Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Wonderful Alternative to TV - Sugar Creek Gang


Have you been searching for something that could take the place of the computer or the television in your children's lives if just for a short time?  Do you see old pictures like the one below of families entranced by the voice emanating from the radio and wish that your family would do that every once in a while? 


I grew up with a television.  We never listened to stories on the radio.  That "tradition" carried on to my children.  Of course, they grew up with computers. They barely even know what a radio is.  Thankfully, Beloved Books has made this experience available to us.  I was fortunate enough to receive the first volume of CDs of the Sugar Creek Gang.  This was a book series written by Paul Hutchens, a Baptist minister and evangelist.  His first book was published in 1939.  The book series was recorded in a studio by Paul Ramseyer.  The audio series is now available to us.


While I was excited for my kids to have this new experience of listening and engaging their imaginations in a new way, I wasn't sure they would enjoy it as they are accustomed to visual activities.  When my daughter first heard we were going to review it, she balked at the idea.  She, however, was the one who ended up asking if we could listen to it in the car each time we went somewhere.  We actually finished the entire first volume of 12 CDs.  There are 36 books in the series, and each one is contained on 2 CDs.  In total, there are 72 CDs sold as 6 book sets, i.e., six volumes.  Each volume is $54.95 if purchased separately.  If you buy them as a complete set, the cost is only $279.70.

The stories in the first volume were "The Swamp Robber," "The Killer Bear," "The Winter Rescue," "The Lost Campers," "Chicago Adventure," and "The Secret Hideout."  Jacob's favorite story was "The Killer Bear."  Nate liked "The Lost Campers" best, and Paige enjoyed "The Secret Hideout" the most.  I didn't have a favorite story but liked the science lessons and random tips that were provided throughout like how to get rid of a tick.

While listening to it in the car once when our whole family was present, my husband asked that we stop listening to it.  He said that, while the stories are interesting, he did not enjoy listening to the different voices the narrator used and disliked the fact that he seemed to frequently correct himself.  He didn't feel like it was polished enough.  I hadn't noticed until John said something, and then it was obvious to me.  This was the only negative thing about the series.  For me, the benefits and enjoyment the kids received from listening to these stories far outweigh any imperfections.

Many Bible verses are used in the stories, and they frequently share the Gospel.  The stories are wholesome, which is a rarity these days.  Being that the books were written in the '40s, there are words that are used that we don't use today, like "rubbers" for rain boots.  So, it is funny to hear them.  My kids don't know any negative meaning of these different words because they aren't in a setting where they are used.

I feel completely comfortable leaving the room while the CDs are playing because I know there won't be anything I'll have to explain later.  Better yet, I know there is teaching on how to live a Godly life written into the stories.  This is done in such a way that it's not an adult telling the kids what they should or shouldn't do.  They are taught by "kids" through events that happen in their lives.  A great deal of admiration is given to his parents by the main character, Bill.  I find this extremely refreshing, especially when he remarks that he loves his parents because they don't let him think that doing wrong things is right and get away with them.

The Beloved Books website says that this series has had a "life-changing impact on countless young people."  We have only listened to the first volume.  There has not been any great change in my children over the past 4 weeks.  I do see how listening to this series on a regular basis, though, would do just that.  If they would fill their minds would good things, things of God, instead of junk they hear on the television, the natural outflow would be a changed heart.  There are five more volumes we haven't listened to yet.  I will be buying more.  Christmas is coming!

If you are interested in hearing the first book, "Swamp Robber," you can go to http://www.belovedbooks.com/freebie.html.  You can have them send the two CDs to you at a cost of $4.95 or you can download the story in MP3 format.  The story is under copyright, but you have permission to burn this one story to CD.  Instructions are provided on the freebie page.

