It’s Inevitable…

U by Kotex Tween

If you have a young daughter, it’s inevitable: you will have the period talk at some point.

And if you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of experience to draw upon to help you handle this situation. For all her good points, my mother didn’t really “prep” us to start our periods when we were little…

So now, I have my own little girl. While I like to think that we have an open relationship and we can {and do} talk about anything, the thought of actually having this talk with her freaks me out.

I mean, face it, it’s awkward. There are way more fun things to talk about.

This is why I am ecstatic to be a Kotex mom!

Going to the Source

When you need help with something, and information, where do you go?  Straight to the source, that’s where.

Just because we’ve dealt with this most of our lives doesn’t mean we know how to talk to our daughters about it.

That’s where Kotex Tween’s site comes in super handy.  It has an amazing selection of resources to walk you through the entire process of talking to your daughter.

The best way to become comfortable is to prepare.

And Kotex hasn’t left the girls in the dark either.  They’ve put together a great site for them as well!

Pretty Pads

I totally heart the new line of products Kotex has put together for tweens and teens.  Remember having to carry around the big, massive, pastel pink wrapped pad?

No more baby!

Look at this stuff:

U by Kotex Tween

And if we’re being honest here, I’d so use pink tampons…

The Talk

Let’s all hope our daughters can say this about us…

I can’t wait to share all I learn throughout this process, and how I prepare myself for the talk.

Hopefully I can help some of you too!

True Confessions:  I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Homeschool Planning Changes for Next Year – Work in Progress

Warning: This is a slight rambling of my thoughts right now as I sit and begin to plan our homeschool year.  There are some useful resources peppered throughout though.

So I’ve done several posts here on Sweet Phenomena over the past couple of years {yes, in August Sweet Phenomena will be two!!!} about homeschooling planning.

I am not ashamed to tell you {or maybe I am, but either way, I’m going to tell you because I’m gonna keep it real} that I still don’t quite have a system down yet.  Something still falls through the cracks.

Things just aren’t working as smoothly as I know they can.

So it’s the time of year when I start thinking about our next year.

One thing that I know did work this year was our use of Dropbox to do daily schooling and plans.  That is on the road to success; that setup.

Well, I am so stinking thrilled to let you know my initial thoughts on the new My Well Planned Day software!!  It takes our Dropbox concept and puts it on steroids.

I want to note:  This is not a compensated review.  I just paid for this item myself, on a whim, deciding to give it a try.

Oh. Em. Gee.

This thing is awesome.  So.  Flipping.  Awesome.

It’s in beta right now, so you can’t even use all the awesome that will be come August when it’s fully released.

I just watched a recorded Q&A session, though, and they have amazing plans for this software.  They have thought of everything!!

I’ll be able to enter assignments in the software, and Babydoll will be able to log on as a student and access her stuff, same as we did with Dropbox.

They’re working to make assignment completion work with attendance tracking. Pure awesome.

Oh how I love it…

I also found three posts that have helped me immensely.  They’re over at The Planted Trees:

I haven’t delved into the week and day one yet, but the year one was immensely helpful.  I think I have  finally found a way to actually get school done in a simple, flexible way that also works with Vince’s schedule.

Only time will tell whether this works, but opening up the school year to a year-round schedule, marking off the dates that I know we’ll need off {Blissdom next year, camp, etc.}, and using a simple formula that she outlines in that post, I know exactly how many days we need to school a month.

They don’t have to be M-F each week.  I’m just too excited!  Plenty of time built in for goofing off, sick days, and more.

What do you use? What do you love? Do you school year-round?


TOS Sweet Critique: IXL



COST: $9.95/month or $79/year

RECOMMENDED AGES: Pre-K through early high school



IXL is an interactive site designed to help students practice math skills.

It covers Pre-K math through algebra.  Plans are in the works to also offer subjects such as geometry and trigonometry.

IXL Screen Samples

As children progress through each exercise, they earn awards that show up on a virtual game board.

IXL Awards and Games
Parents have access to a parent dashboard where they can view reports such as progress made over time, types of math completed, medals and awards earned, proficiency, and much more.

IXL Family Reports

IXL lists the follow benefits associated with membership in the program:


Babydoll isn’t a math lover.  At all.  So reviewing anything math-related can be a tough task for her.

IXL isn’t designed to be a play-all-the-time math game, it’s designed to be practice.  With any practice in an area you aren’t too fond of, there’s a certain amount of tedium.

Babydoll thought the awards system could use an overhaul.  She prefers to be able to “use” her awards in a system like this: plant a tree, buy a skirt, outfit an avatar.

I guess maybe it feels more gratifying to her after having to sit through math practice!

It may just be an age thing {she’s almost 10}, or perhaps just her personality, but this was her biggest issue with the program.  Uncovering pictures on a game board just wasn’t enough to hook her.

There is definitely an element of surprise on the themed game boards for each level, so other children may absolutely love uncovering items for each theme.

As a parent, I appreciated the parent dashboard.

When you’re using something like IXL, you need to know it’s working.  I need to be able to see proficiency and mastery, among other metrics, and in this IXL delivers.

I also liked it’s bright colors and fun graphics.

Definitely check it out if you’re in need of a more fun way to “drill” your child in math.  This just might do the trick.

They offer the option to practice for free {up to 20 questions per day} so you can see if it’s something that would work for your family before committing to membership.


True Confessions:  I was provided with a membership to this site in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.


TOS Sweet Critique: Pearson Homeschool myWorld Social Studies – Grade 5

Pearson Social Studies Grade 5

Pearson Homeschool LogoWHAT: Pearson Homeschool myWorld Social Studies – Grade 5

COST: $69.99




Pearson Homeschool has tried to provide homeschooling parents with curricula that makes use of a variety of learning methods:  game-like drills, videos, workbooks, and more.

They provide science, reading, language arts, math, and social studies products.

The myWorld social studies products are for Kindergarten through 6th grade, and cover reading maps, how the US came to be, historical figures, and more.  A focus is put on helping the student see how they fit into the communities they are a part of and how events and people are all related.

The myWorld bundle comes with a student worktext, myStory Video DVD-ROM, and Teacher’s Resource Library DVD-ROM.

Students are encouraged to write in the worktext as they circle, underline, write, and more to make the lesson real to them.  In addition, each lesson has a real-life story that relates to the material, making the lesson even more applicable to the student.

Video field trips are featured on the myStory Video and the Teacher’s Resource Library contains lesson plans, hands-on activity ideas, and much more.


Loved it!  Both of us!

This bundle marries everything Babydoll and I love in a curriculum:  workbooks, reading, multimedia learning, and projects.

The Worktext

The worktext is colorful and engaging.  And let’s face it, what child doesn’t like to write in their books?

The first thing the student is asked to do is to draw a picture of themselves and write their name on the cover.  Awesome.


Nine chapters cover aspects of Building Our Country such as The First Americans, Life in the Colonies, The American Revolution, and Civil War and Reconstruction.

Each lesson within a chapter contains the Big Question {or what the student will learn from that chapter}, vocabulary, reading passages, and questions they can answer right in the book.

The text contains a variety of questions as well:  categorization, drawing conclusions, cause and effect, etc.

Also {and one of my favorite parts!}, there are myStory Ideas throughout, and these, my friends, are so cool!  Your child can head to Tikatok and answer these questions, illustrate them, etc., and at the end of the book, if you so choose, you can print out your child’s work.  A year’s worth of stuff in a tidy little book that they’ve illustrated.  Win.

Another cool thing is the Stop! Wait! Go! section at the end of each lesson.  Your child can tell you to stop {because they need help with…}, wait {because they have a question about…}, or go {now they know…}.

And don’t forget the videos.  An icon throughout each lesson will tell you when there is a corresponding video for the lesson.

Each chapter ends with a study guide and review and assessment.

Pearson Social Studies Grade 5

The myStory Video DVD-ROM

The videos on this DVD are engaging and interesting.  Babydoll enjoyed watching them.

We’ve done electronic field trips before and love them.  While they’re not quite the real thing, they’re still really neat to view.

I think she found it a welcome break in the lesson.  She loves to read, but she also isn’t a fan of writing, so I think the videos provided just enough “fun” to keep her hooked.

The Teacher’s Resource Library DVD-ROM

This DVD has pretty much everything you’d need to teach these lessons.  Lesson plans, maps, extra activity ideas, it’s all there.

I’m torn, though.  While I love the idea of a small footprint and the shear magnitude of info on the DVD, I’m also  partial to print teacher’s guides.

Probably not a big deal, because of course I can print the items I need, but I am a workbook lover just like Babydoll

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed this product so much!  I actually can’t wait to take a look at other Crew reviews since some folks got to review things like Pearson’s reading product.

The product itself is a quality product {I can’t stop holding the worktext, there’s just something about it; it’s perfect!}, a wealth of information is covered, and it’s done in a fun, engaging, and relevant way.

My one disappointment was that some of the online activities mentioned within the work text are not available for homeschoolers.  Pearson did mention this in the guide that came with the materials, and I understand needing to be cost efficient.

Babydoll and I, however, are box-checkers, and we really wanted to complete the activities on the site.  I spoke with a Pearson rep and was told I could purchase a license on my own, which I eagerly wanted to do, but the sales rep I talked to didn’t know how to help me.

I’m sure that since this is something new for them, everyone isn’t quite sure what to do with us!


See what other members of the Crew thought about the Pearson products they reviewed by clicking the banner below.


True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of this product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  We really did enjoy it though!

Wendy’s Frosty Weekend!

Wendys logo

This weekend, Wendy’s has something that you can all do together to help other families! And it’s yummy, too!

Now through June 17th, anyone can help children in foster care find permanent, loving homes.

Continuing its Father’s Day Frosty Weekend tradition for the sixth year in a row, Wendy’s is inviting customers to help raise money for Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. This signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is dedicated to finding permanent adoptive families for children in foster care. Here’s what you need to know:

Who: Everyone! And dad, too!

What: Help Wendy’s make a big donation to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption that is dedicated to finding permanent adoptive families for children in foster care. They want to beat last year’s $1.4 million donation! Let’s help them get there!

When: Father’s Day Weekend (June 16 – 17)

How: There are three ways to donate:

1. Buy any Frosty product: On Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17, for each Frosty product purchased, participating Wendy’s will donate 50-cents to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. (includes the original, parfaits, shakes and floats).

2. Use a mobile-friendly website to check in at Wendy’s: Wendy’s will donate 50-cents for every customer that checks in at Wendy’s restaurants during Father’s Day Weekend (June 16 and 17 only) using Wendy’s special mobile-friendly website found at

3. Re-tweet: Now through Father’s Day, re-tweet one of @Wendys special Twitter posts with the hashtag #TreatItFwd—and Wendy’s will make a 50-cent donation. You can follow @Wendys on Twitter at

True Confessions:  I was provided with a Wendy’s gift card in exchange for posting this information.

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