Sunday, November 29, 2009

TOS Homeschool Review Crew - Virginia Soaps and Scents


Our family was recently sent four small samplers soaps and one package of laundry soap from "Virginia Soaps and Scents" to try out.  To be honest, I was a skeptic. Will these soaps be any different and will we like them any better than other natural soaps we have tried in the past? We received the Fresh Orange; Oatmeal, Milk and Honey and the Coconut Lemongrass body bars and then there was a shampoo bar - Ginger Lime scent. We were so very pleased! Enough, in fact, that we purchased 10 more bars of various types.

Now this is saying something because a family like ours, that is on a tight budget, is not usually willing to purchase “all natural” soaps, especially since we can usually buy 8-10 bars of the regular soap at a local dollar store near us and save quite a bundle.  Yes, the soaps are a bit pricey, but the responses we got from our children helped sway our decision to buy more.  Our girls especially liked the soaps and particularly the shampoo bars.  Not only did their hair become cleaner and softer but apparently their true color was hiding under layers of soap scum from previous soaps and washings. Their hair looked healthier and some red highlights showed up in my daughter Jessica's hair. My husband was the first to notice it and asked if I noticed it.  They also commented on the honey/oatmeal bar as it seemed to make their skin softer.

When we received the full size bars, that we purchased, we cut them in half. This made them last longer and they don't seem to break up into smaller pieces like the commercial bars do. The bars appear to be handmade and I would say that a great deal of effort is made to make them seem uniform in smell and appearance.

We love how each of the soaps we used smelled and felt on our skin. Here's a list of some of the ones we ordered (we ordered double of some bars) -
  • Shampoo Bar: Ginger Lime Shampoo Bar, Tangerine Grapefruit Shampoo Bar. These bars are available in 5.5 We got the Ginger Lime in our freebie pack and liked it enough to buy some more. We bought the Tangerine for our daughter who has oily hair and it seems to be working well. Her hair is less oily and it does not get oily quite as fast.
  • Shaving soaps: Men's Sweet Sandalwood Shaving Soap. My husband has been using the sandalwood shaving soap and likes it, although he commented that it makes his lips numb, (don't know what that is about), and his whiskers tougher. He said that's OK. He seems to get a closer shave that way since it makes his whiskers stand up better.
  • Handcrafted Olive Oil Soaps: Peppermint, Lavender, Victorian Rose, Wild Bayberry; Oatmeal, Milk & Honey. We girls are using the Peppermint body soap right now in honor of the coming holidays. It feels as refreshing and softening as the other types we have tried. Unlike other years, I have not had dry skin yet this year. I hope that will continue. I will keep you updated and let you know once the really cold weather hits.
We also received a small sample of Laundry Soap that we honestly, and regretfully, have not been able to try yet. Shortly after receiving the soap samples our car was hit by a stolen vehicle which smashed it against our house. Our last few weeks have been turmoil, from which we are just now ascending. We do hope to review it soon, as it requires some preparation, and will post an update later about it.

We like these soaps very much and will be ordering more as our budget permits.

Virginia Soaps & Scents has lots of other great products that you'll want to check out - gourmet soaps, total body bars, lotions, scrubs, and powder, lip balm, and lavender linen spray. And, just in time for your Christmas shopping, their holiday fragrances (I love the Peppermint).

The regular sized body soap comes in a nice 4.5 oz bar size and sells for $4.50 each. They have multi-purchase discounts for the bath soaps: 3 bars for $12, buy 4 bars get the 5th free or 10 bars for $35.

The Samplers (1.75 oz bars) are perfect because they give you a great opportunity to test the Virginia Soaps and Scents out first. You can select the Bed and Breakfast Sampler or the Virginia Sampler or the Trio Gift Crates. Each is a different price, see The Samplers page for details.

The Laundry Soap bar comes in either a 9 oz or 2 of the 4.5 oz bars. You can also buy the kit. These can be found on the laundry soap page.

