Introducing the Military Homeschool Podcast!

Introducing the Military Homeschool Podcast! Listen in to the very first episode to learn about your podcast host, Crystal Niehoff.Episode #1: Introducing the Military Homeschool Podcast!


Introducing the Military Homeschool Podcast! Listen in to the very first episode to learn about your podcast host, Crystal Niehoff, herself a homeschooling military spouse, her experience, her family, and their homeschool journey.

Crystal then shares that this podcast combines two subjects that she loves to talk about- military life and homeschooling! Homeschooling can be tough and military life challenging, so the Military Homeschool Podcast is the perfect tool to add to your arsenal as you navigate life as a military homeschooler.

Upcoming shows will include the typical homeschool topics like, how to get started homeschooling, preparing transcripts, time management, avoiding homeschool burnout, and so forth. However, the Military Homeschool Podcast will also address issues unique to military families, too, like, homeschooling and surviving during a PCS or deployment, choosing curriculum to fit your family’s on-the-go lifestyle military lifestyle, finding your tribe at a new duty station, legal considerations, and more!

On top of all that, the Military Homeschool Podcast will feature guest interviews with both experienced military homeschoolers, and expert guests in the fields of law, education, mental health, and others bringing information relevant to military homeschool families.

Closing Thought: Crystal then shares this thought in closing which comes from educator, John Holt, “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the school, but that it isn’t a school at all.”

Join Crystal and her guests each week as they bring relevant information to equip you, stories to encourage you, and content to inspire you. You don’t have to go it alone, tune in to the Military Homeschool Podcast, and be energized in your military homeschooling journey!

How to listen:

  1. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher
  2. Subscribe on your favorite podcast listening app
  3. Or listen right here (just scroll down)

Got questions, comments, or have show topic ideas? Contact Crystal via email at or connect with her on Facebook.

Please subscribe, follow, and share with all of your military homeschooling friends!

Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School.

Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

Laughter is the best medicine! When you want to make the best of homeschooling your teens, working in some daily humor helps. Sabrina, Vicki and Kym talk about why humor helps learning work better and how to cook up some merriment!

We all know that Scripture says:

A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

Amazingly, research has found out that this is true. Funny how God had it right the whole time 🙂

Anyway, when we laugh our brains release happy hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin.

These hormones not only help you feel happier but they literally boost your immune system. Thus, laughter helps your physical body be healthier!

Not only that, but laughter aids learning.

When our kids receive information when they have been laughing, their brains hold that information better. Laughter helps part of our memory center (the hippocampus) work more efficiently.

(Queue the rabbit-hole giggles of Sabrina, Vicki and Kym visualizing a happy hippo with his graduation cap at hippo graduation from the campus of his hippo school…)

Kym gives the example of her homeschool umbrella-school Spanish class. She has them memorize Bible verses in Spanish. Recently one included the phrase “sobrepasa”, which her silly teens decided sounded like the English phrase “sober pasta” (leave it to homeschool high schoolers!). They laughed so hard that they learned that verse more quickly.

Sabrina brought up the idea of malapropisms (the unintentional use of a word in place of a similar-sounding word, usually with an unintentionally humorous effect). We know that Shakespeare was the king at creating characters who were full of malapropisms. One of her favorites was Dogberry from Much Ado about Nothing (watch for the 7Sisters literature study guide coming soon…and check out the other no-busywork, inspiring Shakespeare guides).

For instance, in Act 3, Dogberry instructs:

Only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the jail.

Of course, we know that Dogberry meant “communication” when he said, “excommunication”. However, the outcome is humorous.

Which also lead Sabrina to tell about her beloved husband’s frequent malapropisms, such as: Whenever the kids tell him something profound, he says:

Wow! You’re wise behind your ears!

A merry heart does good like a medicine

Another benefit of laughter together is bonding

When we laugh together over something amusing, we feel more bonded to the folks we are laughing with. (Note, however, that laughing “with” is different than laughing “at”. Laughing at is bullying.

So how do we use humor in homeschooling?

