Monday, September 29, 2014

Product Review: Apple Certified 6 Foot Cable

   I was able to try a Apple Certified 6 foot lightning cable from AYL. This cable is awesome! I love being able to plug it in and either lay in bed or sit on the couch. You will no longer be stuck sitting next to an outlet. The cord is thicker than the cables that come with your Apple products. The USB connector makes it possible to use the plugs that you already own. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Product Review: Adovia Sulfer Soap

   I received a bar of Adovia Sulfur Soap for Acne, Blackheads, and Oily Skin with Dead Sea Salt to try for free. I have to say, I have only been using this soap for a couple days and have noticed a huge difference. My face feels soft and smooth and my skin is clearing up nicely. It doesn't leave it dry or oily. It lathers up nicely and has a slight sent but nothing over powering. I'm loving it so far!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Knee Jerk Review

   Knee Jerk is a hilarious tip of the tongue party game for four to eight players. It is currently on Kickstarter, so if you would like to help fund it and receive a copy, you can do that here.

   Set up is super simple. The person with the brightest clothes is the first host. They shuffle the cards, place two in the middle of the table, face up, lining up the arrows. They then draw three cards for their hand.

   Starting with the green arrow on the left, they will read the sentence and then choose an orange ending from their hand. Place that down face up, read the sentence and then the fun begins! In this example, the host would read "I feel annoyed at the cult gathering because someone is wearing..." Everyone shouts out their best ending for the sentence. It can be whatever pops into their head such as "A Kool-aid shirt!"

   Whoever answered first gets the left card. If two people answer at the same time, the host can choose which one they want to award the card to. If the host decides the answer doesn't make sense, he can deny it, but must say why and the next person that answered gets the card.

   The host then draws another card, chooses one of the three and adds it to the right on the card line for the new sentence. Now it reads "I wish I had a camera in Las Vegas because that attractive girl turned out to be..." Continue until someone gets the points (cards) needed to win. In a four to five player game, four points are needed. In a five to eight player game, three points are needed. The winner of the game, gets to be the host of the next game. The game is only about ten minutes, so you can play multiple games in one sitting.

   If you have a group of friends that love party games, this game is a ton of fun! It's great for a good laugh. The age is nine and up and it's just as much fun to play this game with kids as it is with adults. The wilder the answers, the better!

   Now lets try one out, "I feel scared at the talk show because my psych evaluation said..." Leave your best answer in the comments.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Product Review: Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil

I received a free bottle of Tea Tree Oil. I wasn't sure exactly sure what I was going to do with it. Then I started looking at recipes of stuff you can use it for. There are so many options! You can use it in everything from beauty product to first aid to green cleaners. I was amazed that there were so many uses for tea tree oil! You are not supposed to ingest it, but you can even make toothpaste and mouth wash with it. If you are into using oils for green cleaning or if you like to make your own beauty products, check out the many different uses that tea tree oil has to offer. You won't be disappointed!

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Educational (and Fun) Websites for Kids

     Keeping children busy with worthwhile endeavors is defintely a tiring task.  Video games, television, movies, and online games can suck up the majority of their free time.  In the end, they have nothing to show for the time spent on these activities.  Still, kids need to have fun.  A good way to keep children busy and happy is to find educational websites for them to play games, read, and learn from.
     Besides keeping them busy, educational websites are great for other reasons too.   Not only are they happy and occupied, they also increase academic skills while visiting these sites.  If you have a struggling student or one that needs a challenge, you can find educational websites to fit his needs and help him to progress.
      Educational websites can be great homework tools.  First, they are good motivators.  If your child needs encouragement to  complete homework , try giving him a few minutes on an educational website as a reward when he finishes.  Second, there are great visuail aides and videos out there that may help your child grasp a difficult concept.

       Here are a few of my favorites (and they are free too!):

Florida Center for Reading Research
      This website is not one your children can use on their own.  It is full of printable, creative literacy activities.  The activities at three levels: Grades K-1, 2-3, and  4-5.  If you click on the age group, it will bring you to a list of categories for each age group.  Choose the skill you would like your child to practice and click on it.  Follow the directions to create the activity. This usually involves a little cutting and pasting.  They don't take very long to prepare and you can choose to laminate if you'd like.  There are literally thousands of activities on this site.  If your child is struggling in Reading, this is the site for you! No log-in or sign up is required.

Khan Academy
     This website is great for Math and Science.  Parents can sign up for an account that is customized for each of their children.  If your child is doing 5th grade math, it has a list of all the skills needed for that.  You can pick and choose what is practiced or they can go through each skill one by one.  It has tons of videos and tutorials as well as a place to practice.

     Sumdog is another site that breaks down their games by skill. You can even pick and choose what skills your child can practice.  If he is working on multiplication facts, you can set it up so that is what he practices when he is on.  They even send you an e-mail that reports your child's progress.  Much of this site is free but you can get even more if you sign up for a subscription for your child.  It has Readinga and Writing games too but those are not free.

     This has games for Reading and Math.  There are lots of fun ways to practices important skills.   From letter recognition to multiplication, this site has a lot to offer.No log-in or sign up is required.

I hope your children (and you) enjoy these websites!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Guillotine Review

   Guillotine is a card game for two to five players that takes about half an hour to play.

   Inside of the box, you have a stand up guillotine, a deck of action cards and a deck of Nobles.

   Set up is simple. Place the guillotine on the table. Shuffle and then line up twelve Nobles. Place the rest of the Noble deck face down. Shuffle the action cards, deal five to each player and then place the rest of the deck face down. You are now ready to play.

   On your turn, play an action card if you have one you would like to play. Next, take the Noble that is in the front of the line. Some of the Noble cards have actions on them. Make sure you pay attention to these. After you take your Noble, draw an action card. If you didn't play an action card this turn, you still draw one.

   Once your line of Noble's run out, that day is over. Lay out the next twelve Noble cards and continue. There will be three days during the game. Once the third day is over and all of the Noble's are gone, count up your points. These will be found on the lower right hand corner of the Noble cards. There are both positive and negative points, so add carefully. Also, don't forget to add in any points from your action cards that were played. Whoever has the highest score is the winner!

   I had a lot of fun playing this game. It plays rather quickly and is easy to understand. Everything you need to know is printed right there on the card. This is a great game for game nights if you are trying to get in a few different games. The age on this game says twelve plus. I think you could probably go a little younger than that. The cards are pretty self explanatory. I don't see a ten year old having much trouble figuring it out. This is definitely a game we will be keeping on our game shelf!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hotdogs and Cornbread

   Monday was my little man's fourth birthday. Like many people, we let our children pick what they want for dinner on their birthday. Now keep in mind, my now four year old is the pickiest eater out of all three kids. We asked him what he wanted and he said hotdogs in cornbread.

   I wasn't too excited since we had just had it for dinner and I'm not a hotdog fan. I wasn't able to talk him out of it, so that's what I made. At least it was quick and I knew we wouldn't have the fight we have many nights about him eating what is given to him.

   It's rather easy to make. All you need is some cornbread mix and hot dogs.

   Mix your cornbread according to the directions on the box. If you are making it from scratch, make it how you normally would.

   Slice up your hotdogs however you need to according to how old your kids are. Remember, hotdogs can be a choking hazard.

   Mix the hotdogs into your cornbread mix. You only need to mix it enough to get the hotdogs covered in the mix.

   Pour it into a prepared pan and cook according to the cornbread directions. You could also make it in a muffin pan for easier serving.

   You now have some cornbread with hotdogs in it. If your picky eater is anything like mine, they won't be going to bed hungry!

   This meal is super cheap. You can get the ingredients for about three dollars. The kids all love it, especially if you give them a little ketchup. It tastes pretty close to a corn dog but it's cheaper. It's ready in about half an hour and, if you are shopping on a budget, this is a great meal!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Product Review: Adovia Natural Facial Moisturizer

I was only able to use Moisturizer Day Cream with Dead Sea Minerals once. It did leave my face feeling soft, smooth and moisturized. It absorbed quickly and easily. It didn't feel oily at all. It did have a scent to it that made my allergies go crazy. If perfumes give you a hard time, you won't want to use this product. If you don't mind a mild perfume, this is a great product. I am rather disappointed that I won't be able to continue using it.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Homework Tips

The kids are back in school so that means that every afternoon or evening you are going to be dealing with homework.  For some families, this can be one of the most frustrating times of the day. The kids dread it and you dread it (but don't tell the kids you feel that way, right?). Here are some tips to make this time go smoothly.

  1. Give your kids a break when they get home from school. They've been at school learning for 7 hours and their brains just aren't ready to do more.  This is a good time to serve a snack, talk about their day, go for a walk, or play a short game.  
  2. Try to set a homework schedule.  I think it works best when you strive to do homework at a set time everyday.  When I was a kid, I had to start my homework at 4:00.  I got home about 3:30 so I had a half an hour break and then I got to work.  The routine helped make homework both a priority and a habit.
  3. Let your child choose a place to do their homework. It could be on his or her bed, on the couch, or at the kitchen table.   Ask your child to consider the following questions: Does my homework area have good lighting?Is it close to someone who can help me if I need it? Is it quiet? Is it free of distractions?
  4. Make the right tools available.  Have a pencil box or other container that holds pencils, erasers, paper, glue, crayons, scissors, notecards, or any additional supplies your student uses regularly to do homework.  I think it is best to only use these items for homework so they don't get lost.  Encourage your student to put them away after each homework session.  
  5. Play "study" music softly in the background while they are working.  Pandora has several stations that work for this.  Classical and instrumental music is awesome as thinking music.  I find that when my kids hear the "study" music, the automatically quiet down and focus because they associate it with our normal homework routinte.  Unfortunately, you can't play it all the time to keep them quiet because then they pay no attention to it.  LOL. 
  6. Make homework a game.  Using a printable game template, help your child to create a simple gameboard. Your child can color it or add stickers to personalize it.  Set small goals for your child to complete.  For example, "When you  complete three problems, you can roll the die.  You can move that many spaces on the board."  When your child completes the board, you can give  a prize.  To add a little more excitement, you can label a couple spaces throughout the board that award a prize if the child lands on it.  Prizes can be reading a story with dad, a walk to the park, stickers, or a small toy.  As your child progresses, make the goals more difficult. 
  7. Give your child a break when homework is done.  This gives him or her a reason to finish the homework.  If I say, "You will do your chores when you are done with your homework, " I shouldn't be surprised if they spend two hours on two questions.  I find he or she is more motivated if I offer that break before he or she  has to do chores or other tasks. 
  As a homeschool mom and former elementary teacher, I know these tips work. I hope you enjoy trying them and that they reduce the frustration caused by homework in your home.  Remember, homework can be fun! Just keep telling yourself that. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Product Review: Cleopatra's Choice Pure Shea Butter

   I was given the opportunity to try some Raw Shea Butter from Cleopatra's Choice. When I first opened it, I was slightly confused. It didn't have any directions on the tub. It was rather hard as well. I managed to get some off and once I started rubbing it between my hands, it warmed up and spread rather easily.

   It had a little bit of an odor, but it wasn't anything too horrible and didn't stick around very long. It absorbed pretty well and left my hands soft and smooth. I didn't have any kind of reaction to it at all even though I am allergic to many different lotions.

   Overall, I would say that this is a good product and worth trying out if you are looking for a natural way to keep your skin soft and moisturized. I will definitely be using it during the winter months when we have dried out skin and my children have their eczema outbreaks.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.