Hardy Lake Raptors

Some of my favorite parts of homeschooling are the fun, yet educational things we get to experience.  A couple of weeks ago, a fellow homeschooling mom organized a field trip to see the raptors at our nearest state park.  They have a rehabilitation center there and have some birds that can never be released into the wild.  We gathered all the children together (by the way – this is just 3 families!)

hardy lake birds_blog_1

And met the conservation officer:

hardy lake birds_blog_2

And a screech owl:

hardy lake birds_blog_3

hardy lake birds_blog_4

hardy lake birds_blog_5

And a barn owl:

hardy lake birds_blog_6

hardy lake birds_blog_7

hardy lake birds_blog_8

And a peregrine falcon:

hardy lake birds_blog_9

hardy lake birds_blog_10

hardy lake birds_blog_11

And a red-tailed hawk:

hardy lake birds_blog_12

hardy lake birds_blog_13

And a great horned owl:

hardy lake birds_blog_14

hardy lake birds_blog_15

It was an awesome day filled with cool birds, a picnic lunch, and playing with friends!




Knitting Time Saver

All of the children know how to knit (including the boys). They mostly knit washcloths that they sell with our soap. It’s great because they can take their knitting with them in the car or to a meeting we need to attend.  It gives them something to do with their hands.  Knitting also teaches eye-hand coordination and is a great skill to have.


The children used to get paid for their washcloths when the waschloth was sold.  But that caused a few too many problems.  Jim and I eventually noticed that if a customer wanted to purchase a washcloth, the children would be “shoving” their particular washcloth under the customer’s nose and fighting to try to get the customer to purchase their particular washcloth. LOL

So now, when a Jonas completes a washcloth, I pay them for the washcloth and it sells whenever it sells. 

While we were at Madison Chautauqua, one of our neighbors – Steve at Ayers Pottery had pottery (obviously) for sale.  He had a piece that I simply could not figure out what it was for.  When I asked, he told me it was for knitting.  

The piece is brilliant!  It holds the yarn so you can easily knit, and the ball of yarn stays put and doesn’t roll away.  This saves the children time because the yarn comes out easily and doesn’t get knotted. It also has two holes that your knitting needles can stick out of when you’re not knitting.   


I love things that are functional and beautiful! And Indigo absolutely loves the fact that Steve had one in purple (her favorite color!)


If you know anybody who knits, these would make a wonderful present.  I don’t think he has these knitting bowls listed on his website, but you can email Steve at info@ayerspottery.com and I’m sure he can help you.  Tell him you heard about these from PJ at Goat Milk Stuff.  I don’t get anything from him if you purchase one, other than the satisfaction of supporting somebody who works hard and makes a quality product.   

Do you know how to knit or crochet?  Which do you prefer?


How to Make an Ethernet Cable

Jim spends a lot of his time supplying Goat Milk Stuff with what it needs to keep growing.  I love it when he is able to use the business as a way to teach the children new skills.


We don’t use wi-fi in the soap room or in our house.  As a result, we use many, many ethernet cables.  If you’ve ever shopped ethernet cables, you know they can become very pricey, especially if you need a long length.

So Jim makes them for us when we need them.  And this time, he taught Greyden how to do it.  Greyden said it’s not hard, but you do have to be careful.

What you will need:

1. Ethernet Wire.  We are using the leftover CAT 5E that we asked our electricians to leave when they were finished wiring our new house.  You may be able to find some leftover pieces if you ask around, or you can purchase the wire directly at your local hardware store.

2. RJ-45 Ethernet Connector Plugs. Jim picked up a bag of plugs at our local hardware store.

3. Ethernet Crimper.  Our tool was labeled “Stripper CAT 5” and a similar one is available through our Amazon affiliate link as a crimper tool.

Step 1 – Cut the wire.  Cut the ends of the wire to the desired length.  You may want to give yourself some extra room because if you make a mistake wiring the cord, you can simply cut the connector off and try again.


Step 2 – Remove the insulation. Place the wire in the wire stripper part of the tool.  Squeeze carefully and then slide the insulation off the end of the wire.


