Friday, February 27, 2015

Koru Naturals Review

Today I get to review two amazing products, the Emu Oil and Pure Lanolin Lip Balms, from Koru Naturals for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Koru Naturals is a company based in the United States that brings us the beauty and natural wonders of New Zealand. They offer a wide range of products.....lip balms, lotions, oils, shampoos & conditioners, and even teas! Their items are natural and free of harsh chemicals. They are filled with manuka honey, manuka oil, emu oil, and lanolin. 
There is something for every one.

I was lucky enough to be asked to review the Emu Oil and the Lip Balm. 
I received both products in the mail.

First up, we have the.....

Emu Oil

Emu Oil Premium Golden
100% Grade A Emu Oil

 The emu oil is 100% natural. It contains no preservatives or additives. It's a creamy white oil and has a silky feel. I first used the Emu oil on my hair. I have naturally curly hair, which is dry. Each morning, after my shower, I placed a dime size amount of oil in my hand. I would rub my hands together and then run my hands through my hair. I started at the ends, since they are always the driest part of my hair. When first placed in the hair, your hair will feel kind of sticky, but that doesn't last long at all. Within a few seconds, my hair felt soft! I would just let my hair air dry.I noticed my curls were more springy and much more defined. The oil is very light and never weighed my hair down like so many other products that I had tried. So many products are heavy and leave your hair feeling crunchy or sticky. Not the emu oil. It was perfect!
After a week of using it on my hair, I decided to try it on my face. I tend to have dry skin in the winter and my face gets a little flaky, especially around the nose and forehead. Again, I just placed a few drops in my hand, rubbed them together and then spread the lotion onto my face. My skin is definitely softer! I have little to no flaky patches. The added benefit is my hands, that usually crack in the winter, are slowly healing. My fingers are less painful. My hands look soft and feel great. They look years younger.
This product has so many great uses! I can't wait to see what else it can do.

Next up, we have the....

Pure Lanolin Lip Balm

100% Pure Anhydrous Lanolin Lip Balm
$9.80 for 4 tubes

The lip balm is wind, sun, and water- resistant. 
Heck, I would say its rain, blizzard, tornado, and so much more resistant.
It sticks like glue!

O.K. I have to be honest at first I really didn't like the lip balm. It was thick and gooey. I felt like my lips had been goobed (is that a real word) with a glob of pure Vaseline or swiped with a giant glue stick. 
After a few attempts of wearing the lip balm, I finally figured out the right amount to put on. You can't press to hard. The balm is thicker than your normal chapstick you buy at the store. It lasts a lot longer though. You don't have to worry about it wearing off while you eat or drink.
The best selling point for us is that it''s gluten free!!
My lips are smooth and are no longer cracked, even with the arctic temps we have been having this winter.
Even my son, whose lips crack to the point of them bleeding, has soft smooth lips. At one point, his lips started to crack and bleed and within 2 days of using this lip balm they were almost healed!
We will definitely add this to our must have list.

I am looking forward to trying more of their products. I am thinking we will try out the shampoo and conditioner!

Till next time, 

Want to learn about their other products? 
Click on the picture below and you will be led to some other great reviews
Koru Naturals Review
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In Freedom's Cause Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review In Freedom's Cause Single Package from Heirloom Audio Productions for The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

In the In Freedom's Cause Single Package, we received the following items for review...

  • In Freedom's Cause CD set~ a physical copy
  • In Freedom's Cause Study Guide~ a digital download
  • In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack~ a MP3 download
  • Printable copy of the Prayer of William Wallace~ digital download

The Cd from Heirloom Audio Productions is an adaptation of G.E. Henty's work In Freedom's Cause. It is a story about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce!

It is over two hours of wonderful entertainment. The story is engaging and filled with lots of action. It's great for the young and the old..ages 6 to 100! It keeps young children engaged. I found mine sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what would happen next.

The Cd arrived in the mail and Lego Man was eager to listen to it. He loved learning about the Middle Ages last year. We broke up the story into a few parts. We listened to the story why were eating lunch and traveling the car. You have a lot of car time when you live out in the sticks! The cast was wonderful. The kids had fun trying to place the various voices.  Some of the voices they recognized were Skandar Keyens from The Chronicles of Narnia and Billy Boyd from The Lord of the Rings, and James Cosmo from Braveheart.

I was not familiar with the story.  I did not know the story was about a young boy, his adventures during the reign of King Edward, and his interactions with William Wallace and Robert Bruce. I thought the story would be more about William and Bruce, so I was a little disappointed. My disappointment had nothing to do with the story, just my preconceived notions of what it was about. The story of the young boy, Ned is great for kids. It brings the fight for freedom to them. Standing up for what is right and standing up against wrongs is important for our children to see. Too often today, our kids are idolizing famous people, who are not worthy of their respect. It's great that real heroes are being introduced to young children and us older folks too. I loved the influence that William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have on young Ned. They show why it's important to stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost might. This strength and courage reminds us of all the great saints who lost their lives for their love of Jesus.