Beloved Books does sell other materials such as KJV Scripture memory songs, a CD of songs set to the stories found in I Samuel to II Chronicles (sounds very interesting), The War for Mansoul (a retelling of John Bunyan's Holy War, complete with dramatized audio recording), missionary biographies on cassette (my children don't even know what these are), historical fiction on CD, G.A. Henty stories on CD, and more.

You can read other reviews of this product by going to the Homeschool Crew page.

If you would like to contact Beloved Books, their contact information is:

Beloved Books
PO Box 878
Fenton, MI  48430



If you live in Michigan or visit there, the store address is 8572 Silver Lake Road, Linden.  Store hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11-3 Eastern Time.

DISCLAIMER: I received this product free of charge so that I might provide an honest review of it after using it for a time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not Your Typical Snow White Story

A few weeks ago, Paige and I watched Mirror, Mirror with Julia Roberts as the Evil Stepmother.  Remembering there was another less kid-friendly version of Snow White that had come out, I said, "I'd rather be watching Snow White and the Huntsman."  If you are renting a movie for your young daughter, then  Mirror, Mirror is the right movie.  Otherwise, skip it.  I enjoy movies that have at least an ounce of reality.  This movie had none, but this post isn't supposed to be about that movie; so, I'll move on.

Having gotten a Redbox code for a free rental, I decided to get Snow White and the Huntsman to see if it was any good.  I enjoy movies that portray an empowered fairy tale character, like Ever After, which is a different type of Cinderella story than the usual.  I was hoping SW&H would be like Ever After.  The film begins with a very long backtory.  It left me wondering how much time would actually be left in the movie for the action.  Through the backstory, you learn that the evil stepmother, played by Charlize Theron, is nothing more than a witch.  She is truly evil.  They don't downplay this as the movie progresses.  She becomes increasingly evil and repulsive as in one scene she transforms back into a human being after being a flock of crows or ravens by the intermediary step of black goo.

Snow White was played by Kristen Stewart, known for her role in the Twilight movies.  I kept thinking, "Come on, she can easily kill the witch, she's a vampire for goodness sake."  Don't you hate it when you confuse movies?  Somebody should make a movie like that.  Have the actors play roles from other movies they've been in.  They could base it off of some other fairy tale.  That'd be a hoot!  Anyway, she is placed in the tower as a child after her father is murdered by her stepmother.  This leads me to a question I always have in these types of movies.  Why does it take evil people so long to get rid of their enemies?  No wonder the good guys always win.  The bad guys are so slow.  They always have to talk before they carry out their evil plan.

So, after 10 years or so in the tower, Snow sees a bird.  It must be the first bird she's seen in 10 years because she cries and goes over to it.  She happens to look out the window.  Again, must be the first time in 10 years she's thought to look out of the window in her cell because she sees a nail on the outside of all things.  Oh, if she had only found it 8 years ago!  She uses this nail (I won't share how) to escape from her cell.  She finds a magical white horse.  Well, not so magical if you consider it dies in a mud pit right in front of the Dark Forest.  I suppose if it had survived she would not have had to walk through the Dark Forest and encounter the evil that abounded in there.  I almost turned the movie off at this point.  While in the forest, she inhaled some type of gas that was emitted from the ground and then began to hallucinate.  I think she spun in circles for 10 minutes, seeing all kinds of creepy crawlies in her mind.  This movies goes overboard with the evil.  It is too much for the story and completely unnecessary.

Of course, this movie adds more to the Snow White story than the original version.  There are people made of glass shards, Snow escapes through the drainage system of the castle (they must have seen Shawshank Redemption). The Huntsman in this version actually falls in love with Snow White.  Snow's childhood companion, William, learns that she is still alive and tries to find her because he has been in love with her all this time.  It leaves you wondering, will she be in William's camp or the Huntsman's camp.  Reminds me of another movie she played in...Edward's camp or Jacob's camp.  I digress.  You may be wondering, "What about the apple?"  Oh, it's there, but it's been a long time since I've seen such a melodramatic and unrealistic death scene.  You want to shout at the TV, "Seriously?  Would you just die already," but that's not a very Christian attitude is it?

