May 192017
 

Kid in Library

With summer looming very close in front of us, one of the items on my non-gardening to-do list involves signing up for various summer reading programs.  This is also a great reminder to keep participating in other reading programs that are not season oriented.

One of my highest goals for our kids, to love reading.

Participation in summer reading challenges is one of the ways we use to hopefully create kids who turn into young adults who love to read. My thinking is that if they can read, they can learn anything.  They can also travel to places otherwise unavailable to them.

In addition to your local library’s reading program, here are a few more you can check out.  (Pun intended.)

Meatheads Burgers currently offers the Voracious Readers reading program during all seasons.  There is no guarantee that this program will continue, so make use of it while it is here.  The kids love being able to order their own burgers and ‘pay’ for them with the certificate they earned by reading books.

 

book cover 2

From the website:

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:

1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español).

2. Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 16th and September 5th, 2017. Find a Store

3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.

My kids are excited about being able to choose from the books and have already selected the ones they want to work towards.  I love the fact that they are excited to be reading.

 

Download Now!

Books-a-million’s 2017 Summer Reading Program runs now through August 16th.  As the image above shows, read 4 books from their Reading Challenge secelction, fill out the form and return to receive a free Maze Runner series water bottle.  Click here to find a store near you.

There are book selection for both kids and teens.  The Kids’ selections online are not easy readers, so you may have to help your young reader choose something appropriate (or maybe read aloud to them).


Half Price Books’ summer reading program for kids 14 (or 8th grade) and under is for June and July.

Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed log to earn HPB Bookworm Bucks.   By August 31, cash in your HPB Bookworm Bucks in store for books, music, movies & games.- Half Price Books bookmark

While 300 minutes may seem like a large amount, it works out to just 10 minutes a day for 30 days.

If you need ideas for young ones, they have put together a list of Alphabet books as well as books for even younger ones. You are encouraged to read aloud to your kids if needed.

LifeWay R.E.A.D. - Summer Reading Program 2017

Join us on our 2017 Summer Reading Quest with Bibleman, June 1 to Aug. 31. We want to help you and your family promote the love of reading in your home as well as encouraging the love of God’s Word through reading His Scripture. This program is geared toward grades 1 through 6, but all are welcome to join in the adventure.

Read six books over the course of the summer and memorize six Scripture verses. Then, turn in a completed summer reading journal at your local LifeWay store to earn a free book and a new free Bible.

Join them in-store for a Kickoff Party May 26-27 to receive your FREE Summer Reading Program Journal, Bookmark and Pencil. At that time you will also be able to purchase books from the recommended reading list at 40% off!

Turn in your reading journals by August 31, 2017

Read 10

For every 10 books you read, we’ll give you one free*. What’s the catch? You just have to write a short report telling us: 1. Your name and age 2. The title and author of the book 3. Why you liked or disliked the book You can even include drawings. When you’ve finished your 10 book reports, bring them to your favorite Bookmans and we’ll reward you with a free book for all that hard work.  – Bookman’s Programs Page

Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange has locations in Arizona.  While many of you may not live or visit these areas, it is a great example of finding a reading program at a location you may not have thought to look.  We visited a Bookman’s a few years ago, while in the Tuscon area on vacation, and loved it.  The initial reason for going was to attend their story time, as we were looking for things to do with 4 little boys  under 4 (we had nephews along with us).  While the kids were listening to the story, I got to indulge myself (my husband was with the kids) and look through a large selection of used books.  We came away with several classics for a very reasonable price.  I probably would have bought more, but we were flying home, so space was limited.

There is also a Kid’s Club, which offers enrolled kids a discount on books, as well as sending them a gift certificate on their birthday.

*The free book come in the form of a $10 certificate to be used in the store. I could not find the information online, but a call to one of their stores confirmed they are still doing this program

mcalendars

Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant I did not grow up living near.  However, there was a time or two that we went for a party and I always had fun going.  With George and Jack being on the young side, and easily overwhelmed, we have not gone before.

I was surprised to find that they offer a very diverse reward program.  Fill out one of the calendars, bring it in, and earn 10 free tokens.  Their calendars are one that will help you form good habits in your kids and include the following calendars: reading, picking up your room, doing homework first, no picking your nose, daily chores, and more.  In all, they have 15 different calendars to choose from.  Additionally they have other awards you can earn and redeem for 10 free tokens.