As a Catholic, I was looking forward (and a little leery of reviewing this title). G.E.Henty is known in the Catholic community in not being Catholic friendly. I wanted to hear this amazing story since we are of Scottish heritage. We had seen Braveheart, but wanted to learn more about the real William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. I found nothing that was blatantly anti-catholic in the story.
William Wallace was a Roman Catholic. He received a Catholic education from the Augustinian and Benedictine monks. At one point, he was discerning a vocation as a monk. He spoke Gaelic, English, French, German, and Latin. He was a devout Catholic and loved his faith.
There was mention of his faith, but there was no mention that his faith was Roman Catholic.
They did talk about Wallace's devotion to God and his faith. The story mentions Wallace's psalter. A Psalter is a book containing the Book of Psalms and often other devotional material, like the Liturgical Calendar or the Litany of Saints.

We studied the prayer books the monks made last year. Our study of The Book of Kells, was a big highlight last year. The attention to detail and artwork in these books are beautiful. When we researched the Psalter, the kids immediately recognized them!

We did hear Latin in the story, which caused some excitement since some of the words we heard were part of our Latin lessons that week.

"Dico tibi verum, libertas optima rerum. Nunquam servili sub nexu vivito, fili"

My Son, Freedom is best, I tell thee true, of all things to be won. Never live within the bond of slavery.
~William Wallace

Source~ Wikipedia

The study guide is very impressive. It's 50 pages long! You could spend a whole semester learning about Scotland, William Wallace, the fight for Scotland's freedom, and the Middle Ages.

The study guide provides.....

  • Thought provoking questions for the students to think about
  • Questions for moms/teachers to see how well the students were listening
  • Vocabulary words the children could learn and study
  • Map work to help children learn about Scotland and the surrounding areas 
  • Suggestions for further learning....castles, bridges, everyday life in medieval Scotland, knights, weapons, etc.
  • Suggestion and links to digging deeper into a museums
  • Bible study
Source~ Wikipedia

"We come here with no peaceful intent, but ready for battle, determined to avenge our wrongs and to set our country free."
~William Wallace

For fun to be had....
  • Have the kids study the construction of a castle. Why not have them build a castle out of Legos or cardboard.
  • Have the children create swords and weapons the Scottish and English would have used.
  • Have a mock battle between the Scottish and English.
  • Create costumes and have a feast! We did this last year, with our co-op, and the children had a fantastic time!

For memory work, children can work on memorizing the Prayer of William Wallace.

I would recommend this production to anyone learning about the Scotland's history or anyone that is learning about the Middle Ages. The story is intriguing and very entertaining. It appeals to both young and old. There are so many great ways to expand the "learning" process that everyone will have fun.

F.Y.I~~ Heirloom Audio Productions are currently working on two new releases for this coming year. One of them is With Lee in Virginia, a tale of the American Civil War.

This might be a great addition to your lessons if you are learning about the Civil War.
I just may have to add this to our lesson plans for next year when we study the Civil War!

Till next time,

In Freedom's Cause Review

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Classically Catholic Memory~ Gamma Year Week 6

We are learning the last line of the Salve Regina. This is a beautiful prayer to add to you prayer life. We are still singing along with the monks from our Chant Kit CD.


How can we show are love for God, our neighbors, and ourselves?

I found this week pretty easy for the kids to understand.
We read about the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in the Baltimore Catechism. We briefly talked about them, since the next 4 weeks will be spent on them. We spent a great deal talking about how we need to follow the 10 Commandments (really cute craft for little kids can be found here) and the Two Greatest Commandments that Jesus gave us.

I found this heart craft that the kids could make and place into their religion notebooks.
I also found this lacing craft that little kids could make.
I printed it out and the kids made bookmarks!

We discussed how we can live this out in our day to day lives.

  • We give money to the poor.
  • We take names of the Christmas tree at Church.
  • We donate food to our local food bank.
  • We have helped work at a local food distribution for the needy at a local church.
  • We help family and friends when needed.

This week is a great week to get out and help those in your neighborhood. Kids can help an elderly neighbor, rake leaves for a grandparent or shovel the snow, Everyday, we have a chance to live out the commandments of God and grow closer to him. Even helping around the house (without complaining) does this.
A fun idea to help encourage kids is to create a good deeds jar! The kids can fill out a slip of paper with their good deed on it and drop it into the jar. When the jar is filled to the top, everyone gets a special treat. Maybe the child with the most, gets an extra special treat!

