Wilton Classes Are Now on Craftsy.com!

Student Cake

One of my student’s completed Course 1 cakes!

One of my favorite learn-how-to sites is Craftsy.com. If you’ve never checked it out, then let me just tell you that it is absolutely an awesome place to learn new skills. Craftsy offers classes in Cake Decorating, Sewing, Knitting, Painting and much more. I have taken many of their cake decorating classes to sharpen skills and learn new things that Wilton just simply doesn’t teach (like how to make a bobble head cake).

Craftsy takes a unique and techy approach to arts and crafts. Once you play for a class you gain lifetime access to it! It NEVER goes away. It’s yours forever. The skills and advice of some of the leading artists in their fields are available right at your fingertips. Students can ask questions to the instructors, post pictures of their finished products and network with other students. 482430_465090620236691_1204927201_n

Wilton recently announced that they have joined the ranks of instructors on Craftsy.com! This is great for anyone who would like to learn the Wilton method but may not live near a location that offers classes. And if you prefer to still attend a traditional classroom setting, then have no fear! Us Wilton Method Instructors are still available at local craft stores to teach you everything from the basics of cake decorating to advanced methods of gumpaste and fondant.

Head on over to Craftsy’s site and look around. I’m sure you will find a class that interests you (even if it isn’t cake decorating).

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Coupons for Troops

dollar bills

If you spend any time looking around my blog, you may get the idea that I am a thrifty queen. Call me what you want; cheap, chintzy, frugal, stingy….whatever, but I’m a proud penny-pinching parent! I mean, my dollars are made of elastic! They stretch and stretch and stretch! And in today’s world, our messed up economy and less than ideal job market, a person has to work diligently to save money everywhere they can.

familyAlong with scavenging thrift stores, shopping sales, and clearing clearance racks, I also coupon. I don’t mean, I get my Sunday paper, clip a few things and save a couple bucks. I work at this on a grander scale. I collect as many coupon inserts as possible, spend countless hours organizing them, stack a humungous binder of money saving madness and tediously plan every shopping trip. It’s A LOT of work, but so worth it when I walk away saving 40%, 50% or more on items my family uses.

I also use coupons to gain FREE items! Granted, these freebies may not be something my family uses or really needs, and seriously, why would anyone need to get 100 bottles of mustard even if it is free?! But, when those fortuitous freebies arise, I collect all that I can and donate the majority. I’m more than happy to give these useful items to others. My most recent donation was about 40 containers of dog food (that I got for FREE) that went to some homeless folks here in our city. Many have dogs that live with them on the streets, and after all, the animals need to eat too!

American FlagRecently I learned that our wonderful and amazing military families can use EXPIRED coupons on base for their shopping needs! I can’t believe I didn’t know about this. Our military families, stationed overseas, do NOT receive manufacturer coupons. Here, we are spoiled with the Sunday delivery, but manufacturers do not send coupons to the bases. Because of this, our troops can use coupons up to 6 past their expiration date! Wow! These coupons can mean a world of difference to a military family. After all of the sacrifice these families make for the freedoms we enjoy here, I am more than happy to share my expired coupons with them.

Eligible Coupons:

  • Only manufactured coupons (no coupons for restaurants or stores)
  • Coupons must be clipped individually and sorted into “food” and “non-food” items
  • Do not send coupons more than 30 days past the expiration date (remember these will have to travel around the globe and may take a long while to reach their destination)
  • See the links below for more information

Where to Send Coupons:

There are many organizations, with countless options, out there that will collect coupons for troops. You can even adopt a base and send your coupons directly to them. You also have the option of donating to a centralized location in the U.S. and the good folks will send the coupons to the bases that need them most. Below are links to some of the sites I found.

Troopons

Overseas Coupon Program– (Allows you to adopt a military base)

Operation Expiration

Coups for Troops

Expired Coupons for Overseas Military (Facebook Page)

I hope and pray that they will bless our military families around the world! For more information on how you can help, please see one of the links above!

