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Thursday, February 28, 2013

#MamaMadness Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the MamaMadness Giveaway Hop!
I am excited to bring you this first event from my blog!
Make sure to click on the links to visit the websites and my reviews for each of the sponsors!

Giveaway Hop Mama Madness

Pregalates  Pregalates also known as Pilates for pregnancy is a wonderful tool for staying limber and flexible during pregnancy and helping your birth to go smoothly.  I received a download of their pregalates for the second trimester to review.  Make sure to read my thoughts.  Winner will receive the free download as well.

Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga  I have never been a yoga person before, but wanted to try it while I was pregnant to help myself have an easier pregnancy and labor.  I have enjoyed viewing their dvd and learning along with it.  Simply and easy to follow make sure to check out my review. Winner will win a copy of the prenatal yoga dvd.

PinkBlush Maternity has some of the cutest maternity clothes I have ever seen!  I was able to receive to review a wonderful maxi dress in a gorgeous color of burgundy.  Make sure to check out my review to learn more!  Winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to pink blush maternity.

Mineral Hygienics offers a wonderful array of all natural mineral makeup that is also gluten free and cruelty free.  This makeup makes my skin feel like silk!  I reviewed the eye kit but have also reviewed their foundation kit.  Winner will receive a mini starter kit.

Whole Family Herbals and Midwifery has recently started a new website and would enjoy your interaction.  I am pleased to bring this company to you as they are a wonderful source of information for what herbs are safe during pregnancy.  I received a vial of Snooze Easy to review.

Zoey's Attic offers a wonderful variety of personalized clothing for the whole family.  I was interested in their maternity aspect.  I received a long sleeved tshirt to review and the winner will receive a $35 gift certificate to their site to choose something of their own choosing.

Kristy's Kreations makes some wonderful minky mama cloth.  I cannot lie and must say it is so soft that I had to snuggle with it as soon as it came!  Winner will receive a postpartum mama cloth similar to the one I reviewed.

Delarosa Custom Jean Skirts offers a wonderful variety of ready made modest denim skirts as well as custom skirts to your specifications.  I received a gorgeous maternity skirt in their rose ruffle design.  It is truly one of the prettiest maternity skirts I have and so versatile that I can wear it around the house or to church!  Winner will receive a basic denim skirt of up to 26 inches in length and up to an XL in size.

Wish Garden Herbs specializes in all things herb.  I tried out a trio of their products as well as the liver strengthener; winner will receive the trio. These are wonderful and perfect for the pregnant mama or any mama really!

Undercover Mama offers a unique product that I have never seen before.  They offer a tanktop that clips to your nursing bra to make it easier for you to be discreet and modestly breastfeed.  I recently weaned my 2 year old and was able to try this out while pregnant and nursing.  So stretchy!  Winner will receive an undercover mama shirt with the exception of colors blueberry, emerald, and orange.

Envision Tea offers a variety of herbal teas that are good for you and taste good too.  A few of their teas have caffeine, but of the trio that I received to review only one had caffeine.  Winner will receive a 2 oz pouch of tea.

Women's Bean Project offers coffee for a wonderful cause.  They are a non profit organization who help women to become educated and learn job skills.  I received a bag of their mellow coffee to try out and the winner will receive a gift code to use on their site to choose your own flavor.

Family Bedrock offers a variety of products but I was blessed to review their Tummy Ties.  These came in two different sizes(in two different colors) which for me seemed to correlate well with the three different trimesters.  Winner will receive a set of tummy ties as well.

Earth Mama Angel Baby is a wonderful company specializing in pampering mama and baby without allowing harsh chemicals and other nasties from reaching them.  I received the body butter to review.  Winner will receive a pregnancy kit.  Hint from me: their mama milk tea is wonderful!

LillaRose by Sarah offers flexi clips(which are so much nicer than those claws) as well as bobby pins, headbands, and more!  I received a headband to review and am in love!  Winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to use on her site.  Let me tell you this will be one of the hardest choices you'll ever have to make by deciding what to go with!

SMM Cosmetics offers a wonderful variety of skin care products and make up.  I have never been a person who wears much in the way of makeup and never lipstick.  I reviewed a lipstick and lip liner through them and winner will receive the same.

That's Coffee.com offers a wonderful variety of fair trade and organic coffees.  By now you probably know that I only drink organic fair trade for many reasons, but most important is that it has the best flavor!  I received a bag of their decaf to review.  Winner will receive the same.  Also make sure to check out the special sample pack being offered to my fans!

Be Here Soon maternity bags are just what every mama needs to take to the hospital with her!  I will be reviewing one of their bags and winner will be receiving one as well.  My bag has not arrived yet but I'm looking forward to the review!



