Sunday, November 11, 2018

Usborne Jungle Picture Puzzle Book / Timberdoodle Review

If you know me at all, you know how much of a fan I am of Usborne Books! 

When Timberdoodle extended me the offer to review one of their books, I jumped on it! 

The book I received was the Jungle Picture Puzzle Book. I have plenty of Usborne books, but I have not ever seen one of the picture puzzle books. 

This book is larger than your typical book. The pages are a hard, flexible type of paper. 

Jungle Picture Puzzle Book

There are 28 pages of jungle themed puzzles. Each page is unique and has many things for your child to find. Your child may be looking for a parrot drinking a milkshake, or counting how many crocodiles are in the pond, or finding the cheetah that has 3 spots. 

The Jungle Picture Puzzle Book is intended for children ages 2 to 5, however I think that children older than 5 will still love this book. 

I will admit that we liked this book much more than I thought we would. It is not boring at all. Some books really lend to bonding and spending time together, and this is one of those books. I love anything that promotes snuggles! 

My 3 year old LOVES to "play" this book. lol  I love to "play" it to because we can sit together and snuggle up and see who can find what first. My son laughs so much at this book because you are finding some silly things, such as a parrot drinking a milkshake. 

It is also educational because your adding in some counting, looking for colors, anything you want to look for. You can make up your own things to look for as well. 

Here are a couple of videos that show my son "playing" this book and how much he enjoys it. 

This book is great for car trips, for reading before bed time to start winding down, and just for snuggling up together and enjoying spending some time together. 

I highly recommend this book for you and your children. We really enjoy it and it is one that will constantly be out and being used. 

You can find the Usborne Jungle Picture Puzzle Book here for $13.99. I think this is a great value for this book! 

 The Jungle Picture Puzzle Book is also part of the Timberdoodle Preschool Curriculum Kit!

Timberdoodle has so many products for all ages of learning. They even have full curriculum kits for every grade. If you haven't heard of Timberdoodle before you should really check them out! They have some really awesome products that I have never seen before. 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lisa Tanner Writing - Balancing Diapers and Deadlines/ TOS Review

Lisa Tanner Writing
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines


I am starting my review out by saying this because I am afraid you will see the title and think this isn't for you. While this online course is geared towards moms with at home businesses, it is DEFINITELY NOT for mompreneurs only. 

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines by Lisa Tanner Writing is for EVERY mom out there! 

I wanted to be a part of this review because I work at several things at home. I, obviously, work for the Review Crew, I also have a job as an Internet Analyst and I am an Usborne Books and More consultant. So I thought this course would be great for me. 

Don't get me wrong, it was, but I got so much more out of this course that had nothing to do with my businesses. 

This is the best, most practical, for real life as a stay at home mom, plan for running your household. 

Honestly, I have read so many books to help me in this area, and they are all unattainable. This course incorporates many things that I already do, (well, sometimes at least). 

Here is a general overview of the courses, but there is so much more inside each lesson than you can see from the outline. 

The first thing really talked about is including your kids in everything, whether that means the business part, or even things like making the schedule, meal planning, etc...

If everyone feels involved, and is aware of what is going on, the children are more prone to follow along with a good attitude, instead of just feeling like they are being told what to do. 

When I started reading about scheduling, I will admit that I wasn't that thrilled to be reading another book about scheduling until I realized, "Hey, this is different". "This sounds like me, and these things sound like they could actually be done!"

Instead of the normal scheduling advice of making a steady schedule and having everyone get used to the schedule and how important it is to stick to a schedule, Lisa basically said, you will never be able to stick to a schedule all of the time. That isn't practical or real life. Things come up every day and you will just be so frustrated all of the time because your not getting everything done on your schedule. 

I completely agree with this. I have tried so many schedules, and I have NEVER been able to stick to one. 

What she suggests is making a list of the "Must Do's". These are the things that must get done. 

You want a schedule, but you want to be able to be flexible in your schedule. 

Have your must do's ready and instead of making a schedule for the week or month, you will make a plan of the day! Each day of your life is different. Some days you have appointments, some days the kids are sick, and on and on...That is why you make a plan of the day each morning. List what must get done that day, and list your top 3 to 5 priorities for the day. 

Depending on what all you have planned for that particular day, you may be able to get more or less done. But by making that plan each morning you can work around your appointments, and decide how many "priorities" you can get done in that day. 

Along with the plan of the day you will have a general schedule as well. For example, you will have a schedule that revolves around one room or task per day. So Monday can be living room day, where you just worry about cleaning the living room. Tuesday can be the day you do the extra laundry like blankets, sheets, etc...

So in your day you can have morning chores, afternoon chores, etc. these are things that are fairly consistent. Morning chores, everyone gets ready for the day, gets dressed, makes their bed (or not), loads the dishwasher after breakfast, etc... Just the basics of what must get done. 

In the afternoon you can fold your one or two loads of laundry that you will schedule each day. By doing only one or two (depending on the size of your family) you won't get overwhelmed. 

