Friday, September 18, 2020


I recently came across this debate over a diet program in my Twitter feed. The diet apparently consists of eating between 500-1000 calories a day on top of doing one hour of cardio a day. This info immediately caught my attention because of what I've gone through in the last couple years. I nearly died in 2018 from malnutrition which brings me to this story.

I tracked down the 500-1000 calorie diet to Teddi Mellencamp who runs a program called ALL IN by Teddi. Teddi Mellencamp is the daughter of the singer of John Mellencamp and is one of the housewives on the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The reason the founder's identity is important is because it helps sell her diet and exercise program. Her business/program has apparently been talked about on the Real Housewives show and in other Housewives related television spots like the Housewives Reunion and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. 

What I gather from the Tweets and the original source of this information which happens to be a woman by the name of Emily Gellis Lande, an influencer on Instagram, numerous past ALL IN clients are coming forward (Emily shares the evidence) to talk about how unhealthy and unsafe the program is. It involves a very restrictive diet, under 1,000 calories per day, doing an hour of cardio each day, sending photos of your food and weight (scale) into an ALL IN "accountability coach" that has zero credentials. The ALL IN coaches are not licensed nutritionists or dieticians nor is there even a physician on staff or anyone with a health science degree. Apparently all the "accountability coaches" are former ALL IN clients. 

Nutritionists learning about this program are now warning it can lead to eating disorders or disordered eating.

READ THIS: Disordered Eating or Eating Disorder: What's the Difference?

When I first stared reading about this I thought it was a joke because #1 who in their right mind runs a program like that and actually doesn't get called out by medical professionals? And #2 who in their right mind would go for a program like that? From what I've read the program costs $599 to start and $399 a month. Not sure if that is 100% accurate but that is what is being shared on Emily's page, Twitter, and in articles across the internet. Why would someone pay a person to basically starve them? Which brings me to my issue with all of this.

I was always naturally thin growing up and through a good portion of my adult life. I could eat  McDonalds every day and not gain a pound. When I was a teenager I would get a Big Mac, large fries, chocolate shake, McNuggets and a fish sandwich and eat it all in one sitting. I had a voracious appetite and never gained an ounce, it was genetic. I had a very high metabolism, even after my first two births. I was 5' 6"and between 118-120 lbs. Then I had my third baby. After she was born there was a huge shift in how I physically felt. I was tired, had no motivation, craved lots of sugar and salt... I gained and gained and because my frame was small, gaining over 20 lbs was hard on my joints. When I peeked at nearly 145 lbs my knee started giving me a lot of trouble (same happened with the weight I gained during pregnancy). My back hurt a lot, and I was winded walking upstairs so I made an effort to start eating better, no more daily trips to Starbucks, and I started going to the gym again but no matter what I did that weight was NOT coming off. The more I ate healthy and exercised the more I seemed to gain. It was really bizarre, until 2018 when I became very ill. I lost nearly 25 lbs in 2 months and over an 8 month period I saw 14 doctors, had every medical test anyone can think of, I met with a dietician and even two psychiatrists to figure out if I was somehow causing myself to be sick. Very long story shorter... I was eventually diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) and nephroptosis (floating kidney). The SIBO caused me to develop extreme food sensitivities and impaired my ability to digest food and the nephroptosis was a result of the rapid weight loss that came from having malnutrition.

You are probably wondering at this point what the heck SIBO and nephroptosis has to do with the ALL IN program or any program like that. Well.. it's this...

Nephroptosis doesn't only happen to people who lose weight due to malabsorption caused by SIBO, it can happen to anyone who loses weight especially if the weight comes off quickly.

