Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


The story of us. Part 1.


When Blaine and I got married, we planned to wait for a few years before we began having children. I was 18, he was 24, and we lived in New Jersey, rented his grandmother’s house, and both worked. In an area where two incomes were nearly mandatory for survival. Rent there was twice, and sometimes three times, the price we’ve paid in any other state – and that was renting from his grandmother. Car insurance was over double what we pay now – and we only had liability on one car. Here, we have liability on two and full coverage on one. We couldn’t afford to have kids.

Fast forward one month. We’d married on September 21. Mid October I got a cold, and my boss from the small air conditioning/heating company’s office I was working in was headed to the store. She offered to buy me something to relieve my cold symptoms, and I agreed. I was miserable. She asked what I wanted, and I told her to surprise me. She headed out the door.

She poked her head back inside. “You’re sure you’re not pregnant, right? Because you can’t take much when you’re pregnant.”

“Um, no, I’m not sure. I’m married. We don’t use chemical birth control, but I’m pretty sure we’re safe.”

She brought me back saline nasal spray.


To be continued…




The perils to feeding leftover garlic chicken pasta to toddlers at lunchtime.

Man, I wish Brady (the dog) liked pasta.

TOS Review Crew: A Journey Through Learning

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a download from A Journey Through Learning to make several different lapbooks. I got to choose from The Earth for grades 1-4, Astronomy and Space for grades 2-7, Knights and Castles for grades 2-7, or Letters, Numbers, and Shapes for preschool ages.

We chose to do Knights and Castles with Liberty (age 9), Eden (age 8), and Sterling (age 5), and Ruby (age 4) did Letters, Numbers, and Shapes.

My kids love lapbooks. They’ve done a few at our homeschool co-op, but at home… they are a lot of work. I’m not creative like that. It’s not a good combo for things outside the box of textbooks and done. I try, but time is limited in this house of many and I can always find a million things (or small people) screaming louder.

I was excited to try these. My kids were even more excited, because a review means I HAVE to do it. When I received my download link, I downloaded and started printing. And printing. Each lapbook has about 20 pages to go in their book, plus the study guides. (Except for the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes. It was pretty self-explanatory without a lot of reading.) We did three Knights and Castle lapbooks… so 60+ pages later, I was feeling like that was a lot. Once we had everything printed, I glued the manila folders needed (3 for the Knights and Castles, 3 for the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes) and we set to work.

Eden Rayne:  Knights and Castles

As laid out as this is, it wasn’t hard. It was rather time consuming on my end, but the kids had a great time and the floor had to be swept each day after we’d finished cutting and pasting. Needing to sweep means we accomplished something – even if it was just making a mess! The kids were busy for hours coloring and gluing and filling in facts they’d learned. Sterling did a lapbook for a grade or two ahead on where he is, but the Letters, Numbers, and Shapes was well below where he’s at right now and what boy doesn’t want to learn about Knights and Castles? It was easy enough to simplify for him what he needed to write and allow him to draw more pictures instead – and he really enjoyed being lumped in with the older girls instead of with the littler kids.

Sterling Blaine:  Knights and Castles

Somewhat disappointing was the apparent assumption that we’d studied knights in the past – that we knew something about them. We haven’t. We don’t. We did a quite a bit of supplemental research to figure out what some of the things were talking about. They do provide a list of books to further your study at the end, and the internet helped me out when we were stumped, but it would have been nice to have it more at a beginner level with more explanations. I also noticed some of the boxes weren’t aligned or outlined properly for Ruby’s lapbook, and it had her make two pockets for some cards she made, but the pockets were too small for the cards. Little things, but they were rather frustrating.

Ruby Alexandra: Letters, Shapes, and Numbers

The Instant Download is $13. Some of their lapbooks offer a CD format, printed version, or assembled for various prices. For the price, there is a lot of learning to be had, and the kids had a great time making these. Ruby’s really felt like busy work, and I was skeptical because I’m not a fan of that at all, but she was glad to be included as they were all spread out on the floor working on their books, so in the end I was really glad she’d gotten to make one too.

