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.

TOS Sweet Critique: Before Five in a Row

PhotobucketWho:  Five in a Row {created by the Lambert family}

What:  Before Five in a Row – 24 mini-units that make use of literature for children ages 2-4, as well as an extensive “learning readiness” section

Contact:  Message Board

Cost:  $35, plus any books you choose to purchase {can easily be checked out from the library, or you might have the titles already}

Ages:  2 – 4

Before Five in a Row is designed to be used by parents of children ages two to four.  The mini-units provide instruction and activities meant to be used in conjunction with books such as Goodnight Moon and Caps for Sale.  Unlike Five in a Row, the lessons for each book are not necessarily spread out over five days.  They are meant to provide bonding time with your child and a few learning readiness exercises to prepare your child for school in a few years.

Although Babydoll is much older than the suggested age, we took a look at the book because I know what it’s like to be a parent of a child aged two to four.  I definitely would have loved to have had something like this when she was little, as I’m one of those parents that needs direction when it comes to “play.”  I’m much more suited for parenting an older child…

Caps for Sale was one of my favorite books growing up, so I took a gander at that unit.  Although this is the unit I focused on, all literature mini-unit in BFIAR are essentially the same.  You are provided with title, author, illustrator, and copyright information, followed by a story summary.  The unit is then broken up into bible, math, language, sayings, science, art, character, and parent’s note.  It’s extensive!  Each component ties into the story.

In this particular unit, the science lesson focused on health and the way children used to walk around with a book on their heads to learn and keep good posture.  I know Babydoll used to love to walk around with things on her head, trying to balance them.  The lesson suggests letting your child do this, seeing how many things he or she can balance.  Why?  Because the man in the story balanced all the hats he was selling on his head!!

Math involved things like counting the number of hats of each color or introducing a brief money lesson.  Character lessons talk about the characters in the story and what we can learn from them.

My favorite part of the book was the learning readiness section.  There are a number of activities {it’s the largest section of the book} that include bath time activities, store activities, and my favorite, activities in the kitchen!!  Some of these things are things you might already do with your child, but it’s always great to have more suggestions, especially when you’re talking about things such as a two year old in the kitchen!

I also like the fact that, although this is produced by a Christian company, it does not contain doctrinal information and it is not pervasive in the book.  It’s a small part of each lesson and can easily be left out.

I would highly recommend this book.  It’s easy to use, concise, clear, and very well put together.  Like I mentioned before, I would have loved to have had something like this for use with Babydoll.  If you’re struggling for ideas of things to do with your young children or how to prepare them for more “structured” learning, this is the book for you!

True Confessions:  As a TOS Homeschool Crew Reviewer, I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  You always get my honest opinion!

Sweet Critique: Sonsi & Fashion Genius


SONSI Home PageAs I recently went through all of our closets to try and find items to sell at a local consignment sale, I realized I have very few clothes.  I have enough to get by, but pretty much everything I have is not stuff I like.  Sure, I picked it out and bought it for myself, but it’s either a few years old, basic, or wrong in some way.

As a homeschool mom, I don’t need a lot of clothes that are super dressy.  I need things that will go with a pair of jeans and a cute pair of boots or ballet flats so I can go to the grocery store or run errands.  I’m sick of slapping on a plain fitted t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers.  Sure, that’s practical for some things {rainy days anyone?}, but I’m to the point in my life where I want to look pretty, even if it is just running errands.  I’ve kind of just fallen into a slump if you will.

And the real kick in the pants is the fact that most of my stuff doesn’t fit me properly.  I love Target and Old Navy, but I think I’m past that point in my life if you know what I mean.

This is why I was so excited to find out I was given the opportunity to take a sneak peak at new technology Sonsi, Lane Bryant, and their sister companies were debuting today:  Fashion Genius!

Developed by Lane Bryant and sister brands Sonsi, Catherines and Fashion Bug; a team of mathematics; and computer scientists, FASHION genius is a quick and easy survey that determines some of the best clothing items for you based on fit, style, and personality.  The tool helps with fit issues related to tops, bottoms, and bras.

The survey really is short, and it’s as simple as pointing and clicking.  I liked that it asked the questions that I want fashion designers to ask me:  Do your paints gape a lot, little, or not at all in the back?  {I have huge gaping issues.}  What is your body shape {with accompanying pictures}?  They even show images of various clothing items and ask how you would rate them.  At the end, you’re told what your fashion profile is {I was refined and feminine…}.  You’re then taken to an outfit builder where you’re given recommendations {two + signs means you might really *heart* it and one + means you will probably enjoy this} and build an outfit.

I liked that the program helped me weed through tons of clothing items to find the ones that I really enjoyed.  It was fast and easy, and it kept a tally of my total at the bottom.  It even let me pick accessories.

So, you wanna see what I came up with?  I think this might be a Bloggy Boot Camp ATL possibility…

I would definitely recommend using this tool.  Sonsi has cute clothes that range in size from 12 & up, and the rest of the brands have a wide range of size options.  If nothing else, Fashion Genius helps you identify styles of clothing you might not have thought about before.

Go take a look at Fashion Genius and play around.  Be sure to share your outfit with me when you go use the tool!

True Confessions:  This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. I was compensated for my time investment and work on this campaign.

TOS Sweet Critique: Big IQ Kids

Big IQ Kids

Who:  Big IQ Kids

What:  Big IQ Kids is an “online learning academy” where kids can log in, complete fun, engaging and educational lessons and quizzes and play fun games as a reward.

Contact Information:  Contact Info

Cost:  Varies {Free option as well as a variety of paid options}

Age:  Kindergarten to 99

Big IQ Kids is an online learning website with an assortment of spelling, math, vocabulary, and US geography lessons and games available for all ages!  A new SAT Vocabulary Prep program is available as well!  They’ve given everyone access to the spelling and vocabulary program for free, and have a variety of price tiers for the additional programs.

Big IQ Kids

The sign-up process is so easy and takes just a couple of minutes.  Once you’ve registered, you’re ready to start completing lessons.  Since this is a mastery-based system, your child starts and progresses through, mastering levels as desired, and continues right along.

Big IQ Kids

When you click a lesson, it takes you to a screen similar to the one above, where you pick an intro lesson, complete it, and then complete other lessons.  Each completed lesson earns your child one coin that can be used to play a game or makes changes to your Big IQ Buddy.

Big IQ Buddy

Babydoll enjoyed the lessons and games, and really enjoyed playing around with her Big IQ Buddy.

I love that I can access progress reports to see what she’s completed, how she did, and what it covered.  I also enjoy the fact that Babydoll can’t spend all her time playing games, she has to earn them.  I’m totally fine with her accumulating coins and spending time just playing around, but she still has to complete lessons to earn those coins.

Big IQ Kids

The folks at Big IQ Kids also solved the whole moving on before a technique is mastered thing: kids can’t move up through the lessons until they’ve taken a mastery test for each one.  This is so important!

The only thing Babydoll and I had to get used to was the tutors’ voices for each lesson.  Each lesson is narrated by someone, which I think is a great idea, but it sounded very robotic.  Nothing at all that affects usability or functionality, but something we had to get used to nonetheless.

I plan to continue using Big IQ Kids as a supplement throughout the year.  We’ve got several materials we use for spelling, math and US geography, but I think the whole online thing really helps cement it in Babydoll’s mind.

I highly recommend Big IQ Kids as a supplement to what you’re currently using, no matter if your child is struggling or not.  The information is top-notch and I think many kids would enjoy the games and multimedia lessons.  Let me know what you think!!

Would you like to read other reviews of Big IQ Kids done by my fellow crew mates?  Click here to take a gander!

True Confessions:  I received two memberships to Big IQ Kids as a TOS Homeschool Review Crew member to help facilitate my review.  Receiving this {awesomeness} in no way influenced my opinion of the product; I wrote exactly what we thought about it.

Sweet Critique: Easy Canvas Prints

Easy Canvas Prints

I don’t really talk about it much, but you can probably tell from the pictures I post that I still need to decorate my walls in our house.  We’ve been here for about a year and a half and I just haven’t taken the time to figure out what I want and where I want it.

Well, and then there’s the fact that I didn’t want to put holes in my pretty new walls {yes, now I know about the little sticky tab thingies…}.  And, as with many home things, I just kinda got used to the look and never worked to change it.

Family pictures are displayed on my entertainment center, but not on the walls.  And that’s how it’ll stay for now.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, because that was the thought process I went through when Easy Canvas Prints approached me about trying out one of their canvas prints.

I wondered if I would hang it on the wall or place it on my desk or…

To be honest, I have yet to hang it, because I just can’t make peace with that yet.  But, it has been the star on our mantel since I got it {the mantel’s a whole ‘nother story, there’s a massive space because of the high ceilings and I have nothing to put there…}.

The ordering process is super easy.  Just pick a size and go!

Easy Canvas Prints

You’re then taken to this nifty screen, which takes you through all the steps of designing your canvas:

Design Screen

You get real-time updates of what your canvas will look like, and the process is fast.  They ship it, it gets to you fast, and then you’ve got a canvas to enjoy, like mine:


Don’t you love it?  That’s Babydoll when she was about eight or nine months old.  And no, we were not driving somewhere with her in a regular seat.  She was just hanging out with daddy.  I’d like to point out the fact that this was a photograph, scanned into a computer, that was then printed on the canvas.  Awesome right?

Customer service is great and fast.  I’ve been very happy with the experience and would highly recommend Easy Canvas Prints.

Want one?  Of course you do!

Well the nice people at Easy Canvas Prints have set up a great special on their Facebook page.  Just “like” them and you’ll get 50% off your next order and free shipping!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a free 8×10 canvas print in exchange for an honest review.  I liked them, and that’s the honest truth.