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Homeschool Books at Costco and the American Girl of the Year Book Set

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I headed to Costco this week for one item, which is usually about what I go for. I am the person leaving Costco with one or two things! Not always but often. πŸ˜‰ So this week I planned all my errands and set out to Costco for a book set of the newest American Girl, who just happens to have come from my city, and who loves horses and art which my 6 year old loves as well. They have a set there with her 2 books plus a cute art set with mini canvases for $15. I’m a big fan of good deals and I knew my daughter would LOVE it. I was right! She was so excited by it!

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While we were in the book section I spotted homeschoool workbooks! I had not seen them at Costco before so we headed to check them out. They had several types of the big workbooks for each grade that include several subjects and a few books for specific subjects like math. The prices were pretty good since all the books were pretty big. We got 4 of them ranging from $7.99 to $11.99 being the most expensive one. I love workbooks because they are student led which means your child can do them while you cook, clean, etc. They are also great for on the go or in the car. And I like to get several book for each subject so we really cover them well and get a variety of info. I feel like repetition is a good way to remember things. We already gave one of the math books a try and I really like it. We use Abeka and Math-U-See for math but this was a good book to cover all the basics in a daily form. So if you are looking for decent priced big workbooks, go check out Costco! πŸ™‚

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Henna Hair Dye

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In the hunt for natural replacements for chemical filled items, hair dye is a common search. Hair dye is full of so many nasty chemicals, which is why it often will burn your scalp. In the hunt for natural alternatives you will come across henna. I wasn’t sure about trying it but I figured I’d give it a go. The complicated process is what I hesitated on. Now that I’ve tried it I can say that I love the color and the fact that it’s all natural, but boy is it a mess!

I purchases 100g of pure henna plus 100g of pure indigo to create a rich reddish brown color. I generally followed a recipe from Henna For Hair which has a lot of recipes for blondish, red, brown and black hair. I mixed my henna with half a cup of warm water as well as 6 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The recipe I chose wasn’t exact so I added and mixed until it looked like a green gritty yogurt mixture. Then I let it sit overnight, but I had an appointment and kids getting dropped off after so I didn’t get to it until it had been sitting for 24 hours. You only need to let it sit 8 to 12 from what I’ve read. I then mixed the indigo with warm water until I got the same texture as the henna, and I let that sit about 10 minutes. I then mixed the two together with some orange essential oil to help with the strong dirt smell.

The instructions on my indigo said to apply the henna first and then apply the indigo, but I chose to mix them and follow the instructions on the website. It was super messy! Next time I will try using a brush meant for hair dye because I just used my fingers to cover my hair and the dye got all over my bathroom. YOU MUST WEAR GLOVES BEFORE APPLYING THIS STUFF! It stained part of my door frame in the bathroom and stained part of my hand it got on.Β So plan to use a lot of towels that are black or that you don’t care if they get stained. I suggest applying coconut oil or another thick oil to the skin around your face, head, neck and ears to help prevent staining on those areas. I applied all the mixture and it became like a thick paste on my head that was kind of heavy. I rolled it into a thick bun, put a ponytail holder around it and then covered it in a shower cap. I left it on for 4 hours, though some of the recipes suggest only 3. I figured I’d do it longer just to be on the safe side.

It is also a huge mess to rinse it out! I got in the shower and it got everywhere so I’m thinking next time I’ll just lay back in the tub and do it under the tub faucet to contain the mess a little more. Make sure you wash it all off so it doesn’t stain your shower! You will have to rinse a lot and it feels super gritty while rinsing it out. I used conditioner to help get it out and help soften my hair. I rinsed it until the water was as clear as possible. Use a towel that you don’t care if it stains when you dry your hair in case all the color isn’t rinsed out. And don’t sleep on light colored sheets with a wet head for the same reason.

I am hoping next time will be less messy but I definitely like the results! My hair has a rich looking color that I love and I didn’t expose myself to any harmful chemicals. πŸ™‚ It would be great if you could find a hair salon that would apply henna hair dye for you so you could avoid the mess of that part. All in all I’m happy with henna hair dye. The henna and indigo cost me $7.98 total which is a pretty low cost even compared with drugstore hair dyes. If you’ve tried henna hair dye feel free to share your experiences!

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Enter The Flu

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Two weeks ago my daughter started coming down with something and I figured I was next to get it, which I did the next day. It was a pretty light 3 day thing which was great because we fought it off so quick and we weren’t very ill. Then about 4 days later, I was laying down trying to sleep and I felt tightness in my chest and I kept trying to cough and clear my throat. The next morning it had set in and I was seriously sick. So began the last week of serious illness for me. Thankfully my kiddo only got a few more mild symptoms, mainly cough and fever.

I lost my voice for 4 days and it was replaced with something that sounded like a frog who had lost it’s voice. I was miserable and unable to do much physically. I had body aches, fever, chills, sweats, headache, cough, congestion, sinus pain – in other words, I got the flu bad. I feel like the reason I got it so bad was because my immune system was down from being sick the week before. I didn’t have time for it to fully recuperate.Β  It was awful to have to still watch kids while sick and try to rest enough to get better. I spent all my free time I could resting. Almost a week later and I am still not 100%, maybe about 75% right now.

I am not a fan of being sick. I don’t like not feeling well or not having energy to do things. I work a lot so that makes it even harder. I’m trying to avoid medicines when possible so I was taking everything natural I could. We loaded up on vitamin c, a natural kids medicine, grapefruit seed extract, probiotics because gut health is linked with your immune system, yogurt, kefir, fresh juice, peppermint tea, local honey and lemon juice, and a humidifier with peppermint oil in it to help as well. We even steamed up the shower and took really warm bathes to help as well. The first time we got sick the natural stuff helped a lot, but the second time it seemed like my immune system needed a lot more help and repair. I recommend the natural stuff if you want to skip OTC or prescription medicines. But if you don’t take care of your immune system it will be harder to fight things off.

