Sunday, October 27, 2013

TOS Crew: Bridgeway Academy Review


As a homeschooler you are always trying to find the best way to teach your child. Sometimes you think having more interaction would be good for them. Recently we got the opportunity to try a  learning lab, by Bridgeway Academy.

What we took:

Little Monkey took their Magic Tree House: Through the middle ages class which is designed for kids in 1st –8th grade. This class was taught by Kathy Thomas. Each class was Monday afternoons from 1-2pm.

Here is some of what was covered in this class. . .

  • Overview of the Middle Ages
  • Life on a Medieval Manor
  • Life in a Medieval City
  • Knights and the Crusades
  • Castles
  • The End of the Middle Ages
  • Art & Music


The whole class is a total of 8 weeks. Each week Kathy assigned them homework, which usually didn’t take to long to do. Then they had one large project to do.


I’m sure you are wandering how they did a class online. They used what was called Jigsaw Classroom. It is a place where the kids can log into a “classroom” and have face to face time with the instructor via webcam, and can take part with a microphone. It is divided into four sections on your screen with a spot for presentations, a white board for notes, a spot for links for assignments and what the teacher is showing. Very similar to a powerpoint presentation really.

The first class or two Little Monkey was rather confused. It was a bit overwhelming to get figure out how to get around. Then she got the hang of it. Unfortunately due to a few last minute appointments for me (I have been having medical issues) she missed a few classes. However, most classes are recorded, and when she couldn’t do that she made sure to have an option for them. Then she would be sure to email after the class, to send any additional links, or papers they needed to do for homework.


Our Thoughts:

We thought this was a very interesting way to take a class. I’m not sure it was really what Little Monkey needed. She seemed to have a hard time with it sometimes. She is more of a physical class child. I think that it was fairly well put together though. I was really impressed with the teacher. She did a great job keeping the kids engaged, and giving them assignments.

Overall this is not something that I think I would do for her, but maybe for my older child. A great option for some older students. I think it brings a whole other part of learning in that is good for the kids.



Learning Labs by Bridgeway Academy are 9 week long courses. They use Jigsaw classroom software, which is a few program to use. You do need the use of headphones, a microphone, and webcam to participate in this class.

For the 9 week course it costs $145



Check out more reviews from the rest of the TOS CREW.




Friday, October 25, 2013

Oral-B Pro-Health For Me Rechargeable Toothbrush Review:


With the biggest candy holiday coming up just next week, it is important that we remind our kids of good brushing habits.




Trick or Treat with America’s ToothFairy is a campaign that they use to help get kids to have better oral health habits. All while raising funds to help pay for at-risk children suffering from tooth decay. Did you know that it is the #1 Chronic Childhood disease?


I don’t know about you, but my kids still have a hard time remembering to brush their teeth two times a day. As a parent we really need to keep on them about this. A couple of mine are dealing with loose teeth right now. Another one just had to have 4 cavities filled, cause she has very crowded teeth.


Just some ideas for Halloween instead of handing out candy:

  • Toys
  • Glow in the dark bracelets
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Stickers
  • Pretzels
  • and more!



This past month we have had the opportunity to review the Oral B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush. Let me start by saying, I’m going to have to go buy a couple more. They instantly fought over who was going to use it! I decided to let Monkey Man use it, since he has been begging for one recently.




He was really excited about it. It is very easy to use, and we got replacement heads that should last awhile. There is a 2 minute timer, so they know how long they should be brushing for. He was really good about using it this past month, so I’m hoping maybe this is the incentive he needed to get him going on being better about his dental hygiene.






You can purchase the Oral B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush at any local Wal-Mart for $28.97. Then you can get the Oral B Pro-Health for me Sensitive clean replacement Brush Heads for $21.22.


Be sure to keep on them  over the next few weeks, while they are enjoying so many sugary treats to keep them teeth brushed really well. Be sure to swing by and sign up for the Toothfairy’s  Kid’s club as well and help raise money for a child in need.  

or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!




