Uses for Thieves Essential Oil – Nontoxic Cleaning

 

image8 212x1024 Uses for Thieves Essential Oil   Nontoxic CleaningI was browsing the Young Living Essential oils website this morning and found this handy infographic that lists several easy recipes for non- toxic cleaning. I saved it for personal use, even though I have been using Thieves for the last couple of years. I thought you might appreciate it ,too.

If you haven’t tried Thieves, you can purchase it through my link or find a local distributor. More information is available also with  no purchase needed.

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Friday Favorites

My Friday Favorites:

image5 225x300 Friday Favorites

First, I found this Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta recipe that looked so delicious. I adapted it to fit my family’s dietary preferences ( subbed the pasta for einkorn pasta which has very little gluten and digests differently, used peas instead of asparagus) and it was SO good. This stuff tastes like Olive Garden Alfredo and it was a fraction of the cost and much healthier with the switched out pasta. Also, this tastes much better than it looks. icon smile Friday Favorites

image6 300x199 Friday Favorites

These adorable seals (sea lions?) were all over the beach in La Jolla , California. I spent the better part of a couple hours watching and photographing these wild seals in their natural habitat. It was such a privilege . I also loved the sunny days while on vacation there.

What are your favorites this Friday?

 

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Do Natural Easter Egg Dyes Really Work?

image2 163x300 Do Natural Easter Egg Dyes Really Work?Photos of naturally colored Easter eggs are all over Pinterest this year. If you are like me , the photos look too good to be true and it sounds like a lot of work to dye a few eggs. The idea is to avoid artificial colorants and chemicals and create beautiful natural colors on Easter eggs.  Since I can’t turn down a creative challenge, I decided to give it a shot and see how  the eggs would turn out. I figured at the very least I could let my readers know if it worked or warn them away if it didn’t.

The kids and I gathered , washed and boiled a few dozen eggs and I searched my kitchen for the items that are Pinterest approved to color eggs. We decided to use cranberries for red, blueberries for blue, purple potatoes for violet, spinach for green and turmeric for yellow . I boiled and then simmered all of the food items with water until the water turned a dark hue and then drained out the food bits, poured the liquid into mugs and added a little vinegar for sticking power. The only exception to this method was the turmeric which I just poured into hot water and stirred really well.

image4 225x300 Do Natural Easter Egg Dyes Really Work?Our results were less stellar than we had hoped, but we did have fun and we learned a few things.

First of all, you will not get a brightly colored egg with these items, even if you leave it in the coloring for 40 minutes. Second, it doesn’t work well on brown eggs. The light colors showed up best on the white eggs.

The best results came from the turmeric powder by producing a beautiful yellow or a deep orange depending on soaking time ( a minute as compared to 5 minutes). The cranberries yielded a light pink, and the  blueberries left a pastel blue that got darker the longer the egg sat in the liquid. You can see the colors in the photos to get an idea of how it worked.

image3 225x300 Do Natural Easter Egg Dyes Really Work?

A few things were complete failures – spinach did nothing but add a little brown tinge, and the purple potatoes just looked a dirty gray. Chilli powder did nothing either. We traded the potatoes for grape juice and managed to get a nice purple toned  egg. We used liquid chlorophyll and got a speckled green egg from that.

Over all, the experiment was fun and I liked the softer colors, but it left the kids a little disappointed with the results as compared to the traditional food coloring eggs. If you want to try it just to see what happens, go for it, but don’t expect it to be quite the same. This process does have a certain appeal to those who prefer to avoid artificial ingredients around their kids and the colors are pretty after some tweaking.

I have to say that I disagree with the idea that it saves any money. The amount of foodstuff and herbs used costs more than buying a few chemical free egg dyes. I may try again sometime with some red beets or raspberries and I have read that red cabbage makes a nice aqua .

If you have had better success or tried this, I would love to hear how it went and would welcome input on how to improve my method.

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy April Fool’s Day Food Idea

image 300x213 Easy April Fools Day Food Idea

April Fool’s Day has always been fun for me , ever since I was little and my dad would tell us every year to look out image1 300x225 Easy April Fools Day Food Ideathe window at the purple pony , elephant or something else odd. We fell for it every.single.time. icon smile Easy April Fools Day Food Idea

 

My oldest son asked me to make some “fake food ” for his class today. We have a tradition of having a slightly crazy dinner on April Fool’s Day. I , it have made meatball and mashed potato cupcakes and other silly things , but somehow the one they request most is this “grilled cheese” sandwich. Of course , it isn’t really grilled cheese ( and is not at all the kind of food I typically feed my kids) but it is a lot of fun for them.

Its extremely easy to make . Slice up a loaf of pound cake or angel food , pop it in the toaster just long enough to brown it lightly, and make the filling from yellow frosting. Easy, peasy fun!

