Friday, January 31, 2014

Purex Crystals {Giveaway}


Do you ever wash your clothes only to take them out of the dryer, fold them and go to put them away only to find out that they smell musty and unpleasant? Well, I just recently tried Purex Crystals in my laundry and was pleased with the results! The scent I received was Fresh Mountain Breeze and let me tell you, it was not overwhelmingly strong, just a hint of freshness! The crystals keep your linens, towels or baby clothes with a long-lasting freshness!

It is a natural formula that is safe for your family and the environment. Located in the fabric softener aisle, this enhancer goes directly into your washer, top or front loader, with your clothes. It's not a tablet, or ball but simple crystals that look similar to bath salts. If you want to add an extra touch of freshness to each load, Purex has provided you with a great natural product!


Try it out yourself! 
Purex has provided Thrift Schooling with 3 coupons for me to give to you! Enter in the Rafflecopter form below and 3 of you will be able to experience the freshness Purex Crystals has to offer for FREE!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: the Purex Brand has provided me with the product stated above. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

NV Able Items {Etsy Giveaway}


The Blacksmith

Meet Noah. 

"I live in Virginia on a small farmish piece of land with my wife and children. We are trying to live completely off this piece of God's creation. So we live here, grow our food here, teach our children here and now work here. The Items we create here are aesthetically pleasing and intentionally useful. A picture is nice but it is even better when it covers a hole in your wall. I enjoy reworking things considered worthless, making them beautiful and useful again!"
~ Noah V.
  NV Able Items
Noah creates all of his beautiful creations by hand, in his shop, located in Southwestern Virginia. Blacksmithing has always been a passion of his. Developing work from discarded materials continue to provide him with new challenges and a sense of adventure.

Whether it's a knife made from an old railroad spike, or a rustic spoon from old rebar, Noah delights in making something beautiful, creative and useful, from old materials!


Custom orders are welcome at NV Able items! If you have a need in mind, Noah is willing to help you design or create whatever you may need. The possibilities are endless!

Coat Rack 
Jewlery Holder
Kitchen Utensial Organizer
Pot and Pan Holder 
 Towel Holder
Custom Made Valentine's Day Gifts
Father's Day Gifts

Click HERE to View Etsy Shop
 or 
To Order A Custom Design

Noah is continuing to develop new items, creations and designs. If you would like to be notified when NEW ITEMS ARE ADDED to his shop, please enter your email below! Emails are only sent out occasionally and your email address will not be sold, traded or used for any other purpose.

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GIVEAWAY TIME!


 In honor of the opening of his new Etsy shop, NV Able Items, Noah is giving away a beautiful coat rack with 3 hand forged hooks and brackets on reclaimed wood from a rustic Virginian barn. 



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My New Look

So what do you think? Like it? The new site that is. I know that if you've visited here in the past you might have wondered for a minute if you were even in the right place. I'm still Thrift Schooling, just trying a new look for the time being!

When you first entered the site since the "remodel," you probably saw the screen asking you if you'd like to subscribe. Please do! If you haven't already, there is a place to do so on the upper right sidebar. I appreciate my subscribers and would love it if you'd join.

So my giveaway page has been awfully quiet recently, but that is about to change. Two region specific giveaways are listed now if you want to check that out, and more are in the works! Tomorrow, I'll be giving away an Etsy item valued at $100 and some laundry coupons are coming up within the week! Feel free to check back often over the next week or so. And, on Monday, the winner of my Lego Kidsfest giveaway will be announced! That's all the news for now. Till next time!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sahara Sam's Oasis Water Park {Giveaway}


 ENTER TO WIN 
A FAMILY FOUR PASS
TO SAHARA SAM'S
OASIS!!!
Sahara Sam's is making a splash with families in West Berlin, NJ! Offering state of the art indoor and outdoor water and ropes course activities, the whole family will have a blast throughout your visit!
Read My Review HERE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saraha Sam's has recently announced  a brand new theme park opening soon.... Diggerland!!! Ride in the bucket of a tractor, dig with a real, full sized excavator, fun for everyone!