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Thanks for entering my GrandPrize giveaway. Please visit and enter the giveaways below as well!



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LillaRose Headband Review

I love LillaRose Flexi Clips and wanted to try out one of their hair bands.  I got just the chance to do that and wanted to share with you all!

LillaRose hair band
My cute little package!

Sarah is an awesome LillaRose consultant and allowed me to pick out my own hair band.  I chose the Roses Hair band.  The roses band features antique looking roses as well as clear crystal beads.  Not only does it have the pretty part, but it also has a functional side in the adjustable fabric band on the back.  This band allows you to choose how tight or loose the hair band is on you.

hair band, exercise hair band, keep the hair out of your face
More of an up close of the hair band.

The adjustable band has to be my favorite feature on a hair band ever!  I love that I can keep the hair band from getting too tight.  I have not worn hair bands much in my life for the main reason that they always end up giving me a headache because they get too tight.  With this hair band if it starts to get too tight I can just loosen the adjustable band and keep going with my day.  No need to worry and keep an extra pretty for my hair if I go out somewhere!

antique rose hair band
Not the best picture, but it does show off the hair band well!
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Please excuse the pictures.  I'm working with a very small not so great camera while trying to repair my really good one thanks to my kiddos dropping it.  But you can even see in this picture that the band is not too tight.  Notice the black adjustment part of the band in the top photo.  This is by far the best feature they could have come up with!

I have great plans for this hair band.  I am expecting as most of my regular readers know and due in May.  This hair band is going into labor with me to help keep my hair out of my face.  I hate having my hair up when I'm in labor because then it's not comfortable to lay down.  This way it can still be out of my face and I will be comfortable!

Like what you're seeing?  Enter to win in my Grand Prize Giveaway for the #MamaMadness giveaway hop and receive a $15 gift certificate to Sarah's LillaRose!  You can use it to pick out your favorite LillaRose accessory!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with this product for free in exchange for a review.  I was not coerced or forced to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are mine alone and not influenced in anyway.  I am disclosing this to be in accordance with FTC regulations.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review except for the product described. 



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Kristy's Kreations Mama Pad Review

I recently discovered a great little shop that only has facebook to promote them.  I was allowed to review one of their postpartum pads.  These pads are gorgeous!  Super soft minky that just makes you want to snuggle with it.  I must confess that I had to snuggle my cheek into the soft pad material myself before I even prepped it.

minky cloth mama pad, reusable pad
The gorgeous minky fabric.


The pad has two snap settings for how snugly it will fit to your underwear.  These are very helpful if you are a smaller or larger woman so you can make it the most comfortable fit for you.

minky mama cloth, mama pad, snaps
Close up of the two snap settings.

The pad is 14 inches in length and made out of an upper of minky, two layers of zorb, and then backed in fleece.  These are very absorbent.

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Fleece backing.

If you have never used mama cloth before, it is a lot like cloth diapers in that you have to prep them.  With my pad came a magnet telling me how to prep this pad.  It states to wash 2-3 times to get the zorb at it's most absorbent point.  I did the wash like I would a diaper.  I washed first in hot water, and then did two rinses in cold.  Allow to dry, and then repeat this process.

Once I was done prepping the diaper I wanted to see how much water it would hold.  I know water and blood are not quite the same and the absorbency may vary with the different liquids, but I was very pleased to find that I did not encounter leaks from the pad until I had put 4 cups of water onto it!  This is quite a lot!  I would say that I personally change my pads every 3-4 hours and it is unlikely that it would become that soiled during this time which is wonderful!  This means leaks are not very likely to happen.

This pad will make a wonderful addition to my mama cloth stash and specifically to my stash or post baby.  When I'm not postpartum it will make an excellent overnight pad as well.

Make sure you check out Kristy's Kreations on facebook.  If you have a special order or product you'd like to see don't hesitate to send her a message.  She will gladly work with you to custom make that perfect pad!

I love the colors on mine as well as the softness.  This is a far cry better than most of my cloth pads which are flannel and PUL backed as it breathes so much better!

Oh and don't forget if you want to win one of your own to hop on over to my #MamaMadness Giveaway Hop and enter to win in the grand prize.  There are several other blogs in the hop who will be having their own prizes as well so make sure to hop around!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with this product for free in exchange for a review.  I was not coerced or forced to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are mine alone and not influenced in anyway.  I am disclosing this to be in accordance with FTC regulations.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review except for the product described. 




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The Return of Cassandra Todd by Darrel Nelson -Review CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Return of Cassandra Todd
Realms (February 5, 2013)
by
Darrel Nelson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.

