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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bona Floor Mop Giveaway

This time of year my girls are outside a lot and when they go outside they have to come back in......over & over & over! I feel like I mop my floors more in the summer than the winter because the kids don't always think to take off their shoes if they even wore them outside. I just started using the Bona Mop for hardwood floors and it has made the task of getting my floors clean so much easier.

The Bona Mop was very easy to put together. I love that the velcro pad is machine washable and the bottle is refillable. The trigger is very easy to use and the flow is very even and just the right amount of cleaning solution. My floors did not look streaked & they felt very clean to walk on.

My girls are always with me so when it is time to clean we make a list of what needs to be done & we all pick what we want. Mopping is always saved for last and my girls are always begging to do this job. Well......they don't usually do it very well & I always feel like I have to redo it. The Bona mop is so easy to use that my 7 year old did a great job on the floor. She has never been able to get the floor to look so good. 

I have one Bona Hardwood Floor Mop to giveaway.
The lucky winner will get to choose the Stone, Tile, or Laminate Mop, whichever one is right for their floor.

Disclaimer: I received a Bona Hardwood Floor Mop free of charge from Bona to use in my home. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Busy Mom's Guides

I just finished reading the Busy Mom's Guide to Family Nutrition & the Busy Mom's Guide to Parenting Teens. These books are written in the question-and-answer format, which makes it very easy to browse for a topic that you would like to reread.

Busy Mom’s Guide to Family Nutrition
978-1-4143-6460-5, 5¼ x 8 softcover, $12.99
I think all moms want their families to eat healthy and to maintain a good weight. The Busy Mom's Guide to Family Nutrition is divided into 6 chapters and covers basic nutrition. There is information on good eating, portion sizes, about sugar & artificial sweeteners, serving sizes, different fats, and interpreting food labels. This book is great if you are looking for a brief overview of nutritional information.

Busy Mom’s Guide to Parenting Teens
978-1-4143-6461-2, 5¼ x 8 softcover, $12.99
I'm sure we all remember those stressful times when our kids were infants, wondering why they are fussy, are they getting enough to eat, and on & on. Just as many if not more questions can arise once our kids hit those teenage years. The 7 chapters in The Busy Mom's Guide to Parenting Teens gives advice on our teens physical & emotional changes, tobacco, alcohol 7 drug abuse, as well as sex and why we should preserve it for marriage. Oh & maybe the biggest one.....the conflict we face with our teens.

Paul Reisser, M.D., is a family physician with three decades of experience in primary care medicine. A member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council, he served as lead author of the Complete Guide to Family Health, Nutrition, and Fitness and the bestselling Complete Guide to Baby and Child Care.

Tyndale House Publishers was founded in 1962 by Dr. Kenneth N. Taylor as a means of publishing The Living Bible. It is now one of the premier publishing houses in the industry. Tyndale products include numerous New York Times bestsellers, including the popular Left Behind series. Tyndale also publishes the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, and many other resources for church and family. Tyndale House Publishers is located in Carol Stream, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago.

Disclaimer: I received Busy Mom's Guide to Parenting Teens & Busy Mom's Guide to Family Nutrition free of charge.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homeschool Spanish Academy

Amber & Delaney both have iPods and their favorite app is iTranslate. They will spend hours looking up words to write out stories & plays. So they were overly excited when they heard we were going to review Homeschool Spanish Academy. At first I thought I would have to pick one student for the program but during our trial call I was informed I could have 2 students as long as they weren't more than three grades apart. So I had 2 very happy girls.

Homeschool Spanish Academy is interactive immersive lessons with  1-on-1 instructions from native Spanish-speaking professional instructors. By using Skype video conferencing young children through adults can learn to speak Spanish.

When we first signed up we had a Skype call from Tech support just to make sure our computer & internet could handle the Skype feed. During the initial call our video was a little delayed but it did not interrupt the sound or flow of the call. The first session is free if you would like to try it out, then we had 7 weeks of class.

