Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Posts of 2014

What a busy year! Reviews, recipes, giveaways, homeschool goodies and more... reviews! Below is a list of the top ten articles I've written this year based on the number page views they have received. I was certainly surprised by some, but certainly not by my Number One! 








(I try to avoid negative reviews and don't do them often!)



Monday, December 22, 2014

Retinol Moisturizer {Review}

As I have mentioned before, dry skin is just one of those unmentionable discomforts of the season, at least where I live anyways! I know I'm not the only one. And fortunately InstaNatural has provided a cream that can be incorporated into my daily routine. The Retinol Moisturizer is different than the other products I've reviewed from this company. Before, I shared about serums and gels but this is a cream that can be applied in addition to any serums or gels. This cream can be applied after serums and leaves my skin feeling fresh and moisturized. Like other InstaNatural products, this moisturizer is filled with natural ingredients. This winter if you are out skiing, snowboarding, ice skating or simply sledding with the kids, be sure to grab Retinol Moistuizer to keep your skin feeling fresh!

Disclaimer: Brought to You by Brandbacker. All opinions stated are my own.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

InstaNatural Eye Gel {Review}

I have a confession to make. Ok, maybe it's not a confession because maybe it's obvious. Anyways, the deal is, I struggle with bags under my eyes. But honestly, what mother doesn't? I just think some women hide it better than others. But why hide them when you can get rid of them? Enter InstaNatural Eye Gel This gel has become a life saver in my world. Filled with natural ingredients like plant stem cells and cucumber it just another product from InstaNatural that I can feel good about! I've been using this product daily and it feels like a spa treatment every time. 
I've personally only been using it under my eyes because that is my primary problem area but it is safe to be used on your entire face. The ingredients are safe and natural with no parabens, sulfates or alcohol. It is made with organic ingredients in the USA. Another great product from InstaNatural!

Disclaimer: Thanks to InstaNatural for the above product in exchange for this review. 
All opinions stated are my own.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vitamin C Facial Toner {Review}

Recently, I shared with you about a new line of nature inspired beauty products, InstaNatural. These products are full of ingredients that you can feel good about and not worry about putting on your skin! So. My birthday is coming up soon, ahhhh, just a reminder that I am not getting any younger! But that doesn't mean I have to show my age! (And no, I'm not telling you how many years young I am going to be!)

The Vitamin C Facial Toner created by InstaNatural is designed to tighten pores and make your skin appear more silky and smooth! The 4 ounce toner comes in a spray bottle for easy application. Just spray on in the morning and evening and allow the toner to do what it was created to do! So mom, if you are looking for a way to treat yourself this season, this is the way to go! This is a great way to spend that Amazon Gift Card you received in your stocking or that cash you received in a card from a loved one far away! With a price you can feel good about, ingredients you can trust and a scent you can enjoy, this is a product I highly recommend!

Disclaimer: Thanks to InstaNatural for providing this product for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Up For A Nomination!

It's that time of year! No, I'm not talking about the mistletoe and tinsel. This time, I'm referring to The Homeschool Post's Homeschool Awards!

This is the FIRST year that Thrift Schooling is in the running and I would absolutely appreciate each and every vote. You can vote here, once a day until December 29th. If your a fan of this blog then please, head on over and give me a click. (If you have already, thanks so much!) And, while you are there, stick around and check out the other blogs up for nomination, there are 20 different categories!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum {Review}

Recently, at our local area homeschool Christmas party, I was talking with some moms about life before cell phones. You know, when there used to be pay phones on the side of the road. Remember? You put a quarter in and... Sigh. Just a reminder that I am certainly not getting any younger! Fortunately, my face doesn't have to give away my age. InstaNatural provides beauty products that include natural ingredients to help keep your skin looking healthy and radiant! 

Now, I'm not the type to head out and get a Botox treatment done to simply look younger. But I do see the importance in taking care of my skin! I'm not a big makeup person, though I'm not opposed to wearing it on special occasions. But since I don't wear it often, it actually seems to help my skin because I'm not bombarding it with chemicals. Yet, even so, there is still the factor of the weather. When the weather gets dry, so does my face. It's a fact. I've always had this problem. To help with this problem, InstaNatural has a Hyaluronic Acid Serum made with natural ingredients such as Green Tea, Vitamin C, Jojoba Oil and Hyaluronic Acid. 