There is no shortage of black magic in this movie.  This, in my opinion, was the biggest disappointment.  The cinematography was beautiful.  They did a great job capturing the beautiful scenery and the majesty of all of the horses riding together on the beach toward the castle, but the evil really cast a shadow over anything good in this movie.

I would save your money.  If you have a code for Redbox, I'd see something else.  I most definitely wouldn't let your kids see this movie.  It left me feeling uncomfortable in my own home.  There is enough evil in this world without letting Hollywood fill our minds with it.  Hope this helps.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This One's All Mine


I had the opportunity to use this product all by myself, and I love it!  I know it probably sounds strange that I love learning about taxes, but since I do our personal taxes every year I was eager for this review so that I'd know without a doubt that I was doing them right and would hopefully get some tips to save even more money in the future.

PhotobucketNational Tax Training School offers a number of different products.  I am currently enrolled in Federal Income Tax Course.  They also offer a Higher Course in Federal Taxation, a California Tax Preparer Course, and a Federal tax refresher course for continuing education.  The Federal Income Tax Course is most appropriate for individuals who want to learn how to prepare tax returns for individuals and small businesses, and it requires no previous experience in the tax field.  This is also good information for those who want to know how to do their own personal taxes correctly.
The course has two enrollment options.  Both options include a 20-lesson course that comes with a manual which has practice problems and examinations, a grading service, practical case studies, student guidance, reference books, a book on how to build and operate a successful tax practice, a graduation certificate, and postgraduate services.  The first option includes four years of postgraduate support for $795 for payment in full upon registration.  There are two additional payment plans under this option that allow for installment payments.  The total amount paid will be more than if paid all at once.  With the installment plans, only a certain amount of lessons can be completed before the next payment is made.

The second option includes two years of postgraduate support for $495 paid in full upon registration.  The other payment plan under this option allows for payment in three installments; six lessons can be completed before each succeeding installment is paid.  Those currently serving in the military may be eligible for reimbursement up to 75% tuition under DANTES.

The initial product the user receives (the binder shown above) comes with 17 lessons.  Each lesson requires approximately eight hours of study.  Once these lessons are completed and the tests are sent in, the last 3 lessons, the tax practice book, a guide to the current year's tax law, final exam, and application for certificate of graduation, are mailed to the student.  I received these things early so that I might include them in my review.  I felt like I was opening a Christmas present.  I can't wait until I'm ready to use these additional items and put into practice all of the things I've learned.

National Tax Training School allows you to complete the course in as little as eight weeks, but you can take as much as a year.  It is all at your own pace.  You can file for 6-month extensions for $50, if you need more time.  

I have enjoyed the course so far.  I just finished lesson six, and I have learned a great deal already.  The one thing that really excites me is the idea of one day being able to have a small business of my own preparing taxes for other people.  I don't know if that is what God has in store for me, but this course is giving me the knowledge and the opportunity that I've never had before.  I feel good every time I sit down to take a test, knowing that I'm one step closer to accomplishing this goal in my life.  Once I've successfully completed the program, I'll be able to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer Exam.  I'll have to let you know in a future blog how that turns out.

The lessons include many examples to clarify the text.  Real life types of examples are given to explain concepts.  This is extremely helpful to me.  Sometimes I read through the idea being taught and don't completely understand it.  When I read the example, the light bulb goes on in my head.  Each lesson has practice problems at the end for review before you take the test.  I got most of the answers right for each of the reviews for the first five lessons, but when I got to lesson six the concepts were a bit tougher for me to grasp.  I didn't get enough right answers for my liking.  I wished I had had more problems to practice.

