Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Common courtesy on the highway – is it even possible?


I live in an enormous metroplex area. Traffic is, usually, horrendous on all area freeways during the three-hour period surrounding rush hour. If there’s a wreck, you’d better hope you have a somewhat full gas tank. Patience wanes. Tempers flare. Crazy drivers prevail.

I am often amazed at the extent of the craziness. Recently we were on a toll road, and another car was in the lane next to us. As it was the middle of the day, both cars were moving at the posted speed limit (70 mph). Suddenly I hear the roar of a motorcycle – not in his own lane, but speeding between our car and the car next to us, doing at least 80. Did you catch that? Between the cars, literally driving on the dotted white line. One wrong move by any of these three vehicles and there would have been a horrible wreck, one that would have been burned into the mind of my children (riding in the back seat) for the rest of their lives. Complete and utter idiocy on the part of the motorcyclist.

What is it that makes a sane person act crazy once they get behind the wheel? I’d like to propose the following “rules of the road” for the freeway:

1 – If a driver is kind enough to slow down to let you merge into a lane, take 5 seconds to throw your hand up and wave “thanks”. Truly, it’s common courtesy. Likewise, if you’re driving and you see that someone needs over, has their blinker on, and they’re quickly running out of room, do something unexpected – slow down and let them over. Truly, it won’t hurt you. (See #4 below.)

2 – Related to #1 above, use your blinker. It’s not just for decoration. Don’t assume that other drivers know you need to change lanes if you don’t have your blinker on. And don’t get miffed if no one lets you in if you don’t use it. Again, it’s there for a reason – use it.

3 – Don’t think that just because you drive a fancy car - or a muscle car, or a truck with a lift kit that raises it 5 feet off the ground - that it means you have the right to be wherever you want to be (or do whatever you want to do) on the road. It’s a public road, not a private one with your name on it.

4 – It really does not make you a lesser person if you end up in the lane behind a minivan, or a little red truck, or a beat-up sedan. If you need to change lanes, take advantage of a wide open space – don’t try to force your way in front of the last car in line just because you don’t want to be “last”.

5 – If a lane is merging with your lane, and the cars in it have no place to go, it does not make you appear a better man (or woman) by preventing cars from merging.  In fact, it makes you appear like a jerk.

6 – Don’t text while you’re driving, or watch your smart phone screen in any other fashion. Beware that if it’s nighttime (or even twilight), it’s very obvious that you’re viewing your smart phone screen (those screens are bright).

7 – If you don’t know where you’re going, use a GPS. If you don’t have a GPS and you have to use a map, don’t try to unfold/fold/read a map while you’re speeding down the freeway at 70 mph. Or even 50. Or 40. Pull off the road, figure out where you need to go, then continue.

8 – Realize that if you drive like a maniac, you’re not only putting your own life in danger but also the lives of those around you. The person in the car next to you is someone’s mother, or grandfather, or daughter – not to mention any children.

9 – Know that if you’re in my area and I witness any of these things, I start praying for you since it’s likely that soon you’re going to cause a wreck. It’s also likely that you won’t be the one that’s seriously hurt – it will be the innocent who was unlucky enough to get in your way.

10 – Think about whether you would want a loved one to drive the way you drive. I constantly understand that if my children are with me in the car, I am demonstrating how to drive.

11 – Pay attention to the road. You are literally behind the wheel of a machine weighing tons ( If that’s not enough to convince you to drive safely, search for “texting and driving” or “distracted driving” on YouTube – it might save your life.

You would think all these things would be common sense. Evidently, that would be giving too much credit to the drivers in my area, because these are all things I’ve seen.

Can you tell my drive home today was less than stress-free?

Vent over.   :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Beeyoutiful (TOS Review)

The box of review products arrived addressed, as usual, to me.  The difference this time was that the box contained natural, pampering products for me from Beeyoutiful.  Exciting!  When I opened the box I found two products to enjoy – the Milk & Honey Facial Bar and B.A.L.M. Lip Moisturizer.