Remember when you starting off in your homeschooling journey? Did you have Pinterest-perfect ideas about school time, dinners together, chores done well together? However, reality rarely looks like what we wanted on the day-to-day basis. This can lead to frustration.

In fact, Sabrina says that:

If you are experiencing frustration, you are doing homeschooling right!

However, in order for frustration to work for us, we have to set the intention of not taking ourselves too seriously! In fact, we need to plan on incorporating the ability to laugh at the moment and laugh together into our daily habits.

Homeschool humor is a lifeline for homeschooling high school!

BTW- Vicki says that if you cannot think of anything else to laugh about, have everyone stop during a difficult moment and watch a silly cat video on YouTube.

Homeschool humor is an antidote for perfectionism

In fact, when we can learn to laugh at ourselves (not derisively) when we do not get something done perfectly. Rather than look foolish because of our glitches, the glitches actually make us appear charming. So mistakes are charming, not a disaster!

This is a COOL skill to give our homeschool high schoolers! Laugh and move on.

Malicious humor is not a good thing and should be avoided in your homeschooling family

Sometimes teens like to try on different kinds of humor. Sometimes, they will try the kind of humor that tears others down. This is a teaching moment for moms. Help them learn to to watch their spirit. Humor “at” (unless they are having fun “at themselves” in a kind way) breaks others’ spirit (which is one way bullying works- do we say this enough?). Here is an interview with Candice Duggar with some ways parents and organizations can help teens avoid bullying.

On the other hand, sometimes you can have some humor “at” if the power dynamic is correct. For instance, sarcasm is only funny if you are using it towards someone more powerful than you. Otherwise, if you are using “sarcasm” with a peer, it is bullying.

Thus, if teens want to “tease”, they need to tease up-line (to someone more powerful than themselves) or with a well-established peer relationship. Sometimes, when teens are trying to break into a new group, they will try to tease the already-established members of the group. This can create awkward situations and sometimes peer rejection.

Also, teens need to be aware of teasing in a group. They might have a bff who is so close that they can do some friendly teasing. However, if they are teasing each other within a group setting, newer teens in the group may feel uncomfortable. SO, keep the teasing to not-large-group settings!

Not only that, teens need to learn the kind of teasing that is culturally appropriate

Vicki pointed out that her family moved from backwoods Florida, where insulting is not considered appropriate. However, when her family moved to the Philadelphia area, she found that the way boys on sports teams showed they wanted to be friends was to insult the new person.

The friendly boy to the newcomer: “Them’s ugly shoes!” 

Thus, Vicki’s teens had to learn to give a friendly insult back, such as, “Your face has ugly shoes!” (Those were the days of “your face” jokes…)

The key was the smile. Both the giver and the receiver would have a smile on their faces when the insults were given!

However, this kind of sports-guy humor did not translate to church activities. Insulting humor at church youth group was never appropriate! Therefore, teens have to learn the cultural context of humor use. That is a LOT but it is part of growing up!

Sabrina points out that this cultural context extends to families

Some families, like Sabrina’s, rely on “gallows humor” to lighten up really tough times. However, her family knows their audience. They keep the gallows humor at home because it might be overwhelming to folks who did not understand the inside joking of it all.

Also, the timing is everything. Try not to joke too soon. Sabrina points out that during a tough time in their family, her teens were using gallows humor. However, for Sabrina, who was still early in the stages of grieving, the humor was too soon. Therefore, they kept at “too-soon jar”. If her teens made a gallows-humor joke before mom was able to handle it, they had to put a dollar in the jar. When they got to twenty dollars in the jar, they would order pizza!

On the other hand, telling jokes is good lots of times!

Therefore, keep some jokes on hand, so that if the circumstances allow, share a joke and have a laugh. For instance, during awkward silences try a corny joke such as:

How do you tie two Hondas together? With one Accord! 

Remember: laughter is contagious! Everyone feels better after a laugh!

Okay, well, we love all our 7th Siblings. Thanks for being part of our homeschool family. Join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group and share some jokes!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for some giggles and encouragement.


