Category Archives: Frugal Living

Florida Beach Vacation Within A Budget

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Carrying around heavy beach equipment such as beach chairs, umbrella, and cooler while dealing with whiny, tired kids in wet bathing suits on an hour or more car ride home has never been my idea of relaxing family entertainment. I prefer to choose a Florida beach vacation within a budget with an overnight stay in an affordable hotel and enjoy making a full weekend of it! You would probably agree that getting spoiled enjoying a walk-on style beach hotel, refreshing pool, maybe an air-conditioned arcade, restaurant dining for meals, and other amenities such as mini-golf, shuffle board, playgrounds, and more would be much more relaxing and suitable for positive family memories that the scenario I mentioned earlier.

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Family Friendly Florida Beach Vacation

Where does one go to enjoy a family friendly Florida beach vacation that doesn’t break the bank? One of these affordable hotel gems we recently learned about from my brother and his wife while they were visiting in Florida and stayed in St. Pete’s Beach at the Dolphin Beach Resort. Their hotel room was attractively decorated, pleasantly air-conditioned, and the back sliding door to the room opened right up onto the beach on the Gulf side of Florida.  They had two teenage children with them and my mother also came along. The family as a whole greatly appreciated the first floor accommodations and easy access to the beach and Gulf anytime they wished. Overall my brother and his wife shared they had a marvelous experience and were delighted it was convenient short drive to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL as well both on their way to and from staying at the Dolphin Beach Resort.

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Great For Special Occasions

It was both timely and helpful to have their input as my husband and I were approaching our 24th Wedding Anniversary and were hoping to find something special within our limited budget that would still have the allure of the beach nearby and a relaxing pool to cool off in when we didn’t want to go in the ocean. Both the reasonable price and convenient beach access seemed perfect for a weekend getaway with or without the kids. Knowing our summer is drawing to a close soon, we decided bringing the kids along was probably the best bet even if it ends up having to wait until September for hubby’s birthday. A weekend stay at the Dolphin Hotel is something to consider for your next special occasion!

I’m hoping to bring you some new updates and breath-taking pictures very soon after we enjoy our romantic and family oriented mini stay at the Dolphin Beach Resort in St. Pete’s beach, FL. Keep living life to the fullest and check back with us often on ways to make memories with your family while on a budget.

7 Ways to Take Time Out In a Hectic Day

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Whether we work a 9-to-5, crazy 24-hour shifts, or are a stay-at-home mom, our lives can feel hectic at times. To break this up and keep our sanity, we need to take some time for ourselves occasionally, so here are seven ways to take a few minutes of time for yourself out of a hectic day.

Look Through Your Pictures

Sometimes we only have a few minutes to take for ourselves. Instead of jumping right onto social media, try taking a new photo with your family or friends or flipping through your gallery and change your wallpaper on your phone or computer. Looking through your photos can be a great reminder of what is important to you in the midst of your hectic life.

Read Motivational Quotes

You can find motivational quotes to read for just about any scenario that comes up in your life. If you have just a few seconds to spare throughout the day, you can look for, find, and even write these motivational quotes.

These can help get you through just a regular bad day or something much more traumatic. Either way, reading these can make your hectic day seem just a little bit more manageable.

 

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Exercise

It has been scientifically proven that exercise can release hormones to relieve stress. In addition to the fact that exercise is good for your body in general, especially physically and emotionally, it can also be an excellent way to blow off steam.

Take 30 minutes out of your day to exercise. If that seems too long to fit in anywhere, go for 15 minutes. It will still get the job done, and is a lot better than doing nothing.

Try waking up just 15 minutes early to go for a walk or run around the neighborhood. Stop by the gym on the way home from work before picking the kids up from daycare.

Sometimes fitting in enough time to exercise may seem challenging, especially when you have kids, but even walking around the office on your lunch break will do wonders to alleviate the stress of your hectic day.

Be Creative

Take a few minutes every morning to create something. Write in a journal for five minutes, draw a picture, or play an instrument.

Doing something creative can build a sense of pride, even if no one will ever see it, and relieve some of the anxiety from what you know will be a hectic day. This, in turn, will make the day go smoother, knowing you have already accomplished something for yourself.

Read

Take time out of your hectic day to read something. Read the newspaper or your favorite magazine. Pick up a novel or a new autobiography and dive in.

Read for a few minutes on your lunch break or a few minutes in the morning while drinking your coffee. Not only can reading take your mind to another place where the stresses of everyday life are non-existent, but the most successful people in the world are known to read several books every week.

