Wednesday, May 29, 2013

News-O-Matic Review and Giveaway:

Do you worry about your kids hearing the wrong kind of news? Or that they won’t understand it?

When I was asked to review this new App, I was excited. Monkey Man loves to watch the news, and keep up on what is going on. The News-O-Matic App from Press4Kids helps keep the kids up to date, but in a kid friendly way. They bring current events to them and how they affect them in a age-appropriate way.

Press4Kids is a group of journalist, educators, and entrepreneurs. It was started in 2012 and works hard to inform children about current news and world events.

iPad Screenshot 1

News-O-Matic is targeted towards ages 7-10, however my 11 yr old really enjoyed it still. It is a week day newspaper App that includes five daily stories, detailed images, videos, maps, timelines, and games. It is updated everyday around 3:30 EST, so it is ready for when they get home from school. They even give them a hands on approach, by being able to interact with the Editor-in-chief. They can rate the stories, draw pictures, and ask questions. Don’t you know my son was right on their asking questions right away! (they were really great about answering them too) 

iPad Screenshot 3
My kids were super excited to read “their” newspaper everyday to see what was going on around the world. They also liked to tell me about it. This was absolutely a highlight to their day!

This App is very easy to use, and your kids really learn a lot! Added bonus they get to learn it all without the added extra violence.

You can purchase this App on iTunes for your iPad or iPad Mini.  It is a bit steep in price… $49.99 for the year subscription, $6.99 a month, or $1.99 a week.
However, being a homeschooling mom. . . I think I could justify this for my kids for a year. Really great information.

You can find Press4Kids on Facebook and Twitter too.

How would you like to win a prize pack?
One of my readers can win a goody bag with a $10 iTunes gift card, backpack, hats, water bottles, and an iPad screen cleaner.

*I was provided with 3 issues News-O-Matic from Childs Play Communications and Press4Kids, and a goodie bag. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.

Monday, May 27, 2013

My Birthday Weekend..


Gasp. . . 


I hate to admit it, but I turned 34 this past weekend.


Usually my birthday results in crazy acting out kids, or extremely sick kids, or myself. This year, a miracle happened! My birthday weekend was amazing!

I have always really enjoyed having my birthday on Memorial weekend, cause first of all, when I was a kid that meant the day off. Then as I got older we would always have been cook outs with the family.

However, in the last few years, we have not really done anything. So I was happy to have a change of pace this year.


My weekend started with Saturday. . . my kids and hubby took me out to breakfast.









Then we went to see the movie Epic! That was really good I have to say! Really great day all around.


Sunday, hubby had to work, so the kids and I watched a bunch of movies. It was a rainy day anyway. After hubby got out of work, we went to a friends house. Where a bunch of my friends got together and we had a wonderful time. The kids played outside till 10:30pm! It was great!


Then on my birthday Monday. . . Monkey Man and Monkey Dad walked in the local Memorial Day Parade. So I met up with a friend again and the girls and I watched the parade with them. The girls got all festive and off we went.








After the parade, we dropped the kids off at home with my mom. While hubby took me to the movies to see the newest Fast & the Furious! I LOVE those movies, so that was awesome! I have been counting down the days till it was out. What a great movie, and I can’t wait to watch it again. After the movie we headed back home, where my mom and monkey man had made me an awesome birthday dinner of the Pioneer Woman’s Pulled Pork, and Au Gratin Potatoes. It was super delish!

We played a rousing game of Skip-Bo, and then had a wonderful slice of yummy chocolate cake with peanut butter cake! YUMMY!


I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday! It was simply amazing! Especially with my 70 Happy Birthday messages on Facebook! How could it have been any better?!


How was your weekend?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend




Do you have big plans for the weekend?


The rain is putting a damper on ours. . .


However, that won’t stop us from having fun!



We want to wish all of our wonderful readers




Enjoying time with the ones you love!


Ours will consist of going to the movies,
and celebrating my dad’s and I’s birthday. .




Friday, May 24, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:








  • In my life this week…

we spent a lot of time trying to
get out of the rain!

Went to the dentist,
and the doctors. . .

Softball practice

and spending time together!



  • In our homeschool this week…

We haven’t started back up yet

However, I have finished our plans. .

We are looking to start up the first week of June

but we still have done some math, reading,

history. . gardening. .. and everyday learning!




  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. . .
Do what works best for your family!



