Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scholastic Reading Club Sales

Elliott has been saving his money carefully over the last few weeks.  He had been saving most of his money for a 3DS, but when he saw all the Scholastic book sales this month and last month he decided to wait a while on the 3DS.  He had a really long list of books that he wanted, so he saved every penny he could, and even did a few extra chores to make extra money.

Since we have a homeschool account (it's really easy to sign up for one if you are a homeschooler!), we get the same bonus points and teacher opportunities that any other teachers get.  That means we get a lot of free books with our regular orders.  The back to school sales have historically always been some of the best of the year, and this year is no different.  The bonus points go really high if you end up with a fairly large order.  Plus there are coupons for free books for the class, and a free 10 pack of books for the classroom library.

I told Elliott that he could use all the bonus points he earned on his own order on whatever books he wants, and I wouldn't give him a hard time, even if I think the books he picks out are overpriced.  Haha.    He was pretty excited about that, because apparently I tend to tell him he could use his money better elsewhere. ;)

If your kids go to public or private school and get Scholastic book orders right now is a fantastic time to order books.  The teachers will get more bonus points than at any other time of year, and they can use them to build their classroom library or get other nice things for their classroom.  Plus there are more $1 and $2 books in the back to school flyers, and more great deals on larger packs.

We just placed our first order of the school year (most of the stuff was Elliott's, but we actually did have a friend who ordered stuff for her kids this time, too, plus I ordered a few things for gifts and for the giveaway I hosted recently).  We ended up spending about $2 on each book on average.  We also ended up with a lot of great freebies, like free book coupons, posters and stickers, along with enough bonus points to get over $300 worth of books free on future orders!

We love Scholastic book orders because they have such a great variety of books, and most the time have reasonable prices.  We literally have hundreds and hundreds of books that we have bought from Scholastic over the years, and many of them are among Elliott's favorites.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

$60 Fila Shoes For Just $8

Elliott needed new shoes again this weekend.  Usually we try to buy them ahead of time, but this time he moved so quickly from one size to the other that I hadn't had any time to look for the next size up yet!  Luckily, I received a $10 Kohls coupon in the mail last week, so that was our first stop in our quest to find shoes on Saturday.

We headed straight for the shoe department, and Elliott immediately found these shoes.  As luck would have it, they were even in his size, and on clearance.  They were $60 shoes, marked down to $23.99.  Clearance shoes were an additional 25% off, making these $17.99.  With my $10 coupon, I only ended up spending $8.53 with tax. 

Elliott was definitely excited to find some shoes that he thought were cool, and I thought were super affordable.  I had told him on the way in that if we spent very much money on shoes that would be directly coming out of our souvenir money for Disney World, since we are currently saving all our extra money for that.  I was happy to find shoes, too.  We showed up with him in snow boots because they were the only shoes he had that he said didn't pinch his toes.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Winner Announcement

My first giveaway here ended last night.   The two winners of the giveaway were Kristy of Hopeful Threads and Kim of Home Is Where the Heart Is Academy.  I really hope both families enjoy their books as much as Elliott enjoyed offering them!

We're already coming up with ideas for our next giveaway!  Thanks to everyone for entering and sharing about our giveaway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eating Dye Free

We've been eating completely dye free since February 2014 now.  When I say we, I guess I really mean just me, since my husband and son have both slipped up occasionally since then.  When Elliott does, it's pretty obvious fairly quickly because it really changes his behavior, and definitely not in a good way.  My husband doesn't notice much of a difference, but is pretty good about sticking with dye free, because he knows that dye is bad news, plus it causes a pretty uncomfortable reaction for me.

I started having bad headaches nearly every day in late January.  Then by the end of the first week of February I was breaking out in hives on a fairly regular basis as well.  After keeping close track of everything I was eating and drinking, we decided to try eliminating all artificial dyes that say color number __.  The hives completely cleared up and I didn't have a headache for several days.  Just to make sure that the dye really was the issue, I tried eating something with red number 40 again, and immediately had a terrible headache and hives all over.  I haven't had red 40, blue 1, yellow 5 or yellow 6 since, except once in a cross contamination issue.  So after that, we got rid of every single thing at our house that had any of those colors and haven't looked back since!

Within about a week of going dye free, Elliott's teacher asked him what had changed since he was being SOO good.  Within 2 weeks, other teachers were even commenting!  I think in the last 3 months of the school year, Elliott had 4 or 5 yellow days combined.  While he was still eating dye, he would average 2 a week.

At first we had  a little trouble eating dye free.  As time has gone on, we've discovered that we don't really miss too many foods that have artificial dye after all, though.  It just took us a while to check automatically for food dyes.  We miss M&Ms, Mountain Dew, Kraft macaroni and cheese, and Doritos.  Since those are all obviously junk food, it's better for us not to eat them anyway.  Haha. 

The removal of food dyes actually fairly closely coincided with our switch to more organic foods, too, though, so that made it easier to make the change.  Organic food can't have artificial dyes anyway, so that made it easier.  We knew we didn't have to switch away from anything organic, and were able to replace some of our old standbys with organic choices anyway.  Like macaroni and cheese, we actually like Annie's better than Kraft now anyway! :) 

Going dye free and eating healthier options has been so good for us in so many ways.  I don't think we would go back now, even if I didn't have strong reactions.   I only wish we would have tried it sooner!

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