Friday, February 24, 2012

TOS Review: Reading Eggs

Reading Eggs is an online reading program. It covers the basics of reading through in a fun format and reinforces skills that are already in place. Reading Eggs has three levels: First Steps (ages 3-4,) Ready for School (ages 5-6,) and Fun Practice Makes Perfect (age 7-8.)

Once all the lessons are completed in Reading Eggs, a student can continue to Reading Eggspress for ages 7-12. We chose to review Reading Eggs for Music Man and the 14 Day Trial of Reading Eggspress for Farm Boy.

What to Teach When
The levels are put into place to give you an idea of where the students usually start. However, each student takes a simple multiple-choice test to place them at the correct lesson.

I did not like how loud the announcement was when a question was answered incorrectly. I jumped every time the buzzer sounded. Once three incorrect answers are given, the test was over and placement was made.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Reading Eggs Subscriptions
12 Month $75.00
6 Month $49.00
Monthly Recurring $9.95

Other Products 
Reading Eggspress

Study Island 

Check It Out
Get a free 14 day trial on the website. The reading test is included so your child starts at the correct level.

Final Word
Music Man has never asked continually to work on anything. But he loves Reading Eggs. He doesn't understand all the extra stuff you find in typical computer game play like personalizing the avatar and buying items for his "house." But the lessons are engaging enough and the treasure box prize after completing several lessons is fun to work for.

One day during the review period, Farm Boy and I were working hard on something together and I set Music Man up on Reading Eggs. He worked through about a half dozen lessons over the course of a couple of hours. I had to make him stop for lunch. :) 

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a subscription to Reading Eggs free of charge from Study Island for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

12 Months of Christmas February 2012 Linky Party

Wow! February flew by and it's time again for our linky party! How have you sprinkled Christmas throughout the month of February? 

Snowball Balloon Ornament

Vanilla Sugar

A Photographic Gift 

12 Months of Christmas February 2012 Linky Party!!
If you have been sprinkling Christmas throughout the month and want to share what you are doing, join in the fun! I'll leave this up for a week so you have plenty of time to get your post up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TOS Review: Beeyoutiful

Over the years, I have developed an extreme sensitivity to chemically produced fragrances and cleaning products, as well as artificial flavors and colors in food. This severely limits the items many women love to use like candles, air fresheners and even bath products and perfume. Any time I am able to locate a naturally scented product that I can tolerate, I stock up while singing its praises.

Beeyoutiful products, my friends, are getting some praises. Oh, they are lovely! I recently sampled two Beeyoutiful products, B.A.L.M. and Tension Tamer.

First, let's talk about B.A.L.M. This all-natural lip balm has only four simple ingredients: shea butter, beeswax, essential oils and grapeseed oil. It is amazing. It glides on and makes me feel, oh, so, rich. And it lasts a long time both on your lips and in the tube! With those other lip balms I often had to apply and re-apply. Beeyoutiful's B.A.L.M. stayed on and lingered on my lips. :)

I also sampled Tension Tamer. Oh how I L.O.V.E.D. this!!

Tension Tamer is an aromatherapy oil that helps alleviate tension. I love aromatherapy which to me is so much better than chemical air fresheners anyway!! 

Years ago I had something similar and while I liked it, that product did not relax me as much as Tension Tamer. I was super stressed the first few times I used it. And honestly I wish I had remembered it before I got super stressed. However, last night in the midst of a headache, I pulled it out and wallah! Headache alleviated. Seriously. I could feel the tension melting away.

Now my menfolk noticed the scent immediately since it is strong - not bad, but you can smell it. But the scent is yummy - a blend of wintergreen and peppermint. (Beeyoutiful  products are all natural so I can tolerate them!!) None of my menfolk are huge mint fans so I did not use it on them at all during the sampling period.But I am planning to try it on my oldest when we go back to the orthodontist!

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
B.A.L.M. in Peppermint or Orange $3.00
Tension Tamer $11.00

Other Products 
Beeyoutiful has many different types of products including bath and beauty, nutritional oils and supplements, baking supplies, and essential oils.

You will also want to sign up for their newsletter. It is PACKED full of great recipes, remedies and information for the natural household. I have learned quite a bit from reading the back issues. I wish I had gotten them sooner (like the beginning of winter's cold season!)

Final Word
I loved the Beeyoutiful products we sampled! I think you will too.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a selection of products free of charge from Beeyoutiful for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday Sale for Everything Beans Book!!

Today only get the Everything Beans for $3.00!! This is a huge savings since it is regular priced at $9.95.

This is one of my most favorite ebooks, one of most favorite cookbooks in general and one of my my most favorite food bloggers. Kitchen Stewardship my go-to for cooking beans.