B.A.L.M. Lip Moisturizer

Lip balm has been around for ages – but have you ever really read the ingredient list for many of the brands?  It’s actually kind of scary.  Compare it to the ingredient list for Beeyoutiful’s B.A.L.M. Lip Moisturizer:  grapeseed oil (organic!), shea butter (organic!), beeswax and essential oils.  The essential oils (orange or peppermint) are what gives the B.A.L.M. Lip Moisturizer its flavor.  I received the peppermint version to review. 

I love this lip balm.  The peppermint oil gives it a wonderful taste and smell (I’ll admit to smelling it every time I opened it before I applied it to my lips), and provides a nice tingle when  applied.  I’ve kept it by my bed and applied it nightly since I received it, and my lips are in great shape! 

It’s nice to know that rather than applying chemicals, with this lip balm I’m applying ingredients that are good for my lips – ones that are meant to nourish and heal.  This is definitely a product that I will purchase more of, and I can’t wait to also try the orange flavor!

The lip balm comes in twist-up tubes weighing of 0.15 ounces.  They are available for $3.00 each HERE.  This is a bargain – have you checked prices for “natural” lip balms lately?  The orange flavor also has a notation that if you buy 3 or more the price drops to $2.70 each, but the peppermint has no such note (and when I added 3 peppermints to my shopping cart to double-check, the price did not decrease).   

Milk & Honey Facial Bar

There are so many facial products these days that it’s overwhelming trying to find something that works for your skin.  The “natural” ones, including the product line that I normally use, are quite expensive.  I was excited to try Beeyoutiful’s Milk & Honey Facial Bar.  

The facial bar is 4.25 oz., and comes wrapped in plastic in the adorable shape of part of a honeybee hive.  The ingredients are raw goat milk, distilled water, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, vitamin E oil, vegetable oil, sodium hydroxide (lye), raw honey, bee pollen, bee propolis, beeswax, sweet orange essential oil. 


Information on the functions of the ingredients from the website:

Two natural treasures in one bar of soap help repair sores, fight acne, soothe chapping, and balance uneven or oily skin. Bee products—honey, propolis, pollen and wax—meet goat milk to clean up the toughest skin problems you can muster.

Honey cleanses dirt and impurities while smoothing wrinkles by increasing your skin’s elasticity. Propolis—a mixture of the essential oils, pollen, and wax bees harvest from plants—nourishes dry, itchy skin. Pollen, rich in enzymes and vitamins, contains the complete family of amino acids. It promotes new skin cell growth while scrubbing away built-up dead cells without stripping the skin of its natural protection. Milk & Honey’s beeswax base is the all-natural “carrier” for other ingredients that leaves your skin feeling soft and clean.

Raw goat milk is rich in enzymes beneficial to your skin, and five natural, skin-replenishing oils balance and moisturize. This abundance of revitalizing components is topped off with a touch of sweet orange essential oil for an agreeable, bright aroma.

The facial bar sells for $10.  Discounts are available:

  • Buy 3 for $9.00 each and save 10%
  • Buy 6 for $8.50 each and save 15%
  • Buy 12 for $8.00 each and save 20%

I must say that when I unwrapped the bar the scent I was greeted with was…well, unpleasant.  I expected the scent of the sweet orange oil, and that’s nowhere near what I smelled.  I placed the bar on a saucer next to the sink and used it a couple of times over the next several days, but only on my hands (because of the scent) - after that, the smell had dissipated a bit so I was able to use it on my face.  Even after all this time, it still doesn’t smell like orange.

However, scent aside, I love this bar.  During the time I used it, I stopped using my usual (and expensive)  facial products.  To me, my face actually feels better with this soap.  My face is soft and supple, and a couple of trouble spots I’ve had for a while are now gone.   I may just give up my usual facial product line in favor of this simple, lovely bar.


View/download the current Beeyoutiful catalog.

Read about Beeyoutiful HERE, and about Beeyoutiful’s values HERE. 

Check out the  Beeyoutiful forums.

Check out great health-related articles and videos.

On the website you can shop by product, or  shop by health concern.

Check out the Bee Points Rewards Program.

Read Beeyoutiful newsletters.


Phone:  800-556-0967

You can submit a question HERE.

Find Beeyoutiful on Facebook HERE.


I will be ordering more products from this company!


To see other reviews of this product (and of other Beeyoutiful products), click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the products referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who am I? (And What am I Doing Here?) (Apologia) (TOS Review)

An apologetics/worldview curriculum for kids?  You bet – It’s by Apologia Press (a division of Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc.). and it’s fantastic

Last year we had the privilege to review the first book in the "What We Believe" series, titled Who is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?)  (You can read that review HERE.)

This year I was thrilled to find out that we’d get to review the second book in the series, titled Who Am I? (And What am I Doing Here? )


Apologia Press has partnered with Summit Ministries to publish the "What We Believe" series.  This series focuses on the essential beliefs of the Christian faith.   It is a student-directed, Bible-based curriculum which will teach your children how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth.  (paraphrased from the Apologia website)

As with the first book, this second book in the series is a beautiful, hard-bound visually enticing book (262 pages) targeted to ages 6-14 which contains eight lessons and retails for $39.  It is recommended that each lesson be covered for three weeks, two days per week.  Each lesson contains several key sections:

1 -The Big Idea - an introduction to the main topic of the lesson (and a review of what the student has learned so far).

2 - What You Will Do: learning objectives for the lesson.

3 - Short Story: gives your children a peek into the lives of children around your children's age with differing worldviews, and who work through the issues in the story by seeking counsel through the Bible and their parents. The story allows your children to see what holding a worldview looks like in action.

4 - Think About It: questions that reinforce the story and which encourage your children to think about the issues in the story plus allow you to check for comprehension and understanding.

5 - Words You Need To Know: vocabulary words used in the story, including their definitions, that your children can use in their notebooking exercises.  

6 - Hide it in Your Heart: Two recommended memory verses:  one to reinforce the Biblical theme of the lesson, the other to focus on a related character trait.  

7 - Integrated Learning: interesting articles related to the main text which will allow you and your children to connect and pursue the book's ideas/concepts in other fields of study.  

8 - What Should I do?- it's not just enough to know the material in the lesson, so this section helps your child learn to apply what they've learned to their own life.  

9 - Prayer: allows your family to acknowledge the attributes of God and to simply thank Him for who He is.

10 – Worldviews in Focus: The main part of each lesson focuses on a Christian worldview. This section helps children start to understand why others.

11 – What’s the Difference?:  This section helps students compare their own worldview with the worldview(s) demonstrated in the “Worldviews in Focus” section.

12 - House of Truth - a hands on memory aid, the House of Truth is a model constructed one step at a time, giving the child a concrete visual of thinking about his life within the Kingdom of God.

You can view the Table of Contents HERE.

You can view a sample chapter HERE.

Companion products for the book (which we were fortunate to also be able to review) are:

Notebooking Journal - $24

Made in the same visually enticing format as the book, the notebooking journal contains 248 pages intended to help the student process the topics in the book.   This journal is a magnificent tool to use alongside the book, and will reinforce the student’s learning and investigation.  Included are notetaking pages, pages for writing the memory verses, prayer and praise pages, vocabulary pages, pages for drawing, and word puzzles/crosswords (always a big hit in our house – and the answers are in the back).

I had to buy another one for my other daughter.  Honestly?  I’d kind of like to have one too.  :)

See  the Lessons Plans HERE.  See a sample HERE.


Coloring book - $8

A simple, 64-page coloring book with pictures to accompany the stories/lessons.  The pictures to color are complex enough to also hold my girls’ attention. 

See a sample HERE.


Audio Book MP3 CD - $19

The entire book, read by Emmy winner Marissa Leinart.  We love listening to this in the car.

Listen to a sample HERE.


Biblical truth, broken down so that even the youngest student can understand it. 

The lesson plans in the Notebooking Journal!

Love the prayer and praise pages in the Notebooking Journal – a fantastic way to start kids on the journey of keeping a prayer journal.

The “Find Out More” pages in the Notebooking Journal – suggestions for things  to do, books and songs to go along with each lesson.

The appealing and enticing pages and layout.  These products are truly a joy to use.

When you purchase the book, you're given the password key to a wealth of supplemental information:  teacher helps for all ten lessons, notebooking pages, info on the House of Truth model, etc.

[And all the other things I liked from the first review!]



I wish the coloring book referred to the appropriate book pages. Sure, I can figure it out – but it’d be much easier to know at a glance which coloring page goes with which pages in the book.

Last year one of my wishes was to find the House of Truth model from Summit Ministries mentioned in the book.  This year it’s available, but at $125 it will have to wait.


These fit perfectly with our beliefs, but if you’re not of a Protestant faith, be warned that they are written from a Protestant point of view, with discussion on other belief systems. 

While the coloring book may be laid out in a simple fashion, some of the pictures aren’t so simple and might be frustrating for very young ones.

As with my review for the first book, I’ll caution you not to feel tied to the suggested schedule.  These lessons are meaty, so go as slow as necessary and discuss as much as necessary.

While you can certainly do each book in the series separately, I highly recommend starting with the first book and progressing through the series.

Books 1 and 2 are available with all accompanying products.  Book three is available, but as of this post no accompanying products are available for order.  Book four is due sometime this year (2012).


Check the conference schedule HERE, and see where you can see Apologia staff and products in person.

Request a catalog HERE.

Check out the FAQ HERE.


Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220
Anderson, IN 46016 US
Phone: (888)524-4724
Fax: (765)608-3290

You can submit a question to the company via e-mail HERE.


I can’t express strongly enough how much I love this series.  Highly recommend it!


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received this product, along with the accompanying supplementary products, referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Math Rider (version 3) (TOS Review)

Last year we were blessed to receive several math programs to review.  One of our absolute favorites was an intelligent math game for kids called Math Rider.  We were thrilled to find out that this year we would get to review the newest version of Math Rider!


Math Rider is a great, great interactive math game that will help to build your children’s mastery of math facts.

See last year’s review of Math Rider.

As with the version we reviewed last year, the kids go on adventures called “quests”, riding their horse over obstacles – to get the horse to jump the obstacle, you have to answer the question correctly!  If a child struggles with a particular problem, the game will provide the answer – and then the problem will reappear later!  There’s no maneuvering in the game, so lack of hand-eye coordination won’t affect your child’s play – all that’s required is typing in the correct answer.

The four quests are the same across the four operations, however, the rewards are not. Every combination of quest and reward holds a different reward. The rewards are all animated according to how well the player answered the questions.  If your child gets frustrated about having to repeat a quest, remind them that a new reward is coming!

Each operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) contains four quests, ranging from easy to master.  Parents can select the operations,the difficulty level, and the numbers to be used in the problems.  The child should use the easy addition quest first.  The software will recognize the child’s abilities and advance them – the interactive technology recognizes how your child is doing and adjusts the questions. Pretty amazing! 

Parents can see their children’s progress, so you can keep an eye on how they’re doing, including seeing how long it takes them to answer the question, where they’re struggling, etc.

My youngest daughter got frustrated a couple of times, saying she was providing the correct answer but that the game was telling her it was wrong.  When I asked her to show me so I could see for myself, she could never recreate the problem.  We didn’t have that issue last year, so I’m not sure if my daughter was mistaken, or if there might be an issue with the new version.  Even with that problem, my daughter (well, actually, both of them) truly love this game.

Watch this video to find out more about version 3:

Math Rider retails for for $49.95 but through February 14, 2012 you can get it as an instant download for just $37 (the price is set to go up on February 15)!  A very small investment for the amount of improvement in math skills your kids will experience – not to mention the fun they’ll have!  The software runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (temporarily – read the special note about Linux systems HERE.  A 7-day FREE trial is also available, but be warned – once your kids start “playing” this math game, they’ll want to keep playing!   Also, try it for 30 days at no risk, because the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee.


Office Address:

Sharper Edge Pty Ltd
31 Hannah Street
Beecroft NSW 2119

Phone: +61 2 8005 8531
Office hours:    9am to 5pm (East Australian Time – GMT+10), Mon-Fri

Submit a question by e-mail HERE.

Read the FAQ HERE.

Visit Math Rider on Facebook page.

Visit Math Rider’s blog HERE.


Just like last year, my girls loved this program.  Math Rider makes it easier for me to have the girls practice math skills, and I love that!


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a trial of the product referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.