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Teaching Character with Stories – Talking with Rick Boyer – MBFLP 279

Stories are powerful tools to teach and illustrate character – think of Jesus’ parables! We can use stories the same way. This episode we’re talking with Rick Boyer, father of a large family, about how he’s used narratives to teach his own children, and now reaches out to thousands with audiobooks and commentary. Plus we’ll talk about some resources we offer as well!

Things We Referenced

Two audiobooks of your choice every month plus new member video section and weekly story podcast
Spring Promo (through May 31) – American History bundle of 22 e-books included in the subscription purchase

We’re speaking at the 2022 Florida Homeschool Convention!

This week we’ll be traveling to the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando for one of the biggest homeschool events in the country! We’ll be speaking on raising boys, parenting middle schoolers, homeschooling more effectively with less stress, and providing what your special learners need – whether they’re struggling or gifted. Plus we’ll be talking with support group leaders in the Leaders Forum on Thursday. If you’re coming to Orlando, we’d love to meet you – stop by our booth (number 911) and let us know you’re a podcast listener.

CLICK HERE for more information! 

(If you know you’re going, click here to get our detailed schedule)

Homeschool Year End Shortcuts

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close?Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ Episode 467

Are you ready for some homeschool year-end shortcuts?  Are you finished with your school assignments or are close to them being done? Well, now is the time to show how much you’ve accomplished this year. Here are some of my best-kept year-end secrets. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

Visit Media Angels to find out more about curriculum and summer reading books for your children.

Year-end has such a final ring to it, and often I’d cringe thinking about all the work I had to do, paperwork that is to finish off our school year. It turned into a nightmare until I finally clued in that it was something I needed to do all year long and it made my end of the year a breeze. So much of this depends on your state laws, and how they require homeschoolers to report student progress. Some states are less strict than others. It also depends on whether or not you are using an online curriculum that reports grades and progress for you or if you are putting together a portfolio (with or without your child’s help) in order to see growth and progress throughout the year.

Homeschool Year-End Shortcuts ~ The Questions

Here are some questions to ask before you dig in:

  1. What are my state homeschool requirements and how will I fulfill this with an end-of-the-year report or summary.
  2. Are my children required to take standardized tests? Can the ACT or SAT fulfill this requirement (middle school and up)?
  3. What type of progress report or portfolio (samples of the child’s work in each subject area) will I compile?
  4. What is missing?
  5. Do I have my child’s reading list for the year? This includes textbooks, workbooks, and other curriculum guides as well as books that were assigned or were read to the children as a family.

How do you keep track of your progress? One of the best ways is to create a portfolio of your child’s accomplishments, even if they are enrolled in an online school or class. It is wonderful to create new ones each year or to keep adding to a master portfolio year after year. Doing it during the school year is a plus because it cuts out the mess of trying to create this at the end of the year. One way that makes this painless is with a memory keepsake the children can help put together.

Catch this replay – Yearly Evaluations

Yearly Evaluations

Best Homeschool Year-End Lists

My best homeschool year-end shortcut is not to have to scramble because you’ve been putting together bits and pieces throughout the year. Here are some things you can add to your portfolio or the children can add to a memory keepsake:

  1. School days or hours *calendar suffices
  2. Awards
  3. Reading lists
  4. Special projects such as science fairs or history fair
  5. Art projects or samples (pictures) of artwork.
  6. Chapter tests or summaries
  7. Reports
    1. Book reports
    2. Subject related reports
  8. Samples of quizzes
  9. Clubs or sports
  10. Hobbies or accomplishments

Homeschool Memory Keepsakes

With a memory keepsake, the children will take pride in adding their special ribbons or pictures of sports trophies. Perhaps they’ve learned a difficult music piece for the piano, or sing in the choir at church. All of these things are “school-related” and can be added to a memory book with pictures or even just a list. If you keep track of progress throughout the year it is so much easier and it is fun to see how much has been accomplished.