Step 3 – Align wires in color order. This is one of the most important steps because if you do not get the wires in the correct order, your ethernet cord won’t work. (But don’t worry, you can just cut it off and try again.  Greyden had to do that on his second cable.)


A diagram will come with your connectors, showing you the correct order.


Step 4 – Flatten wires in correct order.  Make sure all the wires are flat, tight, and in the correct order so they are ready to be placed in the plug.


Step 5 – Cut extra wire length. Allow yourself 1/2″- 1″ of wire to work with.


Step 6 – Insert wire into the connector.  Firmly place the wires into the connector. If you keep the prong face down, makes it easier to see the wires going in.


Step 7 – Crimp the wire connector. Place the wire with the connector attached into the crimp place on the tool. Press down firmly to get the connector on tight.


Step 8 – Test it. If all the steps were followed correctly, it should connect to the internet! If not, you can just cut the connector off and start over.


Greyden was so excited when his cord worked.  He threw his arms up into the air and yelled, “YEEESSSSSSS!!”  I think he may now want to start his own side business making and selling ethernet cords.

Whether he does or not, I now know who to go to if I need a new cord or need an old cord repaired.

What practical skills have your children learned lately?


Do Your Children Use Their Brains to Think?

Now that the construction is finished at our new farm, Jim and I have a lot of our time freed up.  We’ve been talking about where to spend some of that time when it comes to Goat Milk Stuff and in what direction we want to take the business. More wholesale? More internet? More agri-tourism?


Since we’re focusing on big picture stuff, I decided to start reading a book that has been sitting on my book shelf for a couple of years.  Somebody recommended it once, but I’ve never gotten around to reading it.  It’s called The Magic of Thinking Big*, by David J. Schwartz Ph.d.

Once I began reading, I could immediately tell it was an old book, and when I looked at the copyright, it was originally copyrighted in 1959. So it’s a bit dated.  I haven’t finished it, but instead of helping me with my business, the book so far has simply validated my philosophy of education.

I’ve mentioned it before, but my main goal as a homeschooling mom is to teach my children to THINK and SOLVE PROBLEMS.  I want them to love learning and I want them to know how to learn.  I’ve never worried about them memorizing facts.  If you can think and solve problems, you can look up any facts you need whenever you need them.  I’ve always said that we live in the age of spell check, calculators, and Google.  I am fine with my children making use of these tools.


Since I believe that the main goal of our homeschool is teaching the children to think and problem solve, I absolutely loved this section from The Magic of Thinking Big and wanted to share it with you (the bold font emphasis is mine).

We often hear that knowledge is power.  But this statement is only a half-truth.  Knowledge is only potential power. Knowledge is power only when put to use – and then only when the use made of it is constructive.

The story is told that the great scientist Einstein was once asked how many feet are in a mile.  Einstein’s reply was “I don’t know.  Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book?”

Einstein taught us a big lesson.  He felt it was more important to use your mind to think than to use it as a warehouse for facts.

One time Henry Ford was involved in a libel suit with the Chicago Tribune.  The Tribune had called Ford an ignoramus, and Ford said, in effect, “Prove it.”

The Tribune asked him scores of simple questions such as “Who was Benedict Arnold?” “When was the Revolutionary War fought?” and others, most of which Ford, who had little formal education, could not answer.

Finally he became quite exasperated and said, “I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I could find a man in five minutes who does.”

Henry Ford was never interested in miscellaneous information. He knew what every major executive knows:  that the ability to know how to get information is more important than using the mind as a garage for facts.

…I spent a very interesting evening with a friend who is the president of a young but rapidly growing manufacturing concern.  The TV set happened to be turned to one of the most popular quiz programs.  The felllow being quizzed had been on the show for several weeks.  He could answer questions on all sorts of subjects, many of which seemed nonsensical.

After the fellow answered a particularly odd question, something about a mountain in Argentina, my host looked at me and said, “How much do you think I’d pay that guy to work for me?”

“How much?” I asked.

“Not a cent over $300 – not per week, not per month, but for life.  I’ve sized him up.  That ‘expert’ can’t think.  He can only memorize.  He’s just a human encyclopedia, and I figure for $300 I can buy a pretty good set of encyclopedias.  In fact, maybe that’s too much.  Ninety percent of what that guy knows I can find in a $2 almanac.

