Supporting a Large Family on One Income and Sonlight: 4 Moms Q & A

Welcome to another 4 Moms Q & A.  I’m just tackling two questions today, one about being able to afford a large family on one income and the other about homeschooling and Sonlight.

Lisa said,

moms of many manage

(I) came across a review you wrote in 2009 with mostly positive feedback on (Sonlight). I am curious if you are still using Sonlight or has your exposure led you to other multi-level teaching programs or just different programs in general?

We are still using Sonlight for our younger set of children.  Our family was VERY disappointed with Sonlight Core 6, particularly in their choice of  ” The Story of the World” as their history spine.

‘The Story of the World’ is based on evolutionary presuppositions and does not include much of recorded Biblical history, however,  the tipping point for our family is that the Biblical history that it does record is sloppy. It’s misleading in the best instances and blatantly false in others.

Regarding the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Ms. Bauer states,

So the Romans helped some of the leaders of Judea arrest Jesus. They put him on trial for treason. The penalty for treason was death! Jesus was convicted of treason and put to death near Jerusalem, the capital city of Judea. ~ ‘Story of the World p 283 (emphasis mine)

However, the Bible contradicts this. (Luke 23, John 19, Matthew 27 and Mark 14-15) Here is one example:

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” Luke 23:4

Our family is currently using Sonlight for our younger children and a combination of our own personally designed program (lots of reading lists and lots of listening to lectures via CD and online) along with a modified Omnibus (by Veritas Press) for our older children.

Ally had several related questions,

HOW do you stay at home, on one income with so many kids?

The bottom line answer to this is spending. We need to understand the difference between a necessity and a luxury.

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. ~ 1 Timothy 6:8

If you have more than food and clothing then you are enjoying luxury.

Early in our marriage, when gas prices were less than a dollar a gallon, we figured out how much gas cost for our family to drive to and from church each Sunday and for me to drive to and from OB appointments and we budgeted just enough money for those trips plus a tad more in case of an emergency. Mark walked to work and I literally remember telling my mom (who lived about 15 minutes away) that I couldn’t bring the kids over to swim. My reason was that we didn’t have money in the gas budget for that luxury.

Yes, driving to the park that is only a couple of miles from your house is a LUXURY (even if gas prices weren’t $3-$4/gallon)!

Cell phones are a luxury.

A second car (and perhaps even the first) is a luxury.

A TV, internet, cable, the newspaper are ALL luxuries.

New clothes are certainly luxuries.

More than one pair of shoes is a luxury.

Most of the food that Americans purchase, luxuries.

Your entire ‘entertainment’ budget, luxury.

Getting a haircut, luxury.

Christmas gifts, wrapping paper, lights, trees, decorations, all luxuries.

Don’t get me wrong. God loves to give good gifts to His children and we enjoy having luxuries, but when we act as if our luxuries were necessities we are being ungrateful. This  can lead to wasteful spending (paying for an unnecessary cellphone) and an inability for families who make more than 84% of the world (annual income of $10,000) or who make more than 99% of the world (annual income of $50,000) think that they simply can’t afford another child.

Some of our innumerable blessings.

Some of our innumerable blessings.
Back L-R: Amber (16), Kaitlin (14), Matthew (13), Alyssa (12)
Front L-R: Sadie (9), Isabella (2), Colby (6), Nicholas (4), Savannah (7), Valor (4 months), Carter (10)

We’ve also learned over the years that God does not necessarily provide what you need BEFORE you have need of it, but He has always provided everything that we need.

What are some of your favorite tips, secrets or anything that helps?

1. Appreciate how rich you are and be grateful.

It frustrates me when people don’t understand how RICH we are. Americans, in general, are the richest people in the world. Think about all the things in your life that are luxuries and sit back and marvel at how generous God has been to you.

2. Cut out (or minimize the expense) of a lot of those luxuries and appreciate the ones you keep.

3. Make your own.

Mark and I were talking about rising prices just yesterday and he said to me that because progress in making more of our own products from scratch, our costs have remained stable, despite paying more for everything that we continue to buy.

We currently make our own:

Actually, the only pre-made things I can think of that we still buy are deodorant (if you have a good recipe for this, please leave a link in the comments), dish washing detergent and Dawn.

4. Go green.

Cut out the paper. Use cloth napkins, cloth diapers, rags, etc. instead of the disposable variety.

5. Buy used.

Seriously, our kids can recount exactly what items we’ve bought new for them over the course of their lives. We just don’t do it. It’s thanks to the excesses of the society that we live in that it’s completely possible to dress nicely and never purchase a single item new.

