Using Airbnb for your vacation lodging!

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When we started going to homeschool conventions this spring, I was really unsure of how it was going to work to book hotels everywhere. We already knew that we didn’t really want to stay at the hotel connected the convention, as they normally are higher priced hotels at really nice convention centers. If we were just going to one convention as homeschool parents, it’s a fun splurge. But when you start traveling quite a bit, the extra cost really adds up.

Right before we went to our first convention, an online friend told me about Airbnb. I had never heard of it, but I’ve since heard it’s super popular! I might be the only one out there that was unfamiliar with it, but if you haven’t heard of it either, read on to find more about this amazing website!

Using Airbnb for your vacation lodging needs! It's perfect for a large family wanting to travel on a budget!

Traveling with a large family is difficult. Trying to find a hotel room that will accommodate a family to stay together requires extra work, and sometimes you can’t even get it to work. Then you have the expense of two rooms, when you can often make one room work. Our children are still young enough that we can fit into one room, if it’s suite. However, we have found a better solution!


Airbnb is a website where people offer homes, apartments, or just a room in their house for rent, for a day, two days, a week, or longer. This service is offered all over the USA, and you can find little houses, big houses, plain houses or fancy houses!

So…what did we think?

We have used Airbnb three times now. The first time we took our two oldest boys, went to Nashville and got an apartment for $62.00 a night. It was actually basement apartment at someone’s house, but it was a separate entrance with no way to get upstairs from the apartment. It was not fancy, but we were able to save money on food by bringing along food and using the fridge and freezer, and I even brought my instant pot along and had dinner waiting for us in the evenings! For a business trip, it was perfect.

We used Airbnb on our Florida trip and absolutely loved the houses we rented!

A house we rented in Florida from the Airbnb website! It was the perfect vacation home!

The first house was a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house with a pool behind it that was just for us to use in Orlando! We were pleasantly surprised that the dining room table even fit our family (our current table is a really tight squeeze now). The house was clean, and had the basics we needed. It was in a gated neighborhood, and we felt totally safe there! We paid around $150 a night for this house, which I thought was an awesome price!

Kitchen and Dining room in a house we rented in Florida. It was the perfect vacation home, and we found it through Airbnb!

The second house was a block away from a beach a few hours away from Orlando. It was a smaller house than the previous one, officially it was just a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house, but they had a couch bed in a little room off the living room that we used. Even though this house was smaller, it was probably my favorite because the decorating style was exactly what I love!

A lovely distressed looking desk that worked as an office, or to put makeup on in the morning!

Everything was shabby chic looking, in whites, grays, and vintage style. It was so adorable!

Simple but clean bedroom with throw pillows, a nice coordinating bedspread and curtains.

This was the master bedroom, I spent as much quiet time in here as I could, just relaxing after the convention. The guys watched a sports game together, and I think I came in here one night and watched a movie by myself. It was wonderful. 🙂

Kitchen tools kept in one spot, and organized!

Part of the kitchen! It obviously had plenty of kitchen tools provided!

Grilling dinner at the vacation house in Florida!

The boys found these hats in the shed, so they thought it was great fun to wear them while grilling dinner. 🙂

We loved our Airbnb experiences, and definitely plan on using them over and over again when we travel! If you have a larger family, it especially makes sense to check into this, or if you just want more privacy, the enjoyment of an actual house over a hotel room.

Here are some things you should know before going to an Airbnb house. 

  1. Normally the host communicates with you really well on how to get into the house, check in and check out times. We only saw our host at the apartment we stayed at, a lot of the people that own these homes don’t live locally. I prefer to just be left alone, but I had to email the owner a few times and she always got back with me quickly, to answer my questions.
  2. Every house we stayed at had dishes provided to eat on, and silverware. The kitchen in Orlando had quite a lot of kitchen items provided (pots and pans, a blender, toaster, etc). However, only the basics are normally provided. I would suggest bringing along a can opener if you are planning on cooking, as 2 different times I really needed one, and it wasn’t there, or it wasn’t working well.
  3. You are responsible for providing your own toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and trash bags. I suggest bringing your own from your house, instead of going out on the trip just to purchase these things. One of the houses provided trash bags, the other house did not. It’s just easiest to bring these things along, because you never know exactly what will be provided. All of the houses had an iron and ironing board, so I could have left my iron at home. Yes, I travel with my iron!
  4. While you have to leave the house in a clean and orderly fashion, a cleaning person is always hired to come in and clean after you leave. You don’t have to wash sheets and towels, or scrub floors before leaving.
  5. Make sure and read all the reviews before booking a house! Even if it’s a 5 star review with no negative feedback, you might find out helpful information about the house or area.

