Sunday, February 26, 2012

Being Beautiful

We women like to look and feel beautiful.  I had the opportunity recently to review 2 products from a company called BeeYouTiful.  


BeeYouTiful's About Us Page states:

"At, we believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor's responsibility to keep you in good health. Instead they are a tremendous resource, especially for those times when urgent care is required. But, they are only one of many resources. And the tools they use, while powerful, are not the only tools available. But a tool is worthless unless one knows how to use it.
We have found a lot a tools that have worked very well for our families, and made Beeyoutiful a repository for those tools, as well as the information to effectively use them. As we learn more, we share more. Our goal is to eventually carry every natural product that we use. We're not there yet. We may never be as we are constantly being exposed to new and great products. As much as is in our power, we want to aid others in obtaining and maintaining good health.  Our mission is to do good to all men."
They sell all types of products including hair care, skin care, lip care, products for children, essential oils, nutritional oils, books on healthy living, supplements, baking supplies such as Stevia and gluten, tea for all purposes like colds or to help sleep, and even some small appliances like a diffuser and a Nutrimill.

Two of the products I was able to try were the Ow!-Ease and the orange-flavored All-natural Lip Balm.



The Ow!-Ease is an Arnica trauma salve.  It comes in a 1 oz size and sells for $15.  The more you order, the more you save.  It is intended to relieve "pains associated with sprains, strains, and pulled ligaments and muscles, bruises, and contusions" using a blend of herbs.  I have not had any great pain, thankfully, while I have had it, but I do notice that as I put it on my shoulders that are often very tight I have a warm sensation which helps to relax my muscles.

The lip balm is 0.15 ounces, the size of a normal tube of lip balm you could buy at the grocery store.  I used the orange flavor, but it also comes in peppermint.  It is three dollars and is made from grape seed oil, beeswax, Shea butter, and essential oils which provide the flavor.  It glides on very smoothly and never feels caked on like cheaper brands.  It also helps to relieve my chapped lips which I do suffer from all winter long.  I have tried higher priced products that are all natural, but I know because this is only $3 that I will be buying from BeeYouTiful!  Again, the more you order, the more you save.  It looks like the base shipping price is $6.00 (that was just for a $3 tube of lip balm).  Shipping costs would go up based on weight.

BeeYouTiful is a company that states on their values page they are believers in Jesus Christ.  They aim to treat everyone with respect according to their belief system.  They treat others the way they want to be treated.

It is definitely worth a look on their website,  I believe you will find something that will suit your needs and make you glad you purchased it.

DISCLAIMER:  I received these products free of charge in order to provide an unbiased review.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another Wonderful Math Program - This One was for the Boys

As my son worked through his algebra 2 curriculum, he expressed his displeasure very openly.  I have to admit that as we passed the halfway point in the book, the problems got hard enough that I couldn't pull from my memory banks of middle school or early high school; and I would more often than not tell him to watch the video that accompanied the curriculum in order to understand how to work a problem.

PhotobucketAlong came the chance to review ALEKS.  
ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces.  It is a web-based program that assesses what the student knows and instructs them on what they are ready to learn.  Upon getting access to ALEKS, we stopped algebra 2 and decided to review algebra 1.  I haven't heard any complaints since he started except that he doesn't enjoy the assessments.  When first starting out, an assessment is given to determine the knowledge of the student.  Periodic assessments are then given throughout as the student masters the material to make sure they are still learning new concepts and have retained the information they have already learned.  Parents receive emails as part of the master account to keep them informed of their child's progress.

ALEKS has a wide variety of math products available for K-12, higher education, independent use, and homeschool.  Before signing up, you can take a tour of some different modules and watch some videos about the program.  A free trial is also available.  Once you sign up for it, you have a 3-hour time frame in 48 hours in which to use it. 

A subscription to ALEKS can be purchased for one month for $19.95, 6 months for $99.95, or a year for $179.95.  If you have more than one child in your family and are purchasing the 6-month or 12-month program, there is a significant savings for each additional child.  When you purchase ALEKS, two accounts are created: a student account and a master account.


The master account allows you to create and assign quizzes and see the results, view other resources that are available through ALEKS, reset student passwords, edit billing and subscription options, and add additional students.  You can view reports of your child's progress and keep attendance records.


Above is a snapshot of the "MyPie," which gives the student an idea of their progress.  Both of my sons love to work from MyPie.  I think they feel a sense of accomplishment as they finish a piece of it.  When clicking in the colored area of the pie piece, a window pops up to let them know what concepts they still need to work on.  They can click one of the underlined topics which will then present problems for them to work through.  


Once they have mastered the concept, more of the piece is filled in.  If they understand it well from the beginning, they will usually only have to do 3 problems.  If they have difficulty with a problem, they can click the "Explain" button.  The program will then go to a page that details the same type of problem so that they can figure out how to do the one they were confused about.  They will then receive enough practice problems to be sure they have mastered the concept, and then the piece will be filled in.

This "MyPie" page is able to be printed.  When it is, the pie displays, as well as topics they are able to do, what they are ready for, and gives a history to view progress.  Progress reports are also emailed on a regular basis.

ALEKS comes with training guides that explain how to use the program, how to choose the right program for your child, and supplies the answers to other FAQs.