~ Blessings!

Love Your Neighbor

DIY Galaxy Shirts!

MeSince starting out on our homeschooling adventures, we have been studying Astronomy with Apologia curriculum. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. The curriculum set has a textbook and a journal for your kids to work through. There are two versions of the journal, one for older kids and one for younger (so I can teach this to BOTH of the kids at the same time).

When I made the decision to learn Astronomy I immediately began planning our hands on crafts and activities. The Apologia books already offer up project ideas in each chapter, but I wanted to do some exploring online and see what else we might be able to do.

I remember seeing in a fashion magazine a shirt that looked like it was a glimpse into our galaxy. While I thought it was cool, I never once thought I would find a reason to wear such a garment let alone try to make one! But I did. This was our first project for our Astronomy science unit.

The kids and I had so much fun making these. It was an easy and fairly non-messy project to complete. It just takes a little bit of time.

Paint

To begin, you will need the following:

  • A black, dark purple or dark blue cotton shirt
  • Fabric Paint (not puffy paint) in Purple, Blue, Red, Yellow, Orange and White
  • Sponges (I bought a bag or natural sponges at Michaels in the fine arts section for about $5)
  • An old toothbrush
  • A cardboard shirt form from a craft store or a piece of cardboard cut large enough to fit snugly inside the shirt
  • A spray bottle
  • Bleach
lightly sprayed

This is how the shirt looks just minutes after being sprayed. The spots will lighten up greatly the longer it sets.

Before doing anything, you will want to wash and dry your cotton shirt to remove any chemicals that may remain on it from the manufacturer.

Next, insert a piece of cardboard into the shirt. This will keep any bleach from bleeding through to the other side. Then, put some bleach in a spray bottle and spray in areas around your shirt. The bleached areas will end up being the center of your galaxies. I sprayed in concentrated areas by holding the spray bottle close to the fabric, then held the bottle further away giving it a different effect. This all makes sense as you begin painting.

NOTE: A little Bleach goes a LOOOOOONG way. My kids sprayed, sprayed and sprayed some more which led to many bleached spots. This made it difficult for them to blend and left very little black.

15 min

After 15 minutes the shirts looked like this.

Leave the shirts to completely dry! They will get brighter as they dry. Once dry, rewash your shirts to remove any residual bleach. Then you will be ready to paint!

Step 1

I was so excited about the painting part that I forgot to take step-by-step pics of each color. So, hopefully this makes sense. 🙂

When painting, it is important to water down your fabric paints. This makes the blending process much, much easier to accomplish. If they are used right out of the bottle, then the colors are more bold and vibrant and it makes blending difficult. You want to blend successfully so that you achieve the mystical galaxy look.

Begin by putting purple on a plate and water it down with some water. I didn’t do any precise measuring, just a little bit of water. Give it a good stir, then dab a sponge into the paint. Begin dabbing the purple around the outside of the white/bleached area. Then slightly blend out into the black.

Next, water down some blue. Dab the blue outside the purple (into the black area) and work your way out.

Now, water down some red. Dab some on a clean sponge and begin dabbing on the inside of the purple (working in toward the bleached area). It is ok to dab over part of the purple because you are trying to blend the colors a bit.

Step 2

Next, water down some orange. Dab this on the inside of the red (again, working your way in toward the bleached area).

Step 3

Next, water down some yellow and dab on the inside area of the orange (working your way in toward the bleached area). Then, water down white and dab in the very center of your galaxy.

Step 4

Now, you’re ready to make some stars! Get some white paint onto an old toothbrush (not water it down). Using a toothpick (or your finger), hold the toothbrush upside-down (bristles down toward the shirt) and drag the toothpick along the bristles. This will flick little dots of paint all over the shirt. This takes a bit of practice.

If you want, you can dip the end of a paint brush or toothpick into white paint and dab all over to make bigger stars.