Each test that is taken is to be sent in using the envelopes they provide for each test (you need to supply the stamp), and the teachers with National Tax Training School grade your test and mail it back to you within the week.  The school was on a break when I sent my first tests in, so it took a couple of weeks to get them back; but I have since received feedback on each test I have sent.  An answer key is sent back with each test to explain the answers and to tell you where to find the answers in the text.

This course is very professional, easy to understand, and the instructors are available to answer any questions you may have.  They want to be sure you enjoy the course and are getting everything out of it that you can.  The correspondence I've had with one of the teachers has been very helpful and friendly.  

National Tax Training School has been training tax professionals since 1952, and they are recognized by the CFP, nationally accredited by the DETC, an approved CE provider, and an accredited business through the BBB as seen below.



Please visit the Homeschool Crew if you are interested in reading what others on the Crew have said about National Tax Training School's Federal Income Tax Course.

If you have questions for National Tax Training School, their contact information is:

67 Ramapo Valley Road, Suite 102
Mahwah, NJ  07430

DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge in order to provide an unbiased, honest review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Wonderful Way to Learn about the Pilgrims

I feel as if I've taught on the Pilgrims more than once for each of my three children.  I was pretty sure I had hit all the angles and couldn't add anything more to the story.  Boy, was I wrong!!  We have been reviewing what I think is perhaps the best resource for learning about the Pilgrims' story.


Dayspring Christian Academy has put together a self-paced online course called, The Pilgrim Story.  This course is geared towards students in third through sixth grade and costs $99.  Since it is self-paced, you can access it any time you'd like and finish it at your own pace (beginning 48 hours after purchase and ended six months after purchase).  Dayspring teaches according to the Principle Approach of education which teaches Biblical principles using a classical method of teaching.  It helps equip "young men and women to help restore America to her gospel purpose, thereby helping to fulfill Christ's Great Commission."

The Pilgrim Story plays on your computer, laptop, etc., with an easy to understand voice narrating.   There are many resources to download and print out, if you so choose.  We usually print out the vocabulary, the student sheets which Paige fills in while listening to the lesson, and any extra activities there may be.  I have printed out some of the sheets that have Biblical quotes or people's names listed on them but not all.  Each page has color graphics, and I am very stingy with my ink.  I'd be more inclined to print all of the resources if some used a smaller font and had more than one "page" on each PDF.  They are all, however, very well done and create a nice notebook once each  lesson is completed.

The Pilgrim Story begins with a tutorial on how to use the program, which is very helpful, especially if the student is going to go through the program on his/her own for the most part.  Paige enjoyed logging in each day and going through the lessons.  She felt very accomplished after she had done a whole lesson.  The illustrations that are used are superb.  The music that is used is wonderful and adds a bit of suspense to what is being learned.  The student sheets that are filled out are verbatim of the text on the slides; the text that is to be written is underlined on the slides.  The narrator does not just read what is written on the slides but goes beyond the slide to explain things to the student.

The course begins with the history of King Henry VIII and the Geneva Bible.  So, it gives a very detailed account of what life was like for the Pilgrims long before they journeyed west.  This is the history that has been lacking in my teaching, or in the resources I've used in the past to teach.  I love that this program goes in depth into the history and the problems there were in England for the group that became the Pilgrims.  It doesn't shy away from the details like most other curricula about the Pilgrims do.

Besides the student sheets and the vocabulary, there are also maps to fill out, recipes for foods that were eaten on the Mayflower, self-reflection exercises, crafts to make, etc.  In some of the lessons, there are interactive slides where the student can click a picture and learn even more about a subject.  There are online reviews at the end of each lesson.  If the student picks the wrong answer, the correct answer is given with an explanation.  At the end of each unit, there is a multiple choice/true or false test.  I'd like to see a hard copy of the tests so that they can be graded and entered into the notebook.  Under the course administration tab, the grade that your child received on each test can be seen, but for some reason it doesn't give a grade for each lesson.  Therefore, Paige's score is 12.08, although she scored B's and a C on her tests.