*I was provided with a Oral-B Pro-Health for Me Rechargeable Toothbrush and Brush Head Refills in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rosie MADE Organic Chocolate Review:



As part of the Rosie’s Review Crew, I get monthly reviews of products that are sold by rosieMade.


On this review I was sent three different types of organic chocolate bars. Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almonds, Hot Habanero Mandarin Dark Chocolate, and Coconut Almond Crème Milk Chocolate. These are each 3 oz of chocolate and sell for $5 each.






Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds Bar – 70% Cocoa -

has dark chocolate, almonds, and sea salt. GMO & Gluten Free.  We found this one pretty good, but thought the sea salt was to much.


Hot Habanero Chocolate Bar – 70% Cocoa -

has dark chocolate, habanero powder and mandrin oil. GMO & Gluten Free. This one was far to hot for our taste. My kids each tried a small piece, but couldn’t do it. I am not a huge spice fan, so I barely nibbled it and my mouth was on fire. Great for the person who loves a kick!


Coconut Almond Crème Milk Chocolate Bar – 41% Cocoa -

has milk chocolate, almonds, and coconut oil. GMO & Gluten Free. This was our favorite of them all. We thought it was smooth, and just the right amount of almonds. There is just a hint of coconut, but not to overwhelming.


For this month if you order before 10/31/13 you can get an extra 10% off your order with the coupon code RRC1013.


Be sure to swing by and check out the rest of what they have to offer!



*I received three chocolate bars from rosieMade for this review in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% mine or my monkeys.







TOS Crew: VocabularySpellingCity Review



Do you enjoy spelling? I’m not a very good speller really. I struggle with some of the words that our crazy language spells not like it sounds. My kids are the same way. They always spell a word, just like it would sound like it spells.

I had the chance to review VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership, by VocabularySpellingCity.


What is VocabularySpellingCity?


It is an online program designed to help your child with their spelling. You can import spelling lists, or you can add in your own spelling lists.

You can have multiply children on an account. It is designed for children ages K and up.

VocabularySpellingCity has so much to offer. It is very easy to set up. You just open an account, and put in your user information. Once that is set up, you can add your students.

When your students are set up, you can go in and add a list, or import a list. It will go to a general board, until you decide which student to assign it to. Once it is assigned to a student, you can go in and give them assignments.

For my kids, I chose to give them 4-5 assignments a week, and had them do them in order. They have to complete the first activity to go on. They also have a due date to get the whole weeks assignments done by. This way they can do more than one day at a time if they choose too.


Premium Membership Vs. Basic:

The premium membership has a lot more to offer. These are things you can get from a premium membership.

  • Student Recordkeeping
  • Unlimited access to vocabulary content
  • Premium learning games and activities
  • Writing practice
  • The ability to create assignments for each student
  • No commercial ads


While the free version is nice, and can be very beneficial I really think that the premium version is worth the money.


Here are some of the games and extras you can find on VocabularySpellingCity.

  • Printable Worksheets
  • Handwriting practice
  • Lots of games, like. . . LetterFall, Matchit Sentences, Sentence writing Practice, Read a word, Flash Cards, and so much more!


What the Monkey’s Thought:

Monkey man who hates spelling really loved this program. He wasn’t a huge fan of the sentence writing, but he is coming around. His favorite game is pictured below, which is the LetterFall.


I really saw a big difference in his spelling this week, because it was reinforced with the games he plays. I also love that he can learn the meaning while he is learning to spell them.

Little Monkey also really enjoyed it. She to really struggles with spelling, but I have seen a big improvement with hers as well. She doesn’t really have a favorite game, as she likes them all.


I really am impressed with this program, and think that it is really worth the money.


How we used it:

Since I really don’t have an actually spelling program for the kids this year yet. Still working on that. I have been looking online for a few list that I could go by for there age/grade. Once I find a set of words I want, I go in and add the list to each child. Then I go under assignments and pick out 5 things for them to do a week. Monkey Man gets a few tougher ones, such as writing sentences since he is older. After I assign them their work, I set the due date for the last day of the week for them to get them done.

