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October Baby (review)

What happens when a 19-year-old college student named Hannah finds out that she was not only adopted, but also the product of a failed abortion attempt? She has to find out all the details. She has to figure out for herself whether the truth really will set her free. Things get messy, especially on the spring break road trip, but forgiveness and healing prevail.

Is there life after abortion? Yes! The actress who played the birth mother talks about her own personal experience with abortion in a special vignette that follows the actual movie. Abortion is a controversial and serious topic, yet the screenwriters handle it with sensitivity. The movie is rated PG-13 because of the abortion material, so use caution when thinking about taking your kids to see this unapologetically pro-life movie.

Want to go see October Baby? Visit the October Baby website and tap in your zip code to find a theater near you. Thanks to the Benham Group in Concord and Cities 4 Life in Charlotte for sponsoring the special preview and the Q & A with one of the men who helped in the creation of the movie.

Help keep October Baby in theaters by making it a blockbuster this weekend!

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Mathematical Reasoning (review)

An educational, easy-to-use, middle school supplement that combines logic and math skills? Yes, please! The Critical Thinking Company manages to do just that with their latest offering, Mathematical Reasoning: Middle School Supplement. Word problems encourage creative, logical thinking and reinforce common 7th-8th grade math concepts. This is a great supplement to whatever math curriculum you’re using and takes just a short time each day.

To be totally honest, I have to say that my middle schooler’s least favorite subjects are math and logic. However, the clean formatting, engaging questions, and included math facts needed for each problem set made these subjects almost bearable for her. The detailed solutions and tips made it almost painless for her equally challenged mom :-). I have yet to be disappointed by a Critical Thinking Company product.

Visit The Critical Thinking Company’s website to purchase your copy today for only $19.99, not a bad price for the 50 activities (2 pages each) it contains.

Disclaimer: The Critical Thinking Company provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed, however, are my own.

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Good and Easy Eats–Review & Give Away

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat more healthfully and more mindfully. And unless I miss my guess, I bet many of y’all made the same resolution. Kim Wilson, author of Good and Easy Eats, helps make this resolution a reality.

Allergies? No problem. The 70 included recipes are gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, soy, and yeast free. They’re also made with whole, plant-based natural foods. Fear not that these recipes taste disgusting, contain hard-to-find ingredients, or won’t pass the kid test. They’re affordable, yummy, and easy. Kim also includes information about a whole-foods diet, juicing, stocking your pantry, and introductory basics. 
Our family tried cinnamon raisin muffins, trail mix, and brownies and loved them! The only thing missing is nutrition information. I’d like to know how many grams of protein, carbs, and/or sugar (even if it’s natural!) are in each recipe. One of my major concerns with eating a vegetarian diet is getting enough protein and other nutrients. 

So, who wants a FREE copy of Good and Easy Eats? Kim is offering a free e-book to one lucky reader of my blog. All you have to do is leave a comment below (on Blogger, not on Facebook or Twitter) with your name and contact information. I’ll choose a random reader on Thursday, January 12 before noon (EST). Winner will be notified privately and announced here on the blog.

Purchase your own copy of Good and Easy Eats from Amazon for only $3.99–a real bargain. Or, download it directly (PDF or e-reader) from Kim’s website. Bonuses included with your purchase:

  • 1 hour podcast of Kim’s Introduction to Wholesome Eating class
  • Video of Kim preparing one of her family’s favorite staple recipes
  • Access to Kim’s exclusive menu planning system

Disclaimer: Kim provided me with a free e-book in order to provide a review. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

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500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade (review)


500 Writing Prompts for Kids is chock full of open-ended questions that will stimulate kids’ imaginations in no time. They’ll be having so much fun that they won’t even notice they’re writing paragraphs. The prompts, in 10 different categories, can be used for journal exercises, classroom activities, extra credit projects, writing tests, poems, songs, adding to art, or just about anything else.

What a fabulous tool for homeschool teachers or classroom teachers (grades 1-5)! “They” (you know, those unnamed experts) say that the more kids write–about anything–the better their writing skills become. Cohen’s e-book takes away the “But I don’t know what to write about!” issue. 500 prompts go a looong way. I love the fact that he also provides a creative ideas for using the writing prompts.


CONTEST: The author is hosting a giveaway of a $50 Amazon gift card (plus another $50 gift card if the book gets in the Top 500 in sales on Amazon). His goal is to have at least 25 reviews of his new book (of which I am 1),  and anybody who comments on the review with their e-mail address will be entered into the giveaway. One lucky winner from all of the entries (or two if the book crests the top 500) would receive the $50 gift card.

THE FINE PRINT: I am NOT personally giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. You will be ENTERED into a DRAWING to win the $50 gift card from the AUTHOR. And, he wants you to leave your email address in with your comment here on my blog. Questions? Let me know!

