Check out Vocalpoint – Bag it up! Lunchbox Recipes

Hello! For all the moms and dads of kiddos getting ready to go off to school soon, (or if you’re in FL we’ve already started!), I want you to take a look at : Vocalpoint – Bag it up!

This is a terrific article about how to prepare delicious healthy lunches to pack for your kids to take to school away from the norm of the typical sandwich. It’s worth a read. I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about how fun it would be for my homeschooled children to have the fun of packing a lunchbox and getting to feel like I took the extra time to create a fun and healthy lunch for them each day and picnic somewhere different a few times a week. Take them to a park, picnic by the pool, or have lunch over a friend or fellow homeschooler’s home. It would actually save me time and lots of whining from hungry kids who are bored with the same old thing each day, if I planned and prepared them the night before anyway. Our days with homeschooling can get pretty interesting and busy, especially with mom’s part time blogging going on too.
There were three main mouth-watering recipes described in this article from Vocalpoint – Bag it up! They include: Black Bean Salad, Strawberry Chocolate Granola Bars, and (my favorite from this article) Savory Sweet Potato. Yummy! 🙂 Hope you enjoy their recipes!

Give your wallet a boost

With NEW Downy UNSTOPABLES, the closet can be the freshest place in the house. Check out the dissolving scent beads.
I just signed up with and qualified to receive a free sample of the New Downy Unstopables…you can too!

Hi! I’m Rebecca (faithflower) author of Love2EncourageYou blog. I just wanted to share our latest freebie finds, discounts, giveaways, and coupons …as they happen, whenever they happen, from all over the internet. Please forgive me if I post often, and rather excitedly, as I stumble on super product sample offers and valuable coupons to help your family (and mine) save some money! Happy reading and freebie shopping!

Love2EncourageYou blog is committed to finding more & more ways for you to save $ for your family’s budget and have renewed hope for tomorrow. Many blessings!

1st Review and Giveaway: Scentsy!

Hooray! It’s our 1st official Review and Giveaway! Woo-hoo!
Guess who are guest of honor is? A dear friend of mine that I grew up with in highschool and youth group in church. Her name is Rachel Mitchell. She is a smart, classy lady with a special product line to share with us through her own business as a Scentsy Consultant.
Scentsy has created an amazing product to help consumers like me (a mom with 2 energetic kids and a baby) who wish to have a delightful scent of sweetness in the air when someone enters my home (instead of smelly diapers or last night’s fish dinner). I certainly can’t risk having an open flame in my house with the little ones around, but then I heard about Scentsy products and realized life CAN actual smell fresh, clean, spicy, fruity, flowery, or any other delicious aroma I want it to – thanks to Scentsy flameless products! With that said, let me introduce to you: Rachel Mitchel.

