There are quite a few things that have really made my life easier and more fun during the year 2011, and I would like to take some time to share them with all of you before the year ends. These are listed in no particular order, as my thought process at midnight tends to have no particular order in itself.
1. SWAGBUCKS is the best thing in the world for a curious homeschooling family, because we earn these swagbucks for random online searches. Swagbucks are later redeemed for actual prizes and even cash. Of course, it takes awhile to earn enough Swagbucks to get a really great prize, but if you are a family that does a lot of searching, it may be worth it to you to save up those bucks for something that you really want. This year, I have traded my swagbucks for Amazon.com credit, which allowed us to get Just Dance 3 and my favorite kind of baby bottles for free. After that magnificent purchase, I started redeeming them for cash to deposit into my paypal account.
2. Thredup allows you to exchange your gently used children's clothing toys, books, games etc. I got stocked up on Playtex nurser baby bottles for $1.95 on that site by using credit that I earned from all of the items that I donated to other people.
3. A Charlotte Mason Companion is the greatest book about child rearing and home education that has ever been written. This year was my second time to read the book, but I needed a refresher course, since Princess Tarja officially started preschool in our little homeschool.
4. Android phones. WOW! I had not had a cell phone for myself in at least two years. When the king first bought my Samsung Intercept, I played with it for two days, enjoying all of the fun apps. When the king tried to call me, he was a little unhappy that I had not learned how to answer it when someone called. Anyway, I have had my phone for almost a year, and it continues to keep me amazed and entertained all the time.
5. Netflix streaming through the Wii is a godsend! No longer will we have to stress about lost, damaged, or overdue movies. All of the movies and TV episodes are right there, at the touch of a button, for less than $10 a month.
6. Just Dance 3 is the most fun video game that I have ever played in my entire life.
7. Burke's Outlet is my current favorite clothing store.
8. Doing my nails, myself, with supplies purchased from the dollar store make me feel very frugal and happy. Nobody knows the difference but me.
9. Glittery eye shadow, sparkly nail polish, and black liquid eyeliner have always put the H in my happy.
10. Scentsy products are fascinating. I wonder if a mother can become addicted to the amazing scents of flameless candles.