Photo1

Here is the back side of my shirt! I absolutely LOVED how these turned out. They were a completely fun project and we can’t wait to experiment with other pieces of clothing for different looks! I can see maybe a scarf or purse in the near crafting future!

If you make your own then please share any tips, tricks or pics with me!

The First 30 Days of a Hope-filled-Homeschool-Mom

Schooled

I have been homeschooling my children for a month now! I can’t hardly believe it.

It has been an exciting 30 days! We have learned so much, laughed till our stomachs hurt and crafted until the glue gun just couldn’t take anymore.

In these 30 days, I have learned so much about my children, homeschooling, life and faith. After reflecting on my last 30 days, I can’t help but wonder if other moms share similar experiences. I know many homeschool from the very beginning, but there’s also a huge influx of families making the leap of faith to homeschool their children.

If you are a new, or seasoned, homeschooling parent then I would love to hear what you have learned along your own unique homeschooling journey.

Here, I’ve composed a list of those wonderfully amazing things this new homeschooling mama has treasured, learned and realized over this last month.

Stay within the Lines

  1. It’s soooo fun to do school in our pajamas!
  2. Mommy’s morning quiet time of coffee and Christ are essential to starting out our day!
  3. My youngest does not do well learning anything directly from a book
  4. My oldest loves to learn things right from a book
  5. Our local library is a gift from Heaven
  6. I never knew I could use so much ink in my printer
  7. The $5 desks I got at a consignment sale are better than I could have imagined
  8. TEACHER DISCOUNTS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS!
  9. Joining a homeschool co-op is one of the best things I could have done
  10. Anything can become a learning experience
  11. My oldest daughter is more advanced in Math than I thought she was
  12. It’s OK to switch curriculum methods at any time during the year
  13. Having the ability to customize my children’s education, based on their individual strengths, is an amazing gift to give them
  14. Cows do NOT have teeth
  15. Other homeschool families provide wonderful support, guidance, fellowship and leadership
  16. There are many local museums that offer specialized classes ONLY for homeschoolers
  17. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has an amazing class program for homeschoolers
  18. It’s impossible to do school when 10 guys are laying down a new roof on your house…
  19. Going on a spontaneous field trip to the zoo when roofers are laying down a new roof is a great way to finish your week
  20. My kids are more supportive of each other now than they’ve ever been
  21. How to gracefully answer strange and intrusive questions by strangers about homeschooling
  22. My relationship with my children has never been stronger
  23. It’s exciting to learn alongside my children
  24. Science experiments at home can be ummmm “interesting” (some messes are better left alone)
  25. How to book field trips for our homeschool group
  26. I’m enjoying the little moments even more
  27. It’s OK NOT  to move them onto another subject if they are fully immersed and enjoying the current one
  28. Queen Bees are made by consuming “Royal Jelly”
  29. People have strange ideas about homeschoolers
  30. My youngest daughter is reading beyond her 2nd grade level
  31. Archery is so our thing!
  32. Why didn’t I do this sooner?
  33. Does mom get a learning curve?
  34. Organization will only take you so far
  35. Schedules are made to be broken

Arrow

The Shepherdess

Shepherdess and plant

After he gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.~ John 10:4

I have an affinity for anything vintage. I could spend the entire day at a flea market or street fair perusing the endless sea of tent vendors and their delightful treasures. A few years ago I was sent to Illinois for work. While there, I had to check out some of the unique shops in the neighboring town of Normal, Illinois (Yes, it’s seriously called Normal).

My favorite shop was an antique bookstore. What is it about books? I love to surround myself with literature. I adore the smell of a book and the feel of its crisp pages. I find joy in curling up with a cup of tea while I lose myself within its pages.

Shepherdess

However, the treasure I found was not a book but rather a print. It’s an old print titled “The Shepherdess”. It was painted by a man named Charles Sprague Pearce, then originally etched by Ricardo De Los Rios in 1881. It is beautiful! It pictures a young, weary peasant girl tending her flock of sheep amid a hay-field. She quietly stands, possibly contemplating life or just closing her eyes to shield them from the scorching sun. She is paused along a dry and dusty road, her tattered dress hangs, her sleeves rolled up from an afternoon of hard work . Her only support is her staff that she leans on with outstretched arms. She peacefully stands, and simply rests.