Liberty Skye: Knights and Castles

Many of the pages are in color, the images are interesting, the different little books and things they made to put in their lapbooks were varied and everything was really easy to understand how to put together. Everything came with instructions exactly how to do things and where everything goes to fit together properly. We used the curriculum daily for about 30-45 minutes and it took us about three weeks to finish. Ruby’s was faster, but she went full speed ahead, having a great time. I did find it was easier to cut out Ruby and Sterling’s pages and glue them in ahead of time. Writing on wet glue doesn’t work so well and they quickly tired of the cutting anyhow. Liberty and Eden were fully capable of assembling their books on their own with little instruction after I read the study guide and helped them paraphrase the information they needed to write in each section.

Click HERE to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Soft Scrub Advanced Surface: Review and Giveaway

Soft Scrub sent me a bottle of their Advanced Surface Cleaner and Polish to try. For granite, stainless steel, glass cooktops, and marble, Soft Scrub Advanced Surface is a new product that is rinse-free gel that cleans and polishes. It’s tough on stains but gentle on even the most delicate of surface. You just apply the gel, wipe away with a cloth, and watch the grease and grime disappear.

I don’t have marble. I don’t have granite. I do have stainless steel, so I tried this on my kitchen sink. It shines. It’s beautiful. I usually have to use a product to get rid of the lime scale, but the Soft Scrub took care of that too. It’s a beautiful thing. It smells so much better than what I had been using. It rather smells like my husband’s soap. I had a moment of wondering if my husband is what I want to think of as I scrub away on lime scale buildup and general kitchen sink gunk… the jury’s still out on that one. But it does smell really good. It’ll be a time to think on things more pleasant…

I have three coupons to give away for three of you to try any Soft Scrub product for yourself. Leave me a comment below and also on my facebook page to enter – one entry per comment. Drawing is Monday at noon.


If you give a mouse a cookie…

A good closet cleanout always produces a pile of castoffs.

A pile of castoffs requires a bit of creativity.

Creativity creates a good project.


One project requires another.


And another.


And another.


And another.


And pretty soon, that pile of castoffs, combined with raiding Grandma’s for unworn T-shirts, and you find yourself with four little girls in remade t-shirt skirts.

I think I should clean out Blaine’s closet next. You never know, I might find something to make a more masculine project for the boys.

P.s. Can you tell which dear daughter has just a bit more sass than all the others, both in the photos and in her color choices?

Dial Kids: Review and Giveaway

Dial sent me a bottle of Dial Kids Body + Hair wash to try out. Meant for children ages 2-5 (I have a few in that range!) it’s peachy scent and tear free qualities have my kids lined up and smelling clean. It’s artificial dye free without any added parabens. The tear free aspect had me appreciative when Pierce promptly rubbed his eyes after being covered in soap. He didn’t complain. It smells fresh and clean without being too strong, and I really like the all-in-one aspect. Bar soap is clumsy in their hands and not much easier for me. This made baths easy – as easy as bathing squirmy toddlers can be!

Enter to win HERE. One lucky winner will receive $1,000, while 250 second place winners get to try NEW NEW Dial® Kids Body & Hair Wash for FREE!

Three of my readers will also receive a coupon for a FREE Dial Kids Body and Hair Wash. You’ll be able to choose from the one I received, for ages 2-5, or Dial Kids for ages 6+ – the coupons are good for both.

Check out to learn more about their Kid’s Body and Hair Wash.


If you leave a comment below and a comment on my facebook page for two chances to win a coupon from me. Be sure to check out their sweepstakes too! I’ll draw for my giveaway on Monday at noon. The sweepstakes will be open most of April.

I received a free bottle of this product to try it and review. Opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for this review in any other way.


There. Fixed.

I posted this on my Facebook page last Thursday:

Sterling sat at the supper table tonight with his glasses on the table beside him, squinting at the sun in his eyes. Ruby told him to put his glasses back on - maybe they'll work like sunglasses. His reply: "No, Ruby. Those make me see BETTER. I don't WANT to see the sun better!"

Tonight, Sterling came up with a solution to this sun in his eyes dilemma that later sunsets is presenting.


