Embracing a Healthy Family

Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set Review & 15% Off Coupon







Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set which is made from 20% heavy duty thicker stainless steel is the perfect accessory to your grilling or smoker collection. The three piece utensil set is professional grade that includes a fork, spatula and tongs. It's affordable too and makes a great birthday or Christmas gift! We used our's first with the smoker as with thicker cuts of meat, you really need heavy duty dependable utensils to avoid dropping it or causing an accident if it breaks.




Not only is the spatula convenient for flipping over anything that requires turning, but it's also a bottle opener that is perfect for tailgating or maybe even adding your favorite brew as a marinade for the smoker. It's also oversized for even the larger cuts of meat such as steaks. The grill tongs are not the ordinary type you purchase in the store as they have six teeth to help grip the hot dogs or brats. Each utensil has a extra wide hooks for hanging up in between usage or even while using them with the grill or smoker.


She rinsed the spatula off so please excuse the water spots!


They were very easy to clean up and are dishwasher safe. Not only do you get the beautiful set of utensils but you also get 25 barbecue recipes as a free download. There is also a lifetime warranty which I'm sure we will test out as we grill and smoke out a lot! As always, Cave Tools provided the very best products with no complaints from us! I did note a question/answer comment for this on Amazon stating the tools might be too heavy for a woman which I completely disagree with.  I picked them up and used them and had no issue as well as my seven year old granddaughter! They would definitely make a great gift for the tailgater, for Father's Day or even Christmas since it's coming upon us pretty fast!


They were a hit with my son-in-law who does most of the grilling and all of the smoking. He also uses the Cave Tools Instant Read Digital Thermometer (click to see the review) every time he cooks. 


Use GRILLSET15 for 15% off!


Click here to purchase and to learn more about Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set to learn more!


Click here to see our review for the Meat Claws which is a must have for any grill or smoker master!







Cave Grill Set

NEW - Sony Noise Canceling Headphones at Best Buy





Listening to music or even a good audio book is always best with great sound. My phone is inadequate and my computer speakers are not up to the task. When I read about the NEW Sony Noise Canceling Headphones, I wanted to learn more. Sony’s proprietary HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 brings the WH-1000XM3 to the pinnacle of noise cancellation which is really makes a difference with listening to great sound. The 40mm drivers with their Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms are Hi-Res Audio compatible which reproduces a full range of frequencies. Another great feature is longevity. You can listen all day up to 30 hours of playback and when it's ready to be charged, a quick charging will provide another five hours of listening pleasure in only 10 minutes!

For those that are really into great sound, the Smart Listening feature is really smart! Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control automatically detects your activity such as walking, waiting or traveling, and balances noise canceling levels accordingly without any required input. 

You can also ask it questions by activating Google Assistant with a simple tough! In a world full of many things to do, this type of convenience is nice to have. Often times I'm watching or listening to something and want to know who was the actor or the singer so this feature would be helpful to me. The Sony Noise Canceling Headphones are also designed with soft, pressure-relieving earpads in foamed urethane that is evenly distributes the pressure while increasing the ear pad contact for a solid fit without pain or pressure. 

No worries if someone calls either while using the headphones as with a click of a double-tap or to call, change tracks, turn down the volume and make your call by touching or swiping the panel. Another HUGE feature I like is Quick Attention Mode. No more having to stop and take off the headphones when you need to respond to something or someone. Simple place your hand over the housing to turn down the volume. That is pretty cool to me!

There is a one year warranty on parts and 90 days on labor. I've researched and read that the sound is "amazing!" 

Check them out the NEW Sony Noise Canceling Headphones now at Best Buy!







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Barbour Publishing: Kingdom Files Series Who Was Books Review








We are a homeschooling family that incorporates Christian based components whenever possible so when we had a chance to review Barbour Publishing two books in the Kingdom Files series, we jumped.  Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? were two books in which my children enjoyed reading. My youngest is a big fan of any Who Was type of books and loves to read about people. She has a keen interest in Biblical characters as well so this series of books definitely peeked her interest.

I had both my girls, as well as myself read What Was Jonah? and What Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? At first sight, my youngest stated she really liked the set up each book. She thought it was neat that the books were set up as file folders and enjoyed the illustrations. 


Kingdome Files Who Was Jonah   Kingdome Files Who Was Mary Mother of Jesus

Each book begins with an introduction to the Reading Detective allowing them a chance to understand how the book is set up:

  1. Fact Files contains the key information on the Bible character.
  2. Action Files laid out the events of the Bible showing that particular character.
  3. The Power Files contained more information and memory versus to help encourage a self-provoking thought process in how God is working in their lives too.