“What I want around me,” he continued, “are people who can solve problems, who can think up ideas.  People who can dream and then develop the dream into a practical application; an idea man can make money with me; a fact man can’t.”

I love that Dr. Schwartz wrote that section over 50 years ago and yet it is still true and applicable today.

So while our children do learn facts –  after all, they can tell you tons of information about birds, books, songs, goats, Alcatraz, the Pilgrims, mythology (Greek, Roman, and Egyptian), homonyms, adverbs, eighths, negative numbers, and lots of other stuff – it is more important that they can think.  And they can solve problems.  Because that, as opposed to memorizing facts, is our main goal.

If you are a parent, how are your children doing with their education?.  Are they just memorizing facts?  Or are they learning to think and problem solve?




*Amazon Affiliate Link



How To Be a Story Maker

I have a lot of goals when it comes to my children and their homeschool education.   One of my goals is that they learn how to be great communicators.  In most conventional public school educations, communication is focused on the ability to write “papers”.  Whether these papers are book reports or term papers, the focus is on writing that follows the “rules”.  

Emery Jonas

I do less of this formal writing with my children and instead focus on helping them communicate their ideas and beliefs as a part of their daily lives.  A key part of this is learning how to tell a good story.  Story-telling is essential whether you are hanging out with friends, speaking in front of an audience, or writing a blog post.  

When it comes to story-telling, Jim calls it being a “story-maker” and teaches the children about it this way:

Everyone loves a good story.  The popularity of films, novels, and even the parts of peoples’ lives that are shared across the internet via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube testifies to the fact that we all love to know about the interesting things that happen to others.  It also seems that some people have more good stories than others.  While there is certainly providence at work in just about every good story, I think that there is more to it than just that.  I believe that some people, these ‘story-makers’, put themselves in more advantageous positions to have interesting, unique, or powerful experiences.  That’s where they get their good stories.  Here’s what they do:  they practice intention, attention, abstention, and retention as a part of daily living.

INTENTION.  Story-makers live intentionally.  They do not simply wait for life to happen to them.  They have a cause, a crusade, a mission, or something that drives them.  Every interaction or task is an opportunity for them to advance that cause.  For the Christian, this may be sharing the love of Jesus.  For others, it may be educating about animal abuse, or increasing awareness of an environmental or social concern.  It does not have to be an exclusive ideal or a sole purpose, in fact, most story-makers probably have many causes.  One cause could even be to find out about someone else’s cause.  The intention of the story-maker is to make sure each interaction or task makes progress toward accomplishing a goal.  This requires thought, and attention.

ATTENTION.  Living intentionally does not just happen because one must think through the mission in order to advance it.  Perhaps this is why not everyone is a story-maker.  That sort of deep thought requires a lot of attention.  Amusement, (the combination of the prefix “a-“ meaning not, or without, and the root “muse” meaning think, or meditate) is much easier and while fun… is by definition, not thinking.  Don’t misunderstand, I am not against amusement.  I do believe, however, that those who are less inclined toward it spend more time thinking, and are more likely to have thought about various causes and have a clear position on them.  Story-makers have expended the mental energy of paying attention to think through where they stand on issues that are relevant to their causes.  They spend more time in thinking, and less in amusement.

ABSTENTION.  The act of holding oneself back directly relates to this issue of time, and how it is spent.  Story-makers not only abstain from amusement at times, they also abstain from various other activities.  By doing so, they leave their schedules more open and have more time available when the interesting, unique or powerful starts to happen.  They do not plan every hour of every day.  They are always busy doing something, but not all of it is planned.  A story-maker I know told me that each day, he plans to accomplish one thing, and have one meeting.  “That’s enough,” he said.  Let me clarify that there is much more that this individual does in any given day, but only that much is planned.  The rest flows organically out of having the time to live intentionally with those people and within those situations he encounters throughout the day.  Story-makers have that time because they abstain from filling it up with planned activities.