Check out my reviews on Kitchen Stewardship ebooks:
Smart Sweets
A Camping We Will Go

To get Everything Beans for $3, use code: NOTAFISHFRY.

This site uses affiliate links. Any purchases made through affiliate links support this site and my family.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

TOS Review: Apologia Who Am !?

Last year we had the opportunity to review Who Am I Volume 1. We loved it and we thrilled when Who Am I Volume 2  came up for review this year. 

The Apologia series What We Believe is four part curriculum that teaches students what we as Christians believe and how to apply that knowledge to their lives.

What We Believe Series
Who Is God?
Who Am I?
Who Is My Neighbor?
What on Earth Can I Do?
One of the best things about this year's review was receiving the Audio CD in addition to the hardback curriculum. Since my boys are still young, the audio CD gives me a break. I can pop it in and let someone else read! The Audio CD contains the entire text. My boys are very audio learners and after reading as much as we do in our literature rich curriculum, I love having the option of not having to read!

What to Teach When
The What We Believe series is the "first-of-its-kind family-inclusive study." It is designed for students ages 6-14  and is written to the student.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Who Am I? $39.00
Who Am I? Audio MP3-CD $19.00
Who Am I? Notebooking Journal $24.00
Who Am I? Coloring Book $8.00

Other Products 
There are many different aspects of Apologia including Christian based curriculum for Science, Writing, and Geography.

Apologia Academy looks like a great option for high school science and apologetics.

I have been collecting the Exploring Creation books since we began homeschooling. We are using Exploring Creation with Astronomy this year and my boys love it!

Check It Out
A sample lesson is available for you to download as well as the Table of Contents.

Final Word
We love Apologia. This book is no exception. I really love that it can span across different ages and allow young ones to work along side older ones.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Who Am I Vol. 2 free of charge from Apologia for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Photographic Gift

The saying goes "A Picture is Worth 1000 Words." That pretty much sums it up. As someone who lost most of her baby pictures when her childhood home flooded and I was away at college, photographs are extremely important to me. But I digress.

Photographs are important. My kids are in the middle of their elementary years. They are literally changing befor emy eyes every single day. I thought they changes alot as babies. But again, I digress.

Something I have been done for a good many years is to take a picture of my boys at Christmas. We haven't done the the Christmas card thing since I hand-embossed all out cards one year and then forgot to send them. I now just take a photo each each and give it as part of the Christmas gift. I like to frame them and everyone gets the exact same thing - a posed, happy, close up of my boys' faces. (Well, except for this year. Totally never got around to doing them this year. Then I thought I'd send them for Valentine's. Now I am shooting for Easter. Moving on.)

My plan has always been to display them year-round but pull them front and center to decorate my mantle during Christmas. And, now that you know I have fake families in my frames, I need to take my own suggestions.

I actually take another picture in the summer for my husband's birthday, which is exactly six months later in June. I have even taken the summer picture in the same spot for the last few years down at his parents' house. This makes the would-be display really special since we can see the growth of our boys. (Again, with the take your own advice, and frame them, Dawn!! I do have one photo of my boys in the half-bath - the company bathroom.) I love walking in there to see it and always love seeing the photographic gifts at our families' houses too.

A photograph is a gift that will be treasured. A few times over the years the photograph was the only thing we could do for our families due to finances. I plan to continue this tradition throughout the years and give my boys a set of theior own when they leave home.

Do you give photographs as gifts? Have you ever received one? Are they as treasured in your family as they are in ours?

Friday, February 10, 2012

RECIPE: Cherry Cheese Pie

Today I am over at The Happy Housewife sharing about one of our most favorite desserts, Cherry Cheese Pie. This is a great recipe for a Valentine's Day at home.

I haven't blogged this yet, but if you follow me on Facebook, you may already know ....

I have been reading The Happy Housewife for some time now. She is a Navy wife and homeschooler. You may remember a post I did for her back in June, The Happy Birthday, Month.

RECIPE: Vanilla Sugar


Vanilla Sugar is something I always have in my kitchen. I don't use it every day, but when we do make a treat, Vanilla Sugar is something I most often use as my sweetener. (In our house, a treat is defined as an occasional yummy that we make occasionally, usually to celebrate a holiday or event. It may contain more processed ingredients than we eat on an everyday basis, in this case, Vanilla Sugar!) 
I began making Vanilla Sugar over five years now and my kids even ask for it in recipes. It just a little adds umph to whatever recipe you add it to. And I don't know about you, but I am always looking for a little umph.
First, let's talk ingredients. Quality ingredients make a quality recipe. And cheap ingredients just don't belong in anyone's kitchen. ("Frugal" does not equal "cheap." My kitchen is very frugal, but I don't use cheap stuff. And that, my friends, is another post altogether.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

TOS Review: See N Spell

Last year I had the opportunity to review the See-N-Read Reading Tool. It was a fabulous product so I was delighted to hear we were reviewing another product from the company.

