Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Citrus Lane Review & Discount- September 2014

When our Citrus Lane box came last month, I completely goofed and forgot to photograph everything as I opened it. Of course, the kids had taken it all and played with it by the time I thought of it....so no August review for you. Sorry guys. 

This time, I was a good blogger and had the camera ready as soon as we broke the seal on the box. So without further ado, I give you September's Citrus Lane box review. This month, I ordered a box for a  16 month old boy (my Ezra). 

Boon Fleet Stacking Bath Toys- Price on Amazon 9.99

These are my favorite things in this month's box so I listed them first. I would have probably never bought a Boon product if it weren't for Citrus Lane but once I tried them for the first time, I was hooked. Boon makes lots of cool stuff, but are most known for bath toys. They are super high quality plastic. The only rubber duckies we have any more are Boon because they are the only ones that don't get moldy and gross. I was excited to see this product because I was just recently thinking we could use some new bath toys. These are nice heavy plastic, have holes in top to let water run through and of course, float. I really like this product. 

Happy Baby Pouch- Spinach, Mango & Pear flavor- Retail around. 2.50- Ez had just got up from his nap when our box came and he swiped the Happy Baby Pouch as soon as the box was open. I buy these anyway so they aren't super exciting to see. I mean, its nice to have one but it's a pretty cheap item so receiving one in my box doesn't save money or introduce something new.  I do like the coupons that come with it though, and Ezra is always happy to see it in there. 

I promise, he's happy. He doesn't wake up well. 

Samply sized bottle of Meyer's Clean Day Dish Soap- Retail $1 plus $1 off coupon
I was glad to get this. I usually use 7th Generation Dish Soap and it's average. I have bought Meyers cleaning products before and always liked them so I will give this a try and probably buy a full sized bottle with the coupon. 

Tea Collection Bodysuit- Retail $26.00-
They actually sent me an email this month giving me the option to customize my box and asking what size clothing article we would like (since that's pretty varying by child, I appreciate that feature). I actually went ahead and put in 6-12 months which is way too small for Ezra but I thought I'd save it for the new baby. I did this on the off chance it might be a bodysuit because I don't really care for bodysuits on older babies. I'm glad I did because that's exactly what it was. 

Now, I'll be honest. I am a cheapskate. I like a bargain and I very rarely buy expensive clothes for my kids. I would probably never pay 26 dollars for one shirt like this BUT I will say, this is a very, very high quality article of clothing. It's super thick, very soft cotton. I'm glad to have it. 

There was also a coupon for $25 dollars off a $50 purchase at www.teacollection.com.
And because I really am a cheapskate, I'll never use that coupon because I won't even spent 25 dollars. If this is something you can use, shoot me a message using that contact form in the sidebar. I'd be happy to share this with the first person that contacts me (and I'll remove this when the code is gone). 

Citrus Lane has this really cool feature called "Add to Box". Basically, each month they have select items that you can add to your box and you don't pay any additional tax or shipping. Also, they are really awesome about sending out coupon codes for 5 or 10 dollars off your purchase when you are on their mailing list. 
I kind of use this to my advantage and stack these two things. Any time I get a coupon code, I go apply it to an Add to Box Item. So this month, when I got a coupon code for 10 dollars off any purchase, I applied it to these Boon Trap Bath Appliques (8 dollars on Amazon) and I paid .56 for them. Yes. That's cents. And of course, no shipping or tax because it was an Add to Box item. 

Then...a week or so later, they sent out another coupon code for 5 dollars off any purchase.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to add more than one item a month but decided to give it a try. I was able to add this very nice Bumkins bib and only pay 1 dollar for it. 

Last month I got a great little Skip Hop backpack for only 10 dollars with this coupon code/add to box trick. I realize this tip doesn't really help those of you deciding whether you should subscribe because it isn't a definite thing...however, I do think it's nice to know there is a potential for good deals! 

