TOS Sweet Critique: I See Cards – Fractazmic

Fractazmic win

FractazmicWhat:  Fractazmic


Cost:  $6.95

Recommended Ages:  1st – 8th graders, although I had fun playing it, and I’m a 30 year old woman…

What is Fractazmic?


Fractazmic cardsFractazmic is a card game designed to visually teach children how to convert and add fractions, how fractions and measurement are related, and how fractions can be used in real-world applications.

Each card has a fraction printed in the upper left and lower right corners and a large picture demonstrating the fraction utilizing measurement and real-world uses.

The object of the game is to collect as many hands as possible before someone runs out of cards.  Hands consist of cards in the same suit that equal one.  The game ends when a player is out of cards, and the person with the most hands wins.

Our Thoughts


Babydoll and I enjoyed Fractazmic.  Once you get the hang of it, the game doesn’t take long to play and you really do have fun while learning.  Babydoll and I haven’t really gotten into fractions formally, but it only took a couple of minutes to explain to her.  She’s learned about them through practical application, such as cooking, so it was fun for her to see the eggs.

While I understand the reasoning behind it, it was a little difficult to explain the different denominators in each suit at first.  She wasn’t sure why she had a card that had six eggs out of twelve, but the fraction was 1/2.  The upside to it, though, was that it provided me with a great visual to teach her why it was that way.  It was still difficult for her to grasp the addition of the fractions with different denominators, but I think once we have a piece of paper and write it out, she’ll totally get it, thanks to these cards.

Fractazmic winIn addition to the educational benefits, Babydoll enjoyed beating the crap out of mom…  That large number of cards to the left?  Those are her hands…  I had like three.  It was a great game for us to play together; it was engaging, fun, and we both got a chance to exercise our brain a bit.

Other Products


I See Cards is the genius behind Fractazmic, and they’ve got a few other products as well:

What Did Others Think?


Other TOS Homeschool Review Crew members reviewed Fractazmic as well.  Visit the Crew blog to see what they thought!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a complimentary Fractazmic game in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet Cause: Brave Woman

Brave Woman domestic violence resources

Brave Woman domestic violence resourcesDomestic violence is something that affects women from all walks of life. There is no special pass that assures you that you won’t be affected. Even if you are never personally abused, chances are you know someone {or will know someone} who is.

Let’s Chat


If you have any experience with domestic violence, you probably know that many people don’t want to talk about it.  Or, maybe they don’t have any reason to talk about it.  The problem with this is that these people remain uneducated about ways to help someone in the event they need to.  Talking is one of the best things you can do to help end domestic violence.

Where do you start, though?  I’m happy to introduce Brave Woman:

Brave Woman is a grassroots movement to shift personal and public perception of women facing domestic violence situations from a victim mentality to one of courage and strength. The ultimate goal is action to create a world community that

  • Supports difficult decisions involved in creating a new life of safety, healing and independence.
  • Is aware of the presence of domestic violence and its impact on families.

Brave Woman is not only a resource for those in domestic violence situations, but also a resource for those of us who are not.  Did you know that it’s not a simple decision to just leave an abusive relationship?  Do you know the multitude of things that must be considered when trying to leave?  It is very important that as you help someone, you also respect the decisions they make and continue to support them.  This site gives you tons of great information about this.

Brave Woman Pledge


There is a pledge you can take on the Brave Woman site.  The pledge allows you to commit to speaking out against violence against women and children and vow to honor and respect them.  I invite you to take the pledge.

In addition to the pledge, there are other action items such as becoming an advocate, telling your story, watching videos of brave women, and making a donation.

Brave Woman Twitter Party


I’d love for you to learn more about this wonderful grassroots movement.  They will be hosting a Twitter party on December 19th, 1-2 pm EST.  Attend and learn more about Brave Woman, share your story, or be inspired by others.

Final Thoughts


As many of you know, I saw my mother being abused for a good bit of my childhood.  I vowed to  never let that happen to me.  Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate.  The fact of the matter is sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in a situation like this.  It takes more courage to leave than anyone who hasn’t been in that situation can imagine.

By sharing stories and learning about resources, we can help each other by shining a light on this far-too-common occurrence and helping women learn that they are not victims, but brave individuals who will no longer stand for this treatment.

For more info, feel free to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

True Confessions:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  As many of you know, though, this is a cause I am passionate about and will continue to discuss and bring you resources.  We have to stop this.  #CBias #BraveWoman

Sweet Critique: The New Slim-Fast

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast. All opinions are 100% mine.

In our house, we drink Slim-Fast for a few reasons:

  1. We like the way it tastes and we want to.
  2. We’re in a hurry and it’s a yummy, quick, and protein-packed meal replacement.
  3. It’s a good snack.  You know, good as in yummy.  And it has protein.

Sure, not the “traditional” reasons one might drink it, but you know, it’s a versatile product and we use it in ways that fit our needs.

Well, the folks at Slim-Fast have made the stuff even better.  It’s in a much more convenient container and it tastes freaking delicious.  Like, I think you could add ice to this thing and blend it and you’d think you were drinking a milkshake.  I’m not even joking.

In addition to the new taste, the packaging has changed.  They are now in plastic bottles that you can close if you need to save some of your shake.  I like this because I was never a fan of the metal containers.  It could have just been my imagination, but I swear there was a “taste” left by those containers…  No “taste” now, just chocolately goodness.  Well, at least in the flavor we tried:  Rich Chocolate Royale.


But if you’re not like us {and that’s totally OK} and you’d like to use Slim-Fast to lose weight, they’ve also put together a new plan for you:  the Slim-Fast 3*2*1 plan.  The plan consists of eating three snacks, two Slim-Fast shakes or meal bars, and one balanced meal a day.  You can snack on Slim-Fast snack bars, fruits, nuts, veggies, that type of stuff.  You can find the shakes in the pharmacy section of stores like Walmart and Target, and on Amazon and the Slim-Fast store.  Like Slim-Fast on Facebook to shop and for other great info!

So whether you’re giving weight loss a whirl {or will be soon} or just interested in getting away with having chocolatey yumminess for a meal, give the new shakes a try!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Seasonal Science with Elmer’s #GlueNGlitter #ElmersScienceReady

Colored Flame Pine Cones

Group logo of Elmer’s Glue ’n GlitterWoohoo, it’s time for another science project with Elmer’s!!!  Last time we made butter.  This time, we’re doing some seasonal science!!  Check out how we made colored flame pine cones, a crystal snowflake, and invisible ink messages below.

Documenting Our Experiments


Before we got started, we decided to get our display board ready.  We love the selection of Elmer’s Tri-Fold display boards at our Walmart; we always have tons to choose from.  Today, we’ll be using a basic corrugated board.

Elmer's Science Ready

We also picked up some Elmer’s X-TREME glue to attach our photos once we are done.

Colored Flame Pine Cones


Color always makes stuff more fun!!  So as you’re sitting by the fire on these cold winter nights, why not throw a few colored flame pine cones into the mix?  These are so easy to make; they literally take about one minute to make.

  1. Colored Flame Pine ConesGather dried pine cones.
  2. Sprinkle pine cones with boric acid {you can find this in the pharmacy section of most stores}.
  3. Spritz pine cones with rubbing alcohol.

That’s it!  Now just toss these into a fire, or just light the cones themselves, and you’ve got colored flames!!  Boric acid is one of several chemical substances that can be used as safe colorants.

I’m sure this doesn’t need to be said, but always be careful when playing with fire.  :)

Crystal Snowflakes


Crystal SnowflakesWe like sparkly stuff, so naturally, we wanted to make crystal snowflakes! This is another really easy project, and the way we did it, really fast too!

Simply dissolve three tablespoons of borax per cup of boiling water, then form a snowflake with pipe cleaner pieces.  Tie a string to the snowflake, then to a pencil, and balance the pencil on top of a jar with your borax solution.  As the snowflake sits in the solution, the crystals will start to attach.

We’ve made crystals using a sugar and water solution before, but that takes a looooong time.  Borax dissolves in hot water, and since you can dissolve quite a bit more in hot water than you can cold, you’re uber-saturating the water.

As it cools, the water molecules can’t hold as much borax, so it releases them as chemical crystals.  They start attaching their crystal selves to the pipe cleaner snowflake, and before you know it, you’ve got one heck of a snowflake.

We’re still working on ours; we want a super-snowflake…  You can also color the water with coloring and get a colored snowflake.

Invisible Ink Messages


Our final project was to make invisible ink messages!!  You can use a variety of materials as invisible ink, such as baking soda and lemon juice.

To start, we took a few cotton swabs and dipped them in lemon juice.  Next, we each wrote a message to each other, keeping it secret of course!

After the paper has dried, we held it up to a light bulb and it revealed the messages!  Since lemon juice is an acid, it breaks down the fibers in the paper.  When heat is applied, it causes the paper to break down and the lemon juice to oxidize, revealing the message.

Final Thoughts


There are tons of seasonal science projects all over the internet.  Many take just a small amount of time to complete, and are tons of fun.  They’re also a great way to spend time together as a family.  Some can even be used to make gifts for others.

Babydoll made a fabulous display, complete with pictures and instructions!


Check out my Google+ slide show for more pictures and outcomes!

Do you engage in any seasonal science in your house?

True Confessions:  This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #elmersscienceready #collectivebias #CBias.  All statements are my own.

Sweet Social Media – Brands and Bloggers

Social MediaAs bloggers, we’re all involved in some sort of social media, even if it’s just a small amount. Blogging is a form of social media.

Some of us do it because we’re hoping to make a career of it, some do it as a personal outlet, others do it because they enjoy writing.  There are countless reasons we play at the social media playground.

And since this playground is always getting new additions, it never stays the same; it’s always evolving.  That makes it fun for those who know how to adapt to the ever-changing game.

Then there are those who don’t see the value of the new stuff.  They don’t see how it is useful to them.  This short series will take a look at the relationship between bloggers and brands:  why it’s useful {for both parties}, a few really bad experiences I’ve had, and finish up with some great ones I’ve had.

For now, let’s take a look at the unique relationship that exists between us and brands.

Brands and Bloggers


Many businesses are learning the value of bloggers.  We are word-of-mouth.  We develop a following of readers that enjoy what we have to say.  Just because they don’t make a current purchasing decision based on what we have to say, the seed is planted.  They now know of a product or service, and will likely remember it when and if it ever comes up again, whether that be in their own homes or those of the people they interact with.  And so on and so forth.

In addition to the powerful voice we have on our blogs, many of us are involved in activities outside of our blogs that put us in constant contact with people.  These are connections as well, and they’re connections that can help or harm a business.

I enjoy this relationship.  I enjoy learning about new products, learning more about products I already use, and really working to promote companies I enjoy.  It’s fun and it’s interesting, and most bloggers take this job very seriously.  As a blogger I have the opportunity to have my vote count, to sing the praises of brands I love from the rooftops, all while being compensated.  It’s great!

Some companies, though, haven’t realized the untapped potential in bloggers.  Next week we’ll talk a bit about a few places that don’t quite get how to interact with bloggers.

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