There are several reasons medical professionals advise anyone seeking out a weight loss program to make sure they don't lose more than 1-2 lbs per week.  Usually the main reason is loss of nutrients. To remain healthy we need protein, fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water every single day. Eating one type of food all day or limiting your food too much will prevent your body from getting what it needs to be healthy and depriving yourself of essential nutrients doesn't always show up physically right away. I developed tinnitus 6 months after I lost over 20 lbs and almost a year later my hair started falling out, even though at that point I was back on a healthy diet. Those who starve themselves (anorexics or bulimics) will experience the same. The health problems can take months or years to appear. Lack of vitamins or nutrients can damage our hearts and bones and if we're very young those problems may not appear until we are in our 40s or 50s, this is why doctors urge people to be careful about how quickly they lose weight but what they don't talk about often is nephroptosis.

When I read a defender of Teddi Mellencamp's ALL IN program say that she lost 3 lbs a week over a two month period and raved about how great she felt and how happy she was that's when I decided to write this blog post. 

Nephroptosis (floating kidney) is when the kidney drops down into the pelvis upon standing upright. It is more common in thin women than in men. I've still not come across a man who has had this condition but I've gotten to know many women across the globe, all thin, who have or had it. 

Our kidneys and their vessels are embedded in a mass of fatty tissue called the adipose capsule (perirenal fat). The adipose capsule surrounds the renal capsule (renal fascia) to help keep the kidney in place and protect it from injury. When too much weight loss or too rapid of weight loss occurs the adipose capsule can disappear (as has been noted during surgical fixation) and the unsupported kidney can drop.  To repair a floating kidney, surgery is required. HERE is a case report by one surgeon. 

It took two months of weight loss for me before I noticed my kidney in my abdomen and my surgeon said that was very unusual, most women don't notice for years. They suffer the horrific symptoms like pain, vomiting, heart palpitations, blood in urine, dizziness, etc... but because nephroptosis is a fairly unknown condition it can take a long time to get diagnosed. The combination of me being so thin and my kidney being twisted made it possible for me to palpate it. Lucky for me because that meant I could get it surgically fixed right away and not suffer for years like other women. 

So if you were to do a program like ALL IN starting today and you lost 3 lbs a week for 2 months you'd lose a total of 24 lbs. which is almost exactly what I lost and can lead to a floating kidney (nephroptosis). Would a diet like that lead to a floating kidney for everyone? Of course not but why risk it?

Every woman who I've spoken to who is currently dealing with a floating kidney or has had a nephropexy (surgical fixation of the kidney) has either been naturally thin or thin due to dieting or health issues. In all my research of this condition I've not found whether the perirenal fat ever returns once a patient has had a nephropexy and worked to gained weight. Historically doctors would have patients put on weight as a treatment for a floating kidney but since it proved ineffective along with other treatments like abdominal exercises and the use of corsets they have since evolved to only using surgical treatment. 

Patients who had surgical fixation of the kidneys have never been followed long term either so there is no way of knowing the long term effects of the surgical procedure or the loss of perirenal fat. 

My surgeon diagnosing my floating kidney.

Here are the facts about the body. Doctors usually recommend that a woman take in 1500-2000 calories per day. The average female will burn about 350 calories a day without any exercise at all. If you did cardio you'd burn off the following in addition to the 350:

(depending on age and metabolism - the following is for the average female)

1. low impact aerobics - 300-400 cal/hr

2. walking - 210 - 360 cal/hr

3. running - 300-600 cal/hr (depending on speed and incline)

5. high impact aerobics - 400 - 600 cal/hr

Weight loss is accomplished by taking in less calories than you burn. If you take in significantly less calories than you burn over several weeks to months you can drop weight very fast, but is that healthy? No.

Doctors, nutritionists, and dieticians always warn that rapid weight loss can lead to muscle loss, slowed metabolism, and nutrient deficiencies. Now you know it can lead to nephroptosis also. 

This is the problem with taking nutrition and weight loss advice from reality t.v. personalities, especially one that has zero credentials to back-up what she is advising.

