Perfect Lashes {a product review}

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Having eyes that pop on stage for a dancer is really important … with a move this last year into a pre-professional classical ballet company we had to learn some new tips and techniques for stage makeup. While false eyelashes are the go to look of choice, there are some times when you just want to use something a little bit easier to apply.

Mia Adora 3 D Lashes

We were thrilled to be selected to review a great product and a wonderful substitute for false eyelashes – Best 3D Fiber Lash Mascara by Mia Adora. In all honesty I had never heard of “fiber lashes” before receiving the product but, my dancers had and they were super excited to give them a try! One huge tip if you are just starting out – make sure to read through the booklet that Mia Adora will send you – it has lots of great application tips that are important. My girls had watched a few YouTube videos also, which I think helped us to have a great first test run with the lashes.

Ava Mae Lashes

Ava Mae’s Demo of the Lashes – she used it on just one eye to show the difference.

Some of the benefits of using Mia Adora’s 3D Fiber Lashes –

  • High Quality, Natural, and Non-Toxic
  • Hypoallergenic Ingredients
  • Smudge Resistant
  • Instantly Longer and Thicker Lashes – magnify your own natural lashes up to 300%
  • Strengthen and Condition your natural lashes

Mia Adora 3D Lashes
The lashes can be purchased directly from Mia Adora. The 3D Fiber Lash Kit Comes beautifully packaged with – 1) Tube of Black Magnifying Gel

2) Black 3D Fiber lashes to extend and thicken your eyelashes

3) Protective Carrying Case made with Recyclable material

4) Free Bonus Eyelash Guide

{Disclosure: Mia Adora 3D Fiber Lashes were provided by Mia Adora for my review, as part of a partnership with Tomoson. I was not compensated for this post, and as always, all opinions are my own.}



Hornswoggle : A Book Review

Hornswoggle Book Review

Recently I had the opportunity to review a new book by author, Trip Hughes. The name of the books is Hornswoggle. It is a sweet story about a young girl named, Eden who purchases a mysterious egg from a peculiar little shop in the orchard near her home. Shortly after a dragon hatches from the egg but, this dragon is not like any other dragon. All attempts to help the dragon learn to fly fail as Eden discovers that not everyone’s gifts are the same, and a deep friendship is born.

Hornswoggle Book Review

The illustrations are wonderful!

“Although he did not look like other dragons, and could not act like other dragons, even though he could not fly, he was still a very special dragon.

Hornswoggle was her dragon, and she knew that they would have big adventures.”

My children absolutely loved this story! It is written well and the illustrations are adorable. A great book based on the scripture Jeremiah 29:11. I feel this book would make a great addition to any home or a great gift, think Christmas!

Hornswoggle Book ReviewAvailable for purchase at Barnes & Noble.

My Home School Grades {A Mosaic Review}

Earlier this year I attended a seminar on homeschooling through the high school years. It was great to glean wisdom from a homeschool mother and teacher who has graduated several high school seniors. It all sounded great until the talk turned to transcripts. I think at that point I began to break have a panic attack. The information presented to us made it sound so simple but, I just could not wrap my brain around collecting all that schooling data and making it look “official”.

Then I got this great opportunity to review My Home School Grades and my faith in being able to handle high school transcripts greatly increased. First and foremost, this program is so simple to use! You can have all your children entered into the site and ready to begin tracking in a matter of minutes. There are even tutorial videos on the main page of the site which easily walk you through step by step – though I don’t know if you will need them, this site is so user friendly.

Several curriculum packages {Apologia, IEW, ALEKS, and Rosetta Stone – to name a few} have already been linked with My Home School Grades which makes it super easy to enter lessons. And, if you have a favorite curriculum they are not currently linked with, you can request yours to be added.

The program is as easy as just entering your child’s courses, grades, and activities and then printing a transcript. If you are entering grades at the end of the year you can just enter a final grade rather than every lesson.

