Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Beeyoutiful sent me two of their products, a peppermint lip balm and Tummy Tune Up to try.  Beeyoutiful carries all kinds of health and beauty items including hair products, skin products, supplements, essential oils, nutritional oils and more.

About Beeyoutiful:
We believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor's responsibility to keep you in good health. Instead they are a tremendous resource, especially for those times when urgent care is required. But, they are only one of many resources. And the tools they use, while powerful, are not the only tools available. But a tool is worthless unless one knows how to use it.
 We have found a lot a tools that have worked very well for our families, and made Beeyoutiful a repository for those tools, as well as the information to effectively use them. As we learn more, we share more. Our goal is to eventually carry every natural product that we use. We're not there yet. We may never be as we are constantly being exposed to new and great products. As much as is in our power, we want to aid others in obtaining and maintaining good health.
I received the B.A.L.M.-Beeyoutiful All Natural Lip Moisturizer in peppermint flavor.  It is a nice smooth lip balm with a mild mint flavor. Let's just say I'm not sharing this one.  I am keeping it for myself.  It's really nice!



GrapeSeed Oil- high in antioxidants (procyanidolic oligomers and polyphenols) and linoleic acid which nourish, moisturize, naturally provide anti-inflammatory support, and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles! So instead of merely relieving your chapped lips, it is nourishing them and helping them look their best as well!

Shea Butter- also high in antioxidants, Shea Butter helps bring elasticity back to the skin, moisturizes, has natural sun protection, and helps bring healing to scars and wounds.

Beeswax- recommended by Mayo Clinic as an excellent choice for a lip balm, beeswax is high in germicidal antioxidants, possesses natural anti-inflammatory abilities, and has been shown to have antibacterial qualities. It gives body to the lip balm while providing moisture and cell restoration for your lips!

Essential Oils- (Either Orange or Peppermint Essential Oil)- Both provide refreshing flavors while providing their naturally inherent benefits to your lips! Orange is a refreshing, citrusy blast that helps to brighten your lips. Peppermint’s cool, tingly flavor will bring soothing refreshment to your lips on the driest of days!

The second product I received was a bottle of Tummy Tuneup.


Tummy Tuneup delivers a blast of 4 billion reinforcements from eight vital strains of friendly bacteria. This shock and awe against the bad knocks stomach bugs -- and the accompanying indigestion and nausea -- out of the fight with the first few Tummy Tuneup cupsules. Tummy Tuneup is a pro-biotic (in favor of good bacteria) as opposed to an anti-biotic (against all bacteria.) 

Tummy Tuneup is a combination of 8 different species of beneficial bacteria designed to support gastrointestinal health and immune system function. FOS is also included in this product to assist healthy growth of acidophilus and bifidus organisms. Because this capsule is enteric coated, Tummy Tuneup delivers its microflora directly to the intestine bypassing the harsh acidic conditions of the stomach. Tummy Tuneup is stable at room temperature, requiring no refrigeration.

Some suggested uses:

Morning sickness relief
Relief from excessive gas and bloating
As a companion to the Yeast Assassin
Given to babies before vaccines (yes, it's safe for babies)
Any time you have an upset stomach

Watch this video from Beeyoutiful about Tummy Tuneup:

It's hard to give an opinion of a probiotic because we don't have much to compare it with.  My 16 year old daughter has a lot of digestive problems and  lactose intolerance.  She has been taking it and thinks it might help some.  My husband is currently on Augmentin (antibiotic) because he has pneumonia and that can really wreak havoc on your stomach.  I think it may be helping with that and will keep his system in good shape as he continues to take this antibiotic.  Overall, it seems like a good product.

B.A.L.M.-Beeyoutiful All Natural Lip Moisturizer is available for $3 each or buy 3 for $2.70 each and Tummy Tuneup is $18.00 for 60 caps.

Read what others are saying about these and other Beeyoutiful products on the TOS crew blog.

disclaimer: I received a free B.A.L.M. and bottle of Tummy Tuneup in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Amy's Minestrone from The 400 Calorie Fix

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Ham and Vegetable Stew from The 400 Calorie Fix

Thursday: MaryLu's Cheesy Tomato Soup

Friday: Hamburgers and Chips

Saturday: Chicken, mashed potatoes and corn

Sunday: leftovers or french toast

Link up your own menu plan at (Or just find great ideas from other bloggers that share their menus.)