Shampoo Bars come in a 5.5 oz bar. $5.50 each or 2 for $10.

Be sure to check out what my fellow TOS Mates have to say about this and many other fine homeschool products, at the blog post for Virginia Soaps and Scents on the Homeschool Crew Blog.


**Virginia Soaps and Scents provided me with a free Sampler Pack containing 3 small bars of soap, one Laundry Kit and one small Shampoo Bar, in order to test and use this with my family-so that I could write the review.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fun For Your Friday - The Mom Song

Don't know if you have all seen this. This is sooooo funny. Though I do not put my kids on a bus most of the rest is relevant.  Enjoy!

I  like this version with the lyrics... it makes it so you don't miss a thing.

Happy Fun For Your Friday
Go here to the hostess;'s blog to do your own Fun For Your Friday at Earnest Parenting
she has not posted hers yet for today, but that is her site.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Just a short blog post to wish you and your families a

1 Chronicles 16:34
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Thank you Lord for Family

Psalm 92:1
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:"

1 Corinthians 15:57
"But thanks be to God,
which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Revelation 7:12
Saying, Amen:
and glory,
and wisdom,
and thanksgiving,
and honour,
and power,
and might,
be unto our God for ever and ever.

 And a fun song for you that we sang when the kids were young.

Five Fat Turkeys
Five fat turkeys are we;
We slept all night in a tree.
When the cook came around
we couldn't be found
so that's why we're here you see.

Five fat turkeys are we;
We know you all will agree
That on Thanksgiving day
it certainly pays
To sleep in the tallest tree!

This video is similar but the tune we used and the words are just a little different. It will give you an idea of the tune though and will put a smile on your face.

Happy Thanksgiving
God Bless

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Net Hymnal

One of the ladies in my new online Bible study sent us the link to this website I have never seen before. A Great wealth of hymns, most of which I have never heard. I love the old hymns, I grew up singing them in church and still prefer them to singing praise and worship songs. I sing alto though, I love singing harmony.

NetHymnal. Thou­sands of Christ­ian hymns & Gos­pel songs from ma­ny de­nom­in­a­tions—lyr­ics, MI­DI files, scores, pic­tures, his­to­ry & more. Search­a­ble, ad­vanced Au­to­play fea­ture, free down­loads. New en­tries ev­ery week. Us­er friend­ly. Big­gest site of its kind on the In­ternet. Two thumbs up!

I like that you can hear each hymn with only an organ and piano so you can feel free to sing along. Learn a new hymn. A Great resource for you personal Bible study or for homeschooling and introducing your children to knew hymns of the greats.

I also like that you can search for or click on a favorite hymn writer and see all the hymns they wrote that are on the cyber hymnal site. I looked up Charles Wesley for instance. It gives a little biography and then the listing of his 265 hymns on this site and you can listen to each one or pick your favorites.

Ye Servants of God
The per­se­cu­tion of Wes­ley’s Meth­od­ists is re­flect­ed in vers­es 2-3, which are com­mon­ly omit­ted. (very interesting)

verse 2
The waves of the sea have lift up their voice,
Sore troubled that we in Jesus rejoice;
The floods they are roaring, but Jesus is here;
While we are adoring, He always is near.

verse 3
When devils engage, the billows arise,
And horribly rage, and threaten the skies:
Their fury shall never our steadfastness shock,
The weakest believer is built on a rock.

verse 6 (very appropriate for this time of year)
Then let us adore and give Him His right,
All glory and power, all wisdom and might;
All honor and blessing with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing and infinite love.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


Thank You Lord...

for Freedom in America and for Freedom from sin through your Son on the cross of calvary

One of my favorite Gaither Songs for you

Be thankful for your savior today

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Nov. 23

FOR TODAY... Monday, November 23, 2009

Outside my window... Gray November Day

I am thinking... that I feel so sorry for my dear son, he did half of today's math lesson using the wrong lesson of his math and has to do problems 20 - 28 over again.