When you first sign up you can choose your instructor, we didn't have a preference so we just choose any. We were assigned Rosa MenchĂș and my girls liked her & felt very comfortable with her so we chose her every time. Homeschool Spanish Academy uses Schedulicity to schedule the classes. It was very easy to use. After you login you can select your teacher & date and then you can see all the times the teacher has open and you can choose one that will work for you. A confirmation email is sent & then a reminder email is sent the day before the class.

Since Amber (age 11) & Delaney (age 10) didn't know much Spanish we chose to use the early language program. During the free session Rosa asked my girls about the Spanish they already knew. They only knew some greetings, count to 10, and a few other random words. Rosa started them with family words. While she talked about the Spanish words for members of the family she asked the girls questions about our family. She made notes about the names & ages of each family member so she could personalize the Spanish lesson with people the girls know. While we worked on older & younger, fruits, colors, days, months, and numbers she could ask the girls how old everyone is & what their favorite color & birthdays are. Rosa would speak Spanish to the girls & they would answer her in Spanish unless they didn't have a clue what she said and then she would prompt them in English.

While we were on the Skype video Rosa would put up a worksheet to show the pictures, words, sentences, etc. that the girls were learning or reviewing. She would also send us an email with the worksheets & quizes that they needed to complete. We added our worksheets to our Kindle Fire to review & they looked great on there. During the sessions Rosa would have them answer together & sometimes she would have them answer separately.

There are several different pricing options. You can choose early language, middle school, high school or adult program. Each group has 4 levels with each level having 2 sub-levels. Within each sub-level there are 14 classes, at least 5 quizzes, and at least 4 exams. The classes can be used with one student or two as long as they are within 3 grade levels of each other. The classes can be different for every student. Rosa started my girls where she thought they needed to be in the class but I noticed she went back to a lower lesson to cover something my girls were missing.

Pricing for Early Elementary 1-on-1 & 2-on-1.

We all loved this program!! My girls started exactly where they needed to be & worked at a pace that was perfect for them. Rosa was a very good teacher. She was patient with my girls & gently corrected and prompted them when needed. Amber & Delaney both felt very comfortable with her even though they were nervous at their first session. The conversational way of our class made it easy for my girls to practice & remember what was being taught. It really helped that they could work on this together because it was easier for them to practice.

Sail over to the Homeschool Review Blog to read about other levels of Homeschool Spanish Academy.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew, I received 7 free sessions of Homeschool Spanish Academy, to use with my children, in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dry Idea Giveaway

As a Purex Insider I got to try the AdvancedDry Roll-on from Dry Idea. I had never put a lot of thought into what goes in  an antiperspirant & deodorant until I started looking at Dry Idea. The fast drying MicroCotton Formula is Hypo-allergenic, contains vitamin E, and gives 24 hours of protection. I received Powder Fresh roll-on and I was very impressed with how dry it feels as soon as it is applied.

The new AdvancedDry Formula is available in roll-on (Unscented, Powder Fresh, & Cotton Dry), Clear Gel (Unscented & Powder Fresh), and Invisible Solid ( Unscented, Powder Fresh, & cool Burst w/Air Conditioning Effect). The roll-on & gel will give you 24 hours of protection & the solid will give you 48 hours of protection!

Dry Idea is also hosting a $1000 Sweepstakes!! Grand Prize is $500 and 10 winners will receive $50 for second place!

Three of my readers are going to be lucky enough to win a coupon for one free Dry Idea AdvancedDry 3.25 oz or smaller valued at $5.50.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: As a Purex Insider, Dry Idea provided me with a free sample of their Advanced Formula Roll-on for my review. My participation in this was voluntary & my opinions are my own. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012


WOW! My math hating daughter said she likes IXL!

IXL is an online math program that goes from PreK to Algebra with Geometry & Trigonometry coming soon. This math practice website can be used with any curriculum. Each student has access to all the topics in every grade & the student can work on sections by grade or by topic. There are an abundance of math problems for every learning style. They approach math concepts from all angles, offering visual representations, word problems, and more. The practice environment encourages students to learn from their mistakes. You can keep up with your students learning through the reports and e-mail updates. They indicate exactly which problems the students missed, where they have trouble, how they've progressed, and how much they understand.