I could never really understand why this print captivated me so, but it did. So much so that I bought it up, finished my weeks work and brought it back with me to Ohio.

PathIt wasn’t until recently though that I realized I relate myself to that young woman in the print. She is tending her flock, keeping them from harm and guiding them to safer pastures. That’s not far off from what I do everyday. What so many of us do.

My white and wooly sheep come in the form of two-legged, blond-haired girls. And yes, I am that weary Shepherdess, hoping for a small moment of rest along this tiresome road I travel.

Do any other moms feel the same way (Or Dads)? We are following in the mighty footsteps of graceful Shepherdesses before us, and leaving mighty footsteps behind us for the following generations. But, just like the Shepherdess in the print, at times we must pause to rest. It’s alright to rest along the weary path.

Sometimes as moms we push ourselves too far. We keep going and going until we drop (sometimes literally). Until we just can’t take any more. We’ve all been there. Short tempered, exhausted and tired to the bone. But, it’s important to rest. When we rest our body, our mind and our spirit, we rejuvenate ourselves. We make ourselves whole again. We restore ourselves so that we can be the sort of Shepherdess our little lambs need us to be.

Roses

So give yourself rest. Stop, close your eyes and just breathe. Lean on Him with outstretched arms. The dishes and laundry can wait. The shoes will still be laying in the middle of the floor. But you are a precious gift from God and must rest. Rest from your worries, your aches and pains. Rest from the constant stream of emails, text messages and play dates. Rest from bills and your job. Rest in Him. Restore yourself. Just rest……

~ At His Feet

Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Jeremiah 6:16

Why We Homeschool

Be Different

I’ll be honest, making the decision to homeschool was not a quick and easy process. It took much time, research and prayerful consideration. After much thought, my husband and I felt strongly led to make a change in our children’s education.

There have been so many times that I have felt irritated, frustrated and angry over my children’s education. Not just my kids, but all kids in general. I have watched children pushed through by a system unwilling to address real educating issues.

My husband and I were bothered by many little, and big, experiences that our kids had. Bullying wasn’t really an issue. We only experienced mild problems from classmates. Luckily, none of these kids really grew into any sort of big problem.

Old SchoolhouseIt wasn’t a religious issue. Even though we are Christian, and God is definitely not welcome in public schools, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that our school was extremely diverse and the teachers embraced it. My daughter was able to share all about her Bible Quizzing Team and speak about the Gospel without any backlashes. She was also able to hear her friends discuss their Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths as well.

Some Christian parents would cringe at that idea, but I found it to be an incredible learning experience. We were able to sit down as a family and openly discuss different religions of the world. Maybe it’s because my hubby is a Christian apologist. I don’t know. But we never shied away from other cultures or religions. After all, when they leave the nest and enter the real world, they will be faced with so many different things. Would I rather my hubs and I teach them, or allow the world to show them?

The biggest issue I had came after my oldest daughter was repeatedly tested for the schools “gifted” program. Each time she missed it by just 2 or 3 points. Her teacher made the suggestion that she would like to see her tested orally and one on one. I was told she would discuss it with the test giver and get back with me. Well, she never did get back with me. When I asked her about it she told me that my daughter would just have to be tested next year.

CrayonsAs a result, my oldest spent much of her school day tutoring other kids and running errands for the teacher. Imagine what she could have been learning if she was given the chance. Now, I will give her teacher some credit here. She actually loaded some advanced math games onto her personal iPad in order to keep my daughter and a few other kids busy while her classmates finished the day’s lesson. But still, that didn’t make up for all of the extra time wasted.

The final straw came on the last day of school. While standing outside with some other parents, I was asked what I thought about the restructuring of the teachers for the following school year. I was confused! I was never told of any such thing!

