TOS Sweet Critique: Amazing Science! – Volume 1



What:  Amazing Science! – Volume 1

Cost:  $19.95 for the DVD or $17.99 for the immediately download

Recommended Ages:  Any, really, as long as there is parent supervision for the kids!




Amazing Science! – Volume 1 is a set of two DVDs full of 23 science experiments kids can do with items commonly found around the house.

Here is a list of the experiments completed on the DVDs:

A complete materials list is given for each experiment, multiple camera angles show what’s happening during the experiments, and an easy-to-understand explanation of the science behind each experiment is given.


We loved these DVDs, especially Babydoll!  She love science anyway, but she absolutely loves doing experiments.

It’s been our experience that experiments in previous curriculum called for a ton of supplies that we didn’t have on hand, so inevitably they didn’t get done.

The materials used in these experiments really are things you have around already:  dish soap, cotton swabs, jars, pepper, plates, etc.

Babydoll had a few favorite experiments:

  • Build a Motor #2
  • Ocean in a Bottle
  • Reversing an Image with Water

She watched the entire set of DVDs in one day and paused every so often to go do an experiment.  That’s how easy it was!  I was working that day, so she was on her own!  She was able to gather the materials herself and, with my supervision, complete the experiment.

She did four different experiments that day!

We highly recommend this DVD set:  it’s easy to understand, fun, full of great science info, and has some great experiments!


See what other members of the Crew thought about Amazing Science! – Volume 1 here.

True Confessions:  I received a copy of these DVDs in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.



Sweet Critique: Interactive MATH

Interactive Math 4

I see the posts all the time:

Math is a four letter word in our house.

Most homeschoolers search far and wide for the math curriculum that fits their child’s needs.  Once they find it, they hold on tight.

Over the past three years Babydoll and I have tried several math programs.  Each had its merits, but ultimately, we’re still searching.

It’s not that any one particular program has been bad, they’ve just not been quite right.

What does all this mean for you?

Well, it means that we’re still trying different programs and I get to share our experiences with you!

I was recently sent a copy of Interactive MATH Premium to try.  I’ve given it a thorough look-through so I’m ready to let you know what I think!


The program is computerized, which I love.  You know I’m a huge fan of technology.

This means that you get a wealth of information in the Premium addition:

  • Multimedia Lessons
  • Math Book
  • Worksheets
  • Exams

The Table of Contents to the left of the screen makes it very easy to identify exactly what you’d like your child to study and delve right in.

The program covers a wide range of topics, too:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Geometry
  • Fractions
  • Decimals


There’s quite a bit more that is covered.  You definitely get an extensive program.

The multimedia lessons can be followed up with worksheets and exams, and the program is set up to allow the parent to track progress.

I did have a bit of trouble getting us signed up; I was unable to see the boxes to type in Babydoll’s name and was promptly warned that I could not change that student so I had to hope I had the name typed correctly.

Also, some of my options were cut off on my screen; not sure why, I have a HUGE one!  Or, they just didn’t show up at all.

I think we’d definitely use this as a supplement or for extra practice.  It would be a nice change of pace when we really need to drive home a point.

Interested in giving Interactive MATH a try yourself?

The good people at A+ TutorSoft are giving away one copy to one reader!

TO ENTER, leave a comment letting me know what the most difficult math for you to teach was!

True Confessions: I was provided with product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Linked at Hip Homeschool Moms.

Update:  I spoke with the good folks with Interactive MATH and they let me know that the issue I was having was due to the resolution of my graphics card and can easily be fixed.  Great to know!  Also, I wanted to make it clear that while we are happy with what we are currently using for math, Interactive MATH can be used as a complete curriculum!

Sweet Cause: Real Women, Real Stories

I am grateful that today’s guest poster decided to share her story.  Each woman who has suffered through domestic violence has a story to tell, something to share, something that might help another woman in a similar situation.