Take a Warm Shower or Bath

What better way to relax at the end of a hectic day than to wash off all the dirt and grime in a warm shower or bath. The steam works wonders on the clarity of the mind and the warm water loosens tense muscles after a hard day’s work. Try using luxurious soaps or bath bombs to pamper yourself after getting the kids to bed.

 

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Do a puzzle or Play a Game

Most of the tips on this list are fairly solo endeavors, but if you want to unwind from a hectic day while spending time with your family, try pulling a puzzle or game out of the closet. You could order pizza so you don’t have to worry about cooking dinner and just enjoy your family’s company, while challenging each other to a board game or to see who can put together the most pieces of the puzzle first.

All of these are great ways to unwind from out hectic lives, and most of the time, just reconnecting with ourselves and our families are the best ways to do it.

Love2EncourageYou is happy to bring some of the best content on the web through collaborating with multiple talented writers sharing hints and tips on a variety of popular topics.  Enjoy!

Creative Ways to Save on Electricity That You Definitely Need to Try

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We’ve covered a lot of interesting tips and tricks on how to save on energy bills here on Love2EncourageYou. We even have our own Frugal Living section with more tips on how to save, along with tricks on finding discounts and deals. Every small saving you make today will add up to a substantial amount at the end of the month, so they are indeed worth making.

There are further ways to lower your energy bills and limit your electricity consumption. In this part, we’re going to take a look at the most creative ways to save on electricity that you definitely need to try.

Look at Alternatives

In the old days, we were usually stuck with a single service provider and a limited set of plans to choose from. Today, however, the energy market is more competitive than ever. Aside from more plans and competitive offers, there are also more players or service providers to choose from. Going for the most affordable plan will help you save more than 50% on your monthly energy bills alone.

To make it even better, there are tools that will help you get detailed plans in just a few seconds. You can, for instance, get electric rates from multiple companies based on where your property is located. Simply enter your ZIP code and hit Search; web applications such as DirectEnergyRates.net will automatically search for available plans and display the information on your screen.

It is also worth noting that actively asking for a discount could often lead to an additional discount of up to 10% being added to your current or new plan. That’s more money to save every month!

Be Mindful of How You Pay

The way you pay your electricity bills could also affect how much you’re actually paying every month. Certain banks charge a fee whenever you pay energy bills through them. Other banks or credit cards offer rewards in various forms. The latter is definitely the way to go since you will be able to save more in the long run.

Cashbacks are the most common form of rewards, usually given by select banks and credit card issuers. Direct discounts and the lack of fee – that’s a $5/month saving at minimum – are also worth pursuing.

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Start Using Smart Appliances

This last tip requires a bit of an investment, but it is an investment worth making. Home appliances are getting smarter by the day. Some of them can now connect to your home wireless network and be accessible remotely. Other gadgets can be set to automatically run certain functions and maintain high energy efficiency.

These smart appliances, including smart thermostats and the main smart system for the house, can actually lower energy consumption by 40% on average. Scheduling alone can help bring down energy consumption while maintaining the same level of comfort and convenience. Add the fact that smart appliances are becoming more affordable, and we have the perfect recipe for maximum energy efficiency.

As always, we’re delivering the tips that you can apply right away; the ones we covered in this article are no different. Give them a try and see how much further you can reduce your energy costs in one month.

Love2EncourageYou continues to share the best info on the web by collaborating with a multitude of writers that really know how to rock the internet! Thanks for supporting Love2EncourageYou and I hope you enjoy future posts to come.

DIY Project Ideas For Around The Home

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Creating the perfect house is an ongoing task and one that many people may not enjoy undertaking. Sometimes, it seems like it’s one thing after the other, and money can be made scarce.

However, there are several updates to consider doing on your own, which may also be cost effective. See DIY projects for around the home and get inspired to do the work yourself.

Mold Removal

Water damage is never fun. It’s also a serious matter because it creates mold. The good news is, you’ll be able to remove it yourself. Mold removal DIY requires some equipment, but after following a few steps, you’ll be on your way to a clean space. You’ll save money doing it yourself and have something very useful and helpful to talk about with your friends. You’d be surprised how many people deal with this very issue of mold throughout the year.

Painting

A great weekend project is buying new paint and touching up areas around your home. Consider painting furniture or cabinets if you have the time. It all depends on how much effort you want to give. Paint is a budget-friendly way to give your home a facelift in a short amount of time. Consider inviting some friends over and make it a painting party. You’ll be done in no time!