Each day, Paige is excited to get on my laptop and do her DCA lesson for the day.  She asks which papers she needs to print from the resources tab.  Once that is done, she jumps right into the lesson.  She doesn't even grumble.  She is able to take ownership of this part of her learning.  She shows me what she has learned and what she has done and sometimes shares things she found interesting or gross, in the case of learning about the Pilgrims eating at night on the ship so they couldn't see the maggots that had invaded their food supply.  I've even learned a great deal through this online class.

There are 5 main units with a total of 17 separate lessons.  There is an introduction and a virtual field trip at the very end of the program to Plymouth, Massachusetts.  I feel this program is definitely worth the money.  There is so much learning.  It is done in a very creative and engaging way and doesn't talk down to the student.  It is my feeling from this program that Dayspring believes that kids are capable of learning at a higher level than most curriculum provide.  I appreciate this.  I love to see my kids challenged!

If you want to read other reviews of this product by those on the Homeschool Crew, visit http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/786524/.
If you'd like to contact Dayspring Christian Academy, their information is as follows:

Dayspring Christian Academy

120 College Avenue
Mountville, PA  17554


DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge in order to provide an unbiased review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any way.  I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Will I Never Learn?

     Oh, having a house built is just killing me!!!  I don't remember being this anxious and impatient when we had our house in Canonsburg built.  Perhaps I was and just don't remember; it was more than 8 years ago.  Last Friday I realized that we needed to have paperwork done so that we pay the right amount for our mortgage.  I sent an email and didn't like the reply I got from customer service.  John got involved and was able to set in motion a series of events that allowed us to have that paperwork complete by lunchtime Monday morning.  Today I passed by the house just like I do at least 5 or 20 times a week, but who's counting?  It looked to me like nothing had been done for a day and a half, and the weather is beautiful.  Since we were supposed to have all of our landscaping done by the end of the week, I wondered what the holdup was.  When I got a reply this afternoon to an email I sent about it, God decided it was time I remembered what He has done for us through this entire process.

     Back in April, we put our house on the market and sold it in 4 days!!!!  John didn't even have a job yet.  He got that at the end of April/beginning of May.  God provided that job.  We spent two days in Florida in May to find a house which we found in one.  We also found a rental which John was able to move into the next day.  (He started his job the following week, and I went back to PA with the kids for two more weeks.)

We needed a place to stay for two nights after we closed on our house before we actually moved to Florida.  Our good friends were going on vacation and let us stay at their house.  It worked out perfectly!!  We had a safe drive down and were able to empty our truck into the garage that is attached to our rental.  No cost for storage.  This rental has been a blessing.  God provided it.  It is more expensive than what our mortgage will be, but we pay for no water or cable, just electric.  We have that storage for our stuff.  We sold most of our furnishing before we moved, and this rental is fully furnished.  While I am using only a few of my own kitchen items, I don't have to repack all of my plates and cups, etc., to move into our new house.  This is a blessing I hadn't even thought of until now.

We live in Florida now.  We aren't going anywhere for a long time.  I am anxious to be in my own house again, using my own things, but I must leave it in God's hands.  His timing is perfect.  No matter how much I email or fret or get frustrated, I will not be able to control this situation.  God has provided for us throughout this entire journey.  He will always give us what we need when we need it.  Why is it so hard for me to remember all that He has done for us?  It hasn't even been 6 months since we moved down here and look at all that has happened.  

"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."
Isaiah 26:4

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Kids Built a Zoo...


ZooWhiz is a free interactive online learning program for math, reading, and English.  It is geared towards children ages 5-15 and even older depending on their skill level.  With the free membership, children can participate in learning activities and earn virtual coins for correct answers which they can use to purchase a variety of animals to fill their zoo.  They can also use these coins to play games in the arcade.  ZooWhiz can be upgraded to a Premium membership for even more interactivity.  Currently, the annual price for the Premium membership is only $14.95.  With it, you can buy rare and endangered animals for your zoo, play more arcade games, and have access to ZooWhiz 24/7/365.  Parents also have access to ZooWhiz through a parent account where the child's progress can be monitored.

