Posts Filed Under Reviews

Kiwi Crate

by bosssanders on February 5, 2013 with 29 comments

As many of you know, we’ve been studying DINOSAURS!!!

Last week, we received an awesome green box in the mail with more…. (you guessed it!) DINOSAUR fun!

We made our own little fossils…

And EVERYTHING (even the scissors!) was included.  We all had SO MUCH FUN!  But, that wasn’t all…

Then, we made our own Dinosaur FEET and TAIL!

SHH!  We have dinosaurs in the house!!

So, what is this little box of fun, you ask?

It’s … Kiwi Crates! !!

Kiwi Crates is a company that packs age-appropriate themed activities (and all you need for them) in a box of fun!

Who is it for? 3- 7 year olds.  And, pretty much anyone!  Whether you homeschool or just want a fun activity… these boxes are great!  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or just the best babysitter ever…these boxes are great!

What is it? In each box comes several carefully handpicked activities that encourage growth in different development areas (the Dinosaur box covered Motor-Gross, Creating, Discovering, Motor-Fine).  Each box contains EVERYTHING you will need.  If you need scissors, it’s in there.  Clay?  It’s in there too.  Stuff to stick in the clay?  You got it!  All in the box, ready to go!

How to get it? Here comes the fun part!  (Be sure to read all the way to the end!!)  First, we have teamed up with Kiwi Crate to give away a crate of your choice to one lucky winner!  However, if you don’t win, no worries!  These great boxes are available on their website.  You can order them by the box or get a nifty subscription (only 19.95/mo + FREE shipping!) where they pack up the boxes for you and send them along each month – you don’t have to remember to do anything, they’ll do it all for you!  Great, right?  OR, you can go NOW and take a look at their newly released single boxes…only $19.95 ea with FREE shipping!  –Great for birthdays, rainy days, or…well, any other day!

So, are you ready to win?

Simply visit their website (HERE) and come back to comment on THIS post letting us know which box you’d like to win!  How easy is that??

Want an EXTRA entry?  Like Bosssanders.com on Facebook (Click Here) and leave a comment letting me know you did (these will be verified!)

Contest open to US residents 18 and older ONLY.

Deadline:  February 15, 2013 – GIVEAWAY CLOSED!!

**Disclaimer:  We received this product for review.  However, like all things on this blog, this review is honest and was not “bought” or swayed.

WINNER!!
Congratulations, Paige L!  You have won!  (check your email!)

I'd love it if you stalked me (subscribe to my RSS feed). Thanks for visiting!

bosssanders
filed under Homeschooling, Reviews

BabbaCo Review

by bosssanders on October 21, 2012 with no comments

I love doing FUN activities with my kiddos – but, sometimes it’s hard to come up with activities (that we have all of the supplies for) off the cuff.  So, I was super excited to review the BabbaCo Babba Box, and when our box arrived full of activities, Lorelei and Aurora were excited too!

What are BabbaCo boxes?

BabbaCo boxes are great activity boxes that seamlessly combine both LEARNING and FUN – but, without the headache of having to run to the store to buy the necessary supplies-you-thought-you-had!

Each box has 4 main components:

- Create: 2 to 3 projects for kids to do with their hands – ALL materials included!  (Ours even came with bowls, glue, and a stirring stick!)

- Explore: A theme-based product where your child will engage with the world & nature.

- Story-Tell: Carefully curated books to stimulate your kids’ imaginations.

- Connect: Interactive learning with prepaid downloads approved by BabbaCo experts.

