Only Homeschool Co-op Booklet You Need To Start Your Very Own Best Co-op Ever! by my friend and our guest contributor Karen Lange. Well, since that time, her little booklet was picked up by a traditional publisher and re-done BIG! The result: Homeschool Co-ops 101.

If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you know that co-ops can be a lifesaver. If you are struggling with homeschooling, thinking your kids need a teacher besides mama, some social interaction, or otherwise a change of pace, maybe you need to consider starting or joining a co-op. Well, this is the book to tell you all about it.

Today, I want to share a little chat with you that I had recently with Karen. Next week, I will have a full-fledged review of Homeschool Co-ops 101. So, please, let’s welcome Karen Lange.

Karen, I’m so glad you could talk with me today. I know the readers will enjoy hearing from you again. Please, tell us how long you homeschooedl your children?

Carol, thank you for inviting me to stop by! My husband and I homeschooled our two sons and daughter for grades K-12 for a total of 16 years.

What made you decide to start a homeschool co-op for your kids?

When we began homeschooling in 1987, we wanted to find a balance between real-life learning and traditional education. In addition, we had an audience that included extended family, many who were elementary and high school teachers. So we were motivated to provide a good, balanced experience for our kids.   

 Co-ops provided great opportunities to interact with families that shared our philosophy.  Our first co-op was with one other family and it was a great experience for the kids when they were younger (grades pre-K through second). Through co-ops, we experienced hands-on learning, socialization, and lots of fun. Our desire was not to duplicate the traditional school experience, but to provide opportunities for the kids to stretch, sometimes beyond their comfort zone, in preparation for the real world. 

What do you feel is the most rewarding experience that your family had as a result of your co-op?

You know, overall we had good co-op experiences – learning, socialization, and fun, but I think the thing that stands out the most was the great fellowship with like-minded families. Many of the co-op students and parents remain in contact with each other today.

Even though your kids are all adults now, you still keep involved with homeschooling. Can you tell us about that?

For me it’s been a “once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler”  kind of thing. 🙂 My daughter in law is homeschooling our grandson, I have friends who homeschool, and my sisters are homeschooling nieces and nephews, so the topic often comes up!  I also write articles for homeschool publications such as Homeschool Enrichment and Homeschool Magazine.com. In 2005, I started teaching online writing classes for homeschooled teens, and offerings now include creative writing, essays, research papers, and flash fiction. I just like working with homeschoolers; they’re a great bunch!

Your book, Homeschool Co-ops 101, is a re-work of an earlier book. What prompted you to re-do it, and what is different in the new edition?

I had wanted to expand a booklet on co-ops I self-published in 2007, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So I was thrilled when Helping Hands Press offered to work with me to publish it.  I’ve added updated material and additional activities, resources, and hands on K-12 unit studies on creative writing, science, and history.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would encourage parents to consider co-oping if they think it would be a good fit for their family. There are so many options – even a small co-op with one other family is a great way to supplement your children’s education.  But know too, that families can have a great homeschool experience without a co-op. It’s all a matter of what fits your family best.

Thanks, Karen, for joining us. I’ve taken a peek at the new book and it looks like a winner. I wish you all the best.

Carol, thank you for having me over today. I wish you and your readers all the best with your homeschool endeavors!

Karen had expected Homeschool Co-ops 101 to be released earlier this year. But delays with the publisher happened and it was released just last week in digital format. You can purchase your own copy of Homeschool Co-ops 101 at Amazon.

To connect with Karen, or check out her homeschool writing classes for your kids, visit the following sites.

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New E-Book Bundle: Kids in the Kitchen

Bundle #40: Kids in the Kitchen

Get your kids in the kitchen with this great collection of cookbooks for kids. With easy-to-follow recipes, guidelines and schedules for teaching kitchen skills, and encouragement that your investment will pay off, this bundle will help you discover the fun of cooking with kids while teaching them important skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

This week only, get all five of these ebooks for more than 85% off:

Cooking 101 for Kids by Lynn at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Teaching your kids to cook will help them save money as adults and provide a foundation of healthy eating habits. In Cooking 101 for Kids, Lynn covers the basics of measurements, tools, common ingredients, and how to follow a recipe before delving into recipes for breakfast, snacks, appetizers, side dishes, desserts and treats. With practical tips and insight into the “why” of it all, this ebook will help you teach your children to be confident and capable in the kitchen.

Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen from GNOWFGLINS
Discover the philosophy that “everyone eats, everyone cooks” so you can teach joyful, willing, and good workers in the kitchen — for today and the future. GNOWFGLINS’ Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen offers fun and simple lessons and helpful, you-can-start-implementing-today strategies. Kitchen time is easy, fun, and rewarding when everyone pitches in, and this content-packed ebook includes all 19 lessons from the Real Food Kids ecourse, printable worksheets, schedules for teaching various skills, ideas for involving even the youngest children and tons of nutritious recipes!

Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness by Liz Latham
Cupcakes! 12 Months of Happiness offers 12 cupcake ideas, one for each month of the year. These are perfect for sharing with friends and family, a great way to spend an afternoon with your kids, and a fun and festive way to celebrate the special days throughout the year. Each one is sure to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen by Charra Shopp
In Adventures with Kids! In the Kitchen, Chara encourages and teaches you when, how and why to bring your kids into the kitchen. You’ll learn the benefits of having your kids in the kitchen, real food kitchen skills such as soaking, sprouting, culturing and more, and the step-by-step process for teaching these skills. Whether you are a gourmet cook or just learning yourself, you’ll find practical ideas and suggestions for how to get your kids cooking, culturing, cleaning and celebrating their time in the kitchen!

Teaching Your Kids to Cook by Laura Coppinger
Teaching Your Kids to Cook is written for parents who want to help their children learn their way around the kitchen. Filled with instructions, tips, activities, printables and over 45 simple, kid friendly recipes, this ebook offers many opportunities to make messes together and get chocolate in your hair. All of the recipes Laura’s included are made from wholesome, easy-to-attain ingredients, making this the perfect introduction to cooking for families with young children.

The Blogging bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/7. Get yours today!

Triple 1070 Personal Finance Curriculum–A Review

top-logoWhile at the Home Educators Association of Virginia’s annual convention this summer I met a gentleman looking for reviewers of his new finance curriculum. Seeing as I have two young adults in my house that could use that kind of tutoring, (because I failed to cover it with them like I did the older two :/) I jumped at the opportunity.

Enter Triple1070 Biblical Personal Finance. I was given the set of DVD’s, the student text and workbooks, and the answer key in exchange for this review. This review is my honest opinion.

It amazes me how little young adults understand about the subject of personal finances. Finishing college with not only tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, but also credit card debt, just is not where I want to see my kids. So our family speaks openly about finances. We go over credit card offers with a fine-toothed comb and point out the pitfalls of them. We discuss our mortgage and how we’ve lowered it by pre-paying on the principle. We talk about investing and entrepreneurial endeavors and encourage our kids in starting their own businesses. But sometimes, someone, or some subject, falls through the cracks. And that is what I like about using a curriculum.

The Nuts and Bolts

Triple 1070 covers it all–everything that a person young or old needs to survive in the financial world. Beginning with a history of money and the banking system, it moves right into the need to have a bank account and how to manage one. It covers compound interest, the history of taxes, credit scores and what they mean, mortgages, insurance, and the risks and returns of investments. It covers way more than I could ever think up all by myself. 😉 This course also covers choosing a career, choosing to attend a trade school instead of college, and how to fund a higher education. And that’s just the boring stuff.

The cool stuff in this program are the real-life examples. The DVD’s follow four young adults from different backgrounds and of different ages as they interview professionals in the world of finance. From entrepreneurs to banking executives, they get the inside scoop on what it means to handle money wisely. They get the best advice you can get from folks that are older and wiser than their peers. And you get it, too, when you watch the DVD’s with them. (‘Cause that’s what homeschooling parents do, right?)

As far as the lessons, they are short. They give you hard to understand concepts in little bitty bites that are easier to chew on. Each lesson in the text is only a few pages and the corresponding video episode is roughly 15 minutes. If you choose to use the workbooks (which my kids didn’t feel a need to do) each lesson only has about 5-6 questions.

Okay, that’s all the great stuff, but I have to give you the not-so-great stuff.

The sound quality on the videos is poor. 🙁 I had trouble hearing the interviews, but the transitioning music was quite loud. Maybe I’m being picky, but for a 50-something mom, sound quality is important.

The only other negative thing, I almost hesitate to share, but I think that it might be an issue for others as well, so here goes. I sensed an underlying attitude in both the video and the text that we are entitled to wealth because we are Americans and that bothered me. My husband and I have been married almost 30 years. We have always practiced good financial habits, worked hard for what we have, have no debt other than our home, and frankly do not need folks like Dave Ramsey to help us; but we have never been wealthy. In fact, we have down-right struggled at times. And yet, we are both born Americans.

My son has served as a missionary in a third world country for over three years. He has used the same financial habits that we have taught him when working with young men there, and has helped them establish their own businesses so that they can escape the cycle of poverty and provide for their families. And yet, they are not Americans. In my opinion, sound financial principles work all over the world.