6. Give to others.

God blesses us with abundance (and if you’re reading this online, you’ve been blessed with abundance) so that we can bless others. Two of our children’s favorite charities are Voice of the Martyrs and Frontline Fellowship. Open your home, give to others, be generous.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

7. Use swagbucks.

This one makes me laugh, but our family has the Swagbucks search bar installed on our computers and we turn in our Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. It’s terrific, takes no time and really does save us money on our Amazon purchases. I got nearly $100 in Amazon gift cards just last month. 🙂

How much income do you all live off of?

We’ll put it this way, our family income disqualifies us from foreign adoption because the U.S. requires that you make a certain percent above the poverty level in order to qualify to adopt from outside the U.S.


You may also be interested in:

May the Lord bless you in 2013!

Visit the other moms of many to see what they have to say:

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79 Responses to Supporting a Large Family on One Income and Sonlight: 4 Moms Q & A
  1. Connie Sue
    January 3, 2013 | 8:30 am

    I’ve never tried it, but after reading your post I was on the Prairie Homestead and this was the post…


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you. I’m ready to take the plunge, but Mark is really leery on this one.


    Deirdre Reply:

    I spent lots of $$ trying the natural deoderants on the market. Nothing worked well. Until last yr when my friend told me how to make my own. Equal parts of virgin coconut oil, cornstarch and baking soda. I add a few drops of essential oils for fun. Lemongrass and lavender are favs. I apply it with my fingertip and rub it in a little. I store it in a empty baby food jar. It is solid below 76 deg. and liquid above. It works really well. To be blunt, men are usually hairy in the armpits and women shave there generally (in the US at least). So I am not sure how well the deoderant will work on men. My husband won’t try it. I switched not because of cost as much as I suspect spreading aluminium on our bodies each day is not healthy. Just my gut hunch. Anyhow I am happy with this mix….just don’t break the jar on vacation like I recently did.


    Deirdre Reply:

    One more thing… I in time cut back the amt of baking soda in the mix because I suspected (and was right) that it was irritating me a little.


    Emma Reply:

    We’re using this, too–1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup cornstarch. My daughter adds some essential oil sometimes (lavender, I think), but I don’t bother. My husband is happy with it, as well.


    Katie Reply:

    We use this too, only without the arrow root…I might try adding it. My husband uses it as well. I will say it may not work as well as the bad for you store bought deodorant, it definitely works better than the natural ones at the store. We like it and would recommend at least trying it.


  2. Anna
    January 3, 2013 | 8:39 am

    Thanks so much for this post. As with so many of your posts, I was so blessed by it. It set my heart on God and got me thinking about a lot of our spending, and just how much we really have and how much we really need.

    Maybe you and the other four moms could do an eBook on how to do make things from scratch, getting started in it, etc. I’d love to read it. 😀


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m hoping to do a series of posts on healthier living and hope to write more about how to make your own ____ from scratch. I’m not promising a time frame because I’m happily busy doing the more important things in my life.

    However, it may be getting closer as Valor (4 months) is beginning to enjoy sleeping in his own bed more often. 😉


    Anna Reply:

    Awesome! 🙂
    I’ve got a little one on the way next month, so I’m not sure I’d be getting started on it anytime soon myself 😉


  3. Annie
    January 3, 2013 | 8:45 am

    Kimberly, it’s good to read a post from you! It’s been a while!
    Thank you for putting our luxuries into perspective. You are spot on that we in America are so blessed even when we only have the nessecities. I am reminded of Matthew 6:25-34 when Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or wear. I fall into the discontentment trap at times when I think we should have better
    things. But this only leads to ungrateful heart; ungrateful towards the gifts and numerous blessings we have been given. And if my children see me acting this way how can I expect them to be thankful for the things we give them?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    It has been a while. My life is so blessedly full right now and I’m trying to enjoy every second of it!

    2012 was a year of growth for our family. It wasn’t bad, just difficult to walk through. However, we are seeing the beautiful fruit of that struggle. For the first time since our move to Knoxville (7 1/2 years ago), we are not praying that God will move us away from this place. We are so thankful for the place that we find ourselves and the community that He has provided for us.

    God is good and His blessings overwhelm us often.

    And you’re right, if we aren’t grateful for what we have, how can we expect it in our children? And let me tell you, children can be grateful for, what the world would consider, very little. Mark and I often laugh at the profuse thanks that we get from our children for “little” things (like going to the park or buying a bag of pretzels at the grocery store).


