Friday, September 25, 2009
Product: Nutrition 101: Choose Life!
A Family Nutrition and Health Program
Company: Growing Healthy Homes, LLC
Price: CD-ROM $79.95 / Book $99.95 / Combo $129.95
Where to buy: Healthy Homes
This is a 448-page full-color book on the study of nutrition: how we eat, what we eat, how the body works and how these foods affect the body. This book intends to assist families in understanding the real relationship food has on our "fearfully and wonderfully made" bodies (Psalm 139:14).
For years, I didn't think much about nutrition. I ate what I wanted when I wanted. Then along came my daughters, the "picky eaters". For the longest time, I humored them...figuring it was a phase that they would grow out of. Well, they didn't. So I began gradually trying to make changes in our food choices. Then last year, I was blessed with the pregnancy of our 3rd daughter. This time around, I ended up with gestational diabetes. This increased my chances of getting diabetes again in the future. This was a wake-up call. So I began thinking even more about our food choices. Well after so many years of being stuck in a rut, it was very difficult for me to make any substantial changes for any significant amount of time. But I still wanted to and was still trying. Well along comes my latest product to review for the TOS Crew - Nutrition 101.
I was eager to read through the program and see what it was all about and what we could learn from it. The program isn't about dieting or about a bunch of low-fat, cardboard-tasting recipes. It is an in-depth study of biology and nutrition, of how are body works and how the foods that we eat affect our body (for better of worse).
Of course, one of my first thoughts was "Sure this is all fine and good for the authors of this book. But it will never work for my family of finicky eaters." So I was encouraged to read the testimony of another home-school mom, Sera Johnson (president of operations for Growing Healthy Homes LLC). She is a self-labeled "Former Fast Food Queen". And she had the "Princess of Picky Eaters", who only ate three kinds of food at home and chicken nuggets from two particular fast food restaurants. She realized that the Lord wanted her to help her family establish long-term healthy eating habits. Sera gives six quick tips to get you started on the right track. I decided that if she could make these drastic changes, permanently, then there is hope for our family as well.
The book is divided into 6 units (1. The Brain and Nervous System, 2. The Digestive System, 3. The Respiratory, Olfactory, Auditory and Visual System, 4. The Skeletal and Muscular Systems, 5. The Cardiovascular and Immune Systems, 6. The Endocrine System and Emotions). Each chapter includes discussion questions for the whole family, activities (for younger and older children), additional resources for deeper learning, and Power Recipes. The Activity Guide in the back has an answer key for all the activities. At the end of the book is an extensive Appendix, including: A Vitamin Chart, Milk - The Big Debate, Asthma - Taking A Deep Breath, Cancer, and Sleep.
What I Like:
This book doesn't just tell you what to eat. It tells you why. For exampe, I know that I should drink a lot of water. But Nutrition 101 doesn't just tell me to drink a lot of water. It tells me that if I don't drink enough water, several of my body functions may be affected...such as my body's ability to regulate its temperature, process waste and protect my joints. Sounds a bit more important now, right?
What I Don't Like:
A good bit of the book is above my daughters' ability to understand. Some of it was even a struggle for me to follow. But that is to be expected from a book of this magnitude - this is a HUGE book with a LOT of information. It is easy enough, though, to pick and choose what is of interest to your family and what would be of benefit to your children.
How We Use It:
I read the information on my own, ahead of time. Then I discuss the items of my choosing with my daughters, at their level. The book has many wonderful activity suggestions. And we easily find printables online to tie in with the topic and to help reinforce the concepts.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Price: $19.95 (2 or more - $16.95) – Money Back Guarantee
TOS Review readers receive $5 off an order when using coupon TOSBLOG5
Where to Buy: StudyPod
StudyPod is a small, sturdy, portable book holder available in black, blue or pink. Identical BookPod is available in black, gray, or beige.
Ever wish you had an extra pair of hands? The StudyPod is just as good as an extra set of hands, when you are trying to hold a book up in an inclined position while trying to keep the pages in place. The StudyPod was designed by a teacher for students. It helps make study more comfortable and efficient, freeing up your hands and your work space. Having the book upright helps with your posture and the angle is perfect for use while at a computer monitor. It is recommended for 3rd grade – Adult.
When not in use, the StudyPod closes up neat, small and compact (6.75" x 9" x 1.33"). It looks like a book and would easily fit in a backpack, bookcase or locker. It should easily hold up to the wear and tear of being lugged around the house and back and forth to classes.
When you are ready to use it, fold down the support bar on the back. Open the case. Flip down the ledges to sit the book on. Slide the locking bar into place. Sit the book on the ledges and put the page bars at the position desired. For more help, an instruction sheet is included and a video is available online, along with a printable pdf. It should hold most books of various heights and thicknesses, up to 2.25” thick. That is a very thick book. We used it with a book much wider and taller than the StudyPod and it held up perfectly.
Inside is a handy storage pocket to hold notes, pens/pencils, calculator, etc. So it doubles as a pencil case.
Need a little inspiration to get started with your studies? Look inside the StudyPod and you will find the cleverest little circle of famous quotes and interesting tidbits. One of my favorites is the one by Thomas Edison, “
Now that school is back in session, you might need some fundraising ideas. Selling these for $20 each could make your group a profit of $10 each. That would quickly add up. Click here more information.
What I Like:
It is small, sturdy and portable. It is easy to set up and use. It makes for great hands-free reading.
What I Don't Like:
There is a small learning curve to figure out how to turn the pages "gracefully" from one page bar to the other page bar. But there is a handy video to show you two suggestions. Watch it here.
How We Use It:
I homeschool my 10 and 7 year old daughters, while caring for our newest bundle of joy, our 10 month old daughter. So there are many times that I am holding our baby while reading books to the older girls. As most babies tend to do, the little one wants to grab at the book...bending the pages, ripping the pages, losing our place. So I use the StudyPod to hold the book while I hold the baby...out of the reach of the book. Works for us.
Friday, September 18, 2009
2 big Rocket Phonics readers
- Two sets of Play & Read symbol cards
- Bingo chips
- Rocket Peeker
- Bingo sheets and Word lists for testing
- New! Big-movement games for preschoolers and active learners -- and bonuses, below
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Homeschooling is a Labor of Love, and the Old Schoolhouse™ Magazine is celebrating your hard work as a parent by putting their one-year print subscriptions on sale! For a very limited time, you can subscribe or renew for $7.95! (US only). International customers can subscribe to the digital edition for only 7.95!You can buy a gift sub for friends, too! To gift a subscription:1. Go to the one-year subscription page (uS only)2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.3. Enter the name, address, email, and phone information for each recipient4. click "Add this to my cart".5. The information will display in your cart and simply proceeed to check out.There are only 2000 of these available, and they are going quickly! Your subscription begins with their Fall Issue.If you live in an international location, you can subscribe to their digital edition for only $7.95! It's the same great content as their print magazine, except it is instant and interactive! Here are the two
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
1. The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse in Paperback
2. "Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog" CD
3. Hank’s Tornado Game
Company: Maverick Books
Price: Paperback - $4.24
Where to Buy: HankTheCowdog.com
The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog was published in 1983 by the author, John Erickson. Since then, the company has grown by leaps and bounds. They now have 54 stories, all available in paperback, hardback, CD and audiotape. Also available are a wide assortment of clothing, games, music CDS and stuffed animals.
I had heard of Hank the Cowdog, briefly. But I knew very little about the company and had not seen any of the products first-hand. So when I learned that I would be receiving a sample of products, I was curious to have a look at it.
We received a paperback book (The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse – Book #8), a CD (“Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog”), and a board game (Hank’s Tornado Game).
Hank, the cowdog, is a self-appointed Head of Ranch Security in the Texas Panhandle. His sidekick is Drover, a not-so-capable “little white mutt”. Together, they patrol and “protect” the ranch. Hank has his fair share of escapades in this adventure, from causing Sally May to break her ankle to fighting Tuerto the Killer Stud Horse. He also has some special times with his human family, from playing dress-up with Amy and Ashley to “almost” having a bonding moment with Sally May.
I read this book to my 10 and 7 year old daughters. They had never heard of Hank and knew nothing of his adventures. So, it took us a while to get a feel for who the characters were. We also weren’t use to reading from an animal’s point-of-view. At times, especially when several animals were speaking, my daughters had trouble keeping track of who was talking when. After some confusion, I began using voices to distinguish between Hank and Drover.
This particular story was a bit slow-going at the start and didn’t hold my girls’ attention for the first few chapters. Hank had a way of going on and on about the same thing at times. For instance, he spent two chapters talking about food scraps. However, as I came to understand, that is just the kind of fella Hank is. About the time that Sally May broke her ankle, I thought the storyline picked up nicely. And by the time Tuerto came onto the scene, I was enjoying the action. My favorite part was when Hank put all fears aside to protect two little girls.
I have always loved dogs, so I was amused by their conversations and thought processes. Hank thinks he is super-smart, but often uses big words incorrectly in an attempt to impress Drover. He is always the loyal best friend to his human family, thinking that they must think just as highly of him, being totally shocked that they might consider him less than perfect. The parts where he bonds with the little girls touched my heart, reminding me of my own little girls and our dog. But as I mentioned, the most touching part for me was when Hank risked his life for the sake of those girls. Being a story about
As an added bonus, the last page has an order form to join Hank the Cowdog’s Security Force. Members receive a welcome package, eight issues of The Hank Times newspaper, and more Security Force Benefits. This is a nice set for long-time Hank fans.
Hank’s Tornado Game was made to go along with the story, The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado - #25. As such, it includes a free 30 minute cassette tape from the award winning audio. The game is for 2 to 4 players, ages 5 and up and is advertised as “The wildest race and chase GAME ever!” Each player gets a Hank, Drover and Junior (a buzzard) in their game color. You must spin a 1 or 6 to get a dog onto his starting circle; Junior needs a 6. You then keep spinning till you get all of your characters safely home. However, if anyone lands on you, you get sent back to the beginning (much like the game Sorry). If a character lands on a tornado space, you spin and go forward for an even number or backwards for an odd number (good way to get some more math practice in). The travel case gets 2 thumbs up in my book. Everything fits nicely inside and snaps shut tight for easy portability. The characters are sturdy and adorable. We had trouble with the spinner; it wanted to land on the same two numbers repeatedly for most of the game…much to our frustration since they weren’t a 1 or 6 (the numbers needed to get out of start). But you could easily use a die instead of the spinner; just throw it into the travel case and it would be ready whenever you were.
Being sent back to start by an opponent, when you have worked so hard to get around the board can be very frustrating for some children (I know this from experience). If this is the case with your younger children, you may wish to consider not playing by that particular rule.
The instruction sheet includes a $2 coupon off a Hank Audio Coupon.
“Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog” is currently on sale for $3 (Regular $12.99). It has story excerpts from 10 books plus 9 original songs. The CD is 68 minutes long. John Erickson narrates excerpts from 10 stories on the CD, giving each character a unique voice fitting to their personality. It is a good way to get a feel for the stories and may help you narrow down your choice of which full-length book or CD to buy. As in the book, there are several instances of minced oaths and name calling. If this is of concern to you, it will be harder to “skip” on CD than in a read-aloud from a book.
The included songs are taken straight from the Hank adventure books. So if you have read some of the books, and thereby some of the song lyrics, and wondered just what the tune might be…well, here you go. Nine of them are on this CD. Taken out of context, the songs might not make much sense. But after reading the story that goes with it, you will envision the action every time you hear the song.
My favorite song is “Thank You Lord for Making Gals”. This one is taken from the book that I reviewed after Hank falls in love with the two little girls, Amy and Ashley. Granted this could have something to do with the fact that I have three little girls of my own. Some of the sweet lyrics are
“So thanks again for making gals!
They’ll treat you nice and be your pals.
But I swear by the stars above
Watch out, or you’ll fall in love!”
I will mention that “We Don’t Give a Hoot” states “…so if you should find us offensive, we will beat you up…and if you don’t like what we’re singing, we’ll beat you up again”. When I first heard this song, I was taken by surprise. But this is another instance of the song needing to be in the right context. This song is sung by two nasty coyotes, Rip and Snort, and they are just being true to their character. Neither the book nor the song is condoning the behavior.
However, there was one other song on the CD that I must mention. I am mentioning it to you, because I would want someone to mention it to me before I played it to my children, so that I could make my own decision about the matter. I’m not sure which book it is from or what context it is in, other than the fact that it is sung by Wallace the Buzzard. The song is called “A Pox, A Pox on Emily Post”. Some of the lyrics are “A pox, a pox on Emily Post; I thumb my nose at Emily’s ghost” and “The Devil can roast Miss Emily Post and I will raise a cheer”.
An added advantage is that the CD cover includes the lyrics to all of the songs, so you can easily peruse all the lyrics before playing the CD.