This e-book was provided to me by the author, Bryan Cohen, for free in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Bethany

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Go Trybe! (review)

Fitness is more fun with more people! That’s the premise behind Go Trybe, which is an online activity, fitness, and nutrition center for kids of all ages. Kids join a trybe with others their age, build an avatar, talk about fitness and nutrition issues on the safe forums, and gain motivation through a points system. Little tykes can be part of the ZooDoo Trybe, middlers join up with Trybe 180, and older teens stay cool with the Nextrybe.

Modern kids love screen time, so why not make it Active Screen Time with a purpose?
Whole families can exercise and track their nutrition together. There are even instructional videos for all sorts of fitness levels and exercises. My Pyramid (the government’s nutritional guidelines) is available at the click of a mouse. This flexible fitness program requires no parental preparation! You can choose how much or how little your kids are involved in the program.

My sedentary teenage daughter thought it was cool and set up an avatar, but I could not get her really into exercising with the videos. She wasn’t at all interested in the nutrition aspect, but I suspect she just didn’t want to change her bad habits (hm, kind of like her mom!).

Check out all of the benefits and features and sign up for a free trial day on the Go Trybe website. It costs $19.95 for a year’s access, although this information was not readily found on their website.

For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783980/



Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Bethany

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My Homeschool Transcripts (review)

my hst

It’s never too early to start on your children’s high school transcripts. Okay, well maybe kindergarten might be a bit soon, but by the beginning of 9th grade, you’ll want to have a system in place. I’ve seen free templates, expensive templates, and instruction books thicker than Webster’s. But the best, new solution I’ve seen by far is My Homeschool Transcripts, written by homeschooling dad Steve Sensenig.

My Homeschool Transcripts is flexible, versatile, and easy to use. It’s an online application that securely stores information for one or more students. It can generate transcripts by year (more traditional) or by subject (for students who graduate early, like mine is). The GPA can be listed weighted, unweighted, or both. You can use it as a grade keeper throughout the high school years with up to four grading periods, or you can input the grades during your teen’s senior year as she’s filling out college applications. My Homeschool Transcripts allows users to input their own subjects and classes. It also has the capability to note whether classes are honors, dual-enrollment, or AP. Track credit hours obtained and credits still needed. Decide how many credits are required for graduation from your homeschool. The printout is crisp, clean, and just what colleges are looking for, with room for your official signature at the bottom. There’s also the option of adding course descriptions to the transcripts if you wish.

I was privileged to be a beta tester for My Homeschool Transcripts and Steve provided the most responsive customer service I have ever seen anywhere. Every suggestion I made, he promptly added into the program. When I had a question that wasn’t answered in the user-friendly, online manual, he texted me from his phone while he was out with his family. Wow!

Here’s the bottom line: It’s FREE if you just want to input data for one child and print it out without saving it. Or, if you just want to check it out. If you want lifetime access—yes, that’s unlimited—to store information for multiple children, print out multiple transcripts, and have access to the best customer service ever, the cost is only an affordable $29.99! Hurry on over to My Homeschool Transcripts to get started today!

Bethany

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Nutrition 101: Choose Life! (review)

Nutrition 101: Choose Life! is an extensive (448 pages) “three-in-one family nutrition and health program for all ages that presents the major body systems, how they function, their common health issues, the benefits of good food and the consequences of bad food.” Growing Healthy Homes has invested years of research and testing to provide the information included in the 6 units:  


1. The Brain and Nervous System
2. Digestion and Elimination
3. Respiration and Olfactory
4. Muscular and Skeletal Systems
5. Cardiovascular and Immune Systems
6. Endocrine System and Emotions.


It’s available as a book, a CD-ROM, or as a book/CD-ROM combo. As part of the TOS Crew, I received it as a download from the Internet. I put it on my Kindle so that I could read it more easily, but also saved a copy to my hard drive so that I could print out copies of the forms and activity pages. 

Nutrition 101 is a good introduction to how the body works and how the body process the food we eat. It highlights the importance of various vitamins and minerals for different bodily functions. We’re trying to become more health conscious at my house, so we found this information helpful. It’s for all ages, with modifications. You can have your older children (upper grade school and up) read the chapters on their own, but you’d probably want to oversee the which activities they choose. The chapters are short, easy to understand, and would make an excellent general health curriculum for the family. It would be quite easy to incorporate the whole family into learning with this information. It gives recipes to try, exercises, and more.

I would definitely recommend it, although I personally think it is a bit pricey. The only thing I would change would be to add hyperlinks into the e-book/CD format. I’d like to be able to click through to different chapters and links directly from my Kindle. Overall, it’s a wealth of information and resources.

Review more vendor information on their Growing Healthy Homes website.
Receive a 15% discount coupon from Growing Healthy Homes using the code TOScrew11. The CD-ROM is $79.95, the book is $99.95, and the CD/book combo  is $129.95. 
Other products available from this vendor include a Gentle Babies line and The Raw Food Feast: 7 Days Through the Rainbow. Their website also includes some free downloads.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ 
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Who Is God? (review)

Apologia isn’t just about science anymore. Their new line, Apologia Press, includes a number of resources for parents, a geography curriculum, a writing curriculum, and a “What We Believe” section. Who Is God? is one of four new books designed to help children ages 6-14 to become grounded in the basics of their Christian faith.