  • I am inspired by…


I know I don’t say that often, but this week. . .

has been a rough one, and I am inspired by how well

I handle things and keep going, even when I want to throw in the

towel sometimes!



  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week is another really busy week. . .

Monday is my birthday (I can only imagine what they have in store)

Then we have doctor appts, softball practices,

Library, Softball games,

Dance, and a curriculum sale at the end of the week.



  • My favorite thing this week was…

Spending time with my family!



  • What’s working/not working for us…

We need to get back to school
the chaos is taking over, and I can’t deal!



  • Questions/thoughts I have…

When do you start your new year?

Any big plans for the summer?

Ok, that is two questions!



  • Things I’m working on…

Making a list of projects I need to finish,
or even start this summer.



  • I’m reading…

Nothing at the moment,
time to find a new one,
so I can go sit in the sun (when it comes back)
and read!



  • I’m cooking…

Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza tonight..

We are having chicken, and beef kabobs on the grill tomorrow



  • I’m grateful for…

My family!

They amaze me everyday!



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
Mark Twain

Crest & Oral-B Giveaway

Is your kid dying to see the new Monsters University? Mine are! They love those cute characters Mike & Sulley. Monsters can be scary, as well as the dentist. Crest & Oral-B Pro-Health Stages are trying to help children overcome the fear of both.

Dentist can be very scary. I know that for my children we have struggled to find one they are comfortable with. As a matter of fact they are going to see a new one today. Is your child scared of the dentist? Here are some tips to help ease the fears for them. . .
  • Visit your dentist before they have a an appointment. See if you can get a tour of the office, and maybe have them demonstrate how the instruments work.
  • If you have older children you can have them come along and observe while you get your teeth cleaned. Allow them to ask questions about what is going on.
  • Be sure to schedule regular appointments, so they know it is important.
  • Reinforce daily brushing and flossing. Keep them excited about their next visit.
  • Allow younger children to bring a favorite toy, stuff animal or blanket with them for comfort.
  • Be positive about going to the dentist.

America’s ToothFairy is dedicated to helping eliminate children’s suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs. Did you know that the pediatric dental disease  is the #1 chronic childhood disease?

Make brushing fun, with Crest Pro-Health Stages Monsters Toothpaste, and Oral-B Stages 3 Monsters Toothbrush. The toothpaste provides effective cavity protection in a mild gel formula. Children under 6 yrs old should only use a pea-sized amount.

You should make sure that their toothbrush is appropriate for their age. The Stages 3 Monster, Inc Toothbrushes provide:
  • clean teeth
  • Helps kids reach their back teeth
  • Helps protect tender gums
  • and makes brushing fun!

You can find Monsters, Inc Toothpaste and Toothbrushes in stores now.

How would you like to win a prize pack with 2 Crest Pro-Health Stages Monsters, Inc Toothpastes and 2 Oral-B Stages Monsters, Inc Toothbrushes (a approximate retail value of $10.00)

*I was given samples from America’s Toothfairy. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkey’s.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TOS Crew: Joyce Herzog Review




Whether you’re a new Homeschooling teacher, or a veteran, you can always use some encouraging help. I know, I am always trying to read up on tips for ways to try to help my homeschooling technique.

Recently I have been reading a book by Joyce Herzog that I have been reviewing called Timeless Teaching Tips.


Timeless Teaching Tips: How to Think Like a Teacher by Joyce Herzog is a great book for all homeschooling moms. While reading this book I found a lot of great ideas, I’d like to try. I made sure to mark the pages I really like.



About the Book:

Let me start by telling you the book is broke down into different sections. It starts with Principles of Learning, It’s Been Said, Practical Helps, Homeschool Issues, Gems and finishing up with Spiritual Considerations. The sections give lots of insight and useful tips.


Principles of Learning focuses on teaching and learning. It’s Been Said has lots of famous quotes (this was one of my favorites). Practical Helps has great ideas for any program your already using. Along with Homeschooling Issues, and a few ideas to help you step outside your comfort zone. Then Spiritual Considerations gives you some ways to bring your children up.



About the Author:

Joyce Herzog has a lot of experience as a teacher in public and private schools. She also has done consultant work for homeschooling families. Joyce has also done many speaking engagements, and written many books.