You can give it a try yourself for two weeks absolutely free! My Home School Grades does not even require a credit card for your 2 week trial. If at the end you love it as much as I do, you can purchase a LIFETIME membership for just $49.99. With it being the end of the school year and here in Georgia time to write those fun end of the year reports, this is a great time to give this program a try.

Waterproof Bible {A Mosaic Review}

I have had the opportunity to review many great products over the last few years but, this one has to be my most favorite so far! The Waterproof Bible published by Bardin & Marsee Publishing is such a wonderful idea. The idea originated from the publisher’s desire to “take God’s word into all of His creation, regardless of the weather or circumstances“. As we head into the summer months I am so excited to be able to have a bible I can take with me – absolutely everywhere! No longer am I worried about my bible getting wet or dirty – it can travel with me to the park, pool, and beach.

We had great fun testing the bible out … I mean we had to really make sure it was waterproof. I have to admit the first time we poured water over the pages I was afraid to wipe it off. We were pleasantly surprised. Not only did the pages easily wipe dry – you would never have known they had water on them. The pages are made from a synthetic material which makes them waterproof and stain resistant. I just loved they way the pages felt and you can easily highlight material with a dry highlighter, colored pencils, or a ball point pen. From our experience the pages also do not tear – another bonus.

I received a pink and NLT New Testament Waterproof Bible with Proverbs and Psalms. The bibles are available in five different translations and three different color covers. They start at $44.95 for a full version or $24.95 for a New Testament version. You can even have the cover imprinted with your name or initials for just $7.00. What a perfect gift for any graduating senior!

Ooka Island {A Mosaic Review}

I was asked to review a software application called Ooka Island Adventure that helps children ages 3 – 7 learn to read. Though, my youngest is 8 years old – she is always “game” for a fun learning computer application. Ooka Island Adventure ensures skill mastery in five areas of of reading instruction – phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. It is all based in a fun learning environment meant to adapt to your child’s strengths and weaknesses.

So, even though Ava Mae was at the top of the recommended age, she loved the various areas of Ooka Island and couldn’t wait to have me write this review. In Ava Mae’s words “the books were really fun – I enjoyed that I got to read them! I liked the Seashell Sentences and sailing along on Jet Skis and saying the right phonic sound. I also liked I got to create my own hero at the beginning of the game – I even picked her hairstyle. My mom didn’t have to help me sign into the game – I would just pick my character and start back where I left off. I really liked earning stickers and I think kids younger than me will love it.”

I liked Ooka Island Adventure as I feel it is one teaching tool that has some great science behind it. Here is a little info on their Learning Flow Cycle – 

What is the Learning Flow Cycle?

There are three distinct parts to the learning flow cycle in the Ooka Island Learn-to-Read System. This unique learning flow is what makes Ooka Island so engaging for young learners and keeps them eager to play and learn on Ooka Island.

  1. Guided Play – focuses on phonological / phonic development through skill-building instructional activities.
  2. e-Reader – focuses on concept of word, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension through the Ooka Island Books Series (85 leveled and sequenced books in total)
  3. Free Play – allows children to play activities that reinforce what they have learned, to reread books from the Popcorn Library, or to do just-for-fun activities.

*Helpful Hint – Children can exit out of Ooka Island at anytime and their progress and spot in the program is saved for the next time they log in.

Many of the computer based phonics programs we have tried out in the past focus on one area of the learning to read process – Ooka Island Adventure covers it all and can have your child reading within 8 hours of beginning the program. I also felt the reporting end of Ooka Island allows parents to keep track of where their child is succeeding or an area they may need extra focus.

The only area we had issue with was technical in nature. My childrens’ laptop would not run the program without throwing us out. I contacted Customer Service and they were awesome both in their response time but, also in quickly finding a fix and emailing me a patch to download and install on the computer. It did help, though we have continued to have spells where it would run slow or kick us out after playing for awhile. 

Ooka Island Adventure pricing begins at just $12.95 a month for one student or $19.95 for up to four students. And, I have been given a special coupon code for 30% off  – good through June 1st.

I think this would be a great summer learning activity for your per-schooler through 1st grader!