A food purchase may be required to receive your tokens.

“Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they’ve read, and earn prizes for their reading success.” – Book Adventure website

We have yet to participate in Book Adventure, as our kids have been too young previously.  Their prizes page does include some unique items that the kids can earn points toward.  Teachers can also set prizes for their classes.

summer-reading-challenge

“The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes, all in an effort to set a new reading world record for summer 2015!” – Scholastic Reading Challenge

Scholastic’s 2017 Summer Reading Challenge begins May 8 and ends September 8.

“During the summer months, DoD-MWR Libraries around the world will host a range of free activities for children, teens, and adults that encourage and support a love of reading. Participants also can earn incentives by reaching their reading goals.”

If you do not live near a base or libray on base, there is also a Virtual Summer Reading Program available.

 

Keep an eye out for the following programs this summer:

Kids can earn $10 with our Summer Reading Program.

TD Bank had a summer reading program in 2016, which rewarded readers with money in their bank accounts for reading so many books.  They have not said yet whether they will do it again in 2017.

 

 

May 092017
 

Schoola.com

Earlier this week I went through the kids’ clothes with them, paring down on excess, passing along 2+ paper sacks of clothes no longer needed, and looking for where we needed to fill in.  With the weather all over the place, I had to leave out both cool and warm weather clothing.  Thankfully it was still cool, as I found 4 more pairs of next-size-up pants for George in our clothing totes.  However, he only had 2 pairs of shorts which would fit him. Yikes!

Buying ahead and also second-hand are two ways we are able to keep our clothing budget in check.  This is especially important with one kid who likes to change sizes quickly and is 4 sizes ahead of his (not much) younger brother.

Schoola has been a sanity-saver more than once.  We have always been impressed with the quality of their clothing, their honesty in the condition of each item, the shipping times, and the knowledge that our purchase is helping a school raise funds for various programs.

Currently, Schoola is running an early Mother’s Day savings event – Happy Mother’s Day! Get 50% off with code MOM at Schoola.com. Offer is valid 5/10-5/14.*

Know someone who would be as excited as you are about this deal?  Send a friend $15 off to shop the amazing deals on children’s clothes at Schoola.com and you’ll get $15 off too. Shop now!

And don’t forget, orders of $25 or more always qualify for free shipping!

*Fine print: Discounts and credits do not apply toward the free shipping threshold or promotional minimums. Discounts are applied to the post-credit order value. New-with-tags items are not eligible for purchase with discounts or credits.

 

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and purchase something, we will receive a small amount in return, at no added cost to you.

May 022017
 

The May flowers are here, and Swagbucks has brought a $5 bonus!

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 6/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned $55 (5582 SB) in the first 3 months of the year.  This is a bit lower than I normally would have earned, though almost a month of that time I was out unable to do my normal activities.  I also did very few surveys and no free trials, both of which can be sources of larger SB earnings. (You do not have to complete surveys or trials in order to earn SB; it is only one option.  There is also no tracker which you must download.  Earning is as easy as logging into their site and choosing which activities you would like to complete.)

The SB were redeemed for PayPal and Amazon gift cards, resulting in home school materials purchased for this upcoming year, as well as replacing a broken radio in our home.  Every little bit helps and begins to add up, especially when I can do these things without having to leave home or interrupt a large portion of my day.

*You must receive your shopping SB before July 1st (I think they mean June 1st, but I will check to make sure on this detail.)

This post contains affiliate links.  As a referral, I receive a small amount of bonus SB whenever you also complete activities and earn SB.  These help me continue to purchase items for our schooling and home needs.

Apr 142017
 


Spring has sprung and at Swagbucks, the deals are in full bloom. They’re giving back BIG Cash Back on your favorite merchants.  What a great way to save on gardening supplies you may already need!

As the weeks go by, I am reminded of the various items I need to replace or search for: clothes and shoes for the kids, new potting soil for pots, bulbs and annuals, vegetable seeds, broom hangers for the garage, a wall mounted bike rack … and the list keeps going.  One of the ways I am looking to save on these purchases is with discounted gift cards and online shopping.

online grocery shopping amazon

The weekend is upon us and the weather is warming up, so now’s the perfect time to do a little shopping! Need to update your wardrobe for the new season? Check out all the great Cash Back deals you can earn at:

JCPenney – 15% Cash Back
Nike – 20% Cash Back
Macy’s – 12% Cash Back
Gap – 8% Cash Back

Looking to do some spring cleaning and organizing? Check out great deals at these retailers:

Home Depot = 3% Cash Back
Target = 4% Cash Back
Walmart = Up to 8% Cash Back
Lowe’s = 3% Cash Back

Plus, if you’ve signed up through my links at some point this month (or do it now), you’ll get a $2 (200 SB) bonus added to your account when you get your shopping SB!