    Annie Reply:

    Kimberly that is such a beautiful thing when you see your children truly grateful for the “small” things. My kids, ages 3, 5, and 11, light up on Library Day and if they get to pop popcorn in the air popper.
    I have read on your blog before that you and Mark only purchase gifts for the kids one birthdays and for Christmas. Aside from the modeling thankfulness and training them to appreciate, do you feel this has also played a role in your childrens’ view of material things?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I do think that this has played a role. Our kids don’t have a lot of the stuff that I see many kids taking for granted and they are very grateful.

    Our children speak often about how rich our family is and how God has blessed us with so much more than we need. The outside world would say that our family is ‘poor’ (I laugh at the idea, we have an abundance and so much luxury!), but we KNOW that we are amazingly rich in both material and immaterial blessings!


    Sillygeesedesigns Reply:

    Growing up we lived in two neighborhoods where the average income was significantly higher than ours, our 4 kids was a large family. Still I managed to have everything I wanted and knowledge that where where rich in love. I was so thankful for this as my neighbors and classmates suffered divorce, indifference, lack of discipline, no parental oversite. I learned about hard work and work ethic because part of getting the things I wanted was earning the money to get the items.
    I am trying very hard to teach my kids these lessons, I find that it can be harder than it seems.


  4. Darlene
    January 3, 2013 | 9:04 am

    This post blessed the socks off of me this morning. My husband just started a new job/total career change at age 40. He did take a paycut. BUT, we are fine! We are leaving our big, family home behind, looking for a smaller, 3 bedroom rental that will have significantly lower cost utilities. Our extended family does not understand why we would even consider such a move with baby #8 on the way. Or why we would consider getting rid of our 15 passenger van.


  5. Chris
    January 3, 2013 | 9:12 am

    Kimberly, loved this post as always. Just referred a friend who was having sibling issues to you the other day. I need to work some on what are “luxuries” but most of your tips, we already practice. I did have two deodorant things for you to try. My teenage daughter uses the solid salt like this one The one she has now has lasted over a year. I use and have for a couple years just equal parts cornstarch and baking soda. I just put it on with a big cosmetic brush. We also make a multi-purpose household cleaner by putting orange, lemon, or lime peels in a jar then pouring white vinegar over them. Let them sit a couple weeks and pour in a spray bottle. This works great on counters, tables, even hard floor surfaces.


  6. Jenifer
    January 3, 2013 | 9:15 am

    I’m always encouraged by your posts. I was wondering if there was any way you could contribute to my large family blog. I know you are busy and so am I but maybe there is some way that we could be a blessing to each other. It seems like we live a lot the same. God bless u.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jennifer. Thank you for the offer. I’m just not at a place where I can commit to anything more than I’m currently doing.

    I’m just trying to focus on the BEST things and not be overrun with GOOD things.

    Perhaps in the future it will be possible for us to team up. 🙂


  7. Delilah
    January 3, 2013 | 9:30 am

    Great post…you are such an encouragement:) I have never tried this but here is a link, she even has a video…

    Here is her recipe link and she even has a diaper rash cream:)


  8. Cecilia
    January 3, 2013 | 9:34 am

    We use coconut oil, then a sprinkle of baking soda as deoderant. It works without fail when “real” deoderant doesn’t. 🙂
    We also make all those things from scratch out of financial necessity, but also because it is satisfying to be able to do so with healthful ingredients that don’t hurt those of us with chemical sensitivities.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I keep wondering about doing this. It’s nice to know that it would work.

    We also have the double purpose behind making all of these things. It’s nice to know what we’re putting on our bodies and to know that it’s all healthful.


  9. Mandi
    January 3, 2013 | 9:35 am

    I don’t really know to use this phone to leave the link but has a simple, great deodorant. 1/4 cup both baking soda and arrowroot powder or cornstarch mixed into 6-8 tbs of coconut oil. I like it slightly better w arrowroot, but mostly make it w less expensive cornstarch.


  10. Kristin
    January 3, 2013 | 9:46 am

    Great post! I simply don’t understand women who “can’t stay home”.


    Brit Reply:

    I hope you didn’t mean this comment in a judgemental way, but it could be taken that way for sure.

    I know many women who “can’t stay home” for many different reasons. Please don’t judge or assume it’s because of not taking needed steps.