One of my favorite things that I read in this book was the 15 minute cleanup. We already do this at my house, but not consistently. Sometimes it's less time. Sometimes I break it up into 5 minutes per room in the house. However you choose to do small cleanups, they can be the most powerful tool in keeping your house clean. You would be amazed at what you can do in a short time, especially if you have several people helping! 

Another thing, that I actually learned from my husband, and have never seen or heard of anyone else doing, was taking a broom and sweeping everything on the floor into a pile and then going through it from one pile, instead of all over the floor. This makes it so much easier, and takes much less time to clean. I was surprised that Lisa does this as well. ( We are not weird). lol

You can use this in your 15 minute cleanup, and your kids will pick up all of their stuff real fast so that it won't go into the garbage!!

She also suggested listening to music as you clean. We do this too!!! I really felt connected to Lisa when I was reading this because her advice is so practical to real life and can actually be done!

She has more great advice about morning chores, afternoon chores, table chores. I don't want to tell you everything in the book! lol

She also talks about a marble jar system for the chores that keep your kids motivated. (Great Idea!)

Did you see that??? ANNUAL Meal Planning??? What the heck! 

I do use meal planning. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to stick to my budget. I do it by the week though. I want to implement the longer meal planning though because it would ease a lot of the stress of meal planning!

One idea about meal planning she had was "themed dinners". I love this idea!
This way you can still make a plan ahead of time but don't necessarily have to cook the same meal every week, or decide right then what meal you will be making 9 months form now. 

By having themed dinners you have a scheduled rotation, but with flexibility. 

For example you can set your meal plan up with Mondays being seafood night, Tuesdays Mexican, Wednesdays, Italian, etc...

So one week I can have tacos on Tuesdays but the next I can have enchiladas....I can have my overall meal plan already planned out for the year, but then can make more individualized choices monthly, or even weekly, depending on what's best for you. 

There is so much to this course. She talks about how important sleep is, and how to focus on what your doing and not get distracted by other things, like social media or emails, when your supposed to be doing something else, like working on your business, but instead you wasted 2 hours on Facebook! lol (This is totally me almost everyday). I will be implementing some of her ideas in this area as well. 

Now, all of what I have talked about so far is for EVERY MOM. But there is more to this course that is tailored to the work at home/stay at home mom. 

She gives you practical tips on running your business with any age group of children, with great ideas on how to involve them as well, and how to get through some of the harder parts of running a business at home with children. 

She has great ideas on how to boost your productivity as well. This whole course is great! 

For me, I am going to be using this a little differently than most. I got into a pretty bad car accident a couple of months ago. Everything is hard for me to do. I have some substantial back injuries that make even the every day chores of life very difficult. for me. One tip Lisa gave was that sometimes it is worth paying for outside services. I have incorporated her idea for online grocery shopping and pick up! I did this for the first time today! What a blessing. Grocery shopping is something I cannot do right now if I need more than a few things. I agree that it is worth it. (Pick up is free, but the delivery fee would be worth paying for). 

I have been quite overwhelmed with the house and everything I have to do. Since everything is so hard, it is all just falling apart. When I read through this book, it actually gave me inspiration that I can get more done, and it doesn't have to be all or nothing.  

So, while I will eventually incorporate all of the ideas into my life, I need to start with what I can do. 

My plan will look something like this. ( My children may still have to help me with most things for now, but we can get a plan in place that should help us keep up with things better than they are now). 

Monday - Extra laundry day and Kitchen
Tuesday - Dining Room
Wednesday - Living Room
Thursday - Bathrooms
Friday - My Room
Saturday - Kids Rooms

(We will just do a little at a time on the room for the day. When my older son is home we will do a 15 minute cleanup of that room as well. Otherwise we will break it into 5 minute cleanups here and there throughout the day, depending on what else is going on.)

Daily we will wash and fold one load of laundry. 

At this point in my life, this is about all I can focus on. I think it will really help us though to keep things up better than we are now. As time goes on I will be able to implement more of the business aspects into our schedule as well. But, honestly, you won't have time to work on your business if everything else is falling apart, so all of this really does help your business too. 

I think every mom needs to read this course whether or not they have a business. It is so practical and helpful and makes you feel like you can actually accomplish what you want to. 

I am so thankful to have been able to read through this course, and will continue to use and implement more of her ideas. 

Now, other members of the Crew also reviewed this course and they all have different lives, different amounts of children, different businesses, so I encourage you to read more reviews, as you will get different points of view from them than you did from me!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}

Be sure to check out Lisa Tanner Writing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Throw Back Thursday

I was looking back through my old posts from October of 2012 to find one for Throw Back Thursday, and I had so many good review products that month that I thought I'd just share some of my reviews with you this time! They may help you in your curriculum choices for next year!

1. Excellence in Literature: English One, Introduction to Literature

2. Memoria Press - First Start Reading

3. Marshall Publishing - George Washington Carver DVD

4. Say Anything Family

5. Educating the Wholehearted Child

6. A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers

7. Scruble Cube

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Reading Eggs New Workbooks - 200 Essential Reading Skills for Kindergarten/ TOS Review

Online Reading Eggs Suite

OH MY GOODNESS...Guess what Reading Eggs just came out with???

Online Reading Eggs Suite
Online Reading Eggs Suite
                      If you are not familiar with Reading Eggs, you may not understand why I am 
so excited about these workbooks.  

I am not usually a workbook person, but after using and reviewing Reading Egg's online program, I was thrilled when they came out with the matching workbooks.

 I chose Reading K 200 Essential Reading Skills for Kindergarten. This book is 275 pages and is made to complete in a year at about 15 minutes a day. 

My son is 3 1/2 and is just learning his letters and sounds, and he loves this program. He also loves to have his own "school", so this workbook is perfect for him because he is already familiar with the program, and the characters. 

Having used the online program, it will be hard for me to focus solely on the workbook without talking about the program as well. And while you could definitely use this work book alone, just as you could use the program alone, I completely recommend using them together! The workbook coming out makes this a complete reading/writing program.  (As well as a math program if you want it!)

There is a yearly planner at the beginning of the book to help you get through it in a year. It seems to equal out to about 3 pages a day. Brently can't do three pages a day, so it would just take us longer to complete, but I am totally fine with that! 

I have quite a few videos that we made of my son using the online program so that you can see how the workbook correlates. 

This is one of the activities the child does when learning the sounds of the letters. As you can see in the video, he is already learning the sound "mmm". 

The dot to dot activities are one of his favorite ones. This also helps the child learn how to form the letter. 

Before we got the actual physical workbooks, we received a download version so that we could get started on the workbooks! 

My son was so excited. I was too when I saw the pages. It is so familiar and fun and colorful! 

Reading K 200 Essential Reading Skills for Kindergarten includes pen control and handwriting practice, which we really need. As you will see in these videos, my son is just starting to learn how to use a pencil and write, or draw. 

The workbook has dot to dot and tracing patterns for extra practice learning how to use the pencil. 

Here he is doing more practice. We need to practice holding the pencil correctly but he is really enjoying doing his "work". 

After some warm up practice, you get into the letters. Everything corresponds with the online program. Your child will learn how to write the letters in the same order that they learn them online. 

Since Brently is only 3, it takes us longer to get through the lessons. I am also using the online program with him as well. We are doing the online portion a couple of times before we move on to the workbook. I want him to understand what it is he is seeing and trying to write. If we just did the workbook alone, at this point, he wouldn't know what the letters were. 

If he were older and already knew his letters, he could use the book by itself, but we are using it as part of a program. 

After he has "played" online several times during the week, we will then go to the workbook and work on the portion that corresponds to what he has just learned. 

As you can see in the pictures, and the video below,  he has a blast writing his letters. He is so proud of himself!

I have taken extra pictures of the workbook so you can get an idea of what all is in it and how it progresses. 

The workbooks even include certificates for when you child finishes each section (map), just like the online program does. 

And there is a certificate for when your child completes the whole workbook. 

Inside the workbook is also a letter chart. I printed this out on card stock so we could have it out of the book to look at. 

I love the workbook and think it is great on it's own, or as a companion to the online program. 

My only complaint is that I wish the pages were perforated so that I could tear them out.

Another aspect to this program is Math Seeds. I think my son actually likes Math Seeds better than Reading Eggs! He LOVES the monkey! He thinks it's hilarious.

It is super cute, but it is also a great, fun way for your child to learn his/her numbers, and core math skills. 

This is kind of a long video, but it takes you through several of the activities in the beginning of Math Seeds so that you can see what it's like. 

Here is a shorter video of another one of the Math Seed activities. 

There is a reading program for older kids as well. It is called Reading Eggspress. Now, we are not in this level but my son always trys to do it anyways. (silly boy). I took a video one time just so you could get an idea of what the older program is like as well. 

There are 6 reading workbooks and 3 math workbooks.  All of the workbooks are $19.95. I think this is a great price for a workbook that will last all year long, especially since the workbook is in all color! 

I will definitely be getting the Math Seeds workbook to go along with this program as well!

I am super excited to be able to offer you guys an extended free trial and 10% off any of the new workbooks! 

You can click here or on the image below to get your 4 free weeks of the online Reading Eggs program. 

To get 10 percent off of the workbooks just use discount code WK10TSNJ22I

Last Year I reviewed the online program for Reading Eggs. Please read it here. I have a lot more information about it there.

You can find Reading Eggs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

Be sure to read what my fellow Crew Mates thought about the new workbooks too!!

Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}
Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}

Thursday, August 30, 2018

TBT/ How to Have a H.E.A.R.T for Your Kids...

I came across a past post for my first review that I wrote for the 2011/2012 review year. It was for a book called How to Have a H.E.A.R.T For Your kids by Rachael Carmen

I had forgotten about this book until I came across this post. This was such a great book for me! I read it cover to cover. 

This book taught me so much about what really having a heart for your kids meant. 

I am glad I came across this post. I will be getting this book back out and reading it again. 

Read my review of the book here, and see if it is one that you would like to read. I am sure you will! 

Usborne Jungle Picture Puzzle Book / Timberdoodle Review

If you know me at all, you know how much of a fan I am of Usborne Books!  When Timberdoodle extended me the offer to review ...