TOS Sweet Critique: Games for Competitors {Tricross}

Who:  Games for Competitors

What:  Tri-Cross – A pseudo-chess strategy and critical thinking board game.

Contact Information:  Here

Cost:  Standard Edition {$24.95}, Wood Edition {$35.95}, Eco Edition {$19.95}

Recommended Age:  Eight and up, although kids younger than eight can be taught to play

Tri-Cross is a wicked awesome game of strategy and critical thinking that can be played in a variety of ways.  Right off the bat, I’m going to let you know that Babydoll and I love Tri-Cross:

  • You can begin playing within about five minutes of opening the box.
  • If you want it to be, it can be a super quick, yet fun, game.
  • If you want it to be, it can be a more in-depth and even more exciting game.
  • It is well made.
  • The company has great history behind it.

And it’s not just us thinking it’s awesome, other peeps do too:

I’m not at all good at explaining how to play games in a concise manner, so I’m linking you guys to the How to Play page.  Basically, you move your pieces around the game board and try to “jump” the other players’ pieces.

Gifts for Competitors sent us both the standard edition and the eco edition, which is a great travel edition {and I love the whole eco thing}.  We haven’t yet used the eco one, but we’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of the standard one, and it’s holding up really well.

I really recommend this game for homeschoolers for a few specific reasons.  It can be very hard to separate mom from homeschool teacher; this game allows you to still implement learning while just having fun with your kids.  Also, for people like me that aren’t a big fan of “playing” {well,  put it like this, I play by cooking and baking with Babydoll, playing video games with her, going shopping with her, etc.}, the game gives you a fun way to do some playing with your child.  I also like the fact that we’re working on critical thinking together, without sitting down in front of a workbook.

Definitely check it out!!

True Confessions:  I was provided with these two games as part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew program.  The company was not promised a good review, and my honest opinions were asked for.  I liked it.  Period.

Viva Vitamin Angels!

Did you know that one third of all childhood deaths are caused by under nutrition and that an estimated 190 million children suffer from vitamin A deficiency worldwide?

A simple, cost-effective vitamin A capsule each six months can prevent blindness and reduce under-five mortality by 23 percent. Whole Foods Market’s current podcast shares the story of Vitamin Angels, an organization that is profoundly changing the life’s of children around the world by connecting children under five with vital nutrients they need to survive and thrive.

Check out the podcast and the post for great information about the organization, what they’re doing to help, and how you can help as well.  For every comment on the podcast post, Whole Foods Market will donate $1 to Vitamin Angels!  

How awesome is that?  Head over through the month of September to raise awareness and support a great cause.

True Confessions:  I have been compensated for this post, but I still think it is a great cause and love that Whole Foods is participating.  Definitely support it!

How I Started Getting Paid to Blog

No, no I don’t have any super secret info.  I wish I did.  I wish I could give you “x” number of steps and send you on your merry way.

Fact is, I still don’t make a whole lot doing this, but I have many more opportunities than I did a few months ago.

So, by no means am I an expert.  I’m sure others can tell you way more than I can and could probably put you on a more direct path.  But, I figured I’d let you know what I’ve been doing and what’s working for me.

  • Establish your blog, your voice, and your community before doing anything else.  I know some bloggers start off as deal/review/giveaway bloggers, so their quest for money-making opps starts right away.  That’s not my thing so I can’t help you there.  My blog started on a whim as a way to keep track of our homeschooling.  I quickly came to enjoy it and the people I met, so I decided to kick it into high gear and really make the blog something I could be proud of promoting to complete strangers.  I then realized all of the opportunities out there for bloggers and decided I wanted to pursue reviews/giveaways and paid opps.  But before I did any of that, I had a blog I was proud of, content relevant to my niche, and knew who I was and what I did and did not want on my blog.
  • Stay true to yourself, your blog, and above all, your readers.  When I started pursuing compensated opps {I use that term loosely, especially since, according to the IRS, any review goods are compensation}, I knew I wanted to stay true to my readers.  I didn’t want to blindside them with posts about adult books or information about the public school system and how you can work it as a parent because that had nothing to do with my blog, and it darn sure wasn’t relevant to them.  I know who the majority of my readers are, and I know what it important to them, and that’s what I stick with.
  • Network.  I hate that word, because it sounds so great and simple in theory, but so difficult to actually figure out how to do.  I’ll do my best to give you specific ideas.  Look for social media or blogger groups in your city/state {if we have one in Birmingham, where everyone is living ten years behind everyone else, you should have one near you}.  Attend blogging conferences {I have yet to do this, but will be at BBC ATL next month!}.  Comment on other blogs.  Yes, I know people say that all the time, but you must make time for it.  It doesn’t have to be a ton either, one or two.  Get to know your fellow bloggers.  Join online blogger groups; maybe there’s one for your niche available.  Google is your friend.
  • Participate in everything.  You know all those fantastic giveaway hops, memes, etc., that take place around the blogosphere?  Join them.  Don’t know who hosts them?  Ask me, or ask the blogger where you found the giveaway in the first place.  Scared to get prize packages together?  Self-sponsor or just email companies you like.  Yeah, it makes me want to vomit, but it has to be done.  They say no?  Move on.  You’ve got bigger fish to fry.
  • Join Twitter.  And Facebook I suppose.  I always tell people that Twitter was the single best thing I could have done for my blog.  The instant interaction with others really boosted that “connection” that is so important in blogging.  Facebook is finally starting to yield some great results for me, although that is more of a conversation than quick snippets on Twitter.  Word of caution:  Care more about others than you do yourself.  If you’re a Twitter whore, people will notice and they will despise you.  Retweeting and promoting others can go a long way in helping your own blog.
  • Join a blogging group.  I participate in a few groups for bloggers, but one in particular was instrumental in getting more traffic to my blog and more opps coming my way.  I can recommend some if you’re interested.  It was through this group that I found out Social Fabric was allowing new applications.  I applied and was approved and I love the group now.  No other way I would have known about it had it not been for my group.
  • Finally, Google is your friend.  Again.  I know I mentioned it before, but it really is.  Google various phrases/words, such as “paid to blog.”  That’s how I cam upon Bucks2Blog, a site that provides opportunities for you to get paid to blog.  Even if a site you end up at doesn’t turn into something you’d like to do, it can lead you on infinite rabbit trails.
I’m sure there is so much more I could share, and I might do that in another post.  For now, though, make use of the bloggers around you, just send an email, most of us don’t bite.
True Confessions:  I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated for my time.  See, isn’t it rad?  This doesn’t change the views and information provided in the post.  This honestly has been the path I’ve taken to the point I’m at now.  And please, feel free to ask me any questions!