**Half of my family is sick with what I think is influenza.  We ended up having scrambled eggs tonight so the minestrone will be another time.  Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I have a confession to make. I did not want to review ALEKS. We have reviewed quite a few computer things and my kids really don't care much for math so I just didn't want to try it.  Well, was I ever wrong on this one!


ALEKS ( Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system for grades 3 and up. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics they are most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions.

You start out by choosing a course (there are MANY to choose from). The student then takes an online assessment and they are ready to begin. I made an account for myself, my 16 year old daughter that struggles greatly in math, my 14 year old daughter that has always done well in math but was having some Algebra struggles, my 6th grade son and my 3rd grade daughter.

Watch this short video for a quick overview:

The Master Screen which allows you to edit your account, view your child's progress, create quizzes,
see how long your student as spent on ALEKS and more

Quick Tables is a math facts practice portion of ALEKS for grades 3 and up.  Once they practice enough they get math games to play to further help their skills of the 4 basic operations.  Watch this video for more information:

The green boxes show which facts the student has mastered.

The ALEKS pie that I love.  Mouse over a piece of pie to see available topics to learn about.

The first week I just could not get enough of it.  I was a poor math student in high school and then ended up majoring in math in college.  It just sort of clicked with me later.  So, for me it was great fun to do the math and watch my "pie" fill up. I think ALEKS is especially good for students that enjoy checklists.  The pie serves as a checklist and is a real motivator.

So, what do the kids think?  Well, my 16 year old daughter has tried everything in math and has never liked ONE thing we have tried until now.  When it came up that we had a free 2 month trial she said, "We only get this for 2 months?" I nearly fell off my chair!  She has spent a lot of time using ALEKS and I am delighted.  My 14 year old also likes it. As to my 6th grade son, he says he doesn't like it but he works on it without me telling him to so it can't be that bad.  My 3rd grade daughter likes it and would like to continue.  Frankly, I don't think we can afford it for all of them, but if money was no object I would be signed up already.

One of the things I really love about ALEKS is that it keeps track of everything for me and sends me a report each week so I can see how each child is progressing and I only have to help when they can't figure it out for themselves (which hasn't happened much to be honest.)

a sample attendance report
you can see how long the student has spent each day the topics they worked on
and the topics that were mastered
A student can access an explanation of a problem by clicking on the "Explain" button.
The explanation typically provides a step-by-step solution, with commentary.
These pages can also be printed.

I am very impressed with the way you enter answers into this program.  They avoid multiple choice questions and have an easy system for entering complex answers.  Overall, I give ALEKS 2 big thumbs up!

A subscription to ALEKS for an individual student is:
$19.95 per month
$99.95 for 6 months- Six months for the cost of five
$179.95 for 12 months- Best Deal: You save $59.45

They also offer family discounts.  Homeschoolers that have never tried ALEKS before can request a free 2 month trial.  I think this would also be a great review tool for a student to use at the end of the year to see if they've learned everything they need to know before moving on.  I did the entire Readiness for College Math course in a couple of days. (with great pleasure) Please be sure to add all of your children at once for your free trial.  You will not be able to add additional children later on.

Read what others are saying about ALEKS on the TOS crew blog.

Disclaimer: I received a free 2 month trial of ALEKS in exhange for an honest review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

MondayCran-Apple Turkey Skillet (with chicken)

Tuesday: Chicken Corn Chowder

Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Meatloaf (turkey), potatoes, corn

Thursday: Spaghetti

Friday: Chicken Nuggets and Tater Tots

Saturday: Very Veggie Lasagna

Sunday: leftovers

Link up your own menu plan at (Or just find great ideas from other bloggers that share their menus.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Math Rider

For the past few weeks we have been given the opportunity to review a fun math facts game called Math Rider.  Math Rider teaches basic math facts painlessly.  Each "rider" works their way through math facts by going on quests. There is a short story at the beginning of the quest telling the rider what they need to do to rescue the princess and a variety of other things depending on the quest.

The game teaches the four operations of numbers 1-12. I personally wouldn't put an age limit on this.  It would be helpful for anyone that needs work on their math facts. Math Rider recommends this for ages 6-12 which is the age most children should master their facts anyway.


Mainly my 9 and 6 year old daughters have been playing on Math Rider but I also created a rider for myself and played to see what it is like.  If you look at the picture below you can see the horse with a box beneath it.  The horse makes a galloping sound and jumps over each gate  as the rider solves the problem that pops up in the right corner.  The faster you go and the more accurate you are the more points you  earn.  My girls really love this.I just asked Emma (9) if there was anything she didn't like about Math Rider and she said, "No."  Pretty high praise from a 9 year old.

screenshot of login screen where you can add new riders, log in or modify users
screen shot of the main screen where riders decide what to do next
and where they can see things they have earned

screenshot of the end of a ride-note what looks like a bar graph at the bottom of the page
these bars indicate how long it took to answer each problem
you can click on them to see further details

The quest map that shows the rider where they are in the land and
 how much  farther they have to go.