I am thankful for... our (new to us) used van to replace the one destroyed by the driver of the stolen vehicle that crashed into ours.

From the learning rooms... only two days of school this week, then a break for Thanksgiving. Started Beethoven for Composers, reading Christopher Columbus' World by Genevieve Foster for History, two lessons in Discovering Atoms, Molecules and Matter by Dinah Zike and Susan Simpson

From the kitchen... cookies for the Thanksgiving service on Tues. night and the church 5th Sunday activity, a fellowship and movie night.

I am wearing... blue slacks, blue shirt with light blue and white flowers, socks and crocks.

I am creating... Christmas ornaments

I am going... we are going actually, to my brother's for Thanksgiving dinner. There will be a bunch of family for dinner and some more joining us for fellowship after dinner.

I am reading... Stepping Heavenward, A Praying Life, and

I am hoping... that our new used van runs and lasts us a long time. I will try and trust the Lord and hold more loosely to the things of this world.

I am hearing... kitchen sounds while dd makes dinner

Around the house... school done for today. My mom is napping. Dh due home soon.

One of my favorite things... chocolate!!! LOL

A few plans for the rest of the week: baking, church Thanksgiving service, Thanksgiving with family, play games with my mom, Christmas shopping that my mom needs to do for us.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

not chocolate but good...
homemade caramel popcorn
made by my dd Rachel

See our hostess' blog to do your own Daybook -


Friday, November 20, 2009


Check out the newest movie... soon to be in production from the makers of Facing the Giants and Fireproof!

I hope you have seen all the Sherwood Pictures movies. If you have not you have really missed something. Check out Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof and see them soon.

Praying for the new movie while it is in production, for safety, health and spiritual strength for all involved. Praying for the impact it will have on the world.


TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Gymathtics by Exploramania

This is a fun DVD with math facts aimed at 2nd to 5th grade students, but believe you me the exercise is for everyone. I would say that I am not in shape, but just the other day I told my husband, "Round is a shape!" Happy Smileys LOL The DVD was very challenging. My older daughter Rachel, age 23, has a thyroid problem and is on medication. She is trying to eat healthier and exercise and she said this is challenging enough that she plans to use it once a week to help her get good exercise. The math facts are below the level my boys are at but the exercise is something we could all use.

The Gymathics DVD is 30 minutes long. These are the sections of the DVD:

Shape Stretches Warm Up - Stretch your mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches.

Counting Calisthenics - Aerobic movements work your heart as fun counting concepts work your brain.

Pattern Power -  Repeating pattern exercise combinations challenge minds and strengthen muscles.

Well-Being Wind Down - Relaxing stretches cool down the body and she gives tips on nutrition and healthy eating.

Price: $24.99. (Special promotion: FREE Shipping & Handling)

Out of five stars we give Gymathics:

Other products available include the Exploracise floor mat, Exploracise Thumballs, and coming soon: Gymathtics 2.0 DVD.

Check out the other reviews of Gymathtics here at the Homeschool Crew Blog

***Gymathics provided me with the DVD so that I could do my review. Though I received this product for free I have given an honest review of them here in this post. 


Fun For Your Friday

I am joining a new blog meme. So here is my Fun For Your Friday post.

We are studying the composers using a Bright Ideas Press curriculum called Young Scholars Guide to Composers  you can find my review for it here:  TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Bright Ideas Press. Last week we studied Haydn and I found this wonderful & funny video on YouTube to go with our study. This is Haydn's Fairwell Symphony. The king that Haydn was composing and directing for would not leave the palace he as staying at and go back to the city. The members of the orchestra were complaining because they could not go home and visit their families until the king left. This was Haydn's answer to the problem. The boys and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope it brings you and your kids a smile today.

