TOS Review: Devonian – GREEMU

Greemu Devonian ReviewAs much as I hate to admit it, I am getting older, and while my mind tries to tell me this isn’t true, my body definitely disagrees! I am always on the lookout for natural ways to fight the signs of aging, particularly on my face. For this review, I was excited to check out GREEMU from Devonian. An alternative to Emu Oil, GREEMU is distributed by Koru Naturals, a company dedicated to bringing natural home and beauty products to their customers.

Made of Shea Butter, Macadamia Seed Oil, Palm Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Rice Bran Oil, GREEMU can help combat fine lines and wrinkles on your skin and help reduce split ends and add shine to your hair. The 4-ounce bottle holds plenty of product, as you only need to use a little at a time, and I think it could easily last me for months. It comes with a card that shows the breakdown of the lipids and how they stack up to Emu oil. As a plant based product, GREEMU is perfect for people who want the benefits of using Emu oil without using something that includes animal products.

I felt the composition of the GREEMU oil was consistent with other oils I have tried. It did not feel too greasy when I applied it on my skin and it absorbed quickly. As with the Emu oil, I used this on the fine lines on my forehead first, and I felt that after a few weeks of consistent use, the lines were a lot less deep than they were when I started (I had been using my Emu oil consistently until I ran out not too long ago, and let me tell you, it did make a big difference). I like the GREEMU because it also left my skin feeling smooth and soft and was odorless. I applied it at night before going to bed, but if you don’t wear a lot of make up, you could probably put it on in the morning.

I also tried it in my hair to see if it would help tame my flyaways (my hair gets pretty frizzy in this Florida humidity). I typically use an Olive Oil based product to shine and tame my hair after blow drying because it is one of the few that doesn’t give it that stringy, greasy look, but, I am happy to say, the GREEMU oil made my hair shiny and left it feeling soft, but not with that “unwashed” feeling.

Overall, I am very happy with this product. I like the natural ingredients because my skin is naturally oily and sensitive and I find that other products tend to make me break out. I also like how it made my skin feel. I’ve started to use it on my hands at night too, and when I wake up in the morning they feel so soft! I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for natural skin care. The bottle costs around $10, but like I said, you only need to use a little at a time, so I think it’s a great value because one bottle will last a while. To learn more, connect with Koru Naturals on social media here:

Koru Naturals on Facebook

Koru Naturals on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:
Greemu Devonian Review

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TOS Review: YWAM Publishing

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}I love to use biographies and living books for our history and science studies whenever possible. That works especially well when I find a person or topic to study that really has a personal interest for my son. Having grown up in Brevard County, Florida, NASA and the Space Program has always been a part of their lives. We are fortunate enough to be able to stand in our yard to watch rocket launches from the Cape, and my boys grew up watching the shuttle launches (as did I!). So, we were really excited to check out the Digital Unit Study for the book Heroes of History-Alan Shepard from YWAM Publishing. It came in especially handy since we worked on the study before a scheduled trip to the Kennedy Space Center with our homeschool group!

I did this study with my 8th/9th grade son, and even though he could read the book on his own, we like to do history together, so we took turns reading it out loud. He found the biography to be very exciting as it described Shepherd’s journey from a young boy with a keen interest in aviation to an astronaut who would eventually journey to the moon.

The unit study itself comes with a wealth of materials you can use to enhance your understanding of the book and learn more about Alan Shepard. First, there is a short summary biography to give you a brief background, which is a nice introduction, especially if you don’t know a lot about him to begin with. The Homeschool introduction is pretty much a parent’s guide, giving you info on how to use the digital study, suggestions for scheduling, an explanation of each part of the guide, and options for setting it up as a parent-directed or student-directed study. I really like that it offers that option, because it gives you a lot of flexibility. If you have an older child and are in a busy season, you can structure it as more of a self-directed activity without having to plan it all yourself, or, if you want, you can just follow the directions for using it with your child. Like I said, we do history together, but my son completed a fair amount of activities on his own due to life circumstances!