I am dumber than I thought.

My dad called last week and said he had a blog topic for me. He suggested I search for an 8th grade test from the 1800’s and see if I could pass it.

I think he was just trying to humble me.

I found a test here and the answers here. While the English section I could pass all right, and the math I could do if I knew how much a bushel was and what a mil levy and struck bushel and a whole host of other terms I haven’t a clue about. The history was pathetically beyond me and who on earth knows what orthography is anymore?! While numbers and English rules are fresh in my mind from teaching them on a daily basis, we don’t really have a clue.

An 8th grade education use to actually be enough to make it in most industries. Today, even if we changed the language to today’s English, I doubt many of us have learned that much by 8th grade – or even 12th.

Something to consider. My pride at watching my 4th grader pick apart sentences and name all 8 parts of speech in each was greatly diminished when I consider how poor I am educating my children in comparison to what they used to teach in schools.

It’s all about expectations, my friends. I’ve often said that my children obey only to my lowest expectation. If I expect them to disobey, you can bet they won’t disappoint. If I expect them to learn orthography, they will.

Now if I can just figure out exactly what orthography means.


I can’t seem to get anything done around here.

This morning as I finished up in the bathroom after my shower, I noticed the bathroom sink and mirror needed attention. I set out to get the rag to clean the mirror.

I got sidetracked. The rag hangs on the side of the fridge. The fridge is next to the laundry room. I started a load of laundry.

I rearranged under the futon and vacuumed under there to fit my new exercise mats.

I rearranged under my bed and vacuumed under there.

I went through my drawers and closet, purged a bunch of clothes that were just taking up space, and rearranged my closet.

I fed two kids lunch. I did reading lessons with two kids, math lessons with two kids, English lessons with two kids, and ate lunch.

I made supper prep plans. Swept the entire downstairs. Put babies down for naps. Switched laundry.

…and wrote a blog post. Because my bathroom is still dirty.

Some day, I’ll gain the focus my husband possesses for staying on task. It hasn’t happened yet.

TOS Review Crew: Math U See

As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the Delta books from Math U See as well as the DVD that teaches the lessons, and manipulative blocks. Eden jumped in, thoroughly frustrated with her math this year. I was reservedly hopeful this would be a better fit – that she would enjoy math and learn at the same time.

Eden is 8, in third grade, and has done pretty well in math in the past. This year, math has not been an easy subject for her. I was struggling to help her along, and emotions were running high each time she did her work. And then.

For the last month, she’s enjoyed math. She’s done well, she hasn’t cried once, is speeding right along – and learning. We’d had discussions of repeating third grade math in a different curriculum earlier this year, unsure what to do for next year but quite certain that neither of us wanted a repeat of this year.


For a dear child to struggles with staying on task and paying attention to her own work, Math U See has been amazing for her. It hasn’t jumped around nearly so much as what she’s used to, and that seems to have helped tremendously. It builds and changes in slow increments and has given her confidence in leaps and bounds. The dear girl who I found changing multiplication problems into addition (Confession: I remember doing the very same thing as a kid.) is dividing and multiplying with ease. Her quote last week had me laughing.

“Math is FUN!”

Really?! This from the child who cried on a nearly daily basis about her math all year?

Delta is all about division for both single and multiple digit numbers. Each book, instead of going by grade level, teaches mastery of one topic, introducing other topics as needed and provided plenty of review so concepts are mastered well. Their website has placement tests that made it really easy to figure out which books Eden would need to keep her learning from the level she’s at and moving forward. They don’t use grade levels, so the placement tests were super helpful in figuring out where she’s at. If you follow one book per year, Delta is grade 4 and Eden’s just wrapping up grade 3 so they follow a progression similar to the books we’ve been using – but be sure to check out the placement tests to be sure.

We’ll be doing Math U See next year. She’s actually excited about it. Both of us have reduced stress levels. That’s awesome.


Math U See Delta is available here. The Instruction Manual, DVD, and Answer Key are $44. The Student Pack contains worksheets, lessons, and tests for $30. The Manipulative Block Set is $38. I received two block sets – that makes it easier for some lessons so that the student has at least 10 of each piece.