This has really helped a lot with our spelling work. I can already see a great improvement in Monkey Man’s spelling!




As I stated before, you can use VocabularySpellingCity for free and utilize a lot of the features. If you wanted to do that to give it a try and see if it was for you.

However, the Premium membership is only $29.99 a year for up to 5 family members. I really find that reasonable for the amount of options you get.



See what the rest of the TOS Crew has to say about this program!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ultimate Party Meatballs








Do you like to throw parties? I do! One of my favorite things is to host a party, or get together and make people smile. I really just enjoy the company and watching people enjoy themselves.

Recently we got an Ultimate Party Meatball Basket, that included some ingredients, mixing spoon, toothpicks, apron, and potholders.



This past weekend we had a party for my middle daughter’s birthday. Like always I went overboard, and made a bunch of food. One of the things I made was the Ultimate Party Meatball!




As always the Monkey’s had a great time helping me make them, as you can see here.




They are so easy to make, my son wants to do it all by himself next time.


Then looked and smelled so good!



They were certainly a hit at the party! The kids devoured them down! Guess I should have made a double batch. . .


Ultimate Party Meatballs


When will you be throwing your next party?



**Disclosure: I received Heinz®, Johnsonville® and Ocean Spray® products in exchange for sharing this recipe. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Struggles. . .



I don’t know if some of you that follow me have seen that I haven’t been posting much. I have been struggling to keep my head out of the clouds. I am overwhelmed, and just having a rough time.


Right now, I have some issues going on at home. I will address that a bit later though. My biggest concern right now is a problem I have had for awhile now.

I don’t know if some of you have seen me mention that I have a thyroid problem. Well, over the years it has continually gotten worse. I now have 3 nodules, that are between 3-4 cm. I went to see the specialist last week, and he told me that one of them is calcified. Which means that it might be malignant. This was not the news I wanted to hear. . .

The verdict is that I am going to have surgery, the first week in November. I’m relieved, anxious, and nervous all at once. I am ready to have this thing out of my body, so that my life can get back to normal. I have been struggling with issues caused by it for to long.


So, if you don’t hear from me much in the next couple weeks. I’m working hard to stay focused, but sometimes can’t. Please bare with me, as I go about this journey.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:




  • In my life this week…

It has been a very emotional week. . .
I will explain more in another post.

We spent some time with friends. . .
went to a few appts. . .
spent time together. . .



  • In our homeschool this week…

Our first week back to school. . .
The Monkey’s are doing really good.
We have a pretty busy schedule.


Monkey Man went hiking with Scouts. . .

Little Monkey did a bug program at a local
museum. . .



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Don’t give up, even when things get a bit hard.
I tend to struggle with this sometimes.



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

This week
voice lessons,

and then a birthday party for my Middle Monkey this weekend!



  • My favorite thing this week was…

Cuddling with my monkey’s!
They keep me strong.



  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Spending time with friends.



  • Things I’m working on…

A birthday party for Middle Monkey



  • I’m cooking…

Beef Stew



  • I’m grateful for…

Amazing friends in my time of need.




  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

Taking them to lunch..



  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Nothing at the moment.



  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…
    Two of my monkey’s!            


Monday, October 14, 2013

Do you have a favorite season?



Mine would be fall. . . hands down my favorite season. I’m sure you have heard me mention that before. I love the crisp cool air, but yet warm days. I’m a hoodie kinda girl, so the cool air isn’t all bad.

Most of all I love our landscape in the fall. The tree’s all in a rainbow of colors between red, orange, green, and yellow. The landscapes are just beautiful. I am just in such awe of the beauty around me in the fall. I feel the most peaceful, and enjoy the calmness of it all. I really find that I can reflect more this time of year.

Another highlight for this time of year for me is to take pictures. Its just like the world just screams at me, please take my photo. Everywhere I go, I see a chance to take a picture. Sometimes I want to just slam on my breaks and hop out to take a picture. Lol!