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Landscaping

Head outside and take inventory of what you have in place. See where you might be able to add or remove pieces. Landscaping is a great DIY project, but it takes time. There’s a lot of manual labor, especially if you’re spreading out an item like mulch. Determine what you can handle and what’s best left to the professionals.

Bathroom

If you don’t want to spend your money on a full bathroom upgrade, a bathroom makeover is a great place to start. You’ll find it amazing when you realize what can be done in a weekend.

Update your light fixtures and add new paint. Also, add a frame around the mirror for style. Consider replacing your vanity or toilet too, if you’re not enjoying the way the bigger ticket items look. However, remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it look nicer. Small touches that you can finish right at home will do the trick.

Shed Makeover

A shed makeover is the perfect DIY project. Grab some paint, slap a new coat on and add trim. Head inside the shed and clean the floors and empty it out. Organize the items and get rid of what you no longer need. If you clean it enough, you can sit in there and read; also turning it into a summer house. Take your time making it pleasant, so you can enjoy it when the weather improves and temps are cooler.

Headboard

Does your bed need a little updating? Think about adding a headboard or improving the one your have. For a warmer look, put together wood planks and place them behind the bed. There are a lot of different ways to add whatever style and color to your bedroom. A headboard will add depth to the room, and you’ll love the personal touch it gives your bedroom.

Conclusion

DIY projects are a fun way to pass the time and enhance your home. There’s no need to tackle them all at once. Enjoy executing these DIY project ideas for around the home.

Love2EncourageYou is happy to bring you some helpful articles on all sorts of topics this summer by collaborating with a variety of talented writers. It is a pleasure to serve you and I enjoy providing quality content as often as time allows. 

Amazing Amazon Find: TopEs iPad Mini Case – Car Shape – Shockproof

 

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Amazing Amazon Find: TopEs iPad Mini Case – Car Shape – Shockproof

I love to find fun little tokens to give my kids from Amazon every once in awhile and here’s a really adorable iPad Mini Case that I stumbled upon! It comes in either pink, blue, green, or yellow (we got the blue one for my son) and works well as a shockproof protector to the device. The car shape is simply precious and my son’s face lit right up when he saw me put it on the iPad mini! He instantly burst out saying, “It’s a car!” lol. He was so excited about this new case, and mom was particularly happy that now his iPad mini will be safer from drops and accidental trips while walking with it on some of these more interactive apps and games he plays with.

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The iPad Mini case currently sells for $16.99 and has Amazon Prime for free shipping. It is made of silicone that is flexible and easily allows you to manipulate it to insert the iPad mini inside its frame. The product is very well designed and lines up perfectly with the power button and volume controls as well as the cut outs for the camera, headphone plug in, and other necessities on the device. I am extremely pleased with this case and can’t get over how darling it looks when my son is holding it and playing games on it. The built in handle makes it much safer and easier for him to carry the iPad Mini with him when we go out as well.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see the case also is free standing on any flat surface. Sometimes my son likes to watch mini videos on his iPad Mini from various apps like Disney Junior and being able to prop the iPad Mini on the table or a desk is helpful so his arms don’t get tired holding it. Sometimes he ends up drifting off to sleep at night while watching a show.

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Overall, I’m extremely happy with this iPad Mini Case by TopES If you’ve ever found yourself searching for a good case that’s fairly inexpensive to give to your kids (works on iPad Minis 1, 2, or 3 or retina models according to their description) I recommend giving this one a try! I just love it!

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Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou received a free sample of this product in exchange for an honest review. I only shares items that are of value or interest to my readers. My opinions are my own and may differ from your own, however I try my best to offer honest and helpful tips and opinions that will benefit buyers in making purchases safely.

Staying Within A Budget Just Got Easier

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It has been a fascinating journey on the road to financial freedom. Learning new ways to save money and trying to stick to a budget can be both exciting and exhausting! In today’s modern society there are so many ways you can lose track and derail onto a course that ends in ruin. Between enjoying theme parks and family vacation time to eating out and celebrating family birthdays or holidays, these are some of our biggest budget busters. Those special memory-making moments can sneak up on you with the cost and become detrimental to your pocketbook – unless you learn to plan ahead and spend wisely!

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Make a List and Plan of Action

I’m happy to say that I’ve recently discovered a great new way to enjoy my financial freedom staying within a budget and still getting to enjoy spoiling my family on special occasions. I love to be a giver, and the delight I feel in being able to surprise a loved one or friend is worth its weight in gold (not including the look on their faces when they receive the surprise!) I decided to start organizing my family events and holidays in a planner. It’s actually mentally rewarding to jot down lists of items I’ll need to plan the best surprise gifts, outings, or accommodations and destinations for travel adventures.

