Fantastic Coupons for Izze Soda and Larabars!

I just ordered a 24 variety pack of Izze Soda for just $8.70.  This is incredible!

izze coupon

How did I do this?  Right now, Amazon is offering a 25% off coupon, good for several varieties of their 100% juice soda.  I chose their variety pack, which is priced very low right now at $14.49.  I “clipped the coupon” which was applied to my cart and took off $3.62.  Because of the 4 other subscribe and save items I’d already purchased for the month, Amazon took off another $2.17.  This brought my 24 pack all the way down to $8.70.  What a fun deal!  Go get your Izzes before the price goes up.  :)

I also wanted to let you know about a new Larabar coupon for $4.00 off.  Larabars for 64¢ each?  Yes please.

larabar coupon 3

I got a case of Cashew Cookie Larabars for just $10.28 with my 15% subscribe and save discount and the $4.00 coupon.  Awesome!

Have fun with these great deals!  Learn more about how Amazon subscribe and save works here.

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Gratituesday: Science Lessons and Exercise During a Busy Season


Of all the school subjects we try to cover in a day, science is often the one that can get shoved to the bottom – and sometimes off the list entirely.  Don’t even talk to me about science experiments.  They always sound like such good ideas while the lesson plan is being made.  But when it comes to executing it, somehow the act of coming up with vinegar, twist ties, or a bar of soap seems like a daunting task.

I don’t think this is just my family.  I’ve heard this is struggle from others too.  And it’s not just a home school thing.  When I taught at a public elementary school many years ago before our boys were born, we focused on reading, writing, and math – trying to squeeze science in as we could.

The good news is that now that three out of four of our boys are old enough to read and study many subjects on their own, it is getting easier to be consistent with all subjects, including science!  This is largely the result of handing them all good ol’ assignment sheets that have to be completed each day before they “have any fun.”  We still don’t get around to doing all of the experiments, but as assigned, they complete an entire science curriculum each year.  (Our older boys use Apologia Science books.)

So what about that fourth out of four boys?  That one’s going on 10 (happy birthday this week!), and still needs quite a bit of our guidance and instruction throughout his school day.  This is fine, and between Matt and me, along with occasional help from older brothers, he gets his work done.  But science?  It gets shoved to the bottom if no one has time to spend working on it with him.  Now that it’s Christmas season?  Have mercy.

Well, I’m excited to share a little idea I tried that is working marvelously.  Three words for you:  Magic. School. Bus.

We have several Magic School Bus books that we’ve read throughout the years with the boys, and Malachi really loves them.  But right now, we’re pulling out our Magic School Bus videos - watching one episode each day.  Talk about a fun way to learn science!  And guess what else?  About the time we ran out of our own videos to watch, we discovered that there are episodes on Netflix.  Malachi gets it set up by himself, and we’ve got a 25 minute science lesson right on the screen.

magic school bus

What else can often get shoved to the bottom of the list during a busy day?  Exercise.  So what have I been doing while we’re watching a Magic School House episode?  I’m on my rebounder getting my heart pumping and working up a sweat while Ms. Frizzle takes us on an adventure through the solar system or digestive tract.  It’s been perfect.

Afterward, I do some yoga poses while Malachi and I discuss what we learned.  (Ever done downward dog while asking your kid, “Tell me about echolocation…”)

I’m so excited and thankful that this has been working for us as a way to accomplish these tricky-to-work-in daily tasks.  It’s been great for conversation, as these videos bring up quite a few lessons that are applicable to everyday life.

As for getting dressed at a reasonable hour?  I’ll have to continue to wait until after science/exercise time each day.  It just makes sense, and really, who cares if it’s almost noon before I’m out of my pj’s?  :)

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?  Leave a comment to share!

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Make Sensory Bottles for Infants and Toddlers ~ Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5

Where was this idea when my boys were babies?  Lacie sent in these instructions and pictures.  What a fun gift!

Homemade Sensory Bottles for Infants and Toddlers

Sensory Bottles are a cheap, easy gift for infants and toddlers. I purchased Voss waters because they look so cool! They are a bit pricey but since I can reuse the bottles I’m ok with it. ( I was able to fine them cheapest on sale at Walgreens locally for $1.25 each.)

Drink the water. Then remove the labels and wash. Decide what you want your bottle to be. Obviously for $5 you can’t do a whole color set, but you could do 3 or 4.

I used only items I had on hand for the color ones. Some  Items I used:  Marker lids, pompoms, q-tips, crayons, colored pencils, buttons, pennies, scraps of paper or fabric, yarn, or ribbon, legos, small plastic animals, straws, plastic utensils, foam shapes, shoe strings, chalk, marbles, anything!

For the Christmas ones I did purchase things to put inside. The red and green rice one is easily made by mixing a capful of rubbing alcohol with a small amount of food coloring and putting it on rice. Mix together (wear rubber gloves or you will have colored hands). Lay out on paper towels in a thin layer stirring occasionally until it dries out. Then put it in the sensory bottle. The colored tinsel can be purchased at a dollar store.

