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!

 

homeschoolplanetlogo

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.

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Check out more reviews at Home and School Mosaics.

Review: 3D Fiberlash Mascara

Review: 3D Fiberlash Mascara

You. Guys.

Well, you girls, really. Though your guys will probably like this once you use it. 😉

I kind of have the ugly eyelashes in the family. The husband and the TWO YEAR OLD have better eyelashes than me. (Seriously, her eyelashes are gorgeous. I am jealous.) So when I saw the chance to review Younique’s 3D Fiberlash Mascara, I jumped at the opportunity to try it.

It. Is. Amazing. Get yourself some. Review over.

Just kidding, I’m still gonna talk about it.

About the Product:

3dfiberlashmascara

The 3D Fiberlash Mascara is just a simple three-step process that combines Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers to help create the appearance of incredible thickness and volume to your existing lashes. They are NOT false lashes. They are your own! The fibers are natural…made from Green Tea Leaves, hypoallergenic and safe for contact lens wearers.

Younique has lots of other great products, but we’re focusing on the mascara for this review. All Younique products are natural based and a mineral makeup. There’s no testing ever done on animals.

For Me:

At first I was a little skeptical. I really hate it when eyelashes look obviously fake. I wore some fake eyelashes recently (for a good reason!) but it was uncomfortable and I felt it looked too obvious. So I was worried that it wouldn’t look that great when I put this stuff on.

Wrong! The husband calls it my “sexy” eyes. (Sorry, Mom and Dad, if your reading this. But it is true.) I get random compliments all the time that my eye make up looks particularly lovely when I wear my fiberlash mascara. I’m starting to get addicted.

How to Apply it:

(Do it one eye at a time. This is important because the gel dries quickly and the fibers don’t stick as well.)

  1. Put your normal mascara on. (It’s optional. I personally skip this step. I feel like it makes my eyelashes too clunky.)
  2. Apply the coat of transplanting gel.
  3. IMMEDIATELY after, apply the fiber coat.
  4. Then generously apply more transplanting gel to make the fibers stick.

DONE. In less than 3 minutes I have my sexy eyes on.

These are my normal eyes:

3DFMbefore

These are my eyes on 3D Fiberlash Mascara:

3dFLafter

(Sorry for the different day pics. This one just showed the difference the best)

Some extras:

The first time I put them on it was a little weird. Do it a few times before you decide that you don’t like them. I am glad I gave them a chance!

ONE EYE AT A TIME! (Part of the reason I didn’t love it the first time… I forgot to take it one at a time).

Eyelash brushes would probably be useful. If I had one I would use it for these just to help with clumps, but my fingers worked just fine.

At $29.00, this is a bit of a splurge. But they are supposed to last at least 3 months (and the fact that I am a SAHM and don’t bother with makeup daily anymore would probably extend that a bit more) and they stay on. Remember, I am a hormonal mess right now with a new baby and a toddler and tears happen, and these babies stay on great. Woohoo for water resistant mascara!

You can wear these with contacts. Just make sure you apply a lot of the gel to help the fibers really stick and seal so you don’t end up with tiny pieces coming off later on on in the day

All right, everyone. Go splurge on yourself and get yourself some pretty, awesome, easy-to-apply eyelashes. The immediate raise in compliments alone with make the investment worth it. 😉

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To find more reviews on this product at Home and School Mosaics click here.

Review: Wizzy Gizmo – Who Created Everything?

Review: Wizzy Gizmo – Who Created Everything?

When it comes to teaching a two year old and other younger children about the Creation, it’s safe to say that it can at best be “challenging”. Thankfully, Wizzy Gizmo has created a fun product to make that job a little easier!

I received the book “Who Created Everything” to review. Here are some of the basics.


WhoCreatedEverything

Explore the wonders of Creation

It all begins when Wizzy Gizmo places the Bible on his incredible Gizmovision invention. The machine whirls and hums, the room begins to vibrate and shake, lights flicker on and off. The invention is surrounded by tiny arcs of electricity, as a sphere of blue-green light emerges and begins to grow bigger and bigger. There is a flash, and then things really begin to happen…

Some features: 

  • 58 pages
  • Covers Genesis chapter One
  • Vocabulary words are highlighted throughout
  • Glossary included
  • Review questions in the back for parents and teachers
  • Retail Price is $12.99

My thoughts:

My sweet two year old has a hard time reading longer stories without pictures. Not too surprising, right? The writing style is still very accessible for younger children, with trying naturally tie in detail with vocabulary or ideas that children might normally question. So while my younger child struggled, I could see it working well for a child a year or two older than her.

What I really loved for my daughter was the audio drama version.

WhoCreatedEverythingAudio

It includes very animated narrators and kid voices complete with songs. When I first downloaded the audio to try out, my daughter happened to be in the room. I hit play just see what it was like, and immediately, my toddler ran over to me to see what was going on. For the next 15 minutes, my extremely active, energetic toddler sat still next to me and listened quietly to the audio, as I turned pages in the book to let her have a visual as we listened.

While the description on Wizzy Gizmo’s website states that the audio is geared towards ages 4-12, it definitely is effective for a larger range than that!

I enjoyed the Wizzy Gizmo products and felt they would be a great addition to a Christian homeschooling curriculum!

You can find Wizzy Gizmo and learn more for yourself on the following media platforms:

The Wizzy Gizmo Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Youtube

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Find more reviews about the various Wizzy Gizmo products here at the Home & School Mosaics website!

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.

bedtimestorybible

Features:

  • 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.

TuckIncollage

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?