RETENTION. Retaining the details of the experiences is paramount to the story-maker.  Stories without details of who, what, where, when, why and how can be confusing, or boring, or lack power- even if the actual experiences were phenomenal.  A huge tree falling in the forest makes a massive impact.  But, as the old saying goes, if no one hears, then its ability even to make a sound is called into question.  Story-makers remember the important parts of the story, and retain those details while shedding those that detract from the impact of the story.  They don’t just watch the events unfold and sum up the experience with, “Whoa…that was awesome.”  They intentionally pay attention to what to leave out and what to keep in.

Interesting, unique, powerful experiences are happening all around us every day.  Many of us are too tired, distracted, or disorganized to realize it.  Story-makers, because they are living intentionally, have a ready framework to organize the interesting events into stories.  Because they pay attention to the details that are relevant, the stories are more powerful.  Since they have abstained from packing their schedules too tightly, they have the time to let the stories develop into the unique drama of their lives.  As a result, story-makers are able to retain the experience in all of its glory and package it for retelling, so that others may be inspired by, learn something from, or just plain enjoy … the story.

Jim Signature


I’ve noticed that people are naturally drawn to a person who can tell a good story.  Not only that, but their communications tend to be more memorable.  

“Story-making” is definitely a skill that I want my homeschooled children to cultivate, practice and refine so that they can be communicate better with their friends, their employees, and (some day) even their own children.




Homeschool Curriculum

One of the most common homeschool questions that I’m asked is, “What curriculum do you use?”  To be perfectly honest, I hate this question.  I think too many homeschooling parents think that there is a “magic” curriculum out there that will make homeschooling perfect.  Too much homeschooling energy is wasted on choosing curriculum, discussing curriculum, and changing curriculum.  In fact, I see new homeschoolers switching up their curriculum every year (and many don’t even stick with it for one year).

Homeschool Curriculum

In contrast, I spend much more of my parenting energy making sure that my children have enough free time to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills.  Learning to problem solve is what makes my children exceptional, not working their way through a set curriculum.

So it is with great reluctance that I’m actually going to answer the question.  But here it is – the only curriculum that we curently use is “Switched on Schoolhouse” from Alpha Omega Publications.  

I do like Switched on Schoolhouse.  It is self directed, which I think is a very important part of a child’s education.  It is also very easy for me, the primary teacher, to manage.  Most of the grading and scheduling is very easy.  It is also simple to reassign, skip, and regrade assignments (flexibility is important to me).  

If you have a child who has difficulty spelling, they may find Switched on Schoolhouse to be a bit frustrating because incorrectly spelled answers are marked wrong.  Be prepared to either focus heavily on spelling or to regrade a lot of the problems.

We used the Sonlight curriculum for a number of years and I loved that too.  But when I began Goat Milk Stuff, I no longer had the extra time to do Sonlight the way I wanted to do it.  At the same time, we were in the “public eye” more, so I wanted something that was a little more “concrete”.

While I say that we use Switched on Schoolhouse,  we only “loosely” use this program.  It is more of a backup than our primary resource.  We primarily rely on books (real books, not textbooks), the work the children do with Goat Milk Stuff, and creative activities that I regularly devise to teach the children.  

Research has shown that in order for children to remember what they’ve learned, they need something to “anchor” the knowledge to.  Facts that children (or adults) learn that are only memorized for a test tend to not “stick”.  In fact, if you ask them a few days later, many of those facts and ideas that were memorized for a test are no longer remembered.  So I work very hard to give the children memories or stories to “anchor” their learning to.  

For example, I love learning History with the children.  But I don’t ever make them memorize facts and dates (that’s what google and the internet are for).  Instead, we focus on the bigger picture.  Instead of learning when Columbus sailed to America, instead we focus on why Columbus sailed to America.  We do this with well written, interesting books and discussions around the dinner table.  There is nothing like “arguing” a point with your siblings and parents over the dinner table to help you anchor and remember history.

Jim and I have four podcast episodes where we discuss our homeschooling philosophy in more detail.  You can listen to them at the following links:

If you’re reading this blog post because you want to know what curriculum is perfect for you and your child(ren), then you might be disappointed.  But please remember that no matter what curriculum you choose, there will be “gaps” in you child’s education.  This is true even for public school curriculums.  Your children can’t learn everything there is to learn.  No child can.  