I was then told that the grade my daughter was going into was actually losing a teacher the next year. This would result in the teachers operating at the maximum number of students allowed by their contract. It made me think, if my daughter was tutoring and running errands this year, then what would happen next year?

That sealed the deal. If I had any doubts about this decision, they were squashed right there and then. I began ruthlessly researching curriculum, reading every review out there, talking to other homeschooling parents and joining a homeschool co-op. It has been the best decision my family has ever made.

Chair and Lamp

It is our duty as parents to protect our children. That protection manifests itself in more forms than simply warning of “stranger danger” or the necessity of “stop, drop and roll”. If my kids are not receiving the sort of education they should then it is my responsibility to do something about it. They must be prepared for the world, they must be ready to excel in their endeavors and conquer their goals. It is the responsibility of my husband and I to raise morally sound, compassionate thinkers and servant leaders who will dare to pursue their dreams and build a better world for future generations.

Who Homeschools?

Old Schoolhouse

At one point in time, all children were educated from the comfort of their home. Some of the most brilliant thinkers, inventors and leaders were actually taught at home. Just to name a few: President George Washington, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Robert E. Lee, Robert Frost, Agatha Christie, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Louis Armstrong and Albert Einstein.  Pretty amazing, right?

But, lets make one thing perfectly clear. Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. It is a lifestyle that consumes your every moment. It is all encompassing. It is overwhelming at times. It will make you question your sanity.  Yet, it is the most rewarding thing I get to do.

Common Reasons to Homeschool

John 316Many families feel compelled to homeschool for a variety of reasons. Some parents make the decision because of their personal religious beliefs.  Christians aren’t the only religious people that homeschool though. I have come across tons of websites for Mormon, Jewish, Catholic and Muslim homeschoolers. In fact there are many atheists that see the amazing benefits of homeschooling their kids as well.

Other families find it their last option when their child has been ruthlessly bullied without any intervention from school officials. All too often we see stories in the news of kids committing suicide or harming themselves because of bullying. I knew a woman that had moved into a higher income suburb because she wanted her children to attend one of the best public schools in the area. Her joy turned to guilt when her 9 year old came home telling her mother that she was not pretty and wanted a nose job. As a result of body image issues from a young age, her daughter was placed in years of therapy.

SchooledSome parents are disappointed with the public school system itself. They feel the schools are not doing their child any justice. The United States consistently lags behind other countries in education scores. Yet, even after countless education reforms and political intervention, parents are still finding that their children’s schools are doing nothing more than producing watered down generations that lack the skills their predecessors attained from a public education.

Whatever the reason, homeschooling may be the right option for you. Then again, it may not be. But either way, if you are considering making the change to a homeschool setting, then I would highly recommend completely extensive research on the topic. Read homeschoolers blogs, contact a homeschool co-op, reach out to other homeschool families for info. One thing I’ve learned, is that homeschoolers LOVE to talk about homeschool. People are more than willing to extend a hand to someone considering this option.

If you are considering the switch to homeschool, and have questions, please feel free to post them here and I would be happy to answer them the best I can!

~Blessings

Upcycle Magazine Storage Box

Boxes

Upon embarking on my families homeschooling journey, I was presented with a massive organization challenge. I really wanted nothing more than a room dedicated to our homeschool activities. My first thought? Transform the finished basement into more of a learning center. Then I realized, I absolutely do not want to spend our days in the luxuries of our finished basement with no windows and no glimpse of the outside world!

I made the decision to incorporate our days of learning right into the comfort of our living room and dining room areas. Granted, my house sort of resembles an elementary school classroom complete with two antique desks by the front window, two small bookcases equipped with loads of curriculum, paper, utensil caddy’s and chore charts.

Some women would cringe at the idea of losing their living room to school supplies and desks, but this mama is happy to see them everyday. It means that I have been blessed with the responsibility of giving my kids a completely fulfilling education at home.