When the members of the orchestra left one by one until they were all gone the king got the message and he went back to the city. The orchestra members were then able to go visit their families. Very ingenious and diplomatic of Hydan to think of this.

Go check out the hostess's blog and read her post and join us by posting your own Fun For Your Friday post here: Earnest Parenting - Fun For Your Friday

Have a Great Day and a Great Weekend,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - AVKO

First you might want to know what AVKO stands for....

AVKO helps with Reading and Spelling for students, especially good for students that struggle in these areas. I was given a basic membership for this review. With the basic membership I had access to a bunch of material. I do not have the Sequential Spelling program that is the center of this curriculum. I was wondering, "What good would this membership do us?" Well I looked at and downloaded a lot of stuff. Here are some of the benefits of an AVKO membership.

Institutional Membership is open to individuals as well as tutoring centers, schools, learning centers, homeschool resource centers, etc.   
  • Access to all of the benefits of AVKO's Basic Membership (see below)
  • 25% discount off all materials ordered
  • Read-only access to ALL AVKO curriculum materials (except for Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits)
  • Access to AVKO's newest e-books: 
    • Word Family Supplements 1-7 for Sequential Spelling 
    • Spelling Remediation Test Kit

    • Discounts on AVKO printed materials
    • Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books (PDF) 
    • The Patterns of English Spelling (All 10 Volumes) with Word Families in Sentence Context  
    • To Teach a Dyslexic 
    • Starting at Square One 
    • The Teaching of Reading: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College.
    • The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words

      • Access to the Member Only section
      • AVKO Newsletter with freebies, discounts, resources, and promotions
      • Supplemental Curriculum Materials including word games, worksheets, activities, and more!
      Freebies in the Supplemental Curriculum Materials section
      • Popular Workshop Recordings in MP3 
      • Puns and More Puns 
      • Humorous quotations for comprehension or dictation
      • Short humorous stories with moral attached
      • Inspirational stories
      • Military Humor
      • Pets
      • Poetry
      • Puzzles and Quizzes
      • Family humor
      • History
      • Religious Humor
      • Stupid humor
      • Placement Testing for AVKO Spelling
      • Sequential Spelling Word Searches
      • Vocabulary Illustration Worksheet
      • Advanced Vocabulary Flashcards
      • Links to external resources   
      • AVKO and Spelling City have teamed up to provide you with diagnostic and multimedia spelling resources (from the members page you can access AVKO lists on the Spelling City website)
      So what to do with all this stuff?? One of the first things I did was do an overview of the e-books I got to download. Then I listened to some of the mp3 downloads. There is so much information here. The five e-books in the top section under where it says, "Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books," contain 2,444 pages of material to read and study, and that does not count some of the other items or the "extra's." The mp3 downloads contain over 5 1/2 hours of audio teaching.

      I gave the boys the placement tests and found that they are very strong in their spelling skills. There are 7 levels of books for the spelling curriculum, they test 5 words in 5 different sections for each level. That is 175 spelling words. We took the test over a 3 day period. Nathan only missed one word in the whole test. He is in 10th grade and he clearly is not in need of this, or any other, spelling program at this point in his education. Christopher missed a few words in a couple different sections but overall he did very well. I may go back to the books and look up those words and work on those and other similar words in those sections.

      The e-books I received have enough information that you can understand and implement the way of teaching AVKO uses. If you are a member you can get all you would need to create your own spelling program. There are even pages on how to do just that using only the e-books you get with the membership. If you decide this method of teaching is just what your child needs you can get 25% off your purchase of the Sequential Spelling books, or any other puchase, if you have a membership. They lay everything out and do more of the work for you if you can't spend the time developing your own program. So if you are planning to buy the Sequential Spelling program a membership to the website would be a very beneficial thing. If you want to give your hand a try at making your own program using the e-books you cerntainly get your money's worth with the ammount of materials the membership gives you.