IXL is used in over 150 countries and matches up to all 50 states standards. The comprehensive state reports lets you know if your child is ready for a standardized test.
IXL Family Reports
The emails that are sent are very brief and only state what the child has achieved & provides a link to print off their certificates if they have reach the goal. Once a week there is a family email sent that lists the stats for each child. IXL offers 37 reports to monitor progress & trouble spots for your child & you can view the actual problems that the child missed along with the answer they chose.
IXL Screen Samples
All three of my girls (ages 7, 10, & 11) had access to IXL. They all three enjoyed working on the problems but what really shocked me was when Amber said she actually likes IXL. Amber does not like math! Ok, she likes fractions and story problems but she doesn't see the need for a bunch of numbers on a page that need an answer. She said the main reason she liked this program is because she could move around where she needed to be very easily. If she didn't know how to complete the topic she could skip down a grade if it was easy she could move up one.
IXL Awards and Games
IXL can be purchased by the month or the year. The monthly plan is $9.95 or yearly for $79. for one student. Each additional student will be $2.00 a month or $20.00 a year.
IXL Fee Buttons

Disclaimer: As a member of the SchoolHouse Review Crew, I received 6 months free access to IXL to use with my children, in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sewing a Skirt

Last month I participated in the 5 Days of....Blog Hop with the HomeSchool Review Crew. Modest Mama blogged about 5 Days of Sewing a Skirt. We really liked her skirt & Amber decided she wanted to sew one for her sister Alaina.

Modest Mama did an excellent job explaining on her posts. Amber followed her directions and finished the skirt with very little help in just a couple of days. Amber was very proud of her accomplishment & Alaina was very happy to wear her new skirt.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Creation Illustrated


Amber loves to try new recipes and the newest one she tried came from the Creation Illustrated magazine. She made the Mint to Be Green Smoothie from the Spring 2012 issue.

Amber loves to be in the kitchen but sometimes she doesn't get things just right. She made the smoothie and she was the first one to try it..........she said it is very minty. I think she got way to many mint leaves! :) The flavor was very good just very minty so we added some more honeydew melon and it tasted great.
The Homeschool Review Crew received a years worth of Creation Illustrated magazines to review. We received all four of our issues (Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012) at one time. The minute we opened up our package the girls all wanted a magazine. It worked out perfect they all three had one & so did I, good thing dad was at work.
As you can tell by the covers, the pictures are amazing and the same quality pictures are inside as well. The magazines are in full color glossy print and are very pleasing to the eye. Creation Illustrated is divided into three sections: Creation Illustrated In Nature, In Scripture, and In Living. There are articles from different Creation Days, Creation Highlights, Creation Stewardship, Genesis Cuisine with recipes, Children's Story, Instructional Guides, and puzzles. Some of the articles talk about animals, plants, stars, and so much more.
Creation Illustrated has been called the "Christian National Geographic". Well it is so much more than that. I love that there isn't any evolution but the scripture verses throughout the articles make this magazine even better. It is also very refreshing to pick up a magazine & only see family friendly adds.

If you can't tell the whole family has been enjoying these magazines tremendously!!

Creation Illustrated was created by Tom & Jennifer Ish because they wanted to serve God. They decided to show God's tender mercy through His handiwork in Creation Illustrated. They wanted to provide a balance of mental, spiritual, and physical enrichment in each edition and they have been succeeding for 19 years.
Creation Illustrated can be purchased for $4.99 an issue or you can receive 4 issues a year with a subscription.
  • 1 Year $19.95
  • 2 Years $37.95
  • 3 Years $53.95
If you pay now with your credit card you can save $5.00 per year per subscription. Some back issues are available for $2.99. If you want to see how wonderful this magazine is before subscribing you can request a complimentary issue.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received 4 free issues of Creation Illustrated free of charge in exchange for my honest review. 

