Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Awesome Giveaway



The WellLegacy of Home is giving away THREE copies of Mark Hall’s new book “The Well”

Mark Hall is the lead singer for Casting Crowns and is also a youth pastor. In this book he opens up about his struggle with dyslexia, the adoption of his daughter from China, and the success his band has had in the music industry.

If you would like a chance to win THREE copies of this book, head on over to Legacy of Home.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Cooper and Me, Winter Adventure

And the Winner is: Naomi @ Pixie Dusted Homeschool

Cooper-Winter-Book-431We were blessed with an adorable copy of this colorful book from Cooper and Me. I love it because it’s cute, eye catching, and enjoyable for the kid but at the same time it teaches an important lesson about what to do if you get lost. Cooper and Bella go sledding, it starts snowing and they end up lost before they realize it.
Cooper and Me books are especially nice for younger children ages 6 and under because they are written with rhymes, which my children love.  All young children can benefit from rhymes at this age. Rhyming is one of the first steps in learning to read because it  increases phonemic awareness.
Winter Adventure retails for $12.99 and from now until December 15 you can get free shipping on any $25 or more purchase by using the code COOPERBLOG. Cooper and Me have many other great books that your little one will love. They all have the same cute characters and teach great lessons.  Visit Cooper and Me on the web for fun kid activities including printable pages.
Okay, I saved the best for last! Do you want a chance to win Cooper and Me’s Winter Adventure? It will make a great Christmas gift! Here’s what you need to do:
Mandatory: Leave me a comment letting me know who you will share your Cooper and Me book with, should you win.
Optional: Follow me on GFC, leave a comment to let me know you did this
Optional: Follow Our Best Daze on Facebook, leave a comment to let me know you did this
Optional: Follow me on Twitter, leave a comment to let me know you did this
Optional: Come back everyday until December 10 and leave a comment for additional chances to win.
**Disclaimer:  I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TOS Review: The Reading Game


Oh how I love The Reading Game! This is a game designed to help teach your child words by memory, just as you would sight words. However these are not sight words only. They are words that range from cat (game 1) to wombat (game 6).

Here’s how it works. You have 6 decks of cards and 6 books, that is a book and deck of cards for each level/game (see picture below). There are 30 different words per level, broken into 6 groups with 5 different words per group. This is so the child can learn the 30 words slowly, 5 at a time.


Here’s how it works. The first level is Skunk. There is a number one on the front of the following cards: can cat is me not   There is two each of these cards and you play memory using them. Each time the child sees the word they say it. You will have to help them at first but soon they’ll be saying the word on the card easily. Once this happens you add the next 5 words in the level. In this case it would be sad she stay this with. As you can see some of these are sight words, but certainly not all of them. You are increasing their reading vocabulary greatly with each group of words, especially if they’re only 4 or 5 years old.

After mastering the first 10 words there are two test sentences for the child to read. If they can read them, add the next 5 words to the group. Continue until you they have learned all 30 words for that level/game and then reward them with the book. The book tells a story using only those 30 words they’ve learned. They will be so proud to find that they can read it all by themselves.

I enjoyed playing this game with my two youngest children (ages 4 and 6) but I plan to beg my older son (age 9) who has dyslexia to play with me in the higher levels. I’ve spotted several words that he doesn’t know yet and I would love to increase his word list by 30, 60, or 90 words Winking smile

The Reading Game is a great game to help aid in learning to read, however it is not a total reading program, in my opinion.  Yes, if you have a child who is going to just naturally pick up a book and learn to read as easily as falling off a log, than The Reading Game may do that for you. But for most kids, such as the ones I have, this will not be the case and there will be many hours of teaching before the key will turn and the light will come on. I’m very happy to have The Reading Game as part of our learning process.

You can learn more about The Reading Game at their website. There are several video’s and testimonials, as well as suggestions for implementing phonics into the learning.

The Reading Game cost $24.95 each. If you purchase 8 or more you can take an additional 15% off. The game is designed to be played with the tutor and one child, however it may be possible to play with two non-competitive kids (not mine). The recommended age is 4 and up. I would think the middle schooler would not really enjoy it but most any elementary child would, especially if reading is not a strong point.

Check out the crew website to see what other homeschoolers thought of this program.


**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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TOS Review: Vocab Cafe`


College Prep Genius is a program to help your high schooler prepare for their SAT test. On their website they boast that they got a FREE college education and YOU can too by raising your SAT scores. They offer a variety of material to help you achieve this goal. Just reading through their website will help immensely. Here are a few excerpts straight from:

Many students simply don’t understand the strategies and logic behind these standardized tests. These exams test more than just a student’s ability to answer questions; they test time-management skills, logical aptitude and much more. COLLEGE PREP GENIUS helps students pinpoint weak areas of the test by emphasizing the strategic and logical approach to taking the SAT. For example:

IF a student runs out of time. . .