See-N-Spell is a reference guide for over 300 commonly misspelled words. It helps writers learn the correct spelling of words such as homophones and the word that spell check often corrects for me, "definite").

Users only have to turn to one of 40 pages and scan down the list to find the correct spelling. Growing up my mom always told me to "look it up" if I didn't know how to spell a word. I never understood that. How could I look it up if I didn't in fact know how to spell it. Well, See-N-Spell makes it much simpler!

My kids aren't of the age to use See-N-Spell yet since it is geared towards grades 4 through adult. However, it is also great for this blogger who still struggles with certain words. :)

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Free See-N-Read Reading Tool with every purchase of See-N-Spell!

Other Products 
Last year I had the opportunity to review the See-N-Read Reading Tool.

The eSee-N-Read is available for PCs. I would love to see one for Kindle!

Check It Out
Download a free trial of eSee-N-Read.

Final Word
I think See-N-Spell is a great resource and worth the $9.99 for ease of use. I hated grabbing those monstrous dictionaries growing up for simple misspelled words.

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received See-N-Spell free of charge from See-N-Read for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

TOS Review: Celestial Almanack

I have often said to my family that there is no other place on earth where the stars shine as brightly as they do where we live. Our home is situated way out from the city where it is super dark at night - with no street lights! I was amazed at how beautiful the sky was the very first time I came to visit my husband's family (although then we were just friends!) The winter months are even more beautiful - breathtaking actually!

What to Teach When
Celestial Almanack from Classical Astronomy turns anyone into a star-gazer. Even with the full moon  this week we were able to find constellations easily following the information presented in the Celestial Almanack.

One thing I found extremely helpful was the explanation of Leap Year. I had always heard "it has something to do with the lunar calendar." As a child, I accepted that and never cared about why (until I started homeschooling and was asked by my own kids!) I planned to teach a unit on Leap Year later this month, however, we were satisfied with the information we learned through Celestial Almanack.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Each volume of Celestial Almanack is very reasonably priced at $3.00! It may be purchased quickly and easily on

Other Products 
Classical also has a full astronomy curriculum for homeschoolers, books, a lunar calendar and other items for those studying on or interested in classical astronomy.

We will be purchasing the Eclipse Shades for the upcoming Solar Eclipse in May. I remember making an eye shield when I was in elementary school to protect our eyes from the solar eclipse that happened in 1984. I cannot wait to share this with my kids since we weren't allowed to view it when I was in school.

Check It Out
Previews of the Celestial Almanack are available on the CurrClick page in both flash and PDF formats.

Final Word
We love Celestial Almanack! I plan to purchase each volume as it comes out. It is invaluable for kids (and adults) who know very little about astronomy and the night sky. Celestial Almanack makes nighttime viewing simple and enjoyable!

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Celestial Almanack, Vol. 2 free of charge from Classical Astronomy for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snowball Balloon Ornament

Martha Stewart's Snowy Balloon Ornament
Can you believe it is February? I certainly cannot. Though the calendar says it is winter, my part of Georgia has not really seen winter weather yet. It is totally bizarre to listen to my boys through an open window while they jump on the trampoline out in the yard without jackets! And I am sitting at my desk in a tee shirt.

This month's ornament is one I have wanted to make for some time. I want them in all colors to match my living room though we will probably end up making them in red, white and green. Wouldn't they be neat in a tri-colored Christmas yarn?

I grew up with what we called The Grown-Up Tree and The Kid Tree. The Grown Up Tree was a live tree, usually cedar. It was in the living room where you entered the house and it matched our living room, white lights, ornaments perfectly spaced. It was basically my mom's tree.

The Kid Tree was in the den. It had colored lights and funky ornaments my sister and I made through the years. That was where Christmas was for us, where we put the presents and where we sat and gazed at our tree.

I have only had one tree in my house since leaving home. I am considering a Grown-Up Tree and a Kid Tree when we get settled again.

Do you have multiple trees in your house? What rooms are they located in? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vocabulary Spelling City

In our very eclectic homeschool, we often have opportunities to review various homeschool products. It is a bonus to find something that we can access online whether at home or at grandma's.
I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, personal, online review. helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as MatchIt SentencesHangMan, and Word-O-Rama.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources on topics such as analogies and compound words.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...