One large problem I didn’t even realize I had been a collection of kids magazines that we had accumulated. Some were given to us, and some were from subscription and all of them were lying around everywhere! So I decided to do something about it!

I had some Family Size cereal boxes lying around, and I’ve seen how these boxes can be transformed into all sorts of fun things. I decided they would be perfect for storing our massive collection of magazines. They were incredibly easy to make and turned about completely adorable!

Supplies

  • 1 Family Size Cereal Box (The bigger the better here folks, the smaller boxes may not hold a regular magazine)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Instructions

Box Naked Front

1. First, draw a diagonal line across the corner of your box. If you look at my pic you can see the first line I drew directly from the top corner down to about halfway on the side of the box. I didn’t like the look of a sharp corner so I redrew the line so that the line ended about 2 inches from the side.

Box Side

2. Next trace the shape of your box onto scrapbook paper. I traced mine a little bigger than the actual size of the box so that I could fold the paper over the edges so as to hide the raw, ugly edges of the box. (See in pic below).

Box Empty1

3. Glue the paper to your box. Then fold the edges over and glue them as pictured above.

Box Empty

4. Next trace the same shapes and glue to the inside of the box. The inside should be pretty too. 🙂

Boxes Top

5. Fill the boxes with your magazines and enjoy a little bit of organized heaven.

Shelf

Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks

Bunch of Fruit SnacksThis year I have been on a mission to eat better, feed my family healthier foods and find homemade solutions to our most popular store bought items. One such food are the dreaded fruit snacks. I don’t know a single kid who doesn’t love these chewy, sugar loaded, mystery chemical laced food. Yes, some do say “Made with Real Fruit Juice” but they neglect to mention all of the other weird things thrown in.

Every day at lunch, or when they need a snack, or just because, my kids will go to the drawer where the fruit snacks are and beg to scarf down a bag or two or three. So, today I decided it was time to try a homemade solution to this store bought snack.

I have been seeing some homemade fruit snack recipes floating around on Pinterest and other websites and have always wanted to try them but haven’t been brave enough to. Last time I tried to make a homemade version of one of my kid’s favorite snacks it totally backfired. I made “fruit leather”. It’s supposed to be like a fruit rollup but mine was more like fruit jerky. Totally GROSS!

But today I put on my big girl panties, took a deep breath and conquered this homemade beast. It was really quite easy and surprisingly my kids LOVED it! I based my version off of one I found at An Organic Wife. It’s similar to all of the recipes I have seen online. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to make and how yummy they were to eat!

HOMEMADE FRUIT SNACKS

gelatin

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of strawberries (or blueberries, raspberries, peaches, kiwi, etc.) I used frozen strawberries, let them defrost a bit before starting. Pretty much any fruit should work.
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice (freshly squeezed or from a bottle is fine)
  • 2 TB of honey or agave if you have a honey allergy in your home (I used more than this, probably more like 4 TB. The 1/2 cup of lemon juice made it all very sour)
  • 1/2 cup of unflavored or flavored gelatin.

Step One:  If using frozen fruit, defrost in the refrigerator or in a microwave. Mine were not at room temperature, but rather nicely chilled.

Step Two: Add fruit and lemon juice to a large pot, simmer on medium/low until the fruit softens. Mine was a little over 5 minutes.

Step Three: Now, pour the fruit into a blender and puree. Once completely pureed, pour back into the pot. Allow it to cool a little bit, about 5 minutes.

Dino Molds

Step Four: Stir in the honey/agave and gelatin then whisk. Make sure to whisk, and whisk and whisk again. The gelatin will solidify very quickly. By using a whisk you can easily break up any chunks that might be in the mix.

Step Five: Pour the mix into silicone molds (silicone works best as it’s incredibly easy to get the treats out), place in the refrigerator and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

Step Six: Pop them out of their molds and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator!

Dino Fruit Snacks

I LOVED how the dinosaurs turned out! I wanted to get better pics of them but my kids ate them up before I could!

 

I hope you and your little ones enjoy these as much as my family has!