The over-250-page hard-back, full-color textbook includes Internet links to free, downloadable notebooking assignment sheets and additional resources. The multi-level format makes it easy to use for the whole family, or an older child may use it alone since it is written to the student herself. The 10 lessons can be complete one every two or three weeks to last through most of the school year. For those familiar with the Apologia Elementary Science series, this book follows that easy-to-use format.

Who Is God? is a non-denominational look at how our ideas of God and the Bible shape our everyday world view. It emphasizes finding out what the Bible says about selected topics, memorizing verses, and applying truths to our everyday lives. It includes engaging stories, thoughtful questions, and fun activities to reinforce the concepts being taught. Lesson titles: 1. Where am I Building My Life? 2. How Can I Know What’s True? 3. & 4. What is God Like? 5. Who Are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? 6. If God Created the World, Why Isn’t It Perfect? 7. Why Did God Create Me? 8. Will God Meet All My Needs? 9. Why Does Sin Keep Me From Knowing God? 10. Is Jesus the Only Way to God?

We love it! My 13-year-old daughter is able to do the lessons completely on her own, although she comes to me with any questions she has. She has a tendency to read tidbits to me (from everything!) that she finds interesting, and I’ve heard quite a bit of this textbook. Our biblical, evangelical world views are being reinforced with this thorough curriculum. My daughter completes the notebooking pages as she reads and enjoys the activities and extra challenges that are in each lesson.
Click here to view a sample lesson, the table of contents, and to order. The $39 is well worth your money.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ 
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Life of Christ

The Life of Christ from Positive Action for Christ is based on the book of John for middle and high school age students. This is not just another Bible study. Information on Jesus’ life, times, Bible customs, geography, and chronology are presented to help students “comprehend the reality of Jesus Christ.” The Life of Christ balances His humanity with his divinity.
The 3-ring binder teacher’s manual includes teaching strategies, background information, quizzes, tests, and other supplemental material. The beautiful, full-color, soft-cover, consumable student’s manual contains activities, 35 weekly lessons, photographs, drawings, and Bible study questions designed to foster discussion. Also included in my (sturdy) package were a CD with all of the transparency masters, a scope and sequence guide for all of the school curriculum, and a catalog of Positive Action for Christ’s other products. In addition to the products I received, the teacher’s manual on CD, a deluxe presentation DVD, and 151 transparencies may be purchased (although I do not feel those are necessary for use in a homeschool).
While the product is not aimed specifically towards homeschoolers, they included three pages of suggestions for using the curriculum in a homeschool setting. Not much, if any, teacher preparation is required.
We liked the readability of the student text as well as the gorgeous, full-color photographs. We also loved the “Digging Deeper” activity suggestions. Students can start at their current spiritual level and progress at a rate comfortable for them to more mature levels. The only thing I would change about the teacher’s manual is that in order to read the replicated student pages, one must flip the book from side to side.
Check out Positive Action’s website. The teacher’s manual (in a sturdy 3-ring binder) is $41.95, and the full-color, soft-cover student book is $17.95. Other products available from this vendor include Bible curriculum for grades K–12, church curriculum for a variety of ages, ProTeen Clubs curriculum, and other books.
 
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Collectorz

The Book Collector Pro from Collectorz is a computerized database of your personal library. It’s a downloadable program for either PC or MAC. While no other purchase is necessary, Collectorz does feature several different scanners for book barcodes to make entering your book collection easier.

Short videos on the Collectorz Manual website thoroughly explain and visually show each step of the process. You can even link audio and e-book files from your computer automatically. No need to enter tons of information; you can enter books with just the title and author, ISBN number, or scan the ISBN barcode using one of the devices sold on the website. Collectorz automatically finds a cover image and other details on the Internet and adds them to your information. Share your database, keep track of books you loan out, print lists, categorize, customize, and more. The Collectorz Book Edition is a handy tool for homeschoolers or any bibliophile.
One major drawback was that I only received the free, 30-day trial! I would love to keep this program considering that I have thousands of books, so I may be purchasing the full edition for myself. An annoying feature is that when I entered just the title and author, too many options would show up and I had to pull the book out to check the ISBN number anyway. Other than that, it was really easy to enter books. My girls are also bibliophiles and can’t wait to catalog their own books. The cool thing about the Book Collector Pro Edition is that they can each have their own lists.
Check out Collectorz with a free trial or purchase the Book Collector Pro Edition for $49.95, the Standard Edition for $24.95, and the Connect Edition (online or smart phone access only) for $19.95. In addition to cataloguing books, you can also organize movies, mp3 files, comics, games, photos, and music with other Collectorz database programs.
For more opinions and reviews, check out the official TOS Review Crew blog @ http://homeschoolblogger.com/homeschoolcrew/783319/
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”