ABOUT THE BOOK




When the girl he hated in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, and asks for his help, Turner must put the past behind him if they are to survive.

Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he passes the bus depot just as Cassandra Todd and her young son arrive. He is shocked to see her, remembering how cruel she was to him in high school. She was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her mean-spirited pranks. Turner could never have imagined that the outdoor training and survival skills he learned at Camp Kopawanee, a summer youth camp where he worked three years as a leader, would one day become so crucial. But when Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, Turner finds himself entangled in a situation that will require every skill he has in order to survive.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Return of Cassandra Todd, go HERE.

My thoughts:  I had not heard of this author before, but the lead in for this book is wonderful and made me want to read it.  I loved this book.  I loved the outdoor aspect and the fact that the guy actually knew his way around outdoors.  The husband, well of course I didn't like him at all and of course he's not the greatest guy.  The little boy is adorable and makes me think of my own little boys.  They love an adventure and roaming in the woods would be considered that.  But, I don't want to spoil what happens in the end so lets just say that you'll love this book.  The suspense and mystery are wonderful and will keep you spellbound.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for free in association with the CFBA. I was not compensated in any other way besides this book. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway. I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts on the book. I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations.



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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A+ Tutorsoft CD Software Review

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I received the A+ Tutorsoft Inc. CD Software for 1st grade to review.  The CD software is for A+ Interactive Math for 1st grade.  They also offer an online version of the CD software.

Before I tell you about this product, I want to share a discount code that the company is offering.  Through the end of March you can receive 50% off by using coupon code SPOFFER50!  Wow!  That is an awesome discount and a great one to take advantage of if you're looking for a great math software for your kids.  And if you keep reading I'll tell you what we think of this one!




I have to admit when I signed up to review this I thought we would be using it with my oldest daughter.  Instead her little brother decided that this was his new favorite thing in the world!  He's always liked math and is actually very good at it.  He's 6 years old and ahead of his 8 year old sister!

Patrick sat at the computer the first day he used this course and did three lessons.  He listened and interacted during the "talking"--lecturish portion and then did the questions that went along with the lesson.  After he finished the first lesson I was going to shut it down until the next day but he begged to do another!  When a child begs to do school, well it's normally best to let them!  So I let him do a second lesson and second question set.  He then decided on his own to go to the third and was well into it before I realized he had even begun!

Our regular math book has not begun to teach skip counting yet and he is finding this to be one of his favorite things that the program covers.  He will go back to those lessons just to listen to them and count with them.  He does not like having to wait until the afternoon to work on his math now because he wants to have more time to use this math program before Daddy gets home from work and might need to use the computer. 

My 8 year old daughter is also in the 1st grade math program and has been using this software.  She tends to get a bit bored listening to the lessons but loves doing the worksheets.  She wants her worksheets in front of her on paper though so we print hers out while Patrick does his on the computer.  This works out well for us so that they can both be using the program at the same time with only one computer!

The CD program does not automatically keep track of your children's grades for you.  It does however, provide you with a space where you can input when they did each lesson, what their score was on their questions, and a small section for notes.  Because it also has you set up a parent account I can do this for both children daily without having to get into both of their accounts.  I am like my daughter and prefer being able to do things with pencil and paper so I tend to print these off and fill them in by hand.  You can print them off after filling them out by week or by month to include in your homeschool planning folder as well.

The A+ Tutorsoft Interactive Math program was very easy to install.  We simply put the disc in the computer and followed the instructions.  It allows you to set up a parent account as well as multiple children accounts.  We received the premium edition on cd which retails at $124.99.    If that seems a bit pricey make sure to remember the coupon code for 50% off that I shared earlier.  I think the cost is reasonable considering you have a full years worth of math for your child, you can use it for more than one child, and it also has extra worksheets you can print off to do with your child.  

You can learn more and see more examples of the CD premium software by visiting this page on their site. 

We are not required in my state to do standardized state testing, but I believe this would cover all of the necessary components for each grade level and provide your child with a very solid basis for 1st grade.  I personally love that it doesn't take a lot of my time to sit and teach this to my children.  They love the colorful graphics and the "online teacher" helping them to learn.  Sometimes I think all our children need to get past a roadblock in learning is someone else to help explain!

Don't take my word as the only ones on this program, check out the other Crew Member Reviews on A+ Tutorsoft Inc to find different grades as well as some reviews of the online program.  

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Disclaimer:  I was provided with  a copy of this curriculum for free in association with the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I was not compensated in any other way besides this curriculum.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts(or those of my children) on the curriculum.  I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations.