A Better Way To Shop and SAVE

The great part is, I can do all of this with the click of a button by visiting any one of my latest discovery sites for saving with coupons! Having the ability to shop around from the comfort of my own home and peek at a variety of places that offer coupons or vouchers for as much as 10, 20, 30, even up to 50% off or more is definitely a plus! That’s certainly a better way for me to be investing my shopping time instead of wasting hours at the mall paying full price on most gift items. This way I know whatever I choose will end up giving my family good value and a fair price to stay within our budget.

Broaden Your Search

There are lots of great bargains out there to grab using coupons online for loads of practical everyday items too! You can find some for getting garden products and lawn care items, to acquiring some pretty impressive coupon vouchers towards buying your next TV.  I’ve learned that sometimes to get the best deals, you need to consider buying from companies not only within the USA, but in many areas around the globe who offer delivery to the US. I’m just happy I don’t feel trapped into spending as much anymore when I want to be a blessing to someone. Shopping from home or on your mobile device is a much better way to go these days and finding the right places to save can mean all the difference.

Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou is pleased to be working with so many wonderful and talented writers. It is a joy to bring you a variety of fascinating topics and helpful info through these articles and tips.

Enter to Win a Stay at Duns Castle or a HomeAway(R) Vacation!

Full Disclosure: By clicking on the link and entering the sweepstakes in this post, I will receive a small monetary fee as compensation for each entry.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is coming to theaters on March 17! I am excited to bring you this incredible opportunity for a chance to enter to win some fabulous prizes in honor of the film!

To celebrate Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, we’re giving you a chance to win a stay at Duns Castle for you and 20 guests. Plus, five runners-up could win a HomeAway® vacation.

 

I’ve been a long time fan of Disney films and of the Beauty and the Beast movie and storyline. This will be such a treat to see the real live action version when it releases in theaters in a just a short time. I’m looking forward to finding out what types of awards this film wins in the coming year too for all the music, costumes, make-up, scenery, and special effects too. Should be a great outcome with such a wonderful script to follow along with it!

How many of you plan to go see it at the theater? Share your thoughts about this cool sweepstakes too in the comments below.

Here is the link to click on to enter. (Disclosure: Please note that I will receive a small monetary compensation when you enter.)  https://activate.bloglovin.com/s/sSmhi83zcd

Thanks for visiting love2encourageyou! Enjoy Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film with your family!

Christmas Love Letters From God – Hardcover Book & Giveaway

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Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a beautiful day here in central Florida and we are already enjoying the tempting smells of the turkey cooking in the oven. My children are happily playing with a new app while hubby and I look through the Thanksgiving paper and all the ads for Black Friday. Seeing these “things” on sale makes us ponder other ways we can focus our kid’s attention on the true meaning of Christmas instead of the hype of the holiday shopping season taking over.

Today I have a treat for you… a delightfully different type of Christmas story that is sure to please any child as you read through the book together leading up to Christmas. Let me introduce you to author, Glenys Nellist, and her amazing illustrator, Rachel Clowes. Together they have produced an incredible book sharing the glory of God’s Son – Jesus. This book is titled: Christmas Love Letters from God – Bible Stories. (A Lift-the-Flap Book)

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Learning about the real Christmas story and how Jesus came to be here and for what reason, are important reminders to take things slower during the holidays and enjoy the time you have with your children and family members.

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Take a journey towards the wonder of the birth of our Savior with this collection of intimate tales from the Bible . Each page is laced with details sharing important messages from Scripture that direct us towards who Christ is and why He came. The writer shares in a tone that’s easy for kids to understand and helps them enjoy the blessings in each story as they see the action through the beautifully designed pages from the illustrator.

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My kids enjoyed reading through a different story each night learning about Isaiah, Gabriel, Mary, and other significant figures in the Bible that help kids learn the true meaning of Christmas. Each character points us towards Jesus and we learn more and more about God’s great love for us and how much we need to focus our attention on our Savior (instead of on things).  The delightful collection of mini devotionals is a great start to teaching your kids about Jesus and why we celebrate his birthday at Christmas.

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Inside the book there are “love letters from God” that are like lift-the-flaps revealing a new note of love from God to the reader.

Please join us for a chance to win the hardcover book in our giveaway! See details below.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Prize: One winner will receive a hardcover copy of the book: Christmas Love Letters from God Bible Stories.

Open to USA only. Must be 18 years or older to enter.

Date: Ends on November 29 at midnight EST.