  1. Gather completed work samples weekly or at least monthly.
  2. Enlist the children’s help.
  3. Use the best samples from different subjects. Minimum of twelve per subject.
  4. Use samples from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
  5. Make a plan to document special events.
  6. Create Calendars that you can use to jot down memorable events.
  7. Tests? Grades? Optional in most states, add this to the end-of-year lists
  8. Keep track of schooling days each week/or month
  9. Use pictures whenever possible.
  10. Stop and evaluate.

Sometimes it is unavoidable and leaving things to the last minute can not be helped. If this is the case, don’t panic. Use copies of your child’s best work and put together a reasonable timeline of accomplishments. This can include extracurricular activities. For many years I assigned the children reports based on our field trips. This was one way to make the fun field trip tie into schoolwork and they were able to practice their writing and spelling skills with this project.

I love the idea of keeping a yearly memory book or portfolio because it shows you that yes, you have accomplished so much during the school year. And, if you have not? No worries there is always next year. I believe if your children are working to their ability even if it does not fit into the academic plan that is okay. I had some struggling learners and some children that were gifted, and struggling learners who were gifted. This is one of the bonuses of homeschooling it helps to allow your children to succeed in a safe and loving environment. Encourage your children daily, and believe me I know it is hard at times. After five children completed their homeschool journey successfully I’m happy to report they are now all well adjusted and thriving adults! All those times I worried about spelling or reading lags were wasted time. Enjoy your children and your homeschool journey and hug your kids daily, telling them how much you love them.

What’s New in the Members Corner – Meet Brandi Brannan-Barthels

Sue introduces Brandi Barthel, our newest contributor to her membership program. Brandi has her PhD in Biblical Naturopathic Sciences.In this week’s podcast, Sue introduces Brandi Barthel, our newest contributor to her membership program, the Members Corner! Brandi is naturopathic doctor has her PhD in Biblical Naturopathic Sciences. She is also an essential oils expert and has SOOO much expertise to share with our group! Listen in as she shares her learning journey and shares a few little natural tips in this episode.

Here’s more information on Brandi:

Brandi Brannan-Barthels from Oil & Gas Health, Safety & Environmental Manager to Natural Wellness Educator. Her education at VC & UHV to attain her MBA-Accounting then teaching as an adjunct at VC & UHV was the beginning for her education path.

Brandi’s health journey includes being diagnosed with migraines in 2005, asthma in 2007 then Lupus in 2008 as well as her daughter’s diagnoses in 2010 of Chronic Daily Migraines with no medical treatment options available propelled her into researching. Brandi’s love for researching put the holistic program of Naturopath Doctor as the natural progression of her education then in 2021 completing her PhD in Biblical Naturopathic Sciences.

Addition to these degrees Brandi has specific education of the following:
Certified in Aroma Freedom Technique, History of Essential Oils, Chemistry of Essential Oils, Oils of the Bible, Vitaflex, Raindrop Technique, Far Infared Sauna, Emotional Release, Zyto Wellness Scanning and Zyto Evox (Perceptual Reframing).

Brandi travels around the country educating people on the benefits of natural remedies in addition to medical treatment options for their health.

Samuel: Priest, Prophet and One of Israel’s Greatest Judges

A man held the offices of a priest, a prophet and became one of Israel's greatest judges. That great man was Samuel.Episode #16- Samuel: Priest, Prophet and One of Israel’s Greatest Judges

On this podcast, we explore the life and ministry of a man who held the offices of a priest, a prophet and became one of Israel’s greatest judges. That great man was Samuel of the Old Testament, who lived between 1105-1030 B.C.

In 1 Samuel Chapter 1, we read about Hannah, who was barren and prayed fervently for a child. Hannah was married to Elkanah, a member of the priestly tribe of Levi. God heard Hannah’s prayers and blessed her with a son, whom she named Samuel, which means “name of God.” After Samuel was older, Hannah took him to the tabernacle to dedicate him to the service of the Lord, placing him in the care of Eli, the priest.

The Bible tells us that Eli’s sons were known by all to be wicked men who did not know the Lord. Things were so evil, that because of the wickedness of Eli’s sons, and because he allowed it to continue in the house of God, one of Samuel’s first tasks was to tell Eli, his mentor, that God had judged his family for this reason. After Eli and his sons die as a result of God’s judgment, Samuel was then recognized as Israel’s new spiritual leader.