    I “stay home” with my kids because my husband and I made this decision. However we had to rent out our house and move in with my in-laws in order to do so. We have always been wise with our money, have no car debt, no credit card debt and we live as frugal as possible. However, with a $1000/month student loan payment we are unable to afford even a 2 bedroom apartment (we can’t live in a 1 bedroom legally because of our family size) right now. We have sacrificed. It is not easy living with my husband’s family, but it’s where we are and we do have many blessings.

    I know another family with a large amount of medical debt that they simply can’t afford to live on one income… even the smallest of a place.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe the wife should be a “keeper of the home,” but please don’t judge others on their finances. Right now we literally can’t live on our own with one income (unless my husbands income increased significantly).


  11. hannah
    January 3, 2013 | 9:57 am

    I love your blog post! I lvoe the washcloth idea and Im going to try and make the laundry soap! Do you know if it matters if the soap is a color or does it have to be white? I am a mom of three little ones with one on the way and I stay at home….people always tell me Im crazy for having more, and ask how I stay at home? I tell them we just don’t spend extra. You are such an inspiration!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    It probably doesn’t matter whether the soap is white or not.

    Thank you!


  12. Hannah H
    January 3, 2013 | 9:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more! My husband and I made the decision for me to stay home when our first child was born, 4 1/2 yrs later we have no regrets! We have seen the Lord provide for us in miraculous ways confirming to us this was the right decision. We are under the poverty level( by a lot ) but making smart choices and few financial commitments and no credit card debt has left us with more financial freedom than others who make a lot more than we do. I won’t even get started on the blessing it is to stay home with my children…. 🙂


  13. Natalie
    January 3, 2013 | 11:02 am

    I use a mix the same as Mandi who left a comment. I sometimes add some lavender essential oil or tea tree. Other times I use it as is. It works very well. I used to put the mix into an old deodorant stick, lately I just put it in a small wide mouth mason jar and just scoop a little onto my finger. It starts melting the minute it touches your skin and so it is easy to smear around.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you.


  14. Nichole Contentw
    January 3, 2013 | 11:41 am

    Wow thanks for this! Definitely edifying.


  15. Amy Clark
    January 3, 2013 | 12:50 pm

    I’ve been a stay at home mom to our three children, with the fourth on the way. I consider it a huge blessing. I’ve seen the Lord bless tremendously with finances – not that we have a lot, but there is always “enough”. My husband is also extremely generous with our money. It used to really concern me when he would give large sums of money when he noticed a need (never without consulting with me first, though). But over the years, I’ve seen the Lord bless every single time we gave sacrificially. Even when it seemed that his generosity would get in the way of my own family’s needs, the Lord always, always came through. Now I don’t even hesitate when he suggests our giving. I don’t want to stand in the way of God’s blessing on my family!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Amy this is so true. It seems the more we give, the more we have to give.

    A side benefit of this is that our children learn to be generous. Our children regularly use all of their birthday/Christmas money to purchase gifts for others.

    They also search out ways to earn money so that they can have more to give to the charities I mentioned above.


  16. Carol
    January 3, 2013 | 1:03 pm

    GREAT post!

    Here’s the recipe we use:

    Deodorant recipe

    – 1/4 c. baking soda
    – 1/4 c. arrowroot powder (cornstarch can also be used, but it makes many people, including me, break out. I tried it once.)
    – 5 Tbsp. coconut oil
    – Essential oils as desired (I use a few drops of tea tree oil)

    Mix everything together very well. I keep mine in a wide-mouth glass jar, and during very warm weather it does liquefy a bit, but still works fine as long as I make sure I stir before using. Stirring well and placing in the refrigerator for a couple of hours will help too, which is what I usually do.

    This mixture works better for me than any commercial product I’ve ever used. It took a couple of weeks of usage before it started working well for me, (not sure why!?) but after that it was fabulous and I’d never use anything else!


    Leslie B Reply:

    I have heard this, that you have to use natural deodorants for a week or so before they really start being effective… tat can be a deterrent for some 😀


  17. Rebecca
    January 3, 2013 | 2:25 pm

    After a long time reading and enjoying your blog, I’m so happy to have something to offer!

    This is a ROLL-ON DEODORANT recipe that has worked for me for the last couple of years.

    1 Tablespoon water
    1 Tablespoon aloe vera gel
    1 Tablespoon isopropyl rubbing alcohol (there are other kinds but they don’t seem to work right)
    1/4 teaspoon vegetable glycerine.

    I put it all into a clean roll-on deodorant container, shake and use. I believe it is mainly the alcohol that is killing the smelly bacteria.