End of soapbox speech.

If those two downers don’t ruin it for you, get this curriculum. I was told it was for the high school level, but since I’m such a big proponent of young entrepreneurs, I think I’m gonna have my middle-schooler go through it next.

Oh, lest I forget, in addition to the curriculum, you can reap some other great benefits just by following their blog. Their most recent posts cover tax audits, bartering, and a review for an app for balancing your checkbook. Check them out here.

Blessings,

theDRAWpage

DancingColorSpider

I want to share a resource I just discovered. It is theDRAWpage. It is a blog of “creativity boosters and art lessons for kids and their grown-ups.” 🙂

I met Rose, the artist, through my Blogging Your Passion University classes. When I went to her site I fell in love. Not for myself, mind you, but for my boy who lives to draw.

theDRAWpage has lots of activities and lessons to download and print, as well as books and workbooks to purchase.

Welcome to The DRAW Page!

Rose Gauss started making and using these exercises while teaching K-8th grade art in her local school. She has also done illustration work for a children’s magazine and illustrated several children’s books.

Please visit theDRAWpage. I think you and your kiddos will love it. I know we do.

Blessings,

Young Entrepreneur Series–The Chicken Boy

young entrepreneurs

(This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one and buy something, I make a few pennies to support my blogging venture. 😉 )

I am having a blast interviewing young people with a mission. Not only are these kids passionate about something; they are taking their passions and turning them into money-making ventures.

Today I want to tell you about Jo. This 12 year old is not normal–if you get my meaning. Oh, he loves to watch movies and play video games and hang out with friends. But that only comes after his birds.

Jo got turned on to chickens when he met some bantams, purchased a few of his own, entered them into the county fair and took home blue ribbons. But this kid didn’t stop there. He wanted more. And, he wanted to share his love with others.

After working a weekend for his brother, clearing pasture and putting up fencing, Jo used his earnings to purchase an incubator. That simple piece of equipment took his passion to a new level. First, he hatched out a new flock of bantams for himself. Then, he hatched a bunch of laying hens for his mama. Next, he realized that if he sold a dozen eggs he made $3.50. But if he hatched a dozen eggs and sold the chicks, he could make $42. If you could choose between $3.50 and $42, which would you take?

An Entrepreneur is Born

Jo saw an ad on Craigslist for quail. When he went to purchase them, the woman selling them was aghast that he pulled his own money out of his own wallet to pay her. “You mean he’s got to pay for them himself?” she asked. “It’s his business,” his mother replied.

quail chickJo loved his new little birds and spent hours watching them in the pen. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted to hatch quail. You cannot hatch out two different types of birds in the same incubator at the same time because they require different temperature and humidity settings. So after selling his first batch of chicken chicks, Jo bought himself a second incubator. His mama said she feels like she lives in a poultry house–two incubators going in the living room, tubs of chicks lining the walls in the laundry room, the constant chirping of little birds.

It took him three tries to hatch a batch of quail (He’s working with the cheapest of equipment here, folks.) but he did it. They sold the next day! Then those customers gave him a dozen guinea eggs.

So far, Jo has sold his chicks word-of-mouth and he has a waiting list of potential customers. But when the second batch of quail didn’t sell instantaneously, he put a flier on the bulletin board at his local feed store and asked his mother to post them on Facebook.


What’s he saving his money for? A cabinet incubator that holds 300 eggs. What’s he want to do when he grows up? Own a hatchery business.

What do you think? Is this boy going places? Have any incubator stories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them.

Blessings,

 

This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop.

Tree House Masters

paperbackbookstandingWe do not have TV in our home and I hesitate to give anyone a reason to want one. But this month I found myself traveling with my husband for business and being confined to a hotel room much of the time. And to my surprise, I discovered Tree House Masters with Pete Nelson on the Animal Planet station.

Remember Lessons from the Tree House? You know, that e-book that I wrote full of lessons your kids can learn by building a tree house? Well, while writing that book I interviewed THE tree house master and author of the book New Tree Houses of the World, Mr. Pete Nelson.

So, if you purchased Lessons from the Tree House, and enjoyed the quotes from Mr. Nelson, you will love this show. Actually, if you didn’t purchase this book (which you most definitely should) you will love this show. And you don’t even have to have TV to watch it. Go to the Tree House Masters website and you can watch complete episodes online.

Then, once you watch a few episodes and get inspired to try building your own tree house, come back here and get Lessons from the Tree House for your kids.

Blessings,

This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on one and buy something, I make a few pennies to support this blog. 😉

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