Homeschooling Essentials: VISION {Part 3} Resources that Match Your Vision



This question may have an obvious answer. Yes, of course my resources line up with my vision! But sometimes the agenda of the world can creep into our lives without us even knowing it. Which I think is why so many youth that are raised in good, Christian homes end up turning from the faith as soon as they move out on their own. What went wrong?

We all have a vision or reason to why we homeschool. We all have specific morals, attitudes, principles and beliefs about themselves and the world around them that we hope to instill in their little hearts. But we can teach, and teach and teach, to no avail if we allow the little foxes to come in and spoil the vines! The best way to ensure that our vision is made clear is to be aggressive and proactive about what we allow to enter our home and come into the hearts and minds of our children. Then, when we go out and about participating in the activities outside the home, it will be clear and concise as to what is clearly expected!

 Know what the subject matter is in the books that your children are reading! I'm a thrifty mom and  love to buy books by the bundles at yard sales and the like! It's easy to pick out one because of a cute picture or title. 

One time we stopped by a book sale where you could buy them by the box. I let my kids fill up a box of picture books of their choosing. I glanced over and they seemed fine. There are certain standards we uphold that they know of so they knew that certain books weren't allowed. When we got home I was looking through them only to find two of the books weren't picture books at all. Sure, on the outside they looked like it. And they were presented as such. But in reality they were counselor resources for sexually abused children! They were written in a way that a child who had been through such terrible events could undertand. Then the counselor could discuss certain topics with them. NOT something for my children!

Now obviously I don't want to have books like that on my five year old's book shelf but what about the more subtle agendas trying to be pushed? Know this. Children's books have an agenda. Some good and some not so much. Whether the agenda is simply to teach the child to read or to sway them towards becoming a Wiccan later in life in cute way, there IS an agenda. Each word is carefully chosen since they usually can only have 32 pages or so. Words are not just pulled out of the sky but are there for a purpose.

An example of something that goes against my personal vision is as follows. I have had to discard several children's books about Noah's Ark. Not just one, but several. Why? Because they made they point to say, "Noah shut the door of the ark" but the Bible says,  "the Lord shut him in," (Genesis 7:16).

This may seem like a minor discrepancy but it isn't. Part of my vision is to teach my children the inerrancy of the Word of God. That it is historical and not fiction. It really happened and was not a fairy tale. If they are reading a book that deliberately states something that is untrue, then what will they believe when they are older? The power of God or the power of man?

Sometimes it seems as though I've had to get rid of so many kid's books because there is something that goes against our beliefs. But really, are they missing out? If we just let everything come their way, they are more likely to be swept away. If we take action now, we can steer them in the right direction to make the right decisions later in life.

For example, when my children hear the terms, "millions of years ago.." red flags go up immediately in their minds since we are new earth creationists. If we are watching a movie or reading a book and these things come up, they know that we will not be watching or reading those things anymore!

Know what the vision is for your homeschool and stick to it! There are MANY resources out there so if you have to get rid of one, or two, or a million, don't worry, you won't be lacking! 

God will direct you in the right direction according to your own personal convictions!

Thanks for reading! Check the links below for some more great Homeschooling Essentials posts:


Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement

Joanie @ Simple Living Mama


Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos


Monique @ Living Life and Learning


Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy


Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool


Feel free to click the banner for more.....
5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Emeals {Review}


Emeals 
A wonderful online subscription 
based company 
created to help alleviate the stress of meal planning!


 photo Paleo-Skirt-Steak-eMeals.jpg

 When our little girl was a newborn, we had three children ages three and under!! Yeah, I was that mom. Little ones in tow, heading out to the grocery store, I was determined to make it happen. But honestly, the problem was not so much tackling the shopping, but preparing the list ahead of time! And being sure that it was complete, too. Nothing is more annoying than returning home from a shopping run only to realize you forgot something. Not because you missed it on your list, but because it never made it to your list in the first place! Trying to find time in the day to sit down and think about what to plan, with three little ones, is not that easy. And yes, I would try to do it at night when all the kids were... wait... I nursed my newborn every three hours, never mind.

