Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Homeschool Planet – Calendar/Planner

Review: Homeschool Planet – Calendar/Planner

Homeschool Planet Review

It’s been a crazy few weeks. Kids who won’t sleep. Babies who refuse to sleep. Babies getting new teeth. Appointments. Classes. Even with my two little ones, it seems like there’s always something to remember on the calendar.

Speaking of calendars and planners… For those of you out there who do homeschooling, or just have a lot to plan for your family, this review may be for you!



Homeschool Planet:

Price: $65.00/year or $6.95/month

Free 30 day trial available. (One thing I LOVE about their trial period is that you don’t have to enter in your credit card, so if you forget to cancel and your account expires, you don’t have to worry about getting charged!)

For the trial, you will need to create a FREE account with Homeschool Buyers Co-op, but emphasis goes back on the “FREE” aspect there.


Features at a glance:

  • A Calendar View that lets you see anybody’s or everybody’s calendars at once
  • A Planner View with a simple list of everything you need to do and when
  • Automatic Rescheduling
  • Separate logins for kids
  • Daily Digest emails to everyone in your family with their own schedule, assignments, and chores for the day
  • Email and text message reminders
  • Lesson plans
  • Easy attendance tracking, grading and transcript creation
  • To Do lists
  • Shopping lists (one each for each store)
  • Widgets
  • Lesson copying
  • Mobile version (limited, and it did not work very well for my Samsung smartphone)
  • Calendar sharing with other calendars like Google Calendar


Some things I personally liked about this program:

The set up is easy and straightforward.  It wasn’t hard at all. You can make it more complicated with color-coding and what have you, but that’s about it.

I liked that I could add cute pictures of my family members, to their individual profiles, too.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 9.52.10 PM

I also like the backgrounds. Let’s all agree, having choices on what your calendar looks like may seem small, but that power to change it makes us happy. Some of the selections are very kid friendly, too. (Robots, musical notes, dinosaurs, oh my!)

The separate shopping lists are pretty nice. If you like to get certain items from Costco, from Target, from your local grocery store, then the ability to switch through lists is nice.

The side widgets are a nice touch, but not really necessary. I like having a daily quote to look at, but if it disappeared I wouldn’t miss it. The separate To Do lists for everyone in the family is a nice touch if you have kids old enough to log in.  And there is something so very satisfying about being able to click the checkbox and see the tasks get crossed off!


There are features I noticed that I don’t use much, but I think could be great are mostly related to actually setting up structured classes for the homeschooling or actively in school families.

Homeschool Planet keeps track of the number of days in a school year. There is also the option to track hours. You mark off your school days, holidays, etc.  I know some states require you to keep closer track of your school hours and days, so this feature would be a nice addition for those of you who fall under those regulations.

The class set up seems to take a bit of time, but once you have it down seems great! I really like the idea of having the daily digest email you and  your students with their scheduled assignments, and how it allows you to input their grades. I can’t say too much about actually using these features personally as my 2.5 year old is not allowed to get on the computer herself, and our learning is more active play, song, and reading books than graded assignments.


My overall take:

If you homeschool, this would be a great digital planner and calendar for you. It’s the whole package. You can have all your appointments, classes, plans, to do lists, grocery lists, in one place. I love the idea of older kids being able to log into their own accounts, too. I would find this an extremely useful tool in getting me organized for the school year.

This could be even useful for parents who have children in a school outside the home, too, as long as they have a teacher that openly communicates with them on assignments, etc.

However, if you are like me, without school-aged children, the most useful aspects of this calendar aren’t really worth the price tag. I have a Google Calendar, and use Google Keep for my shopping lists to share with my husband, which are free with my Google account. In that regard, I don’t get to use the most this program offers. That being said, I definitely will be considering it for when my children are old enough to start traditional school.


Check out more reviews at Home and School Mosaics.

Review: My Bedtime Story Bible

Review: My Bedtime Story Bible

It’s been a while since I have done a review, hasn’t it? I recently had the opportunity to join Zonderkidz new Z Blog Squad review team, and I am so glad that I decided to! 

My first book to review was My Bedtime Story Bible. For those of you with younger kids, this is a great way to review/introduce some of the more well-known stories of the Bible in the context of a child appropriate bedtime story.