My World Social Studies

Pearson has been a big name in school curriculum for a long time and now they are branching into the homeschool market. Pearson Homeschool offered several products from their homeschool selection to members of the Homeschool Review Crew.
We received The Growth of Our Country 5B from the Pearson myWorld Social Studies Series. This is the second half of the 5th grade Social Studies curriculum. Included in our kit was a 330 page student handbook, a myStory Video on DVD-Rom, and a Teacher Resource Library on DVD-Rom.

The Growth of Our Country 5B is divided into 9 chapters:
  • 9. Civil War and Reconstruction
  • 10. Expanding West and Overseas
  • 11. Industry and Immigration
  • 12. Struggle for Reform
  • 13. Good Times and Hardships
  • 14. World War II
  • 15. The Cold War
  • 16. America Changes
  • 17. Americans Today
The colorful student handbook is an 8 1/2 X 11 inches with a softcover glossy finish. Before you get into the lessons there is a section to help the student with Reading, Writing, and Map Reading skills along with an introduction to Government. Each chapter is divided into lessons and starts with a question that will get the student thinking about what is being taught. The vocabulary words are listed at the start of each lesson & then they are highlighted in the text. There are maps, charts, graphs, time lines, and questions throughout the lessons. Real photos and realistic pictures are included throughout the book. The questions include Cause and Effect, Critical Thinking, & Learning Objectives.

The myStory Video on DVD-Rom contains a short video for each chapter.

The Teacher Resource Library on DVD-Rom contains the complete text that is in the student handbook. A Lesson Plan Summary is included with a suggested time frame spent on each area. All questions are answered on the page in bright pink. Activities, activity cards, blank maps, forms, outlines, charts, and colored maps are also included. There is a Podcast for the teacher in each chapter, it explains how the chapter works & the main points a child should know after completing the chapter. When you run this DVD it has a drop down list on the left side to access each chapter & what is included within each one. The tests open up as a word document or PDF form but the text & maps will open up in Adobe Reader.

The Growth of Our Country is a 5th grade curriculum but all 3 of my girls participated somewhat while using this. All three of them (age 7, 10, & 11) loved the videos. We thought they were very informational but held the attention of all three of the girls. They have watched the DVD several times, even in their free time. Each video has an adult & child discussing the issue while they are out at national parks, museums, Ellis Island, and more.

The student handbook is very attractive. I like that there are questions, charts, summarizing, and sequence include throughout the text and not just at the end of the chapter. I think that helps my kids to think about things while they are reading. My kids really liked the pictures, there are actual photos from the event or place, copies of actual newsprint and posters from the time being discussed.

I listened to the Podcast from the Teachers Resource DVD for each chapter first, and then we watched the video for the chapter before reading the text. I like having the video first because it got my kids thinking and asking questions before we actually started the book. We didn't actually write in our book since we were all doing this together, we just discussed the questions and charts in the lessons we completed. Now that the review period is over I will have Delaney (age 10) complete the rest of the book & she can answer the questions in the book. I am usually very involved in each class with my kids and I feel this curriculum worked well together and I think it will work great to have the child read and answer the questions on their own with discussion and help from the teacher.

The myWorld Social Studies bundle for 5th grade is $69.99 each and can be purchased at Pearson Homeschool.

Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed several grades in Reading Street, VisionMATH, MyMathLab, and World Social Studies. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read about them all.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received My World Social Studies free of charge from Pearson to use with my children in exchange for my review.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Story Builder

Each of my girls got an iPod Touch for Christmas last year & they love apps. They have all kinds of game apps to play, but I am always on the lookout for apps that they can actually benefit from rather than just for entertainment. Our latest app is from the Mobile Education Store and it is called Story Builder.

Story Builder is designed to help children improve the formation of a paragraph, improve integration of ideas, and improve higher levels of abstractions by inference. The use of audio clips helps improve auditory procession for special needs children.

