TOS Review: MyFreezEasy

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}

As a busy mom, finding time to cook every night is hard enough. But now that my husband and I decided to open a small business, and I work several nights a week, it’s even harder. However, I still want to make sure my family eats healthy meals at least most of the time. I’ve heard about “freezer cooking” before, and wanted to try it out,but it seemed so complicated. When I got the chance to try out the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy, for this review I figured I would give it a try.

The premium membership included access to a variety of different plans each month. Choose a specific type of plan like the Slow Cooker Plan, the Gluten Free Plan, the all beef or pork plan, and more. Each plan gives you the indgredients and directions to make 5 meals. You can simply download the PDF file, print the shopping list, and come back and start cooking.

Prep

You can also build your own custom meal plan (which is what I do), selecting up to five recipes from a variety of plans and receiving your own customized PDF. If you wanted to, you could download a new plan for each week. The recipes offer a nice variety of meats and vegetables while some are just for meat and you can make your own veggies when you cook the meal. Vegetarian recipes are also included.

Apricot chicken prep

Apricot chicken prep

For my first set of recipes, I choose the slow cooker Beef and Black bean chili, which was a one-dish meal, Cuban Pork, slow cooker Green Chile Chicken, Lemon Dijon Salmon and Apricot Chicken. Most of the recipes I chose came from the Paleo category, because I do not eat a lot of carbs myself, and it is very easy for me to whip up some mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice to use as a side for my family.

Beef and Black Bean Chili

Beef and Black Bean Chili

When you choose your recipes you can also choose your portion size, so, in the case of the slow cooker meals, I choose a portion of 8 because I like to make a double batch in my slow cooker so we can eat for two days off of one meal. I like this feature because it does all the calculating for me and I don’t have to try to double everything in my head!

Cuban Pork Chops

Cuban Pork Chops

As far as putting the meals together, I was worried it would be really complicated, but it turned out it wasn’t. The website has helpful videos to show you examples of assembling meals, and the PDF really lays out the instructions step-by-step. I spent about two hours prepping my meals one morning in the kitchen (while I had that night’s dinner already going in the crock pot). I have a feeling I will get faster at this as time goes on.

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

So, how were they? Well, my family loved everything I made from my meal plan. One change I did make was upping the called for spices a little, because my family loves spice and flavor, but it’s cool that you can make adjustments as you go. Also, getting the meals prepped and in the bag was easier than I thought. If you want to, you can use the printable labels for your bags, but I just wrote the name of the meal on the bag with a sharpie marker.

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken

When it comes time to cook, you simply thaw the meal (and you can even thaw it in water for about 20 minutes if you forget to pull it out, which may or may not have happened to me), place it in the dish or slow cooker, and let it cook! Let me tell you, this was so easy on the days when I was running around doing stuff for the business and homeschooling and everything else. It made me feel so good to know that a healthy dinner was already prepped and ready to go at home.

Cuban Pork

Cuban Pork

MyFreezEasy offers different levels of memberships, ranging from $7-10 per month or $77-95 dollars per year, so you can choose the level that suits your family. The Premium membership that I got feels so worth it! Learn more by connecting the MyFreezEasy on social media:

FreezEasy on Facebook

FreezEasy on Instagram

FreezEasy on Pinterest

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

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}Crew DisclaimerSave

Save

Save

TOS Review: FlipStir Puzzles (Enlivenze LLC)

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

Who doesn’t love a good puzzle? As a kid I could spend hours putting puzzles together. Horse puzzles were my favorite. My boys enjoy a good puzzle every now and then, but like a lot of things from my childhood, they tend to get bored after a while. However, the FlipStir puzzles from Enlivenze LLC put a new twist (literally) on puzzle-solving. For this review, we got to check out the Statue of Liberty puzzle.

FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

First of all, FlipStir puzzles are fully 3D and you don’t use your hands to put the pieces together like you do in a traditional puzzle. Instead, each puzzle comes in its own self-contained plastic tube. The challenge is to put the pieces together using a stick inserted in the tube, and shaking, turning, and flipping the tube itself. Sound a little crazy? It was, and quite fun and challenging.

The picture of the completed puzzle is included on a sticker at the bottom of the tube, so you can use it as a reference. The statue of liberty puzzle that we did is considered a Level 2 puzzle, so it’s a little harder than the Level 1 puzzles. Well, for me at least, it was really hard! It reminded me of the games you play on your phone where you have to tilt the screen just right to get the ball to roll into the hole. You have to get things lined up just right to make it work.

Each member of my family had a different approach to solving the puzzle. I am a shaker. Basically that means I just shake the tube back and forth, trying to get the pieces to line up (at least most of them) and then I try using the stick to finish the rest. My youngest has a style similar to mine, but he’s a lot more patient than I am. My oldest son and hubby take a more careful, analytical approach, carefully trying to move each piece into place.