Another thing a lot of women aren't aware of is that SIBO can also be responsible for weight gain. In my case it started as weight gain then shifted into the opposite but most women will be stuck in the gain category carrying around 10, 20, 30 extra pounds for years and struggling to shed and not knowing why they can't. This is another reason why a nutritionist or dietician would be more helpful because most have heard of SIBO and many have actually been trained on how to help SIBO patients by working in conjunction with their functional medicine doctors or naturopaths. HERE is an example of a woman that struggled with being overweight and lost 53 lbs after learning she had SIBO and getting treated. 

Starvation is never the way to go about losing weight. Don't pay someone to take you on a destructive journey that could lead you in the direction of worsening health. There are a lot of people in the world who get rich by taking advantage of other people's vulnerabilities and desperation. Don't be their victim. 

Friday, August 14, 2020


On May 17, 2020 I purchased more lye from Bramble Berry. I've not had very good luck with their lye lately, hit and miss on whether it ruins my soap recipe. It took a long time for me to figure out what the problem was because the problem was so inconsistent so this time I purchased a brand new container of lye and this is the result after mixing the lye and distilled water and of course my tried and true recipe came out soft!!

Lye should never be this weak. Even Bramble Berry admits this on their website.

I've had terrible luck with Bramble Berry products lately and considering I've been buying from them since 2007 it is really a shame to have this experience. All of the fall scents I purchased also smell very weak for the first time EVER and I'm hoping that is not the case when I make soap and candles with them.

I definitely won't be purchasing lye or silicone molds from them again in the future, I'll post about the fragrances in a couple weeks. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


 I am pretty angry right now. Like most people I get really frustrated when I spend a lot of money and I get junk. A year ago I posted about a mold I purchased from Bramble Berry.  I bought their 2 lb mold with 2 silicone liners. When my package arrived I opened it to make sure I received what I ordered and then I stuck everything in a cupboard for future use. When I finally got around to using the mold which was months later I discovered that neither silicone liner fit properly. They were both narrow on the ends and the weight of the soap didn't fix it. There was no way to tape the mold to sides because the liner was actually smaller on the ends than it was in the middle.  Here is a photo:

I wasn't happy about this but too much time had passed for me to complain (so I felt). I figured I'd use the liner anyway and just slice off the ends. 

I rarely use the 2 lb mold but because I liked the simpleness of having a silicone liner (my other molds are 5 & 6 lb molds and they don't have silicone liners) I bought a 2nd mold. I didn't need to buy a 2nd liner because I had purchased two the first time around and one was unused. I decided to start using both 2 lb molds more often. I made about half a dozen with the first mold I bought and today I was on the 3rd use of the 2nd mold (and liner) I bought. 

Keep in mind that I wash the silicone molds by hand, using warm water, careful not to stretch. I've read quite a bit about silicone liners and wanted to make sure mine would last. 

Here is a photo of what a Bramble Berry silicone liner looks like after using only 3x.

No matter how hard I tried I could not get the liner to straighten. I poured the soap in thinking the weight would straighten the liner out (like it does with the other one) but it didn't work. I tried to tape it but that failed too, I then tried using vaseline since I've read other Soapmakers have done that with liners but it didn't work either. Measuring the liner shows it has completely warped. 

I am not the only person this has happened to. Bramble Berry Reviews.

I decided to post about it here because reaching out to BB is useless. I've tried contacting them about orders or items in the past and I never hear back.

If you have a silicone liner from Bramble Berry, how did they work for you? Also, if you know of a good company to buy a silicone liner from please let me know.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Sharing some new soap creations that I am really happy with.

I've had this little fish tail for a while now and had an idea how I wanted to create the soap but I was using a fragrance I'd never worked with before so wasn't sure how the process would work out. The base of the soap didn't exactly become what I wished for mainly because I used shredded luffa, something I now know I hate, but the rest of the soap turned out great.

The little pearls and the eco glitter were exactly what I needed for this project. So cute!!

My daughter wanted me to make some Pride Soap for her friends. I find working with multiple colors challenging when trying to create the perfect layers so I kept putting this project off. Finally I made it. I didn't get the perfect straight layers but what I did get I thought turned out awesome! :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2020


I made some yummy scented peach soap a couple days ago and added some jojoba beads to the top. It turned out beautifully. The color is perfect, the scent is to die for, and the design is exactly what I wanted.