Help your children to love to learn and teach them how to learn and whatever curriculum choices you make won’t seem overly important.




Homeschool Creativity – Bandana Dresses

One of my main goals when it comes to our homeschool is to give the children lots of opportunities to be creative.  I believe that strengthening their creativity skills will pay dividends when they are older because creative people are better problem solvers in my opinion.  And to me, that’s a large part of life – solving problems.  And being able to create better solutions leads to a better work life, home life, and relationships.  

So… I am always encouraging creativity and making sure the children have lots of unstructured time (the backbone of creativity in childhood).    And yet, sometimes they still surprise me at what they are able to come up with. 

Here is one example – a few years ago, I was outside working in the garden.  When I looked up it was to discover Indigo and Jade dressed in “bandana dresses” that Emery had made for them.

Homeschool Creativity











Aren’t those dresses great?  

The interesting thing is that all of our children have their own strengths.  But I have noticed that Emery is not only our most creative child, but he is also our best problem solver.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

What are some creative things you (or you children) have done?




Homeschool Creativity – Packing Princess

We regularly receive supplies deliveries that contain a lot of packing materials such as bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, and paper.  Most of those packing supplies we reuse to ship out our soap orders. But for some reason, one day Emery decided to use some of the foam paper we received to make Indigo a complete outfit.











Did you notice the outfit was fully accessorized with hair ribbon, jewelry, and shoes? And I don’t know who took all those photos. They just appeared on my camera. But I adored Emery kissing her hand, Jade posing with string in her mouth, and Indigo’s posing at the end.

Creating an environment where children are free to do crazy stuff is so important to me.  I just love it when they display their creativity – it constantly amazes me.

Oh, and I did ask – Emery didn’t make Indigo any underwear, she kept her own.

What’s the most creative thing your children ever made?




Homeschooling IV

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 032.
This is the final episode in the homeschooling series.  Whether or not you are a homeschooling parent, I hope that it provides you with some encouragement.  You can engage your children and help them to learn and to succeed.  In fact, giving your child a hunger for knowledge is one of the best gifts you can ever give.

Homeschool Outing

I’d love to hear what you thought of the series and if you homeschool what your biggest goals are.

Episodes in series:

Thanks for listening!  Tune in next week when I discuss learning how to say “no”.


You can subscribe to the Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast:

iTunes RSS Feed


Homeschooling III

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 031.
Our homeschooling series continues as we answer more homeschooling questions such as “How do I homeschool boys?” and “What about curriculum?”

There are many different ways to homeschool.  This series gives you an idea of not only how we homeschool, but how we continue to enjoy homeschooling.  Tune in next week as we finish this series on homeschooling.

Episodes in series:

Thanks for listening!  Join me next week as I continue the discussion of homeschooling.



You can subscribe to the Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast:

iTunes RSS Feed


Homeschooling II

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 030.
Homeschooling at the Jonas house takes place all the time.  Somebody is always learning something and the older children often help the younger children.


This is part two in our homeschooling series.  Jim and I finish our initial discussion and then start answering some of the questions we received.  I was sick when I recorded the introduction and you’ll hear it in my voice.  But the interview sounds fine.  Tune in next week as we continue answering homeschooling questions.

Episodes in series:

Thanks for listening!  Join me next week as I continue the discussion of homeschooling.


I have a short (5 question) podcast survey.  If you haven’t already, I would really appreciate it if you would take 2 minutes to fill it out.  Thank you! Click for Survey

You can subscribe to the Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast:

iTunes RSS Feed


Homeschooling I

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 029.
The Jonas children have been homeschooled their entire lives.  We start homeschooling them when they are babies because we consider all of life to be a part of their homeschool education.


Jim and I sat down and talked about homeschooling for over 2 hours.  I have edited our conversation into this four part homeschooling podcast series.

This first part discusses our reasons for homeschooling, the benefits of homeschooling, and our two main homeschooling objectives. If we accomplish those two goals, we consider our homeschool to be a success.