If only I could have used Emeals in that stage of my life. It would have been a life saver. Of course, my husband, after trying a few of the Emeals I prepared said that it would have been perfect when we first were married. (Yes, my cooking skills were that bad!) Now, I've actually learned how to cook and feel confident that I can create something tasty even with only few ingredients in the pantry. 

I find that the stress that comes with cooking and preparing meals  comes from a lack of knowledge and experience. If you haven't been trained or had much experience practicing something, you tend to get frustrated when you don't get the expected results. Being a confident cook takes time, patience and practice. (I know I have a lot to learn but I've definitely come a long way!)

Emeals is a great service that can help take that burden off your shoulders, giving you the confidence you need to feed your family.

HOW IT WORKS

Choose a Meal Plan

*Classic 
* Clean Eating
* Paleo
* Low Calorie
*Slow Cooker
*Low Fat
*Low Carb
* Portion Control
*Simple Gourmet
 *Mediterranean
*Natural and Organic
*Gluten Free
*Vegetarian 

 Choose # of Servings

* Family Menu (3-6 Servings)
* For 2 Menu (1-2 Servings)

Note: This is the number of servings not the number of people. I made the mistake of planning everything out for 3-6 servings for my family of five. I wasn't thinking that several of us generally tend to take second helpings! Usually the sides were enough, but having seconds of the main dish would have been nice

Order Your Dinner Plan

You can add Breakfast, Lunch or Dessert for a few dollars extra apiece if you'd like

 photo Vanilla-Clusters.jpeg

Receive Your Weekly Meal Plan Via Email

Each week, you'll receive a new dinner menu complete with an organized shopping list! I loved printing it out and heading to the store with no worries about trying to plan meals. I chose the Simple Gourmet plan and most of the ingredients were familiar me. It made me feel like a gourmet cook because several of the dishes on the first week's menu were dishes I do often, haha! 

Overall, our family enjoyed the meals. Primarily the sides. I don't think of making sweet potato fries or toasted bread with mayo and cheddar that often! 

This is definitely a wonderful tool for the newlywed learning to cook or the busy mom who doesn't have the time to even think about cooking! If you already feel confident in the kitchen, you might enjoy trying out some of these new recipes on your family!

Disclaimer: I received a subscription to Emeals in exchange for this review.
 All opinions stated are my own.

LEGO® KidsFest Giveaway

(Entry Link at Bottom of Post....)

The award-winning LEGO® KidsFest returns to the Raleigh Convention Center Feb. 28 – Mar. 2, 2014! And.... the kids and I are going! 


Something fun and exciting will be available for children of all ages! A three-acre show floor will provide hours of entertaining for young and old alike!



If your kids are anything like mine, then heading to an 

event like this is like entering a gold mine! Hoping to 

find inspiration from the LEGO® brick creations they 

see, they are already counting down the days! 


 
Bring Your Family and Enjoy: 

LEGO® Star Wars™ 

LEGO® Chima
LEGO® Friends
The LEGO® Model Museum 
The LEGO® Master Builder Academy 
Race Ramps 
Creation Nation
Construction Zone
LEGO DUPLO®
LEGO® Retail Store
LEGO® KidsFest Marketplace
The Big Brick Pile
LEGO® Ninjago 
LEGO® Mindstorms 
Art Gallery
and much more!

  
FIVE IDENTICAL SESSIONS ARE PLANNED
 for the Feb 28 – March 2 tour stop to Raleigh, NC

Friday, February 28
 4 pm- 8:30 pm

Saturday March 1, 2014
Session 1: 9 am - 1:30 pm
Session 2: 3 pm - 7:30 pm

Sunday March 2, 2014
Session 1: 9am - 1:30 pm
Session 2: 3 pm - 7:30 pm

LEGO® KidsFest

tickets are 

CHILDREN $20
ADULTS $22 

TICKETS GENERALLY SELL OUT SO ORDER SOON!