I highly recommend ALEKS if you are searching for a different way to teach your child math, especially if they are having difficulty or are bored with the traditional textbook approach.  They are able to monitor their own progress by watching their pie without feeling like you are always watching them over their shoulder.  You can still follow along with the reports that are sent to you or that you print out.

It is both PC and Mac compatible and comes in Spanish and English versions.  ALEKS' corporate office address is:

ALEKS Corporation
15460 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Their phone is (714) 245-7191, and their email address is

DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge so that I could provide an honest/unbiased review.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Math Adventure Game

My daughter struggles with math.  She simply doesn't like it.  She thinks it is too hard.  Learning multiplication has taken all year, and she still hasn't mastered it.  Along came a review for a math game for kids, an adventure game with a horse in it.  I figured if this game didn't peak her interest, nothing would.  She loves horses and playing adventure video games.  This program is called Math Rider.


This is a screen shot of the adventure land.  You are trying to work with the king to rescue his daughter.  You are on a horse that jumps over hurdles.  Each hurdle is a math question.  If you answer the question before your horse comes to it, you get points. At the end of that particular part of the quest, you can look at a map of your progress in the imaginary land.  It will show you your progress on the path.  If you answer questions correctly, the horse speeds up.  If it takes you more time, it will slow down.  The quicker you answer, the more points you receive.

The types of questions that can be answered can be chosen by the parent. It does different levels of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  When my daughter began the program, she loved it.  I did notice that she began to remember math facts better the more she played the game.  She spent most of her time doing addition and subtraction.  I wanted her to use the game to do multiplication.  As soon as we started with the multiplication, she was frustrated.  I told her to just listen for the answer to the ones she didn't know.  When the program tells you the answer, it will give the same question a hurdle or two later.  I could see that this was helping her remember her multiplication.  After missing more than she got right, however, she didn't want to do it anymore.  In her mind, she wasn't given enough time to figure it out.


This is a picture of the statistics page for your child.  It lets you know what they have mastered, where their difficulties are, what percentage of mastery they have achieved, and how much they have improved since starting.

I even used the program once or twice myself, and it does keep you on your toes with your math facts.

I like the program, and I think it is very beneficial.  The only issue I have is that it does make you feel pressured as you answer the problems.  Sometimes when you feel pressured you can't think quickly enough to answer or your hands hit the wrong keys.

Math Rider is an intelligent math facts game most appropriate for children ages 6 through 12 who at least have a grasp of addition concepts.  One downloadable Math Rider program allows up to 8 students to work on the same program but not as a multiplayer game.  Each student can work at his/her own level based on their knowledge.  Each purchase of Math Rider also allows you to install up to 3 times, so you can put it on more than one computer in your home.

Math Rider is regularly $47 but is on sale now through February 15th for $37.  You can purchase online and download for PC or Mac using PayPal, Visa, MC, and American Express.  They also have a 30-day risk-free guarantee.  They have a 7-day free trial accessible through their contact page.

Their contact information is:
Sharper Edge Pty Ltd
31 Hannah Street
Beecroft NSW 2119
Phone: +61 2 8005 8531
Office hours: 9am to 5pm (East Australian Time – GMT+10), Mon-Fri
DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge so that I might try it and provide an honest review of it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time Flies...Sometimes

I have neglected my blog for over a month.  Last week I thought to myself, "I really need to get blogging.  It's been over a week."  Imagine my surprise when I realized it had been almost a month.  I have no idea where the time went.  Since last week, I have thought every day, "I need to blog.  I need to blog."  Something always seems to get in the way, however.  It's either a box that needs packing or a can of paint that needs to be used.   In an effort to prepare our house so we can sell it, there seems to always be something that needs done.  I wonder how we were able to ignore all these things that need fixed all these years.  If someone wants a house that is move-in condition, they ought to just take it the way it is, right?  I guess they don't want it lived-in condition.

We have been trying to move since right after Thanksgiving.  John has applied to many jobs in Florida with the search now going to North Carolina.  He grew up thinking he'd move to NC since he spent some summers there and loved it.  He is simply opening us up to God's direction.  We are still holding out for Florida, but we don't want to put God in a box.  We are waiting to hear from a company in Jacksonville about when he'll go down for his third interview.  We are hoping to hear this week.  This is the part that seems to be dragging despite the fact that the rest of life seems to be flying by.

I can see God's wisdom in that, though.  First of all, it causes us to trust Him.  John has gotten a little discouraged because he hasn't gotten a job yet, but I say, "God is in control.  He knows what he wants you to do."  My faith has been strengthened through this process.  I usually am a person that wants something to happen right away and, while I would love a confirmation of this grand adventure, I am glad that He is giving us the time to get things done around here and also have more time with our friends.

Once John gets an offer that he accepts, our house will go on the market.  I have painted 5 rooms so far and have 4 more left.  We have odds and ends to fix or replace.  This takes time.  I think our house will sell quickly.  If it does, that may allow us all to go South together instead of having to be separated for any length of time.  I can see God's wisdom through it all.  I can see how He has orchestrated everything since last April.  I am thrilled to be a part of the symphony.  I look forward to hearing more of the music.