My Thoughts:

I love that it doesn’t matter what kind of homeschooler you are (Classical, Textbook, Charlotte Mason, Unschooled, etc.) the book will still be a help. It reminds you that you are not alone, that we have all been there at one time or another. I found lots of useful information in this book. It will find a spot on my “Teacher” bookshelf.


Therefore, I would recommend this to any homeschooling mom. Whether you are a first time or veteran teacher. All the information will be helpful, or inspirational.


You can purchase Timeless Teaching Tips for $15.


See what other TOS Crew members are saying about Joyce Herzog’s book Timeless Teaching Tips.





Sunday, May 12, 2013

TOS Crew: Spanish for you Review




Foreign language is never easy to teach, unless you have taken multiple years of it yourself right? I took a year of French, and a year of Spanish in high school. To this day, I only remember one phrase in French, and so much more of my Spanish. So, when the decision came to teach my kids Spanish. . . I really wasn’t sure where to start! Lucky for us, we have had the opportunity to check out a few products. The most current review is Spanish For You! more specifically their Fiestas curriculum.


Debbie Annett is the author of Spanish For You. Debbie has a lot of experience in teaching Spanish, and is a state certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish! Seeing the need for an economical, and easy to use curriculum is why she wrote this.



About the product:

It’s a full year curriculum, that is theme based around specific themes. Fiestas is about celebrations, and is focused on 3rd-8th grade. They are currently working on more themes.

I was given the Spanish For You! Fiestas book which is 45 pgs. Along with the lesson guides for 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, and 7th-8th to use. We chose to use 5th-6th, since we have already had some lessons.

Check out this sample of Spanish For You! Fiestas.


How we used it:

Upon receiving the download I decided to print out all the lesson plans, and the book. I put the book in a 3-ring binder for my two monkey’s to share. Then I printed off two of every worksheet for them.

After that, we decided that we were going to do Spanish 3 days a week. Since Monday is our busy day, we didn’t want to add more to that day, and Friday we like to keep open for field trips, and fun learning. That works well with her recommendations though, she suggested using it 3-4 days per week.

Each day is broken down into tasks. . .

  • Playing a game with flashcards
  • Reading
  • Listening to the lesson audio
  • Completing a worksheet


You only do 2-3 worksheets each week of lesson plans.


What the Monkey’s thought:

Monkey Man, and Little Monkey really enjoyed this curriculum. Having already know a little bit of Spanish before we started made a few things easier, but sometimes it seems like it could have been organized a bit better. They also thought that the self checking worksheets but be done a bit differently, cause it is to easy to look and see what the answer is.

The kids really had fun with the birthday section, cause their has been lots of birthdays in our world over the last month. They loved going up to the kids and saying happy birthday in Spanish. It was cute to watch!

I hope that they continue to enjoy it. We plan to finish up the 5th-6th, and move on to the 7th-8th level.


What is included and Cost:

For $34.95 for each specific grade level, or you can get all 3 grade levels for $64.95

What you get included for both. . .

  • Soft Cover Book or E-book
  • Lesson Guides for the grade you need (PDF Download)
  • Self-Checking Worksheets (PDF Download)
  • Audio Files of entire book (MP3 Download)
  • Flashcard/ Activity pictures (PDF Download)


So as you can see it is very reasonably priced.


See what the rest of TOS CREW is saying about Spanish For You!



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lactaid Coupon Giveaway….

Do you have any children that allergic to milk? Or seems to have an intolerance to it?

All my children in one way or another can not have milk. We have experimented with lots of different things over the years to replace their milk. Rice Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, and then finally Lactaid. Lactaid is the one that has lasted. While I still keep some regular milk in the house for some things we cook, I have found that Lactaid is the most versatile to cook with. Plus my husband, who while doesn’t like to admit that he has a milk issue does. After trying whole milk Lactaid, he will use it. He says it taste the most like real milk. He can’t usually tell the difference.

Recently I was able to join in on a webinar with Melissa d’ Arabian Lactaid Brand Spokesperson. (Which might I add I watched on food network when she first became a celeb, and still watch her to this day). She is a NY Times best selling author of the cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners. All while being the mom of four girls. You might have seen her on the Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda? She was on it April 15th doing breakfast recipes, and will be back on June 26th for EntrĂ©e recipes. If you would like to you can check out 8 online videos here, and here.