Do you have a favorite season? Is their one that just screams your name more than another? Do you feel a connection?


I thought, I would just share a few photo’s with you from my travels. I don’t have my good camera anymore, so bare with me, I’m doing the best I can with my cell  phone camera for now.








Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal:




  • In my life this week…

It was a bit crazy. . .
I have a lot of personal things going on. . .
I’ll tell you more about that, at another time.

This week we worked on some projects around the house.
We did some cooking. . .

Went apple picking. . .


Spent time with friends



  • In our homeschool this week…

This week was our last week of vacation.
I decided to make this last one 3 weeks long,
since we had a so much going on. Which has us
ending the week before Thanksgiving.

So I have been busy getting our new lesson
plans together and ready.

Lots of good reviews from the end of our year
coming up too.



  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

If you need an extra week take it. . .  This time around it
was the best decision for us.


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

This week, we have
quite a few appts,
Co-op, 4H, Library, and
of course visiting with friends!


  • My favorite thing this week was…

Going apple picking with my Best friend and her
family for her birthday!






  • My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Spending time with Auntie!



  • Things I’m working on…

I am finishing up lesson plans, and getting ready to start
our new 6 weeks of school.



  • I’m cooking…

Oh, how I love pizza. I really could eat it all the time!



  • I’m grateful for…

Amazing friends, that are getting me through
what was not the easiest decision of my life to make.



  • I’m praying for…

Peace, and my mind to be free of clutter!



  • I rewarded my kids this week by…

A movie night



  • Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

Surprisingly nothing right now. . .




  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

    A beautiful Sunset this week…


Monday, October 7, 2013

TOS Crew: George Washington- True Patriot Review


I have always been a history buff, so when my son started to enjoy history I was thrilled. The past couple weeks we have been reviewing George Washington: True Patriot by Janet & Geoff Benge through YWAM Publishing.


I received the PDF versions of the book, and Unit Study Guide. Did you do Unit Studies with your kids? We haven’t done a lot of them, but there are quite a few that I really have enjoyed.


About the Book:



George Washington: True Patriot is a great book jammed packed with lots of information about his life. Going back to the younger days of him, all the way through to his death. The book is 19 Chapters (146 pages), and has no pictures really.

We have studied about George Washington a bit already in the last year, but this really gave us a better look at him. It talks about him growing up in Virginia, and his part in the French and Indian War. His life as a president, and the final days of his life. (I don’t want to give all the details away) This book is very good!


About the Unit Study Curriculum Guide:


The book also comes with a Unit Study Guide. Which I must say goes great along with it. This has 64 pages,  and is divided up into chapters.

  • Display Corner
  • Key Quotes
  • Chapter Questions
  • Student Explorations
  • Community Links
  • Social Studies
  • Related Themes to Explore
  • Culminating Event
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B


Here are some of the highlights of the Unit Study:

  • A factual question from the text
  • A question on student’s level of comprehension
  • A vocabulary word
  • An open- ended question


The guide provides more than enough activities to choose from to make the book even more fun. Along with mapping activities, timelines, and fact sheets.


What the Monkey’s Thought:


They really enjoyed this. We chose to read the book aloud together, and the two monkeys took turns doing that. When they would finish a chapter, I would ask them to write down the vocab word, and define it. Then we would do an activity.

They really got a lot out of this Unit Study, and have asked to do more of them in the future.


My Thoughts:

I was thoroughly impressed with this book and Unit Study. I can’t tell you how good the book was. The kids and I really loved reading it, and we love when we can all sit and learn together.

There are a great amount of activities to choose from, so the kids would always choose a new one, whether it was a craft, or play.

I will absolutely be picking up a new one for us to read and learn from soon!




You can get the Unit Study for $7.49 here.

You can purchase the book for $6.99 here.

You can purchase the book as a PDF, ePUB or and the unit study comes as an E-book in two PDF files.



Check out what the rest of the TOS Crew has to say!