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Introducing Disney Deals and Discounts

photo 11 258x300 Introducing Disney Deals and Discounts

Our family loves Disney , and if you have been around us for very long, you are grinning right now and saying “yes, that is more than a little obvious!” .  We have built many treasured memories with our children around time spent at Disney World, family movie nights with Disney classics, and the kids’ lovies in the form of Eeyore, Piglet, Pooh, and currently Duffy the Disney bear. I know there are many families who would love to share more Disney joy with their children, but the cost prevents them from doing so. I have recently gotten to “know” a few bloggers who have never been to Disney and are so excited about their first trip there for a conference (Disney Social Media Moms conference). I have learned that many of these moms have never been to Disney World because they simply don’t have the funds, and I am sure there are many more moms and dads who feel the same way. This made me sad because there are so many ways to save money on Disney vacations and to go have a great time without destroying your family budget.   As an answer to that problem, I am creating  a new monthly feature on Naturally Thrifty… introducing “ Disney Deals and Discounts” ! I will gather the best discounts,sales, deals and planning resources each month, type them up, and share them with you here. It is my hope that I can help families be able to plan the vacation they have been dreaming of on a budget that won’t be stressful. I am passionate about families being able to spend quality time together and this is one way that I hope to help that to happen!


 

Without further ado, here are the Disney Discounts and Deals for April, 2015 :

Disney’s Aulani Resort – save up to 30% 

It is rare to find a significant discount on Disney’s Hawaiian resort, Aulani. So , I will start this month’s discount list with a special offer from Aulani. Save up to 30% on stays at this luxury resort. This discount rate depends on the number of nights booked. The longer you stay, the greater the discount.

  • Save 10% on 3 consecutive nights
  • Save 20% on 4 consecutive nights
  • Save 30% on 5 or more consecutive nights

 

  • This offer is valid for stays most nights April 6, 2015 through June 15, 2015. Book now through April 30, 2015. You can read more about this offer HERE. Aulani is still out of our price range, even with this discount, but maybe someday!

    Disney World in Orlando, FL – save up to 30% on room rates for summer 

“You can save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels. Offer valid for stays most nights June 16 through August 27, 2015.

These discounts are dependent on the type of Disney Resort hotel you choose. A Value Resort saves you 20%, a Moderate Resort saves 25%, and a Deluxe Resort or Villa gets a 30% discount. This is a really nice offer for room only or ticket and room packages at Disney World.  A personal note on this deal: If you have a family of more than 4 members, it can get pricey for the larger rooms , so you may want to try the Art of Animation Resort. This is a value level resort, but the accomodations rival that of the higher level resorts and the space can’t be beat! The discount is less, but so is the price and you will likely still come out ahead on savings. 

Book through June 12, 2015. More info and availability is HERE.

 


 

Disney Store Summer Fun Collection – 25% off 

mickeycup 150x150 Introducing Disney Deals and Discounts

If you are interested in Disney Store merchandise, the Summer Fun Collection is discounted by 25% currently. It isn’t a huge sale, but if you were thinking of buying Disney products from plastic cups to t-shirts, this may be a good offer for you. View the sale HERE.

 

 



Disney Store Toy Sale- Spring Spectacular Toy Sale – Buy 1, Get 1 Half off

The Disney Store also has their Spring Spectacular Toy Sale in the works right now. You can buy 1 toy and get the second for half price. To grab this deal, use promo code BOGO50 at checkout. There are lots of things to browse from Disney Infinity 2.o characters to stuffed pals, to Minnie Mouse cooking sets. View the toy selection HERE.  Side note: If you are trying to save money for a trip to Disney World, just don’t even click the links for the store sales. Their merchandise is super cute and it will tempt you to spend before you are ready. Trust me, I know. icon smile Introducing Disney Deals and Discounts 

 


 

I hope you find this helpful, and I look forward to sharing Disney Discounts and Deals with you next month!Are you planning a Disney trip? Have questions? I would love to hear from you!

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Free Easter Apps for Kids

easterapp Free Easter Apps for Kids

I am so excited for spring time! It seems like winter has been so dreary and the fresh spring air is just so appreciated this year. Next weekend is Easter! If you are looking for a fun and FREE entertainment idea for your kids in the grocery checkout line or during a car ride, here are some free Easter apps for kids!  There are a couple virtual Easter egg hunts , a puzzle game, and one that I think would go over really well if you have a child who adores Minecraft like mine do.

(previews of the games are available before you download any of them)
 Free Easter Apps for Kids Free Easter Apps for Kids
3D Easter Hunt Free Easter Apps for Kids – for Android 2.4 and newer

 

 Free Easter Apps for Kids Free Easter Apps for Kids
Hidden Egg Hunt Free Easter Apps for Kids- works on Android 2.2 and newer
 Free Easter Apps for Kids Free Easter Apps for Kids
Easter Puzzle Free Easter Apps for Kids – also works on Android 2.2 and up
 Free Easter Apps for Kids Free Easter Apps for Kids
3D Easter Treasure Hunt Free Easter Apps for Kids – this is also an Android app. It looks so much like Minecraft that I know my boys would love it. Too bad I switched to iphone! Most of the free apps are for Android, it seems. I’m sure there are some for iPhone too, so I will just have to find them!