    It controls the smell well. When I was testing it out, I made many of my near and dear sniff me closely to report on the effectiveness. Many are still speaking to me 😉 and no one could notice a body odor.

    It’s easy to mix up in the bottle and is stable in the bathroom cabinet.

    If alcohol irritates your skin, this is not a good idea for you. Right after shaving, it can sting for a moment.

    You have to find a roll-on bottle that can be reopened.

    It’s a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, so every now and then on hot days I have noticed some moistness. We live in a dry climate, so YMMV.


    Monique Reply:

    I bet you could put this in a spray bottle, unless its too gel-y. Hmmmm….


    Rebecca Reply:

    Hmmm indeed! It’s a little goopier than water, but not gel-like at all. I bet it would be worth a try in a spray bottle.


  18. Cindy
    January 3, 2013 | 3:32 pm

    Oh my goodness about SotW! I’ve used the activity books and some of the reading to shortcut on ToG in the younger grades, but didn’t see much of this sort of thing because it’s just a supplement. I will definitely not suggest that anybody else do what I’ve been doing, based on this. Oh, wow. Not just wrong-headed, but completely wrong!


  19. Serenity
    January 3, 2013 | 3:42 pm

    This was what I needed to hear today! I might sound silly but I have 50$ in Gymbucks that I would get to spend in a few weeks. This morning I was putting my girls clothes away and could not get their drawers to close because they have SO MANY CLOTHES! I am going to search for someone that can use my Gymbucks. I do not need them! Thank you for reminding me how wealthy I truly am…


    Deirdre Reply:

    You could use the Gymbucks to buy baby gifts and then you would be stocked up for many showers to come. I find that online is the best place to use my Gymbucks. Shipping is usually only $5.


  20. Jama
    January 3, 2013 | 3:58 pm

    Today’s Kingdom Notes from R.C. Sproul Jr. tie in nicely with your thoughts on neccessaties/luxaries.



  21. Mandi
    January 3, 2013 | 8:15 pm

    My husband uses too. We actually first used it because he hasn’t mentioned that he was out of deodorant until, well, he was out. He likes it. We’ve been using it for prob about 6 months.


  22. Tracy
    January 3, 2013 | 10:00 pm

    Thanks so much for this post!! Was wondering if I could get your recipes for soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste,lotion, antibiotic ointment, and cleaners. I know that’s a bunch. Maybe you could just direct me to websites that have been helpful. would love to make more or our stuff. Thanks so much!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    No promises on timing, but I am hoping to post more about natural living (including lots of recipes and tutorials) here on the blog. I have many of my recipes on my Pinterest boards. If you follow me there you’ll often see what’s going on in our lives as I use Pinterest to keep track of a lot of my research. 🙂


  23. Kat
    January 3, 2013 | 10:16 pm

    Deodorant or antiperspirant? I’ve never seen a DIY recipe for antiperspirant. But as for deodorant, just dab some apple cider vinegar under your arms. It kills the bacteria that emits the odor. After the AC vinegar has dried, it will leave no smell. You will not smell like vinegar.


  24. Cheryl @ Moms in Need of Mercy
    January 3, 2013 | 11:55 pm

    On a different note, could you share some of your favorite audio recommendations? We are currently listening to Biblical Economics by RC Sproul Jr. and enjoying it. Looking for some other good ideas for the winter (or anytime!).

    (Regarding the at-home comments, I had to chuckle when a mom posted on FB for ideas of what to do with her 5 and 3 yr. old “tomorrow” on Christmas break. I can’t remember where I read it, but it’s so true, that people are becoming so used to being entertained every minute and going from activity to activity that “just being at home” seems so boring and they can’t think of anything to “do”)…

    I’m also wondering if you can share your shampoo recipe!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We became acquainted with the Lamplighter audio CDs last Christmas and they have become favorites with our whole family.

    Our boys love Providential Battles We only have the first two volumes but they are on the boy’s list for future gifts.

    Others from Vision Forum that we’ve used and enjoyed for history studies:
    History of the World BC and AD
    History of Christianity and Western Civilization

    Of course our whole family also loves the Jonathan Park series.

    We’re interested to hear Biblical Economics. Have you all enjoyed it?


    Jul Reply:

    Do you have an audio bible you like? I’ve been shopping around. I’m leaning towards a dramatized version, but they can be way over the top… Thoughts?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Years ago we got an audio Bible from Christian Books Online it features Alexander Scourby reading the Old Testament and James Earl Jones reading the New Testament. We really enjoy it.