Click here to read more reviews on the other Math U See books and others thoughts on Math U See Delta from the Review Crew.


Dear Daddy,

You’re being watched, imitated, copied, and admired.


Playing “house” was just taken to a whole new level. Now he has a badge to wear to work.

Just like Daddy.

(Oh, except he doesn’t take photos at work. He builds houses. With Legos.)


TOS Review Crew: Adventus Piano Software

About a month ago, I was selected as part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew to review the Adventus piano software. Adventus has MusicIQ, software specifically designed for the homeschooler, from ages 4-18. I received their software download Children’s Music Journey. I received Volume 1, 2, and 3 to review. For ages 4-10, at first I set up the lessons for Liberty (9) and Eden (8). They’ve talked about music lessons for years, but we’ve never had the ability to enroll them. The excitement in the house when I told them we were going to do the Adventus program was fantastic. (Okay, I was a little excited too. I woke them up at 6:00 am when I got the email.) Since then, I’ve added Ruby and Sterling as well. Since they were crowded around the table when anyone was practicing, I threw them all in there.

They LOVE it.


“Can I do another lesson? Play another game?” Is the oft-heard question when they are finished. They argue about who gets to play first. There are lessons, practice rooms, games, printables, and all sorts of fun to be had with the Children’s Music Journey. Lesson plans can be purchased separately if you so desire. It begins simple, discussing the higher octaves as “high bird notes” and lower notes as “low whale notes” and middle c as a man in the middle of the sea. Even Ruby (4) and Sterling (5) “got” it. It is progressing into teaching music notes for Liberty and Eden – Sterling and Ruby are still just a couple weeks in. Each of my kids practice in the practice room each day and lessons are set up to do one per week. The early ones had my older kids doing a bit more, until they were being challenged a bit more. They spend about 30 minutes playing before I make them switch students. (And it’s really MAKE them. They don’t switch without being told it’s time.)

The curriculum is highly interactive with the student. If a lesson isn’t completely finished, it cues up to do that lesson again next time. The images are colorful and fun and one part of the program “knows” how much practice has been done in other areas. I’ve been highly impressed with how well it communicates within the program and how easy it was to jump in and begin. It does have to be online (the downloaded program does) to verify your product key each time you log in.


My children have had no prior music instruction but they are lining up for their piano lessons. Having taken years of lessons as a child myself, I know this is NOT normal! It’s been so much fun to watch them learn, to enjoy their time, and beg for more. I can’t wait to see how far this takes them! Taking them to lessons isn’t feasible right now, but I’m not certain it’s even necessary at the rate they are going! The thought of them learning to play at home, having fun and without tears, is awesome. The program notices their rhythm and warns them “Careful!” when they don’t get it right or hit the wrong note. It’s really cool! I hope their enthusiasm continues with this – and I have no reason to think it won’t. It’s colorful and fun and challenging and interesting. Even Charlotte (age 2) hovers to watch and asks if she’s allowed to have a turn. It would be a bit above her head, I’m afraid, but she’s always watching.


See what I mean?!

Adventus offers programs for older students as well. Piano Suite Premier is for ages older than 10 and offers beginner to intermediate instruction on a multitude of topics. With only young students, we didn’t try that program, but more information can be found about it here.

Composers “teach” the lessons on the Children’s Music Journey software. Volume one has 25 lessons, and Volumes 2 and 3 each have 35 lessons. The student hears famous works by the composer that teaches the lesson. It’s pretty fun to hear names like Beethoven, Joplin, and Bach become household words! Information on the composer isn’t discussed, but they offer a blog that covers some info on the composers discussed on the Children’s Music Journey’s software that is located at For this homeschooling mom who likes to make everything into a study… I really appreciate that!


The Children’s Music Journey program is compatible with almost all computers made after 2000 and needs a MIDI Keyboard (a digital keyboard that connects to your computer via a USB cable). Adventus has one they recommend on their website if you don’t own one already, and they offer it for purchase with their programs if you’d like to purchase it that way.