  • Introduction features some ideas for using My Bedtime Bible Stories and personalizing the stories to make both the stories and this time spent with your child a little more meaningful.
  • 2-3 pages per story, so they aren’t too long before bed
  • 2-3 pages includes cute illustrations
  • Stories are appropriate for young children.
  • Stories focus on more peaceful, quieter moments of the scripture stories.
  • ”Tuck in” feature- at the end of each story, there is a special thought for you to discuss with your little ones or for them to think about as they fall asleep.


My Thoughts:

The illustrations are cute and well done, catching my energetic toddler’s attention for a few moments, which is quite the accomplishment. Both Evie and I have enjoyed the pictures. A lot of them feature stories in the Bible that include babies, so naturally, she loved pointing out all the little children and exclaiming, “Baby!” (Same for pictures that included various animals that she loves, like kitties, sheep, etc.)

I also love the “Tuck in” feature questions at the end of each short story. While Evelyn doesn’t quite get the questions as well now, I can see how they could be great before-bed talking points as she gets a little older. They are thoughtful and focus on child appropriate themes from these stories.

I also personally liked the introduction suggestions. Many days are long, and it’s easy to rush through to the finish line to get that much needed adult time. However, this a great reminder for me to not be distracted in those last moments before Evie goes down; it’s the last chance in the day to focus on my relationship with her and remind her how much she is loved.

And when everything is said and done, what is more important than that? 🙂


As a part of Zonderkidz new Z Blog Squad review team, I received a copy of the My Bedtime Story Bible exchange for an honest review.

“A Year of Love”

“A Year of Love”

Something I wrote recently about my New Year’s resolution for 2014 was published over at Home & School Mosaics Blog today. Here’s some of it:

“How would you feel if Evelyn felt the same way about herself as you do about yourself?”

I had an interesting conversation with my husband the other night, in which he posed that question to me. For those of you who know me relatively well, I don’t try to hide the fact that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for long periods of time.

One of the big side effects of my issue is that I put myself down. A lot. So often that I don’t have to TRY to slip in something negative about myself. It comes naturally to me to beat myself up mentally. It’s almost as if I am afraid my pride will get out of control if I don’t give myself a daily deluge of mental criticism and put myself in my place.

The night that this conversation took place, my husband, our 18-month-old daughter Evelyn, and I were hanging up Christmas ornaments on the tree. The majority of our ornaments are special to us – dated ornaments from each year we’ve been married, or gifts we’ve been given through the years, etc. A favorite is from when we went to Disneyland on our honeymoon. (YES, that is absolutely what I wanted, and my sweet hubby delivered, even though we were still poor college students!) While there, we got a picture of our faces pressed together with big smiles etched into a flat glass cutout of Mickey Mouse’s head.Family2013

For more, please continue reading HERE!

What are some of your new year’s resolutions?

Mosaic Review: Udderly Smooth Udder Cream

Mosaic Review: Udderly Smooth Udder Cream

It’s been awhile since I have had a chance to review a product effectively for Mosaic Reviews, so when I heard about the option to try Udderly Smooth Udder Cream, I jumped at the opportunity!

First, I was just expecting just one jar/tub of the product, but WOW! When my box arrived, it was like Christmas came early. I pulled out their body cream, foot cream, two sizes of their hand cream and several smaller sample sizes. (That means if you live near me and you want to try one, come on by! I am happy to share!)


One of the biggest things for me is that I have extremely sensitive skin. Ever since I got pregnant with my daughter over 2 years ago, something went completely crazy with my hormones, and I have to be very careful with products that I use now on the majority of my body. I have to moisturize, but all those pretty smelling things from Bath and Body Works or Victoria’s Secret that I used when I was a teenager and college tend to make my skin more irritated and itchy.

So when I started using Udderly Smooth’s body cream, I was very pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t have a strong scent, and while it’s heavy enough to feel like it’s doing work, it does it without leaving that greasy, don’t-touch-your-smart-phone’s-screen-for-fear-of-leaving-grease-trails feeling that lots of lotions do. And it doesn’t irritate my skin! What a relief.

