Monday, November 28, 2005

A Little Extra Cash

If you want to make a little extra cash, and if you enjoy blogging and don't mind copying and pasting your blog posts from Blogger to another site every day...... might want to check out Writing Up, a blogging community which was started by two computer and marketing guys. It's free (as is just about everything I do online), and isn't any kind of "sign up," really. You're just creating a blog, just like you did here at Blogger.

How will you make money, then? Google Ads will be placed on your blog there. That's something I've been doing here for a couple of months (see mine on the right column, scroll down -- oh, and click on them so I get a few pennies!). You'll get the revenue from the ads.

What ads will be on your site? I was worried about this when I first signed up to place Google ads on this site. But the ads are based on content. In other words, the ads change all the time based on what you wrote. I have gotten ads from the American Red Cross and Martha White flour and Super Target. Usually, the ads are so great that I find myself visiting the sites! Your ads will not be on the shady side, unless you are writing that way. I once got an ad for meeting singles. I didn't want that ad on my site, so I simply went to Google Adsense and blocked that ad from being on my site.

I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to "make money from home" opportunities, because there are too many scammers out there. But I did create a simulcast blog at Writing Up, because I already know that Google Ads are a fine way to make a few dollars each month (I'm getting around $50 a month between Writing Up and this blog's ads but I've just started, so that should really increase), and because all I have to do is write a blog here at Blogger, like normal, and then copy and paste it at the Writing Up site.

A no-brainer way to make a passive income. That is sooo my style!

How do you get started?

1. Click on my Google Adsense banner (in the right column) and create a Google Adsense account. This is easy to do and - of course - free.

2. Go to Writing Up (click on the name anywhere in this blog) and create a blog there. It's free and very quick to do.

3. Blog every day and wait a little while for it all to kick in. Once it does, you should be getting a little revenue each month (note: Google pays you each time you reach $100, so you'll have to wait until you get to that point before you get your first payment).

by Lori Seaborg

Use the links above to check it out and let me know what you think.

by Lori Seaborg

Sunday, November 27, 2005

How to Get More Readers to Your Blog

Someone recently asked me how to get more readers to their blog. Here is what I suggested:

1. The best way to keep others visiting your blog is to blog! Silly-sounding, but it works! Blog every day if possible (that's something I preach but don't practice), but at least a few times a week. Readers will stop coming to your blog if they don't see new posts.

2. Visit others' blogs and leave comments there. This is my #1 way of promoting my own blog. Don't say, "Come visit my blog" - that' s not in good taste. Instead, comment on the blog post that you just read, or you may say, "I was just writing about this on my blog, too....". Out of curiosity, people will click through to your blog (always, always sign in before commenting or your comment will be "anonymous," and then there won't be a link to click).

3. Add a few friends to your blog. When people see that they are your "friend" they will often add you, too, and they'll be curious about your blog, so will visit it. You can add friends in the maintenance page (where you add new posts). Click on "Manage Friends."

4. When you write a post, now and then end it with a question. In your post on Managing School Time, you might ask, at the end of the article, "So how do you manage your school time?" This encourages commenters.

5. You need to have your blog in your email signature. Write it in its full form, such as . By adding the http://www, you are making the link clickable. Anyone who reads your emails will then know about your blog.

Does anyone else have any other suggestions?

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, November 25, 2005

Turkey Carcass Soup

Wait! You didn't toss out the turkey bones yet, did you? If not, you have the chance to try out this Turkey Carcass Soup!

Thanksgiving Night (tonight is fine):

Toss the turkey bones, skin, yuckies, and all, into a big stock pot and cover the turkey carcass with water.

Add 1-2 whole, unpeeled onions and about a tablespoon of peppercorns and a few garlic cloves, if you have them. (all of these added ingredients are optional. Other options are 2-3 bay leaves, leeks (washed, but toss in all of it), and whole fresh herbs like oregano, chives, thyme).

Turn this pot on low and let simmer all night long (if you have less time, boil the water, then reduce to low and simmer for at least four hours. The longer time, the more rich the stock, though.

The next morning:

Strain all of the whole ingredients from the stock. You are left with rich, brown turkey stock (especially if you had a deep-fried turkey this year!). You can either boil this stock to reduce it (this will strengthen the flavor even further), or - this is what I do - you can freeze some of the stock for later soups (any time a recipe asks for chicken or turkey stock, use your own!).