Here is the soap

Here is a close-up of the tiny jojoba beads

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


I made several batches of soap recently and was really pleased with the fragrances so I wanted to share my thoughts here.  All FOs are from Bramble Berry.

Electric Lemonade is #1 because it is one of my favorite BB fragrances. It smells so fresh and uplifting and it soaps really, really well. No ricing or acceleration at all and the scent holds a long time in the cured bar.

Pineapple Papaya is #2 because it is my second favorite. I am not sure if others like it as much as I do since I never really get too much feedback on this fragrance but I love working with it because it smells so good. It does accelerate trace though so it doesn't leave a lot of room for design time.

Chocolate Mint is #3. It's not a BB fragrance, it's actually two of their FOs blended. I used their dark rich chocolate and blended it with candy cane. It came out perfectly. No ricing, no acceleration and it smelled exactly like I wanted, like a peppermint patty.  Their dark rich chocolate is to die for.

Blueberry Jam is #4. I love the fragrance. It smells just like blueberry jam. I am not pleased with the design of my soap though. It didn't turn out at all like I planned and I don't remember why.

Monday, May 25, 2020


My latest creation: raspberry truffle soap. I purchased this fragrance from Bramble Berry. It soaped up beautifully. No ricing, no acceleration. The chocolate scent is much stronger than the raspberry which comes through lightly. I love the way the colors and berries came out also. I was nervous at first since the FO was suppose to color the soap brown but initially it looked like a mustard color. After a couple days it became the brown you see in the pic.


*items highlighted are links.

In 2013 I began to homeschool our then 6 year old. I was terrified at first that I wouldn't be able to educate my daughter as well as a public school teacher could. I worried she wouldn't find friends so she'd suffer socially. I experienced a lot of self doubt but I was encouraged by a friend who had homeschooled her two children all the way up to college. Now her eldest son is enrolled at the University of Chicago studying to obtain his PhD in evolutionary biology & botany. Knowing she could do a great job educating her children gave me the faith that I could also.

(Short Version) Our oldest child was educated by the public school system and it was quite the journey for our family. When she started school I enrolled her in a public charter school. By the middle of 1st grade we removed her because she was struggling academically and instead of the teacher's working with us to help her catch up in the areas she was being challenged they labelled her as suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and told us she needed to be medicated. Her piano teacher who had a couple of students struggling with ADHD disagreed with that assessment. Her pediatrician who had a lot of experience with kids struggling with ADHD also disagreed with that assessment. So, I transferred her to a Christian private school (Lutheran). I thought the small class sizes (12 per teacher) would help her remain focussed and learn better. Her teacher's knew our reasoning for transferring her to their school mid year. Within a month her 1st grade teacher said my daughter definitely struggled with ADHD but didn't think it was to the point of needing medication, by 2nd grade that opinion changed. Together her 1st and then 2nd grade teacher agreed that she needed to be medicated and made it clear that if we objected they could legally force us to do it. Wanting to avoid going to court over the issue we spoke with our pediatrician who was willing to prescribe Adderall as a trial run to see if it would help her focus. All it accomplished was severe weight loss and lethargy. My very creative, bubbly child became a depressed lump on the couch so I made an appointment with a psychologist. The psychologist disagreed with the assessment that she had ADHD. I then consulted a lawyer that informed us if the school forced the issue of medication they'd have a legal challenge on their hands and at that point I was willing to take it that far. There was no way I would allow my kid to be drugged again especially knowing that 4 kids in her class were already being medicated for ADHD. I found that highly suspicious. Also, not one teacher from the private or charter school had ever informed us of any issues with our daughter. It wasn't until I mentioned that I noticed she wasn't reading as well as her peers that they then diagnosed her with ADHD. As parents our mistake was believing we needed their guidance to help her but they wouldn't provide any assistance other than to label our daughter with a disorder I later would learn they were not qualified to do.