There are 3 levels of play in Story Builder.
  • Level 1 will ask 4 questions relating to a picture.
  • Level 2 will ask 7 questions and the student will have to make inferences about what happened before and what will happen after the picture.
  • Level 3 allows the student to make up any story for the picture.
When you start to play you will see a picture, and a question about the picture will be read to you. You can then press record to speak your answer into the device. If you need to hear the question again just click repeat question. You may listen to your answer and if  you are not happy with it you can press record again to change it. Once all of your questions have been answered you can listen to the story by pressing play story. After listening to the story you have the option emailing it to your friends & family.

Under settings you can change the color display and question display. When they are turned on the background of the question will be red and the question will remain on the screen while the child answers. Intermittent means the question is red & shows up while it is being read but will go away while the child is answering. When they are turned off the background remains the same color and the question is only read to the child & not seen. If the Answer Introduction Reinforcement is turned on the first couple of words to an answer sentence will appear after the question is asked. If it is turned off there will not be any words to help the student.

I added Story Builder to all 3 of my girls iPods and my iPhone. Amber (age11), Delaney (age10), and Alaina (age 7) used the app. They all three thought it was really fun to listen to themselves tell the story. The questions that are asked about the picture really get the kids thinking about what is going on, what has happened before, and what will happen next. My girls all like to write stories and this app has helped them in different areas. It has helped Alaina to pick out details for her paragraphs & stories on the app & the ones she writes. It has helped Amber & Delaney think about what is going to happen in the rest of their paragraphs and stories. We emailed a story to ourselves but we got an error saying we didn't have a program associated with this. We could see the picture but could not hear the audio.

I think this app would be wonderful for a child who struggles with picking out details in their writing. A child that needs to work on pronouncing their words correctly could also benefit greatly because they can record their answers and listen to them right away then record them again if they need to.

Story Builder is available for $5.99 and can be used on the iPod touch & iPhone. Check out other requirements here.

Members of the Review Crew who have an iPad received the Rainbow Sentences App to review. Sail over to the Crew blog to read more reviews on Story Builder & Rainbow Sentences. 

Disclaimer: As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew I received the Story Builder App free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farm Rich Giveaway

Alaina loves breaded cheese sticks!! We always buy the Farm Rich brand but we have never tried any of their other products. When I was offered two Farm Rich items to review I wanted to choose something that we have never tried (of course we had to buy cheese sticks while we were there).

Farm Rich offers a variety of frozen products. There are Stuffed Pretzel Bites, Mini Pizza Slices, Philly Cheese Steaks, and mushrooms to name a few. It was hard to decide.

We finally chose the Queso Cheese Bites and the Jalapeno Peppers to try. I figured the girls would like the queso cheese bites & their dad would like the jalapenos.

I served the Queso Cheese Bites when we had some friends over and they were a huge hit with everyone. We had 3 adults, 2 boys (ages 8 & 11), and four girls (ages 6, 7, 9, & 11) try them and they ate the entire bag at lunch. I can't remember how long the directions said to bake these for but it wasn't very long....around 10 minutes, if I remember correctly. The breading was just the right amount of crunchiness and the creamy white queso was just the right amount of spiciness. A few of the kids said they were hot (meaning spicy) but they continued eating them so they must have been just the right amount of heat.
We waited for dad to be home one evening to try the Jalapeno Peppers. They are made with mild peppers and 100% real cream cheese and were ready in about 12 minutes. I like jalapenos chopped and added to certain foods but i don't normally like to eat them whole. I have made stuffed jalapenos before and I didn't really like them because the pepper was to hot. I made my husband try it first & he said they weren't hot so then I tried them. They were delicious!! The peppers are mild & the cream cheese was so good.

Alaina was anxious to try one but she was waiting to see what I thought. I told her they weren't very hot & that she would probably like them.
She was very leery at first but........

She loved them!
Now when she asks for cheese sticks she wants a couple of jalapenos to go with them.

Would you like to try Farm Rich products?
I have 2 Farm Rich coupons valued at $6.99 each to giveaway.

Disclaimer: I received 2 coupons valued at $6.99 each to purchase any Farm Rich products to use with my family in exchange for my honest review. Farm Rich is also providing 2 coupons values at $6.99 each to one lucky winner.
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