Keep enough stock in the pot for your Turkey Soup: 8 cups worth, or so?

Later in the day, about 1-2 hours before dinner:

To the stock, add the following leftovers and ingredients:

a Tablespoon of salt (I use Kosher)
Thanksgiving leftover veggies (green beans, carrots, whatever sounds good in soup)
Thanksgiving leftover mashed potatoes (these help thicken the soup)
Thanksgiving leftover turkey meat
chopped onion and garlic (if you'd like)
other Thanksgiving leftovers that would be good in a soup

Let this soup simmer for 1/2 hour to 2 hours (or all day, like I do, but add the veggies - carrots, beans - at the last 1/2 hour so they won't be too mushy).

A 1/2 hour before dinner:

Add some noodles - homemade or purchased, or some biscuits to the soup and cook/simmer until they are done. Or, use serve leftover Thanksgiving dinner rolls with the Turkey Carcass Soup.

This is one of my husband's favorite meals, with homemade noodles or dumplings in it. Mmmmm!

by Lori Seaborg

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Creating Herbal Pillows

In our house, there is always an herbal pillow in the freezer, one under each pillow, and an extra one in a kitchen drawer. Our children (ages 2-10) love their herbal pillows, especially the “Owie Pillow,” which is stored in the freezer.

To make soothing herbal pillows to heat or freeze, you need only three basic items: a grain, an herb, and the pillow.

The Grains:

Grains are used in pillows to retain heat or cold and to give the weight desired. Choose one of the following grains for your pillow:

Flax Seed: Flax seed contains linseed oil, so it retains heat and cold remarkably well. It has a wonderful "weight" to it, making it ideal for eye pillows or for muscular aches (the pressure of the weight is soothing). You'll get only one 6"x 6" pillow from one pound of flax (it's that heavy!). You can find flax seed at your local health food store, but I think the prices online are better.

Buckwheat: Buckwheat has a light weight. It retains cold and heat, although not nearly as well as flax. We like to use buckwheat for a pillow that needs to be lightweight, or for a less expensive pillow that can be tossed around the house. Buckwheat makes great traveling pillows for the neck. You get around 16 cups of buckwheat per pound, so you can make a few pillows with that. You can purchase buckwheat online, also at the above links.

Rice: Just use any grocery store rice! Rice is inexpensive. It retains heat and cold fairly well.

Beans: Look at the grocery store for this one as well. Choose any beans or lentils. They retain heat, not through oils, but just through their density (like a brick would). Inferior to flax and buckwheat, beans still have their uses when you want to save money!

The Herbs:

Herbs that are good for pillows are the soothing and relaxing herbs, like chamomile, rose petals and lavender. Herbs that help with breathing are the mints or lemon grass. You can mix any combination of herbs that you like.

Some excellent blends are peppermint & chamomile (relaxing; helps with breathing and sleeping); lavender & rose petals (soothing; romantic); and lemon grass & spearmint (helps with breathing; invigorating).

The Pillow:

Create pillows in any shape you like, but be sure to use a “breathable” fabric, such as cotton. Herb pillows are often sold in the shape of neck pillows, baby's tummy squares, and "log" shapes for the lower back, to mention only a few. Create your pillow in any shape. If you dislike sewing, use a tube sock or a small muslin pouch.

The Technique:

1. Mix your selected herbs and grains at a 2:1 ratio (eg. 2 cups grains to 1 cup herbs - feel free to change this ratio).

2. Fill the pillow with the herb/grain mixture.

3. Close the pillow securely so the herbs won't slip out.

4. To use for cool therapy, freeze the pillow and use when needed. For warm therapy, microwave the pillow carefully in 30-second increments until it is at the desired heat.

Most pillows retain their herbal scent for about a year.

Some Ideas for Your Herbal Pillows:

· Owie Pillow: Use any of the grains listed and keep this pillow in the freezer for kids’ “owies” (non-bleeding, of course!). This has cured MANY an “owie” in our house!

· Dream Pillow: Create a pillow with any or all of the following: chamomile, lavender, peppermint, rose petals, hops, spearmint, eucalyptus... This pillow will aid in sleeping better. Keep it under your pillow (use a 1:1 ratio on this pillow).