Saving Memories Forever {A Mosaic Review}

Every once in awhile as I am scrolling through my iTunes library I run across this sound clip of Ava Mae reciting a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. She was just 4 years old and it is absolutely adorable. I always think I need a way of recording these types of things in a scrapbook of sorts. Amazingly, there is an app for that!

Saving Memories Forever, is a company that offers a way to record and store memories! You can choose to just record some sound blips of a cute child, have a place for a family member who is far away to record a message to a loved one, or a place to record the story of your life.

The quickest way to get started is to download the free app on your iPhone {or Android} and create an account. Then let the app walk you through recording your first sound clip – as you can see below it is so user friendly!

When you are done recording just push the upload button and your memory is saved. Don’t have a smart phone – you can use the service on your computer. Just head on over to their website to get started.

Saving Memories Forever was begun by Harvey and Jane Baker who understand that a family tree is so much more than just names on a piece of paper – there are stories behind those names. Stories that need to be told and heard.

What a wonderful app to have before you head off this summer to visit family! I think this would be an amazing tool to have at a family reunion.

Saving Memories Forever is a free app but, for some of their premium services {which I would highly recommend getting} there is a fee of $3.99/month or $40/year. You can see a comparison here.

Spanish For You {A Mosaic Review}

My children love learning foreign languages – we have been working on conversational Gaelic, Russian, and Latvian {the latter two due to our adoption this summer and spending a month in Latvia}. Spanish is something the kids have been learning for years – I remember being somewhere when Ava Mae was just four and she started speaking Spanish to a woman and her little girl. The mom was thrilled to engage her in some phrases.

We had the opportunity to review Spanish For You! in our homeschool over the last few weeks. Having tried several different curriculums for Spanish – even the expensive go to software for all foreign languages, I feel like an expert in Spanish curriculum. So far, this has been the most child friendly curriculum we have used. In fact, the whole time I was working with the curriculum I kept thinking this would be a wonderful package to use at a hybrid school or co-op.

Spanish For You! is a theme based curriculum. We received the Fiestas package {also available – Seasons or Travel}. So while we were learning Spanish we were also learning about holidays, special occasions, and party themes. For a younger child {younger than 3rd grade} I could see putting together a fun lapbook with this curriculum. The curriculum in our package included a lesson book, downloads of student materials in pdf format {worksheets, flashcards, etc.}, mp3 downloads of the audio files, and a Lesson Guide.

Having never scored well in enunciation during Spanish class myself – I love the wonderful audio files in Spanish. No guessing how to pronounce a word or phrase.

The lesson guide is easy to follow and has short lessons for 4 days a week.  There are 30 weeks of lessons for grades 3 – 4 and 24 weeks for grades 5 – 8. With our mix of ages we chose to just follow the 3rd – 4th grade level and that worked really well for us. We made flashcards, vocabulary cards, played games, and my older two did worksheets.

The only drawbacks I found for the program is that it is not “pull it out of the box ready to go”. Sometimes I really need that type of curriculum. There was a little bit of needing to figure out how to use everything that came with the program. Spanish For You! does easily explain on their site how to use everything – it is just a matter of sitting down and going over it. I am also not always a fan of curriculum that you need to print lots of materials out for – though it is not a curriculum where you have to print everything at once – you can choose to print things as you need them.

Spanish For You! was created by Debbie Annett.She has taught Spanish for grades kindergarten through high school for 14 years.  Debbie has also has taught Spanish enrichment classes for grades 1 through 8, and all levels of high school classes for homeschool students. Debbie Annett is an Illinois State Certified Teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University.  Debbie even studied in Seville, Spain.

Spanish for You! is a very affordable curriculum! For $64.95 you receive all materials needed to teach grades 3 – 8. You can also choose to just purchase one level, which costs just $39.95. Teacher lesson plans are available for $14.95 for Grades 3 – 4 and just $12.95 for Grades 5 – 6 or 7 – 8.
I feel that Spanish for You! is a great curriculum for a family looking for something affordable that spans a wide range of ages and learning styles.