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Tuesday's Good Eatin' Recipe Hop -The Pitch List

 
Welcome to the Good Eatin' Recipe Hop
hosted by
The 'Pitch List' Bloggers

Every Tuesday you can join us to share great recipes.........
There are no specific themes. 
Add your recipe of choice to the linky.
No Giveaways Please...all giveaways will be removed.
We Love Comments! Please Share!



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Monday, February 25, 2013

Healthier Homestead Egg Wipes Review

I recently got to try out some wonderful little things called Healthier Homestead Egg Wipes.  These guys are used to wipe clean farm fresh eggs.  If you've ever lived on a farm and gathered eggs, you know they don't always come out of the nest boxes all nice and pretty.  In fact, a lot of the time they have all kinds of yucky stuff on them that we don't want to get in our food.  



These wipes are very easy to use. A bit about them from the website can be found below:

Natural plant-based formulation gently cleans the egg of soils after laying. One cloth cleans up to a dozen eggs depending on the soil level. Just wipe the egg with the soft biodegradable pop-up cloth. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Store cleaned eggs in the refrigerator. Used cloths can be tossed in the compost bin.

These really are very simple to use. You get one out of the container. It has a nice flip top lid with a pop up dispenser. Gently wipe the egg clean and move on to the next one. If the eggs are very soiled you'll have to change your wipe sooner than once every dozen.

My oldest son Patrick gathers our eggs for us once daily when he does the chicken chores. One chicken chore is to take out the bucket of scraps for the chickens to eat. He then puts the eggs in this bucket which adds additional yuck to them if he didn't empty the bucket fully. I had been using hot soapy water and a soft scratch free pad to clean our eggs. Now with these simple easy to use wipes my two oldest girls take turns using the wipes to wipe off the eggs and place them in their egg cartons which go in our refrigerator. Since it's winter we're not getting a lot of eggs, but due to the soiling of the eggs we use one wipe per day on our eggs.

These great little egg wipes are manufactured by Dragonfly Organix. You can find them through their website and facebook. You can also find them through the Garden Guys. The Garden Guys also have a facebook and twitter pages.

You might also want to tune in on the Garden Guys radio talk show to learn some helpful hints on being green! Garden Guys Green Revolution Talk Radio! With the addition of some great music and lots of laughs, the Garden Guys discuss the latest products, methods and ideas for "green living" in an effort to make the world in which we share safer for present and future generations.
Don't forget to check out the giveaway for this item as well!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions provided in this post are my own and not influenced in anyway. I was not compensated in any way except for the free product mentioned above. I received this product in conjunction with The Pitch List.



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Healthier Homestead Egg Wipe Giveaway

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Do you enjoy giving your family the best eggs possible?  Do you eat farm fresh eggs?  If you don't is it just because you're worried about the "dirt" on the outside of the egg?  Well, if that's the case you need to check out these Egg Wipes!  Read my review of the Healthier Homestead Egg Wipes and form an opinion for yourself, but I think you're going to want to enter this giveaway!!!

Winner will be notified after the giveaway ends.  You will have 48 hours to respond to the email before a new winner is chosen.  Winners need to be located in the US due to shipping restraints.



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Flora's Wish -Review CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Flora's Wish
Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
by
Kathleen Y'Barbo


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few.

Kathleen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a former member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division.

A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y’Barbo has four children of her own as well as seven bonus kids she gladly inherited when she married her own hero in combat boots. Kathleen is proud to be a military wife, even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.



ABOUT THE BOOK

May 1887--Flora Brimm is determined the fifth time is the charm. Back home she has a reputation as "Fatal Flora," a woman whose previous four fianc├ęs died in untimely accidents. Flora is desperate to marry, because producing an heir is the only way she can keep her family's estate. She's confident this visit to Eureka Springs with her grandmother will help her land a husband.

Pinkerton detective Lucas McMinn is hot on the trail of Will Tucker, the thief who broke his sister's heart. When he discovers the slippery fellow with Flora, he thinks they are in on the devious plot together. Will Flora be able to convince Lucas of her innocence? Will Lucas catch the elusive Mr. Tucker?

And, more importantly, will Lucas survive if he pursues Flora's heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Flora's Wish, go HERE.

My thoughts:  I loved this book!  I love a bit of mystery and this period in history.  How Lucas and Flora meet is especially amusing and definitely sets the tone for the book.  I definitely recommend this book and applaud the author for her style in writing it.  I had not read anything by this author before and really enjoyed it!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with  a copy of this book for free in association with the CFBA.  I was not compensated in any other way besides this book.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts on the book.  I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations.