You can earn SB in all sorts of ways, including discovering deals and trying new products/services, watching videos, taking surveys, or just searching the web!

Hurry though, because this deal ends on the 16th!

If you haven’t heard of Swagbucks, when you shop there you get cash back in the form of SB points for every dollar you spend. Then you redeem those points for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and more! Sign up here to get started

Apr 102017
 

Schoola.com

To raise Tax Day spirits, Schoola is offering an early “return” at Schoola! April 10th through April 15th, buy 4 items and receive $15 in Schoola credit or buy 8 items and receive $25 in Schoola credit. It doesn’t end there! They are also offering See You In The Garden readers 40% off their order with code GET40.

Pair this up with the Free shipping on all orders over $25 at Schoola.com offer for an even better deals. (Keep reading for some other codes that may save you even more on top of these deals.)

Perfect timing! George has decided to edge up into the next size of pants, yet we are not quite into shorts weather.  I had hoped we would solidly be in warm weather clothes when he decided to do this.  Add to that, he has used his skills, yet again, to put holes in several of his pants.

We have had great results with Schoola in the past, and I was hoping to catch a good deal before reaching the point of buying new pants.  Seems my patience may have paid off.

Schoola

Knowing these clothes are preloved, the selection varies.  There is no guarantee that what you are looking for will be there today.  Thankfully, the search features are easy to use and you will know in a matter of a few minutes if they have what you are wanting.  If your kids are anything like mine, that is faster than they would be able to get their shoes on to drive to a store and shop for new clothes.

I’ll take checking the computer instead, thank you very much.

I also appreciate the description of the clothes, which I have found to be very honest in their assessment.  A few times they even noted flaws, though I could not see them on the computer nor when the item actually arrived at my house.

Additionally, if you are wondering where all the money goes for the clothes you paid for, well, 40% goes right back to the schools who donated the clothes.  How awesome is that?!  Personally, I like this fundraiser better than buying pizzas or candles or any of the other overprices items which I do not need.  Clothes? Clothes, especially for the boys, I always need!

Here are some other offers from Schoola which may still be available. You might be able to combine some of these deals for even greater savings:

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click a link and purchase something, a small portion will be returned to me. I hope you find what you need and are able to save a few dollars doing so.

Mar 192017
 

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the Spring Reading Team Challenge, begins Monday, March 20th.

George is on Spring Break during this Team Challenge, I am not sure how many SB I will be able to earn. However, it is the Team Points that really matter in challenges like this.

If this looks like a repeat post, it isn’t. Well, it is, sort of, but not really.  

As we were going to be busy, utilizing George’s Spring Break from school to spend time together as a family, I had the post scheduled ahead of time.

Then the dates were moved, but I did not notice; I was too busy watching pelicans dive for their dinner in the relatively warm Gulf of Mexico and flying kites on the beach while wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. (At least we weren’t getting 1-2 feet of snow).

With all that said, remember, it is the Team Points that really matter in challenges like this.

Each activity is worth a certain amount of Team Points, in addition to the SB you may earn. The Team Points do not get added to your SB totals, but they determine the placement of the teams.

February’s challenge was a close one across the board, with all 3 teams super close the whole week. While my team was in first place for most of the days, the second place team made a surge at the end and over took us. It was a great reminder that running the race through the finish line really does make a difference.

Run the race through the finish line!

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting February 13th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far. 

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card!

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before April 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, March 17th and will expire on Tuesday, March 28th 11:59pm PT

During the last Team Challenge, not only did I learn a few time saving tips from my team mates, but also earned 683 SB (over $6) plus a Swag Up Rebate on my next gift card purchase.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 182017
 

Plow & Hearth

Confession time: I did not buy new cushions for our porch swing for … 8 years!

And to make it even worse … they were the cushions which we inherited with the house and swing! Gross, I know!! Trust me, they were ready for retirement.

Not only did they not provide any form of softness, but they were faded and harbored who knows what kind of allergens.  It was finally at the point where I was afraid to even wash them.  Yeah, they were bad.