Each book encourages the Reading Detectives to memorize versus from the Bible as well as write down questions they might have as they make their way through the books. The books are perfect length to keep them entertained and encouraged to read to completion. I particularly liked the mini timelines too. The illustrations inside are black and white and are spaced perfectly to not bog down the message behind the books. The words chosen also speak to children and are not the same words utilized directly from the Bible other than the memory versus.

My middle child, 15, who usually grumbles when having to read books she has not chosen, was very agreeable to read both books. She enjoyed that they were short and concise and stated they were not boring which was a big win to me. She liked how they were similar to other Who Was books as she enjoys learning about other people too. She's not a big Bible reader and this was a good way to get her interested in important people of the Bible.

The Kingdom Files

My youngest, 11, stated she enjoyed reading the books and thought they were neat. She actually approached me a few times to tell me something she read or to show me a picture she thought was funny. She read her first book in two days and was eager to start on the second book. She said they were easy to read and even though she didn't have to read the second one, she asked to read it. She even stated she, in addition to the two she read, she wanted to read all the other books in the series which include:

  • Kingdom Files: Who is Jesus?
  • Kingdom Files: Who Was Daniel?
  • Kingdom Files: Who Was David?
  • Kingdom Files: Who was Esther?

My youngest's final thoughts:  "They were good books!" and I agree!

Barbour Publishing

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Read what other members of the CREW thought:

Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder Review



Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder
Roman Roads Media has an online course titled Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder which is the subject of this review. Roman Roads Media provides parents and teachers with a classical curriculum choice for their student(s) in middle grades to adults. It is a self-paced program in which the student is expected to complete a lesson per week over 30 weeks.

  • Signing up was effortless to include enrolling my learners into the specific course I purchased or in this case, received to review. Each learner has their own login and there is a master account to track and adjust settings as needed. The master account holder can adjust the course from easy to normal depending on the skill level of the student.
  • The campaigns are sequential so a student cannot jump to another assignment without completing the preceding one. There are activities or games to reinforce what was learned.
  • Each word is presented and pronounced with extra information to put the word in correct context with an accompanied picture. The student can repeat the pronunciation as many times as needed to ensure he or she can pronounce it properly.
  • After so many words, a game follows that is more or less a quiz of recognition. There is an information button that allows the student a refresher of that word. If the student gets one wrong, he can review it and it will pop up again until the student can complete all them. It will not proceed until all are correct.
  • Scores will be listed on the Course screen and the student can repeat the lesson if he is not happy with the score.
  • Students can review completed lessons but incomplete lessons will remain locked. 
  • The online course is versatile and can be used on iOS, Android, PC or Mac.

The lesson screen shot example below shows how each word is presented in what my 15 year old student stated was in flash card format which she liked. Each screen allows the student to rehear the word and to see the definition:
After the short series of flash card type screens, a quiz follows to match the word with the picture. The pronunciation of the word accompanies each quiz question. My students, 15 and 11, both would have preferred longer time periods with the flash cards as well as smaller increments of words in between practice sessions. Luckily for them and myself, Roman Roads Media thought of everything and provides a training area to practice more. I can also track all progress and the grades received. 

There are 31 chapters in Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder to learn from and the parent/teacher can set the learning level based on the student's skill level. The various exercises helps the student learn each word from Learn, Choose, Spell, Forms and Test Forms. The hand drawn illustrations are simple which was the purpose to allow students to comprehend them faster.  I believe this is a great program for those who have a Latin background or for a student that can pick and up and run with memory based learning programs. It's easy to follow and we all liked the flashcard component of each lesson. The pronunciation and definitions provided a well rounded manner in which to learn each word. I had to contact customer service once due to user error and they were fantastic in the speed in which they helped me and making me feel I was important to their program. Although I feel my students aren't quite ready for this program, I am going to look at the other programs such as Picta Dicta Ancient World as I think that one might be a better starter program for them.


Roman Roads Media

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Read what others on the Crew thought about the three different products we reviewed:

Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

My Top Photographs from Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site - Texas Parks and Wildlife



Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site 

 Texas Parks and Wildlife



"For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills in far west Texas. In earlier times, they came for the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos (“whey-coes”). Visitors today marvel at the imagery left by those ancient people."

This wasn't my first time at this beautiful historical place that must be seen in person. It's in El Paso County, Texas and provides a great piece of history. If you get a chance, take at least the self-guided tour and watch the video that is provided by one of their wonderful volunteers. It's a small drive outside of El Paso but well worth it!












