Making Progress

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey folks! Good news--progress is being made with the new shopping cart. You can now shop through the regular store!

A few little issues:

The store doesn't look quite like it will when it's all done.

Ebooks and the class aren't working to not charge shipping, so for now they are not being shown on the site.

Coupon codes are not working yet. Still having some technical problems with these. If you have a discount coupon you want to use, just leave me a note with your order or send an email to me at and I will take care of it for you.

It will help me a lot if some of you brave folks will start using the new cart so we can make sure everything is working. If you find that something does not work properly, seems weird, whatever, it would be a big help to me for you to let me know so that I can figure out how to fix it. :)

Vitamin Commercial, Take Two

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here is my second attempt to document how well the kids like their vitamins. I hope you get a kick out of the extremely authentic dirty dishes, dishwasher waiting to be loaded, and kids dressed in costumes.:)

Vitamin Commercial, Take One

Monday, September 22, 2008

For awhile now I've been thinking that I should interview my kiddos while they take their Bone Ami and SuperKids vitamins. They love both products and are great about reminding me to make sure they get some each day. Here is a little video of a few of my children. Sorry that it's so dark. (come back tomorrow for another one)

Making Juice (and applesauce!) at Home

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When you have three trees full of ripe apples in the back yard...

And a whole bunch of ripe grapes, too...

It's time to get to work picking! Thankfully, our trees are pretty small, so there are tons of apples that our kids can pick without any trouble at all.

It only takes a few pleasant minutes of picking in order to get bags full of apples!

First you toss those apples into the sink and wash 'em. Ours are never sprayed with any pesticides, so we're pretty much cleaning off bird doo and spider webs. :)

You don't technically *have to* take the grapes off their stems, but I do. Otherwise, the grape juice turns out really bitter.

This is my steam juicer. It's really cool. The bottom pan holds water. The second pan is like a bundt cake pan, with a cone in the center that goes upward. This allows the steam from the heated water to travel upwards to the third level, which is a colander where the fruit sits.
You just load up the colander with fruit, put on the top, and heat up the bottom, and leave it for awhile. (apples take 90 minutes or so, grapes only 60 minutes) After that you unclamp the little tube that comes out from the side of the second pan, and out comes juice!
Here you can see some pitchers and a jar of finished juice. Although we make the apple and grape juice separately, we combine them in the pitchers to make apple-grape juice. We find that the taste isn't that great unless a sweetener is added. I use some plain liquid stevia (about 3-4 droppers full per 2-qt. pitcher) and that makes it taste really great without adding any calories OR any sugar. Just wonderful, organic, homemade juice!

At this point you can choose to can jars of juice if you want to, or you can freeze it, or just store it in the fridge and drink it right away. I don't really have the wherewithall to get into the canning right now so we've just made juice a couple of times a week and had it to drink at breakfast. We've also enjoyed giving some to friends. :)

Now, what's left in the colander at the top of the steam juicer is a bunch of cooked-down, miserable-looking apples. Good news: You don't have to waste it! Just turn it into applesauce!
We use our food mill to make quick work of this. You just pour the mushy apples into the top funnel of this gizmo, turn the crank (easily kid-powered) and out one side comes nice, fresh applesauce, and out the other side comes all of the skin, seeds, and stems. We used plastic containers to freeze our applesauce, and took the other stuff to the compost pile. Easy!

One steam juicer colander-full of apples makes about 2-3 quarts of juice plus a 9x13 pan of applesauce. not bad, eh?

The applesauce also benefits from some liquid stevia being mixed in, so again you can enjoy a sweet treat without sugar! You can make popsicles with the apple sauce, use applesauce in place of some oil in certain kinds of baking, or make applesauce bread, which is one of the things I did. Mmmmmmm mmmmmmm good!

We're out of juice again, so I'll be starting this process again later today. Wish me luck! :)

I'm Still Alive!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I just wanted to pop in quickly tonite to let you dear people know that I'm still here, still struggling away to get things fixed and running in a normal manner. As I wrote elsewhere over a week ago:

I do not exaggerate one single tiny iota when I tell you that literally every. stinkin. little. thing. that needs to happen in order for my businesses to get up and running again is taking way, way, waaaaaaaay, way more time, energy, learning curve, and frustration than I ever could have imagined.

If a malfunction could occur, it has.

If a server could go down, it did.

If a weird setting could be in place to cause extra trouble, you can bet your bippy it was there.

If I needed help, you can believe that it was nearly impossible for me to find in a timely manner.

If emails could get lost in cyberspace, mine did.

If I could possibly waste money on solutions that turned out to not be, I did.

If a computer, printer, or other piece of technology could refuse to work, break down, go slow, crash, malfunction, disconnect, or otherwise not do what I needed it to do, that happened as well.

And THAT rosie missive was written before my computer virus resulted in a total crash, which meant that I lost ALL of the files on my computer, which included several mostly-written books, tons of photos, all of the already-downloaded and organized and resized pictures needed for both of my web sites, and much more. (Helpful Hint for Hopeful Heroes: Get an external hard drive and save all of your files. TODAY! Do not be like me when your husband calls to ask if you want him to buy one of these gadgets and say, " about if we wait until I have a chance to do a little more research on which one to buy?....." NO WAITING! Learn from my mistake, mmm-kay?)

And then my modem decided to quit, leaving us without internet service for several days.

And I've been treated to an in-depth look at how many layers of possible problems exist in a web site. You think onions have a lot of layers? Onions got nothin' on web sites, baby! ;) I am amazed at how many settings could be messed up, directories could elude us, and so on. Just about every day I sit down to get something done, and within minutes I've hit another wall and have to wait for someone else to help me fix the problem. (Thank the Lord for good tech support! I now have an amazing web hosting company that provides me with 24 hour a day PHONE tech support, which is worth a million dollars to me these days!!)

I tell ya...I've wondered more than a few times what on EARTH is going on here. I've prayed. I've wished that it would be clear to me what to do. And every time I get right down to it, the answer I come back to is that this business has been growing and blessed from the get-go, and my family and I have invested a ton of time and effort into it, and I am not going to let this tricky situation keep me down! Somehow, someday, the web sites are going to be working again, and we're going to be back in the saddle.

I don't dare predict a date for all of this to be resolved, but I do want you to know that I am actively working on it and have not given up! You can still order through the sidebar, or of course you can call or email. Lots of you are still ordering and I appreciate you so much! Unfortunately, all of this fixing is very expensive, so your support means a whole LOT to me!!

I CAN tell you that I am already planning some fun sales, special deals and goodies and MORE to celebrate when we get back up and running. You will NOT want to miss it, so if you aren't already subscribed to the newsletter, DO IT NOW so you won't miss a thing. (sign up box is on the top left sidebar on this page)

I do have some fun stuff coming up here on the blog in the next couple of days, so check back with me soon, ok?

Great Deal for Homeschool Families!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

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Right now, during their Fall Special you can subscribe for only $39! You’ll receive 2 years of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (8 large quarterly issues), the current issue (so you get a quick jump start!), and 6 fabulous Bonus Gifts (for the first 3000). PLUS, the first 1,000 new subscribers will also receive their Homeschooling with Heart tote bag!
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