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Friday, February 22, 2013

Handwriting Without Tears Homeschool Review


Handwriting without Tears Logo

When my husband and I decided to homeschool our children, I never gave much thought to handwriting as a course.  I really didn't remember doing handwriting in school and thought I'd just have the kids practice on their own.  I really did not realize how hard it can be to make letters correctly for some children!  Now, let me introduce a handwriting course that works wonders!

Handwriting Without Tears is an easy to teach(so wonderfully easy!), easy to learn(my daughter loves it) curriculum for kids.  They have a great teaching program to take you from kindergarten all the way up to grade 5 to help your children learn.  Recently the books have all been redone!  HWT(Handwriting without tears) also offers a preK program called Get Set for School.  One of the many wonderful things about this handwriting curriculum is that it is used daily for only about 15 minutes.  In that time your child will learn how to properly form a new letter or practice on one they've done before.  If you purchase their manipulatives to go with the younger grades your child will learn how to form the letters first by using their hands and straight or curved wood pieces and then with pencil and paper!

I was blessed to get to review the second grade course with my oldest daughter.  She just turned 8 less than a month ago and had finished already(in one semester!) her entire years worth of first grade handwriting.  I was so pleased to get to try out HWT as we had heard about it through our occupational therapist in regards to another with learning disabilities.  We were told this was an excellent course for those with problems learning and those without.  It is even being used in some schools now!  We were planning on using this with our other girl at the start of the new school year so as not to switch midway through.  Now I think I'm ready just to move all of my kids over to this!

The student books for grade 2.
As you can see in the above picture, we received the second grade Printing Power as well as the Kick Start Cursive.  Since HWT just revamped their curriculum we got to test out the new books as well as the cursive!  I really was not looking forward to starting cursive with my kids as I remember hardly nothing and really don't write in cursive except for my signature.  This book makes it so easy!  I'm relearning the letters right now as my daughter works through the printing power book.  Then, when she starts the cursive I will at least know how to show her how to properly form the letters!

A page from the Kick Start Cursive book.
Above in the picture you can see a page out of the Kick Start Cursive book that is part of the second grade course.  While my daughter has not started this book yet, I have looked through it and am very impressed with how easily they are teaching cursive.  I have learned cursive before but remembered none of the proper formations.  I have looked through the book and practiced forming my letters properly.  It really is very easy to learn from this and I know instead of dreading the day that we'll start cursive am looking forward to it!

If you would like to see sample pages from the second grade print power as well as the kick start cursive book please feel free to visit this page on the HWT website!

This page comes from the Printing Power book.
As you can see above in a page from Printing Power, the books shows them the correct way to form the letters step by step.  It then has them practice the letter by itself and in words.  This is perfect for my daughter.  I looked at the younger age group books as well and they are much the same but with more practice per letter to ensure that they learn it correctly.

The first thing I noticed about the curriculum is the fact that the lines are different than what I've always used. I had never seen papers with only two lines before.  To someone who went to public school and has always used the bold line, dotted line, bold line form of paper to learn my letters this threw me for a bit.  My daughter had no such qualms though.  She seems to think the elimination of a line is easier to work with.  When I asked her how this was different than her other one she said it was easier because she didn't have to worry about all the lines.  She had always struggled with making all of her letters the correct height and now does not seem to have any difficulties.

I was very pleased when browsing the HWT website that I could also buy notebooks or paper in a variety of line sizes for my kids for extra practice as well as spelling tests, copy work, etc.  I would recommend the paper to go with the course if you plan on having your kids do writing outside of their books.  This has helped to not confuse my daughter who did not like going back to the other paper for her spelling tests.  We purchased a notebook of this paper and her spelling tests have become much neater and her letters formed correctly with this.

I am sure by now that you are wondering on the costs of this program.  It actually is a very reasonable one!  The second grade set that we received including the Kick Start Cursive with the Printing Power book is $10.25 while the teachers book for these can be purchased for $9.25.  This can easily be used for more than one child by purchasing more workbooks.

To learn more about the other grades and also an app for your Android phones or the Ipad please check out the TOS Crew members reviews.  We don't have either of those wonderful devices, but are greatly enjoying the books.  You will find reviews for grade K-3.

Disclaimer:  I was provided with  a copy of this curriculum for free in association with the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I was not compensated in any other way besides this curriculum.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts(or those of my children) on the curriculum.  I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations. Pin It Now!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Song School Spanish Review -Classical Academic Press

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 I had never heard of Classical Academic Press until I was allowed to review their Song School Spanish course.  CAP(Classical Academic Press) has a variety of courses that they sell to help your children excel in their home school program.  If you've been following my blog for long you will know that we love to use a variety of homeschool curriculum around here.  We had not tried a foreign language yet with our kiddos so my oldest was excited to try this one out!