At that point I stopped giving her the medication and the following year I enrolled her in the Kumon Tutoring Center and the director there told me to remove her from the Christian school immediately and send her to a public school of her (the director's) choosing. I did. After the new school assessed the situation they determined my daughter had been so poorly educated in those early years at the charter school and private school that she had several gaps in her learning and because she was behind she would daydream in class which led to falling further behind.

After my daughter enrolled in the new public school she did very well. The principal ran the school with an iron fist, I liked that because it made the teachers exceptional. The principle stayed in constant contact with the director at Kumon and my daughter began to thrive. Sadly she didn't completely catch up to where she needed to be by the time she hit 6th grade. Luckily, in middle school there were several teachers that tutored students outside of school so we hired math teachers over the summer to help her get caught up. Unfortunately, because my daughter was very artistic, always positive, friendly but introverted, she was bullied repeatedly by boys in middle school. One boy had to be reported for sexual harassment twice for refusing to keep his hands to himself. Middle school was not a happy place for her. She was adored by teachers for being respectful, always willing to help, engaged in class, and hardworking but not always embraced by all her peers because she was not into trends and didn't succumb to peer pressure.

In high school things were good and bad. The school bombarded my daughter with an excessive amount of homework. She had absolutely no social life for most of 9-12th. At this point she was now working for the same Kumon tutoring center she had been educated by and she was getting As and Bs in school, but she would be locked in her room for 4 hours a day doing school work and we learned that was pretty much the norm for many of the students at her high school. It finally broke her end of 9th grade. All of the stress from the teacher's at the private school, trying to catch up in areas where she was behind, the bullying from middle school, the drama she was now facing with students in high school, the constant pressure etc... It became too much. After having a panic attack one morning we decided to keep her home from school for a few days. We had many long talks and we again consulted with a psychologist that taught her how to cope with stress, which she was having trouble with at that point. She later returned to doing 4 hours of school work each night but with a whole new outlook on life. She learned how to filter out the things she didn't understand like: her peers taking drugs, the physical fights in the hallways, the girls cutting themselves, the promiscuity and teen pregnancies, the competitiveness amongst students, the insecurities about who had better clothing or the latest cell phone. After she graduated high school she enrolled in community college and worked two jobs. Once she obtained her Associates Degree she enrolled in the the BFA at the University and is now completing her degree. Once she is done she intends to go for her MFA. She has come a long way but not without a lot of bumps and bruises that could have been avoided had we homeschooled her.

My youngest child was born 11 years after my eldest. I had learned a lot about our charter schools and public school system by the time she came into our lives but even so, after she finished preschool we enrolled her in public school kindergarten. One thing we noticed almost immediately (among other things) was the lack of control her teacher had over the entire class and we didn't want a repeat of what we went through with our older child. There were a couple of boys in the class that demanded all of the attention and did not understand the meaning of sit down, be quiet, and behave. It made learning for the other 25 children very difficult, so I decided to remove her and give homeschooling a try.

We found a very welcoming (secular) homeschooling community almost immediately. I think we are fortunate here in Minnesota to have a lot of homeschooling support. My daughter is now 13 and in 7th grade.

BTW/ Secular, for those that don't know, means not religious. Seems everyone has their own way of defining what secular means but what I've experienced over the years is that secular can mean you are, for example, a Christian but you don't bring any type of religious attitude or belief into how you homeschool. Of course most of the secular homeschool groups are agnostic or atheists but not all. There are Muslims, Christians, etc... but they don't use religious material to educate their children and they don't bring their religion to homeschool activities or other functions. They may attend a church or a mosque but that is the extent to which they take their religious beliefs. Those that are much more conservative in their beliefs and adhere strictly to religious doctrine would not be part of a secular homeschool group. Believe it or not, there are people who have a religion that don't believe in indoctrinating their children.
This brings me to the point of my blog post. I recently read that Harvard was holding a Homeschooling Summit titled "Problems, Politics, and Prospects for Reform." Not open to the public! Below is an explanation on what the summit is about. 