We added 5 new states and capitals to our notebook. We labeled the CCM map, went over the large map in our school room, and the kids colored and labeled the maps I had printed out.
For more reinforcement for younger kids, you can purchase a state song CD.


Multiples of Seven

For my kids, I had them work on a worksheet about the multiplies of 7.

For younger kids, you can place Seven is to Heaven.

Write out the multiples of 7 on construction paper. To go along with the Heaven theme, you can make them into the shape of clouds.
You can tape them on onto stairs or the floor of you don't have stairs.
Introduce the multiplies of seven and then remind kids that saints get to Heaven. Have the kids hop from number to number, chanting the number, and when they get to the end  have them shout out HEAVEN!

This week we focused on Elizabethan England and Shakespeare! We read a book about William Shakespeare.

We read a few books from Shakespeare.

Here are two great lap books to go along with this study!
William Shakespeare from A Journey through Learning
William Shakespeare from Homeschool Helper Online...It's Free!

Acids and Bases
We tested various house hold items to see if they were acids, bases or neutrals. I did have this plan to get purple cabbage and testing pH with cabbage juice, but I never got around to getting the cabbage. If you'd like to try out, check out this site. It explains how to do it!
I even made a worksheet to record your findings. You can find that here.

We ended up just using pH strips we found at our local Hobby Lobby store. We filled cups with orange juice, vinegar, milk, water, dish soap, laundry soap, hot sauce, Ketchup, lemon juice, fruit flavored water and soda. The kids took turns dipping their pH strips, very similar to pool test strips, into the various liquids. They recorded their findings into their science workbook.
This a is simple and easy project that can be done. All you really need are test strips. The rest of it is items you can find around your house. Anything will work...just get creative.

Great Words~ 
Christopher Columbus! The learning of this poem is going well. I did decided to try a new game with the kids. Instead of taking turns reciting the whole poem. I am having them alternate a line. So Lego Man will say line 1, then Princess P will say line 2, and so on. It seems to be helping, since I saw that they were forgetting or stumbling on the same line each week. I think this is helping them focus a little more. It is also slowing them down. They were getting to the "fast" mood of reciting. I wanted them to slow down, speak clearly, and focus on what they were saying.

Till next time,

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Review for the film IndoctriNation

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the documentary IndoctriNation from Great Commission Films for The School House Review CrewI was sent the DVD IndotriNation to watch in my home and share my thoughts about the film. The film is 102 minutes and only costs $19.95

Have you ever wondered or doubted the educational system in the United States? 

Well if you have, I highly recommend this very enlightening film. The film is produced and directed by Colin Dunn.

The film asks some thought provoking questions...
  • How was the American school system established?
  • Are our kids physically and morally safe in the schools?
  • Can the current system be fixed?
  • Is the current system religiously neutral?

Mr. Dunn is a Scottish born homeschooling father of seven children. In the film, he sets out on a quest to understand the origins of America's school system and the impact that the modern school system has on our families. This is something many of us have wondered ourselves. Whether you homeschool, send you child to public schools, or send them to private schools, we all have doubted or questioned the system at one time or another. 

Like many adults, I went through the public school for a few years and then ended up attending a private, Catholic school for the remaining years. Even though I was part of the school system, I never knew how the concept came about. I knew at one time kids were taught at home. We have all read stories about our early ancestors. I also knew that at some point in history that changed. How did I know this? I watched and read Little House on the Prairie. Laura was taught in a one room school house and went on to be a teacher. 

I'll be honest I didn't know much more about our school system. Even when I decided to homeschool, I never did any research about our current system. I just knew that it wasn't the best option for my kids or our family. If you would like to find out a little on how the education system came about, you can read this article by Samuel Blumenfeld, who is interviewed in the film. I found him to be very insightful in the film. 

As parents, we all want what is best for our children. When they are little, we nurture them. We provide food, shelter, toys, and plenty of love. We don't just through them outside to fend off the wolves by themselves. If we did, we would be hauled off to jail. As they get bigger, their basic needs change slightly. They are less dependent on us, but they still need our guidance. We still want what's best for them but it now includes the best education. We want them to have the best opportunities when it comes to extracurricular activities...sports, drama, art, debate team,etc. The list is endless. We still want them to be kept safe. It's the natural order of life. 
But does the public school system do all of that? Does it do any of that?

Mr. Dunn sets out on a journey, across America in a big, yellow school bus, to interview various educators, ministers, parents, authors, etc. As the journey progresses, we follow the timeline of the early education system all the way to the current system. It's a very eye opening journey. The film is from a Christian point of view, but I do believe many parents, who have no faith or are lacking in their faith, could gain a lot knowledge from this film. 

Mr. Dunn does an excellent job explaining how our current system has gotten to where it is today. No matter what faith you are (or if you do not believe), we have seen the issues with the current system. Our children are falling further and further behind on the education ladder. Violence in schools has increased. It's a sad day when parents have to worry about their children being shot to death in the very place that are supposed to be safe in. We send our kids to school to learn and to get the best education possible! We don't send them to learn about the harsh realities of life.

Is that happening? Are our children receiving an excellent education form the current system?
Maybe for a select few. 
Overall what are our kids learning at school...violence, foul language, how to bully, how to do drugs and drink excessively, how to make out in the school hallways, and how to disrespect authority, especially their own parents. The list of negatives seem to out weigh the positives. 
Smart kids are made fun, not encouraged. Education is no longer seems to be the priority. 

Our education standards has dropped. It saddens me to think of all the amazing teachers that are out there that can not provide for their students. The get frustrated and end up walking away.
I have talked to numerous teachers, who have since retired or left the system because of frustration. All of them have said the same thing..."We are no longer teaching the kids!" It's about bureaucracy. Many teachers love their children and try to do the best they can, but for many their hands are tied. 

Even the standards for teachers has dropped. I recently read a book about the smartest kids in the world and how they got that way. It amazed me to see how much time, not money,other countries put into their teachers and students. America could take a few lessons from a country like Finland.

Our current system is failing. The worst part about it is that it's hurting our children. 
Do we stand back and do nothing? 

IndoctriNation is a fantastic film that digs deeply into our current system. Mr. Dunn share the information he has learned along his journey, but more importantly encourages parents to dig deeper. He wants parents to question and help improve the current public school system. I would recommend every family with school age children in the United States to watch this film!

If you want to learn more about the film and read some other reviews just click on the button below!

IndoctriNation DVD Review

Till Next Time,

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up/THMJ

In our homeschool this week.... Sick Days! Co-op was cancelled on Monday (and last Monday too) do to sick kids.Our family was part of the sick crew. Unfortunately, I woke up with a stomach bug on Valentine's Day. Happy St. Valentine's Day to me! So no special dinner for me. I did get to relax and sleep all day. I.m not sure that counts since the stomach flu is horrible!
So when mom and 1 kid is sick, what do you do? You do school on the couch! Princess P worked on her lessons, while lounging up on pillows and snuggled up with blankets and this little fellow....

Doesn't he look comfy?

We've been working on Week 10 in CCM! I can't believe we are half way through this year. The kids are excited to be getting into the American Revolution War. I have been looking into some fun ideas to help with learning. Maybe even a trip to Valley Forge! First, we have to get through the French and Indian War. 
For science, we watched a few videos from a company I will be reviewing in a few weeks. I fill you in on it later on. 
I am so happy we are right on target for our lessons! Last year we fell behind do to all our illnesses. It's nice not to be stressed out about the work load.

In our life this week..... Sick days, COLD (VERY COLD) weather, books for school, laundry, dogs, cats, chickens. All the normal stuff. The temps have dropped and we got a few inches of snow! They are calling for a snow/ice mix this weekend...ugh! We were hoping to have at least one big snow storm. The kids would really like to use their new sleds. 
I have been busy figuring out the classes for next year and the books we will need. I have started to order them. A few have come in already. It weird how we get excited for next year when we still have to finish out this year. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to our summer break and hopefully a small vacation.

We did head out into the frigid temps. We stopped at our local thrift store. We found some pretty skirts for Princess P and me. Can you tell we are ready for spring and summer? We even found a pair of shorts for Princess P that actually reach her knees. The lady at the store said they are pretty rare to find. She called the other shorts underwear, since they are that small! 
We had to go get food for all our critters in order to feed them. It's not like you can't feed have to or they get a little hostile and loud! They don't let you forget about them. 

"Who Me?"

The cats meow and circle you like land sharks. They act like they are starving even though they have food all the time. She looks like she starving doesn't she?

The dog gets right up in your face as if she is saying "HELLO, MY STOMACH IS GROWLING! It' been 10 WHOLE MINUTES since I've had anything to eat!"

The rooster decided to charge me last week. Crazy bird! I had to retreat and grab a broom. 

What I am Reading... How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

I'm only into the second chapter, so I can't give an opinion of it yet.
I did check it out from our local library and was disappointed by a fellow library users need to VANDALIZE the book.

It really shows how immature you are when you feel the need to vandalize a book.
It reminds me of a quote by Fulton J. Sheen.....

What the kids are reading....
Lego Man is still working his way through the Redwall series by Brian Jaques. He's in book four now.

Princess P just started the Kaya books from American Girl. We found the book set at our thrift store for only $5!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Till next time,

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Recently, while out for a drive, Lego Man spotted a juvenile Eagle up in a tree.

Till next time, 

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Kitty Condo Edition

When it's cold outside, what else is there to do but build a kitty condo!




Till next time,

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