You can use the program for $10.95 a month (all levels included – great when you have a variety of age groups using it). There are many different options for purchasing the Adventus program, detailed here. The lesson plans are not included in the monthly subscription price, but are priced separately. Read here for more information.

Read more reviews on the Children’s Music Journey and hear from others who tried the other levels offered by Adventus at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.


Resourceful boy.

Pierce found the bottle of ibuprofen and was determined to get it open.


I watched from a corner as he got a stool, dug out the wine bottle opener from the kitchen drawer, and went to work.


Darn child proof caps.


Where’s all the excitement?

Life seems kind of boring lately. We’re working on wrapping up our school year – Liberty gets a prize for finishing the first subject with her math this week – and nothing else much is going on. Blogs are hard to write when there isn’t something going on.

It hit me. This has been the longest we’ve lived in one house. Pierce is approaching the oldest any of ours have been without having another sibling in the works or already here. In ten years of marriage, we’ve lived in nine houses in four states and had six children. Three of those years have been in this house. The baby is 17 months old and the next one… isn’t. It’s just odd. Life seems boring.

Don’t get me wrong, the days can’t possibly be boring. There’s too many things hollering for attention to be boring. But there isn’t anything exciting either.

Stay tuned. Things can’t stay like this for long. It has never happened.


A tall, tall tale.

My girls heard through the grapevine that, in their words, a young woman from church had been picked up and carried off by an eagle.

I found this out last week when Eden asked me, completely unconcerned but entirely curious,

“Did they ever find her?”

Really? You think an eagle carried a grown woman off, and four days later, the only concern you have is if she’s been located?

Turns out, the whole story was started as a joke.

Turns out, my girls are really, really gullible.

Turns out, we need to work on compassion for our fellow (wo)man.

I’m not sure which part I’m more worried about.


Baked Chimichangas




  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 flour tortillas (10 inches), warmed
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies


  • In a nonstick skillet, simmer the chicken, salsa, onion, cumin and oregano until heated through and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up.
  • Place seam side down in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the broth, bouillon and pepper. Cook until bouillon is dissolved. In a small bowl, combine flour and cream until smooth; gradually stir into broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chilies; cook until heated through. To serve, cut chimichangas in half; top with sauce. Yield: 6 servings.


We love this recipe. Better still, it’s pretty easy to use fat free half and half and whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat flour and it becomes fairly South Beach Diet (Phase 2) friendly. I double the batch and the leftovers are fought over. Best part: these take 30 minutes, start to table, if you’re starting with cooked chicken. (I usually roast a chicken one day and make these with the leftovers the next.)


Our morning [in stories and photos].

Liberty was washing out a diaper and asked Sterling to bring the lid to the diaper pail. (A drip catcher in the trip from the bathroom to the laundry room.) He came back empty handed. Liberty asked him where the lid was, and he had the best excuse I've heard of in a while.
“There’s another pail on top of the diaper pail and a laundry basket full of shoes on top of that.”

Someone, ahem, needs to finish the summer clothes sorting, I’m thinking. That sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

It must be backwards day in Charlie’s world. The shirt is backwards, the pants are backwards (complete with the hole now on the back of her knee) and her socks are mismatched. I won’t let her leave the house that way, I promise.


And… then there’s Pierce. He’s out to paint something – clothes or no.


Apparently I should get off of the computer and go (re)dress my children. I hope your day is great! (And coordinated. That would be a major plus.)

Reading lesson 101.

Ruby was doing her reading lessons yesterday, and that hard “C” sound was getting the better of her. As a poor child who struggles with the C’s and G’s anyway, learning to sound out those words has been interesting. The word: CAT.






“Ruby! There’s no ‘R’. There’s no ‘P’. SOUND IT OUT!”

I’m sure it sounded nicer than that. Actually, it probably didn’t. It was frustrating. Meanwhile, Sterling was giggling and whispering “Cat. Cat. Cat.” over and over like he was being helpful or something.

Ruby paused. “CRAP!”

I stared at her. She looked back at me like she knew she was in trouble. I started snickering.

It all went downhill from there.

