Embracing a Healthy Family

Upgrade to Google's Lightest and Most Equipped Pixelbook & Limited Time Offer to Save $100

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post and I will receive compensation.

Having the latest in technology is a must for many people as well as myself. We're a very high tech family and we love to have the latest in computer technology. Enter the Pixelbook! A new high performance Chromebook and a Pixelbook Pen (sold separately based on availability) that will provide and meet a fast pace world to get things done faster while working more efficiently. Its ultra-thin design allows for ease in transporting and utilizing anywhere. It's versatile from its size and shape to the collection of apps all powered by Chrome OS which is the only one my family and I use. The security and software features are top notch.

The new Pixelbook is the first laptop with the Google Assistant built-in and easily accessible three ways:

  1. A simple push of the dedicated Google Assistant key on the keyboard;
  2. Using the "Ok Google" wake word; or
  3. Pushing and holding the pen of the Pixelbook Pen and then tapping it on the Pixelbook's screen.

Google Assistant is a great feature that helps to manage tasks such as calendar reminders and looking up e-mails to playing music, movies or videos as well as manage smart home devices just to name a few of the features.

As I previously noted, the size is perfect for a laptop. The Pixelbook is just 10.3 mm and is Google's thinnest laptop made with a lightweight aluminum construction. The 360° touchscreen has a versatile 4-in-1 design that allows greater use and satisfaction. From editing photos to sketching, productivity should increase thanks to the GSuite apps and Drive that automatically backs up so no more angry moments when you realize you forgot to save!  All those great apps such as Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, photos and more are right there.

Another great feature is the ability to enjoy movies and TV shows on or offline via apps such as Google Play Movies or YouTube Red.

I've been a Chrome OS user for as long as I can remember mostly due to the speed but also because of the latest security and features with software that does not interfere with what I'm doing as it automatically updates and back ups in the background provided it's connected to an internet connection.

The Pixelbook also starts up in under 10 seconds! It also comes equipped with an all-day battery that is fast charging and provides up to 10 hours from a single charge!  It's perfect for work or play!

Click the link to learn more about the Google Pixelbook and from March 25th through April 7th, save $100.

  • Some features requires internet connection.
  • Intel and Intel Core are trademarks of the Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.
  • Battery performance is based on a mix of standby, web browsing and other use. Charging time requires a battery to be at least 5% charged, the device to be inactive, and use of included charger. Actual results may vary.

Zirrly Super Beads Jungle Animals Review: Imaginative & Educational Fun in One Kit

We've been trying to do more arts & craft projects to enhance my homeschool curriculum as well as to have more fun so we were thrilled to try Super Beads from Zirrly. We chose the Super Beads Jungle Animals and decided to have my middle daughter and their niece and nephew join in the fun. Our kit came complete with everything needed to make several jungle animals and with the boards, they can create whatever their imagination allows! Zirrly provides an easier way by using the Super Beads which require no hot irons or glue and with the patterns and boards, the children can build their design, spray with water (bottle included) and let dry. 

Super Beads Jungle Animals

Our kit included the following:

  • Lion
  • Rhino
  • Elephant
  • Zebra
  • Monkey
  • Design Templates
  • Super Beads
  • Super Beads Work Tray
  • 1 Spray Bottle
  • 6 Boards
  • 1 Design Tool
  • Instructions

We started out getting everything organized which did not require a lot of time. The anticipation of unboxing the kit was exciting for the little ones. It was quite manageable as my oldest, 14, assisted in creating the works of art. Once the designs were put in place on the boards, it allowed the smaller ones an ease in where to place the appropriate colored Super Beads onto the template. Once we were done with the designs, all it took was some sprays from the water bottle and they had fun completed projects! We also found that if they didn't stick together, we could just respray with the water and they would refuse together.

It was a fun project for all three, regardless of age, as they really enjoyed working with their aunt and she enjoyed showing them how to make this playful monkey. I thought the younger ones might have problems handling the small beads but they did just fine along with my older child. My older hands seemed to have a little more trouble but that's expected as we become more seasoned (smile). I think utilizing the small beads, tray and boards was ideal for younger ones that might need some hand eye coordination activities. They never became frustrated with the first build but after the first one they built, they were ready for a break.

We found we had to wash our hands in between using the red or orange beads and lighter colors like yellow as it would bleed onto the lighter colors. It was important follow the directions and ensure hands were completely dry and to wash with soap and water afterwards. The instructions do state to wash one's hands and have I mentioned they are also safe and non-toxic? 