      There are free samples of a lot of the material on the website so you can check out the way AVKO does things and see if the membership is something that would benefit your family, they are on the Materials page that lists all the things AVKO sells. There is also a Freebies page.

      AVKO's way of teaching is supposed to be very good for struggling readers, spellers, and children with dyslexia. If your children fall into this category or you are in need of a new spelling program check out the membership and books AVKO has.

         includes 25% discount on all printed AVKO materials 
         includes 25% discount on all printed AVKO materials

      Out of five stars we give AVKO:

       I give this product my good value icon:

      since it's cost is only $25 and the website advertises that there is over $400.00 worth of e-books when you become a member You get a whole year of access to the many freebies on the site, a very good price for a years membership to an educational website.

      Check out the other reviews of AVKO here at the Homeschool Crew Blog.

      I hope you enjoyed this review and that you will check out all that AVKO has to offer.


      Note: if you buy this membership there are some items in the "fun" activity downloads like "A Pun In Ten" and "Grounds for Divorce" that I would consider not suitable for children at all, or have elements in them that I feel are not suitable for children. These are downloaded as .doc files and so, for example, the pun document could be edited to take out the objectionable material so you could present it to your children if you so desired. Please be aware of this. This is not in the actual spelling programs but in some of the "extra's" that come with the membership. There are other items in the "extra's" section that are great like "History Lesson, Lincoln-Kennedy" and "Daddy's girl" , which may bring tears to your eyes. Please read all the extra materials carefully before printing and giving them to children.

      ***AVKO provided me with basic membership so that I could do my review. Though I received these products for free I have given an honest review of them here in this post.

      Tuesday, November 17, 2009

      Christmas with a Capital C

      My sister sent this to me and I wanted to share it with all my blogging friends. Hope you enjoy it. I did. The Music is from Go Fish... they are great, and the voice scattered between the singing is a favorite of ours, Brad Stein, a Christian comedian.

      Tuesday, November 10, 2009

      The Simple Woman's Daybook - Nov. 10, 2009

      FOR TODAY... Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009

      Outside my window... cloudy and foggy

      I am thinking...nothing much! HA

      I am thankful for... my new laptop so I can make sure the boys do school and sit at the dining room table and get blogging done, read e-mails and be more productive while they are doing their independent work.

      From the learning rooms... in Bible class we are doing the Exodus, for history more explorers, more chemistry stuff for science, Haydn and Mozart for composers study, now studying Raphael as our artist, and working on TOS review items

      From the kitchen... lots of pumpkin stuff
      see Rachel's post with lots of recipes Here.

      I am wearing... green pants; red, white, blue and green top, white with green and brown flower/leaves, bare feet or crocs.

      I am creating... need to begin working on Christmas ornaments... but have been working on... nothing!

      I am going... nowhere this week!

      I am reading...same stuff as last week. Hope to begin reading The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry (recommended by a friend)

      I am hoping... my dh will have my laptop working soon... he can't get the wireless internet to work.

      I am hearing... cars and the White Christmas movie

      Around the house... cleaned up, for a guest visiting my daughters today.

      One of my favorite things... 4:00pm ... when my hubby comes home!

      A few plans for the rest of the week: school, work on Christmas ornaments, play, blog, and read.

      Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

      Autumn Cookies, Yumm!

      If you want to do your own Daybook or read a lot of others go to our hostesses blog:


      Blast From The Past - Rachel and Jessica Fall 1994

      Blast From the Past Blog Button - mom

      You will find the rules for participating in my meme by clicking this link
      Blast From The Past
      Blast From The Past occurs on Tuesdays

      This week I am posting pictures of Rachel and Jessica
      playing in the leaves in the backyard of my Mom's house,
      the house I grew up in.
      My mom is in some of the pictures to, the kids call her Nan.

      As usual if you would like to see one of the pictures larger just click on  that picture.
      Each one should enlarge in a new page then when you close it you will come back here.

      Rachel was 8 years old.