Episodes in series:

Thanks for listening!  Join me next week as I continue the discussion of homeschooling.


I have a short (5 question) podcast survey.  If you haven’t already, I would really appreciate it if you would take 2 minutes to fill it out.  Thank you! Click for Survey

You can subscribe to the Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast:

iTunes RSS Feed


Creativity and Wasted Time

Jim recently shared with me a quote from Albert Einstein who once said, “Creativity is the residue of wasted time.”

Creative Boys

What a brilliant way to put it!  I have always felt that lots and lots of free time is essential.  I believe it so much that we’ve made it foundational  to how we homeschool  and how we raise our children.  I think that children need lots of time to waste and lots of space in which to waste it.  So although there are times when our schedules are busy, I make sure those times are temporary and don’t last long.

I also allow the children to make creative messes in the house and barn.  They build forts and castles and cut up paper and hammer pieces of wood together.  One of the things that I’m super excited about with the new property is that the children will have woods and a creek to play in.  That was my desire when we moved out to Indiana eight years ago, and now that desire is being fulfilled!  I fully expect them to spend lots of time building tree houses and camouflage forts and dams and bridges.

Why do I do this?  Because I think time to be creative is essential to learning how to solve problems.  And life is full of problems.  And businesses are full of problems.  And relationships are full of problems.  If you know how to be creative, you can figure out creative solutions to your problems – like if you need an alarm clock and don’t have one.

When I was researching the quote by Einstein, I came across a quote by Jonah Lehrer, author of the book, Imagine.  He was asked in a SmartPlanet.com interview, “What surprised you the most in your research for the book Imagine?  Here is his answer:

One thing was the research on moments of insight and how they benefit from states of relaxation. Before I wrote this book, I assumed that if I was stuck — if I didn’t know how to begin a sentence or end a paragraph — what I needed to do was chug caffeine and stay up late and just keep on grinding it out. But of course that’s the exact wrong thing to do. Now I’m much more willing to take a break. There’s this great line of Einstein’s that “creativity is the residue of wasted time.” In a sense, this research has taught me to make time to waste time. Sometimes it’s the most productive thing you can do. That definitely surprised me and changed the way I work every day.

So, guess which book I’ve added to my reading list?  Yep – Imagine*.

What I love about this quote is that it takes what I’ve intuitively known about childhood and applies it to my life.  A lot of my life is just grunt work – the every day chores that are involved with being a stay at home mom.  But there is a lot of room for creative solutions when it comes to my life.  Creative ways to get chores done.  Creative ways to discipline.  And when it comes to Goat Milk Stuff – that requires lots of creative solutions.

But you know what?  I don’t really have any wasted time.  I do have relaxing time.  Time when I read or watch a movie or snuggle with the children.  But wasted?  I’m not sure I could do that.  I find it very difficult to just sit.  The other day I took the children to a friend’s house to swim in their pool.  We just sat, watched the children swim, and talked.  I admit it, I was itching to do something “productive”.

So I’m going to have to do some thinking about wasting time and what that would look like in my day.  Does it mean that I can’t talk to people?  Read anything? Sleep?  Or does it mean that I just have to spend more time where I don’t HAVE to do anything?

I’m not exactly sure what it does look like.  But I can tell you what it does not look like.  It does not involve me staring at my computer, phone, or iPad.  That I do know.

What about you?  Do you see wasted time as valuable?  or simply wasted?  Do you need more of it?  Or less of it in your life?


*Amazon Affiliate Link


Domain Hosting for Beginners

I previously mentioned that my children all need to have a successful website or blog before I allow them to graduate our homeschool.   The first step was to purchase their domain names.  Then we needed to choose a company to use for the domain hosting.


When you build a website, you need to have all of that website information – all the words, video, photos, and code – stored somewhere.  You don’t want to keep it on your own computer, because your computer doesn’t run 24/7.  So we store all of that information on another company’s servers.  These servers are maintained and optimized and have backup systems.  But more importantly, they run 24/7 so your website is always available.  We call this service of storing your website information, “hosting”.  You may also see it referred to as “domain hosting” or “website hosting”, but they both refer to the same service.

It’s important to find a reliable company for your domain hosting because if they go down, your website goes down.