Sale Price $16.45

InstaNatural’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains botanically derived Hyaluronic Acid along with a perfect blend of antioxidants Vitamin C + E + Green Tea. Hyaluronic Acid is a great natural hydrator for the skin by helping the skin to retain moisture. 

Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid Serum

- Improves skin texture and brightness with intense moisture and balance

- Reduces appearances of dark circles & puffiness

- Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

- Provides instant hydration for smoother, softer skin

- Helps you achieve an overall vibrant, healthy complexion

The bottle of this serum that I received (pictured above) was 2 ounces. It came in a blue bottle with a dropper that you can use to control the amount you get for each application. I used it only once a day and found that it was extremely easy to use. A little bit of the serum goes a long way and leaves your face feeling refreshed!

Disclaimer: Thanks to InstaNatural and Brandbacker for making this post possible!
 I received the above products in exchange for this review. All opinions stated here are my own.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Giveaway #3

It's the final day of my Christmas Gift Giveaways here at Thrift Schooling and I have a real treat for you! Enter to win a Custom Photo Ornament just in time for the holidays! You can order the oval 2.375" X 3"or the rectangle 3" X 2". Both styles will hold one to six photos.

What makes these ornaments unique is the image is printed on both sides! I love that! I completely forgot about that fact when I got it. Then, when I received it in the mail and pulled it out, I was excited to see the pictures on both sides, in great quality too! 

I had fun making this ornament. I chose the oval style and simply did one photo. But I didn't stretch it. Rather, I found a fun Christmas theme background on the site and placed the image over top of it. It turned out beautifully!


Enter the Rafflecopter Below to win an Photo Ornament of Choice!
Be sure to enter my other giveaways listed below!


Disclaimer: Many thanks to Collage.com for providing Thrift Schooling with the above product for the purpose of this review. A big thank you as well for providing a Thrift Schooling reader with the same prize! 
All opinions stated in this post are my own.

Countdown to Christmas

It's December 1st! 
You know what that means!
Only 25 days until Christmas!

Whether you have an extravagant Pinterest inspired advent activity planned for this month or not, there is still time to download the NEW Christmas Countdown Desktop App!

This new Desktop App is a fun and creative way to experience all the joys and anticipation of the holidays! The Countdown to Christmas offers 12 interactive experiences filled with surprises from games to decorating! For only $1.99, you and your family will enjoy getting into the holiday spirit with this brand new product!

Powered by American Greetings

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giveaway #2: An Aluminum Print

11"x 14"
Aluminum Print

 It's Day 2 of Thrift Schooling's 3 Days of Christmas Gift Giveaways! I'm excited to share today's prize with you because I personally was extremely impressed with it's quality! Similar to other projects I've worked on over at Collage.com, I simply uploaded my photos to the website. I then could chose from different designs or patterns in which I wanted my photos to appear. Pictured above is a simple collage but there are many templates and ideas to chose from. You could format your photos in the shape of a heart, a home or many other designs! You chose your background color or image and then you are ready to place your order! 

My Aluminum Print arrived packaged well and the pictures came out crisp and clear! Having the pictures on aluminum adds a nice touch to the home. It's adds a different, more classy feel than a canvas or poster. I was highly excited with the quality of my print and think that Aluminum Prints would not only make great Christmas gifts but awesome wedding or anniversary gifts as well!

Enter to Win
Enter the Rafflecopter Below to be entered to win an 11" x 14" Aluminum Print


Disclaimer: Many thanks to Collage.com for providing Thrift Schooling with the above product for the purpose of this review. A big thank you as well for providing a Thrift Schooling reader with the same prize! All opinions stated in this post are my own.

Care Bears Advent Calendar (BEGINS MONDAY)

Let the Countdown to Christmas....BEGIN!
Download The Care Bears Advent Calendar and count down from December 1st to the 25th, Care Bears style!