  

LEGO® KidsFest 2014 

 Raleigh, NC (Feb. 28 – March 2)
 Novi/Detroit, MI (April 25 – 27)
Calgary, AB, Canada (May 16 - 18)

 Atlanta, GA (June 27 – 29)

 Dallas, TX (Aug. 29 – 31)

Richmond, VA (Oct. 3 – 5) 

Indianapolis, IN (Nov. 7 – 9)

Visit the LEGO® KidsFest Homepage
LIKE LEGO® KidsFest on Facebook
FOLLOW LEGO® KidsFest on Twitter


ENTER TO WIN!

Please comment below sharing with us what you are most excited about this year at the KidsFest! THEN click here to win (2) Tickets to LEGO® KidsFest North Carolina - Raleigh Convention Center on Friday, February 28, 2014 (4-8:30pm regular session).


Thrift Schooling winner will be randomly chosen by USFG on Monday Feb. 3rd and posted on this blog!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Homeschooling Essentials: VISION {Part 2 } SUPPORT



If you've taken the step to homeschool, whether one child or all, then you've probably stood out from the rest of the crowd, at least a little. There will be skeptics, critics and those who are "concerned" about the welfare of your children. So what do we do? Certainly we don't completely separate ourselves and tell our dear friends and family members to hit the road. What will that teach our kids? 

Fortunately, my skeptics are few, (that I know of, haha). Actually, I have some wonderful friends who, even though we have different educational preferences we can still enjoy a nice girl's night out together or have an occasional play date with our kids. But, if you really think about it, once you begin to go down the homeschooling road, your schedules usually won't match up and honestly, you probably won't be seeing as much of them anyway. Not that there is anything wrong with them as people, it's just your lives are taking you different directions.

So then, often, that leaves you in a place of, "what do I do now?" Where do I find my emotional support, my strength and encouragement? As women, we tend to be strongly relationship based. I'm not speaking about the amount of friends we have, but the need for even just a few quality relationships. Remember your childhood? Junior High? High School? College? In each of these eras in our life, we usually can put a few faces to those time periods and consider them our best or closest friends. We share memories, laughter and pain together. We shared our hearts and our time with these friends. 

So now we are in a new place. A new season. What do we do?

Blessed is the man that walk not in the council of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth fruit in his season, his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3

Isn't it our desire to be like a tree planted? To be standing firm with our roots down deep. Unlike a tumbleweed, we can stand up to the criticism and like the morning dew, negative words will just fall off, not penetrating the surface. Yet this doesn't necessarily just happen. A tree by a river, with strong roots does not just appear out of nowhere. It has to be carefully planted and cared for in it's infancy stages or it will be destroyed and never grow!

If you are in the beginning stages of your homeschooling journey then I would encourage you to be careful what you allow to go into your heart. Not that non-homeschoolers are ungodly, but we need to be purposeful about how we spend are time, with whom and where.

And I'm not even talking about leaving our home. Social media sites, phone calls, and media that has no respect for your convictions. Be careful what goes into your mind, your eyes and ears! Doubts could easily arise that you are not doing enough or that you are doing the wrong thing and you might not even realize why you are feeling this way!!

3 WAYS TO SATURATE YOURSELF WITH HOMESCHOOLING ENCOURAGEMENT

1) Join an Online Homeschool Community such as www.ourhomeschoolforum.com put out by Rainbow Resources. There are also Social Media groups that provide amazing encouragement!

2) Make it a point to encourage homeschooling friends you know. Whether they go to your church or are just a phone call away, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Try to connect once in a while even if just for a quick conversation. A little goes a long way. Sometimes reaching out to others rather than feeling sorry for ourselves is what we need!

3) Find some encouraging homeschool blogs and follow them! NO- this is not a pitch to sign up for this blog, haha. But when you come across a site you like, subscribe and receive encouragement right in your inbox!


When you find people with the same vision as you, it makes the relationship that much more stronger and meaningful. Even if few and far between, they can be rich and strengthening! 

One of my support groups is found in the Schoolhouse Review Crew! A great group of ladies! Below are some of their Homeschooling Essentials posts, check them out!


Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement






Click the banner for more.....

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homeschooling Essentials: VISION {Part 1}

STAYING FOCUSED

I'm in the store with all three of my kids hanging off my grocery cart. They were fairly well behaved. That day, anyway. When a random empty nester proclaims; "bet you can't wait till they're old enough to start school!" A line that I've become quite familiar with and I'm sure many of you have too. 