The guide itself is broken into sections, starting with a collection of quotes from a variety of people that relate to the themes of the book, and suggestions for a “display corner” that students can work on throughout the study, where they collect items and memorabilia related to the person they are studying. The third section really gets into the meat of the study, with questions for each chapter. The questions focus on a variety of skills including vocabulary, basic recall, and more open-ended questions that require students to take what they have read and use it to form an opinion or relate it to other knowledge.

Usually, after reading the chapter, I had my son complete the chapter questions in writing on his own, but you could easily do these orally with younger students or with more than one student. The Student Explorations portion of the guide consists of a range of activities that are great for completing the study. Essay questions on a variety of topics give older students a chance to practice their writing skills while also showing off what they learned, and the creative writing topics are a lot of fun. In addition, there are some great suggestions for hands-on projects, which is awesome for students who’s strengths lie outside of writing or narrating.

The guide also offers ideas for mapping and timeline activities, suggestions for other related books, movies, documentaries, and websites you can use for further study, and an outline for a “culminating activity” where students can host an evening event where they show off what they know for family and friends. I think this particular activity would be great if you were doing this study with a large group, in a co-op or with several of your children at once.

 

We made our own rockets and got to launch them!

In addition, the guide comes with some printables, including an Alan Shepard fact sheet, maps and a timeline. In all, this is a great study for a great price! And, there are tons of people to choose from. To learn more, connect with YWAM Publishing on social media here:

YWAM Publishing on Facebook

YWAM Publishing on Twitter

YWAM Publishing on Pinterest

YWAM Publishing Blog

See what other members of the crew thought of this, and the other guides we got to check out, here:

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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Baked Tacos

This is one of those meals you can totally customize and make as simple as you want. I used a Publix rotisserie chicken to make this on a busy weeknight, but you could certainly make your own chicken or, better yet, use up some leftovers instead. You can also change up the toppings to whatever you like.

Ingredients:

1 family-size rotisserie chicken (or about 3 cups of shredded chicken)

1 can chopped green chiles

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 pack taco seasoning

1 tbsp. water

3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 small onion, chopped

1 can refried beans

2 tbsp. Adobo seasonin

1 tbsp. Olive oil

toppings of your choice:

cilantro, green onion, jalepeno, sour cream, guacamole etc.

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes until soft.

2. Stir in the shredded chicken, green chiles, diced tomatoes, water, and taco seasoning. Stir and then simmer for about 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Sprinkle the Adobo seasoning on the top and stir to blend.

3. In a small pot, heat the refried beans until warm.

4. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray and place the taco shells inside. Spoon a small amount of the beans at the bottom of each shell.

5. Divide the chicken mixture between the shells.

6. Top with the shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

7. Serve topped with your favorite toppings!

You could also get creative with this and make the same topping, just bake it over tortilla chips and serve it up as nachos for a party! Enjoy!

TOS Review: Apologia : Writers in Residence

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

As a former English teacher, I am always on the lookout for a great writing program, especially for my youngest son, who tends to look at writing as his nemesis. It’s one of the subjects he has struggled with continuously, and one of the areas we seriously need to build on before he graduates high school. Therefore, I was really excited to give Writers in Residence, the new writing program from Apologia Educational Ministries, a try.

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

Aimed at students in grades 4-8, the program is based on the Six Traits of Writing principles, and includes a huge student worktext that includes all of the lessons and activities, as well as an answer key. The worktext spells out a daily 4-day schedule, and fully explains how each part of the lesson works. Written mainly to the students themselves, I think this would be an easy program for an older student to complete on their own (or a younger student who is a strong writer), while a parent could do the lessons with their younger child.

Pages are colorful and the text is broken into chunks, so it is not visually overwhelming for a child who is easily frustrated by a lot of words on one page. The text also features interviews with Christian authors that can help inspire future writers to pursue their dreams of writing a book one day!

The worktext itself contains six units, which cover all different styles of writing from narrative, to persuasive, to creative. The units are further broken down into modules, so your child creates their piece of writing in small increments, perfect for a reluctant writer like mine. Along the way, the authors gently guide the student through tasks like learning how to write clear, descriptive sentences, choosing a logical order for things, adding dialogue, and using smooth transitions. Regular grammar lessons are also included.