The Care Bears Advent Calendar is an exciting interactive calendar perfect for desktop or iPad. Each day, Care Bear fans of all ages can follow their favorite Care Bears through a holiday experience! Sharing games, activities, videos and more has never been easier. For only $2.99, your friends and family can decorate Christmas trees, make their own snowflakes, color, or play Care Bears games. And to top it off, at the end of the 25 days, you and your child will unlock a full 25 minute Care Bears episode. Care Bears are loved by all, young and old, and makes for the perfect gift to kick off this holiday season!

Powered by American Greetings

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Custom Wrapping Paper {Review and Giveaway}


Why can't your package be as exciting as the gift itself? Customize your wrapping paper this holiday season to showcase your gift wrapping skills! Make a collage of the children for the grandparents or, make a roll of the family pets for the kids! Engaged? New baby? Showcase your favorite pics, all on the wrapping paper!

 Kids and adults alike will be wowed by your creative Collage made easily at Collage.com! They have an extremely easy website that allows you to drag and drop photos from your computer. You can search for images online or transfer from your Facebook or Instagram account.


I've created plenty of photo books in my day. The days of scrapbooking are over, at least for me! I know some people enjoy the hands on element of physical scrapbooking, but not me, I like the digital stuff! Actually, in the same manner that physical scrapbooking may be relaxing for some people, getting online and creating a Collage or images and pictures is relaxing for me. 

Needless to say, I was excited when I saw that I could now create a Collage as unique as wrapping paper! How fun is that? I immediately got online and tried to figure out which angle I was going to take with this. Did I want to create something my kids would enjoy and use it to wrap their gifts? Did I want to make a Collage of the grandkids for the grandparents to enjoy? Or did I want to showcase our family's memories throughout the year and just use it to wrap my immediate family's gifts? 

I chose to go use it for the grandparents! What grandparent wouldn't be surprised to see their grandkids faces smiling back at them under the tree?

The way it works is, you make a Collage and it repeats itself over and over again. You can use a few large images, several medium sized images or many, many smaller images. I varied the sizes of the images and made four different rows. The first row had all the kids and then each row following showcased a different child! 

After submitting the final work online, I received it shortly afterward in a a thick tube. It was packaged very well and didn't bend or cause any problems with the wrapping paper!

The paper is of a quality thickness, I'm not worried about it tearing or ripping like cheap wrapping paper you can buy at your local dollar store. And, most importantly, the images turned out great!

Create your own custom wrapping paper at Collage.com! 
If are a first time customer, receive 
your first order!

Thanks to Collage.com you can win a 6ft roll of custom wrapping paper just in time for Christmas!
Enter the Rafflecopter below to Win!

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Collage.com for providing Thrift Schooling with the above product for the purpose of this review. A big thank you as well for providing a Thrift Schooling reader with the same prize! All opinions stated in this post are my own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

3 Days of Giveaways {3 Winners}


Starting tomorrow, Thrift Schooling will be holding
3 Days of Christmas Gift Giveaways!

Collage.com has provided THREE wonderful, customizable prizes that can be used as a gift or a treat for yourself!

Visit Thrift Schooling November 29, 2014 through December 1, 2014 and enter to win a NEW prize each day!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15 Countdown to Christmas Ideas

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.

Last year was the first year that we did any sort of Advent type activity in our homeschool. We had such a blast that I wanted to provide you with a list of different ideas that you could choose from! 

We did something similar to #4 and #7 where we had a different activity that we participated in each day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas! 

The kids and I enjoyed each and every activity and my husband was able to join in on the weekend ones! It was a memorable experience that we plan on doing again this year! 

I have my eye on #5 one of these years, but this year I think we'll stick with the activities! 

{1} Printable Snowman

Mama's Like Me  has a cute FREE Countdown to Christmas Snowman printable. Looks simple enough to get the point across to your preschoolers!

{2} Scripture Countdown

The Keep Home Simple  blog shows how to make this elegant looking Scripture Countdown to help keep the focus where it needs to be this time of year!

{3} Care Bears Advent Calendar

This Interactive Care Bear Advent Calendar can be downloaded to your desktop or iPad from American Greetings.  It is filled with games, activities and videos for your child to enjoy as they countdown to the big day!

{4} Wooden Advent Tree

 Melissa and Doug  have done it again. I adore their wooden toys and this Wooden Countdown to Christmas tree is an adorable educational gift for little ones! 

