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‘Inspirations’ Category

  1. Kindness Is Contagious

    March 28, 2013 by admin

    Check out our Kindness Project.

    We are super excited about this and look forward to updating you about its progress.  Come join us and share how you are adding kindness to your world.

  2. The Ian Tilmann Foundation

    February 16, 2013 by admin


    We can’t begin to comprehend the anguish and pain of a parent when faced with the loss of their child. The Tilmann family found a way to channel their grief when confronted with such a loss, and to celebrate their deceased son, with the creation of a stupendous organization that helps kids and adults all around the world.

    When 28 year old Ian Tilmann died in 2005 as a result of a skateboarding accident, his parents learned that his injuries might have been less severe had he been wearing a helmet.   Marcy and Barry Tilmann decided to find a way to spare other families from dealing with similar tragedies.

    IMG_0787The Ian Tilmann Foundation (ITF) will send you a free skating or bicycle helmet for you or your child.  All you have to do is make a promise to wear it.  ITF will accept any donation you may choose to offer, at any time, to support their foundation.  And they also host skating events and support skate parks!

    We got Plum her first skateboard helmet from ITF in 2008.  We spoke with Marcy on the phone, and we were delighted by her friendliness and the concern she had that Plum would get the best helmet for her needs.  Plum was delighted with her helmet when it arrived and she has worn it with pride ever since.

    We will soon be contacting ITF again to get new helmets for the growing heads of Plum, and now our Bluey.  We strongly support the Ian Tilmann Foundation and we suggest you check them out, too!  There is NO acceptable excuse to not wear a helmet!

    Spring skating and biking season are coming.  Is your helmet ready?

  3. 5000 Maniacs

    December 31, 2012 by admin

    IMG_1410ThriftyRambler has received over 5000 visitors since it was established less than a year ago!  We thank you for reading our content and returning to our site.  It has been a fun adventure and we’re only just getting started.  We’ll continue to bring you our insights, our questions, our travel tips and recipes, and our lists of the greatest ways to spend time with your family in a way that won’t break the bank!

    A special shout out to our fellow Rambler, Brenda Winter Hansen, who has provided help to us on a number of issues from the get-go.  She’s written a bunch of super posts for TR and we can’t wait to see what she delivers in the future!

    As we begin a New Year of adventures, we encourage you to share our page with your friends.  Hit the “Like” button on the posts that resonate with you.

    If you have suggestions for topics, questions about anything, or want to reach us, please add a comment to our website, our Facebook Page, or email us and let us know.

    Thanks again for reading, for reacting, and for taking your own steps to creating a memorable life for you and your family.



  4. More Power To Ya!

    November 2, 2012 by admin

    As you all know by now, a tremendous storm, Sandy, blew into the East Coast and knocked out power, decimated houses, flooded towns and tunnels, and took lives.  Millions of people are affected by this weather event.

    Snapped utility poles in Bloomfield, NJ. Photo by Mike McIntyre

    Here at ThriftyRambler (TR), our hearts go out to everyone on the East Coast.  We were born and raised in the New Jersey and lived in New England for years.  We’ve experienced our own share of fierce storms and power outages.

    We want to send a TR salute to those who are putting things back together.  First Responders include EMT’s, Firefighters, and the Red Cross.  These courageous folks step into the breach and rescue people and pets from harm’s way.   First Responders get a lot of well-deserved praise and accolades for their efforts in events like Sandy.

    Our TR family survived the New Hampshire Ice Storm of ’08.   During this event, we struggled without power and running water for ten days!  This experience shed light on an often overlooked Responder during major weather disasters.

    So we now want to send a heartfelt THANK YOU to the Power and Light employees from all over North America:  HydroQuebec, PG&E in California, MG&E in Wisconsin, and the Arkansas COOP Electric, to name a few.  In addition, there are countless other powerline technicians and repair people who will travel hundreds of miles to offer aid in this disaster.  All of these folks end up sleeping in dingy hotels far from their homes and working 16 to twenty hours a day in order to restore power to the people on the East Coast.   We know first-hand how essential and incredible their commitment is to our Nation in times of crisis!

    We hope that the East Coast continues to make a steady and strong recovery.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.



    Photos by Mike McIntyre and ThriftyRambler

  5. Small is Beautiful

    August 22, 2012 by admin

    Have you noticed the mini houses that stand in front of many homes in Madison?

    As you walk around the city, be sure to keep an eye out for these little wooden libraries set back from the street.  They are the Little Free Libraries,stocked with random books for all ages that are donated by the people in the neighborhood.  Open up a little house and take a look.  The books are free for anyone of any age.  There’s no membership, no fee– just the simple expectation that you’ll return the book (or a different one) to keep the library well stocked.

    Although Bluey has found a few books to read from these libraries, our experience so far has been that it is harder to stumble upon a book for a child/teen then for an adult.  But that is okay.  Part of the added fun to an outdoor explore is chancing upon these libraries and seeing what delights are held within. And with so many of these libraries around, perhaps we’ll find one that is a goldmine of kid and YA literature!