The test is designed to stretch a student’s ability to manage their allotted time. Large passage reading sections and intricately long math problems are included to test how a student will handle them. Many kids will work problems the normal way– the LONG way. Because this is a logic test, all questions have a logical answer. COLLEGE PREP GENIUS teaches students techniques that can help cut their problem-solving time in HALF!

IF your student isn’t good at math. . .

Good News! You don’t have to be a math expert to ace the math section of the SAT. Every math section uses the same recurring times of problems that have the same types of answers. If students can learn these patterns, they can quickly and easily get answers right! COLLEGE PREP GENIUS teaches tricks that make calculators obsolete, and helps test-takers to get answers quicker than ever before.

IF you’re worried about wasting another dime on SAT prep. . .

Don’t worry! The strategies and techniques of COLLEGE PREP GENIUS are effective and have helped thousands of students across the country increase their standardized test scores (See Testimonials). Most importantly, our program is completely AFFORDABLE. There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a SAT prep course when COLLEGE PREP GENIUS gives you everything you need to know about preparing for these standardized exams. That’s not to mention we have a 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Did you catch that last part? 100% Money Back Guarantee!  I’d say that would make it worth the time to check it out. Especially if it could save you tons of college expense in the near future.

College Prep Genius offers a number of ways to purchase. You can get individual workbooks, DVD sets, fiction books to help learn vocabulary, or the complete kit which includes everything. Check out their complete list of products HERE.

As part of my review I was given four books from the VocabCafe. They were:

I.M. for Murder: A rousing, suspenseful tale of three boys and their encounter with an internet serial killer. This novella teaches an important lesson about online communication while at the same time introduces 300 new vocabulary words to the reader. A few of the vocabulary words included in I.M. for Murder: Stymie, Tripartite, and Vicissitude.

The $ummer of $aint Nick: Promises to improve vocabulary with its revolutionary design and clever story. When high school outsider Nick discovers a jackpot of money, he has to decide whether he will use this cash to better his social standing or help those who really need it. Learn 300 advanced vocabulary words as you read this delightful novella. A few of the vocabulary words included in The $ummer of $aint Nick: Hassock, Inanely, Recondite, and Wastrel

Operation High School: Entertains as it teaches 300 advanced-level vocabulary words. High school student Emma Jones lives a pretty ordinary life until a mysterious note turns her world upside down. As the newest member of a “Spy Club,” Emma is forced to learn self-reliance, strength, and the value of friendship. A few of the vocabulary words included in Operation High School: Grandiloquent, Milieu, and Torpor.

Planet Exile: Tells the story of Maleck Vise Plutean and his adventures through outer space. After crash landing on the mythical “Planet Exile”, Maleck and his friends are forced to stop a planetary insurrection, usurp an evil dictator, and rescue a beautiful princess all at the same time. A few of the vocabulary words included in Planet Exile: Ague, Cossack, Epaulet

These books can be purchased at $12.95 each or purchase all four at a discounted price of $38.85 Each book is approximately 120-230 pages long. The part that I love most about these books is the way they add a few new vocabulary words on each page. The word is used in context and bolded to let you know it’s a vocabulary word, then you look at the bottom of the page to find the pronunciation and definition. At the end of the chapter there is a list of the vocabulary used in that chapter for you to review. There is also a main list at the end of the book with ALL the words, definitions, and pronunciations. Each book has 300 words! That’s a lot of vocabulary building!


My personal opinion is that these books are too mature for my family at this time.(They are designed for high schoolers but are suitable for some upper middle schoolers) My oldest is age 11 and none of these books would have been something that 1) I would have allowed him to read or 2) he would have enjoyed reading.  He may have enjoyed the I.M. for Murder but I wouldn’t have allowed him at this point to read it. Not that it was extremely bad, just not something he needs to be exposed to, in this way, at this time. It’s about a serial killer who finds it’s victims on the internet, I’m afraid this would’ve been a little to scary for him. The others he wouldn’t have been interested in. 

If you have a high school student I think you will definitely want to look into this company. I believe it will be a website we’ll visit again in the near (*gasp*) future as my oldest enters his high school years. I’m so thankful we have a company like this available for us.

If you’d like to see what other homeschoolers though, click here for more reviews.

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.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

TOS Review: Keyboard Town Pals

  • Keyboard Town Pals is an online program designed to teach children ages 7–10  how to type, using fun and memorable characters
  • The Cost is $39.95 for CD-ROM or Web Based version
  • Also available in French and Spanish


Keyboard Town Pals uses video lesson’s to teach kids how to type. There are 8 video’s, one for each finger on home key street. During the video Sunny uses creative ways to help the child learn where the letters are and which fingers to use. After a little time learning the letters the child is instructed to practice by typing the letters in the box below the video screen. Keyboard Town Pals believe the child will  learn to type in an hour.

My Experience

Positives first:

I believe the concept of Keyboard Town Pals is wonderful. They use characters to teach the letters, for example the letter L is Larry and he lives on Home Key Street. He lives beside K who finishes nothing, but Larry loves books and he always finishes them. When he goes downtown he goes to Period who lives in the library and finishes sentences…you get the idea.

I do believe this is a great way to help the kids remember which finger to use for each key and also to trigger their memory as to where the keys are located.

Now for my negative thoughts:

In my opinion the age range is way off. The program appears very childish and my 9 year old struggled to continue using it. The characters are life size puppets and it just seemed silly to him. Some of the letters used sound clues that didn’t follow real reading rules. For example, Emma was used as the character for M because Emma starts with the /m/ sound. I believe with the younger children or older children that struggle with reading, this could be confusing. There are plenty of words/names that begin with the /m/ sound and actually begin with M.

The program is supposed to teach the child to type in one hour. My child was able to get through with the right hand in less then an hour but at that point his fingers/hands/arms were a little tired so he had to stop.

He already knew where most of the letters were located but was still not able to take off typing. I guess the idea is that they will “learn” the correct way to type, but not necessarily be able to do it, after only an hour.

Check out the TOS Post to see what other homeschoolers thought of Keyboard Town Pals


**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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TOS Review: Bower Books

Bower Family Books sent us an e-book download of their new book “The Person I Marry.”  This is a delightful book about what one should look for in a future spouse. It is well written with a superb choice of words to give the reader a real sense of what the author is trying to convey.

It is truly a book of poetry that the youngest and oldest child will glean wisdom from. It’s wonderful rhyme attracts the younger child and the older child will appreciate the solemnness of the message.

The message in this book is stated quite nicely on the first page when the child, awestruck by the beautiful wedding he/she is attending, is told by his/her mother:

“It’s “who” not “what” that makes a great wedding. The clothing you wear and the flowers you carry, don’t matter as much as the person you marry.”

The mother then explains the need to seek someone with great virtues and not merely great looks.

  ThPhotobucketis 36 page book is beautifully illustrated and available in hardback for $11.49 I highly recommend it for the child in your life. It’s a book you’ll want to read again and again and again! So much depth and wisdom, yet so easy on the ears of a child. It’s a book that truly needs to be read more than once in order to give the child plenty of time to absorb all that is being taught.

Husband and wife team, Gary and Jan Bower, authors of this book and owners of Bower Family Books offer a wide variety of other books and gifts on their website.

If you’d like to know what other homeschoolers thought of this book, visit the TOS Crew to read the Bower Family Book reviews.


**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.

Round 2: Impatient Mom vs. Coupons


CouponsLast week I posted about my coupon experience several years ago and now I’m going to share what I’ve learned that will (hopefully) make me more successful this go round.

I invited my sister-in-law over a while back and she taught me how to coupon in an easy, stress-free way, that doesn’t require my sitting for two hours cutting coupons (is that really possible?—Yes ma'am, read on)

Here is what I learned from her:


  • Get your hands on some newspapers. I found out that my local paper now offers a Sunday only subscription. I got it at a discounted rate of $1 per week for 26 weeks because I’m a new subscriber. I also told 3-4 people to save me their coupons. I usually end up with 2-3 copies of the Sunday coupons
  • Sign up for SWAGBUCKS or some other points based program. SWAGBUCKS pays you for browsing the internet. If you’re interested in SWAGBUCKS, use my link on the right sidebar (close to the bottom). You earn points for referrals and I’d love to have you sign up under me.
  • Subscribe to All You magazine. I had enough SWAGBUCK points earned for Amazon cards so I got a years subscription for free. I haven’t received my first copy, it should be here sometime this month, but I’m told there are lots of great coupons inside.
  • There are several other ways to acquire your coupons. There are catalina’s that are printed out at the register, dispensers in the store, on the product itself, you can contact manufactures (just received $70 worth of coupons from Proctor & Gamble yesterday, all because I went to their site and asked), and there are loads of them online at coupons.com, RedPlum.com, and SmartSource.com


You will want to go online and create accounts at the stores you’ll shop.  You can get promo deals, extra coupons, view their ad’s and even make your shopping list at some of them. Make sure you have store cards (example MVP for Food Lion) if they offer them. And be sure to check their coupon policy while there.

There are other sites you can join to earn rewards and points you just have to watch for them and/or ask others what they use. Another good way to earn high dollar coupons is by “Liking” Facebook pages. Example, Nabisco does a cookie and milk coupon the first day of each month.


To get the best deal you will want to have the product on sale AND use at least one coupon. Some stores will double coupons and/or allow you to use a manufacturer and store coupon together (a.k.a. stacking). It can be very confusing when you first start couponing, knowing what is really a good deal and what isn’t, remembering what coupons you have and when to use them, etc. The best option is to find a website that does the work for you.

My sister in law told me about Southern Savers and since then it seems everyone I meet already knows about this site. It is an amazing place to find the deals. She has a list for every store you can think of in the south (except for some of the really small ones) and a day or two before the ad comes out she gives you a list of good sale items and tells you which coupons can be used. She does all the work for you.

Here is why you don’t have to clip coupons! She recommends writing the date on your coupon flyer and filing it in an accordion file folder. When you visit her site, she’ll tell you where to find the coupon by giving you the date of the flyer and the name of the flyer (SS=SmartSource, RP=RedPlum, and P&G=Proctor & Gamble).

Even if you don’t live in the south you can glean lots of information from her site. She has video’s and detailed instructions about everything I’ve mentioned here and more.

If you don’t live in the south you can use another site, such as Couponmom.com (this is a great one, she even tells you the % of your saving), RainingHotCoupons.com, DealSeekingMom.com, or TheKrazyCouponLady.com. I really only have experience with SouthernSavers so I would recommend her first.

I’ve been trying these tips for several weeks now and I’m not seeing a change in my budget. After asking some of the veteran couponers in my life what they do, I think I’ve found the problem.  I’m trying too hard. I know that doesn’t make sense but what I’ve realized is, I’m shopping too often and buying too much.

Here are some tips they offered:

  • Shop for sales only and if the sale is really good (50% off or more) grab it. If you have coupon fine, if not, that’s okay too
  • Shop Aldi’s if what you need isn’t on sale anywhere. They are much cheaper than paying full price at the other stores. Aldi’s is even way cheaper than Wal-Mart 
  • To get the best price on meats, find out when your store reduces theirs and be there to grab it
  • Use drug stores (CVS, Walgreen, Rite Aid, etc.) for all your health/beauty and household products. You can get a lot of it free Smile


I think if I decide to make 40-50% savings my goal, I will do well. That will cut out a lot of these extra trips into town that I’m making. I know I won’t be able to do that with every item, like meats, but I should be able to get close to that with the other food items. If I lived closer to the stores I would go weekly but since I’m further away and the gas is so high, I think this will work better for my situation. It will also require a lot of will power. I’m having a hard time letting a deal pass me by…but I’m finding out not all deals are created equal!

SmileHope you save big and have fun doing it! Smile

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

TOS Review: Ooka Island




We’ve been playing a new online reading game called Ooka Island and I must say, my little ones have really enjoyed it. I am teaching my 4 and 5 year olds their letter sounds and we will soon begin learning to read cvc words. This program has been a perfect fit for reinforcing the letter sounds as well as introducing new letter/sound combos using the Ooka Method.

What is the Ooka Method? Here is an excerpt from the Ooka Island website that explains their thoughts on teaching a child to read.

“With the OokaMethodTM, children progress to the most sophisticated phonological level. First, they must understand that words are made up of individual sounds (or phonemes) that they can hear and manipulate. Second, they learn to associate these sounds with letters and blend them together to make words, thus breaking the code that speeds them through the foundational levels of reading development and beyond.

The OokaMethodTM includes the language-rich Ooka Island Book Series with comprehension and vocabulary activities. Children progress through a leveled and sequenced flow of books that follow recurring characters in familiar, every day activities. Children then bring their own language knowledge to the reading process and emerge into reading while developing vocabulary and reading comprehension.”

If you would like to learn more, visit their website (www.ookaisland.com) where you’ll find a wealth of information, including a link to their blog.

Ooka Island is ideal for ages 3-7. This is a downloadable game that requires 3 GB of free space and an operating system of Windows XP or newer. Also can be used with a mac OSX 10.5 and up.

Ooka Island uses a “hero” type theme to engage children in fun learning activities.  First they work on their lesson (which is so fun they don’t even realize it’s a lesson) then they earn some free time (8 minutes worth to be exact) to play in the different area’s on the island. They will also earn currency to outfit their avatar or spend in other ways.

My 4 year old daughter begged to play Ooka Island and I usually had to make her get off when I felt she had played long enough. How much did she learn? I really don’t know. She seemed to be learning well but it’s too soon for me to know how much of it she’s actually retaining. If she did remember what she learned, it’ll be obvious in the next few months as we dive into reading more fully.

The cost for a subscription is listed below:



Take advantage of their latest special and save 30%!!!


If you think Ooka Island is something you would like to try but your just not sure, visit the TOS Crew and learn what other homeschoolers thought of this program.

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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