The first – and only, thankfully – time I have heard two of my children swear was while sounding out a word that didn’t come out quite right. Ruby’s headed there next, my friends. And when the time comes… I’ll do my best not to snicker. No reaction is the best reaction… but just try that. It’s hard.


READS from EGM Educational Systems, LLC: TOS Review

As part of the Review Crew for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I got to review the READS Parent/Child Reading Comprehension System from EGM Educational Systems, LLC. Sterling (age 5, doing Kindergarten and 1st grade work) has primarily been using it, but it was written for grades 1-4 and I’ve had fun using it with all three of my older kids in 3rd and 4th grades too. READS stands for Really Easy and Dynamic Strategy and their READS Homework Helper includes:
  • a parent’s manual
  • question cards on a metal ring
  • a reward chart
  • stickers
  • the “magic finger”
  • a reading guide strip
  • the Speedy Speller – a handbook for readers and writers
  • a plastic storage pouch

The parent’s manual explains the whole program. It was a quick and easy guide to using the READS program most effectively. The question cards contain 30 questions to ask about what your young reader has read. If you've ever gotten the shoulder shrug or the blank stare that would indicate that your dear son or daughter read but did not comprehend… these questions help a whole lot. I used these with all three of my readers and found out just how much they were learning from the words on the page they’d just “read”.

Once they are off and on their own reading, I’m rather at a loss for where their comprehension is unless I get the play by play. These cards do a great job of encouraging them to tell me the story. Getting a glimpse into how they pronounce the words they've read is helpful as well. It could help them avoid a catastrophe with a word like “ facade” in their early 20’s. Not that I speak from experience or anything. Ahem.

The reward chart and the stickers are just that. For your child who loves rewards, he’ll love these. The parent book contains suggestions for rewards when their chart is complete. The chart is left pretty open – you decide what the goal is for the week. Homework, reading… it’s easily adaptable.

The Magic Finger – easily Sterling’s favorite part. He calls it the monster’s claw. What boy wouldn't like an ugly green finger to put atop their own to point to the words they are reading? It has elementary love written all over it.


The reading guide strip is pretty cool. I’d heard of such things but never seen one. It’s a clear plastic strip that has color strips at the top and bottom so that a single line of text is visible when placed on the book. Sterling loved it – and insisted he use it every time – until he met his monsters claw. It’s been cast aside – but only for uglier fun.

The Speedy Speller has become Sterling’s favorite book. It has more than 1400 words and space to write more. He can “look it up” in his mini “dictionary” without all the stuff he can’t understand – like pronunciation and parts of speech and meanings. The back has all the states, capitals, and abbreviations, and best of all, the months, week days, and measurements and their abbreviations too. Every day in math Sterling has to write the day and date and every day he has to ask how to spell both. Now, he can look it up. Amazingly enough, what’s more work for him has given him independence and unspeakable pride at being able to do it all by himself.


Click HERE to read more reviews from the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

READS is available HERE for $19.95.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these materials through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and my family’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Time to make soap.

Yesterday was soap making day. I made a double batch of cold-process soap, and separated it out into three batches: lilac, peppermint, and a men’s soap called Sandalwood Bay.


My house smelled interesting. I’m not sure I’d recommend all three scents together.


Lye water. Fun stuff.


Blaine’s idea. When my stick blender had to go back to the company for repairs, he suggested I use this. I thought he might be onto something. After not reaching trace (a thick pudding-like consistency) for an hour and a half, (something that usually takes less than 15 minutes) I gave up, poured into molds, and thought I’d botched my first batch - and it had to be the one I’d documented with the camera. I’m not sure if it was using the stirrer or personal error, but I’m not so sure this was the best method.

Soap making seems like such a feminine, pioneer, industrious business. You know, this:

Photo Credit

But when you use your husband’s drill with a paint stirrer instead, it feels more like this:

Photo Credit

Instead of feminine and lovely, I felt like I was ought to conquer the soap. But the soap won, at least momentarily.


I was afraid to look this morning, fearful it hadn’t set up since it hadn’t reached trace.


But it did. Whew.


Cut it into bars, set it aside to dry for a month, and we’re in business.


It’s soap.