 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for review and this post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Say & Pray Devotions: First Words, Devotions, and Prayers

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Kids Book Review:

SAY & PRAY DEVOTIONS: First Words, Devotions, and Prayers

author: Diane Stortz

illustrator: Sarah Ward

This delightful board book about First Words, Verses, Prayers and Devotions was designed and crafted specifically for toddlers to early elementary age. It includes about 19 pages with a front and back side – making it a thick board book which is somewhat uncommon, but very exciting for the reader to be blessed with so many pages to explore! It has beautiful full color illustrations on every page and even the inside covers! It’s made with a strong, secure binding with glossy and smooth pages and cover.

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When it comes to graphics or illustrations – this book is a true winner. Sometimes you just want to capture the joyful, happy nature of a child with all their cuteness and innocence for a book like this one – and I believe the illustrator accomplished just that!

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It has precious pictures that make you want to go out and play with your child again! I love how they incorporated the words in little elongated bubbles, framed and using a font that is easy to read so it helps early readers work on their sight word vocabulary.

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I was tickled by the subjects they chose to cover too – making a joyful noise unto the Lord and other fun ideas! Kids will truly treasure sitting down and reading these devotionals with you. Make bedtime routines fun again with the “Say & Pray Devotions” book and add the blessing of knowing you are instilling within your children’s hearts the nuggets of wisdom and promise from the Lord in the Scriptures.

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A huge thank you to Flyby Promotions and the author, Diane Stortz, and illustrator, Sarah Ward, for blessing my family with the opportunity to review this wonderful devotional book for kids. It is a real joy to read and we are excited to be able to share a copy with my readers in a giveaway!

SAY & PRAY DEVOTIONS

Bestselling children’s author Diane Stortz has sold nearly 300,000 books—Bible storybooks, devotionals for children, and more. This brand-new title, Say & Pray Devotions, is the perfect beginner devotional for little ones.
Parents who already know and love the Say & Pray Bible will love Say & Pray Devotions as it helps their youngsters continue to engage their faith in a personal way. Featuring the same fun style of artwork and the educational elements as Say & Pray Bible, this devotional for little ones will teach the basics of identification and comprehension while sharing biblical principles for life. Each devotion offers a topical message to help little ones learn and follow biblical principles.

Please support the author by following or visiting her on social media or website and say hello! You can purchase this awesome kids devotional book for your gift-giving needs this holiday season too! #sayandpray #flyby

SOCIAL – CORNER

GIVEAWAY TIME

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Prize: One winner will receive a brand new copy of Diane Stortz devotional book for kids called “Say & Pray Devotions: First Words, Devotions, and Prayers”.

Date: Ends November 23 at 8pm EST.

Open to USA & Canada. Must be 18 years or older to enter.

**Our Giveaway Has Ended. Congrats to Carissa E! You are the winner!

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Love Trains? Try The Whittle Shortline Railroad

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After having the pleasure of watching my youngest son grow up with a railroad track right in front of our home and the joy he had each and every time it went by as he waved to the engineer,  I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate gift to give to any little ones on my gift list! My nephew and his siblings live fairly close to a train station in their city, and I’m sure he would love this exquisite, high quality wooden train engine and cars set from The Whittle Shortline Railroad!

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The Whittle Shortline Railroad is a family owned, 20 year old, wooden toy train company. We hand craft realistic toy trains that are compatible with Thomas, Brio and Chuggington. Our toy trains are modeled after real trains you would see in your neighborhood. As a part of our 20th anniversary we released over 20 new trains in August of 2016. In December 2016 we will begin a program of releasing a new train each month and expanding our offering to trains around the world! Visit our website right now to watch video’s and learn more! #whittleshortlinerr

My Readers receive 20% Off High Quality MIXED 5 Car Diesel Engine Toy Train Sets.  Enter Promo Code: WeLoveWhittle! in comments section at checkout at https://www.woodentrain.com

For Ongoing Special Offers Save This link to the Whittle Shortline Railroad online coupon: http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13138&dealid=3063

We are big fans of handmade toys and gifts, and family owned businesses too! I would be delighted to bless this toy to my nephew and his family this holiday while supporting this company and their products. I’m sure you have someone special on your gift list this year that The Whittle Shortline Railroad trains would be a perfect gift for. Support family owned businesses and bless someone you love with this fine hand-crafted train set today!

Disclosure: Love2EncourageYou received a sample copy in exchange for this informative post about The Whittle Shortline Railroad. However, I only share items I feel will be of value or interest to my readers and my family. I enjoy sharing discount codes and great gift suggestions with all of you. Enjoy the code!