 Scentsy Review: An Interview with Rachel Mitchell -Scentsy Consultant

Rebecca: Hi Rachel. Thanks so much for letting me interview you today. Do you mind sharing with our readers how you came to know about Scentsy?
Rachel: Sure, Rebecca. I’d be happy to. I was introduced to Scentsy via a catalog in October of 2010. I have ALWAYS loved to have my house smell warm and inviting, but the only ones who normally get to the reap the rewards of all of my fragrant candle-burning were my guests, since I had to be home to light them!
When I learned that not only was Scentsy flameless, but that I wouldn’t have the awful soot marks on my walls and the worries about forgetting to blow one out, I was ecstatic!!! I LOVE the idea that I can turn my warmers on before I leave for work and come home to an inviting fragrance!
Rebecca: That is wonderful! I would certainly enjoy that feature on a regular basis. Living in Florida can make the house smell funny with all the humidity. Enjoying a fresh citrus scent or some other fun choice would be great to come home to after church or other outings we have, and especially when I know guests will be stopping by that day. Very cool bonus info to know about! Thanks for sharing that tip!
Rachel: You’re welcome. Thank you for the opportunity to tell you my story.
Rebecca: Is there anything else you would enjoy sharing with us about the Scentsy products or your business as a Scentsy Rep?
Rachel: I immediately fell in love with the warmers and all the different options, the huge variety with over 80 scents to choose from, the business opportunity, basically.. EVERYTHING! To put this in perspective, realize that I became a consultant BEFORE I EVEN OWNED ANY WARMERS OR SCENTSY PRODUCTS!!!
I love the fact that Scentsy can work around my busy schedule. I love that my friends and family LOVE Scentsy products! I love that Scentsy’s hostess plan makes it very easy for even the SMALLEST show to offer benefits to the person that opens their home or their heart. To sum it all up, Scentsy just makes me happy!
Rebecca: Wow! That is exciting! So you didn’t even own any of the products before signing up to become a Scentsy consultant? You just knew you adored the product that much and wanted a way to get it for yourself at a discount besides seeing the great value in being able to help spread the word about Scentsy products to all your friends and family?
Rachel: That’s right. It was so worth it too!
Rebecca: Very inspiring story, Rachel! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit with us and share a little more about why Scentsy both as a product and as a business is well worth the investment. Is there a favorite product you would like to point out to us with your experience in the business?
Rachel: I think the product I’d recommend most is a “Full Size Scentsy System.” For $40.00 you get your choice of any non-feature full size warmer in the line and the choice of 3 bars of scent. That pricing is a $5.00 savings! But if you act soon, you can catch it at an additional $4.00 off for just $36! Click here to check it out. It also makes the perfect gift because the person you’re giving it to can purchase ANY warmer and choose their own scents as well.

August Warmer of the Month: Sol

Rebecca: I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting your website and browsing through the catalog! So cool that RIGHT NOW there is a 10% discount on a large selection of items in your catalog for the month of August! I don’t want to miss that since I think I have two favorites! The first one (being a mom with a new little guy) would be the Scentsy Buddy! So many adorable stuffed animal characters to choose from and how neat to be able to stick a scent pak right in the back of it and let it soothe the child when they’re going to sleep at night or just want to have a friendly, sweet-smelling pal to hug and snuggle with. How fun! Very affordable too! Oh, cool! I just noticed they are currently on sale too! Click here to check the Scentsy Buddies out at the sale price!

Which adorable Scentsy Buddy do you like best?

The second one is PERFECT for all my homeschool moms out there or crafty friends! It’s the Full Size DIY Scentsy Warmers! How awesome! You get to create a one-of-a-kind warmer for a birthday, wedding or baby shower! With 23 theme packs and 3 different warmer designs …I think being able to have a blank canvas to work with and create your own unique warmer as a gift, or for a room in your house is such a treat!
Rachel: It has been a blessing to share with you today! As a token of my appreciation, I’d like to offer a special prize…a $20 Gift Certificate towards product from my Scentsy Store as a Giveaway for your readers! 🙂 Thank you all for visiting Rebecca’s site, Love2EncourageYou, today! I invite you to enter the Giveaway for a chance to win the $20 worth of Scentsy product by following the directions below.
Rebecca: Oh, Rachel! On behalf of my readers, we thank you so much! Now I know you have a facebook fan page for your Scentsy products also, so I wanted to express to the readers to be sure and stop by and like your fan page if they want so they can keep up with monthly specials you are having on these incredibly cool products too!
Thank you to all our fabulous readers for your support of Love2EncourageYou blog. I hope you enjoy browsing the Scentsy website and find some fun surprises for future Christmas and birthday gifts or just something to pamper yourself with. Are you ready to Enter our Giveaway for a $20 Gift Certificate towards free Scentsy Products from Rachel Mitchell? Then just follow these directions:

Scentsy $20 GC Giveaway!

