Sweet Critique: AboutOne

AboutOne New

AboutOne is back and better than every baby!

I fell in love with it back in August, and I’m excited that they contacted me to give the new version a whirl.

WHAT IS ABOUTONE?

Total awesomeness, that’s what!

To be more thorough:  AboutOne is a digital household management system.

It’s designed to help busy families keep track of the important information they need without having to spend a ton of time doing it.

By storing information on your family, medical histories, possessions, photos, and more, you have an always-accessible file cabinet, ready when you are.

They’re adding more features as we speak, which means this will turn into a robust family management system that will work wonderfully with any existing system you have in place.

WHY SHOULD I USE IT?

I know what you might be thinking:  “I already use my paper planner/Gmail/Google Calendar for this information.”

Yes, yes you do.  That’s why AboutOne didn’t focus on mere appointment tracking.

This program is designed for heavy-duty long-term usage.

It’s designed to store important documents that you might not need on a daily basis, but would come in handy one day while out running an errand.

It’s designed to help you remember those oh-so-simple yet sweet moments in life.

It’s designed to help you keep track of family members’ medical histories.

It’s designed to help you keep track of home and car maintenance.

I could go on and on.  This is what I love about this program.

Sure, I have the immediate things on my calendar.  But, when I’m out-of-town and need to call the nurse line to ask a question about something Babydoll might need to be taken to the emergency room for, I am a little too panicked and preoccupied to remember exactly how the doctor phrased her penicillin allergy or what type of asthma inhaler she specifically has.

That information is entered into AboutOne and I can access it from anywhere.

Another great example they give on the site is babysitting instructions.  We don’t go out often, which means we don’t have pre-written babysitter instructions.

Pulling together information from AboutOne {medical history, emergency contacts, alarm passcodes, etc.} allows me to easily print and go.

See the awesome?

I can manage my entire family, including pets, from this program.  {Yes, yes I do need to add a picture of Vince.}

I mentioned that the new version is in beta right now, so I haven’t been able to access all of the awesome, but they did send me screen shots that I absolutely must share with you.

These show you the potential of this program:

BUT IS IT SAFE?

Yes!!  They have awesomesauce security in place, the same kind your bank uses.

You can read all about it here.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really can’t recommend this to you guys enough.  It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s awesome.

I’d also like to point out one last thing, because this concerned me at first too:  use AboutOne as you go.

I thought I needed to take large quantities of time to scan important documents in and set it all up.  You don’t.

Sure, taking a few minutes to get the basics in is important, but I was up and going in about five minutes.

Do a little of the “historical” work here and there, as you can.  Otherwise, just enter information as it begins to unfold.

Have you used AboutOne before?  Tell me what you thought in the comments!

True Confessions:  I was compensated for this post, but it does contain my honest opinions and views.  I LOVE AboutOne and really think you guys should give it a try, it’s great!

Sweet Critique: “Mighty Fine”

Mighty Fine

Domestic violence takes on a variety of forms: physical violence, emotional abuse, monetary control.

No one way is worse than the other, and quite often, you’ll hear victims say that the emotional abuse is far more damaging than the physical violence.

Mighty Fine, a movie written and directed by Debbie Goodstein, touches on that emotional abuse.

Based on Debbie’s life, Mighty Fine chronicles the Fine family’s life.

Mr. Fine {Chazz Palminteri – yes, Sonny} moves his family from Brooklyn to New Orleans to be closer to his factory.

He showers his wife {Andie MacDowell} and two daughters {Jodelle Ferland and Rainey Qualley} with an extravagant home, nice cars, and other expensive gifts, but you soon realize something’s not quite right behind the scenes.

Mr. Fine has an anger management issue {to put it lightly}, and any little thing can set him off.

The movie takes you through the family’s life as they deal with their move and the way their husband and father acts.

I won’t give anything else away, you’ll just have to watch the movie when it comes out on May 25th {you can find out if it’s playing near you here}.

You can check out the trailer below.

MY THOUGHTS

I grew up with domestic violence around me.  It spanned the spectrum; I saw it all.

This is the reason I wanted to review this film.  I was thrilled that someone had done a movie based on family experiences with domestic violence.

I did come away feeling a little like the movie skipped around a bit too much and that it was a little too Hallmark for my tastes.

It seemed that every time the father got upset, the situation was easily diffused.  This was never my experience growing up.  The situations weren’t easily quieted in mere minutes.

Also, the end of the movie seemed rather abrupt and unrealistic.  I won’t go into details because that would give it away, but it’s just never been my experience that things are resolved in that manner.

All that said, I really had a hard time feeling like this because the movie was based on the writer’s life.  I mean, if that’s what she experienced, who am I to say it’s not right, you know?

Either way, the movie can get a dialogue going about domestic violence, and that’s what is most important.

The movie is rated “R”, mainly for language.  If the “F” word bothers you, you might have a hard time watching this movie.

I’m not a fan of gratuitous anything in movies, but I do think it is appropriate in this situation.  Domestic violence isn’t pretty, after all…

All-in-all, I’m glad I was part of this experience.  It was fun chatting online with the actors after the online screening {I’m not terribly swayed by celebrity, but I totally had a fangirl moment and took a screenshot of the chat with Chazz Palminteri…}, and great being a part of something that was more than just making a film to make money.

True Confessions:  I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Mighty Fine and the distributor. I received access to an online showing of the film and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Sweet Critique: “Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess”

Sadie

We love books in our household.

Love!

I was a huge book nerd in high school {Vince can vouch for that}, and Babydoll absolutely loves reading too.  Vince is a big Stephen King fan.

We have an over-abundance of books here.

Add to that our love for all things pink and sparkly, and well, we’re super-duper in love with Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess.

NOTE:  Sadie, The Paper Crown Princess isn’t actually sparkly, but it definitely should be.  It’s just that cool.

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

Princesses, duh!

OK, so without being so vague…  The book is abso-freakin-lutely phenomenal!

Why?

It’s the perfect marriage of girly, princess-y stuff and do-good-for-others, be-whatever-you-want-when-you-grow-up stuff.

I’ve often had this struggle since having Babydoll:  I love girly things.  She loves girly things.  But there is another side to us as well: playing outside {her}, reading {both of us}, science and math {her}, and other “non-girly” stuff.

Our society often makes it seem as if you have to pick between the two, but as this book points out, you can be a girly girl and have a love for non-girly things.

You can want to be a princess but still have a desire to do for yourself.

Sadie is headed to princess school and while she has great manners and is smart, she doesn’t seem to do well at being a princess in the traditional sense of the word.

Will she be able to get her tiara and become a full-fledged princess?

You’ll have to read to find out!

YOU WANT IN DON’T YOU?

You do, trust me, you do.

The awesome author of the book has given me a discount code for 20% off {pre-order it here} AND she is giving away a Sadie t-shirt and paper crown set!!!

Use code “sweetphen” {no quotes} to get 20% off any Sadie purchase, and use the Giveaway Tools form below to enter to win your Sadie set!

Also, don’t forget about the Sadie Twitter party I’m co-hosting on Wednesday.  Details here!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of the book for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

I’m linked up over on Hip Homeschool Moms!

[Read more…]

TOS Sweet Critique: Homeschool Library Builder

HSLB

Photobucket

What:  Homeschool Library Builder

Cost:  Membership is free, price of books varies

Recommended Ages:  Various

Contact

WHAT IS HOMESCHOOL LIBRARY BUILDER?

From Homeschool Library Builder {HSLB}:

Homeschool Library Builder is co-owned by two veteran homeschool families dedicated to Christ-centered education.

Our desire is to help homeschool families affordably collect books for their literary-based educational needs.

We stock both new and used books found in popular literature-based homeschool curricula, as well as select titles to supplement your unit studies.

Whether you’re looking for educational or leisure, inspirational or reference, self-help, activity, or classic reading, we are committed to providing wholesome materials that will enrich the entire family.

Basically, the site has tons of new and used books available for purchase.  You can search by curriculum, see what’s new, search by subject, and more.

Each book listing details the author, reading levels, book type, condition, a brief overview, retail price, and HSLB price.

HSLB also provides ways for you to earn points toward free books and provides a monthly newsletter full of promotions.  May’s promotion is 25% off all books!

OUR THOUGHTS

I have never personally purchased from HSLB, but they do have a decent selection of hard-to-find books.

The prices are very reasonable, and they make every effort to find something for you if they don’t have it in stock.

I have it bookmarked for future use!

WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT

Find out what other members of the Crew thought by clicking here!

True Confessions:  I was asked to provide an information review of this website.  All opinions are my own.  I was provided with a 10% off coupon code if I chose to use it.

TOS Sweet Critique: “Inference Jones”

Critical

What:  Inference Jones

Cost:  $11.99

Recommended Ages:  Grades 3 & 4

Contact

WHAT IS INFERENCE JONES?

Inference Jones is a workbook that helps students build inference skills.

By using short reading passages followed by true/false and multiple choice questions, students practice making inferences.

OUR THOUGHTS

I was excited to receive this product as this is something I’m still trying to teach to Babydoll.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve found that making inferences is something hard for me to teach.  I just can’t explain it well.

At first glance, Inference Jones seems to be pretty basic.  And, in a way, it is straightforward, which is a good thing.

After just a few minutes of reading through the teaching suggestions, though, I learned a key bit of information I’d never heard before:

After reading the passage, liken the story to something in your child’s life.

This helps them see the correlation.  They can see how you don’t always have all the facts but you can infer something from a situation using clues.

That alone was worth the price of admission!

What I also liked about Inference Jones is that the questions are usually divided into three sections:

  • True or false
  • Multiple choice
  • Probably true or probably false

Other products we’ve used have had the child write out lengthy answers to questions, which for a kid like Babydoll, doesn’t work.

She doesn’t like writing anyway, and isn’t a fan of language arts period, so having to write a bunch of stuff made it drudgery.

Letting her just write one or two letters and circle an answer makes it quick and painless.

I definitely think this is my preferred choice for teaching inferences now.

WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT

See what other members of the Crew thought about Inference Jones, as well as the other titles by The Critical Thinking Co., they reviewed here!

True Confessions:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.