On the surface it doesn't look like a big deal. I think education can always be improved and homeschoolers are not immune to problems especially in states with zero oversight. I personally believe all states should require annual assessment testing for homeschoolers the way my state does. It is definitely one tool that helps me as a parent make sure my daughter is meeting the educational requirements set by the state. But what I learned is that isn't what the Harvard homeschooling summit is really about. Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet, who calls herself a "child advocate", is the leading force behind the summit and she has it in her head that all homeschoolers have evil intentions. In her law review article she states that 90% of homeschoolers are driven by Christian beliefs and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Before I continue I have to say in full disclosure that I am not a republican or conservative and never have been. I am a progressive environmentalist. Not a single person in our homeschooling group supports the Republican Party, not even those who are Christians. Now back to Elizabeth.

If you read over her review you'll see that she has an issue with conservatives and devout Christians. She cherry picks homeschool cases to reaffirm her view that children who are homeschooled are somehow at a disadvantage and quite possibly in serious danger. Her view does not reflect reality at all. Sure, there will be families that homeschool and abuse their children or leave them to their own devices so they emerge at 18 a bumbling idiot but that also happens every day with public schooled kids. Every person in America knows at least one person who graduated from a public school that can barely spell or one that was physically or sexually abused and never got help. Should I list the names of those I know?

For a Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet made a really weak case for why homeschooling need to be micromanaged but I will make a strong case for why many families choose not to send their children to public school and I will conclude with how awesome homeschooling has been for my youngest. So here ya go...

For starters, contrary to what Bartholet says in her review, most people don't homeschool to remove their children from mainstream culture unless you consider violence and child abuse part of our culture. Parents often homeschool because they fear for their child's mental health and physical safety. Many also homeschool because their district schools are poorly run and at home they can provide a better education. 

Homeschooling Facts

Within the homeschooling community I know, including those of friends I have that homeschool in other states, I have never heard any of the following being an issue, but everything on this list is a problem in public schools.

1. Teen pregnancy - I have yet to even hear of a homeschooled child getting pregnant. You hear about it every single day in public school.
CDC teen pregnancy statistics

2. Drug Use - Common amongst high schoolers in public school.  
The Monitoring Our Future Survey was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

3. Self Harm - In 2018 according to a survey of high school students the American Journal of Public Health found nearly 1 out of 4 teenage girls inflicts harm to themselves on purpose. The rate of boys reporting self harm without wanting to die was 1 out of 10.

4. Peer Pressure - Peer pressure in high school
Teacher's, Parents Need to Know About Peer Teen Pressure

5. Lock Down Drill for Active Shooters - 57% of students surveyed said they worried about a shooting happening at their school.
Experts worry active shooter drills in schools could be traumatic for students
What are active shooter drills doing to our kids?

6. Bullying - 1 out of every 5 students reports being bullied in public and private school according to the National Center for Educational Statistics 2019. The reasons for being bullied include physical appearance, sexual orientation, religion, disability, gender, race/ethnicity. Bullying statistics.

7. Violence -

National Center for Education Statistics - School Crime

8. Molestation by Teachers - an estimated 10% of K-12 students will experience sexual misconduct by a school employee by the time they graduate from high school according to a study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

9. Teacher Abuse (Teachers being assaulted by students) - According to federal education data 6% of the nations 3.8 million teachers were physically assaulted by students. Nearly 10% were threatened with injury.

10. Alcohol Consumption - according to the Youth Risk Behavior survey done by the CDC in 2017 on high school students (public and charter): 30% drank alcohol, 14% binge drink, 6% drove after drinking, 17% rode with a driver who had been drinking. "Results from the 2017 Ntl YRBS indicated that many high school students are engaged in health-risk behaviors associated with the leading causes of death among persons aged 10-24 years in the United States."