So far, my hubby and my youngest have gotten the farthest with the puzzle, but none of us have solved it yet! I think the challenge is what makes it so much fun. I think this is a great party game. My cousin and her family were visiting us recently and my youngest got it out and everyone wanted a chance to try it. It was hilarious watching people as they worked hard to solve the puzzle. I could also see this being a great way to keep kids occupied on road trips, or on busy days when you have to run a lot of errands. The puzzle itself is small enough to fit in a backpack or tote bag, and since it is self-contained, you don’t have to worry about the pieces spilling everywhere.

There are several FlipStir puzzles to choose from, so the entertainment possibilities are endless. To learn more, connect with Enlivenze and FlipStir on social media:

FlipStir on Facebook

FlipStir on Twitter

Enlivenze on Facebook

Enlivenze on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew thought of the puzzles, click here:
FlipStir Puzzles Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Save

Save

TOS Review: MaxScholar

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

Although we take summers off from official school, I am always looking for ways to incorporate spelling, vocabulary and other subjects into our curriculum that are easy and painless, especially for summer learning. Spelling in particular is one area that my youngest son still needs a lot of work (even as a middle school/high school student). However, doing an additional paper and pencil curriculum on top of our regular work is often met with complaints, while computer-based learning meets much less resistance. For that reason, I was excited to check out the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs from MaxScholar.

I received a MaxGuru subscription, giving my son access to variety of programs to help build his reading, vocabulary, spelling, and even geography and music skills. We started with MaxReading at an 8th grade level. The program begins with a pre-test that assesses comprehension and reading skills. After completing the test, students do regular activities at their level, progressing through levels as their skills improve. Lessons are short and manageable, perfect for my restless boy. He also found the topics interesting, with a lot of them being related to pop culture and people he recognized (in his words, he wasn’t reading a bunch of “boring, irrelevant” stories). We did daily practice with this three days per week, which we will continue through the summer. I really like the fact that MaxReading automatically adapts to your child’s reading level without you having to do anything.

MaxWords is a phonics-based program that again, offers multiple levels for students. Students at the older levels can practice syllabication, Greek and Latin Roots, and more. The syllabication activities also allow students to build their reading fluency with a timed reading. I really liked the Greek and Latin roots part of the program which teaches kids a variety of roots and then offers multiple games and activities that allow them to really work with the roots until they understand them.

In addition to phonics, vocab, and reading, students also get to practice reading skills in the context of reading about people and places. In MaxPlaces, students can explore a number of countries by reading a short passage, highlighting important parts of the text, and then answering a series of questions about what they read. It’s setup is much like the reading portion of the program, but this gives kids a chance to learn some geography and history. We were already studying Australia, so this was a great addition to that. I really really like the highlighting because, as a former English teacher, I find that older students often have a difficult time discerning what is important in the text. Many times I had students who would highlight entire paragraphs! Being able to pick out the most important parts of a passage will help later on when students need to take notes and write research papers!

 

MaxBios is set up the same way, but in this portion of MaxScholar, students learn about famous people like athletes, musicians, historical figures, people in business, etc. Again, my son was just excited that even though he had to do “work” at least he got to read about people from this century if he wanted to!

MaxMusic offers a chance to build grammar and music skills in a really fun way. It provides lyrics from songs from current and famous older artists, and asks students to identify parts of speech, recall words, and even gives them a chance to play the song on a virtual piano. This part was probably the most fun for my son, and I can’t overlook the fact that he was having fun while practicing grammar, a subject that usually results in a LOT of stress, arguing, complaining and tension for the two of us!

 

If you look at MaxScholar and think it’s only for younger children, let me tell you, you are wrong. They have tons of age-appropriate activities for older kids too, and they also offer a ton of games on top of all the other stuff! My son built his vocabulary while playing hangman, and would sometimes log on just to play if he got bored. They also offer an App for smartphones so you can access MaxScholar on the go!

If you are looking for a fun way to work in some learning activities and supplement your curriculum I would definitely recommend you check it out. It’s a great way to provide some extra practice on important skills, or, like I said, use it as a summer program. To learn more, connect with MaxScholar on social media here:

MaxScholar on Facebook

MaxScholar on Twitter

MaxScholar on Pinterest

MaxScholar on Google+

MaxScholar on LinkedIn

MaxScholar on YouTube

To see what other members of the crew thought of this, and the other programs we got to check out, click here:

MaxScholar Reading Intervention Programs Review

Crew Disclaimer

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

TOS Review: Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 ReviewI don’t know about you, but I love paper and pencil planning. I know a lot of people like to use digital planners or stuff they can download and print, but, just like I enjoy reading physical books and magazines, I LOVE having a printed planner to write it. So, I was really excited to get to review the Hey Mama!Print Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 from The Old Schoolhouse.