We are washing our hands a lot more now to help, and trying to keep up our intake of vitamin c and probiotics to keep a steady immune health. Adequate rest and keeping stress down are important too. I had to stop caring for one child because the parent brought the child sick every single week, and wouldn’t have the child’s nasty cough checked out. The parent worked in a hospital so I was concerned what he was getting sick with and then bringing here. I am responsible for the health of all the kids I watch, as well as my own child and myself. When a parent doesn’t want to get their child checked out or treated you have to decide if it’s worth having them around. Sick kids will just keep making others sick. And I want to kick the sick bug, not have it stick around more! I know we are exposed to germs everywhere, but watching a sick child for 12 hours in an inclosed space several days every week is very different.

We don’t use hand sanitizers so we are all washing hands more along with the other natural stuff to help prevent more sickness. Local honey, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, fresh veggies and fruit are all good ways to help boost your body and immune system. So here’s to hoping no one else gets sick and we get to see the flu make it’s final exit very soon!

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Weekly Links

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How to Make Flax Seed Hair Gel (Video)
3 Marriage Habits Every Marriage Needs
How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Glutamine
Tired of making changes that don’t seem to make a difference?
Cleaning Up the Swamp
Nurturing Faith and Curiosity
What Our Bodies Say About Our Identities
Homeschooling After The Holidays: Planning For The New Year
For Every Desperate Mom
Fighting the tyranny of the urgent at home

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REAL Macaroni and Cheese

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For a lot of families macaroni and cheese is a fan favorite with their kids. It’s something most kids will eat and it’s usually quick and easy to make. It comes in handy boxes and is ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. The problem with the kind in the box is that it is filled with artificial ingredients that aren’t good for the body. Basically, it isn’t real.

In our house mac and cheese is made from scratch. It is almost as quick to make, around 10-15 minutes, and it is filled with REAL food and healthy ingredients. No powdered orange “cheese” in ours. Because cheese isn’t really orange, shocking huh? I don’t have an exact recipe, I just make it on automatic-pilot now. But the basic ingredients are easy.

You need pasta, any kind your kiddos will like. Cook as much as you think you’ll need, or cook a big pot at a time like I do and keep some for leftovers! Strain it and put the pasta back in the pot. Then add some butter, real butter from real cows. We like butter from grass-fed cows that is hormone free. I usually add 1 tablespoon of it, sometimes more depending on the size of the batch I am making. I also like to add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. I LOVE the flavor of coconut oil and it’s very good for you, so I add it in our food as much as possible. I use organic refined coconut oil. Then you grate fresh cheese into the pot, we use organic or local hormone free cheese. Again, there isΒ  no exact amount. Some kids like it more cheesy than others. I use maybe 1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup because once you start mixing it and it melts it becomes very cheesy. I add salt to taste and stir it all up really well. And voila, it is done! πŸ™‚

I like to make bigger batches to store extra for quick and easy lunches. We don’t have a microwave so to reheat it on the stove you simply add a little water and maybe a little more salt to taste. I usually heat ours on medium heat and stir often. It heats up again pretty quick. And the kids seem to prefer the homemade kind over the box kind! When you use real ingredients your food tastes better. It has a much more desirable taste that has kids inhaling their bowls in minutes…at least all mine do! πŸ˜‰

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It’s The Little Things…

Certificates

When it comes to homeschooling there are many, many options available. Hundreds of curriculum, resources, books, supplements, tools and activities are available. While the options are plentiful, your financial resources may not be. Maybe you can’t afford $200 per curriculum per child. Maybe you can afford it but aren’t willing to pay it. Maybe you are in the middle. To be honest, you don’t really need the super fancy curriculum or the whole set one company puts out with all the extras. What you really need are solid books for the subjects you want your kids to learn and you can get extras you will need or use as you need them. There are also ways to make it a little bit more special that won’t break the bank.

For us, one of those ways is using certificates that are in the back of some of the books or making our own. I made it a fun an exciting experience so that way my kiddo looks forward to completing books more. When a subject or grade is done, we get a frame from the dollar store and decorate her certificate. She can color it and put stickers on it however she likes. Then it’s framed and hung on the wall. It’s a fun way for her to stay motivated and to remind her of her accomplishments. πŸ™‚

My kiddo really enjoys doing it because I make it an exciting event. We make a big deal out of it and all that goes into it. I want her to feel special, excited and most importantly proud, of her accomplishment. She has more certificates on the wall than I do! πŸ™‚ Not too long ago we found cheetah print duct tape, and since my daughter loves cheetah print, I am going to try to cover the frame edges with it so her frames are cheetah print. Adding things like that, or other decorations and embellishments, can make the process even more fun and personalized. Kids love attention, especially positive attention for an accomplishment, and it helps build up their self-esteem.

How do you acknowledge or celebrate your child’s homeschooling accomplishments?

 

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Weekly Links

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5 new (school) resolutions to consider
The Meaning of Christmas Laundry
Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!
3 Kid Made Christmas Cards
Reflecting & refining: Lessons learned in 2012
Private World, Public World
The Ugly Truth about Marriage
6 Ways to Build Up Our Husbands
When You’re Wrong, Even Though You’re Right
Great Gifts for Your Husband or Wife
Why we must speak out in the midst of the mess
5 Ways to Improve Your Past

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