Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TOS Review - Science in a Bag

Science is a favorite subject in our house.  At this moment, I have three science experiments on my kitchen counter:  a sprouting ear of Indian corn (it has begun to sprout, but it is taking for-ev-er, so that experiment may be scrapped if it doesn't get a move on), lima bean plants and a container of oobleck that we used last week at our Co-op.  We, ahem, Julianna has been playing with it almost daily.  It is totally cool stuff.  If you like Science (and simple experiments to go along with it), then I have some good news to share with you:  Science Experiments in a Bag e-books, volumes 1-3.

Activity Bags was started by two homeschooling moms, Paula and Sherri, as a way to keep their preschoolers occupied while teaching their older kids. They came up with activities, got together with other moms, put all the materials for the activities in bags and did a swap.  It was such a success that it grew from the Preschool Activity in a Bag books to a product line that now includes Reading, Math, Travel, and Science for grades K-6 and Daily Activity Journals (with writing/activity/grammar work) for 3rd - 7th grade.  They also have a Coordinator Handbook (free download) available to help you organize your own swap.

My musings:
We received all three of the Science Experiments in a Bag e-books to review.  Each one covers different scientific areas:  Book 1- Biology, Nature and General Science,  Book 2 - Chemistry, Human Body and General Science, Book 3 - Chemistry.  Each book has 25 detailed experiments that you can do or you can gather the supplies for and put them into a ziplock bag to complete at a later time.  One of the cool things about the books is if you are planning on coordinating an activity bag swap, each experiment gives the supply lists for 1, 10, 15 or 20 bags, so all the figuring of supplies is done for you.  Less I have to plan out things the better.  We tried experiments from each book and found them all to be pretty fun and easy to do.  We did volcanoes (with baking soda/vinegar, mentos candy in diet soda (a favorite!), made butter and stuck a wooden skewer through an inflated balloon.  The majority required items we had on hand, but you might have to plan ahead for some.  I tried to get pictures, but failed miserably.  I almost had one of the balloon, but it deflated before I could get it snapped and when we tried again (or two more times), the balloons burst.  I did work once though!

Individually the e-books cost $15, but you can get books 1-2 (in the same series) bundled together for $27.  You can get a free sampler activity bag set for filling out this survey on their website.

* Disclaimer - As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a set of the 3 Science in a Bag e-books in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *

Thursday, October 25, 2012

TOS Review - Crossbow Education

I will admit, when I read the company name, Crossbow Education, I thought about all the years I had to endure deer hunting season growing up. *sigh* Can't take the West Virginia out of the girl after all.  :-/ (A crossbow is a type of hunting bow which is why I made the correlation. I always said I would never marry a hunter or fisherman.  I am happy to report that I did not. No offense to the hunter/fisher wives out there. ;-) )   Alas, I'm happy to report that all the deer population in my neck of the woods is still safe from me.  This company has nothing to do with hunting at all, they have instead created an awesome little product called the Reading Ruler.
Crossbow Education is a Christian company (corporate offices are based in the UK with a smaller division in the US) specializing in products geared towards assisting students with Dyslexia.  (I am starting to wonder if Julianna is dyslexic.  Still trying to figure things out about that.)  
We were able to try out the Eye Level Reading Ruler.  The ruler (which comes in 10 colors) can be flipped and used to highlight a single sentence on one side or multiple sentences on the other side.  

Here is a description of the Reading Ruler from the Crossbow website:

The Eye Level Reading Ruler is a colored overlay text highlighter about the size of a six-inch ruler. Discreet and portable, the reading ruler is made of a combination of opaque and transparent plastic that both underlines the text and highlights it in a coloured tint. Simply read the text through either of the tinted plastic strips of your selected color, and track down the page: broad strip for paragraphs; narrow strip for single lines.
My Musings:
At the beginning of our new school year I got Julianna a similar product to help her focus on the text she was reading.  It was about the same size, but it only highlighted one single sentence at a time.  While I thought it was definitely beneficial and we used it frequently, it didn't help with her reading fluency because she could only see the single line.  Being able to read several sentences without sliding the ruler down each line is probably the thing that has helped us the most.  We have tried a variety of the colors, but I haven't noticed any advantages of one over another.  I wish I could say it has solved all of our struggles, but it has helped her to focus more on the words.  If your kiddo needs help staying focused on text, I would definitely recommend trying the Reading Ruler, available at the Crossbow Education website in packs of 5 for $9.45 or 10 for $16.95. 


* Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was given a set of the Eye Level Reading Rulers in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received. *

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Days

I love all things Fall!  
Cooler weather, turning leaves, apple cider, college football, and everything pumpkin flavored and scented.
(Just to prove that point, I am sipping Pumpkin Spice coffee as I type this post. It's yummy!)

Here are some pictures of things we've been doing so far this Fall:

Julianna getting ready to enter her zucchini in the county fair.

Barbie's sisters decided to re-enact some of our History lessons.

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We had to hunt (and hunt) for the "perfect pumpkins".  She found one for Dad that was "tall and responsible".  Lol

Pinterest inspired Science experiment, sprouting Indian Corn.  I'll post more pictures if it works.  

Cleaning out the pumpkin guts.

Julianna and Dad having a snack.

Her carved pumpkin.  We put a glow stick inside (which worked well), but it didn't last long...or photograph well.  

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

TOS Review - Beeyoutiful

This review is a little different from all my other reviews...this product is not a educational resource and it was all for ME, ME, ME! (Well, not entirely, Julianna used it as well.)

 Recently we had the opportunity to try a variety of skin care items from Beeyoutiful, a company offering products made in the USA of pure, natural ingredients. From their website: Beeyoutiful skin products contain NO Parabens, Formaldehyde, Petroleum derived ingredients or SLS Detergents. They are all manufactured in the USA using pure, all natural ingredients. No testing done on animals. All testing personally done by Beeyoutiful Staff and family.

As we are s-l-o-w-l-y adjusting our mindset towards a more natural-ish lifestyle, our focus has been more on food than other products. (We are now part owners in our local natural market...we figured, we spend enough money there, we might as well join in with them.) Burt's Bees has been the closest I've gotten to natural health and beauty products...and they may not even be, I haven't even checked! (It will never be a complete transformation I'm afraid. I am hopelessly devoted to Purell. True story.) Beeyoutiful was kind enough to send us four products to try out in a skin care package:

My musings:

I enjoyed trying all the products sent by Beeyoutiful. Here is my overview of each item:

Hair Shine Spray-In Conditioner - I used this on both mine and Julianna's hair. I loved the light feel and citrus-y scent of this conditioner.  It is listed as a detangler, as well.  I'm not completely convinced that ANY detangler on the market works well on our fine hair, so using that criteria, I'd say it performs as well as others. The website also says that it can be used as a cooling spray for sunburns and insect bites.  Good to know for next summer...or if I jump a plane and head somewhere tropical before then. My rating:  thumbs up.

Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer and Laveshmint Hydrating Toner - I love the scent of this moisturizer and the toner spray.  It's a light, lavender/peppermint blend.  It is recommended for all skin types.  I tend to have oily skin, so I'm not one to use any type of moisturizer.  I didn't really like the feel of this on my face (even though the cooling from the peppermint was nice), but I did start using it on my hands since I'm quite harsh on them, washing them all the time.  I did love the toner spray, though.  I use it in the morning and night after washing my face.  My rating:  thumbs up.

Vanilla Dream Body Butter - I have a love/hate relationship with body butters (and sugar scrubs, too).  I love how soft my skin feels after I use them, but I hate the greasiness on my hands to get to the softness.  Oh, the difficulties we must overcome in life.  This body butter has a nice, light vanilla's not too strong like most vanilla items, which usually make me queasy.  My rating:  neutral.  It has nothing to do with the product itself, though and everything to do with my greasy hands issues.  

If you are interested in natural products for yourself and your family, please check out Beeyoutiful.  They have a great selection of a variety of things.  You'll be glad you did.  

You can see what my other Crew Members thought by clicking the banner below.


* Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received the Beeyoutiful skin care package in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was given. *