I love that they sent the 2 oz version of their hand cream, too. It is PERFECT for carrying around in my purse. During the winter, (mind you, Texas winters aren’t even THAT rough, though this has been our coldest here yet!) my hands  gotten cracked and yucky, and when you are out and about during cold/flu season, all the colder air mixed with lots of washing and hand sanitizers make having lotion with you a definite must. And this does the job. Again, not at all greasy or heavy. I actually tend to wish it was a little heavier as I usually apply a small second round after the first has soaked in!

The same goes for the foot cream. I will say, be aware that the hand lotion and foot cream are actually much runnier than the body cream. All the foot creams I have used on my nasty feet in the past have been very thick, heavy, and yes, greasy, so when I opened the foot cream for the first time, I actually spilled some of it on myself because I was expecting it to just stay put in the tub, more like the body cream does.

I have absolutely no complaints about this product. Even the prices are extremely reasonable, and it’s carried in many stores, meaning there’s a chance you can find one near you! Or, if you want to order online, a quick search or going to the U.S. Only order page on their website. If you “Like” their page on Facebook, you can often find coupons to save even more money on their products, too! (And who DOESN’T love saving a dollar here or there when we can?!)

If you are looking for a new or different moisturizer, (or as a gift for all ages- my toddler thinks the containers are so fun with their cow spots and loves it when Mommy “shares her lotion”), Udderly Smooth Udder Creams are definitely worth looking into. I know I will be keeping an eye out next time I’m at our local Walgreens to get Udderly Smooth lotion with a pump top to keep next to our kitchen sink.

Udderly Smooth Review

Review: Waterproof Bible

Review: Waterproof Bible
Review: Waterproof Bible

If you ever wanted a book that could withstand the challenges of camping, rainstorms, bathtubs, or even babies, the Waterproof Bible by Bardin & Marsee Publishing might be for you.

I received this rather cute pink KLV Waterproof Bible (NT, Ps & Pv version) and was surprised by how much I liked this product. The pink, of course, was definitely a plus for me, but if you are looking for something you want to send your guys out camping with, they come in blue and camo, too!

The history behind it was that the creators were active outdoor adventurers, involved in a lot of camping, kayaking, and trips in snowy mountains, but often wouldn’t take their scriptures with them because they didn’t want them to be ruined by the rough outdoor conditions. So, the “Outdoor” Bible was born. Soon they realized that there wasn’t just a demand for the outdoor conditions, but even indoor (think- reading a book in the tub, anyone?), and hence the name change to the Waterproof Bible!

Some features of The Waterproof Bible include:

  • Extremely durable synthetic pages and binding
  • Stain Resistant (I tested it with cola and OJ successfully)
  • Ultra clear text
  • Size fits well in totes or purses
  • Works well with dry highlighters or ballpoint pens (no gel pens 🙁 )
  • Synthetic pages help create no bleed through
  • Floats in water
  • Comes in ESV, KJV, NIV, NKJV, NLT versions of the Bible

Okay, testimonial time. I had a hard time “testing” the product. Jared stayed home from work the day of the conference call with Bardin of Bardin & Marsee because I was pretty sick and needed help to take care of Evie, so he heard the call and asked what I have done with my WB … I hadn’t done much since it’s counter-intuitive for me to destroy books of any kind, much less the Bible! So, to “help out” he promptly took it and threw it into the backyard (as it was conveniently a rainy day!) and told me to get it in a hour or so.


This is after roughly 2 hours out in the backyard during a fairly heavy rainstorm.


After wiping out the pieces of grass that had been wedged into the pages and leaving it upright let the pages dry, the WB was in like-new perfect condition.

Evelyn also “helped out” by chewing on some of the pages, but I was happy to see that she didn’t manage to rip the pages or damage them (though, I am sure if she had really wanted to, she probably could have caused more damage… but she was happy to chew on the book. Happy day for all you with toddlers!)

Even though the product is a little pricey (Between $39.95-$44.95 for the full Bible, and $24.95 for the NT + Psalms and Proverbs versions), considering how incredibly durable this product is, I think it’s worth considering!

After reviewing this product, I have just one question:

When will all books start being made like this?