It was not until we were gifted a new swing that I began my search for new cushions.  The difference was like night and day!  Not only were the colors vivid, but the cushions actually, well, cushioned.

Never again will I wait so long.  I have learned the wisdom of routinely changing out cushions, especially if they are so worn you are afraid to wash them.

Right now, Plow&Hearth is offering $10 off orders over $85.  Whether you are looking for new cushions, a side table, outdoor planters or an arbor, not only can you save yourself a trip to the store, but also enough money to fill that new planter with your favorite plant from the local nursery or your greenhouse.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 162017
 

life is a series of experiences henry ford quote

This week finds us out of the house quite a bit.  So, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back at some posts from the past.

One thing that stuck out to me was the difference in weather between years, even though all these posts are from March.

Another theme I noticed is that I often posted about food.  That may have to do with the first things that stood out to me – the weather.

Soon it had been over three weeks and I had not even begun looking for a new stove or coming to a decision as to repair it.

Living Without An Oven – This phase was actually easier than I thought, though it did take some thinking.  We were also blessed, several months in, with a $1 toaster oven find at a local garage sale.  That toaster oven even moved with us, as I came to find it useful for different situations.

Once the warm weather comes, I would rather be focusing on outside rather than stuck inside doing these things.

30 Days, 21 Projects – It is amazing how all the little things around the house can be put off numerous times.  Suddenly, no matter where you turn there is something glaring at you that needs to be done.  Having a plan of attack, and a deadline, helps you realized the list is not never-ending.  It also gives you a sense of being in control rather than being controlled by your stuff.

I didn’t plant all the tomato seeds I had, but I got 75 of them started.

Weekly Goals – March 18, 2012 – Not only is it interesting to look back and see what was happening at this time in years past, but you may also be reminded of things you used to do and can do again.  While I will not be starting seeds indoors this spring, I hope to do it again in the future.  I also learned that I did not need 75 tomato seedlings.  Live and learn.

At first $4.30 didn’t seem like a lot to Mr. Arends, but by the end of the 6-weeks time frame, he had learned several lessons.

Comparing The Numbers – Before making statements about what can or can not be done, it is a good idea to take a look at the reality of your situation.

Last week he spent over 6 hours across several days working with cardboard and duct tape.

This Week in School, practical life skills – the above quote would be called a STEM activity in public school.  At home, it was called free time.  This post highlighted a season where Jack really did not respond well to sitting to learn.  While we were following Charlotte Mason’s methods, I had not fully implemented them, nor researched them.  So some items, like short lessons, were in play, there were other things I was learning on my own.  I am still not fully doing what she recommends, but we are getting closer.

Mar 102017
 

Plow & Hearth

If Spring has not arrived in your neck of the woods yet, it is not too far around the corner.  With a mild winter across most of the country, gardeners are starting to get back into their gardens earlier on the calendar.

Whether you are looking to add lanterns, illuminators,  planters, or walkway lights to your garden, use solar power to add an additional interest to these elements.  Not only will you be saved the limitation of placing them only where there is a source of electricity, but you will also be saving on your power bill.

Today Only, save 20% off all solar accents and receive shipping sitewide on orders of $75. Ends 3/11/17.

In addition to these savings, if you are a new subscriber to their email list, you will receive $10 off your next order.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 092017
 


March is here, and it’s bringing you the chance to get a $5 bonus from Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

There is no need to download a tool bar or tracking software onto your computer.  Instead, you can earn SB by doing things you might already be doing through other web sites.  Last month I earned 38 SB from searching the web, 182 SB by watching videos on my phone, and 491 SB by looking through special offers (including searching for insurance).

I have found that setting specific goals helps me earn more online.  Knowing I will be needing specific books in the fall, or am wanting to try growing a dwarf pear tree, allows me to plan ahead.  Instead of working toward an ambiguous goal, which is like running a race that never ends, I can see the finish line. As my high school coach used to say, “Run through the finish line.”

To help you reach your goals even quicker, Swagbucks is offering a $5 bonus for new users!

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 4/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned 1256 SB last month.  This amount translates into a little over $12 toward school supplies for next year, flower bulbs for our new yard (once we have one), a bird bath for the new front yard (again, once we have one), or other items on my goals list.

*You must receive your shopping SB before May 1st

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for helping support this blog.