· Labor/New Mom Pillow: I have not been without my rice and herb pillow in all four of our babies' births. Tim used the hospital's microwave to warm up my pillow each time I needed its warm therapy. I placed it on my back during labor for our first child, and on my stomach after Cesearean section for the last two children.

· Headache Pillow: Shape this pillow to fit over your eyes or forehead for headaches. Warm therapy is nice for a headache.

· Travel Pillow: Create a pillow in the shape of a neck roll for traveling. Buckwheat is the best herb for this pillow, as it is lightweight and moves freely.

· Baby's Tummy Pillow: For our colicky infants, a rice-filled square pillow has worked nicely. I warm up the pillow, place it on my arm, and place my baby upside-down with her tummy on the pillow. Or, I place the pillow in her crib and lay the baby on it. Be sure to test this pillow for the proper heat before using. The mints are excellent for babies.

Herbal pillows make wonderful gifts for baby showers, holidays, and birthdays. Be sure to create a few for yourself, too!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Few Favorite Books

I just love reading book lists from others. I don’t like to buy a book unless I already know it is good, or at least was recommended from a trusted source. Below are a few of the books that I most adore. Click on the links to see the book online:

This is a beautiful book, full of beautiful photographs. I think this book may be directly responsible for my deep desire to one day have goats (a dream that came true only last week when I acquired two angora does). I love the simple living of Tasha Tudor, who insists on living as if it is still the 19th Century.

Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions is full of Victorian-style traditions and rituals that a family may do for holidays or special days. I pull out the book and browse through it at least once a month, looking for new ideas to make days special. Because of this book, our family now celebrates St. Nicholas Day in early December, which leaves Christmas Day all to Jesus.

I’ve found this book easy to understand. I was able to teach myself how to knit through the book. When I saw a fellow homeschooler knitting one day, I asked her to make sure I was doing it right. I was! With this book, one starts out learning to knit and progresses into more difficult projects through the book. By the end, you’ll be designing your own knitted project.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Our Days

Hello, all! Thank you for being patient with me last week. We had Tim's sister, her husband and their four kids visiting for eight days. We had EIGHT kids ages TEN AND UNDER for eight days! Can you imagine what our noise level was?

We had a great time, letting the kids run through the splash pad fountain at the mall, visiting the National Museum of Naval Aviation (worth a trip to Pensacola, Florida to see!), seeing more family in Mobile, Alabama, deep-frying a turkey for dinner, barbequeing a few dozen hot dogs, eating s'mores, drinking strawberry and pina colada homemade slushies (a.k.a. non-alcoholic daquirris), ordering steak dinners to go (just us adults, after the eight kids were in bed), playing Rook every night, creating beaded earrings, shopping in our adorable downtown Fairhope, watching the men play basketball, and so much more. Part of "so much more" includes chasing our two angora goats, who escaped their pen on Sunday. That is not fun!!

I'll get back to blogging again now. I've missed you!

by Lori Seaborg

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Propagating Mints

A student in the landscaping class that I teach brought me aPennyroyal cutting this week and a cutting of Spearmint. As most gardeners do, he expected a trade, so I was happy to give him cuttings of my Mountain Mint and Lemon Thyme.

A cutting is a little slip of a plant about 6-10" long that can be placed in a medium until it grows roots. That "medium" might be water, soil, vermiculite, sand, or peat. Propagation is a fancy word for rooting cuttings of plants.To root mints (including pennyroyal and the thymes), your job is veryeasy. Just use your fingers to pinch off a piece of the plant, about6" long. Place the cutting, cut side down, into some soil or anothermedium mentioned above (my favorite is vermiculite, as it holds itsmoisture and is lightweight). You don't need to worry about addingrooting hormone to these cuttings -- they are a natural at rootingall by themselves. Keep the cutting moist, but do be sure that extrawater is able to drain away.

After a couple of weeks, if you are antsy, you may check on your cutting by gently lifting up on the stem. If it is tight, you probably have roots ready. If it pulls up, wait longer.If you have the self-control needed, as I do not, leave the cutting alone for 3-8 weeks (depending on how warm the soil has been) so that you don't damage the little roots by checking on them. When the cuttinghas a nice supply of roots (several at more than 1-1/2" long), youmay put it into a prepared pot with potting soil or into the garden.
Trading cuttings not only saves you money, but also allows you toexperience the gift of sharing!