  25. Tracy
    January 4, 2013 | 2:49 pm

    Another great post. If you need a question for a future Q&A post, how did you modify Omnibus? Also, do you begin in 7th grade or wait? Thanks so much!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Because I have no confidence that I will remember to get to your question in the future AND because it doesn’t take too much thought to answer now…

    We are doing Omnibus more slowly than prescribed. We’re not necessarily going to do all the assignments. We will also be picking and choosing the books we will read and cover. We’re basically making the program fit into our lives. Oh, and Mark is doing all the teaching. (I love that)

    We started Omnibus this year with our 10th, 9th, 9th and 7th grade children. Because of the material covered we chose to skip Omnibus Year 1 and we started with Year 2.

    Feel free to ask for more clarity if you need it. 🙂


  26. Shannon H.
    January 4, 2013 | 2:58 pm

    Thankyou for the candid reminder that most of what we deem as necessity is really just luxury taken for granted! And I also really appreciate the honest look at Sonlight. Very important information, for sure. God has blessed you guys – and I’m grateful you have the luxury of internet to share your blessings with us! 😉


    Shannon H. Reply:

    Also, along the thinking in this post, I’m interested to hear you share your thoughts on homeschooling moms working a home-based business… I’m assuming you might bring in a little income through your blog, as many moms do – what are your thoughts (and perhaps experience) on Moms utilizing opportunities such as Pampered Chef, Thirty-One Gifts, Blessings Unlimited, and the like? I’m particularly interested to hear if anyone has used these means to include their children in their endeavors. 😉


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great question!

    Yes, I make an income from this blog. It’s not the focus or goal, but a nice side benefit.

    My mom was a homeschool mom who started a business and we hope to teach our children to think outside of the box in the same manner. I think this is a great idea for homeschool moms who have children who are a little older. (I think it would be very difficult to keep your priorities straight with only small children in the house unless your husband was pretty involved.)

    I think that one avenue toward the goal of teaching kids to be entrepreneurs is utilizing opportunities like Pampered Chef, etc.

    As you know, Amber and I are Lilla Rose consultants. Amber does almost all of the work, keeping up with email, ideas, posts, etc. It’s good training for our super shy oldest child. 🙂

    Matthew (13) is looking for a good way to earn money. He’s considered how he can be involved with Lilla Rose or Young Living (We LOVE these and are distributors.) For Christmas he asked for a weed-whacker because he wants to do lawn work for those in our neighborhood.

    Of course the challenge it to keep proper priorities.


    Kirsten Reply:

    When I was a child I made and sold cookies and fresh whole wheat bread around my neighborhood! My 14 and 8 year old children have earned money during the summer months with a combined car wash/lemonade stand business! This past December they made and sold Christmas wreaths and swags from the holly and evergreen trees on our property. This summer they hope to start a dog washing business 😉 There are so many opportunities for children to gain business/money management experience with the extra time that homeschooling allows. Love it!


  27. Jul
    January 4, 2013 | 10:51 pm

    I’d love to second or third the request for your other make yourself recipes. I’m looking for ways to do all of the above.

    Have you compared your homemade laundry soap recipe with others that require the use of luandry soda and borax? Yours sounds cheapest and simplest, so if it’s just as effective, I’d love to do that. I have issues getting stains out, maybe due to hard water?

    Do you find that the baking soda pulls the color/fades your darks?



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’ve not compared our laundry recipe with others that use borax and laundry soda. Although, I did make a laundry powder recipe once that didn’t work for us at all.

    We use this recipe because it’s the cheapest.

    I have a great stain treatment recipe (2:1 hydrogen peroxide to Dawn) that gets just about everything out.

    We haven’t noticed any problem with fading etc. but then again we really don’t buy any new clothing, so everything has had many previous washings.


    Jul Reply:

    Thank you for the stain treatment recipe! Looking forward to giving it a whirl! I just dealt with stains forever because I didn’t want chemicals, and recently had caved to to chemicals as we were overrun by stains….


  28. Jul
    January 4, 2013 | 11:01 pm

    I thought I’d pass along a history curriculum I found and like: TruthQuest History.

    Her heart for the Lord is absolutely amazing. The guides are cheap – around $25 and you use books off your shelf or library, or you could purchase ones you absolutely love.

    She does not require or even recommend the use of spine books such as story of the world, but has over time made some mention of them to those who really really want to use them. I don’t believe I’ve even seen ‘story of the world’ mentioned in my guide for U.S. History for younger kids at all, and none of the spines are central to the guide. Check it out (no I’m not selling anything – but maybe I should :))
    I was truly truly blessed by her perspective and pointing to God’s hand in the events of history. She has some samples that can be viewed online. I hope someone’s blessed as I was!