Overall, they had fun with the Zirrly Super Beads Jungle Animals kit. They were able to build their projects while helping one another and learned how to follow direction. The ability to make the various jungle animals and their other creations allowed them to utilize their imagination and creativity. Not requiring a hot iron or glue was a big plus for me! The colors coming off on their fingers wasn't really a problem since it did easily wash off. The trays and patterns (templates) helped them create something that looked like the box and instructions which was another win as they felt it was pretty cool to have completed something that looked exactly like it should have looked. The flexibility of the kit also allowed for children to create what they wanted by using the board without the patterns (template).

Here is a great video to learn more:

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Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Viewing Party with Concession Stand

We are a Star Wars family and with that, comes immense excitement for the movies. Even after we've watched the new movies in the theater, there is just as much excitement in purchasing the movie to have forever and ever!  Today was no exception as we counted down to the day that it would be available digitally as now, I purchase all my movies from Amazon.  As soon as it was available, we purchased Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  We patiently waited all day to view it in the evening and thanks to my eldest, she created an impromptu concession stand. She had grander plans but her Silhouette Cameo decided it wasn't going cooperate.  Nonetheless, the kids had a great time and what an easy way to incorporate homeschooling into the fun by handing out money and ensuring correct change is returned.  

NatureGlo's eScience: MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle Review

natureGlo's eScience

I'm always searching for a new curriculum or program that might trigger a new interest in my children. My history and art loving daughter liked the idea of reviewing the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle from NatureGlo's eScience. We focused this review on MathArt in Ancient Cultures 6-week Class from the MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle. The NatureGlo's eScience: MathArt in Ancient Cultures 6-week Class can be a real time course or viewed via a recorded link. Upon starting the first lesson, I definitely see a benefit from being able to participate real time especially since there are optional projects that can be presented to the live class to foster and encourage speaking in front of others. As a benefit, even if the student is taking the course via a recorded session, they can still complete a project and leave it under the comments section for that particular lesson. 

MathArt Online

Starting the Course:

To start, the website provides the information necessary for participating in the live class which includes the available access points one can participate:

  • PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android
  • iPhone via telephone number
  • Standard telephone via telephone number

Once the student logs in, there are green glass blocks breaking up each lesson's contents. The student cannot jump ahead and can only proceed on the course's schedule so green boxes open up each week.

As each week's assignments are completed, the student is provided with a digital award that accumulates (see screenshot below). The student can check their progress easily online via the My Achievements tab.

There are six lessons that are broken down into different activities for each topic:

  • Lesson #1 – Ancient Babylonians & the Plimpton 322
  • Lesson #2 – Ancient Greek Math & the Platonic Solids
  • Lesson #3 – Pythagoras & the Music of the Spheres
  • Lesson #4 – Ancient India’s MathArt: Rangoli, Mandalas & the Story of 1 – 9 & 0
  • Lesson #5 – Zellige Moroccan Tiles & Other Tessellations
  • Lesson #6 – Maya MathArt

Each lesson, has a variety of activities for the student to complete. For example:

Pre-Lesson Activity

Lessons two through six have a pre-lesson activity to kick off each math art topic. The directions are plainly listed up front so the student knows what is expected and it encourages feedback by leaving comments in the comment section if viewing via recorded link. The various videos are colorful, full of great information that reinforces what is being taught and are not too long. The maps and other graphic tools utilized allows an interactive experience for the student as well as periodic quizzes to test their knowledge.

Main Lesson Slideshow and Study Guide Downloads

All lessons have a main lesson slideshow and study guide downloads that provide an introduction to that particular topic as well as a study guide that compliments the slideshow. The questions are just difficult enough to challenge the student while not being frustrating. It makes them think and recall what they just learned. Incorporating math into art is something that many students don't think about until they are taught so this made for a fun learning experience.

Main Lesson Videos

I was mixed on the recordings and so was my student, age 15. Whereas I do like the idea of encouraging participation, I don't think mine would. I prefer homeschooling so I can move forward with my lessons without distractions whereas each lesson that is taught by the instructor has the other students that participated in the call reading passages, answering questions or interjecting their thoughts. Some of the students had trouble reading certain words understandably or were hard to understand when responding or reading passages as well as background distractions. My student noted that as the only dislike of the course. I think it might be better to have a recording without the participants for those that prefer or need to view the recording versus participating in the live class. The live classes do provide the homeschooled student the chance to see what a school classroom would be like with other students participating which would be beneficial based on a person's preference. The instructor encourages open positive interaction for any questions or comments to encourage participation by all.

On some videos, the instructor demonstrated an annotation tool which allowed further participation for those participating in the live class. The map was informative and the instructor covered the major cities then and in modern times. She covered the background to Babylonian Mathematics which was interesting and information. Even after going to a couple of colleges, I had never heard of it so it was interesting to myself as well.

There are cute stories, interesting poems, music and much more to accompany each topic providing an interesting way to learn how math can be found in ancient cultures.

The student always knows where they are within the course as the right menu will list all the activities for each lesson. As the student completes an activity, it is lined through so they always know where they are, what they completed and how much more they need to complete. This was nice to avoid retaking a portion of the course or possibly skipping one.

Once the student completes the six-week, course, they receive a digital certificate of completion:

Since we finished our first course, we moved on to the Math Connections with Real World 6-Week Online Class learning about the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers which I had never heard of! I asked my eldest, who is 29, and she was taught this in school so I must have fallen asleep (shhh...). However, I learned a lot from the little bit we started. For example, patterns in nature are found everywhere such as the head of a sunflower or five points of a starfish. Those are examples of Fibonacci Numbers. The Golden Number is an infinite number 1.618033989 or shortened to 1.618. We just started this one and I think it will take a little more time to convince my student to finish this as it seemed confusing to her only because it was new and different material. However, I found it interesting and have an interest in learning more. I feel I need to fully understand it first to bring her on board with excitement. Given the benefits of learning about Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ration, it's definitely not a bad thing to learn more as I'm a firm believer in knowledge is power and to achieve that, one should read, read, read!

There are also two other classes offered that I didn't review or start to review: MathArt in the Arts & Sciences 6-Week Online Class and MathArt Patterns in Nature 6-Week Online Class.

Overall, this is a good class to expand beyond traditional math and see how math is involved in many facets of life. It doesn't stop with only learning math as the student will learn about ancient culture, art and architecture thus providing a possible new interest along the way. It was the first type of class such as this my student participated in and I believe she would prefer recorded versions as she's a bit shy. It's full of various resources that added to the content and complimented the portions being taught. It truly opens one's eyes to how math is broad and timeless. I would utilize this as a supplemental course with my students and continue with a traditional math curriculum.

For more information, take a look at NatureGlo's eScience social media:

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MathArt Online 4-Class Bundle {NatureGlo's eScience Reviews}

Natural Remedies for Kids with Flu

Guest Post

As a parent, it can be upsetting and difficult to see your child unwell. Thankfully, there are actually several remedies which can easily be used at home to help your child recover faster on the road to recovery. It's important to note here though - if your child seems very unwell or their condition is worsening rapidly to get proper medical help quickly. 

A warm drink is a great way to soothe kids who are feeling poorly. In particular, teas such as camomile, or decaffeinated regular tea can be great for children of all ages who are suffering from the flu. If your baby is over one year old, they can have a small amount of honey added to their tea, which is a great natural soothing tip for many common illnesses.

Although many children will lose their appetite when suffering from flu and other illnesses, trying to get them to eat some soup, which will help a lot. Whilst it won't cure the illness, it will help them get back to full health quicker. Adding some garlic and fresh herbs will give further benefits. Ensure soup is just the right temperature to eat and let them sip it at their own pace. 

Keep Your Child Warm When They Have The Flu 

Giving your child a bath can also help ease the symptoms of a flu. If they are feeling feverish, a cooler bath may help them return to a more comfortable temperature. If they are not experiencing a fever, a warm bubbly bath might and then some long John to help them to relax and feel more comfortable and cosy-warm. It can help temporarily ease aches and pains and can help them relax before bedtime. A simple cuddle and massage can work wonders too, if your child doesn't mind it. You can use a homemade massage oil to help ease congestion too. There are plenty of recipes available online, which you can tailor to your child's symptoms and preferences. 

If your child is feeling congested, a humidifier can help. You can also try placing a bowl of boiling water with a few drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil in the room. The child can also breathe in the steam from the bowl, if they are old enough to be careful with the boiling water. Leaving a bowl of water in your child's room at night can be particularly helpful if they are waking themselves up due to feeling congested. 

Supplements and Vitamins That Help with The Flu 

Depending on the age of your child, they can take extra vitamin supplements to help fight signs of illnesses. Vitamin C is great for boosting the immune system, as is Vitamin D. If you don't want to use supplements, these can also be found naturally in certain foods, if your child is well enough to eat. Echinacea is a classic herbal cure for colds and flu. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help shorten the duration of a bout of the flu. Elderberry is also a great, natural remedy for flu-type illnesses. It is also likely to be one of the most palatable options for younger children. It's ideal for helping reduce pain in the sinuses, as well as helping the immune system. 

As you can see, there is a lot that can be done to help a child suffering from the flu. Sometimes, the best thing to do is stay at home and rest, as a trip to the paediatricians can result in spreading the virus further. However, if your child is getting worse after trying some of these home remedies, it's important to seek advice as soon as possible. 

About Emily Dick 
Emily Dick is a mom and has several years of experience being a parent. She currently holds an Honors Degree in social science from the Open University. She lives in Scotland, raising her daughter Daisy, aged 2, and her two cats. 

Emily is new to the world of writing and blogging, and currently writes for buzzparent.com on topics such raising children, kids toys, ranging from baby to toddler discourse.  Her love of animals and children has made her one of the main writers for Buzzparent. 

SGT. Stubby: An American Hero New Movie and SGT. Stubby Fun Giveaway $50 Value

History is vital to teaching our children not only for the importance of learning about significant events but to ensure we don't repeat mistakes in the future. I'm a big war history fan and due to that, my children have a really good foundation about the Civil War, World War I and World War II. I loved the idea behind turning the real story about a faithful dog named Stubby into an animated movie and book for children called Stubby the Movie. Animals have been a part of many of the wars in the past and still today are utilized to help sniff out bombs and more.  Stubby found his way to fame on the drilling grounds of Yale University when Private First Class Robert Conroy noticed the small brindle mutt wandering around the field. The soldiers decided to name him Stubby after his tail and as they found themselves on their way to France, Stubby managed to join them.

The story doesn't end there as he continued to join in the action of 17 different battles and even received critical wounds during a chemical attack. Stubby was an amazing dog and after that critical event, his ability to detect incoming attacks heightened to where he was able to alert the soldiers. He even could understand English and German dialogue. He led medics to wounded Americans on the field and he even caught a German spy. At that point, he was promoted to SGT. Stubby. He survived the war and returned with Conroy to participate at rallys, parades and joined Conroy while he attended law school.

In 1926, SGT. Stubby died and his remains were donated to the Smithsonian where he is currently being featured as part of the "Price of Freedom" exhibit in the National Museum of American History. 

The new movie, SGT. Stubby: An American Hero is a computer animated film that will be in approximately 3,000 theaters across the US and Canada on April 13, 2018. Coinciding with the year-long 100th commemoration of the United States' role in the War to End all Wars or as others refer to it as the Great War or WWI, it stars Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu with original score by Patrick Doyle (Brave, Thor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

Here is the official trailer:

SGT. Stubby: An All American Hero movie is great for children to learn more about the war and don’t forget to check out the book Stubby the Dog Soldier: World War I Hero from Capstone. Recommended for readers ages 5-7, it is written by Blake Hoena and Illustrated by Oliver Hurst. It was also listed as a 2015 Notable Social Studies Trades Book for Young People selection from the National Council for the Social Studies & the Children’s Book Council. Below is my youngest reading to my grandson and they both enjoyed the book and the gift pack we received for posting this.  It's also a great homeschooling resource.

As another bonus, check out the fun FREE ACTIVITY PACK at www.StubbyMovie.com for more fun facts about Stubby plus some exciting activities!  Your child can even make their very own origami Stubby, complete a maze, color some sheets and more!

To learn more, visit SGT. Stubby: An American Hero online

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The Giveaway:
  • An Adorable free Stubby plush (value $20); 
  • a Stubby Kuzi (value $5); 
  • A Stubby drawstring bag (value $12); and 
  • A copy of the hardcover book Stubby the Dog Soldier: World War I Herofrom Capstone for ages 5-7 (value $14.95). 

A value of over $50!

To Enter:  

Complete the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway ends 3/31/2018 - US Only Please

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Like to Barbecue or Use a Smoker? Cave Tools Meat Claws is a MUST Have

We are a family full of barbecue lovers and after purchasing a smoker for my son-in-law last year, we still are trying to perfect the perfect brisket or pulled pork recipe. With any smoker or grill, the die hard lover requires tools to make the process more fun or just better. As we continued to use the smoker, we found that life is easier with a set of good tools to ease the process as if you ever tried using a smoker, it can take some work. Our turn to place for all things grill or smoker is Cave Tools. We recently received a complimentary pair of Cave Tools Meat Claws.  The claws are perfect sized for picking up large slabs of meat and ensuring it doesn't fall or you burn yourself. They are made of strong stainless steel which allows for easier shredding of meat and the textured non-slip handles have extra knuckle space which is ideal for larger hands. They are also easy to clean and comes in a trendy gift box.

We smoked pork and some brisket and the end result was DELICIOUS!  Even though the Cave Tools Meat Claws didn't affect the quality of taste, they definitely helped with the handling and shredding of the meat.  To see some of our other reviews, click on the links:


Don't forget to check out the Cave Tools website for more great products, recipe books and more!

About Cave Tools:  Started in 2013 by Michael "Medium Rare" O'Donnell, he started a company that provided good old fashioned American hard work into products that filled a void by other big brands. From products to recipe books to step by step instructions and tutorials videos, they provide for their customers. Don't forget to also check out Grill Master University as it's filled with so many resources such as this video tutorial for Stuffed Burger Recipes (click website for the actual video):

Get 15% off Cave Tools Meat Rakes with coupon code: MEATCLAW15


Ready for another live feature from Disney?  I was hesitant until I watched the trailer and I'm no longer a skeptic as I think this looks good! Coming August 3rd, Ewan McGregor stars in the heartwarming live action adventure Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” the young boy who embarked on countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his band of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

Disney has a history with the A.A. Milne characters dating back to 1966 when the studio released the animated short “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree” featuring the character Christopher Robin, which was followed by the shorts “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” and “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too,” as well as several full-length features and numerous direct-to-DVD titles.
Take a look at the official Trailer:

CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive Review & Discount Code

Cursive Logic New Edition

Both my younger children, ages 10 and 14, know how to write in cursive but are not at an expert level which is why I wanted to be a reviewer for CursiveLogicCursiveLogic uses a logical approach to teach cursive letters with their CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive. I think it's critical to teach cursive and it's not a dying need as many schools have decided to no longer teach it. Having a mutlisensory approach using color, movement, verbal and auditory tools will appeal both of my "students." One has epilepsy so she requires a little bit more emphasis on listening. 

I like CursiveLogic's two key features for learning cursive:  

  1. letters are grouped by shape; and
  2. Connected letter strings providing an easier way for students to learn cursive and master it in 10 weeks. It's a different approach from old school learning of free standing letters whereas the letters are logically placed to make learning much easier. 

As part of the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack, I worked with my student to assess the three P's of penmanship: posture, pencil grip and paper guidelines and position. This is where the CursiveLogic's optional webinar provides further instruction on how to use and teach the CursiveLogic method. It was very helpful as you can see, and if I had not watched it, I would have let my student move forward without the proper P's. It also provided numerous helpful hints when teaching as well as ensuring I was confident enough to teach for success. The information provided is really beneficial to compliment the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack.

There are even dry erase pages at the back of the flip workbook for extra practice.

The workbook is easy to follow and as a flip book, it allows the student to flip the book when it's time to complete the required letters. I prefer this type of workbook to ensure pages won't end up falling out with use. It's also an easy way to work without having the burdensome seam in the middle as most workbooks are made. The student will not have to struggle trying to flatten it while writing.

Cursive Logic Sample Page

As an extra reinforcement for older students that completed the program or for an adult for a little stress relief, is a very cool adult coloring book that provides more cursive practice! It is full of more pages to practice along with a wonderful array of coloring pages that reinforces the repetition of each particular letter. As a bonus, my middle daughter is able to make me some pretty keepsakes as I periodically keep their artwork and various other school work.

The Art of Cursive Logic

My second oldest decided she needed some quiet time and chose to color the book. She liked how the cursive letters were interwoven into the designs to color offering her practical experience while having fun coloring.

This is my 10 year old's before and after photos upon completing lessons to show her improvement. She's very resistant in using the correct pencil technique as she decided at an early age the way she would hold a pencil and she just says she cannot conform. I have tried and tried again to no avail. Regardless, I have seen a dramatic change in her cursive!

As a bonus to our readers, use code CREW2018 and save 20% on the Quick-Start Pack which includes the webinar and workbook combo! The code will expire at the end of day on March 31st.

Cursive Logic New Edition March 2018 Discount

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The Art of Cursive & Quick Start Cursive {Cursive Logic Reviews}