    Although the movement is based in Madison,Wisconsin, you can find Little Free Libraries all over the world!  Just consult their map to find one near you!

    We think these libraries are a wonderful addition to the world.  There are already more Little Free Libraries than Carnegie Libraries, and the movement just keeps growing.  There is only good to be had when you bring books and people together, everywhere.




  6. Here In My Car

    July 13, 2012 by admin

    Kids can do amazing things, if you give them a chance.

    Fourteen year old, Kathryn, has been working on building her own car since she was 12 years old!  She located her Pontiac Fiero and independently negotiated a fair price.  Two years later, Kathryn has done all the restoration work but for some heavy lifting that requires an adult’s strength.  It is amazing to see this young girl stand confidently in a male dominated field.

    Our favorite quote from this impressive gal, “My (friends) at school are all like, ‘What do you think you’re doing?’  I’m like, ‘Leave me alone, you’ll get it when it’s done.'”

    Imagine the educational aspects of this project for Kathryn:  math, physics, science, etc.  These lessons are priceless and it is wonderful to see a young girl pursue her desires with confidence and spunk.


  7. Chain Re-Action!

    July 6, 2012 by admin

    We’ve mentioned in a previous post, the efforts of Abby Goldberg to stop the use of plastic bags in her community.  Abby reported that her press conference at the Chicago office of Governor Quinn went well:

    “Thank you to everyone who supported this petition! Without your help I would not have gotten as far as I did. On Tuesday, in Chicago, we held our press confrence, delivered the petition and Governor Quinn was actually there and said this: I, a one-time grassroots activist who ran petition drives that collected millions of signatures, promise to have Abby back when I reach my decision.” Let’s hope he vetoes bill sb3442!”

    Go Abby!

    But Abby’s not the only one out there trying to make positive change.  Whether inspired by Abby, or not, Bethany Bauer has started her own petition to stop plastic bag use in the state of New Mexico.  Let’s hope people young and old see these efforts and take a stand in their own hometowns and states.

    Join Bethany’s petition here:

    Meanwhile, we also discussed the great success of SPARKTeam and others to change the way young women are portrayed in Seventeen magazine.  Seventeen agreed to not use photoshop or other techniques to change the young models appearing in their pages.

    So now SparkTeam has moved on to TeenVogue.  Help them bring their message to TeenVogue!

    We applaud all these young people for stepping up when they see a need for change, and doing what it takes to get things done.


  8. What’s For Lunch? Check with the inspiring Martha Payne!

    July 2, 2012 by admin

    School lunches are extremely important for a multitude of reasons.  For some, it is the only meal each day during the school week.   For others, it simply provides the necessary fuel to get through a busy day.  There is no excuse for why children around the world struggle to find wholesome and nutritious offerings at lunch.

    We choose to celebrate Martha Payne of Scotland for her efforts to shine a light on school lunch programs.  She is opening up a necessary dialogue about food within schools in a charming fashion.  And she is raising money with her new found fame for a charity called Mary’s Meals.  Martha has accomplished all of this at nine years of age!

    Check out her blog here:

    When her school tried to stop her blog, the world erupted in support, and the school was forced to back down.  Martha, or “VEGI which is  her handle on her blog, continues to post about her lunches and school lunches around the world.  Check out Never Seconds and help support Mary’s Meals.

    Good work, Martha!  We can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve in the years to come!

  9. Inspirations: Abby Goldberg Fights Big Plastic

    June 25, 2012 by admin

    Kids are so awesome.  We get tired of reading about the bad kids, we’d rather celebrate the good ones.

    Go Abby!

    Abby Goldberg is trying to stop the use of plastic bags in her hometown, Grayslake, Illinois.  She ran into a problem when a bill started moving through the Illinois legislature which would prohibit towns from making their own decisions about things like plastic bags.  This ridiculous limitation of local government is supported by the plastics industries, under the guise of improving recycling programs.  So Abby’s goal of restricting plastic bag use in her town hit a roadblock at the state legislature.

    Did she give up? No!  She took to the internet and started a petition urging her governor, Pat Quinn, to veto the bill.  Over 130 thousand people have joined her cause.

    Did I mention that she’s just 12 years old?

    It would have been so easy for her to give up.  When we were young we heard: “You can’t fight City Hall.”

    Abby says that you can.  Abby fights not just city hall but also the State house.  She’s not backing down.

    We hope our kids will be like her, the kids who stand up to bullies!  Whether these bullies are on the playground, in the statehouse, or just transnational corporate conglomerates.

    We hope our kids will not give up when faced with an obstacle, but will find a way around it or through it.  We hope our kids will be as righteous as Ms. Abby Goldberg.  Abby, your energy inspires us.  We will join your ranks and do what we can to stop this bill so that you can stop plastics from polluting your town and our world.

    Sign and share her petition here:

    Follow her campaign on twitter:!/ActivistAbby