    We’ve been using all the sonlight titles that I bought off their U.S. history suggestions, plus some from the library as we go through her guide.

    Those that love to read living books aloud will enjoy as well.


  29. Brit
    January 5, 2013 | 12:05 am

    I agree with so much that you said! It really is amazing how little a large family can live on. I don’t know if I agree that lotion is a luxury… at least living in the north during the winters. My kids and I get such dry skin that we have dry patches all over our body (we have very pail non-oily skin). I feel so bad for my 6 month old that has VERY red cheeks right now because they are so dry and chapped. Lotion is a must for our family!

    Here is a recipe for deodorant that I read about a long time ago. It seems like it would work well. I actually use crystal deodorant. It’s natural, and it last forever! 🙂


  30. Molly
    January 5, 2013 | 1:21 am

    Have you looked at Mystery of History? Wonderful material that points to Christ, creation based and so informative! I thought about doing omnibus this year with my 8th grader and was horrified that he was to read 1984! The discussion and questions seemed really inappropriate. Are you skipping that sort of thing? Cutting it of the book even? Or having discussions? I even bought the curriculum, but just not sure that is necessary discussion. Would love your input.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, we’ve looked at (and have used) Mystery of History. We really like it.

    However, MoH is written for K-8th grade. Two of our children in Omnibus are in grade 9 and one is in grade 10. Being fairly familiar with what is covered (and how it is covered) in MoH 1 and 2, it doesn’t provide the depth that we want to give to our older children.

    We’re doing Omnibus II this year. ‘1984’ is scheduled in Omnibus III.

    I’m curious though, what are your objections to ‘1984’ and what did you deem inappropriate in the discussion questions as I haven’t seen this material.


  31. Sara Arrigoni
    January 5, 2013 | 2:57 am

    I just started using Sonlight Pre-K for my little one, so I was disappointed to read about your concerns. I do not see Core 6 listed anymore on their site (they seem to have renamed things?). Can you tell me what age that book was aimed at? I wanted to see the booklist for that age to see if they were still using that or have changed…



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Sarah.

    We still use and enjoy Sonlight with our younger children.

    Sonlight 6 correlates to the current G and has (from what I can tell) all of the same books. Yes, they still use “The Story of the World”.


  32. Molly
    January 5, 2013 | 8:01 pm

    Yes, I understand wanting more depth. The reason I got omnibus III for my 8th grader is because he was bored with MOH.
    1984 has some sex. There is a description of sex with an old prostitute and then with a young woman. The discussion questions are not bad, just not, in my mind, for a 13 year old boy. The questions are like, “why did they have choose to have sex in the field?” “How does this sex scene differ from the Bible’s perspective on sex?” Again, not necessarily wrong, just a little mature for us.
    I have wondered tho, if we are just being overly sheltering in this area. Are other families, with similar values, fine with this? Maybe 9th grade or not until 12?
    Anyway, when I saw your post on omnibus I was eager to get your opinion. It seems so great, bu then I just didn’t like this part.
    Thanks for your reply!!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks for the heads up Molly.

    We’ll be heading into Omnibus III next year (or whenever hubby feels the kids are ready to move on).

    As far as what we’ll do with this specific book, I’m not sure. Mark is doing all of the Omnibus assignments, reading, teaching and discussion. (I’m trying to keep up with the reading as I’m able and I enjoy listening to the discussions.)

    I think there is a delicate balance, we don’t want to expose our children to too much too early, but we also don’t want them to be ill equipped when the time comes that they are confronted with unbiblical ideas.

    Currently, we haven’t directly handled something like this with all of the children together in a group. Mark has handled things like this with the boys (mostly questions about Scripture readings) and I’ve handled things that have come up with the girls.

    Our family has been talking about the current release of Les Mis in the theaters. Questions like, “Is it ok to portray the despair of sin so long as it’s pictured as wicked?”

    It was actually for reasons such as this that we skipped Omnibus I. We thought much of what it covered was inappropriate for our family at this time.

    I will say this, we’ve been very pleased with how Omnibus handles these issues when they arise. The problem, for us, isn’t how they’re handling the material, it’s is this material we want our children to be handling at this age.

    I know it’s not an answer, but it’s where we are and we’re still working things out and this is a big reason why I said we’re using a modified version of Omnibus.


