Monday, March 26, 2012

TOS Review: Action Alert

On evening while visiting my husband's parents, my youngest was playing a simple computer game on a harmless children's website. He was happy and the adults we talking. Suddenly I hear a loud racket from the speakers and a slightly shocked gasp followed by a "Mom!!! HELP!!!" I ran down to find he had accidentally clicked on an ad for an online role-playing game that was certainly not child friendly.

Action Alert could have prevented that little incident. And now that Farm Boy can get into the web browser on his own, pull up his favorite sites and download PDFs directions for his beloved Legos, I know I need protection to keep him (and my computer) safe.

Action Alert is absolutely amazing. A fully customizable program that allows parents to restrict websites, time limits and social media. It records everything that happens and when. I was stunned watching a playback of the video recording feature.

I love that Action Alert provides Facebook security. We have a few years to go before my kids can get on Facebook, but seeing what my friend's kids post makes me glad there is a way for me to keep tabs on my own kids (and their friends!)

Another incredibly helpful feature is the instant alert notification through text messaging or email! Action Alert will alert you to things you want to know about. AND you can even shut down the computer or set it to disable if according to how much security you enable.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Action Alert is available for one account on one computer free of charge. To upgrade to Maximum Protection (multiple computers and accounts, customizable and social media protection) is only $29.99.)

Check It Out
Check out the website and download the free version.

Final Word
My computer will never be without online protection and Action Alert is my choice to keep my kids safe!

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a download of Action Alert free of charge for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, March 23, 2012

12 Months of Christmas March 2012 Linky Party

This post was late getting up due to an emergency trip out of town last week.

March is here - only nine months until Christmas. I plan to have all my Christmas presents made by August. That's only five months away! How are you doing with Christmas gift making?

12 Months of Christmas March 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.
Starting in April, The 12 Months of Christmas Series will be hosted at my new blog, The Nomadic Homestead. I've wrestled back and forth with moving The 12 Months of Christmas over there and finally decided that for my sanity, I need to move it. This blog will always be here but I will not be posting as regularly over here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Date Box - 12 Months of Christmas Series

I loved the idea of A Year of Dates from My Mix of Six but found it too late to create it for Christmas 2011. For Valentine's Day this year, I created my own version of A Year of Dates. I purchased a lidded basket. Inside I put a few of his favorite things and a homemade card. The card contained a simple poem telling him I would fill it with items for one of our date nights freeing him from the planning and the inevitable "What do we do??"
A Year of Dates from My Mix of Six

The Date Box

Starting in April, The 12 Months of Christmas Series is moving to my new blog, The Nomadic Homestead! I have been working behind the scenes over there since late January and it is finally up and going. I will be posting less here and more over there. Don't miss out on the fun! Come take a peak at

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mama Jan's Sugar Cookies - 12 Months of Christmas Series

Photo by Boomette

Nothing says Christmas like homemade goodies and this month's recipe is sure to a be a favorite.

This recipe comes from the student assistant of my mother-in-law quite a few years ago. If baked on stoneware, they turn out very soft. A metal cookie sheet makes them crispier.

Mama Jan's Sugar Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
1 large egg yolk (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (I used evaporated cane juice.)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour, sifted
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
Cream together butter and sugar.

Add egg and mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together and blend into sugar mixture. Mix well.

Add extracts and blend well.

Cover with plastic wrap or in an airtight bowl and chill one hour.

Roll out on a pastry cloth to thickness of half your little finger and cut with cookie cutters.

Bake at 400F for 8-10 until edges are golden.
Originally posted on

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TOS Review: Creek Edge Press Earth and Space Science

Our homeschool is very eclectic, but definitely Classically-influenced. I don't fully utilize any Classical style but certainly follow more Classical than anything else. That being said, I think any homeschool could benefit from the Task Cards from Creek Edge Press

Task Cards are basically just what they sound like. Each card has a group of tasks for students to complete. Task Cards are available in a variety of subjects including science, social studies, music and art. The tasks can be done independently if the student is old enough, with a group of students in co-op or homeschool or with assistance from mom.

For more information on the Task Card Approach, please check out the articles on the Creek Edge Press website.

If the Classical-Charlotte Mason-Montesssori style isn't for you, Task Cards are also great for workboxes, independent work, and "extra credit." 

What to Teach When
Task Cards are non-consumable which makes them a great value for multi-level homeschools. Younger elementary children will need assistance and direction while older students can complete the tasks on their own. The science and social studies Task Cards are designed for elementary grades and the music and arts cards can be used from elementary through high school.

What's It Gonna Cost Me?
Science Task Cards $18.00
History, Geography and Culture Task Cards $20.00
Music Task Cards Sets I, II, III $32.00
Art Task Cards Sets I, II, III $32.00

Check It Out
There is an extensive Task Card Gallery online where you can see how other homeschools have used them.

Final Word
Oh how I wish I had had these when I planned our school year. We will continue to use these throughout the rest of the year and on into next year. I LOVE these Task Cards!!

Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received Earth and Space Task Cards free of charge from Creek Edge Press for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Initial Ornaments

A few years ago, I drooled over these adorable Monogrammed Family Ornaments from MADE. I loved how the letters filled in the entire space of the circle. I loved the idea of making them for gifts as Dana described, one for each member of the family (and a star!) I love the contrasting thread that made the letters pop!
Monogrammed Family Ornaments from MADE
But it was too late in the season when I found them to make them as gifts that year. Here is our version:
I used contrasting thread and hand-cut the letters. Unfortunately, I had to use my sewing machine due to my carpel tunnel acting up. It is impossible to do hand-sewing or knitting (and sometimes even typing) during a flare up! Even my cutting isn't the best during a flare up. Yuck!

What do you think?
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