Follow the directions on the Rafflecopter form below and be sure to click the green highlighted “I Did This” button after each entry you complete.
There are 2 Mandatory Entries required to enter this giveaway:
1. Just visit our sponsor’s site: and then leave a comment below sharing what you would spend the $20 Scentsy GC towards from her site. (Be sure to click “I Did This” on the Rafflecopter form)
2.Click the “Join this site” button for Google Friend Connect and “Publicly” follow my blog Love2EncourageYou . This GFC button is located at the top right hand sidebar. (Be sure to click “I Did This” on the Rafflecopter form)
All other entries are optional. You may TWEET the message given on Rafflecopter “once daily” and get 2 entries each time. All other entries are only done once. Thanks so much for entering! Blessings!
*If you cannot see the Rafflecopter form, please click the “Read More” link below and the Entry form will show up.

Rules and Disclaimer:

*Giveaway is open to USA residents only. It will start on Monday August 22nd and end on Monday, September 5th, 2011 at 12:01 am Eastern time. The winner will be chosen by We will announce the winner on our Love2EncourageYou facebook fan page, and they will also be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If we do not receive a response from the winner within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen at that time. *Winner must be currently following Love2EncourageYou blog and have left a comment with info about what Scentsy product they like from Rachel’s store. If winning entry was from an additional entry, then that winner must still be currently doing whatever the entry required such as following @Choosingtolive on Twitter, or having liked Love2EncourageYou or Rachel’s Scentsy Page on Facebook etc. for whichever entry they win from. This review and giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter, or any other entity in any way unless otherwise specified.
**Winner will receive a Giveaway Prize of a $20 Virtual Gift Certificate towards purchase of Scentsy Products from Rachel Mitchell’s Scentsy website. Winner is responsible for any taxes and shipping.

Love2EncourageYou: Bringing encouragement, inspiration and motivation to lovingly care for our families within a budget, and educate our children within our homes.
Many blessings,
Rebecca (Faithflower, @Choosingtolive)

Diving Into a New Homeschool Year: Themed weeks – France

Hi there! How often do you feel like you’re just treading water to stay afloat in your homeschooling journey? Well, maybe it’s time to make a change this year! I like to shake things up a bit. I’m very eclectic in my homeschooling style, and having smiles on my kid’s faces is #1 in my book. Join me in a new year of homeschooling fun & creative ventures that will excite our children’s minds and set them sailing on the right course for their futures. I’m going to “Dive” into this new school year with gusto as I start off with themed weeks for the first month. (Dive by Steven Curtis Chapman, the Christian music artist, is a must for motivation!) Each week will be a different country from around the world. This will incorporate subjects: Geography, Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Science, Art, P.E, and of course touching upon Foreign Languages. For a helpful base to your homeschool curriculum check out online universities.