11. Vaping - Another survey done by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found vaping is a skyrocketing trend in high school. 32% of 10th graders and 37% of 12th graders reported vaping within the last year (2018 survey).

12. Sexual Assault by Fellow Students: K-12 schools keep mishandling sexual assault complaints. Will new Title IX regulations help?

13. Poor Education - according to the Ntl Center for Education Statistics between Oct. 2015 and Oct 2016 523,000 students between 15-24 yrs left high school without obtaining a degree or going on to obtain a GED. 

US students continue to lag behind peers in East Asia and Europe in reading, math, and science, exams show.

US students show no improvement in math, reading, and science on international exam.

The US was once the leader for healthcare and education - now it ranks 27th in the world

Just have to eldest had to evacuate public school once over a bomb threat and once for a chemical spill. Fun times!

After reading about the Harvard Homeschool Summit I saw this on Twitter.

Ridiculous, right? Yes! But what's just as idiotic as the poster in the photo above are the comments that came after it was posted. Someone suggested the young girl in the photo must be homeschooled and these were the responses that followed:

The very first comment by Miz Ulmer is quite sad for a retired school teacher from Texas.  It does explain why some parents don't like or trust certain public school teachers though. Here you have one judging a whole group based on her experience with just a few. According to the U.S. Census Bureau over 1.5 million children are homeschooled in the United States. I wouldn't want my child being educated by an individual that teaches stereotypes or one who would encourage my child to ever think they know everything about ALL people based on a handful of experiences. 

Pediatrician Whitney Edwards thinks that homeschooling because you live a nomadic lifestyle is a good reason but not if you want to avoid having your children exposed to active shooter drills, a 10% chance of being molested, getting sexually or physically assaulted by a fellow student, bullying, watching your teacher get their head smashed into the cement by a student (that happened in St. Paul, Minnesota at Central High School in 2015 - teacher ended up with a traumatic brain injury). Remember, the majority of families surveyed said they homeschooled because they were "concerned about the environment at schools."

Whitney also says homeschooling prevents kids from hearing diverse voices and it's the reason behind why most people homeschool. I admit, my daughter doesn't spend time with conservatives. My daughter is Mexican and my husband is from Mexico. If you follow politics I really don't have to say much more about that. Plus, our society is very polarized right now so I am sure a Trump supporting family would not enjoy being around us anymore than we'd enjoy being around them. With that said, you tell me. This is my daughter. Without knowing anything about her, does she come across as being dangerous to society and lacking in the diversity department?

^ Here she is helping to table for a non-profit that protects gray wolves

^Here she is holding a sign while walking to protest a pipeline that would negatively impact indigenous lands in our state

^Here she is attending a rally at the state capitol to protect Lake Superior from sulfide mining.

^Here she is with her big sister meeting with our state rep. on behalf of the Humane Society to protect wildlife and pets in our state. 

Yes, my daughter knows how government works. She has been meeting with members of our state legislature since she could walk. Shocking, right? After all, she's homeschooled.

No, we are not the exception, though I'm sure that is what the homeschool hating crowd would like people to believe. We call that willful ignorance. 

I could say that Whitney Edwards is the one that needs some diversity training. After all, she is very judgmental when it comes to homeschooling families and she is attaching her negative views to a picture of a child expressing her own personal views. 

Now let's move on to the writer John R Johnson's comments. He says there is no rational reason to homeschool our children. Well, I think 1-13 listed above are excellent reasons to homeschool. 

John Johnson says homeschooled children exist within an impermeable bubble yet when someone came along and disagreed with his statements about why parents homeschool and gives a logical reason why her parents homeschooled her he says she has no manners and then mocks the fact that she was once bullied. Obviously ignoring the fact he set off the tone of that conversation by insulting over a million homeschoolers across the United States and reaffirming her point about being homeschooled - bullying. 

Wow! Maybe John Johnson is projecting on that impermeable bubble comment. 

Enough said about all that. Now let me tell you what homeschooling our youngest has been like for our family.