Sweet Critique: Emergen-C Kidz


My husband and I have long been a fan of Emergen-C.  It’s gotten us through a few tough times…

I’ve got a knack for getting sick right before or during an important event.  My mother-in-law’s wedding, for which I was making the cake, got sick.  Our move across the country, I got sick.  You know, those big things that you really can’t be sick for.

We started turning to Emergen-C, I believe on a recommendation, and realized that if we downed that stuff at the beginning of feeling icky, we’d be good the next day or so.  I’m a big fan of the pink lemonade flavor.

While we drank it on a fairly regular basis, Babydoll couldn’t stand the stuff.  She’d suffer through it if I made her, but she was not happy.  When we learned that a version for kids existed, she was so excited!

When our products arrived, Babydoll immediately wanted to try the fruit punch flavor.  She wasn’t impressed, but she hadn’t measured her water, so she had a way-too-watery sample on her hands; doesn’t count.  We then made a glass of each flavor and the three of us tried it.

Babydoll and I really liked the orange flavor {it reminds me of Sunny D}, I liked the fruit punch, and we all thought the grape was decent.  Vince thought the fruit punch was a bit sweet for his tastes.  All said, I think between my pink lemonade flavor and the Kidz orange flavor, we’re set for the cold and flu season!

I like that these supplements not only include vitamin C, but a ton of other great stuff like zinc, B vitamins and electrolytes.  It is great period, not just for sick times!

Emergen-C Kidz currently has the My Emergen-C Kidz Pledge up on their Facebook page.  This is a great campaign: for every box of Emergen-C Kidz sold, they donate 25 cents to Vitamin Angels.  If you take the pledge, they’ll donate another 25 cents!


What about you?  What do you do to help keep you kids going strong through the winter?  I know there are the old faithfuls like good nutrition and exercise, but sometimes you need a little extra.  We highly recommend giving Emergen-C Kidz a try!

True Confessions:  I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Emergen-C and received samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

September Sponsor Showcase


I’ve got two great sponsors for the month of September and I wanted to share them with you!  Many of you are stay-at-home moms and/or homeschool moms, so I really wanted to showcase businesses that would be of importance to you!

Genuine Work at Home Advice - Katie is putting together a great site with tons of information about realistic work at home opportunities.  I know many of us would love to contribute to the family income, but it’s hard to wade through all the scam offers to find genuine opportunities.  She even provides advice on working at home, such as limiting distractions.  Check out her site and her $5 PayPal giveaway ending in a couple of days!

Groovy Planet – Groovy Planet was developed by a mom out of Iowa. Staci has a passion for recycling and fair trade, and she wants to bring that to kids! Each month your child will receive a package with an activity, a passport sticker, and a recyclable or fair trade item. The first month’s kit comes with a map, passport, and activity sheet.  Every three months you child is sent a Get Involved challenge which involves volunteering and earning great prizes.

These two ladies are awesome, and they’ve got some great stuff to share!  Be sure to check them out!

Interested in becoming a Sweet Phenomena sponsor?  Click the contact tab above and shoot me a message; I’d love to have you!  Sponsors are regularly mentioned on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a monthly sponsor showcase post.

Also, stay tuned for an advertising blitz giveaway and special next month!!