GrammarPlanet Grammar Online Program Review

GrammarPlannet
GrammarPlanet provides an online comprehensive grammar program that is available online and is free supported by advertising. It is a program for students, ages 10 and up, to improve their English and is a good resource for adults as well. It's very easy to set up the students in the portal and once the student logs in, they start by watching a teaching video and reading a PDF of the accompanied notes. I found the notes were best utilized by printing them off to provide to my student. They do not take up a lot of ink for those that need to budget their costs and it's not a requirement to print them. After the student completes the teaching video and reads the notes, they begin to complete the activities that ensures the student understood and retained what they just learned. The activities are what is called responsive so students that require more time to understand will receive more practice before the test. If a student does not gain an acceptable score, they are advised to repeat the video and/or read the notes. If they are having a difficult time with the unit, their unit becomes locked and the parent/teacher has to unlock the unit. Also, if the parent/teacher feels the student might not to retake the unit, he/she has the option to reset a unit.

Recommended Usage:

The recommendation is to spend no more than 15 minutes a day working on a lesson and to work on a lesson every other day.

GrammarPlanet Outline Sample:
  • Nouns
  • Proper Nouns
  • Articles and Adjectives
  • Pronoun
  • Possessive Pronouns
  • Prepositional Pronouns
  • Subject/Verb
  • Adverbs
  • Crazy Modifiers
  • Patterns 1 and 2
  • Pattern 3
  • Patterns 4 and 5
  • Helping Verbs
  • State of Being Verbs
  • Coordinating Conjunctions

That was just a sample of all the 13 units available.


_____________________

This is a series of screen shots showing my daughter completing the sentence diagram for one practice question. Each shot shows a next step in the process:


The parent dashboard provides a quick summary of where my students are in the program:


Our Review in Summary:
  • I had two students utilizing the online program. One is 11 and one is 15 and I followed along with both to ensure they were utilizing it correctly and proceeded as appropriate after I find that I think they were skipping about. The good part of this program is if they get too many wrong, the parent/teacher has to unlock the lesson so it ensures they aren't moving forward without understanding the material.
  • The quizzes in between the lessons also helps to reinforce the student's knowledge before proceeding forward.
  • The teacher speaks clear and at the right speed. Both my students were puzzled at why the teacher is only shown from the head up. I do hope they fix that with adding some bigger type aids to correspond with the lesson as well as record her by moving back to show more of her.
  • The notes, that can be printed at anytime, reinforce what is being taught.
  • A subject can be repeated and the menu pops up by hovering the mouse over it.
  • During the practice and tests, they did have difficulty remembering the different abbreviations for noun, verb, adjective, preposition, etc. so that part took a little longer than both liked. Although it seemed redundant or boring to them, it provided an opportunity for them to really understand and learn how to identify each part of the sentence.
  • The parent can change the settings to be alerted to remember to sign on and when a student completes a lesson.


It's a nice program that allows the student to be self-sufficient in completing the lessons IF they understand what was taught otherwise, there will be a lot of unlocking by the parent. I did have to step in frequently to help explain some topics but I like to be involved with my children's lessons. This might be better suited for those that are already strong in grammar from the diagramming perspective or a bit older. I thought I was pretty good with grammar but I definitely learned a lot and this would be really beneficial for someone in high school and possibly entering college.

GrammarPlanet Social Media:

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Check out what others on the CREW thought:

Grammar Program Online {GrammarPlannet Reviews}

Reading Eggs' 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade Review



Online Reading Eggs Suite

Reading Eggs' offers workbooks to compliment their digital online reading and math programs. We reviewed the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade workbook that provided 36-weeks of lessons covering spelling, comprehension and grammar lessons. Each lesson was not long with only a page a day requiring around 15 minutes a day. My daughter enjoys reading and writing and this workbook provides just the right amount of lesson material per day. The design behind the workbook is it builds 200 essential reading skills that will produce a better reader, speller, writer and orator in my opinion. By reinforcing new skills by repetition, Reading Eggs utilizes this proven technique to assist the student in long-term retention while building deeper understanding. 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade workbook provides a comprehensive curriculum that includes:


  • 200 essential reading skills
  • 72 Comprehension Lessons
  • Fiction and Nonfiction Texts
  • 72 Spelling Lessons
  • 36 Grammar Lessons
  • 4 Reviews that test knowledge
  • Answer sheets included
  • Year planner
  • Full color workbook
  • 217 pages





Things I noted about the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade workbook that I particularly liked:

  • The Table of Contents is comprehensive and easy to follow. It allows the parent/teacher or student an easy to follow path on what they already learned or will learn.
  • There is a year planner which I like to see curriculums provide this to ensure I'm on target with my student.
  • The workbook is full of color and each page is not too busy. Students, especially younger ones, are drawn to colorful page and it breaks it up from being a regular black and white textbook.
  • The instructions on each page require the student to ensure they are reading and following direction which I loved! My two younger children do not do this well enough and I have found after using the 200 Essential Reading Skills for Fifth Grade, she is listening much better.
  • Great value! The workbook is so comprehensive covering so many skills, it's a great bargain.
  • Reading workbooks cover grades K through 5th.
  • The student can self-check their work or the parent/teacher can review it with them.



Overall, we really liked the workbook because my daughter said it was fun. She enjoyed the stories and the corresponding activities that reinforced comprehension skills. The spelling words and challenge words included reinforcement activities that required her to utilize a dictionary and really worked in getting her to understand the definition behind new potential spelling words. I loved how suffixes, prefixes and Latin origins were also introduced as well as the variety of activities from cross word puzzles to unscrambling words and more. I honestly can't say enough on how much I love the workbook and wished they would create more for higher grades!




Online Reading Eggs Suite

Follow Reading Eggs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Reading Eggs also offers online programs for Reading and Math Seeds. I utilized Reading Eggs for one of my other children in the past and she enjoyed using it and it helped her to read. I also like that not only are their online programs wonderful, but the workbooks really compliment the learning process. I just recently found out they also have reading books, activity books, flash cards and stickers to supplement their other products.

LIMITED TIME OFFER:

Get 4 Weeks of Access to to the Reading Eggs website Free by clicking here.
Receive 10% off the purchase of any of the 9 BRAND NEW Reading Eggs and Mathseeds workbooks! Just use the coupon code WK10Z82D5UY at checkout!! Workbooks can be purchased by clicking on workbooks.

Check out what others from the Crew thought:



Online Reading Eggs Suite {Reading Eggs Reviews}


Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers American History Series World War II Review








History is fun and exciting to me and I've tried to instill this in my children as the future depends on the past or as I usually tell my children, 'knowledge is power.' To find a hands-on history company that provides multiple products was such a thrill to me which is what
Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers American History World War II provided my child. From maps, timelines, and laptop projects, it provides an interesting chance for the student to live the time period. One of the ways I found that I learn best is by doing and the Home School in the Woods Time Travelers provided that.

The Basics:

The Time Travelers American History series World War II was available either by download or a CD with three types of licenses available: family, teacher or school making it versatile for any learning environment. For the purposes of this review, I downloaded my appropriate PDF files first and utilized the online functionality from the CD view.

It has 25 lessons that can be adjusted to the needs of the child or the expected length of time the teacher would like to cover the decade long time period over 5-10 weeks.

To begin, I utilized the Lesson Plan Schedule which was very helpful. It separates each lesson by either lapbook, notebook or project, for example. One could either pre-plan and print off each lesson all at once or one at a time. I preferred one at a time to absorb myself in what I was about to teach my student. There is a nice introduction that helps explain the course as well as helpful tips in preparing for the course. Everything is provided to ensure a fun successful learning experience.

There are also Project Days included in the lesson plans to provide extra time as needed. There are many options available to ensure your student is enjoying the lesson which makes it a very versatile curriculum.

Pages are key coded making it easier to find the appropriate page for each lesson such as Master, Project or Teacher Keys.
Lessons:

Lessons are grouped from:

  • Lessons 1-5 - Ante Bellum; Adolf Hitler; War Before War; Blitzkreig-Dunkirk; Project Day 1
  • Lessons 6-10 - The Battle of Britain; The Turn East; Pearl Harbor; War in Africa; Project Day 2
  • Lessons 11-15 - War in the Pacific; Hitler's Fortress; Market Garden; The Bulge; Project Day 3
  • Lessons 16-20 - Into Germany; Kristallnacht and the Camps; VE Day; Iwo Jima and the Atomic Bomb; Project Day 4
  • Lessons 21-25 - Back Home; And What Happened After? Project Day
  • Other Resources:
    • All Master Pages (i.e. Penmanship, Newspapers, maps, etc)
    • Gallery of Project Photos - this is nice so you and the student can ensure you completed the projects correctly as a picture is always a nice validation.
    • Lap-Book Instructions - as above, this is a nice section to provide extra assistance in completing the lap-books.

Starting with Lesson 1, upon reading the text PDF file, it provided a very good review of setting up the world scene 20 years prior to World War II which is essential for understanding the mood of particular countries whether it was their desire to stay out or their need to get involved.

Each lesson includes text pages and project pages. For Lesson 1, after we read the text, we started with the lesson projects. Each lesson varies and provides a student an opportunity to try out various projects to broaden their learning experience. Lesson 1, for example, included Penmanship which encompassed quotes and a selection to choose from to find the right level for the student. The other project was the Notebook Timeline that included the timeline as well as Timeline Figures of the major players and events of World War II. The final project was on the topic of Dictators. This project reinforced the knowledge of the major players of the war and was the start of the lap-book.


For Lesson 9, War in Africa, we learned about V-Mail in the Lesson Projects. V-Mail was a means for our service members and families to correspond with one another without adding enormous costs on shipping the letters as well as cutting down on the mass volume. This lesson, like the others, provided an opportunity to create many different projects. This was one of my favorites with all the options available and being a former journalism major in high school, I loved the newspaper lessons.




My student enjoyed this project as well as I think she was able to pretend she was writing her grandfather who was in the Air Force. The reproductions, taken from originals, was fun to create and gave her a feel of what it was like back then.

The number of activities are interesting, fun and creative. For example, from creative writing to ration cooking recipes to games to authentic documents, there are just so many creative and fun ways to really teach all about World War II.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, we really enjoyed Time Travelers American History World War II due to its hands-on approach to teaching history. Although it is recommended for grades 3-8, I think it would be ideal even for the older levels especially if the child still enjoys creating projects. It's a very comprehensive course to teach an important part of history in a non-dull manner thus encouraging the chances of retention to be higher in my opinion. I also enjoyed teaching and guiding her throughout the weeks of learning and plan to look into some of the other products available through Home School in the Woods such as:

  • History Through the Ages Timeline Materials
  • Olde World Style Map Sets
  • Project Passport World History Studies
  • Hands-On History Activity-Paks
  • Hands-On History Lap-Paks
  • Hands-On History Activity Studies
  • A La Carte Projects
  • Other new projects such as the early release from Home School in the Woods on the launch of Project Passport: Ancient Rome study ahead of schedule that can be downloaded here and the complete Project Passport collection is available to here.

Find Home School in the Woods on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

Check out what others on the Crew thought about this hands-on curriculum as well as other products:

Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Smart Kidz Media's New Smart Kidz Radio Review







Smart Kidz Radio

Smart Kidz Media's newest offering, Smart Kidz Radio, is a new edutainment for kids utilizing songs that surely will entertain while teaching little ones. This is an online streaming media library filled with songs and stories that are sure to entertain children across many ages. What sets this station apart from others is the songs are original life skill songs and stories that promote positive values. The Smart Kidz Radio is part of a network of educational websites administered by the Smart Kidz Academy that provides educational resources at no cost! I have found many features that are appealing especially since it's more than just entertainment, there is the learning aspect which includes:

  • Free live stream media that allows anyone to listen to the songs and stories. One of the first topics I heard was an informational intro of not fighting that turned into a song. I could see how a young child would learn from the fun music and words that aspire them to do good things.
  • Signing up was easy and again, it's free!
  • It's versatile and there will be IOS app downloads available for an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as well as an app for Android that will be free. Whether on a laptop or desktop or on the go, the child will have the opportunity to take it with them.
  • An optional On Demand radio programs is available at a low cost with an upgraded free membership. There are over 1,000 original children's songs and stories featured in the On Demand programs from topics such as My First Life Skills to Bedtime Stories. The options are vast and there is a 14 day free trial.
  • The stories and songs are sung by kids without any worry of offensive lyrics. This is a huge plus for my family as I prefer them listening to wholesome positive songs and stories.
  • Stay up to date by signing up for the free newsletter.






Additional Features:

  • Another area within the Smart Kidz Radio is called Player app that contains the options to view the local weather, traffic map along with the option to submit a song request and the ability to seek help with a click of the mouse.
  • Podcasts are also available with a variety of songs and stories such as Itsy Bitsy Spider or The Three Musketeers.
  • There is an option to replay what was recently played which is great for the little ones that get caught up loving a particular song or story. 






The Smart Kidz Radio from Smart Kidz Media is a fun learning adventure for children to hear stories and songs that will promote good behavior and citizenship while sprinkling it with fun amusement. The music is catchy and performed by children as we know children love children! Overall, we recommend it and my grandson, who is 3, couldn't quit smiling and singing along as he listened.

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Check out with others from the Crew thought:



Smart Kidz Radio Homeschool Reviews