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 With this I received the Song School Spanish student book(with CD) as well as the teachers edition.  The CD that comes with the student book(it is inside the back cover) includes 44 songs to help your children learn.  All of my kiddos enjoyed the CD even though they were not using the curriculum.

The student book is geared towards the K-3rd grade and costs $24.95.  I've heard it said that children learn languages better the younger they are when exposed to them.  My kids have occasionally watched Dora and Diego to pick up a few Spanish words.  My daughter(who is in first grade) was very pleased that she already knew a few of the words in the curriculum.



The teachers edition includes all of the student book plus the keys to go with the worksheets.  This book costs $24.95 as well.  It also includes ideas of how to use the curriculum in your classroom.  I also want to share that it also has over 40 pages of extra work pages that you can use with your child who has excelled and finished all of their normal coursework and wants to learn more.  The answer keys for these are included as well.

I do want to point out that they offer a Song School Spanish bundle that included the student and teachers books as well as the Spanish Amigo Match Flashcard Game.  This offer is only $66.95.

Now that I've told you all about the course, let me tell you a bit about how we used this.  We loved the vocabulary words the most and it was also something that the other kids could look at and participate in.  We decided the best thing to do was to make flashcards with the vocabulary words.  Each chapter had it's own list so you can separate them by chapters or by sections.  There are review chapters within the lessons and so when we would hit those we'd combine the chapters that went with that review.  By the time we finish the course we will have all of the words together in one big stack!



As I mentioned before, my kids LOVED the songs.  I have some kids who just learn everything better if you can put it to music or rhyme.  For them they didn't need the book, they just needed those songs and they were good.  We loved to take the cd with us in the van and just listen to us.  If we hadn't covered that material yet they'd just listen to the song, but I found they were also picking up the words as they'd be using them later in the day.  It makes me wish we could get a cd like this for our vocab words in English too!


For me, the teachers edition was great!  I loved that it didn't just give me numbers and answers.  It shows what they're actually doing in their workbook and just adds the answers in.  It even shows the pages that the kids aren't having questions on.  Each page of the teachers book holds two pages of the student book.  This makes it so the teachers book isn't that much thicker than the student book and is very easy to use without having to constantly be flipping back and forth between pages.  Easily one of the easiest to use teachers guides I've come across.

If you'd like to find out from other members of the Crew what they thought of the Song School Spanish program of two of the other CAP programs feel free to visit the Crew Blog and pick which ones to read.  There are several and they're all great!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with  a copy of this curriculum for free in association with the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I was not compensated in any other way besides this curriculum.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts(or those of my children) on the curriculum.  I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations.



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National Sticky Bun Day!

I just found out that today is National Sticky Bun day!  That sounds so good!

I wanted to share my cinnamon roll recipe.  It is gluten free but actually rises!  Woohoo, these were something I missed and am so glad this recipe worked out for us.  Hope you try it and it works for you too.  Easily make it dairy free with coconut milk and coconut oil instead of butter as well.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Don't these look good?



Make sure to go on over and check out my recipe as well!

These may be some of the best gluten free dairy free cinnamon rolls you've ever eaten!!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flowering Baby Homeschool Review

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 Do you struggle with whether or not to get a home school curriculum for schooling your younger children?  I have two two year old little girls that I really just didn't want to leave out of school this year.  They love participating with their older brothers and sisters while we do school, but they're not really ready to be learning to read quite yet!

I was very excited to get the chance to review the Flowering Baby curriculum as it deals with young children.  And by young, I mean it actually has a section for birth and on up!  You have birth to one year, one year to two year, two year to three year, three year to four year, and four year to five year!  I received a downloadable file for all five years.  The younger children sections are even divided up by month!  So you can just go to the month that is your child's age and find fun activities and books that are age appropriate as well as some things that your baby should be able to do at that age!  I loved this!

I received the whole five years in download format.  These courses are very detailed and give you instructions for each day.  There is not a lot of preplanning that you the parent has to do except to have all of the supplies ready.  At the beginning of each section you are provided with materials that you need.  For us this was a list of books(all of which we either already had or were available through the local library) and a supply list of things you will need.  Most are things that you will have lying around the house: crayons, construction paper, empty toilet paper tubes, etc.  It also lists things that would be fun to include such as a trip to the local zoo.

If you visit the Flowering Baby website and go to the bottom of the page for each section you will find a full month sample to view!

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Four Year Old Themed Units
I used two different sections of this curriculum(I received all of them, but only two were needed due to my children's ages).  For the age 4 group you could use a monthly schedule or a themed unit schedule.  We went with the themed units.  For January the theme was Aquarium and Arctic Life/Dinosaurs.  This was a huge hit with my little boy!  The only sad note was that we were not able to visit our local zoo that has a huge walk through aquarium and wonderful penguin run.  The zoo is two hours away and we just didn't have a really nice day that fit in our schedule to go.