My children enjoy learning via interactive online programs.  ZooWhiz suited the needs of all three of  my children in that I could set their age/learning level.  Once a child has his own account, he can choose his avatar.  Here are some choices below.  One complaint my daughter had was that she wished she could customize her avatar a bit more instead of choosing one that had already been created.


Each time one of my kids went to play ZooWhiz, they had a specific device they chose to play it on.  They learned that if you sign in to play on your "home" device, you get 100 coins for free.  Paige used my computer.  Nate used John's computer, and Jacob used the kids' computer.  The home page of ZooWhiz is seen below.  This is where students can see how many points they have and how many animals they have in their zoo.  In order to answer questions in math, reading, or English, they clicked "Learn & Earn."  Biodome took them to where their animals were being kept and where they could buy more.  The Arcade is where they could play games, and Milestones allowed them to see their own progress.


Progress Page
There was a point about two weeks ago, after Nate had already played a few weeks and saved up a lot of coins and a lot of progress, when the system somehow lost all of his information.  He was very discouraged and, although he has still played, he has not spent as much time playing and learning as he did before.  He says, "It has a lot of bugs, and it occasionally loses memory of progress; but it is a lot of fun, and the creatures are cool to collect."  So, even though he had a setback, he has still enjoyed collecting the animals and playing the games.

There were some other issues as my kids used ZooWhiz.  Paige says, "The glitches are really annoying.  In the 'Words' section, there is a problem where you have to find the matching word, and you cannot even see the answers.  If you click on them, you can see them.  You can drag them into the box, but it seems as if the program can't see them and, if it is right, the program still marks it as wrong."  Even Jacob said, "It is fun but full of bugs."  It does seem that there are a lot of things they are adding to the program, especially with the Premium membership.  Perhaps there just needs to be a bit of tweaking.  

I have appreciated using the program despite the rare bugs.  I think my kids have learned a ton of new information.  I have liked the math program for Paige because she does not do well with textbooks.  ZooWhiz does not follow any logical order that I've noticed, just random questions that students should know based on the age that was chosen in the system by the parent, but when she gets to a problem that she does not know how to solve I am able to sit down with her and explain it to her.  For example, she was not sure how to find multiples.  I worked through it with her a few times, and she hasn't asked me again.  She now understands the concept.  She even said today that she did best in math and only missed one problem.  That is a huge success for her.

The kids have enjoyed being able to buy animals to fill their zoo.  Jacob, who is the ultimate animal lover in the family has soaked up the information about each animal that the kids are able to learn when buying them.  They all wish, though, that they could take care of their animals and train not them, not just collect them.


This program was created in Australia and, therefore, has an Australian voice (which I love listening to).  There is an opportunity to change your country when you sign up, but it must be done as soon as you sign up and cannot be changed later.  This is unfortunate because I did not realize this until later.  I am not sure how that would have helped or if it would have at all.  Some of the spelling is different from ours in the Australian content, which confused Paige (she is the youngest of my kids).  For example, there was favorite and favourite and color and colour.  There were other times when the differences in their speech caused them to get a problem wrong.  It wasn't very often, but it happened.  There were a few times as well when I wasn't sure the answer they expected was the correct answer and times when the question didn't make any sense.  I think perhaps they teach some things in Australia that are not taught here and that is the difference.  

Example of a math problem
Example of a words problem
Example of a reading problem
If you are interested in reading other Homeschool Crew reviews of this product, you can find them at http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/786479/.

ZooWhiz can be reached by mail at PO Box 658, Armidale NSW, 2350, Australia, or by phone.  In the U.S., the toll-free number is 1-866-215-4620.

DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge in order to use it and provide an honest review.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Be BeeYouTiful!