    Molly Reply:

    Thank you for your comments. I would love more discussion on this. We have leaned more toward introducing this kind of thing later. I do like how Omnibus deals with the topics, just when?! And the Le Mis question just came up yesterday! My oldest is 13, but I have 7 sons, and a daughter, so this is just the beginning!:). If you feel like it I would love to see a post on these kind of decisions!


  33. Mari Beth
    January 5, 2013 | 9:24 pm

    I am so interested in your recipes for toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc. I have been using your laundry soap recipe for over a year and love it! I know you don’t have a lot of extra time, so a link would be appreciated! Thank you for ministering to your fellow homeschool moms in this way!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Mari Beth. I posted several of those recipes in today’s post.


  34. Laurie
    January 6, 2013 | 9:02 am

    Kimberly, LOVE this post! Thanks so much for setting the record straight for so many of us single income families.

    Being good stewards of God’s money (and it’s ALL His money) allows us to do all that He has planned for us!

    We’re on a journey to debt free, correcting mismanagement of God’s money from past mistakes, and we’re learning quickly that you can also feed your family on much less than you think you can, often for just a few dollars a day.

    Thanks for the encouraging and useful post!


  35. Jenn
    January 6, 2013 | 10:15 pm

    I would like to know what to do when your husband does not share your views of finances. I pay the bills, he basically just spends whatever. I do not work, he works a job he hates and makes great money. I just am very frugal and would basically save every penny I could get my hands on. This is so frustrating to me and find myself daily giving this area over to the Lord. I have wanted to tell my husband to just pay the bills himself so I don’t have to worry about it anymore and have thought about just going back to work so I could be making my own income. My husband is adamatly against me working, I kind of think he is very spoiled!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jenn.

    God has, in His wisdom and goodness, given you the perfect husband for your good and His glory. Praise God that your husband is willing for you to stay home with your children.

    In our home Mark pays all of the bills and keeps up the budget. This is the best way for him to have leadership over our finances. This may or may not work in your home.

    However, the important thing here is not who pays the bills, but that your marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ and His church.

    22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[e] 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5)

    May God bless you as you seek to serve Him.


  36. Eileen
    January 9, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    One of my favorite books,’The Naturally Clean Home’ has loads of natural cleaning solutions that I’ve been incorporating in my house. Some of these recipes include automatic dishwashing detergent –here’s a sample:
    Super Easy Automatic Dishwashing Detergent
    2 cups washing soda
    1 cup borax
    1 cup baking soda
    combine them all in a container–use 2T each load and reduce to 1.5T if you’re having residue issues.
    I think this one would be super easy for you guys to make if you’re already making your own laundry soap–same ingredients. You can add different oils as well. If you’re interested in dish washing soap recipes, they are basically castile soaps and different essential oils.
    Here is an amazon link to the book.

    Good luck! I’d love to hear if you try any of these.


  37. Cindy
    January 9, 2013 | 4:22 pm

    Would you be able to share your other homemade recipes that were on the list as well? I love your site, have gained lots of encouragement and ideas to help this homeschooling mom of seven, who is always trying to save! so thankyou!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Cindy. I posted some of the recipes in today’s post.


  38. Preston Bartlett
    January 9, 2013 | 11:18 pm


    I hope you don’t find it strange but I’m a father of three and love reading your blog. It inspires me. I wanted to share with you an answer to your deodorant question.

    My family uses Crystal deodorant, it can be found at any drug store, supermarket. The website is It last about a year or more, and works great plus doesn’t have any of the bad cancer causing stuff in it.

    Again I love reading your blog, and if you could point me to where you have the instructions to make my own:
    •Lotions (luxury)
    •Antibacterial ointment

    I would be greatful!

    Thanks and God Bless,



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks for the tip. I posted some of the recipes in today’s post.


  39. Laura
    January 25, 2013 | 10:09 pm

    My husband and I love the coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch deodorant. We do not add essential oils, and have been using it since fall. I wouldn’t go back to store bought natural or synthetic deodorants. I will have to try some of the other recipes listed on your blog.


  40. Ruth
    October 6, 2013 | 12:03 pm

    I enjoy all your posts! Now, I have a question,
    We are a family of 10 and needing to move from our current home. My husband has building experience, and we are considering building a home in the country. Do you, or anyone else have some economical, simple and affordable house plans for a large family? We have 6 boys and the oldest is 17. We are praying for wisdom, and thinking that maybe a year building a house would be a great education for the boys (girls too). But we are quite tight on $, so any tips and suggestions would be so appreciated.


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