Some fun activities that went with the Aquarium and Arctic Life theme were finding pictures(we went online) of arctic animals and deciding if they lived on land, water, or both.  The kids also had to identify what the animal was.  This was such fun and we learned about a few new animals!  We talked about what we would wear if we decided to visit the Antarctic/Arctic.  My kids thought they might need their snow pants and coats, but didn't want gloves because they wanted to be able to feel the animals fur or skin!  I love the logic of little children!

After the animals we studied water, birds, and bugs.  While studying birds we went to our local Wildlife Refuge which is a migratory stop off for geese and swans.  We also saw several hawks and other fun birds.  As an activity we took construction paper, pipe cleaners, and crayons and made some lovely butterflies!  Another activity that the kids loved was using an egg carton(cut in half lengthwise) to be a caterpillar.  The kids got to use paints to paint it.  They thought this was so neat!

Though this was an activity in the 4-5 year section, all 8 of my kids enjoyed it!

We used this butterfly craft in conjunction with the 2-3 year old course as well.
Here is our youngest concentrating on doing her butterfly.

I loved these themed units and loved watching my kids have so much fun learning.  It wasn't just my four year old doing this.  It was also my 8 year old and everyone on down to the 2 year old.  Of course some got more out of it and remembered more of it than others, but they all learned and had fun.  And THAT is the most important thing about school!

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Two to Three Year Old
The other part of the curriculum that we used was the 2-3 year old section.  My youngest turned 2 in November so in January she was 26 months old.  We started out with the 26 month section.  The first thing I noticed was the extensive book list at the beginning of this section.  We love to read in our house and I was pleased to see some of our favorite books on there.

I loved that one of the books for month 26 was the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  While big brother was studying bugs we could read this book and help him make caterpillars.  I love being able to tie what one child is doing in with what another is doing.

One of the suggestions that surprised me was having them listen to classical music for at least 15 minutes a day.  They would have you change the composer but always classical.  We have always played classical music to our children at bedtime.  They go to sleep with a classical cd playing in the background.  So, what we did was to use the composer that they suggested as the cd for that month!  For month 26 it was Hayden. My kids all love classical music and I think that this has something to do with it.

Each day you have a book of the day, a color of the day, and a shape of the day.  Naturally my kiddos favorite part was the coloring.  Fionna(my youngest two year old) already knew her colors but she had great fun helping her sister find the right crayons since she still struggles with knowing her colors at the age of 30 months.

There were a few things we had to improvise on due to weather.  For instance, one day we were supposed to go outside and use sidewalk chalk, but it was very cold so we had to stay inside.  Instead we cut out lines to make the squares that we would have made on the sidewalk.  I am lucky to have a play area in our basement that the kids can do fun things in!

We really enjoyed using and reviewing Flowering Baby.  You can purchase the downloads online at the Flowering Baby store and also receive a 10% discount by entering code "Blog10" when you checkout.  For the entire five year program the cost is $132.  For the first three sections(birth to 1, 1-2, and 2-3) each section costs $30.  The other two sections(3-4, and 4-5) are each $38.

Make sure to check out the rest of The Crew's blog posts on this curriculum to learn more about the other levels that we did not use here!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with  a downloadable file for all five years of this curriculum for free in association with the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I was not compensated in any other way besides this curriculum.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own and not influenced in anyway.  I was not coerced to write a positive review but rather wrote my own thoughts(or those of my children) on the curriculum.  I am disclosing this to be in compliance with the FTC Regulations. Pin It Now!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tuesday's Good Eatin' Recipe Hop -Pitch List

 
Welcome to the Good Eatin' Recipe Hop
hosted by
The 'Pitch List' Bloggers

Every Tuesday you can join us to share great recipes.........
There are no specific themes. 
Add your recipe of choice to the linky.
No Giveaways Please...all giveaways will be removed.
We Love Comments! Please Share!



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For Love of Eli -Review CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
For Love of Eli
Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
by
Loree Lough


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

With more than FOUR MILLION copies of her books in circulation, Loree has 98 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; four novels optioned for movies; more books slated for release between now and 2014), 68 short stories, over 2,500+ articles in print, and over 19,000 letters from fans!

Loree loves sharing learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers' organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad.

A writer who believes in "giving back," Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers' Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations.

She splits her time between a tiny home in the Baltimore suburbs and an even tinier cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of "wolf stuff."