The problems come up in the lower right hand corner and move to the left.  You have more than one opportunity to try the problem if you miss the first time.  Once the problem slides all the way to the left your time is up.  If you haven't answered correctly the correct answer displays on the screen and the game pauses while a child's voice reads the problem and answer. This is great because it is good for auditory and visual learners.

screenshot of the correct answer coming up after missing the question

The music on the game is pleasant but repetitive.  It can easily be turned off though.

There is a practice section where the different operations can be mixed but each quest focuses on a single operation.  Even as an adult I thought this was pretty fun and wish I had this game when I was a kid because I struggled with my math facts.

screen shot of practice mode-completely customizable

Math Rider compiles multiple statistics to show where your child needs improvement and how they are progressing. This is a really awesome and detailed feature. The game uses the statistics to adjust to where the child needs the most help. Watch the video for more details.

Video preview:

I was a little concerned at first about the magical aspect of this game but upon playing it I did not see anything objectionable.  Others might not agree, so be aware that this is a game that includes a magical flower, "enchanted" lands and that type of thing.


Get a free 7 day trial or download Math Rider for $37 and obtain instant access. (The price will increase to $47 on 2/15 so  take this into consideration if you plan to try it out or order.) It comes with a 30 day risk-free guarantee.

Anything you want to know that I didn't mention?  Ask me in the comments. :)

Math Rider uses the Adobe® AIR™ runtime. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. Your computer requires about 80MB of available hard disk space. Your monitor (and graphics card) need to support at least a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels. More details are available on the website.
Read what others are saying about Math Rider on the TOS crew blog.

disclaimer: I received a free trial of Math Rider in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Celestial Almanack

The Celestial Almanack is a monthly illustrated guide to learning the night sky from Fourth Day Press.  Each month you can download your guide and begin learning astronomy instantly.


In the February 2012 issue learn:

* The Sun is moving higher in the noon sky, and rises and sets farther to the north, and how this relates to the days growing longer;

* The constellation Orion dominates the evening skies. Find Orion and his neighboring constellations, and how Orion can be used as a starting point for finding 35 constellations!

* Wow! Jupiter and Venus are drawing closer this month, approaching a spectacular conjunction in March! What an amazing sight!

* Mars and Saturn are visible earlier in the night, and are well placed before midnight;

* Discover these planets and also many bright stars on the evenings when they line up with the Moon

a snippet of a page discussing the analemma

I am so excited about this Celestial Almanack. I have never been able to figure out constellations (I can find the big dipper and that's about it.)  I am really looking forward to using the information to actually learn some constellations and I'm pretty excited about some of the "sky events" that are going to happen this year that I didn't know about before reading this.  It's written from a Christian point of view which I love too.

Over the next six months, the Celestial Almanack will be promoting three very rare sky events for 2012:

1) the Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 (once every 24 years);
2) the annular solar eclipse on May 20 (once every 18 years); and
3) the transit of Venus on June 5 (last one til 2117!). 

The Celestial Almanack is a 19 page color printable (pdf) periodical.  You will find a calendar of moon phases and remarkable days for each day in the month,  a page about how February came to be 28 days and all about leap year, illustrations of what the sky will look like during February so you know what to look for when you go outside, descriptions of the constellations that are currently visible and more! 

The authors passion for astronomy shines through and I've caught the enthusiasm.  I hope you'll check it out.  It's very affordable too!  Let me know if you decide to order and what you think.  I am planning to read the Celestial Almanack each month so we can follow these events and learn the science behind it. I highly recommend you buy this TODAY so you don't miss anything that is happening in the skies this month! (No telescope or anything is necessary.) You can view free sample pages by clicking on the preview links under the picture of the cover here.


You can order the Celestial Almanack, Vol. 1, No. 2, February 2012 at CurrClick for just $3.  Other products from Fourth Day Press include Moonfinder, a family storybook that teaches the phases of the moon and Signs and Seasons, a Bible based homeschool curriculum for ages 13 and up and much more!

See what others are saying about the Celestial Almanack on the TOS crew blog.


disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the February 2012 Celestial Almanack in exchange for an honest review.
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