One thing I really liked about WIR is that they start the lessons by giving the students an example of the style of writing they are going to do using a great example from literature. Using high-quality examples is part of the Six Traits model and I believe it really helps students see what they are shooting for. The first unit used the book When I Was Young in the Mountains as an example, and I was able to find a video of a read-aloud of the story on YouTube that my son and I watched so he could hear the whole story and get an idea of what type of writing he was to aim for.

Also, as students move through the writing process, they are encouraged to assess themselves, and at the end, they use a rubric to grade their work and score their writing. Parents also use the same rubric to score the final draft. As kids get older, I think it is especially important for them to learn how to assess their written work with a critical eye, as they will need to do so before turning in assignments in college. For his first written piece in Writers in Residence, I had my son fill out his rubric and I filled out mine and we compared our scores. They were…a little different, however, when we really discussed the nuts and bolts of things, my son realized that the point wasn’t to give himself the highest grade possible, it was to take an honest look at his work so he can improve.

So, can you tell how much I love this program? Because I really, really do! And the good news is, they are planning a second volume in the future!! I would definitely recommend you check it out if you are looking for a thorough writing program, especially if you have a kid that isn’t fond of writing like mine! To learn more, connect with Apologia on social media here:

Apologia on Facebook

Apologia on Twitter

Apologia on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this product, click here:

Apologia: Writers in Residence Review

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Menu Plan Monday 4/18/16

It’s Menu Plan Monday, but onĀ  Tuesday! Ha! We had sort of a crazy weekend around here, and I paid for it yesterday, playing catch up on a lot of things. So, I am a day behind right now, but I’m hoping to catch up by the weekend. My youngest turns 15 this week, and to celebrate we will be heading to Orlando for a little fun and special lunch. He got to choose our Friday meal, since everyone gets to pick their birthday dinner. It totally freaks me out that my baby is about to get his learner’s permit. Where does the time go? Here’s our menu for the week:

Monday: Cheeseburger Skillet

Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas

Wednesday: Shrimp Scampi

Thursday: Baked Mac and Cheese

Friday: (birthday dinner) Jumbalaya

Shrimp was on sale this week, so I picked up a couple dozen! I always try to cook around the sales! Thanks for stopping by, see you next week.

 

TOS Review: Homeschool Copywork

Homeschool Copywork Review

When my kids were younger we used copywork to help them learn handwriting and memorize scripture verses. However, as they’ve gotten older we’ve kind of gotten away from that because it seems like so much copywork is geared for younger students. For this review, we received a Lifetime Membership to Homeschool Copywork, a website with printable pages for kids from elementary school through high school!

The website offers a wealth of material, from artist and composer studies, to poetry and holiday themed studies. There is so much to choose from I didn’t even know where to begin, so I asked my son for some input. The first thing that caught his eye was the Dragons of the Bible copywork pages. As a 14 year old boy, he thinks dragons are pretty cool, so this immediately piqued his interest. This particular book offers 22 verses from the King James version of the bible, with beautiful illustrations your child can color if they want too.

I really appreciate the artistry that went into creating these pages. They are very interesting to look at and visually appealing. I was a little concerned at first that my son would think this activity was “babyish”, but honestly, the content was appropriate for his age. The verses for the middle schoolers and high schoolers are longer, and usually included both print and cursive versions.

I also chose to work with pages from the Character Building copywork, as I feel it is very important that he internalize these scriptures at his age. These are taken from the King James version of the Bible as well, and after he has completed all of them, I am going to bind them into a book and use them for regular scripture memory throughout his high school years. This book included a mix of verses from Proverbs, Corinthians, the books of Timothy and more, but all of them will help to build up his heart and mind over the next few years.

We are looking at using the composer and artist studies as part of our elective courses in the next year. They offer quotes from the artist, a biography, and full-color prints to begin a study of their work. Some of the artists available include a few favorites of mine like Claude Monet (I have a few prints of his in my kitchen) and Vincent Van Gogh. I think it would be pretty easy to use these particular books as part of a unit study on the artists that you could flesh out with books from the library and other materials. And I am definitely going to use the holiday copywork when Christmas rolls around.