We also heard from Michelle Harrington, R.D. and Lactaid Regulatory and Nutritional Affairs Manger. As well as being a pediatric dietitian at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

So I’m sure many of you are asking what is Lactose exactly? I know, that was my big question when I started researching the milk issue with my kids. Well, lactose is the major carbohydrate in milk and other dairy foods. Lactose is milk sugar and consists of two simple sugars, which are glucose, and galactose. Therefore people who are lactose intolerant can’t break down the lactose probably. Or the body doesn’t know how. Sometimes lactose intolerance can be progressive, so many people may become more intolerant later in life.

Lactaid is a product that helps people who have a lactose sensitivity in digesting dairy products without having the stomach discomfort. It provides the lactase that the body can’t produce enough of to break down lactose.
Believe it or not Lactaid is also 100% real dairy. It just doesn’t have the natural yeast derived enzyme added called lactase. There is a very wide variety of Lactose-Free products as well. You can get different kinds of milk, cottage cheese, ice cream, and eggnog. My son tried the eggnog this year for the first time, he was so EXCITED.
Did you know that Lactaid is the nation’s #1 lactose-free dairy brand?

Once Lactaid is opened it should be consumed within a week. Lactaid products are calcium enriched as well. I make sure to get that for my kids, so they are able to get the calcium they need. It has 500 mg in an 8 oz glass, so you only need two glasses to get your daily amount of calcium.

While it is hard to find in our area.. you can get Lactaid ice cream in 5 flavors. (we only can find chocolate and vanilla which makes my kids sad)
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Strawberries & Cream
  • Butter Pecan
All flavors except cookies and cream are also gluten free.

I know my kids get frustrated when seeing the things they can’t eat. We have found that yogurt doesn’t bother them. That is because it has live and active cultures. Greek yogurt has double the protein and fewer carbs, which leads to less lactose and easier to digest. (My son prefers Greek yogurt)
Cheese is a bit harder. A rule of thumb for eating cheese though, is that harder the cheese, the less moisture or whey in it. Meaning there is less lactose in it. Always choose the aged cheeses, they are lower in lactose. My son loves Cheddar and Gruyere. However, Pecorino and Swiss cheese are also great hard cheeses to try.

Now cooking with Lactaid. Is it the same or can it be done?
Well, Melissa suggests using it in smoothies. The kids tend to like it more due to a slight sweetness. She also says she swaps Lactaid for regular milk in recipes, cup for cup. When substituting Lactaid for cream in recipes, work in a teaspoon of corn starch. Can also be used to make buttermilk by adding vinegar.

I’m going to be experimenting with some different recipes using Lactaid over the next month, so stay tuned for my blog post in July. Using the link above, leave me a comment telling me something you would like me to try? Telling you how well it worked, and how good it is. In the meantime would you like to win a coupon for a free Lactaid product?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Lactaid through The Motherhood provided the giveaway and information for this sponsored post. All other opinions are mine or my monkeys.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:







  • In my life this week…

I have struggled to keep going..
I have felt defeated…
I have been very overwhelmed…

We have enjoyed
Softball games…

Cleaned the garage…
Enjoyed the sun..
and just had fun.




  • In our homeschool this week…

We are still on break
but  getting in the basic’s of
math, and reading…

Prepping for the new year..

Still doing our reviews…
But having fun…



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Take a break when you feel you need one..
or you will regret it later.



  • I am inspired by…

The TOS Homeschooling posts this



  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We have dance, Boy Scouts,
Library, Softball practice, Softball games,
Girl Scouts, Birthday Parties…
Fun with friends..


  • My favorite thing this week was…

Watching my middle monkey play in
her first softball game!



  • What’s working/not working for us…

Our crazy schedule for the next few weeks
is not really working for me, I’m so tired!




  • Questions/thoughts I have…

Do you do lots of field trips in the summer?



  • Things I’m working on…

Getting reorganized…


  • I’m reading…

More Debbie Macomber books,
and Susan Wiggs.



  • I’m cooking…

Stuffed shells tomorrow for
hubby’s birthday.



  • I’m grateful for…

The fun my girls are having playing



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Here is a few shots of my middle monkey playing in her first game!





Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Prepping for summer…



Are you ready for summer to be here?!

I know I am.. I am ready for that warm sun, flowers, playing in the water, and just plain having fun.


I think that I am in a big slump lately. I have been struggling with lots of areas in my life. I have not wanted to go to any of our extra activities, homeschool co-op, or anything. I just want to stay at home, and hibernate.