Enjoy and feel free to share!

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As promised, here is a short list of the best last-minute spring break deals available for 2015.  If you are looking for the spring break “classics” like a road trip to the beach, a family vacation in Orlando, FL or a cruise to an exotic locale, there are a few discounts for last minute bookings. Often the best prices are obtained at the last minute , but you are more limited in options and availability. So, I scoured social media and my travel company emails, and found a few fun offers for you .

For starters, here is where to look to find the best deal on Beaches:

For the very best last minute pricing on a beach-front booking, I highly suggest searching for your location on Homeaway or VRBO . There are many high quality condos for rent by owner and they are often willing to come down in price within a few weeks of travel if their unit has not been rented. One note here is to be sure and check how much the cleaning fees are, because they can run up to $100 for a week long rental and need to be included in the cost. Many owners also require a minimum stay of 3 nights to a week. This is my favorite option for finding a high quality lodging for a discounted price. We have often found ourselves staying in a luxury condo with 5 star amenities for a discount of up to 50% just for asking.

Use your travel company websites and search for what you want! Many beach resorts that have vacancies are listed on places like Orbitz,  or even Groupon. Just visit the site and look for a section titled ” last minute deals” to see what they are offering. This changes often , but tonight there are offers  galore. One option for a beach vacation can be found at Orbitz where they are having a sale on beach vacations. They have a promo for up to 35% off beach resorts! and you can also use coupon code TAKEABREAK at checkout for stays two nights and longer booked through Orbitz. You must book by March 29 but have until September 30, 2015 to travel.

To check for the perfect vacation at Groupon, just click on “getaways” at the top of the page. Then select “beaches ” in the left hand sidebar. That will give you a lot of wonderful trips for less that half of what they are worth.

I hope this is helpful to someone and that you will stop by tomorrow to read about last minute deals available in Orlando!

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Build a #DisneySide stick family (For Free)

image9 Build a #DisneySide stick family (For Free)

We have all seen the stick family decals on vehicles, but these just may be the cutest stick families I have laid eyes on. In my Disney Insider newsletter I found this cute little stick family builder and the boys and I tried it out. I love what we came up with! The kids each chose their hats,shirts, and accessories and they are spot-on to what we each actually carry around when at the parks. To get the best accessories you do need to enter your mailing information . The best part was the surprise at the end when you have finished your family and they offer the option to have a free copy in sticker form mailed to in you. Of course, we said “yes,please!” . I don’t know if you are quite as Disney crazy as we are, but this is super cute and was fun for the kids (plus, free is always good,right?) and I wanted to share it with your families,too. Have fun building and I would love to see what you come up with. Have fun!

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Freebies for St Patrick’s Day 2015

Top o’ the mornin’ to you! ( said in my best Irish brogue).

Happy St. Patty’s Day to everyone! I love this holiday for all of the fun traditions, but also because it means it’s finally, FINALLY time for some warmer weather. I  dressed my boys in green to avoid being pinched by certain children at school( although one kid has said he is going to pinch everyone regardless of what they wear- the same kid who pinched my 8 year old so hard he bled and it got infected last year- but anyways, that’s off topic). Tonight we will have a green themes dinner complete with cupcakes decorated with these toppers (free printable).  

I browsed around the inter webs to find more freebies or make the day fun for my family without spending too much green (get it “green”? Ya, I’m nerdy. Sorry.) on it. Here’s what I came up with.

 

Free St Patricks Day apps (a variety of cute games) :
 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015This one is for Android and has 3 games in 1 app.

 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015 Leprechaun Lineup game .

image4 150x150 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015

 

 

 St. Patricks Day coloring pages from Crayola. 

There are lots of cute printable themed pages for your little ones to decorate and scribble on.

image6 150x150 Freebies for St Patricks Day 2015Fun ideas for crafts and free printables from Disney Family

Free educational activities from Enchanted Learning. These include many printables from word searches,crafts and math pages to little books and would be great for homeschooling elementary kiddos.

I hope you find these freebies helpful . If you have any free stuff for kids or families that you think we would like, feel free to drop your link in the comment box to share. Have a bright and sunny St. Patty’s Day!

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{ Free E-book } Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes

 { Free E book } Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes                                   Free Ebook! Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes { Free E book } Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes

I know alot of my readers are of a Paleo type diet inclination. Several are Gluten-Free , and I imagine most of us enjoy throwing a meal in the crock-pot on a weekday. So, I want to share this free Kindle Ebook: Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes { Free E book } Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes
It’s full of great ideas for fix-it-and-forget it dinners that are family friendly, easy and look really delicious. It’s definitely worth taking a look at since it’s free. Let me know if you try any of the recipes !

*Note* for anyone who doesn’t have a Kindle (I don’t myself) you can read the free Kindle books with the Kindle app (which I have). Don’t go buy a Kindle for a free book. icon wink { Free E book } Paleo Gluten Free Slow Cooker Recipes

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