If you want to sign up for Citrus Lane and would like 50% off your first box, please consider using my referral link here! It helps both of us! You get half off your first box and I get a referral credit which helps me keep doing these reviews! If you'd just like to try the discounted box, you are able to choose the monthly subscription option and cancel at anytime. However, they have a GREAT referral program, so if you sign up and share your own referral link on social media, you have the potential to get your future boxes discounted or even free! I love this program!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Accidental Homeschooler

I've received a few emails lately asking where I've been. First, I'd like that to say, thanks for asking. It tickles me still that anyone would want to come read these ramblings of mine.

Second, I'd like to tell you a story.

In April, after the Tornado, I started to feel an overwhelming desire to homeschool my boys. I kind of chalked it up as a natural response to the loss of their best friends. I felt a similar desire to keep them near after the Sandy Hook tragedy. This was different though. It wouldn't go away.

I talked to their dad. I talked to Jeremiah. I talked to my friends that homeschool. And I talked myself right out of it.

I wasn't ready. They needed school. I couldn't do it. I'm too busy. Too unorganized. Too impatient.

But the feeling.....it just didn't go away.

Sometime in July, I messaged my friend Debbie. I asked her to pray about me homeschooling my kids. She did, and she responded to me, "I feel like God is saying He is going to make a way..."
I chalked this up to "at some point in the future" and went on with our public school plans.
We bought the supply list. Gammy came and got the boys new tennis shoes and backpacks and lunch boxes. We were prepared. Excited even.

Two days before school started, I was running errands and getting ready for class orientation that night when I received a phone call. It was the transportation department head for Vilonia Public School district returning my call from almost a week before.  I had agreed to let the kids ride the school bus home in the afternoons. They'd never ridden the bus before and were really excited about it. But when the lady called me back to answer my questions about the bus route and heard my address, she paused.

"That's not in our district," she said.

Of course, I assumed, there was a mistake. They registered us. I'd called before we even moved. I was told Vilonia Elementary so as soon as summer registration opened, I took their information and our proof of address up to the school. They were in classes. We bought the supply list! We bought Ninja Turtle lunch boxes! What did she mean....not in the district?

We weren't in the district. The assistant super intendant called me from her personal line and apologized. They'd made a mistake. And I'd missed the deadline to file for an exception. Even though we live only 6 miles from Vilonia Elementary, we are in a rare pocket of country addresses zoned for Mayflower schools. A 30 minute drive one way on country roads.

I felt sick. How could I drive my kids that far and back twice a day every day? I'd be in the car two hours a day. And the bus picked up at our house at 6:40 in the morning! I barely slept. I kept praying, asking God what to do.
And I kept hearing the same thing.


I argued. Yes, with God.
It's kind of something I've been known to do now and again.

I told Him all the reasons why I couldn't. But I kept hearing the same thing.


I got mad. Frustrated. Why had I called about the darn bus? Why didn't I just pick them up like I always had? Then no one would have known! Why did that lady have to call me back. Just a few more days and they would have started. But I kept coming back to it.


By morning, I was frustrated and tired. I woke up, went to my computer and typed in "Homeschool in Arkansas". That day, Friday, was the deadline to turn in the Intent to Homeschool form for the 2014-2015 school year. Of course it was.

I called my friend and we prayed. And then I called the boys' dad and I asked him to trust me because I felt like this was what God wanted. He gave his blessing.

And without a plan, without even giving myself time to change my mind, I turned in the form.

It's been about a month since then and as is usually is when God is leading you to something, I've found that we were made for this life.  Homeschool is more fun, more rewarding, more totally worth it than I could have ever imagined.

My kids are so....smart!  I've always known that. They get good grades. They test well. Their teachers have always loved them. But I was prepared for just how smart they are. They are so curious, just soaking in everything I put in front of them. They want to dig deeper. They catch on so fast. They already know so much.

Just in the last month, I've watched their imaginations take off in a way they never have. They are reading for fun. For fun! My kids! They are inquisitive. It feels like the possibilities are endless on what we can learn together.

I am so thankful. I am thankful at the support I have and the opportunities. And I'm thankful that when I tell God no, sometimes He just says yes and that is that.

Because if He listened to me, I wouldn't be a homeschooler. And although I joke that I came across this option on accident, it wasn't. Nothing really is. I was made for this, and He knows that. Because He made me.