{5} Christmas Activities

The Paper Package  provides several ideas for Advent and these Activities Leading up to Christmas are my personal favorite!  

            {6} Book Advent                                        

Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails  shares the brilliant idea to Unwrap a New Book Each Day Leading Up To Christmas. My children love books so I know this would work well around here!

{7} O Christmas Tree Treasure Box

 The O Christmas Tree Treasure Box can be found on Amazon and is a fun way to treat your kids during the month of December. Fill the boxes with candy, or better yet, Lego Mini-figures!

{8} 25 Activities

The Kids Activities Blog  also shares 25 Activities Before Christmas with many creative and homespun ideas.  

{9} Countdown Chain

Lauren Makes  provides a FREE printable of  The Classic Christmas Countdown Chain. I love the design she uses! 

{10} DIY Chocolate Advent Calendar

Mindy Pitcher  uses easy to access materials to make this tasty DIY Chocolate Advent Calendar. My kids would go bananas for this!

{11} Lego City Advent Calendar

It's a LEGO City Advent Calendar. You can't go wrong with LEGO in our house. Actually, me middle son has this on his wishlist this year!

{12} Lego Friends Advent Calendar
And, for your little girl, the LEGO Friends Advent Calendar would most likely be a great fit!

{13} Countdown to Christmas Curriculum {Printed Book}

Enjoy December with your children using Countdown to Christmas Curriculum. It includes stories and activities to make this time of year memorable!

{14} Countdown to Christmas Curriculum {E-Book}

 Filled with exciting stories, images and activities, Countdown to Christmas Curriculum. This is the E-book version, available for download. 

{15} Forest Friends Christmas House

And just for the cuteness of it, why not try the Forest Friends Christmas House? Love it. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

NKJV Adventure Bible {Review}

The New King James Version Adventure Bible, with side notes and fun facts by Lawrence O. Richards, is a full color Bible for kids. The Adventure Bible is nothing new. I've seen kids carrying these around for years, BUT, it has always been in the NIV (New International Version.) When I was looking to purchase my son his first Bible, I considered the NIV Adventure Bible. but I just couldn't do it! 

My husband and I want our children to grow up reading and memorizing the King James. At the time, I didn't see a KJV option. Now that a NKJV option is available, I jumped all over this! I chose to get this for my middle son since my oldest already has his own Bible. Up until  now, my middle son has been reading and bringing a picture Bible to church. The Adventure Bible is the perfect transition. It is a full Bible, not just a picture book with stories. But, it includes full color images and fun facts throughout. He personally loves parrots, so the parrot images throughout this Bible with fun facts attached are a great fit for him!

The following features are included in the Adventure Bible:

  • Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in ancient days.
  • People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible.
  • Let’s Live It!—Hands-on activities help kids apply Biblical truths to their life.
  • Did You Know?—Interesting facts help kids understand God's Word.
  • Words to Treasure—Great verses to memorize.
  • Book introductions, a concordance, and 8 pages of full-color maps.

This would be a perfect homeschool  resource or  a great gift for a child ages 6-12! Perfect for emerging independent readers!

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Book Look Blogger program for providing a copy of this Bible for the purpose of this review. All opinions stated are my own. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Susie's Hope {Review and Giveaway}

Based on the true story, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing that neglect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as they lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguier, Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year.

This is a movie for animal lovers, no doubt! Anyone who has a heart and passion to see animals taken care of and justice brought to them, this movie is for them! The story truly is emotional and sad but the movie brings in some humor and lightheartedness. It is sad, not only what happened to the dog, but the pain and suffering that Donna Lawrence experienced. The pain she went through would be hard for anyone and I could see how going through the event of passing stricter laws in her state and bringing the issue of abuse to the light through this movie was likely a healing experience for her. Although I appreciate and believe it is important to respect our animals, I didn't personally agree with the push for stricter laws against animal abuse. I agree that it is sad,and wrong but having a paw print on a law just doesn't sit right with me. With that said, I know that this story could bring hope to people who have experienced suffering in their lives due to an animal attack. This woman's story of hope and forgiveness could be an inspiration to many!

Enter the Rafflecopter below to receive your own copy of the DVD, Susie's Hope.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”