When you join Airbnb through this link, you automatically get a $25 credit to use towards your first trip! If you are traveling this summer, it’s a great option! We are already looking forward to the next Airbnb house we stay at!





Trades of Hope Review and Giveaway!

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I have heard about Trades of Hope over the years, but never really looked at the actual website before. When I was contacted about doing a review for them, I jumped at the chance!

*Disclaimer ~ This is a sponsored post for a consultant with Trades of Hope. All thoughts are strictly my own, and I was not paid to write a positive review. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the products I received, and it was a joy to write these thoughts!

I love companies that are created to help women in need. Trades of Hope is a perfect example! Not sure what they are doing to actually help women? Read what they have to say:

We work with the artisans themselves and organizations that are helping women in difficult circumstances. Some women have been rescued from sex slavery. Others are raising handicapped children alone. Some are in war torn countries and others have AIDS. These women have never had the chances we’ve had, yet they are just like us in so many ways. They love their families and hope and dream of a better life for them.

Trades of Hope necklace

I received this beautiful jeweled necklace that was handcrafted! It was pretty online, but in person it’s even more beautiful! I love thinking about who might have put it together, and feel gratefulness when I know that one woman is receiving a new life as she makes these products.

Trade of Hope necklace. Support women trying to build a good life for themselves through purchasing from Trades of Hope!

Trades of Hope Necklace

The colors go with almost any outfit!

Trades of Hope Necklace

Trades of Hope Earrings

I also received these lovely Crystal Spring earrings. They are dainty and ladylike, and beautifully made!

Trades of Hope sells Jewelry, Scarves, Handbags, Home Decor, and Stationary! I was surprised when I saw so many different categories, I only thought they sold jewelry.

If you want to help support a good cause, consider shopping through Trades of Hope the next time you need a new gift, or just something special for yourself! Amber is a Trades of Hope consultant, and she will be happy to help you!

Amber is giving away a lovely Haiti bracelet made by cereal boxes.  I never would have guessed that this lovely bracelet was created from cereal boxes! You can send empty boxes to be made into jewelry, which creates many jobs for women! Find out more info here.

Enter to win below! (Giveaway is for USA only)
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Why I Love Babywearing (And a Tula Baby Carrier Giveaway!)

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Wearing my babies in a carrier has been a big part of my life. It’s almost emotional for me when I think back to how I started. I was a young mom of 2 boys, and it was the lowest point health wise for me. I was exhausted all the time (thanks to adrenal fatigue), struggling with mild post-partum depression and just trying to survive everyday. I had a 2 year old and a newborn baby.

One day an Above Rubies magazine came in the mail and there was a whole article on baby wearing. Besides the usual Baby B’jorn carriers that didn’t look comfortable, I had never been introduced to the idea of baby wearing. I hesitantly ordered this expensive (to me) Ergo carrier, and fell in love with it. Finally I was able to cook dinner and do dishes while holding my new baby. It was something that made me feel like I was going to make it through the new baby stage without totally losing it. Yes, it was a rough time for me.

Now that I’m a mom of six children, wearing my babies is just as important to me. I struggle with mommy guilt often. Trying to juggle a business, homeschooling, a marriage, and family is not easy, and I don’t want my new baby to get lost in the shuffle of life. Of course I hold the baby whenever I breastfeed, but I want to hold them other times as well.

I’ve tried several different carriers, and found I prefer a more structured carrier versus a wrap. I do like using a pocket sling when they are little, and I don’t have much experience with ring slings. When I put a carrier one I just want to throw it on and go, and not spend time wrapping. I know there is a huge community out there of ladies who love to use wraps and that’s great! It’s just good to figure out what works for you and go with it!

Tula Baby Carrier Review and Giveaway!

Just when I thought I couldn’t fall in love with a carrier any more, I discovered the Tula baby carrier.

Besides being probably the most adorable carrier I’ve seen (the different prints you can get are amazing!), the feature I love the best is how high it comes up in the front. When I’ve worn an active baby in the Ergo, several times they have leaned backwards and I’ve felt like they could have fallen out. With the Tula I don’t have to worry about that.

The padding on the shoulder straps are the thickest I’ve seen. They are so comfortable! The padding on the waist area is awesome. It is the best carrier I’ve worn at hiding my mommy tummy. 😉

I love my Tula baby carrier! A fantastic carrier for newborn through toddler!