Summertime Wrap Up….

It’s here, well almost anyway. The end of Summer! Autumn is just around the corner which means Saturday football games (GO BUCKS!), Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING, homemade chili in the crockpot, picking apples and so much more. I love Autumn, it truly is my favorite season. But I am not totally sure I’m ready to say goodbye to this Summer.

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Billy Graham Library

Summer 2013 has been filled with surprisingly pleasant weather (at least in Ohio). Warm, sunny days equally balanced by rain showers and roaring thunderstorms. Last year was terribly hot and humid with little too no rain and I think everyone was happy to see the start of Fall. At the beginning of Summer I posted about some awesome freebies to look out for to make your family summertime fun a little easier on the wallet. Today, I wanted to share with you what my family has taken advantage of with our own couponing and freebie hunts.

Amazing Summertime Deals!

  1. $0.50 movies every Tuesday morning
  2. FREE movies every Wednesday afternoon
  3. 1 FREE McDonald’s Happy Meal for each child (earned from our local libraries reading summer reading program)
  4. 1 FREE Taco Bell kids meal for each child (earned from our local libraries reading summer reading program)
  5. 3 FREE 6 ounce Frozen yogurt with toppings
  6. 4 FREE games of miniature golf
  7. 4 FREE lunch meals at Chick-Fil-A
  8. 1/2 off admissions to a local history museum
  9. 3 FREE slushy’s from Sonic (earned from our local libraries reading summer reading program)
  10. 2 FREE kids pizza’s from Donatos Pizza (earned from our local libraries reading summer reading program)
  11. FREE Junie B. Jones book just for joining her book club
  12. $10 Gift Cards for each child from Half Price Books
  13. 4 FREE admissions to the Columbus Museum of Art
  14. B1G1 FREE admission to the Santa Maria living historical ship
  15. Countless FREE programs at our local parks systems
  16. FREE tickets to The Columbus Clippers baseball game
  17. The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina (ALWAYS FREE AND AMAZING!)
  18. Discounted games of bowling with bowling pass
  19. The Reed Gold Mine (ALWAYS FREE) in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the site of the FIRST gold ever found in the U.S. It’s completely FREE to visit the museum, tour the grounds and walk through abandoned mines. You can even pan for gold for only $3 a pan!
  20. FREE roller skating Passes
Photo2

The Mummy “Amunet” at The Ohio Historical Center

Surprise Blessing

We were also blessed by a complete stranger while visiting the Indianapolis Zoo in Indiana. As my family and I were walking toward the gate, a very sweet and energetic woman asked us if we had a zoo membership. I explained we were from out-of-town and didn’t have a membership to this zoo. She then told us that we were her family for the day and would get us in on her pass! She has a large amount of grandkids and explained that she does this type of thing all of the time. Next thing I knew, she was paying for my daughters to take part in the “Dolphin Trainer for a Day” program (the kids get to stand at the glass with a dolphin trainer during one of the shows and make hand signals, very cool!). Before I knew it, this amazingly kind woman saved us close to $50 for zoo admission and I’m not even sure how much for the dolphin trainer program. She refused any sort of money and just wished us a good time. Wow!

Paying It Forward

I have a family membership to our zoo, The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. But, I came across some free passes and since I didn’t need to use them, I found a family at the gate and gave them the passes! They were pleasantly surprised and I was so glad to help out another family.

Photo1

Twist Tie Sculptures made by visitors and artists at The Columbus Museum of Art

Currently we are working on a reading program that is sponsored by our library system and our Major League Soccer team, The Columbus Crew. If you complete the reading challenge, you simply mail off your reading log, signed by a parent, and they send you two free tickets to a game! I can’t wait!

Photo1 (2)

I hope that everyone has been enjoying their summer and taking advantage of all the wonderful freebies and deep discounts available all over the place. What are some programs you’ve taken advantage of in your area? I have enjoyed our families summertime fun as well as all of the savings I’ve had with that fun! Until Next Summer!