With a lifetime membership, and the fact that new items continue to be added, I think this a fabulous resource. If you are schooling multiple children, it also gives you on opportunity to do something with all of the kids from early elementary ages to high school. The pages are gorgeous and could easily become keepsakes you will treasure. To learn more, connect with Homeschool Copywork on social media here:

Homeschool Copywork on Facebook
Homeschool Copywork on Twitter
Homeschool Copywork on Pinterest
Homeschool Copywork on Google+
Homeschool Copywork on Instagram

To see what other members of the crew thought of this product, click here:
Homeschool Copywork Review

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TOS Review: HomeschoolDiploma.com

Exclusive High School Diploma ReviewWhile it is extremely hard for me to believe, my oldest will be graduating high school at the end of next month. This is incredibly exciting, but it also takes my breath away. We are very fortunate that our state homeschool association offers a big graduation ceremony that you can sign up for, and he is SO excited to have a formal event for all of our family to attend. I am really excited that for this review, I got to order the Exclusive High School Diploma from HomeschoolDiploma.com to give him when he graduates. It is absolutely beautiful, and I know it is going to be a very special way to commemorate his high school journey.

First of all, the Exclusive Diploma offers you a variety of options so you can totally customize the design to meet your needs. It features a thick, padded cover that looks and feels absolutely professional. You can choose from different colors like blue, green, and red, but we went with the standard black. You can also choose from four different seals to go on the front. The seals and lettering are embossed and feel really smooth when you run your hand over them. We choose the “Soli Deo Gloria” seal because we wanted something that honored the Lord, and we also liked the Latin wording. Other seals recognize private education and classical homeschooling.

After choosing the outside, you customize the inside of your diploma with the name of your school and your student. From there, you get to decide on the wording of the diploma. The company offers four wording options, that range from standard state wording that recognizes the completion of high school, to college prep wording that acknowledges challenging coursework, to faith-based wording focused on both the student’s coursework and God’s hand in their lives. We went with the “Thanks to God” wording, because our schooling was faith-based and we wanted to express our thanks for the opportunity to school our son at home.

You also get to choose another seal for the actual diploma. This one comes in full color and is gorgeous. You can choose a different seal than the one you put on the cover, but we went with the same one, and I think it’s beautiful. The diploma itself is printed on nice, heavy-duty paper and you get to choose between ivory parchment or cream colored stock, we went with the cream. I think it gives it a nice antique look. You can also add a verse to the diploma (we chose Proverbs 3:5-6) if you want at no extra cost.

Additional options for extra fees include adding an honors designation to the diploma, printing your child’s name on the cover, illuminating the letters of the school name, and adding a tassel. We didn’t choose any of these, but I feel like, for $48.99, the diploma we got is beautiful. Honestly, when it came in the mail and I looked at it, it made me cry. HomeschoolDiploma.com does a beautiful job with these!

Besides the Exclusive Diploma, they also have other diplomas that start at a lower rate, and they offer a number of other items like class rings, graduation announcements, photo albums, and gifts. They sent a sample of their announcements, and I can see that the same high-quality work goes into them that goes into their diplomas. They are also printed on high-quality paper with beautiful designs, and I am really thinking about ordering some this month to send out.

If you have a high school student, I would definitely suggest you take a look at what HomeschoolDiploma.com has to offer. Even if they aren’t graduating yet, bookmark their page for when the time comes. Believe me, it’s going to happen sooner then you think, and they offer amazing products for a great price! I can’t wait to watch my son cross the stage and receive his diploma. I know I’m going to cry, but that’s okay. And I’m glad he’s going to have a beautiful diploma to hang on his wall. I will definitely return to order another one in three years when his brother graduates!

To learn more, connect with HomeschoolDiploma.com on social media here:

HomeschoolDiploma.com on Facebook

HomeschoolDiploma.com on Twitter

HomeschoolDiploma.com on Pinterest

To see what other members of the crew had to say about the diplomas they received, click here:

Exclusive High School Diploma Review

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