Samuel in his lifetime was a priest, a prophet, and one of Israel’s greatest judges, also anointing two kings of Israel. He continued to serve the Lord all the days of his life and because of his obvious close relationship with the one true God, always having the best interest of the people at heart, the people of Israel turned from their false gods and returned to the Lord.

Kevin and Crystal then lead listeners through two life application lessons that we can draw from the faithful service of Samuel and apply to our own lives as Christians.

Next week- Please join us next week when we take a closer look into Israel’s first king and the lessons we can learn from his downfall.


Resources referenced or recommended for further study:


Scripture references:

  • 1 Samuel chapters 1-25
  • John 14:15
  • Proverbs 21:3
  • Romans 5:19

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If you have questions, comments, OR are in need of prayer, you can reach us by email at

How Writing on the Computer Helps Kids become Better Writers

how writing on the computer helps kids become better writers

181: How Writing on the Computer Helps Kids become Better Writers

Veldorah Rice from Write From the Heart is our guest in this episode and explains how writing on the computer can help kids write better. Be sure to also listen to her episodes on best practices for internet research.

This is the outline of what is covered in this episode.

I. Different types of Writers
a. Reluctant
b. Overachievers/Excited
c. Average—STEM or unexcited but task-oriented

II. Computer eliminates distractions
a. Handwriting
b. Spelling
c. Typing/dictation

III. Computer allows for development and organization
a. Can physically see the underdevelopment
b. Ease of revisions
c. Cut/paste

IV. Computer invites collaboration
a. Easy to send to others
b. Comment directly
c. Assisted learning

V. Computer allows expansion and interdisciplinary learning
a. Typing skills
b. Computer skills
c. Technology projects

–> Grab a free copy of Activities for Reluctant Writers

Be sure to take a look at the English classes (including AP classes) Veldorah offers for middle and high schoolers. You can also find Veldorah on Facebook and Instagram.

Take a look at show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy to see what they offer for online classes and web-based unit studies.

Join our Facebook Group especially for the listeners of this podcast! You can ask questions and get advice as you try integrating technology in your homeschool.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review! Subscribing will help you make sure you never miss an episode.

how writing on the computer helps kids become better writers

Unlocking Math Success for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with the Blackwoods

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Unlocking Math Success for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with the Blackwoods.

Unlocking Math Success for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with the Blackwoods

Unlocking Math Success for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with the Blackwoods

Many teens do not know that they can like math. In fact, they think they are supposed to hate math. This makes learning high school level math difficult. That is why we were so excited when we met the Blackwoods of Unlock Math! They have found ways to help teens unlock math success…and even like math!

Vicki met the Blackwoods online in the It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School Facebook group. (You should join that group, as well as 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group because there are so many folks there who are there to support homeschooling parents…and besides, it’s fun!) Unlock Math was sponsoring the group that month and Vicki was impressed with their neighborliness and their user-friendly curriculum. (As you know, we 7Sisters are all about user-friendly curriculum!)

Matthew and Alesia Blackwood teach teens how to like math at

As you know, each state has different requirements for high school graduation. However, many states require at least three credits of Math. They usually include:

  • Algebra
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry

However, you also know that there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so teens may need to count other courses as part of their math credits. For instance, if a high schooler has special needs they might need:

  • Math Foundations
  • Practical Math
  • Pre-Algebra

On the other hand, if teens are college bound, they might need to add extra math courses like:

  • Pre-calculus
  • Calculus
  • Statistics

The Blackwoods are here to help!

Alesia and Matthew are both second generation homeschoolers, so they started talking about homeschooling before they were married.

Thus, they have been homeschooling their kids since they were born. One of the most important gifts they gave their kids, was to make math part of life and fun.

Alesia’s love of math started in her childhood. Also, she always wanted to be a teacher. As a high schooler she volunteered helping teach kids with special needs. Even when she thought briefly in college about being an engineer, her engineering professor suggested that she become a teacher- that her gifting for teaching was evident!

