Mini Maker Faire – Free Event


Who doesn’t like free entertainment, right? It’s always nice to have a good time without forking over extra dough for pricey tickets, and it’s even better if the entertainment is educational and fun!

This weekend ( November 6-8, 2015) Barnes and Noble stores across the nation are hosting a Mini Maker Faire. It’s sounds like a ton of creative thinkers, makers, techies and inventors teaching workshops, demonstrating ideas and products, and a workspace for attendees to craft their own contraptions. When my mom sent me a text about it, my boys got super excited and we can’t wait to go see what all they can get into. My sons are very much “into” making things, especially one of them who aspires to be an inventor or scientist when he grows up. I wanted to share it with you all because it sounds like a great experience.

You can read more about the Mini Maker Faire at Barnes and Noble on their website and see if it would interest your family as well!

Posted in Free Kids and Family Activities, Totally Free | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

New Soap in the shop!

Lavender soap made using essential oils

Lavender Fields Handmade Soap

I finally got around to making some new batches of soap. I have been meaning to try out a couple new recipes and methods, and we literally ran out of soap, so I ended up making time to pour a batch. Then I got inspired and one batch turned into 4 and the next thing I knew , the kitchen counters were all covered in rows of curing soap bars. My poor husband kindly suggested that next time I try to cut the loaves in the basement so that we are able to use our kitchen counters for mundane things like cooking and chopping vegetables. Duly noted, dear!

White Lavender Essential Oil soap

White Lavender Handmade Soap

The lavender is my personal favorite and my go-to for having around the house for family use. I made two versions using lavender essential oil, one with a purple base layer and one that is all white. They both smell SO good!

Handmade soap using oatmeal, real honey, and calendula

Oatmeal Honey and Calendula Soap

The oatmeal and honey was a fun one to make and it smells like toast and honey.

Free from dyes and perfumes, and even free from essential oil fragrances

Unscented white soap

The plain white lye soap is a good one for my Etsy Shop because there are so many people that have allergies to fragrance or just prefer not to have a scented soap.

I really enjoy soap-making. I think that is because no two batches ever need to be exactly the same. I can change a few ingredients, try different methods or recipes, swirling methods, mix up scents, and still come back to my favorites if I want to. It’s the perfect hobby for someone with a short attention span and who loves the art of the process, plus I feel so much better knowing that we aren’t washing ourselves with chemical laden products from the store shelves. Win-win!

Do you make your own soap? I would love to see it if you do!

Posted in Etsy, Freedom Valley Soap Company, Green Cleaning, Natural Skin Care, Organic and Natural Living, Practical Living, Soap Making | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First calf of the year


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spring has arrived!

image  Spring time has finally arrived after a few nights of below-freezing temperatures. I am greatly enjoying soaking in the warm sun while we realize the blessing of a brand new season of new life springing up all around us. The birds are singing every morning and building their nests, the calves are growing and new ones soon will arrive, and the woods is waking from winter slumber. It’s a beautiful time to live on a farm! We are welcoming the hard work that comes with the change of seasons because it means the chance to work outdoors in the fresh county air and the  hope of fresh fruits and veggies in the fall. We are absolutely loving it! I hope you are enjoying your spring as well.

Posted in Homesteading, My Ramblings, Organic and Natural Living, The Country House, The Farm, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Uses for Thieves Essential Oil – Nontoxic Cleaning


imageI 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.

Posted in Eco Friendly Products, Essential oils, Green Cleaning, Organic and Natural Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Favorites

My Friday Favorites:

Einkorn pasta, creamy pasta ancient grain

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. :)

Seals in La Jolla California

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?


Posted in Food and Dining, Friday Favorites, Recipes, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do Natural Easter Egg Dyes Really Work?

imagePhotos 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.

imageOur 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.


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.






Posted in Crafts and Handmade, Holiday Decor and Treats, Holiday How-to's, Organic and Natural Living, Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easy April Fool’s 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 imagethe window at the purple pony , elephant or something else odd. We fell for it every.single.time. :)


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!

Posted in Holiday How-to's, Tutorials | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Introducing Disney Deals and Discounts

photo (1)

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 


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. :-) 



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!

Posted in Disney Discounts and Deals, Disney World, Disney World Tips and Tricks, Vacation Deals | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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)

3D Easter Hunt – for Android 2.4 and newer


Hidden Egg Hunt– works on Android 2.2 and newer

Easter Puzzle – also works on Android 2.2 and up

3D Easter Treasure Hunt – 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!

Posted in Amazon Deals, Free Kids and Family Activities, Great Deals, Totally Free | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment