Thursday, October 27, 2011

Round 1: Impatient Mom vs Coupons


CouponsI love a deal…I mean LOVE a REAL deal! So four years ago (almost exactly) after my husband lost his job I decided I needed to try something different for my grocery budget. I had always believed Wal-Mart was a good deal and coupons just couldn’t get me the product as cheaply as Wal-Mart's generic price so why bother with the hassle.  But a fellow homeschooler mentioned all the deals she was getting by using The Grocery Game website and I decided to give it a shot.

I signed up for my free trial, picked up a newspaper (this is a story in and of itself!) and Monday morning I went to clipping. By early evening I had all my coupons clipped and had fixed up my grocery lists for Food Lion and CVS.

At that time I had a 7 yr. old, 5yr old, almost 2 yr. old, and a 6 month old (what.was.I.thinking?) so I loaded them up and headed to the nearest town, about 25 minutes away. We went through CVS with no trouble but by the time we got to Food Lion the kids were a little restless (already!). I made it through Food Lion, checked out, and as I pulled the buggy towards me to turn it towards the door, my 2 year old, who was standing in the buggy (one of those high buggy’s…not a deep one like Wal-Mart…this is a big no-no! Don’t let your kids stand in the buggy) fell out backwards on to his head on the cement floor. He started crying(screaming) and I started crying…things just really went downhill from there. We didn’t have insurance, couldn’t call my husband because we no longer had a cell phone, I was still a bit emotional over the job loss, all my groceries were going bad as I waited for the ice pack a bag boy was supposed to be getting…it was a bad evening.

At that moment I decided this just wasn’t worth the trouble. I laid my coupons aside and didn’t think twice about it. Until…

(Check back for Round 2)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TOS Review: Marshall Publishing’s Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks (book) and Fire Songs and Safety Tips (DVD)


We received a huge, color-filled book on Fire Trucks and a DVD on Fire Safety from Marshall Publishing. Both the book and DVD covered much more than just trucks and fire safety.

The DVD was basically several songs with footage of trucks, fires (nothing graphic), and firefighters. Included were tips on fire safety and what to do in case of an emergency (call 911, stop drop & roll, etc.). We used this as a reinforcement for what they had already learned when visiting the smoke house, where the firefighters taught fire safety.

The real treat came when we opened the book. It was about fire trucks for sure but not only that it included tons of history, science, pictures, illustrations, tips, websites, interesting facts about fire and firefighters and so much more. This book was amazing.

There was a section on major fires in history starting with the burning of Rome in 64 A.D. all the way through to 9/11/01. Another section teaches which fire extinguisher works best for each type of fire, and what to do if you don’t have a fire extinguisher. This book was FULL of useful information. I highly recommend it. The DVD was okay, but the book is the best part of the program, in my opinion.

The DVD was perfect for my younger elementary kids and the book was nice for them to look at but was actually best suited for my upper elementary and middle school children.

The cost of the Book & DVD combo is usually $49.90 but if you enter coupon code TOSF1 you can get it for $19.95 (plus S&H). To order call 1-888-300-3455 or visit Marshall Publishing or Fire Safety Songs.

Marshall Publishing offers more than just fire safety videos and books, they offer tons of other products from Rockets and Race Cars to Game Shows and Comedians. They also offer a great selection of historical videos such as The Oregon Trail & Pony Express and Lincoln at Gettysburg.



I was delighted to receive a bonus DVD of George Washington Carver. This is a 30 minute video that features an informative look into the life one of our nations great Scientist. This video is $19.95 plus S&H but if you enter the code TOSC1 you can get an additional 15% off.

Check out their site for more educational and entertaining products and for more Marshall Publishing reviews, head on over to the Crew Site.


**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

TOS Review E-Mealz

What’s an e-meal?
That’s the question I had when I first heard the name. Well it’s not a ‘thing’ it’s a program designed to make mealtime easy for mom. They do this by creating a weeks worth of easy to prepare meals. They also include the shopping list for these meals, to help you get in and out of the store of your choice, quickly and efficiently.
They have several plans to choose from. You can choose by store and family size, or by special dietary needs. The chart below will make it very clear.
After choosing your plan, print out the menu and shopping list, then head to the store. It’s pretty simple. You can check out a sample menu and list on the e-mealz site. The cost of e-mealz is $15 for 3 months, that’s just $5 per month. Not bad for the amount of work and stress it will save you.
e-mealz and me
I was so excited to be asked to review e-mealz, the ‘mental-maid’ program for busy mom’s who enjoy having a sit down meal with their family. Meal planning is one of my biggest challenges. When I take the time to do it, which is very rare, it makes a HUGE difference in my afternoon and evening. Life just runs smoother when we know what’s happening next. I plan and schedule all the different ‘times’ in my day (wake time, school time, lunch time, bedtime) why do I fail to plan my meals? Lazy I guess. At any rate, e-mealz has made it very easy for me.
When I first started out with e-mealz I signed up to use the Wal Mart plan because I do did most of my shopping there. Since then, I’ve begun couponing (I’m trying! Boy it’s confusing at times) and one of the main reasons for my couponing is to keep me out of Wal Mart. I do not like going in there! So, in my learning to coupon, my dear sister-in-law convinced me to give Aldi’s a try. It wasn’t my first time going in there, but it was my first time actually looking at the prices. When I did my comparisons, Aldi’s was cheaper than Wal Mart on 9 out of 10 items. So I decided to switch my e-mealz plan to Aldi’s.
I have several lists from both Wal Mart and Aldi’s and they each have quick and easy recipes. I did not try ALL of the recipes but I did try several on my very.very.picky family and they didn’t object to any except the chicken pot pie. I took it to a pot luck and they didn’t even try it because of the veggies mixed in. They just don’t like their foods mixed together. I tried it though, and it was so good and super easy to fix.

Head on over to e-mealz to give it a try, I bet you’ll be glad you did!
Want to read more e-mealz reviews first? CLICK HERE

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Monday, October 10, 2011

TOS Review: Visual Latin



My 11 year old, 9 year old and I, are taking Latin. Shocked? Well, what’s even more shocking is…we’re actually enjoying it! The program is called Visual Latin and it’s a DVD program taught by Dwane Thomas. He has 15 years teaching experience, is fluent in four languages, and is the homeschooling father to five children. He’s actually kind of funny at times but the more impressive thing to me is the simplicity in which he teaches.


Good question. I wanted to know the same thing. These are the reasons given by Mr. Thomas during the introduction lessons.

  1. Learning Latin makes understanding your language and other languages easier.
  2. Latin opens the door to other Romance languages.  There are 25 Romance languages, including Spanish, French, and Portuguese. These languages are about 90% Latin.
  3. English is influenced by Latin. 90% of our multi-syllable words are derivatives of Latin.
  4. Understanding Latin can change the way you think. You will better understand the meanings of the words your saying, hearing, and writing.


In high school I took French and Spanish (I did horribly in both). My eight grade French teacher started us off the very first day speaking in French the ENTIRE class period, except the last 5 minutes. So basically we walked into class with this strange looking (sorry but she was) woman speaking to us in a strange language and we had no idea why she wasn’t stopping to explain what she was doing. The end of class she explained to us that we would only be allowed to speak English during the last 5 minutes and after the second semester there would be NO ENGLISH in her class.She deducted points from our grade for disobedience. About 95% of the students in my class failed.  My Spanish teacher did a lot better, unfortunately I didn’t.  I’m really hoping learning a foreign language will be easier for my boys. My oldest really wants to master Spanish so he can travel with my husband on mission trips.


With Visual Latin the lessons are short and informative without a lot of in- depth explaining of things that we don’t need to know right now. Each lesson has 3 videos and 3 worksheets. We watch one per day. The video lasts about 10-15 minutes and the worksheet is super easy. What am I saying?  Baby steps. That’s what we’re taking. That’s what we need. If it started out difficult we would probably be discouraged and give up. With the prior experience I’ve had with foreign languages I’m excited about this programs method.




Visual Latin is for ages 9 and up. There are two parts, 30 lessons each, and ideally each part would be completed in a year, making it a two year program. The Scope and Sequence for Part 1 is below:

1.     Being Verbs Basics | To Be and Not to Be
2.     Being Verbs Basics | Predicate Nominatives and Adjectives
3.     Gender | Boy Words and Girl Words
4.     Singular and Plural | E Pluribus Unum
5.     Declensions | Meet the Cases
6.     Adjectives Learn to Agree with Nouns
7.     The Case Files | Nominative and Genitive
8.     Counting to 10 in Latin
9.     Active Verb Basics | Indicative Mood
10.   The Case Files | Accusative
11.    The Case Files | Vocative
12.    Changing Your Moods | Imperative & Indicative
13.    The Case Files | Ablative
14.    Meet the Pronouns & Question Words
15.    Pronouns | Relative
16.    Accusing Prepositions of Accusative Case
17.    Verbs | Active & Passive
18.    The Case Files | Dative
19.    Pronouns | 1st & 2nd Person Personal
20.   Pronouns | 3rd Person Personal
21.   Pronouns | Demonstratives: this, these
22.   Pronouns | Demonstratives: that, those
23.   Pronouns | Relative and Interrogative
24.   Pronouns | Possessive
25.   Nouns | 3rd Declension – Regular and i-stem
26.   Verbs | Infinitives – Active and Passive
27.   Verbs | Infinities – Ability, Negation & Indirect
28.   Nouns | 3rd Declension – Neuter
29.   Nouns | 4th Declension
30.   Adjectives | Positive & Comparative

You can purchase Visual Latin as a DVD or a download. You have the option of purchasing a family license or a class license. The class license is for co-op groups and the family license covers everyone in the household. The family option is $80 for the DVD’s.  That includes all 30 lessons. There are other options to explore as well and you can see those here.  If you would like to try before you buy you can download the first six lessons free just by visiting their store.

If you are the least bit interested in learning Latin but maybe a little intimidated at the thought of it, PLEASE check out Visual Latin. Dwane Thomas really makes it seem simple and takes the scary out of it Smile.

To learn more about Visual Latin from other TOS Crew members, click here.

Photobucket    **Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.


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