Our youngest daughter is a lot like her older sister. She is very artistic and a bit of an introvert. She is also a voracious reader and writer who also loves nature and animals. When I ask if she believes in God she says "I'm not sure, I believe there's something." When I ask her if she wants children she says "yes, but I don't want to give birth so I will probably adopt" When I ask what she wants to do for a career she says "I'm not sure yet, something in the arts" 

Here she is reading the book IT by Stephen King

Here she is building a dollhouse to occupy her time during the covid lock down.

Homeschool has allowed our daughter to flourish without the pressures and fears that come with going to public school. Her annual assessment exams continually show her scoring above grade level and more importantly, she is happy!

Let's look at some of the biggest misconceptions people have about homeschooling.

1. Kids aren't socialized.

My daughter has genuine social experiences NOT the robotic kind you find in public schools where the teachers control the time, setting, and nature of the conversations. She never gets sent to detention for trying to talk to her friends.

My daughter goes to a local college to participate in their homeschooling fitness program along with dozens of other children of various age groups. She attends fun outside classes in science (taught by a naturalist and environmental educator), acting (taught by a local theater company) sewing (taught by a retired home economics teacher), and history (taught by fellow homeschooling parents) where she again encounters numerous children. We meet weekly with other homeschooling families at a local park. She is in constant contact with a core group of 5 friends. She also goes on multiple field trips and to camps throughout the year.

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the wide range of ages children learn to socialize with. Our group has children from birth to age 15 and a variety of age groups will play games or sports on our meet-up days. The older kids are always helping the younger kids. The boys and girls hang out together. My daughter's closest friends are 3 boys and 2 girls.

NO, this is NOT unique to our family. All of what we do is typical for homeschooling families.

2. We are not meeting state standards when we educate our children.

Our family, like many others, uses a curriculum designed to meet state standards. We chose Oakmeadow for our daughter. There are numerous curriculums to choose from.

Our state also requires all homeschooled students take a nationally normed achievement test every year and the test must be approved by the superintendent.

3. We homeschool to control how our children think.

Quite the opposite. Herd mentality is what you get in a public school. Learning is an organic process. We treat our children as the individuals they are by understanding that not everyone learns exactly the same. It is the cookie cutter education that can be harmful to some children. In public school, kids are pressured by teachers and their peers to conform. In homeschool, children are allowed to explore various learning styles and activities that fit their needs best. In public school most kids drink and do drugs because their friends are doing it. Most kids want the latest cell phone and the trendiest clothing because that's what their friends have. Schools are not teaching kids critical thinking skills. If they did we wouldn't have the majority of the nation believing everything they read on the internet. The 2016 presidential election was decided by people who had zero critical thinking skills, most of which went to public school.

Funny fact - Miz Ulmer, Whitney Edwards and John Johnson all became the poster children for why some families homeschool. They represent what public school has to offer. Indoctrinating children into the belief that if others are different than you they must be strange and therefore dangerous. Imagine those three being parents of children your child encounters when she first enrolls in public school after being homeschooled. Think about how those children would treat your child.

The end.

(Previous post on homeschool myths)

Thursday, February 27, 2020


The last batch of soaps I made were for Valentines Day.  I used grapefruit lily and baby rose fragrance oils from Brambleberry. Both smell amazing but the baby rose is to die for. Smells exactly like the rose bush I have in the garden. I also used the Brambleberry heart silicone mold for the first time. It is super easy to use and comes out perfect!

I am disappointed in the soap cutter I purchased. I bought my first wire cutter and I am not liking the result. It has nothing to do with the cutter itself, that was built perfectly and works very well, it is the little bumps it leaves on my soap which I've read is caused by air bubbles. If I cut the "old" way those bumps don't appear, it is only with the wire cutter which I've also read is very common. 

You can see the bumps in the soaps below.

I'll be making some changes with the next batch to see if it prevents this problem when cutting with the wire.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Over the holidays I made a nice variety of soaps with fragrance oils from Brambleberry.  They were well received! Here they are: