07 May, 2014

Chalk Preschool Online Curriculum Review

This is a sponsored campaign with Mums the Word Network and Chalk Preschool . All opinions are my own.

     Baby Bee had a birthday yesterday.  She is officially a big four year old or as we like to call her, "an old lady" and she will be starting Preschool in the fall.  She is so excited, she already knows her teacher's names and is starting to learn her alphabet.  I wasn't sure the best way to teach her her letters though.
     We tried writing our letters, words, and names in the air with our fingers at night while we drifted off to sleep.  It worked pretty well and she learned to write her name, but I worried that it would lose it's appeal after a while.  Luckily I was introduced to Chalk Preschool, an online preschool with videos and printables as well as activities.  While I don't have a printer to print out any printables right now, we find that we can save the printables and use them in paint to do a lot of the fun stuff you could if it were on paper.
     Chalk Preschool allows you to have multiple children of different ages in school at the same time.  So I signed up Baby Bee, Lil Man, and for fun I signed up Streaker, even though she is in Kindergarten and a bit beyond the lessons in most cases.
     The program offers videos called Dailies which are all about months, seasons, and days of the week.  The next video category is Weather.  The site has a printable weather graph and temperature graph that you can use to track the weather with your children.  You could stick it inside a sheet protector and wipe it clean each week or print a new one each week and add them to your child's preschool folder.
     The next category is Literacy.  Here Baby Bee watched the ABC Song and videos about what vowels are, the letter of the day and word of the week.  It also allowed her to trace the letter with her hands.  Streaker enjoyed the hands on aspect that the site gives with it's lessons.  It also suggested that parents make dotted letters that the children can trace on paper.  Coincidentally we had just done that earlier while we waited for the girls to get home from school.  Baby Bee was excited to see something familiar.  It was nice for us both to get that confidence and knowledge that we are doing things right, even when we are away from the computer.
     The next set of videos is Math and Science.  With these Baby Bee learned about addition and patterns.  It offered activity ideas and hands on math lessons.  Baby Bee helped count insects and raced against time to count them all before the video shut off.  She almost beat it!  Then she followed the instructions in the hands on video and counted cereal to find out what groups of cereal will equal when added together.  She found out that 4+4 is 8 and 6+4 is 10.
     The last set of videos is art.  Baby Bee had fun working with shapes.  We used a paint program to create shapes and fill them in with color.  We made 10 different shapes like the video asked.  Baby Bee learned that a shape can be anything from a banana to a witch's hat, as long as the outline is complete and color will not seep out.  She also learned about lines and how sometimes lines may look like shapes, but really aren't.
     We also had fun checking out the Chalk Preschool Blog.  We saw lots more fun videos with wonderful activity ideas that Baby Bee got really excited about.
     We love Chalk Preschool.  We love that each day is a new set of lessons especially made for Baby Bee.  We love that we are accountable to log in each day so that we don't miss lessons, it helps us to be excited long term and to log in even on lazy days.  I definitely recommend Chalk Preschool for any parent looking for a great Preschool Curriculum, are wanting to to help their children prepare for Preschool or who's children can not attend preschool and want to prepare their children for Kindergarten at home.
     For more, check out the Chalk Preschool Newsroom to find out what's new and for more season appropriate activities (Pssst, Dads!  You know it's almost Mother's Day... right?).

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

14 March, 2014

39 Day Lifescape: Become a Better You Book Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

     I adore self improvement books.  I don't often use them as they are intended, but I do love reading through them.  I especially love the ones with specific plans and exercises to help you reach your self improvement goal.
     39 Day Lifescape: Become a Better You is a book just like that.  I actually adore this book.  Here's why:
     First of all, the subject matter, who couldn't use a little improving?  Who couldn't use a lesson in being more positive and finding the best in all situations in their own life?  I know I could!  Often I will think about something I have said and think 'Gosh, that sounded a little depressing, you should think more positively'.  So the subject really speaks to me in that sense.
     Secondly, I LOVE that this book tells you about a certain area in your life that you could work on (say, collecting needless things that don't add value to your life) and then gives you actual activities that you can do to help improve yourself in that area.  Each day is a new area with new activities so you won't get bored, in fact you get excited to see what you are going to accomplish tomorrow.
     I think this book is a great tool for anyone who wishes to feel better about themselves and their life.  The book is written by Jaha Knight and is 155 pages in Kindle format.  You can find it on Amazon for $3.99.  I recommend checking it out for sure :)
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Bonapiel Salicylic Acid Cream Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
     I will be honest, I have had my share of acne in the past.  I've never had a huge issue with it, but it has left it's scars.  I use concealer most days to cover a few spots here and there that I am self conscious about.  It's not a huge nuisance, but I wish I didn't have to.
     Bonapiel Acne Scar Spot Cream with Silacylic Acid is made to treat acne scars with almost immediate results.
Here is a little bit about the product:

- Rose Hip : Reverses tedious stains and discoloration illuminating your skin again . The anti -inflammatory and exfoliating properties are key to remove stains effectively.
- Salicylic Acid: Helps soften and loosen the dry, scaly or thickened for easy removal or peeling skin. In a powerful agent to relieve acne by reducing swelling and redness and open clogged skin pores , allowing pimples to dry .
- Shea Butter : A popular cell regenerator, prevents the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks, while protecting against skin aging.
In addition, Bonapiel Spot Cream is formulated with extracts of natural oils with potent antioxidant and anti-pigmentation that provide hydration, radiance and improves skin color.

     My personal experience?
     The first few days that I used it I felt no gross residue.  It was great for under my make up and it left my skin feeling nice.  After about 3 or 4 days using it, I had a break out in the same area that I was applying it.  That is unusual for me because I have not really had a breakout like that in a long time.  I have stopped using it while my breakout goes away.  Then I will try it again to see if it was the cause or if I can still use it.
     If you think you might like to try it or to read other customer reviews, you can find it on Amazon here.

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

09 March, 2014

Self Confidence: How To Overcome Shyness, Worry And Boost Your Self-Esteem E-Book Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
     Throughout most of my life I have struggled with low confidence.  It affects many things and many decisions that I make each and every day.  It has affected my entire school career and my life path.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy my life.  In fact, my shyness is part of what attracted my husband to me in the first place and I wouldn't trade him for ANYTHING.  I love that I am shy, but I guess I wouldn't mind feeling a bit more confident sometimes.
     So when I had the chance to check out this book by Anastasia Verg about gaining confidence in yourself, I was pretty intrigued.  The book is called SELF CONFIDENCE: How to Overcome Shyness, Worry and Boost Your Self-Esteem and it goes through 5 different chapters about ways to help improve confidence.  The chapters are:

1. How to Overcome Shyness by Changing your Appearance.
2. How to be Confident by Using Positive Affirmations.
3. How to Overcome Insecurity Once and For All.
4. How to Stop Worrying Using the Power of Positive Thinking.
5. How to Improve Low Self-Esteem and Have Healthy Relationships.

      I have to say, the book was hard to get into for me.  I think that is because the first chapter was on changing your appearance.  And although there is a definite benefit to maybe getting a haircut or color change, or maybe painting your nails to feel refreshed, I found several of the tips in this chapter to be borderline offensive.
     It wasn't so much the tips themselves, but the reasons behind them and the accompanying explanations that bothered me.  The things like suggesting that women should polish their nails once in a while and wear contacts instead of glasses, how you shouldn't look very pale and you should try to make your skin a little brown... these things struck me as not only odd, but a little insulting.  Google will provide me with hundreds of people in all skin tones that I would consider beautiful.  I have seen very dark people and very pale people who are equally stunning to me.  So some of these suggestions did bother me and it made it hard to take the book seriously.
     After the first chapter, I did find that I liked it better.  Even so, I do think that the ideas provided, though good ones, were kind of generalized and a bit vague.
     I did like the idea of stating to yourself some kind words of affirmation in difficult situations.  For example, if I am having a rough day with the kids and I want to yell and scold my child, I believe it would be helpful to stop and say to myself "I am patient, I am loving.  I take thought in my reactions and do not respond hastily to anger."  Even if those things are not true, I do believe that they will become true if I remind myself of these things.
     My overall thoughts were that the book needs a little more on how to implement the ideas in every day life, exercises perhaps... and perhaps suggest ways on enhancing a person's natural beauty as a way of gaining confidence through accepting ourselves.  But it is an inexpensive book and a quick read.  It may help people with self-esteem issues, so it might be worth looking into.

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

06 March, 2014

Happy Language Kids E-Book: Cenicienta (Cinderella) Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
     So I mentioned in my last post that I love fairy tales.  The sugar coated ones of course, not the actual stories *shudder*  And something else I love... learning.  I'm pretty sure I mentioned before about my text book collection.  Not sure why I collect them, but I do, along with encyclopedias and I adore National Geographics.  Something I have tried to learn numerous times on my own: Spanish.
     So of course when I see a fun way to learn, I jump at it, especially when it's something the kids can learn from.  In this case, e-books like Cenicienta (Cinderella) from Happy Language Kids.  It's pretty nice in and of itself, but if you go to the Happy Language Kids website, you can view an interactive book and play games to further your child's understanding of the language.
     The books have both Spanish and English words that tell the story.  The English is printed at the bottom while the Spanish can be found inside the speech bubbles.  I like this because the kids can see that they are the same sentence and they can see how the words form together in a natural story telling kind of way.
     What I like most about the site is that the stories and games are sorted by grade level so that you can choose what is best for your child.  The part I liked least I think is honestly the noses on the figures.  I have a thing about noses, I don't know...  But if that's my only con then I guess that's a good thing.
     I plan to bring my kids to this site often.  It is a great resource that is fun.  I hope they come up with more stories and games soon!
     How do you teach your children other languages? 

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

04 March, 2014

Noxicare Pain Relieving Topical Cream Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
     My husband got a new job a couple weeks ago.  He has been working the 3-1 shift for a few years now and was always getting to bed at about the time I was getting up with the kids for school.  So imagine my relief and excitement when I heard that I would have help with bedtime... every night!  I think my heart almost exploded with joy.
     His hours are a blessing, my load is a million times lighter and the whole family is in such better spirits after just TWO WEEKS!  One thing that isn't feeling quite as good, The Man's back :(
     Of course I do my wifely duties and will give him a good rub when he comes home sore.  We have tried all kinds of different lotions and oils to try to find a good one that works for both of us.  Recently we started using a new lotion, it's called Noxicare.  It is a pain relieving lotion that is supposed to help with aches and pains.  It has inside of it SEVEN of the world's most potent natural pain relievers.
     I was the first to try it while my husband was off for a week between jobs.  I had a sore neck for hours one day from sleeping on it wrong, so I rubbed a little on my neck as I laid down that evening.  The first thing I noticed was that it didn't have an obnoxious, burning mint odor like Vick's or Icy Hot.  The second thing I noticed and definitely appreciated was that it didn't burn like those two either.  I didn't notice it work so much, but I fell asleep only a few minutes later before it really had time to work.  After a very short nap, the pain was gone.  I had no pain after that that would need any pain relieving, so I didn't get to test it again personally.
     But my husband, he needed a few good back rubs his first week on the job and I tried out the lotion to get his opinion on it.  He ADORES it.  And I like it too.  It is a nice smooth consistency that is easy to use for massages and he specifically asked for it the next time he asked for a rub.  He says he definitely feels a difference in the amount of pain after using it.  He likes that it doesn't feel wet and sticky like the other types we have used.
     It is definitely a big hit with him and we plan to keep it in the house from here on out.
     Thanks to Noxicare, I am able to giveaway a free Noxicare Topical Cream!  But unfortunately I am running a little behind on my blog the last week or so and there is little time for the giveaway.  So the first blog follower to have a friend follow the blog via GFC, Facebook, or Twitter will be our winner.  Just post back here with your friend's name.  If no one posts back here before midnight, a random follower via Facebook will be selected.  Good luck!

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

28 February, 2014

GungHo Energy Shot Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

      I have a major problem in my day to day life with energy crashes.  Even before drinking coffee like a mad woman just to stay awake, I always have had problems in this area.  As a kid, I would come home from school and sleep until the next morning.  I won't even know that I am tired until I am waking up from dozing off.  On the computer, watching TV, sitting by the stove waiting for the water to boil, reading... it's even happened in the car!  If I am not physically moving, I will probably fall asleep.  I will just crash out of nowhere.
     Below is me pretty much every day, wide awake enjoying coffee one minute, passing out the next.  Not cool, my friends, not cool.
     Coffee has helped some, but sometimes my energy will plummet regardless.  A few times I had so much coffee just to keep me awake that I could feel my heart race.  Scary!  Especially since I have heart issues to begin with.  It really comes from absolutely nowhere, even if I feel fully awake I can suddenly find myself waking up from a sudden crash.  Now I keep caffeine pills in the van in case I need them while I am out.
     I've wondered for a while now if there was anything that I could do to keep it from happening.  I've been told that Narcolepsy is genetic and runs in my family.  While I really hope that I don't have narcolepsy, I do need to figure out a way to stay awake for myself and for my kids.  That's why when I saw the chance to try GungHo Energy Shots, I thought it would be a good fit.  It promises a healthy boost of energy without jitters or a crash.  
     According to it's website, GungHo is different than most energy drinks or shots because it targets multiple neurotransmitters instead of just the one that most products target.  It promises a smooth boost in energy followed by a gradual fall, no plummeting.
     So how did I like it?  The first day I tried it, I honestly forgot that I had even taken it.  I didn't notice a huge difference in focus, but I do recall that I didn't crash at all that day.  It was very refreshing to be able to stay awake all day.  The second time I took it I wanted to really test it, so I stopped drinking coffee for 2 days prior.  And that day I also had no crashes.  I was able to stay awake and I felt good about the day in general.  It was wonderful.  I didn't feel like I was on high doses of caffeine or anything, I just felt awake.  I did feel like I could focus better and get things done more efficiently.
     The only thing that I will say as far as a con is that the taste is not great.  You can tell that they tried to make it taste good, but it just doesn't.  But then, that's why it's an energy shot and not a drink.  Chug it fast and you will be fine  :)
     Anyone want to win a trial pack?  I've been given the opportunity to select two winners, so this contest will be SUPER easy and super quick.  Just be a blog follower to enter, then like GungHo's Facebook page and the blog's Facebook page for more entries.  Contest ends in 18 hours, that's 6pm on March 1st.  Ignore the Rafflecopter, it's drunk, the contest really does end at 6.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

24 February, 2014

Indian Chicken Taco #Recipe #Sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Hood. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

     I have a huge weakness.  That weakness is a good, savory, saucy comfort food.  One of my favorites is the taco.  Taco soup, Taco salad, Taco pizza, and of course the regular crunchy taco that starts to get soft from the sauce half way through eating it... Mmmm!  One of my other favorites is Indian Chicken.  A recipe that I have tailored over time from it's original source to become easier to make and just as yummy.  This week I figured that I would combine my two favorites and make myself the Indian Chicken Taco with bacon, caramelized onions, and mushrooms.
     The very first thing that I did was prepare my ingredients.  This part was pretty easy.  The most time consuming part was to cook the bacon.  While the bacon started cooking, I mixed the sauce, cut the onion and drained the can of mushrooms... I also did pretty much everything else while bacon cooked in the background.
     This sauce is super yummy.  So yummy that when I first started making it, I used it just about every day for the better part of a year.
     You start with a base of sour cream and add in cilantro, lemon pepper seasoning, cumin, chilli powder, oil, garlic juice.  The most important spices in the sauce are the cumin and the chilli powder.  CUMIN, not Curry, I've made this scatterbrained mistake before and it was ugly.  Make sure you read those labels!
     From all the times that I have cooked it I can say for certain that McCormick chilli powder is a must in this particular recipe.  Sometimes I mix just the spices and use it as a rub.  Other brands of chilli powder are fine for that, but in a sauce go with McCormick.  Trust me.
     As far as the sour cream, I like to use Hood Sour Cream for the base.  Why?  Well, I figure that they take so much care into making sure the milk is in LightBlock Bottles and all that to keep in essential vitamins, I figure they must take extra care in all their products, so I feel safe with Hood.  Plus, Hood All Natural Sour Cream in the red container has absolutely no preservatives or artificial ingredients and I like that!  You can find tons of recipes and cooking tips on the Hood Sour Cream website.  We usually use Hood Sour Creams as a base to all of our sauces and we also like to use it to top our tacos or for making dipping sauces.  There is just so much that you can do with it!
     In this recipe, you must use an all natural whole milk sour cream, not a Fat-free or Light sour cream because there is a chance that the heat will curdle the cream during cooking if there is an insufficient fat level in the sauce.
     As soon as the sauce is mixed together, it's time to add the chicken.  Here is where I saved myself the hassle and just bought precooked chicken breast.  I cut myself some slack in these areas :)  So I cooked just until it was warm, but if it's raw chicken then of course cook until it is heated through and safe to eat.
     As the chicken is cooking, I use a little bit of butter and place it in a pan with the mushrooms and the onions and cook until the onions caramelize.  The onions will be caramelized when they are golden brown and taste sweet.
     Then it's the fun part, assembly!  Now I love almost all foods, so mine is easy to assemble, I just add a bit of everything and wrap it up.  Some of my kids preferred just mushrooms, so next time I might cook them separate from the onions, and some kids preferred no vegetables at all *sigh*

     Here is the actual recipe:

Indian Chicken Tacos

12 Soft or hard taco shells
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1" strips
1 C. Hood All Natural Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tbsp. McCormick Chilli powder
1 Tbsp. juice from jar of minced garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cilantro

Extra optional toppings:
1/2 lb bacon
spinach or lettuce
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 medium onion, chopped into thin slices
shredded cheese
Ranch dressing

Cut bacon in half length wise and place on skillet.  Cook bacon on medium heat.

Meanwhile, mix the yogurt, oil, spices, and garlic juices together.  Add to chicken and place over medium heat.  It the chicken is raw, cook until the chicken is thoroughly heated and no longer pink.  If the chicken is precooked, then heating until warm is sufficient.  DO NOT over heat, medium heat is perfect.

While the bacon and chicken cook, start the onions and mushrooms.  Add sliced onion and 1 small drained can of mushrooms to a frying pan with a bit of butter and cook over medium heat until the onions are golden colored and sweet tasting.

To assemble, start with a soft or hard taco shall or wrap, add spinach or lettuce as desired, topped with cooked chicken strips, bacon, mushrooms and onions, and shredded cheese.  Top with Indian sauce or Ranch if you wish and enjoy!

20 February, 2014

FunnyIrishTshirts.com T-shirt Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

       My kids always wear green on St. Patrick's day.  Why?  Because there is always that atrocious kid who thinks it's funny to pinch other kids just because they didn't wear green on some random day in March.  When I was a kid, I couldn't even tell you what time of year St. Patrick's Day was in.  But now I do, I never want my kids to get pinched, so I'm right on top of that.
     We even will celebrate it at home with green frosted cupcakes and green been casserole, you get my drift.  Pretty sure my distaste for childhood pinchers has driven that celebration into existence.  I force myself to remember the holiday by choosing to celebrate it and get excited about it.  That way my kids will not get pinched.
     That's why when I saw the opportunity to try out a festive St. Patrick's Day t-shirt from FunnyIrishTshirts.com for my husband, I was thrilled.  It isn't the kind of humor that I normally go for, but it plays off the whole "beer goggles" thing and I thought it was kind of funny.
     Of course it's green which is really a great color on my husband.  It has a cute shamrock design under the words, which reads "You look like I could use a drink".  I think I might have to get him some of those beer goggle glasses to go with it for the big day.
     My husband reported that the shirt was very comfortable and that he got lots of comments on it.  The shirt fit really well also.
     FunnyIrishTshirts has the kinds of shirts that you would expect.  Though mostly drinking themed, there are some that are more family friendly.  Some of my favorites being these:
      And I kind of love this one.  Not that it's super family friendly or anything, but it gets the point across:
      Shirts at FunnyIrishTshirts.com cost between $19 and $28.95 depending on what style shirt you would like, men's t-shirts are cheapest and hoodies are most expensive with tank tops and other items falling in the middle.
     Overall, I think the quality is nice, the color and feel are also nice and there is enough variety to find a shirt for almost anyone.  I'm really happy with our shirt from FunnyIrishTshirts.com.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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