First of all, the planner itself is beautiful. The spiral binding is really strong, which is important because I hate when the spirals wear out while you’re using something. The color scheme is gorgeous too, and it’s full of great pictures. It offers full calendars for 2016-2018, which are really useful for planning out your school year in advance. I like to go in and circle all of our breaks, holidays, and other days off before I start planning the year so I can get an idea of the time frame.

It also offers calendar pages from July 2016 through 2017. I really rely on these to keep track of everyone’s schedule, from my hubby’s work days, to church commitments, to homeschool group days and birthdays. The blocks on the page are large, so you can record a lot of different things, and there is a blank space on the side where I like to keep track of my reviews for the month.

You can further break down your planning with the weekly schedule. These pages have blocks for planning for up to five people. On Sundays, I break out the planner and fill in the boxes for myself, my kids, and my hubby. I write down any appointments/commitments we have that week, my oldest son’s work schedule, and also what is on the menu for each day. That way, every morning, I can check the planner and know exactly what needs to be done.

But that’s not all the planner has to offer. Each month, you get a beautiful devotional message, as well as a place to record notes for the month. The planner is also loaded with useful information for moms like how to care for a cast-iron skillet and how butter churns work. I look forward to reading these and they usually make me smile.

Another page that I find really useful is the curriculum planning sheet and goal sheets. These allow you to record your planned curriculum for the year, as well as goals for each child in several areas including academics, spirituality, physical goals, life skills and more. I find that plotting out my goals for the year before I get into shopping for curriculum and planning out our days helps me to focus.

Now that I have one graduated high schooler and another who is in high school, I also really appreciate the transcript page as well. This allows you to record high school credits, which is so important. Trust me, you don’t want to have to put together a transcript from scratch when your child is about to apply to college. There are also pages to record attendance, books read for the year, and more. At the back of the planner they also offer some awesome reference pages that list things like the Presidents in order, a timeline of inventions, a list of writing prompts, and the states and capitals.

If you love physical planners as much as I do, you don’t want to miss out on this one. Even though we just finished school for the summer, I am already excited about planning for next year! To learn more, connect with The Old Schoolhouse on social media here:

The Old Schoolhouse on Facebook

The Old Schoolhouse on Instagram

The Old Schoolhouse on Twitter

The Old Schoolhouse on Google+

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

Hey Mama! Schoolhouse Planner 2016-2017 Review

Crew Disclaimer

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

Crew Disclaimer

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

Crew Disclaimer

TOS Review: Stopmotion Explosion

Stopmotion Explosion Review

Sometimes you just like to have a little fun, and maybe encourage your kids to explore a creative avenue that might turn into a future career. Both of my boys have at one point or another, considered film animation as a direction to follow. They used to use digital cameras to take tons of pictures of their toy cars and turn them into 30-second movies. So, we were excited to check out the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit for this review.

Stopmotion Explosion Review

The animation kit comes with an HD video camera, a CD with software that you install on your computer, a quickstart guide, and a 290-page book all about animation. In addition, the Stopmotion Explosion website offers video tutorials to help you get started. The program is easy to install and I just put it on my laptop. My son was eager to start playing with it right away, so he set up the camera and started taking some shots.

He was so excited. He really didn’t have any trouble getting started with the software all on his own. However, after filming his first show with his army men, he realized how much footage he was going to need to create a film and decided he wanted to start a little smaller, and also read the book!

The Animate Anything and Make Movies book that comes with the program is incredible. I think it’s a fantastic book for anyone interested in animated films. It features 17 chapters on topics ranging from building sets, to lighting, to sound and editing. The parts about how to create special effects were particularly exciting. I really liked the fact that the book got into the techniques of making animated films, explaining the details of what composition is and why it is important in filmmaking, because I felt like it was really teaching my son skills while also allowing him to have a lot of fun.

There were a few things that we learned along the way, like making a full animated film takes a pretty long time and a lot of patience. My son (and now his older brother, who after watching from the sidelines for a while is also interested in this!) is still working on a plan for a Lego film. The two of them are actually sitting down together to come up with a script and then make plans for the scenery, visual effects, and everything else they need. In the meantime, they are experimenting with the camera to learn more about how to use it and what it can do with short images and series of shots.

I kind of like the fact that while my son was really excited and ready to jump right on this from the start, after using it, he now wants to take his time and really dig into it. I mean, I haven’t seen him this excited about learning something in a while. He’s really exploring this in depth on his own, and learning so many concepts. Maybe one day he will grow up to work on animated films in the future!

Check out this short video he made so far:

We really enjoyed the Animation Kit from Stopmotion Explosion! To learn more about it, connect with them on social media here:

Stopmotion Explosion on Facebook

Stopmotion Explosion on Twitter

To see what other members of the crew had to say about this product, and the other products we got to check out, click here:

Stopmotion Explosion ReviewCrew Disclaimer