You could do an eye spy one for any age, even older child by putting rice in the bottle with various small items (many of the ones listed above would work) and include a “To Find” List naming all the items you have included). The recipient can turn the bottle to move the rice around and find all the included objects.

You could do different sounds by placing small items that would make different sounds in each one (buttons in one, jingle bells in one, rocks in one, etc.).

The lids CAN be hot glued on to prevent spillage and a choking hazard. I have found that if I tighten them as tight as I can, I can barely get the lids off myself and have yet to see a little one even try to take them off.

This is not an original idea. My inspiration came from pinterest.


Thank you, Lacie!  Everyone be sure to check out all the other Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5 Ideas shared so far.  I hope you are all enjoying this series as much as I am.  So many wonderful ideas!

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Menu Plan for the Week With Four Different Shopping Trips – Phew!

I think I was out of town more than I was home this week.  Between basketball games and appointments, I traveled 5 out of the last 8 days.  I am a wee bit tired.  Thankfully, we were still able to eat fairly well thanks to how easy it is to grab and pack fruits and vegetables for the road.

With all my comings and goings, how did I have time to actually go grocery shopping four times this week?  It was a little crazy, but also kind of necessary.  There were amazing sale prices to be had, plus – my family eats tons and tons of food.  I’ve found that if I put out the fruit – the people will eat it.  Pounds and pounds of it, I tell you. #lifewithteenageboys

Here’s a little grocery run-down of my week.  And by the way, we also eat meat, grains, and dairy – I just get them from our food co-op or local sources in bulk, so rarely take pictures of those.  Next time I get a big meat order, I’ll snap a shot of all the frozen packages, since I know you’re dying to see them.

On Monday, we were out of almost all fresh fruits and veggies.    I went to our local grocery store, which is just a few blocks away.  I took advantage of their sale price on cream cheese (Pumpkin Cheesecake, here I come), plus picked up some fresh produce to get us through for a few days.  I found a fun deal while I was there which gave me a FREE bag of clementines with my $25 purchase.  Sweet!!!

groceries 12-8-14-1

See that fresh coconut up there?  My 12 year old was with me and was very interested in trying it.  This week, I’ll be assigning him the task of learning how to crack that open and use the insides. :)

Tuesday I went to Walmart to try my hand at price matching.  I got avocados for just 29¢ each, honey crisp apples for 99¢ per pound, and pomegranates for 49¢ each.  I made Easy Cream Cheese Fruit Dip when I got home, and the entire bag of honey crisp apples disappeared.  #toldyoutheycaneat

groceries dec 10

On Wednesday, the boys and I were in Lincoln for appointments.  This also happened to be the grand opening day of a new Aldi store a few blocks from our appointments.  All five of us walked the very busy aisles grabbing butter for only $1.89/pound, sweet potatoes for 33¢/pound, and many more goodies for very low prices.  What a fun shopping trip!  I won’t be able to go to Aldi often, but I will continue to use their prices on produce for price matching at our local Walmart.

aldi shopping


By Friday, we were already out of mixed greens, pears, clementines, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.  I decided to run to our local store for deli meat and cheese for our basketball travels, so picked up more fruit and greens while I was there.

groceries 12-12

Now here’s hoping I can stay out of the store for several days and instead work with all the deliciousness we have on hand.  Hope you don’t get tired of my grocery store pictures.  You like looking at pictures of food, right?!

Here’s what our menu choices will look like for this week:




Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

I’m so thankful for all the wonderful options!  I’m also thankful I get to stay home most of this week.  I like home best.  :)

Don’t miss the BOGO Coconut Oil with Free Shipping this weekend!

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Buy One Get One Free Coconut Oil, Plus FREE SHIPPING at Tropical Traditions!

Guess what I just found?!  A free shipping weekend at Tropical Traditions, plus a BOGO coconut oil offer to go with it!!

Through Monday, December 15 – Tropical Tradition’s Pure Coconut Oil (odorless, flavorless) is just $12.50 for 2 pints.  You’ll love this oil!  And you’ll love Tropical Tradition’s service.  Without a doubt, we all love free shipping.  Take advantage of this fun deal!

This is a great stock-up price, plus these jars are small enough to give as stocking stuffers.  I would LOVE to receive a jar of coconut oil in my stocking!!!

tropical traditions pure coconut oil

Use the code 141512 at check-out for free shipping to apply.  Minimum order of $12.99 applies, so you’ll want to grab a little something else to the oil in your cart.  My favorite is their Natural Soap.  It’s the only kind we use at our house.

New customers who shop through the links in this post also receive a free copy of Tropical Tradition’s Virgin Coconut Oil Book - a sweet bonus!