Which means I really need summer to get here. We have been on our break from school for a bit now, but we are getting ready to start back up soon. I need us to get back on our routine. What is a routine in summer? That is a good question. Normally we just add in some summer fun everyday.


Here in the northeast we have been getting some decent weather. Meaning cool mornings but really nice afternoons in the 70’s. We have really been enjoying it. The kids love being outside most of the day. Playing on the playground, prepping the garden, cleaning out the garage, or playing softball. Yup, we have found plenty of things to keep us busy in the nice weather.


We are anxious to go camping this year though. Do you like to camp? Do you go often? We haven’t been in a few years, so we are really hoping to get that opportunity this year.


Summer means. . . .

Balloon fights
and time with friends.

What does it mean for you?


Friday, May 3, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:








  • In my life this week…

This week has been really interesting…
We have had fun with friends..
Enjoyed the beautiful 70 degree weather…
Road bikes…
Played Softball..



  • In our homeschool this week…

We are still on summer vacation for a few more weeks..
While I try to organize and get our new stuff put together.

We are still working on Review stuff though..
plus Co-op..


We are doing some summer work though,
like reading, math, History videos..



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Don’t stress about the small stuff



  • I am inspired by…

The amazing people I can look up to..


  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week we are pretty busy..

I have camp training this weekend..
Boy Scouts, Dance, Softball for both girls,
Library, 4H, Piano, and Co-op.


  • My favorite thing this week was…

Watching both my girls play Softball,
and have such accomplished looks when they
worked hard.



  • What’s working/not working for us…

My crazy schedule is not working that
well for me, but I just have to get through one more
month… Can I do it?



  • Questions/thoughts I have…

Do you have a phys ed curriculum? Or do you just have your
kids play sports?



  • Things I’m working on…

Getting my garden in….
and getting my yard back.


  • I’m reading…

Still looking for a new book to read



  • I’m cooking…

Tonight we are having pizza for dinner…



  • I’m grateful for…

Great friends that help me out when my
schedule gets to overwhelming...



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


I believe
everything happens for
a reason.
People change so you can
learn to let go.
Things go wrong so
that you can appreciate
them when they’re right.
You believe lies,
so that you can learn to
Trust no one but you
and sometimes good things
fall apart so better things
can fall together…

~Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, May 2, 2013

TOS Review: Home School in the Woods


Looking for another good lapbook company? We recently got the chance to review Hands-On-History: 20th Century in America Lap-Pak, by Home School in the Woods.


Have you ever done lapbooks before? We enjoy using them in our house. They are really great interactive ways to add to our learning. Upon receiving the option to review them, we got to choose between 3 different lapbooks. My son really enjoys history, so it was a tough decision for us. However, we agreed upon the 20th Century.




What was included:

For this review, I received a PDF download of the materials. Which works wonderfully on Adobe Reader. With this download we got:

Introduction and lists of additional resources
Booklet directions
Project directions
Lapbook assembly directions
Reading pages
Lapbook masters


Download is available for $21.95
CD version is $22.95

This product is meant for grades 3-8, and is pretty on target with that. I used it with my two monkeys who are in 3rd, and 5th grade.


How we used it:

This is a very complete unit study. Which was wonderful, since we really just had to print and go. I printed one section off at a time for the monkey’s to work on.

We used this a few days a week, and used the additional resources to add a bit more to our learning. Reading a few books to go along with it.

We purchased some more file folders since we had run out, and started on it at once. Most things that you need to do a lapbook are already in your home. Most common things needed to assemble one are file folders, glue sticks, scissors, tape, pencils, markers, and sometimes brads. My kids love to cut and color, adding their own personality to the lapbook. So we always print on white paper in black and white. However, you could print on colored paper to add another dimension to it.


My kids really enjoyed learning about the 20th century history. Monkey Man loved learning more about the space shuttle Challenger. We have talked about it briefly a few times this year when we were talking about space. But to touch more on it, was very interesting to him.

Little Monkey really liked the recipes that came with the lapbook. She was very excited to try a few.

My thoughts:

Overall as a teacher I was very impressed with this study. It was very informational, and included everything we could possibly need. I also like that it gives you suggestions on how to teach it. As well as extra resources. It was right on target for my children’s ages, and they really enjoyed it. We were all very happy with it.


We strongly suggest that if you have not trying lapbooking yet to do so! 


See what the other TOS Crew members have to say about it.