It's her reaction to my response, "I homeschool," that I wasn't prepared for. "Well, that's your first mistake," she said while rolling her eyes. I tried so hard not to laugh as I continued my shopping. I'm almost certain others could see a smirk on my face because the more I thought about it, the more I couldn't stop laughing on the inside. I mean, really. If any of us were to ever respond to someone who sends their child to public school, "well, that's your first mistake," we would never hear the end of it. Ever.

I didn't respond. I couldn't. Not because I was upset or anything, it's just I seriously thought it was humorous and had no clue what to say after that. But honestly, I felt bad for her. She began talking with another woman sharing about how her boys fought all the time and are now in college, still having issues.

We all have our reasons for why we homeschool. Or send our children to private school. Or public.

For those of us who homeschool it's likely because of strong conviction to do so. When we first begin, we are all terribly excited and in full gear. But if we lose sight of the reason beyond what we are doing, when the bumps in the road come, the thought of quitting can be all too familiar territory.





I don't think I really need to go into the nitty gritty details of the hardships that arise in homeschooling. I'm sure you've encountered one a time or two. What helps me through the difficulties is to stay FOCUSED on why I chose this path in the first place.


5 Ways to Stay FOCUSED When the Going Gets Tough

1) Ask Yourself, "Why Did I Chose to Homeschool?" 
Rehearsing the Scriptures and convictions that led you to this decision is refreshing and strengthens the spirit. Remember, we are living a life of faith in this body of flesh. If we felt strongly to begin homeschooling then we need to stand firm. Know that your foundation is sure. Look up scriptures about teaching and training your children and get them into your heart.

2) Think of the Fond Memories You've Shared Thus Far
It's not all bad. On the days you just want to just throw in the towel remind yourself that not all days are like this one. It's easy to remember the negative experiences when we are drained beyond exhaustion. But if we go back and look at all the wonderful experiences we've shared with our kids either that day, week or year, our hearts can be filled with joy and satisfaction. Homeschool yearbooks are an excellent way to remember the milestones but don't forget the "little" things as well. Snuggling with your children on the couch while sharing a read aloud or watching as they read a book the whole way through for the first time, are memories you'll cherish forever!

3) Know What your End Goal Is
 Yes, we want our children to receive a proper education. And higher education may be a part of that. But too many students are forced to think that a college degree is the end all. I know that once I received a Bachelors degree that certainly was not enough in society's eyes. They wanted me to go further, pursue a masters, then a doctorate. Then what? A life of debt. No thanks. When we look at the real reason we are home educating our children it most likely because we want them at home. To learn, at home. To be raised up to become a godly man or woman. To become a loving husband or wife. To be a blessing in their home, among other Christians, in their workplace and throughout the world. When we remind ourselves of these goals, we then are very careful about who  we allow to pour into the lives of our children.

4) Plan your Days According to Your Vision
When we have our goals set before us concerning who we want our children to become we need to speak that into their lives. We also need to provide ample opportunity to develop into the strong Christians we desire them to become. Some days it's easy to just "get through" some worksheets and activities and mark them off as complete. We need to remind ourselves though of our priorities. If the Lord is the reason we homeschool, time is not wasted if spent worshiping, praying or learning about him. If a need is to be met, allow the children to learn how to serve others first with a good attitudes and happy heart.

5) Don't Compare Yourself
Whatever your teaching style, you are still you. You are (probably) not a public school teacher (even if you were in the past), and you are not Michelle Duggar (so stop comparing yourself to her!) You are YOU! Find out through prayer and supplication what God has for you as a homeschool parent. You will find so much freedom in knowing what works for you rather than trying to fit into some pre-made homeschool mom (or dad) image that is rolling around in your head. Enjoy your kids, enjoy teaching and let God work in and 
through you while doing it!


HOMESCHOOLING ESSENTIALS: VISION PT 2


Thanks for stopping by!
Please visit these wonderful sites for more 
Homeschooling Essentials Encouragement!

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials