Review “Curiosity Quest” DVDs

Curiosity Quest Review
I have a fun product to review today:  6 DVDs from Curiosity Quest!  I had never heard of this company before and am glad to know about them now.  We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes out for videos they produce that have subjects that fit in with things we’re studying because they are so well-done.

Curiosity Quest ReviewSpecifically, we watched the DVD Combo Pack – Produce  (Mushrooms, Cranberries, and Orange Packing)

and

Curiosity Quest Reviewthe DVD Combo Pack – Swimmers of the Sea  (Sea Turtle Rescue, Penguins, and Salmon)

 

 

 

Curiosity Quest Review

The first DVD was a very interesting subject–how food is grown.

We learned how mushrooms are grown in the first episode called Mushrooms.  Joel takes us to the Monterey Mushrooms facility.  I never knew growing mushrooms was so fascinating!  This episode was really fun.  We saw how hay is turned into compost.  Then the compost is pasteurized and the mushroom spawn is put into it.  Then they are taken to another room where the mushrooms begin growing.  We see the pickers picking them–and they are fast.  Finally, we travel to another facility where they are packed for shipment.

Curiosity Quest Review

The second episode was about Orange Packing.  I really expected this to be the most boring, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had no idea what an orange goes through before it reaches the grocery store. We see the huge wind machines that blow warmer air down onto the trees to keep the oranges from freezing if a frost is coming. We see the oranges in a room that has ethylene gas to help them ripen quicker. (This is the natural gas that fruit exudes.). And we see them travel through all kinds of different stations on conveyer belts. The most interesting spot was where they used black light to identify slightly damaged fruit!

Curiosity Quest Review

Cranberries were the subject of the third episode.  Curiosity Quest goes to a cranberry bog in Wisconsin to learn about harvesting cranberries.  Now, this is actually something we have done before.  We love to go up to Wisconsin in the fall when they are harvesting cranberries.  We’ve had the pleasure to walk around the bogs and watch the men in the water harvesting and see how they are transported back to the building to be sorted and packed!  In this episode Joel goes to 2 different bog sites.  The first produces fresh cranberries, so they have to sort them more.  The second turns its cranberries into juice and Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries).

 

Curiosity Quest Review
The second set of discs were about some sea animals–always a favorite in our house.  In “Sea Turtle Rescue” we travel to the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys to learn about how this wonderful facility is working to save sea turtles.  All sea turtles (there are 9 species) are endangered.  This Turtle Hospital works to help hurt turtles get better, saves turtle eggs and helps them to hatch, and keeps some sea turtles permanently who won’t be able to make it back in the ocean.  Any time they can, though, they will release the turtles back into the ocean.  Joel gets to help feed the turtles and learns about several different species.  We also find out that he is not allowed to touch them since they are endangered!

Curiosity Quest Review

Next we watched the “Penguins” episode.  Curiosity Quest takes us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to meet some magellanic penguins.  He helps to prepare their food and then goes into the penguin habitat to feed them.  He finds out that they are a little wary of him and don’t warm up to him as much as he’d like.  We learn why don’t penguins fly and what the zookeepers do at the aquarium to help keep the penguins healthy.

Curiosity Quest Review

The final DVD was called “Salmon.”  Now, we have traveled all the way to Juneau, Alaska to learn about the amazing life cycle of the salmon.  There are 5 species of salmon in Alaska, including sockeye, king, and pink.  In order to have LOTS of salmon to support the fishing industry, there are fish hatcheries.  We see one where the fish eggs hatch and the baby salmon are taken care of for a while.  Then they are moved to a particular stream where they stay in nets for a while so they can get the “scent” of the stream.  Why?  Because in 3-5 years they will travel back to that exact spot to spawn.  We see the fish returning, and they have grown quite large.  It’s amazing that they actually know where to go!  They were born in the fresh water fish hatchery and then swam out into the ocean, maybe as far away as Russia.  Then they are returning.  It’s difficult for them to swim upstream, against the current.  And once they reach their stream they will spawn (reproduce), and then die.  We don’t see them dying, though.  :)

I really enjoyed watching both of the DVD sets.  Joel has a fun way of connecting with the kids who are watching.  Every once in a while there is a “fun fact” that is shared or interviews with people he meets on the street, which are often humorous.  The people who were the experts in the videos were friendly and knowledgeable.  I really felt like my kids learned a lot from watching the shows.  The only thing I didn’t like were references to evolution in the sea turtle and mushroom episodes.  (I expected it in the penguin one, too, but it wasn’t there.)  And it was occasionally frustrating to know that the episode is only catching “one day” of the activities of the place visited.  For example, we didn’t get to see the cranberries growing in the spring or the bogs being flooded, we didn’t get to see the baby salmon in the nets in the streams or being fished for out in the ocean, and we didn’t get to see the healed sea turtles being returned to the ocean.  Seeing those would have made the Curiosity Quest DVDs even better.

Overall I recommend the Curiosity Quest DVDs to anyone with kids!  They will love them!

 

The DVDs from Curiosity Quest are geared towards children ages 7-14, but my preschoolers enjoyed watching them as well. The cost for the combo packs is $24.95.  You get 3 30-minute episodes on one disc.

Be sure to check out Curiosity Quest here:

Store:  http://CuriosityQuestStore.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CuriosityQuest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/curiosityquest

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCijkbeDwySOsg-pZjOeWsgg

 

 

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Review/Giveaway “I Will Trust God” Hermie and Friends DVD by Max Lucado

I’m happy to review a wonderful DVD for ages 4-7 today: “I Will Trust God” which is part of Max Lucado’s Hermie and Friends series.  It’s a 2 in 1 deal where you get two episodes in one DVD!

We have always loved the Hermie and Friends DVDs with the great voice talent of Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Vicki Lawrence, and Frank Peretti.  Max Lucado also stars as himself and shares a wonderful truth from God’s Word for each episode.

In the first episode Hermie and the High Seas, Hermie receives a message from God.  God wants him to build a boat.  Hermie isn’t told why, and he tries to get the other bugs in the garden to help him.  But they won’t help him because there is a drought and they can’t figure out why he would be doing such a thing.  Everyone has a very creative excuse.  But when it starts raining and then flooding, Hermie saves everyone in his boat!  Everyone learns to trust God even when He doesn’t make sense.

In the second episode Who is in Charge Anyway? we see many vignettes about the special ways God has made each of the bugs.  They all have challenges, but they also all have something special that is unique to them.  It’s hard for Freddie the Flea to see what’s special about him, but he does learn to trust God that He’ll one day see his talents and know the special plan God has for him.

And there’s more–the bonus features!   Behind the scenes, Fun Garden Game, Sing-along songs featured in the stories, 90 minutes total for episodes plus bonus features.

And now you have a chance to win this DVD! Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Wednesday March 26, and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  18+, U.S. only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers in order to write this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of Egglo Entertainment Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs

Egglo Review
Today’s review is from Egglo Entertainment.

We received Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book).

We also got The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book audio download, also know as Adventure Audio Book), Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide (Curriculum).

Age Range: This product can be adapted to work with any age, but is ideal for roughly ages 4-13.

Egglo Review

We did quite a few different things to prepare for this review. Keep reading to see if these products would be an asset to helping your family understand more about Christ’s resurrection this Easter or if you’d like to use it with a group such as a Sunday School, homeschool co-op, or outreach for the community!

The first thing we did was put together the glow-in-the-dark plastic Easter eggs. There were 12 in the box: a dozen eggs! :) They are the same size as typical plastic Easter eggs, and you can fill them with candy, Scripture cards (included in the Program Guide), or anything else you’d like! We charged them up by putting them out in the sun for a couple of hours. Then after the kids cleaned up the basement we had our Easter egg hunt down there at night when it was dark. It was suggested that the kids have flashlights or glow sticks while doing the egg hunt as an added safety feature (won’t run it to each other, for example).

The eggs don’t glow extremely brightly. It’s really a fun idea, and works in great with the teaching that Jesus is the Light of the world that I’ll expand on more later in the review. But I do wish they glowed brighter. I wonder if it might be neat to have battery lights or something to make them brighter. Nevertheless, my kids had lots of fun searching for them. They did it over and over!

Egglo Review

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(Photo credit for above glow-in-the-dark picture: Tiffany Cones)

I really loved the book called The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure by Darcie Cobos. It’s paper back and 39 pages long. The illustrations are wonderful! The story tells of 3 children who are sent through time on a sort of treasure hunt. They are discovering glowing Easter eggs (see a theme here?) and learning new Bible verses which they immediately find ways to apply to their lives. What I liked the best was to see how the selfish kids grow through their experience and become more like Jesus by the end of the book. It’s a fairly long story and was enjoyed by my elementary-aged kids. It was too mature for my preschoolers and too young for my middle-schoolers.

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We also received the audio version of the story The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure on MP3, so the kids could listen to the story when I wasn’t able to read it to them.  It’s 30 minutes long and read by Dick Wells.  There are little chimes to let the child know when to turn the page and some music on the audio track.

I found that The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide was very thorough and will be an extremely valuable asset for anyone planning an Easter egg hunt outreach at their church or home. You’ll find 60 pages which includes How to use the Guide, Tips for Decorating, Snack Suggestions, Devotion, Opening Activity, Story Options, Question & Answer, Bible Application Activity, Tips for Using the Story The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure, Bible Memory Verse Activity, and Egglo Hunt Guidelines.  There are also many pages of printable invitiations, decorations, posters, and coloring pages!  The theme of the event is Jesus is the light of the world and the reason we celebrate Easter.  Every activity, devotion, Scripture verse, decoration, game, and even the snacks relate to the theme.  We made a couple of the food items which would be nice for a snack table. Here are “torches” with pretzel sticks, marshmallows, and sprinkles. We sang “This Little Light of Mine” holding those. Next we had mini bagels with cream cheese and cucumber slices to represent the empty tomb.

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Finally, we received Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls.  This were small plastic and paper scrolls with a Scripture verse.  These are the perfect size for putting inside the Egglo eggs.  See below for pictures and examples of the verses included.

Egglo Scripture Scroll 1

Egglo Scripture Scroll 2

 

 

Egglo Review

There is a sale on the Egglo products right now!

*Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs ($9.99)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure($9.99)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure (book audio download, Adventure Audio book) ($2.99)

*Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls ($4.29)

*The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide (Curriculum) ($14.99)

Follow Egglo Entertainment:

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Review of Talking Shapes i Pad App

Talking Fingers Review
Today I’m sharing a review of the company Talking Fingers, Inc. , and specifically the Talking Shapes iPad App. My 3-year-old, 5-year-old and I have been playing around with the Talking Shapes app for the last 6 weeks.

This app for i Pad is geared towards children in grades Pre K – K.  It is an educational app for helping young children to learn about the alphabet, to learn the sounds of the letters, to practice writing the letters, and to begin sounding out simple 3-letter words.

When you open the app you hear about “How Two Sisters Invented the Alphabet”.

Talking Fingers Review
You will get to choose between “Read to Me,” “Draw Letters,” and “Play Game.”  When you choose any of those, you’ll have an additional choice: Book 1, Book 2, or Book 3.

The books are neat because they are interactive.  They tell the story of how long ago two sisters were trying to write things down, so they decided to invent “letters.”  They decided to make each letter look like something that begins with that letter.  So, “A” looks like an acrobat, “B” looks like a butterfly, and “C” looks like a cat.  Each time a new letter is introduced, the story explains why the letter is being represented by that picture.  I love this because it will help the kids get this information into their right brains quicker.  They have more associations rather than just looking at a black-and-white plain “B” and learning that it is a “B.”  Then the letter sound is pronounced.  The kids are told to say the word: acrobat or butterfly or cat.  (I think this is hard for many 3-year-olds since very few of them have good pronunciation.  It rarely recognized my son when he said the word.  Thankfully, after the second attempt the app moves on.  It usually worked for my pronunciation, but not always.)

Then the next thing to do is practice writing the letter.  It is described for the child, and then they use their finger on the i Pad to trace the letter.  They don’t have to be perfect–just fill in the empty spaces.  This is good for those little ones who aren’t too good with fine motor skills yet.

The picture below shows a scene from Book 1:

Talking Fingers Review
The next picture shows the introduction to letter “C.”  The picture is of a cat which is curled like a “C.”  The child draws C on the cat and alone.  Up at the top you see a question mark, which parents can use to figure out what it supposed to be done next.  There is also a house, to take you to the home screen.  The bottom right hand corner has “next” and the left hand corner has “back.”
Talking Fingers Review
The next picture shows one of the games available to play.  The narrator reads the story and then tells the child to choose the right word from the balloon to fill in the blank.  She tells them which word to choose.  If the kids have read the stories and practiced some of the other games, this particular game isn’t quite as difficult as it seems.
Talking Fingers Review
In this next game the child drags the shape/letter down to the box at the bottom to spell the word.  The narrator pronounces the word to be spelled.
Talking Fingers Review
Overall, we liked Talking Shapes.  As I said above, I like how they relate a letter to a picture shape; it’s such a good way to teach phonics.  And it’s research-proven.  I also like the narrator.  She has very good diction and inflection.  My kids think she sounds like their grandma!  There were some things about the app that were too difficult for my 3-year-old.  He isn’t able to sound out 3-letter words yet.  But he could listen to the stories.  His favorite one was Book 3 where the pig dances a gig!  So, one of the great things about this app is that it can be used for various ages and educational levels.  My 5-year-old daughter, who is already reading, liked playing the games.  
The animation is good, and with the exception of understanding the kids speak the words, there weren’t any glitches that we noticed in the app.  We’ll be keeping it on our i Pad for the kids to continue learning from!
Here are the social media links for Talking Fingers:

Be sure to like them at Facebook.

And you can see the app in motion at the Talking Fingers You Tube Channel.

The price of the Talking Shapes app from the iTunes store is $5.99.

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Review of Motivated Moms iOS App

Motivated Moms Review
Today I have a wonderful product to review for you: the Motivated Moms iOS App (with full year server access).

Motivated Moms is a company I’ve been involved with for several years. You may have read my reviews of their great e-book planners in the past. Today’s review is different, however, because I’m reviewing the app instead of the e-book and I’ve used it for the past six weeks.

Motivated Moms Review
 

As homeschool moms, working moms, and really any women, I know a lot of us have a goal to get more organized.  I do, as well!  And the Motivated Moms app is a great way to accomplish it!  What makes this chore system unique is that each chore is laid out for you–every day for the whole year.  Each day of the week has different chores.  And the once-in-a-while chores are sprinkled throughout the year, as well, so you don’t end up saying, ” Now when did I last. . . .?”  :)  You’ll finish up the year having done your “spring cleaning” but not doing it all at once!  It’s a schedule we all can do, with about 5-8 special tasks each day, in addition to your regular daily chores such as clean kitchen sink, read to children, Quiet Time, and exercise.

Some of the special tasks are: Sunday-make errand list, Monday-vacuum main floor, Tuesday-pay bills, Wednesday-dust children’s/guest room, Thursday-mop kitchen, Friday-change sheets, and Saturday-water indoor plants.  Chores that aren’t weekly are worked in throughout the month or year.  It’s very well thought out!  Here are some of my favorites that are included. (I usually never do these or at least not as often as I should because I just don’t think of them!):  Clean top of refrigerator, cut children’s nails, change furnace/AC filter, wash outside trash can, take dead leaves off of houseplants, clean computer screen and mouse, and clean front porch mat.

There are free samples on the website and you can download the iOS app lite for free and get two weeks to try it out!  The app is for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch or Android. With the iOS app you get 2 months of preprogrammed tasks for $1.99 and you may purchase additional months via in-app purchase (99¢ for one month or $7.99 for one year). A new feature for iOS is the ability to sync between your iOS devices!

Now for the special features that make this app really great:

Below you see how you can simply check the task when it’s completed.  It automatically moves to the bottom of the list so you can see what’s left to do at the top.

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Below shows how you can assign certain tasks to a particular person by color-my son always takes out the trash, so he is color blue.  It also shows you just the “Daily” Tasks:

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Below shows you just “Today’s” Tasks (the ones that won’t come around again until a week later, or longer):

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Below shows you “All” of the day’s tasks:

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You can divide the tasks up according to rooms.

If there is a particular task that is assigned to the “wrong” day of the week for you, you can “hide” it and then add a new task assigning it to the day you want it.  I did that with “plan meals” which I like to do on Friday before the grocery shopping trip on Saturday.

Next you see that there are certain special things you can turn on or off, such as the daily Bible reading schedule, moving checked tasks, or color-coding assignments.

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If you need to print or email the task list, you can do that, too!

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Here are the social media links for Motivated Moms:

https://www.facebook.com/motivated.moms
https://twitter.com/momoplanner

Motivated Moms Review
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Review of Adventure Bible Website and App & {Link Party}

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About the Adventure Bible Website

The Adventure Bible Website, www.adventurebible.com, is a fun, safe, and free website for kids ages 8-12 from the publishers of the Adventure Bible (Zondervan). The site provides several interactive games, activity sheets, Bible search and resources to help kids learn more about the Bible. Educators, including homeschool parents, can also register students and access over 700 teaching resources as well as have Bible game points tracked onto their teacher classroom page.  Check out the video on this page (or right below) which gives you a tour of the Adventure Bible website and explains all you get for the free registration!

Here are links to a few key areas:

 1. Online Bible Games  See below for descriptions of the 5 games.

2. Bible search. Kids can type in a verse and it comes up along with notes and features to click on for application and background info.

3. Printable activities including crosswords, word searches, devotionals, and Scripture flash cards

Descriptions of the Games:
Truthquest:   Truthquest is a trivia game.  There are many different categories and three difficulty levels to choose from.  The answers are multiple choice.

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Books of the Bible:   In Books of the Bible, the kids slide the books into the correct Bible book order.  They are broken up into sections, about 5-10 books to order at a time.

Leopardy:   In Leopardy, kids answer questions in a game similar to Jeopardy, with different money levels and a chance to wager an amount for the final question.

Leapin’ Lemur:   Leapin’ Lemur is a game where the kids fill in letters for a Bible verse.  It’s similar to Wheel of Fortune.

X Marks the Spot:  X Marks the Spot is a map game.  Kids identify the correct area on the map and place a flag on it.

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Site_MapGame2

 

I found the games on Adventure Bible website a good way to increase Bible knowledge.  I’m glad there is a variety, such as learning Bible verses, learning about Bible geography, and memorizing the order of the books of the Bible, as well as lots of questions about different events and people of the Bible.  It’s also great that there are different levels of difficulty in a few of the games.

You don’t have to register as a teacher on the site in order to use it.  The kids can still play lots of great Bible-learning games without any type of registration. But homeschool parents (or others) who register on the site (free of charge) can also access hundreds of additional resources including maps, illustrations, fill-in-the-blank sheets, answer keys, timelines and more.  I downloaded a crossword puzzle, Bible reading plan, and a bulletin insert.  There is so much available!

Zondervan also just released a brand-new Adventure Bible app for iPad as well. This free app, available through the iTunes store, allows you to be able to access the games that are on the website via the iPad.  They are the same 5 games I described above.  I’m so glad to have a new app–and website–for my kids to learn about the Bible!

(Disclosure: In exchange for this honest review of the Adventure Bible website and app, Zondervan will send me a copy of the newly updated Adventure Bible.)

It’s time for our Link Party:

From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!

 

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See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

(Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links.)

Review of Frogglez Goggles

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Frogglez Goggles–These are an AWESOME invention!

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I’m happy to be reviewing Frogglez Goggles today. My kids recently finished up a couple of sessions of swim lessons.  I sat and watched the youngest kids’ class often and much of the time the teacher was putting on the goggles of the kids who pulled them off or because their goggles fell off or moved around.  Frustrating!  Frogglez goggles are going to be perfect for my younger kids. (I’m sure the swim school will want to stock these in their store when I show them next time I’m there!)  Why?  The Frogglez Goggles will stay put.  They are far more comfortable than the plastic strap kinds.  They float.  Woo-hoo!  That will be also be a great feature for when we are at the lake this summer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAUwKUen-Sk

I’m very excited about this product in case you couldn’t tell and will be ordering at least one more pair for my other kids to wear.

They come in 3 sizes:  small (3-6 years old), medium (6-10 years), and large (10 and up).  We got Medium in Pink, which fits my 5-year-old perfectly.

The Frogglez are not for use by competitive swimmers. (They float, so there is some drag to them).

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Here are a few features that make Frogglez Goggles unique:

1. No Hair-pulling

2. No Adjustments Needed

3. Stylish

4. Comfortable

5. They Float!

They even come with this cute bag:

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Buy: Frogglez Goggles Kids Swim Goggles They retail for $24.95.

Read more at the Frogglez Goggles website.  And connect with them on social media:  Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter.
(Disclosure:  I received a pair of Frogglez goggles for free in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Review of SwitchBlade by MicroTouch

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We recently received a new product to review–the SwitchBlade, a men’s personal micro-groomer.  My husband tried it this morning and found it quite useful for trimming sideburn area and hair at back of neck.  It will be great for the times he grows a goatee.  The only negatives–it’s noisy and doesn’t have a miniature trimmer (less surface area on the blade).  I will definitely be using this for my boys as well.  We don’t ever take them to a barbershop for haircuts, but use clippers here at home.  Now I can use this SwitchBlade to do a quick trim above their ears or back of neck without doing a full haircut!

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  • See a video of the SwitchBlade in action.
  • From MicroTouch, maker of the leading men’s personal micro-groomer
  •  World’s first all-in-one, head-to-toe groomer that lets you remove hair anywhere with just one tool.
  • Designed to “switch” from micro-groomer to full-size trimmer with a cock of the head cover.
  • German steel blades, 4 comb attachments, 5 levels of trimming
  • Allows “between barbership” hair trims
  • There is a light on the smaller side
  • Price $19.99 plus S&H, requires 2 AAA batteries
  • Get more info and purchase at http://www.getswitchblade.com/

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(I received a free SwitchBlade in order to write this honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Review/Giveaway Easy Canvas Prints–Win an 8×10 Canvas!

Easy Canvas Print giveaway

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photo to canvas

 

I recently received a 16 x 20 canvas from Easy Canvas Prints.  It was really easy to order.  I simply took a picture of my kids in the backyard.  It was in color, so I went to Picmonkey.com and changed it to sepia color.  Then I saved it to my computer.  I uploaded that photo to Easy Canvas Prints and ordered it!

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First Day of School Sepia

It came within a week and is really nice quality with a wood frame and thick canvas.  I love the way it looks in my living room!

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Easy Canvas & Well Planned Day Student Planner 001

I’m happy to offer one winner a free 8 x 10 Canvas Print.  The winner will receive a code to order the print, and will also receive free shipping, U.S. only (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, November 3, 2013.

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photo to canvas

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to visiting  www.easycanvasprints.com, you might also want to check out their affiliate sites www.buildasign.com and www.alliedshirts.com as other recommended sites for more custom print options or ideas.

 

(Disclosure:  I received a free 16×20 canvas print in exchange for this honest review and for putting the Easy Canvas Print banner on my sidebar for one year.)

Review of Flipeez Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat

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Today I’m sharing a review of the “Flipeez” Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat.

When I received the offer to do this review, I knew exactly who I should give the hat to!  My new 7-year-old son.  And he loves it, of course.

 

 

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I originally thought that the way the top part opens and closes was with batteries.  I’m glad to find out that it simply uses air by squeezing the ball that hangs down.  You do have to be a little careful that you don’t detach the tubing inside.  That happened after we had the hat for about 10 minutes (from one kid grabbing it from another).  But I could feel inside what the problem was and it was easy to fix it.

The inside is very soft and warm fleece.  In fact, my son is wearing it camping this weekend!

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Here is a link to the website.  The hats come in a variety of characters:  kitty, monkey, puppy, owl, racoon, rabbit, and monster.

Even the baby tried it:

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They are one size fits all and are for ages 4 and up.

I saw these hats at Walgreens last week.  Or you can get them at a variety of places for about $20.

 

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary flipeez Peek-a-Boo Monster Hat in order to write this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway of 4-Year High School Planner

High School Planner Giveaway

 

Let me tell you that I am so glad I was able to review the Well-Planned Day 4-Year Plan High School Planner because now I know that I will definitely be buying this before each of my kids enters homeschool high school! Actually, it will even be important if I happen to have a child who isn’t homeschooled during high school!  It contains 336 pages of awesome information and places to keep all information important to their high school years.

Sample High School Transcript:

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There are numerous helpful articles to help guide parent and student through the high school years, such as:

“Starting to get ready in Junior High”

“Should you take the AP or CLEP?”

“Is College Right for You?”

“Visiting Schools”

“Application Time”

“Creating a College Portfolio”

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You find calendars, forms, and charts for all 4 years of high school. They’re labeled with the exact date, so you’ll need to get the right one for the year your child is a freshman. (And that’s why I’m giving away TWO planners–see below!)

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There are also pages to write things such as what the student’s interests were that year, most and least favorite class, who they admired, who they prayed for, and what they discovered about God.

Very important pages include places to fill in attendance, grades, curriculum used, literature read, and community involvement.

You’ll find checklists of what to do each month of their senior year: August–retake ACT and SAT, complete applications and essays. November–mail in completed applications. January: complete the FAFSA.

Yes! If you have a freshman this year, you need this planner!  Peek inside it here!  And if you have a sophomore, junior, or senior, you can buy the planner specifically for their year–at a discounted rate!

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And now the giveaways:

1.  Through Rafflecopter.  Enter through the app below.  The winner must be from the U.S. and respond to my email within 24 hours after chosen on October 16.

2.  Pick up at my house.  I’m giving away my review copy, but you need to live close enough to come pick it up in October.  :)  Leave a comment leting me know you’re willing to do that if you win.  (I live in Lake County, Illinois.)  Winner will be chosen on October 16. Update: Number 4 was chosen–JaVette!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know that HEDUA has an affiliate program? If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love, click here for details.

And here’s a great sale for this month!

(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary planner to use in this honest review, and I am an affiliate of Well-Planned Day.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Review/Giveaway of Well-Planned Day Student Planner

Well Planned Day Student Planner Giveaway

 

 

We recently received a Well-Planned Day Student Planner to review (and use!).  This great planner comes in two styles: Floral and Tech.

Here are some of the features:

  • Help your children learn to work independently!
  • Designed specifically for students in elementary and middle school years.
  • Two design options and features full color pages
  • Spiral bound pages with perforated corner tabs for easy reference.
  • Over 175 pages
  • 9″x6″ size planner
  • July – June monthly and daily layouts
  • Monthly special projects and notes
  • Weekly Bible verse with corresponding catechism (Westminster Shorter)

The student planners also have an extensive reference section on English, Writing, Mathematics, US Geography, World Geography, States and Capitols, US Wars, US Presidents, Solar System, and Space . Perfect for any student attending school or homeschooling!

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Click here to “Peek Inside” the Planner!

 

If you’re a homeschooling mom, you’ll also want to check out this great sale on the Family Homeschool Planner!

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To receive 30% off (through Saturday 9/5/13) use the coupon code wpd30.  I have reviewed this awesome planner before here and here!

 

 Now the giveaway:  One of you will win a free student planner!  Choose Tech or Floral style.  U.S. only, please.  The winner will be chosen on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 and will have 48 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you know that HEDUA has an affiliate program? If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love, click here for details.

(Disclosure:  I received complimentary planners to use in these honest reviews and I am an affiliate of Well-Planned Day.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

 

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Review/Giveaway of Homeschool T-Shirt and $5.99 Sale!

Homeschool T-Shirt Giveaway

 

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Don’t you love this shirt!  It says, “When you’re homeschooled, you never know where you’ll end up!”

It’s sold by Great Products, and they’re having a sale where hundreds of adult and children’s t-shirts are only $5.99 right now, through September 15!

Here are a few others I love:

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I received the t-shirt within a week after I ordered it.  It fit true to size and is made of high quality 100% cotton, very soft!  I love the design I chose, with the tie-dye style and wonderful saying about the Presidents on Mt. Rushmore being homeschooled.  The only negative I have to say is that the font is difficult to read.  I saw a few people trying to read it while I was grocery shopping at Target today, but it was hard to read it quickly as we were all rushing through our Sunday afternoon shopping.

Here are a few other ways to connect with Great Products:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/greatproducts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joshgp

And now a Giveaway:   The prize will be one free homeschool t-shirt of the winner’s choice in whatever size and color they prefer!

The Winner will be chosen on Tuesday 9/3/2013 and will have 48 hours to respond to my email about their choice of t-shirt and mailing address.  U.S. entries only, please.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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(Disclosure:  I received the above blue t-shirt in exchange for this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway of 2 Well-Planned Day Homeschool Planners!

 

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I recently reviewed the Well-Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner and lamented that it only had “room” for four kids in it, and I’ll be homeschooling 6 kids this year.  The wonderful lady who had sent the copy told me that they have a special grouping for big families such as myself called the “Large Family Bundle” and that I could review that now!  It contains 2 Family Homeschool Planners, a large Wall Calendar, and a 1-year Home Educating Family magazine subscription for a savings of $25.

This time, I’m keeping the planners and using them!  I’ve already started filling in the information for each of my kids–their schedules, goals for the year, etc.  I’m excited to add their pictures on the first day of school (August 19).  This will be a wonderful keepsake of our year!  And I love that it not only includes so much specifically just for the kids, but also for me as I continue as “homemaker” cooking meals, shopping, and doing household chores, and not just “teacher.”

Take a look at all that you’ll find in this comprehensive planner.  They’re very reasonably priced at $26.95, especially considering all that is in it:

  • Spiral Bound with Three Hole Drilled to Fit into Binders
  • Over 230 Full Color Pages
  • Full Year Planner: July 2013 – June 2014
  • Home Management with weekly cleaning schedule, monthly projects, greeting card registry, and monthly budgeting.
  • Holiday Organization Section: Greeting card registry, activities and event schedules, gift giving, around town shopping, and internet shopping.
  • Organize and plan for up to 4 children in one convenient book.
  • Four Student Class Plans: Schedule each student’s class assignments.
  • Four Student Time Schedules: Track each day by the hour.
  • Weekly Schedule: Organize your week with class assignments, weekly priorities, prayer requests, dinner menu, and notes.
  • Month at a Glance: Plan field trips, enrichment activities and books to read
  • Semester Attendance & Progress Reports
  • Perforated Report Cards
  • Menu Planning: Plan weekly meals and conveniently shop with perforated shopping lists.
  • Family Worship: Read through the Bible in a year.
  • Insightful homeschool articles and tips to inspire you throughout the year.
  • and much more….

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Monthly “Books to Enjoy” and Shopping Lists.

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Four Student Class Plan and Schedule pages

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Four student pages for Progress and Attendance Reports

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Four Report Cards (thicker paper)

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 See more information about the 2013-2014 Family Homeschool Planner here.

Check out the inside of the planner by looking here.  You’ll see how beautiful the inside pages are.  :)

See all Well-Planned Day Planners here.

The Large FamilyBundle also includes a Wall Calendar, and it’s BIG!  I’ve never had a calendar with so much room in each daily square (actually a rectangle).  I have put it up right by my computer desk, so that it’s easy for me to check what’s going on and to make appointments.

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The final part of the Large Family Bundle is a 1-year magazine subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine.  I used to get a homeschooling magazine and loved reading it every time it came.  But it’s been a few years.  I’m so excited to be getting a print magazine again.  I always find encouragement and ideas!

I have to tell you about a couple of other bundles they have since they’re 30% off this month!  One bundle is the  Busy Mom Package which includes an On-the-Go Planner, a Wall Calendar, and a 1-year Magazine subscription.  Another is the Busy Homeschool Mom Bundle which includes a Family Homeschool Planner, an On-the-Go Planner, and Magazine subscription.

 

 

Now, for the Giveaway!  HEDUA (Home Educating Family Association) is giving away 2 Family Homeschool Planners.  There will be 2 winners who will each get one!  Tell all your friends!
For legal reasons, this giveaway is open to US residents only.  Giveaway ends Friday 8/16/13.

Update: The winners are Wendy R. And Jessica K. Congrats!

 

Did you know that HEDUA has an affiliate program? If you are a blogger and would be interested in earning money just for sharing what you love, click here for details.

 

(Disclosure: I received a 2 complimentary copies of the planner, a wall calendar, and magazine subscription in order to write this honest review. I am also an affiliate of Home Educating Family and affiliate links are used in this post.)

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.
Teachers of Good Things

 

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Review of “Captivated”–a documentary about media

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At our recent homeschool convention I had the privilege to preview the documentary “Captivated,” written and produced by Philip Telfer.  I received a complimentary copy of the DVD and study guide so that I could write a thorough and honest review here.

First of all, let me tell you that “Captivated” is powerful.  I think every person who is reading these words right now needs to watch it!  It’s 107 minutes, and has over 2 hours of extras, with extended interviews.  The purpose of the documentary is to help us see how our society is becoming captivated by the media that is so ever-present in our lives.  Many people are addicted, and those that aren’t officially addicted are still being affected by media in negative ways.

Colossians 2:8 says “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception. . .”

See here for a trailer of the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJDvdJC8eHo

 

Philip Telfer helps us recognize things about media that many of us haven’t realized before.  And he helps us to see that we can find freedom in a media captive culture.  In addition to interviews with “professionals,” I loved hearing from everyday people: teens, ladies, men, and families who had been addicted to media and are now fighting against it.  The month-long media fast freaked out my oldest son, but I told him maybe we could start with three days.  It sure shows you how you feel about media when you consider doing a fast from it!

You can see some other clips from the movie here.

I also highly recommend the 52-page study guide.  I can see it being a valuable tool in many different circumstances:  for a family to study together, a small group or Bible study group from your church, Sunday School class, youth group, homeschool co-op, Christian school, etc. You can invite a group of friends over to your house for a special showing.  (See the website for information about public showings.  They make it easy for you!)

Please order a copy, watch this powerful documentary, and then pass it onto someone else!  They have a special sale on their website right now–buy one copy, get the 2nd for $5, plus free shipping.  The study guide is available for sale at the website as well, with quantity discounts.  Or you can probably find copies on Amazon or Ebay.

You may also be interested in a blog post I wrote about media choices in our home.

(I received a complimentary copy of the DVD and study guide in order to write this honest review.  This post also contains affiliate links.)

Linked up to these wonderful blogs!

Teachers of Good Things

Review/Giveaway of “The Prodigal Pig” DVD

 

We recently received a copy of The Prodigal Pig, which is an On the Farm With Farmer Bob DVD published by Tommy Nelson.

It tells, through the farm animals on the farm, the biblical story of The Prodigal Son.  It’s one of my favorite parables of Jesus!  My kids who watched it, and enjoyed it, learned the lesson of being content.  Porkchop the Pig is discontent playing music just for the animals on the farm, so he takes all his allowance and leaves Farmer Bob.  Things go well for him. . . until he runs out of money.

Jenny the Dog is also discontent and wants her house to be redecorated, not caring that other animals need their houses fixed up since they are in disrepair.

Finally, Hercules the tough-talking rooster learns how to forgive–another great lesson for our kids.

Voice talent on this DVD is provided by Randy Travis, Amy Grant, and Vince Gill.

You’ll also find bonus features focusing on literacy, and specifically the letter “P”.

Thomas Nelson is providing a copy of The Prodigal Pig for a giveaway! Just enter through the rafflecopter app below. (Winner only in U.S. and must respond to my email within 24 hours.  The winner will be chosen next Monday, 8/12/13.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I received a complimentary copy of this DVD for the purposes of writing this honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)

Review of Rock N Learn Reading DVDs: 50% off at Educents!

 

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I received a set of four Rock N Learn reading DVDs to review for the sale which is now going on at Educents.  These 4 DVDs are usually $80, but you can get them for $40 for this flash sale.

Or, just get two of them for $20–now that’s a great deal!

The 4 DVDs my kids and I previewed were Letter Sounds (for ages 4-7), Sight Words Level 1 (for ages preschool and up), Sight Words Level 2 (K and up), and Sight Words Level 3 (Grades 1 and up).  The videos are animated with exciting characters (people and talking animals) who tell stories and go through different games and activities as they teach the concepts.  There is A LOT of fun and catchy music and singing.  Often the words are flashed on the screen so the kids are hearing it said or sung and seeing the word at the same time.  This will help them to really learn each word.  Each DVD is 50-60 minutes long.  There is a lot to them, including bonus features!

My kids, ages 8 and under enjoyed watching these DVDs.  I’m pretty sure they learned something, too!  If you need something to help enrich your child’s phonics reading curriculum, I think you’ll like these DVDs!

Go to Educents to get the special pricing, and to see what other great deals they have today.

(Disclosure:  I received 4 complimentary Rock N Learn DVDs in order to write this honest review.  I am also an affiliate of Educents, and this post contains affiliate links.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

 

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Review/Giveaway of Thirty-One Gifts Thermal Bag

Thirty-One Gifts Thermal Tote

Today I have a Review and Giveaway (see below) of a Thirty-One Gifts Out N’ About Thermal Bag!  Our family has just returned from our vacation to Colorado.  (Stayed tuned because I have a whole series of posts to do about it!)

I used this awesome Thirty-One Gifts Out N’ About Thermal Bag on our road trip.  I put one of those frozen ice packs and it kept the food cold all day when we were driving from place to place sightseeing.

I have always been impressed with the quality of Thirty-One Gift products.  The zippers and materials are very well made.  The inside of the thermal bags is a silver foil-like material which helps keep the cold food cold and the hot food hot, but won’t easily tear like so many others I’ve used.  It’s also water-proof and cleaned up really well when there was milk spilled from my son’s sippy cup all inside it!

 

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There is a front pocket that you can slip some napkins and plastic-ware in.

 

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This next picture gives you an idea how big the inside is.

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Notice the strong handle on top and shoulder strap attached with the metal hooks.

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And. . . you can get it embroidered: 12 character limit on one line or 8 character limit on 2 lines.  It’s available in 6 different prints and sells for $30.

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I have two other Thirty-One Gifts products that I love:  the Cindy Tote that I’ve used as a diaper bag for a year and is still holding up great and the Timeless Wallet that I’ve used for 1 1/2 years and still looks brand new!

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You can win an Out N’ About Thermal Bag!  Just enter through the Rafflecopter app below.  A winner will be chosen on Sunday, June 30 and will win their choice of print for the Out N’ About Thermal Bag!  The winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  The entries of the winner will be verified.  :)

Included in the Rafflecopter app is a link to check out the catalog at the website of Thirty-One Gifts consultant Lauren Hodges.  You’ll see a tab there called “My Parties” and my name “Gena Mayo.”  If you order through that link, you’ll also receive a free nail file!  You’ll want to check out the Monthly Special:  Get a Large Utility Tote for only $10 with a $35 purchase!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure:  I received a Thirty-One Gifts thermal bag from Independent Consultant Lauren Hodges in order to write this honest review.  The Thirty-One Gifts bag and wallet I purchased myself.)

 

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to HERE!

Geffen Baby products review

Today I’m happy to share a review with you about a company called Geffen Baby, which sells cloth diapers, washable wipes, nursing pads, and shirts for babies and toddlers.

They contacted me a while back to see if I would review their cloth diapers. Now, I’ve done a lot of things these past 13 years that I’ve been having babies. But I’ve never used cloth diapers! So, I decided to try out the other products they sell! :) If you do cloth diaper, you need to check out the ones at Geffen Baby. They have improved fabrics by adding more hemp to the content, becoming the only fabric in the industry to have 60% Hemp and 40% Organic cotton. In doing so they created a performance fabric that is not only more durable, but also more absorbent! Just what you want for cloth diapering!

I tried out the nursing pads. I have breastfed for 10+ years, so I am pretty experienced with the different types of nursing pads out there. The Geffen Baby ones are sooooo soft! They’re also thin, which I loved. The only negative I could say about them is that they were a bit wrinkly after being washed and dried. But that’s the nature of cotton, and is easily taken care of by a few seconds with an iron.

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My 2-year-old son happily tried his new t-shirt with the cute giraffe on it! He’s wearing it right now as he plays. Again, the fabric (100% cotton) is soft, yet durable. I know this shirt will last him a while.  They also have adorable baby polo shirts!

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(Disclosure:  I received a complimentary package of Geffen Baby nursing pads and a toddler t-shirt in order to write this honest review.)

Review/Giveaway of Lilla Rose Flexi Hair Clip

Lilla Rose Hair Clip
Last year I was first introduced to Lilla Rose–they have beautiful hair clips!  I had a feeling that if I tried one, I’d love it.  Well, last week I got one to try and have worn it every day since!  I definitely do love it!  And we have a giveaway–so read through to the end of the post!
Kristen Smith is my new Lilla Rose consultant.  If you don’t already have your own consultant, please Like her Facebook pageFollow her on Twitter, subscribe to her monthly newsletter (learn about the Flexi of the Month, new releases, tips and hairstyles, and contests for discounts, too! :), and visit her website.
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What’s really great about the flexi clips is that they have some stretch to them.  They bend around your hair.  That’s what helps them to stay in so well, even in my daughter’s very fine hair.
There are 7 different sizes of flexi hair clips, and if you need help choosing the right size, see the sizing and styling video here.  By the way, mine is a Small.  My daughters would need size extra-small to do the half up hairstyle, but small works for the french twist style.  And I would need a medium to do a ponytail or full twist (that’s my next choice!).
In addition to flexi clips, Lilla Rose also has beautiful bobby pins, hair sticks, you-pins, O-rings, and hair bands.
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Lots of homeschool families are looking for ways to boost their family income while still staying home, and Lilla Rose can be a great way to do that!  They have a very affordable start-up option, and there are no minimum sales requirements. Contact Kristen to learn more (smithspirations at gmail dot com).
Kristen can also do online parties for any readers who might like to share Lilla Rose with their friends.  I plan to have an online party later this summer, but if you’d like to do one yourself, let her know!
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A few important things about the giveaway:
-”Independent Lilla Rose Consultant Kristen Smith” is doing the giveaway, not just Lilla Rose.
-The prize for this giveaway is a Have One On Us certificate for a free item, up to $16. These certificates can only be used once per customer and one per household, ages 18 and up, with a valid email address. Current Lilla Rose customers are not eligible to redeem the certificate, but new customers only. If a current customer or someone already registered with another consultant wins, they can have the certificate, but will have to pass it along to a friend who is new to Lilla Rose.
-Winner must not have won a Lilla Rose giveaway in the past 12 months to be eligible to win.
-Open to residents in the US, Mexico, and Canada.

Enter to win through the Rafflecopter app below. (Click through to http://ichoosejoy.org if you don’t see it.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

(Disclosure:  I receive a small Lilla Rose Flexi Hair Clip to try out in order to write this honest review.)