This carrier works for a new baby, you just need to use an insert or wrap up a baby blanket and put at the bottom. I’ve found that Sophia prefers facing out so we have used the Beco Gemini baby carrier during this phase.

If there’s one thing I’ve found after having had 6 babies, it’s that being flexible is best. You might prefer one type of carrier, but your child prefers another. Most of the times it is just a short phase. I have every expectation that Sophia will adjust to being in the Tula more in another month or two. Most of my little babies have preferred facing out in the beginning.

I always suggest owning a high quality baby carrier over a stroller, if you have to choose. I’ve used my carriers multiple times over versus my stroller. If you are searching for a new carrier, I would highly suggest trying out the Tula!

Snuggling with my baby in a Tula baby carrier!

Sweetbottoms was so kind to send me this carrier to try. I love their online store, they have everything from cloth diapers, baby carriers, nursery items, pregnancy and postpartum items, and much, much more!

You can use the code: MODESTMOM for 10% off your next order! Fine print:  Excludes sale items.  Manufacturer exclusions apply.  Not valid on gift cards, previous or pending orders.  Limit one coupon code per order.

Sweetbottoms is giving away a Tula baby carrier to one of my readers! I’ve been extremely excited to offer this to you!! To enter use the rafflecopter entry form below! This giveaway is limited to USA only.


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Natural Cleaning Products for Less Than A Dollar!

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Coffman Family 2013

Hi! It’s Angela Coffman, mom to 6, and blogger at the Grocery Shrink where I write about sticking to a modest budget. Today I’m visiting to tell you about some amazing natural cleaning products. I gave some samples to Caroline who will be popping in at the end to tell you her personal opinion of them.

For years I made my own cleaning products. They were super cheap and safe for my family. They didn’t work as well as the name brand cleaners, but I was willing to give up some efficiency to trade for safety. The main ingredient in most of my formulas was vinegar—and it smelled. I told myself the smell wasn’t too bad, but I noticed I was cleaning less and less. Just thinking about smelling the vinegar smell again was enough to give up on basic chores. Plus, I kept a bottle of Tilex on lock up for the times when I had tough cleaning jobs. I knew it wasn’t safe, but it worked…what to do?

Women cleaning a window 3

A friend gave me a few bottles of safe “green” cleaners to try. I was skeptical, but agreed to give it a go. I was surprised to discover they not only worked, but smelled amazing. Would they be affordable?

She explained that a bottle of concentrated cleaner was $5.69 and diluted to make 6 spray bottles of cleaner…or $.94 a bottle. Then she showed me how I could get extra discounts or profit share with the company. It all of a sudden didn’t make sense to make my own products any more.

They make more than 400 products; I chose these for Caroline to try:

  1. All purpose cleaner: cleans up everyday dirt and grime anywhere—counters, tables, appliances, even natural stone—using no caustic chemicals.
  2. Bathroom cleaner: It melts away soap scum and hard water stains with minimal scrubbing and no harsh fumes or abrasives. This one is amazing….my secret stash of Tilex is officially gone.
  3. Disinfectant: An EPA approved disinfectant that combines thyme oil and citric acid as active ingredients. It’s good for doorknobs, toilet handles, cutting boards, and toys. Stop illness in it tracks before it can spread!
  4. Glass Cleaner: Fingerprints gone, no streaks… it.
  5. Dishwasher packs: My toddler comes running when he hears me reaching for the dishwasher pack bag. It’s his favorite job to help with. These enzyme powered packs dissolve fully and leave your dishes sparkling clean, even the glasses. No need for rinse agents.
  6. Vitamins: I know these aren’t cleaning products, but they changed my life. These vitamins bind the minerals to fiber and protein so the body absorbs them more readily. They’ve been proven to significantly reduce free radical activity. After 3 days, I was a new energetic person. With everything Caroline has on her plate, I really wanted her to try them.

Normally a lifetime membership to the company costs $29, but they are having a New Year Special. Until January 20th memberships are just $1. Click to find out more.

Caroline here ~ I really like the cleaning products I’ve tried! I’m very sensitive to smells and often get products with no scent, which isn’t any fun! I actually enjoy the smells of these cleaning products (which only happens when they are natural products).

Beyond the nice smell, they actually work! Our son told me they make his job of cleaning the bathroom so much easier, which is a huge plus! The dishwasher packs work great. Our oldest son loads the dishwasher, and isn’t quite as careful about how he loads it as I am. They came out shining clean using the dishwasher pack, so I was happy!

So many natural cleaners are really expensive, so I’m thrilled to find something that my children can safely use, and that is super affordable!

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