I use two companies for our hosting.  For the Goat Milk Stuff website, I use Hands-on-Hosting.  I use them because Goat Milk Stuff is an x-cart based site and Hands-On is an x-cart  partner and the hosting that my programmer recommended.  I have been very happy with them.  They have a live chat that is wonderful.  They answer all my questions and walk me through everything.  

As a recent example, I had a concern about how my website was being backed up.  It turns out that image backups were being done every 48 hours.  I was able to change it (for a small fee) to a cpanel backup 24 hours.  This backup is stored offsite.  So if a tornado wipes out the building where my server is kept, there is another building that has my backup.   Hands-on handled the change quickly and efficiently and they walked me through all the steps on my end.

For the children’s websites, we use Bluehost.  We’re fairly new to them, but I’ve been very pleased.  For one low fee, you can host as many domains as you want.  In other words, I don’t need a Bluehost account for booksquirt.com, another for thebirddude.com, and yet another for gardenspud.com.  And I don’t need to pay 3  separate fees.  I have one account under booksquirt.com and then the other two have been added to that account.  They are their own websites, even though they are technically set up under booksquirt.com.

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, I recommend that you start with Bluehost.   Just sign up for the basic hosting account.  You don’t need to upgrade to anything to start out.  I hope this has been helpful.  Next week I’ll discuss name servers and how to set them.

I’d love to hear if you’ve decided to start your own website or if you have another hosting service that you recommend!



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links”.  If you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe are valuable.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Domain Names

As part of our homeschooling curriculum, my children each need to start and maintain their own website before they graduate.  In order to have a website, the first thing you need is a domain name.  Do you own any domain names?  I’m a little bit of a domain name junkie.  Actually, I don’t own that many domains, I think it was around 30 at last count.


Why so many?

Simple – domain names are relatively cheap (~$10 per year) and they’re a huge part of your branding.

So, what is a domain name?  In simple terms, it is the most basic words that you type into your browser to get to a website. 

So for us, we started with the domain name:

  • goatmilkstuff.com

Then we purchased a common mispelling:

  • goatsmilkstuff.com

Then the different endings such as:

  • goatmilkstuff.net
  • goatmilkstuff.info
  • goatmilkstuff.org

If you’re planning to start a small business, it is important to have a long-term view and purchase these other domains.  You don’t have to set up websites on all of these domains.  You can set it up so that when people click on the “support” domains, it redirects them to the main domain.  

Owning all of these extra domains may seem like a waste of money to you, but think of it as insurance.  It’s sad but true that there a lot of people out there who find successful businesses, copy them, and use a really similar domain name.  Protect yourself and your branding.

My lawyer also suggested that we purchase domains that are “anti” your business such as – ihateyourbusiness.com.

We haven’t purchased domains like that for Goat Milk Stuff.  Mostly because the thought that somebody would set up a website like that depresses me.

Some of the other domains that we own are all of our individual names:

Domain names are not case sensitive, so JadeJonas.com is the same as jadejonas.com.  I use capital letters to make things easier to read.

Personally, I think that a great birthday present for your children is to purchase their domain name for them.  You never know what they’re going to do some day, and if somebody else takes it and creates a website with that domain, it’s unavailable until they decide to give it up.

I use godaddy to purchase my domain names.  There are a lot of smaller companies out there, but I know several people who have purchased their domains through small companies and lived to regret it.  The most common thing that happens is the domain business fails and then the paperwork and headache of getting control of your domain can be a nightmare.  For that main reason, I choose to deal with a big company (yes, I know they can fail too, but it’s less likely).

I’ve been very pleased with godaddy and their customer service and happily recommend them.  And for that reason, I am one of their affiliates, which means that if you choose to purchase a domain through godaddy and click on the link here, then I will get credit for introducing you to them.

Once you’ve purchased a domain name.  Then you need to host your website.  Think of it like this – buying your domain name gives you the exclusive right to use that name.  But then you need to find someone to host (or store) all of the stuff that is on your website  – such as all the text and photos.  

You can host through godaddy as well (and I’ve heard good things about them), but I use a different company for hosting.