ABOUT THE BOOK

When unspeakable tragedy leaves young Eli an orphan, two families are devastated. But Taylor, Eli’s aunt and legal guardian, vows to help him remember his parents by creating a Memory Quilt. As she begins piecing together the moments of his parents' lives, the story of the young family emerges and Taylor and Eli begin to heal. But Eli’s uncle Reece is slow to let go of the past and still blames Taylor’s brother for his sister’s death. So, although he has long been attracted to Taylor, Reece keeps a safe distance away. Can their shared love for Eli pave the way to forgiveness or will Taylor and Reece be separated by pain?


If you would like to read a first chapter excerpt of For Love of Eli, go HERE.

My thoughts:  I have enjoyed all the books that I have read in the Quilts of Love series and this is no exception.  This book is well written and definitely draws you in.  I felt for poor Eli who had lost both parents so young.  At times I wanted to knock the adults heads together to get them back on track(well mainly just Uncle Reece).  This is a wonderful book that I recommend.  More of a book on finding God and love than mystery and intrique, but a wonderful read.

I was provided with a copy of this book for free in exchange for the review.  I am not forced to provide a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.  I was not compensated for this post other than in receiving a free copy of the book. Pin It Now!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Xtreme Qpon Bloggiversary Giveaway

Xtreme Qpon Bloggiversary Giveaway

amazon gift card


For Him and My Family has teamed up with several other great bloggers to celebrate Xtreme Qpon's 1 year Bloggiversary with this super great giveaway! 
 One Lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card to either Amazon, Walmart, or PayPal....winner's choice! Everyone loves a gift card giveaway
 A super lucky winner will also receive a flat rate envelope full of Smart Source coupon inserts! 
 Perfect for any extreme couponer or aspiring couponer! 
Please enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. 
 You do not have to complete all entries to win, but the more entries you do complete, the better your chances are of being chosen. 
 All of these wonderful bloggers on the rafflecopter have chipped in on the prize, so your entry is greatly appreciated! 
Giveaway is open to US only, winning entries will be verified, and giveaway ends on 2/28! Remember....sharing is caring! 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook and is Facebook-compliant. Winners will be notified by email from Xtreme Qpon. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiting their prize. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. The blogs participating may not be held liable for Sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments.   Pin It Now!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ham and Cheese Casserole

If you live in our house you'd know that I love being able to throw stuff together and make a casserole for my family to enjoy instead of having to make three or four dishes to feed us.

This is such a casserole.  I had some leftover chopped ham.  One small package of spaghetti noodles(these were a corn based noodle).  Some frozen peas and some cheddar cheese.  So what did I do?  Well it's simple really!

Delicious ham and cheese casserole.
1.  Cook up some spaghetti noodles to just under done.  Ours were gluten free of course!
2.  Drain the noodles.
3.  Place noodles, chopped ham, and frozen peas together in a bowl.
4.  Mix well.
5.  Make a cheese sauce to go over your pasta casserole.  You can find my favorite recipe here.
6.  Place the noodle mix in a 13 by 9 casserole dish.
7.  Pour the cheese sauce over the top.
8.  Bake at 350 degrees for at least half an hour, or until it is golden on top.

Last but not least.  Let it cool just a little bit and then enjoy!  You can also put some bacon bits on top of this or crushed gluten free crackers or even crushed chex cereal.

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Daybreak -Review CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Daybreak
Avon Inspire; Original edition (February 12, 2013)
by
Shelley Shepard Gray


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Viola Keim starts working at a nearby Mennonite retirement home, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with resident Atle, whose only living relative, son Edward, is living as a missionary in Nicaragua. Viola understands the importance of mission work, but she can’t imagine leaving her father in the hands of strangers. Even though her family is New Order Amish, it’s not the Amish way, and though she doesn’t know Ed, she judges him for abandoning his father.



But when Ed surprises his father with a visit, Viola and Ed both discover an attraction they never expected. Despite her feelings, choosing Ed would mean moving to a far-off country and leaving her family behind. She can’t do that. Her twin sister, Elsie, is going blind and will need someone to care for her all her life. Her family is reeling with the recent discovery that her grandmother hid her past as an Englischer. Her father seems forgetful and distracted—and to be harboring some secrets of his own. Does Viola dare leave them all behind and forge her own life? Or will family ties mean her one chance at love slips away?

If you would like to read a first Chapter excerpt from Daybreak,go HERE.

My thoughts:  As everyone probably knows, I love Amish fiction.  I really enjoyed this book because it shows you another side of the Amish. It shows some Amish with flaws.  We know they're out there, but they don't get represented in most books.  I fell in total love with Viola and felt for her as she struggles to make the right choices and come to terms with what is going on in her life.

I was provided with a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review.  I was not forced to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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