I was blessed, once again, to sample products from BeeYouTiful so that I may pass along my thoughts to you.  They were the Hair Shine Leave-in Conditioner, the Laveshmint Hydrating Toner, the Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer, and the Vanilla Dream Body Butter.


The four-ounce spray bottle (mailed sealed with a sprayer included) of Hair Shine is almost completely gone.  My daughter and I both used it.  It is made from organic aloe vera concentrate, distilled water, sweet orange essential oil, lavender essential oil, and rosemary essential oil.  After getting out of the shower, I sprayed it on my wet hair.  The spray made my hair feel soft and helped get rid of knots.  It was useful for scrunching my hair because I don't really like the straight look.  It smelled very good, but you need to be sure to shake it up before you use it or it smells a little weird.  I think it's just because of all the different essential oils.  It sells for $15.00 for one.  BeeYouTiful offers discounts if you buy more than one.  This is worth considering since it would probably be a frequently used product.  Since everything is all natural, I felt confident that it was only going to benefit the health of my hair and not harm it in any way.

The next product I used was the Laveshmint Hydrating Toner.  I was excited about this one since I moved to Florida in June and am exposed to more sun (on purpose), and it is "specially formulated to bring cool relief to sun-burned skin!"  I am pretty careful with my sunscreen use, but there was one day I did get burned.  Let me tell you, this toner works!   It instantly relieved my sunburn and left my skin feeling very cool.  This product also comes in a four-ounce spray bottle (mailed sealed with a sprayer included) and costs $14.00.  Buy as many as 12 at a time and pay only $11.20 each.  This product has lasted a while for me.  I haven't used it after every shower.  When I have, I have only used it on my face and neck as is directed.  The Laveshmint works to restore pH balance, close pores, and gets your skin ready for moisturizing (Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer would be one choice).  The toner is made with certified organic aloe vera, purified water, lavender essential oil, peppermint essential oil, 0.01% potassium sorbate, citric acid, and sodium benzoate (food grade preservative).  Be sure to shake this product as well before you use it.  It smells wonderful all the time and leaves my skin feeling cool (even when not burned).  

After using the toner, I sometimes used the Laveshmint Daily Moisturizer.  It has a wonderful scent and looks like mousse.  There is a long list of ingredients, all of which are safe, including distilled water, coconut oil, aloe, grapeseed oil, lavender and peppermint essential oils, a safe preservative blend free of parabens and formaldehyde, and so on.  The container is four ounces and lasts a long time (at least for me) because a lot is not needed at any one time.  It is to be used on the face and neck after the toner.  Both Laveshmint products are safe for all skin types.  The moisturizer works a lot like the toner in keeping my skin cool and feeling fresh.  This sells for $12.00 per container.

The final product I was able to review was a four-ounce glass jar of Vanilla Dream Body Butter.  It sells for $15.00 and is made with shea butter; vanilla infused oils of coconut, olive, and grape seed; grapefruit seed extract; essential oil of Ylang Ylang, and Vanilla Plantifolia.  When I used this, it kept my skin moist for hours and hours, and it smells SOOOOO good!!!!!!  For me, it can almost serve the purpose of aromatherapy.

I don't normally use a lot of skin-care products, but these BeeYouTiful products smell so good and make me feel so good, that it is very easy to get into the habit of using them.  I don't mind leaving them sitting out either because the packaging is so pretty.

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.  

One of the things that I like about BeeYouTiful is that you can earn points toward future purchases in a number of different ways.  If you buy products, you earn one point for every $1.00 spent.  You can earn 100 points per review.  You can like them on Facebook, have  a birthday, vote in a weekly poll, email a friend a product suggestion, etc.  You can then use your Bee Points to pay for part or all of a product.  You can just use them as you have them.  Each point is worth one cent.  You can even transfer your points to a friend who is also in their system, if you want, say, for a birthday or a Christmas present.  I haven't used this points system yet as I've only reviewed free products, but I intend to start purchasing from them.  They have so many different types of products, and all are natural and safe.