Alesia became a high school math teacher: from special needs through gifted. She helping teens enjoy getting from where they were to where they needed to be in their math skills.

After starting to homeschool their own children, Matthew and Alesia started Unlock Math to teach math in the ways that actually help teens learn and like math. They believe in a step-by-step, understandable way. They concentrate on helping teens truly know that they CAN do math.

Unlock Math really got started when Matthew and Alesia were a young married couple. Matthew would sometimes drop by her classes and was astonished at how engaged and excited her students were in Alesia’s math classes. He said, “I wish we could bottle your teaching and share with others.” And then came the opportunity to start a website!

What is special about Unlock Math?

Now, homeschool high schoolers can learn math in Unlock Math’s multi-sensory platform with virtual manipulatives and lots with of confidence-building practice and support. They learn in bite-sized chunks in a not-overwhelming process that helps them feel empowered to keep working and learning. They also make sure that they provide detailed solutions to questions so that teens can truly learn from their math lessons.

Not only that, but Matthew and Alesia make themselves available for personal online chat, emails or phone calls if a student gets stuck with a concept!

Unlock Math covers:

  • Math Foundations
  • Pre-Algebra
  • Algebra
  • Algebra II
  • Geometry
  • Pre-Calculus

They have found that as teens feel more confidence in their high-school level maths, they are less stressed (and more positive) in other areas.

Would your teens like to try Unlock Math? Click here for a free fourteen-day trial!

BTW- We have also interviewed Mr D Math and David Irving with College Ready Math. And don’t forget that one important math for all homeschool high schoolers is Financial Literacy- and, shameless plug, teens love learning true life-preparation, financial math skills in our interactive course.


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How To Focus On The Things That Matter With Joshua Becker

Hey, homeschoolers! Last week I shared my discussion with Dana White about decluttering. This week I am sharing my interview with Joshua Becker, who is known for his writing on minimalism. He recently published the book Things That Matter that you will want to get a copy of.

After our conversation about it, I found myself inspired to declutter the garage, focus on my family, and trust God with the crazy times we’re living in. To see the part of our conversation that inspired me most, check out my YouTube channel:

Have a happy homeschool week!

A Lifetime of Homeschooling

Finish Well Homeschool Podcast, Podcast #160, A Lifetime Of Homeschooling, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

A Lifetime Of Homeschooling

In “A Lifetime of Homeschooling,” Episode, #160, as Meredith Curtis celebrates her 60th birthday, she realizes what a huge role homeschooling has played in her life. She takes a look back at six decades of Preparation, Homeschooling Adventuring, and Coaching and counts it all joy! It’s been a lifetime of learning! How about you? What stage are you in? How can you get the most out of it and prepare for the next one.


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Bringing Homeschool Joy to Families Everywhere!




Show Notes

Turning 60 and looking back at a lifetime of homeschooling.

Happy Birthday 60% off sale at code: HappyBD60


2 decades of schooling, lifestyle learning, and reading.

Books lovely books.

Traveling to learn.


Acquiring a love of home, family, and learning.

Homeschool Adventure

The book that came by mistake

Gregg Harris Conference

Learning with my Kids

7 Rs: Relationships, Reading, Arithmetic, Writing, Rhetoric, Research, and Right Living.

Passing the baton of faith, home, family, lifestyle of learning, and sacrifice.


Cheering Others On.

Coming Alongside

Teaching in Homeschool Co-ops and Online

What Stage Are You In?

Preparation? Homeschooling? Coaching?

The overlap

Getting the most and giving the most in each stage.

60 Birthday Sale

I am celebrating my 60th birthday this week and I want to bless you with HUGE SAVINGS!

Every digital product at is 60% off when you purchase the product on our site.

Use coupon code HappyBD60!

Sale lasts Sunday May 15, 2022 until Sunday May 22, 2022.

HURRY! Grab the code and start saving!

Shop at

Happy Birthday 60% off sale at code: HAPPYBD60


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