Go grab your Coconut Oil!  Oh how I love Tropical Traditions…

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Quick and Easy Christmas Candy Bar Gifts ~ Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5

In just a few minutes, a simple Hershey bar can become a penguin or a snowman – thank you Pinterest!   Look how adorable these are:

Christmas Candy Bar Gifts

I found the free printables for these candy bar wrappers here.  You’ll find other wrappers there beyond snowmen and penguins – those two were just my favorites. :)  We’re giving these bars as small “thank you” gifts for youth workers at church.

See, I really can do craft projects when they are as easy as this.  :)

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Homemade Instant Oatmeal in a Jar With Printable Gift Tags ~ A Great Gift For Less Than $5

oatmeal gift

What’s more exciting than receiving a sock full of dry rice for Christmas?  Getting a jar full of oatmeal, of course.

I wish you could have seen my 12 year old’s face when I told him we were going to make Instant Oatmeal as gifts for our church ministry staff.  After all, in a land full of chocolate, candy canes, and marshmallow snowmen – why in the world would we want to give someone instant oatmeal?  I reminded my son that our minister has had heart surgery and would likely not appreciate a gift of sugar covered corn syrup.  I told him that our office administrator loves to eat healthy food, and that the others on staff would surely appreciate a convenient, warm breakfast.

I also reminded him how delicious this Instant Oatmeal is and assured him that it would look adorable in the jars I’d gotten on clearance after Christmas last year.  I lost him after the word adorable.  Ahhhh, boys.  It’s okay though.  He still helped me, and even if he doesn’t get why oatmeal in a jar is a great gift idea, I hold to the belief that our office staff will be thrilled.  It comes in a jar, after all.  What’s not to love?

Homemade Instant Oatmeal in a Jar Gift Idea

If you haven’t made this Instant Oatmeal for your own family yet, I highly recommend that you get right on it.  You’ll especially find it helpful this holiday season as you may be just a little bit busy with extra jobs like stuffing rice into socks, pounding nails into boards, and frosting homemade mint oreo cookies.  Not only is this a very convenient and quick breakfast, it’ll warm you right up.

Find our Instant Oatmeal Recipe here.

Skip the individual bags and instead fill up gift jars with Instant Oatmeal Mix.  Download and print these fun gift tags, then attach them to the jar so your recipient will know how to make their oatmeal.

Instant Oatmeal Recipe and Free Printable Gift Tags

Download Our Free Printable Instant Oatmeal Gift Tags

I may be in the running for the “Most Practical Gift Giver Award.”  Who’s with me?

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25% off Coupon for Rapunzel Organic Cocoa Powder and Corn Starch

I love Rapunzel Brand products!  25% off is rockin’ for these, so take advantage!

Here is a 25% off Rapunzel Cocoa coupon, making a 7.1 ounce container just $6.41.  This high quality, fair trade, organic cocoa powder is my favorite.  (This is an Amazon add-on item.)

rapunzel cocoa powder
Or, get a case of 6 boxes of Rapunzel Organic Cornstarch for as low as $1.91 per box with 25% off coupon plus 15% off subscribe and save.

rapunzel corn starchLearn more about how Amazon Subscribe and Save works here.

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Make a Message Board ~ Homemade Gifts For Less Than $5

Here’s another great idea sent in by Vickie.  Be sure to check out her beautiful Pinecone Décor craft, too!

I love this Message Board idea for so many reasons.  With my kids being so involved in so many activities, having a board like this to keep track of all the comings and goings (and backings and forthings) would be a great help!  Look how adorable and useful…

Make a Message Board

Here are Vickie’s instructions:

This was made using an old picture frame and cost me about $3.

  • picture frame (salvaged old frame with glass still intact and in good condition)
  • craft paper (on sale for 25 cents each)
  • knobs (found in my drawer of junk, but can be bought at any salvage shop for cheap)
  • dry-erase marker ($2)
  • glue stick or double sided tape and crazy glue or hot glue
  • fine sandpaper
  • optional – fun findings
  • optional – paint (left-over paint was used for base and then sealed with clear spray paint)

Carefully remove the glass from the frame and set aside.  If you want to paint the frame, scrub it clean and sand lightly.  Apply paint and let dry.  If desired, scuff it with fine sandpaper and then seal with clear spray paint.   Cut craft paper to fit frames backing, making any desired pattern.  Make sure to use one large piece of white or cream paper in the center.  Adhere paper to frame back using glue stick or double sided tape.  Reassemble the frame with it’s back.  Optional, decorate with fun findings.  Attach knobs with crazy glue or hot glue and let dry.  The marker will rest on the knobs.

The glass must be in good condition without scratches or chips.  Good smooth glass will allow you to use this as a message board, erasing and re-writing for years.  Bonus – if you decided to change your look, all you have to do is open up the frame and change the paper that is inside.

Check out all of our Homemade Gifts for Less Than $5 posts. :)

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