Check BeeYouTiful out.  You can search by a product or a health concern.  They have a SALES tab so you can see what products are currently on sale or are being discontinued. If you have any questions about their products, you can contact them at

Beeyoutiful.com, LLC
Box 1
Nunnelly, TN  37137

If you are interested in reading more reviews about these products or some other BeeYouTiful products that have been reviewed by the Homeschool Crew, simply click the following link and read away: http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/786465/.

DISCLAIMER: I received these products free of charge so that I might review them and provide an honest review.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Who Knew Salt Could Be So Interesting?


I had the opportunity to review a wonderful product that I had never seen before - Box of I.D.E.As.  This company sends a box of learning to your doorstep (or a PDF file to download).  It can be used as a unit study, a break from the regular routine, or as a supplement to something already being learned.  The target age range is 9-16. They have a few different topics to choose from - World War II, Eleven (various events and topics where eleven is significant), salt, quilting, and laundry.  They also have a variety of other topics in the works.

I received the Salt Box of I.D.E.As as a PDF file to review with my kids.  The PDF file is $49.00.  The physical box is $79.00 and comes complete with all consumable products.  They also sell additional student modules for $4.00 of the consumables.  The PDF tells you what and how many of each page needs printed out.  I chose to simply read the facts to my kids from the computer so that I didn't waste ink or paper but printed out the activities.  One of the activities was a matching game.  I printed it out on card stock but lost two of the pages, so the kids didn't actually play the game.  I tried to go over the information on the cards, though.  I have a hard time with wasting ink.  One of the other games had multiple choice questions on cards that needed to be printed out, so I just read them to my kids and had them try to answer the questions.  For the reason of saving on ink, I would have liked to have the physical box.


There is SO much information about salt included in this Box of I.D.E.As.  They have done a ton of research to put this study together.  I have no doubt they have used the same amount of diligence with all of their modules.  My middle child loves to fill his mind with facts and then share his learning with others.  This study gave him a ton of facts.

This same child really enjoyed one of the first activities which had the kids look through the refrigerator or pantry for the sodium content of foods (or on a list that was provided in the PDF).  We are all amazed by how much sodium was actually in the foods we were eating, but Nate made sure to continue the education days afterwards.

The lessons in this box are broke down into:
1.  History of Salt
2.  Language of Salt
3.  Need for Salt
4.  Preserving with Salt
5.  Producing Salt
6.  Science of Salt
7.  The Salt March
8.  The Salt of the Earth
9.  The Wall that Salt Built
10.  Very Salty

Each module, or chapter, has extensions for further learning.  Simply because of the time we were working with, we did not do many of these extension activities.  We did do some, however.  They are very well thought out.  They usually include a field trip of some sort (if it can be done in your area), some sort of a writing assignment, and research in order to answer some question.  Other web sites are provided to allow the student to keep learning and are for science experiments and more fact gathering.

My kids learned a lot by doing this study.  Nate kept asking to go back to it each day; that is how much he enjoyed it.

I don't like to use my own ink which is what is required with the PDF file.  I would have preferred the hard copy.  There are some absolutely gorgeous pictures provided for one of the last games, but my printer doesn't do photos very well.  I would rather have the physical box if I were going to do one of their other studies.  That way, too, it is all right there for me.  I don't have to find something except for maybe some websites or prepare some field trips.

Again, I was amazed by the wealth of information contained in this study.  This has been put together very, very well, and it is SO easy to use.  I would definitely recommend one of these boxes.

If you have further questions about the salt box or any other boxes or what is included in them, you can reach Box of I.D.E.As at 1.330.506.9411 or by filling out their Contact Us page to ask.

If you would like to review what other TOS Homeschool reviewers are saying, please visit http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/786447/.

DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge in order to use it and provide an honest review.