      Ooooh FUN!
      Free Emoticons

      Jessica was 5 years old.

      Here is Nan.

      A sisterly shove
      Free Icons
      Just Playin'!!

      Happy Emoticons

      Free Avatars
      the simple pleasures of childhood!

      I hope you enjoyed this weeks Blast
      Now it is your turn!!
      Post a picture from your past... yesterday... days gone by...
      Pictures of you, your family, your kids, your spouse...

      Make sure you take my Blast From The Past button to put in your post. Tell your readers to click on the button to come to my blog or leave them a link at the bottom so they can read my post and participate if they want to.

      Don't forget to come back and sign Mr. Linky
      so we can all go read your post!!!


      Monday, November 9, 2009

      TOS Homeschool Crew Review - American Heritage Education Foundation

      An Introductory paragraph from the American Heritage Education Foundation.
      "AHEF is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens. AHEF Free K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states..." accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing
      Did you catch that?  FREE! Free Emoticons This is one product that I am reviewing that every one of my readers can afford!

      This product comes as a CD or you can download the lesson plans from the website. The CD includes Elementary lessons, Middle School lessons, High School lessons. The CD and the downloads are the exact same. The lessons are created by and for public schools and some of the activities need a large group. Some of these activities may be adapted to homeschool use and some may not. Some of the activities may be done orally instead of in writing and some of the activities may be skipped altogether. There are a number of choices of activities in each lesson and you may pick and choose what seems best for your family. Since this product was created by a school in Texas and was created for public schools the activities are very "schoolish" and so I skipped or adapted them. But, the topics are worth studying; and even if you don't do them all they may spark your creative juices or be a great addition to an already great education on our government and symbols. 

      We are not covering American history at the moment. We are studying the Renaissance and Reformation.  I hope to get to American history later this year or early next year. For now we did a few lessons so we could review this product and we will review or redo the lessons once we get to American History and we will do those we did not cover yet.

      The lessons on the CD/download don't really cover a time period in history but themes important to American history like the Declaration, the Constitution, the American Flag, and the Statue of Liberty. On each of the pages for the age brackets you can see a list of the topics included: Elementary, Middle School, High School. Some of the topics/lessons are exactly the same for different lessons, some of the lessons are the same topic but different projects are suggested, and some of the topics are only done in one of the levels. 

      We used the middle school and high school lessons. Christopher enjoyed the Declaration Scramble the best of all the activities we did. In this activity the boys were given the whole Declaration and then were given the whole Declaration cut up into paragraphs or parts of paragraphs and they had to put the cut up parts into order. This was fun and familiarized them with our Declaration. Nathan's favorite lesson was the lesson on the American Flag. His favorite part of that lesson was finding and copying a poem about the flag and then drawing a picture to go with it. We also read over the Flag Code for the care and use of the American Flag and we discussed those rules. Then they wrote a one page paper on how and why we should show respect to the flag, why we have a code, and why the code is important. Remember, there are a number of activities for each lesson so you may choose from among them what seems best for your family and you may do one or more for each lesson.

      I highly recommend getting the FREE CD. This way you have it saved and won't lose it if your computer should crash, I hope it doesn't, but it was convenient to not have to save it on my computer with my many other homeschool things on there. It is especially good if you have a slow computer, you don't have to bother with waiting for the download to finish. And, since the price is so reasonable... FREE!  you might as well get the CD!

      Out of five stars we give American Heritage Education Foundation:

      I give this product my good value icon:
      since it's cost is FREE! $0.00

      They also have a binder you can purchase with the lessons already printed out if you are interested in getting it that way but that costs $19.50 per level (includes shipping).

      I hope you check out American Heritage Education Foundation

      Please check the other reviews by my crew mates to get some other opinions on this
      product HERE.

      ***American Heritage Education Foundation provided me with the free CD so that I could do my review. Though I received these products for free I have given an honest review of them here in this post.   



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