Themed Week 1- Country: France

My 8th grade teen son loves to cook, and would like to try his hand at whipping up some french cuisine one week. Delighted, I said, “Sure! That would go along perfectly with our theme weeks!” He smiled brightly and wandered off to start hunting for the perfect recipe out of one of our many cookbooks. This is the joy I love to see developing in my child’s heart & mind when it comes to learning. I’m sure as a parent you feel the same way. Dear daughter (age four) chimed in quickly and told me she’d like to make cookies. “Do the French like to eat cookies?” she asked. “Yes, I believe they do.” I said.  Smiling at her sweetly, I then suggested we try a recipe for making Almond Macarons as our French cookie dessert  to go with dinner for that night. She twirled around happily and asked if she could wear her apron when she helps me bake them. Now with all this delightful attitude of adventure developing, I had to find a way to include Daddy. My dear husband doesn’t know it yet, but he’s not only been nominated to be the family taste-tester, he’s going to be teaching French 101 that week too! Lol!
Yeah, Paris! Here are a few of my ideas for this coming week’s French theme: I feel an Eiffel Tower project coming on. 🙂 What about making a “tower” using Legos with my kindergartener and showing her pics of the Eiffel Tower as a model? Manipulatives are very important to me when it comes to my child’s learning progress. Many students enjoy the hands on learning atmosphere better anyway. I tend to create a variety of “stations” or “centers” that I have set up throughout the house and even on the back lanai or patio to use in our daily routine during school days. For Art, Writing, and Spelling, my DD can try her hand at making a Menu for our guests (Mom & Dad) when they come to the “French Restaurant” for dinner one evening. Our little artist can draw a simple version of the Eiffle Tower, or place a sticker or two on the front cover of her menu and color in some flowers. If you would like to reinforce scissor skills, maybe try having them paste on some cut out magazine pictures of French foods. This works for PreK to early elementary. I can also have DD establish stronger writing and spelling skills by learning how to spell: “Food From France” or “French Food” and writing them down as her menu title.
Now, here’s a thought, the 3-D puzzle of the Eiffle Tower (which I found at the thrift store for $1 over the summer) should do nicely as a family fun activity, especially with having very math-minded kids. Do you have any board games that help reinforce Geography? Bring them out to play some afternoon and have the kids point out France and its surrounding countries or what continent it belongs to. What about expressing interest in the cultural aspects of the country? I’ve got a special top & handbag that reminds me of France which I can wear on that first day to entertain the kids and “look the part.” I’m hoping to get the kids creative juices flowing about costumes to represent the themed country for the week. I’m even willing to take them to a fabric store to let them make a home-made costume or find a scarf, hat or other decorative item at the thrift stores to use with their costume. It helps them take ownership of the project and theme we are studying. They get more involved and become genuinely passionate about the learning process in Geography this way. 🙂 Incorporating an art project or P.E. activity about any social or cultural differences and similarities of the country theme (in this case: France compared to America) is always helpful to increase the student’s chances of retaining more of the information. I guess I like to create an atmosphere of tourism where the kids feel transported into that “theme” for the week in almost every way imaginable. I do very strange things to the decor of my house during these times. 🙂 Another plus locally is to try checking out cartoons, movies, music or books about the country theme you are studying: such as the storybook Madeline which is also currently on Netflix instant streaming as a cartoon. You may wish to check the items out from your local library by ordering them in advance through their computer hold system. Our library will email us when our holds become available so we can go right up and get them in time for our theme week if we plan ahead a bit. There are lots of other resources at your fingertips to help make a theme week a great success. Field trips options, craft ideas, fellowship parties with other homeschoolers and more. We’ll be touching base on more in the weeks to come. For now, its best to get started. Just choose a topic of interest and let your imagination run wild!

Getting Organized and Making a Plan:
Have you ever thought about how often you sit down and really plan ahead for the daily activities in your homeschool week? Do you happen to include fun meals, snacks or special family activities in your thought processes too? You should! It’s like seeing the reflection of fireworks in my kids eyes when they wake up to the smell of a special breakfast to start their new theme week. I sometimes pull a fast one on them at snack or lunch time & replace the same old plates or lunch boxes with a unique hand-carved fruit bowl filled with delicious fruits & veggies or maybe crackers & cheese. Kids love eating healthy when it’s creatively packaged or presented with an element of surprise in a fun way.
I recommend sitting down with a notebook, calendar or spreadsheet on the computer and spend a little time making up fun ideas to excite your children throughout their homeschooling days and put a spark of adventure into each week. You’ll be glad you did!
There are just too many good reasons to get ridiculously passionate about homeschooling! I find sharing them all with you to be a great way to bring out my best ideas. I hope you’re ready for some wild & crazy days ahead! What are your favorite ways to dive into the new homeschool year? I bet you could share some real winners! Can’t wait to hear about them! 🙂

Many blessings,
Rebecca (Faithflower, @Choosingtolive)
Love2EncourageYou: Bringing encouragement, inspiration and motivation to lovingly care for our families within a budget, and educate our children within our homes.
*Don’t forget to follow our blog and be included in our drawing for a Kid’s Book Bundle!

Family and Christian Themes, Encouragement, Product Reviews & Giveaways, Orlando Travel, E-Store