If you’d like to share your story {anonymously is totally OK}, please contact me!


Almost 11 years ago, I chose to get out. I was 22, with two sons, both toddlers at the time.

I had spent the previous 7 years with a man who abused me. Not every day. Some days were great.

But, the bad days, they were some of the worst days as a young mom, I would experience in my life. The abuse didn’t stop while pregnant with either of my sons, it happened less frequently, but still occurred.

I just tried my best to protect my unborn children and fortunately enough they were born physically unharmed.

I still wonder if the articles I’ve read about their mental well-being (while in-utero) is a constant effect on them without knowing what they would’ve been like without that trauma.

I did have my children in the beginning, but as a young mom, who stayed home, I had no income & no support system. I caved the first time my children’s father asked to see them & it went on that way, until we were sharing custody.

It was easier to parent with him helping & just “live” with him around with our sons growing & needing their father.

Moving on, I have had my fair share of dating, relationships, and even a failed 2 year marriage. I had several years of on/off therapy & self-help books to get me to a place where I could finally understand abuse & what I had become because of it.

I had landed a great job, found my independence, & I shared my life with two amazing little boys. Life was good!

4 years ago, my life changed again. I met the man who would become my husband & the father of my third child. A daughter. The game of life changed having her.

I’m so much more aware of how I want to raise her so she will never have to experience ANY of the physical & emotional pain, heartache, & emotional scarring that I have had in my life.

My sons are now 14 & 12. I’ve tried to educate them on DV & all that it means. It’s hard knowing they may have some genetic strand that will cause them to be angry & possibly violent someday.

I want them to be good husbands & fathers. They know some bits & pieces of the things their father has done. Unfortunately, they overlook it & continue to be his greatest fan.

This past year, they’ve even chosen to live with him, as I moved 5 hours away. I’m at peace with what I’ve taught them & helped create with them.

I can only hope that they someday realize the flaws of their father, if only to learn from & not become that man.

So, now, I am a stay-at-home mom again, to a little 2 year-old girl. I have found a great man. A man that provides for us, loves his daughter more than seems humanly possible, & takes care of me.

It took a lot to get here. But I did. The emotional scars fade more everyday & luckily the physical scarring is gone.

There were many days I wondered if I would ever find someone to love me, with all the baggage (emotional & physical) that came along with being my partner, but I did.

I encourage all victims of Domestic Violence to heal & accept love again. It isn’t all going to be the horrible way you may remember.

There are good, kind, & REAL men out there, that would never abuse a woman, in any form. Be patient & willing to find them and also receptive if they happen to find you!

I am hoping to find a good organization either locally or nationally to start to volunteer for and try to help through speaking or some type of outreach program.

On a side-note, I wished to keep my name out of this post only to protect my sons.


TOS Sweet Critique: AIMS – Earth Rocks!



What:  AIMS – Earth Rocks!

Cost:  $29.95

Recommended Ages:  Grades 4-5



AIMS – Earth Rocks! is an activity book that covers Earth science topics for grades four and five.

Topics taught include:

  • Rocks and minerals
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Earth changes
  • Resources
  • Pollution

The book provides a multitude of activities such as make-your-own books, experiments, worksheets, and more.

A complete materials list is also included.


Babydoll is a huge fan of science and rocks and outside stuff; she loves Earth science.

She also enjoys working with her hands making things like little booklets, cutting, gluing, etc.

She’s a huge fan of activity books and will sit there on her own completing them.

All this means:  she enjoyed AIMS – Earth Rocks!.  I felt bad that I didn’t have some of the items on hand that she needed for the experiments she chose, but she still made a few of the booklets and read through some of the material.

I was quite impressed with the variety of worksheets.  I can’t stand getting an activity book that has all of the same:  all matching, all multiple choice, etc.

AIMS did a great job of incorporating drawing, writing, coloring, matching, and lots more.

The material covered is quite thorough and each chapter gives an assortment of experiments.

I would like to see perforated pages in the book for times when you might need to tear pages out, but I’m sure that’s just me being OCD and weird.  It of course does not affect the content.

With the variety of subjects covered by AIMS, I would definitely recommend taking a look at their site to see if there are subjects that you would like to include in your homeschool or as extracurricular activities for your kids.


See what other members of the Crew thought about the different AIMS books they reviewed here.

True Confessions:  I received our copy of AIMS – Earth Rocks in exchange for an honest review of the material.  All opinions are my own.

I’ve Got Gas


Gas is expensive.  You really notice it when you have a husband who makes a two hour round-trip commute for work.

And I’m just going to put this out there:  It’s also not much fun to purchase.

The yummy fresh pasta I purchased today-that’s a fun purchase.

My new vacuum-fun purchase all the way.

Gas-eh, not so much.

Enter MurPay!

Who thought that buying gas could be made fun, convenient, AND frugal?  Not me…

MurPay allows users to text the amount they’ll be spending on gas {up to $125} and receive a custom code to purchase that gas.

This code is good for 24 hours, and when you do use the code at the pump, you’ll get the best gas price in the past 24 hours or three cents off per gallon, whichever is less.

That’s right, the cheapest price on gas!  Just because you texted them!  How insanely awesome is that?

So insanely awesome.

But how does all this awesome work?

  1. Sign up for MurPay.  It’s FREE and only takes a few minutes.
  2. Verify your checking account information.
  3. Text “MURPAY” and the dollar amount you’d like to spend on gas to 304050.
  4. Pay for your gas using your unique code and Customer Verification Number.
  5. Go! You only pay for what you actually purchase, even if your code was for more!

Let’s do this!

We’re smack-dab in the middle of soccer season, which means we’re trekking hither and yon, in addition to Vince’s commute.

With an away game this weekend, Babydoll and I decided to try out our new-fangled way to get gas.

I sent a text the previous night:

Out the door we head!

This game was almost 30 miles away, one way; almost 60 miles round trip!

Considering she had two games this weekend, plus she’ll be playing in a tournament about 30 miles away next weekend which will warrant three round trips, the mileage starts to add up fast.

The game was over and it was time to get gas and head home.

Murphy USA wasn’t too far from where we were, so we headed that way.  This was a new-to-us store.

We got there and found something we hadn’t seen before, an Additech console!  This allows you to purchase additives for your gasoline, designed to clean your engine.  It talked to us!

It was time to purchase my gas with my handy code.  Excuse the glare, it was rather difficult to get a good shot with the sun the level it was!

Next you would enter your Customer Verification Number, watch your savings appear, and get to pumping.

An employee was heading out to tell me I couldn’t take pictures, so I wasn’t able to get pictures of that process, but I bet you can imagine what it looks like.

Why is this so cool again?

Several reasons!  I love my smartphone and it was fun using it to purchase gas!

Then there’s the huge one:  the savings you get.  The best price in a 24 hour period or three cents off {whichever is less}, you can’t beat that man!

There’s something else about MurPay that I think is really cool for households that are trying to budget gas for teenagers, multiple drivers, etc.

You can set purchase limits and product restrictions:

They also have an app!

Of course I’m going to love an app if I enjoyed purchasing gas on my phone!

The Murphy USA app lets you find gas prices nearby {including competitor prices – Murphy USA knows who has the best price}, gives you driving directions to the nearest Murphy USA, allows you to use MurPay, and lets you sign up for coupons and discounts!

It does all of this for free.

This is an awful lot for a gas station yes?

Yes, but you know what I love about it?  It shows that Murphy USA cares about its customers.

Sure, not every person will use every helpful tool that they provide, but they’ve provided several options in the hopes that one will work for their customers.

Let me know if you use the MurPay service and what you think!

True Confessions:  I was compensated for this post.  It was still tons of fun to learn about this service and to use it.  As always, all statements are my own opinions.