(Lorelei with their paper-mache moon)

Why we liked the BabbaCo boxes:

  • The BabbaCo boxes are researched and planned – meaning they are age-appropriate for kids and include activities that will encourage learning AND are fun!!
  • Each box contained EVERYTHING we needed!  –Down to the glue, stirring stick, and a bowl!  Many “kits” will have most of the supplies included but assume you have others (which they may or may not warn you about on the packaging).  It can really be a downer to get everyone excited and set down to do a fun project just to realize… the glue is dry…or, the scissors are missing/broken.  I really appreciate that the boxes have everything we need and I don’t have to run all over town!
  • The projects aren’t over-elaborate but are on-target for their ages!  They are fun and easy but require just enough skill to help them stretch and grow!  Our box was Sun, Moon, Stars and we made a model moon with paper-mache and star prints!
  • We also liked that each box connected us to the outside world, too!  We had a lot of fun using the star guides and included binoculars looking at constellations!
  • Each box also comes with a book!  We love books at our house and are always on the lookout for imaginative and creative additions for our bookshelves.  We were not disappointed!  No dinky paper “book” here!
  • I also really appreciated BabbaCo’s “Connect” feature.  My kids really enjoy technology and having a prepaid new app that went along with the same learning theme was great!

In short – the BabbaCo box was easy to use, convenient, contained quality materials, and used many methods (create/explore/story/connect) to provide learning and fun for our ENTIRE FAMILY!

Buy Your Own:

You can get a membership for the BabbaCo Babba Box on BabbaCo’s website. (use code BBL20OFF to receive 20% off your first box
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filed under Crafty, Reviews, Uncategorized
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EveryDay Paleo by Sarah Fragoso

by bosssanders on October 1, 2012 with 3 comments

It wasn’t by a sudden interest in health that led us to “Paleo” – more like a super slow processing of information and research that slowly winded its way to the knowledge of how we should eat, but unsure of wading through billions of recipes and picking through ingredients.  Actually, we knew we wanted to eat Paleo/Primal FAR before we knew it even had a name!  Once I had a name for this “way of eating” we’d basically been researching before it even had a name, I wanted to know WHERE I could find the best recipes…ever.

You see, I wanted foods that we’d eat.  All of us – my meat-loving-huge-portion-eating husband, my picky 5 year old, and my 3 year old who will try most things once.  And me… I wanted food that would fill me and not leave me TIRED and hungry while literally running after 3 kids all day long.

I kept getting pointed back to Sarah Fragoso and her two cookbooks – and after introducing myself, Mrs. Fragoso sent me her books so we could check them out and share our findings with our awesome readers (YOU!)

There are two books – Everyday Paleo and Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook.  Don’t be fooled, though, by the titles – BOTH are great cookbooks!

To do this right, I want to address each book individually to show you how different they are (and why both are great and complement each other wonderfully)!

Let’s start with Everyday Paleo:

First, Sarah begins with an intro to Paleo and WHY Paleo is important.  Then, she writes about her story and how Paleo has affected her and her family’s life – which I can really appreciate.  She’s a mom who has had to make her own way – not someone who just had endless income and was bored at home with nothing else to do but make healthy food and “trail-blaze.”  She is normal (and busy)!

Next, she addresses CHANGE and how to get your family on board.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite sections!  Beyond just getting them to AGREE (or being stealth and “hiding extra veggies”) is a good look at what it means for your kids school lunches and beyond!  She covers it all!

Then, over 200 pages of RECIPES!  With photographs!  –All divided up by category!  AND, she even goes over shopping lists, types of kitchen cookware you will need, etc so you can be prepared BEFORE you get home from your huge shopping trip.

In the back of the book are meal plans, workout plans (even workouts that include a partner or a baby!), and a pictorial index of recipes… HOORAY!

This book is a great all-in-one find and the food recipes are definitely not lacking.  Sarah provides fresh, colorful, and tasty dinner options that will satisfy and leave you looking forward to leftovers!  From Pear Salad to Jambalaya to Meatballs and more, your family won’t be missing chemical-laden processed foods all that much!

Next up – Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: This book is primarily a cookbook – Sarah includes a great introduction of her family and self and of course, Paleo.  She talks about the foods that are focused on in the Paleo lifestyle and gives even more attention to making Paleo work with kids and school lunches.  Then, on to the great recipes with the same great pictorial recipe index to find recipes quickly!  (Note: the recipes in each book are different…and great!!)

Check out the books on Amazon (see links above) to see some of the recipes/photographs.

These books are great and a huge timesaver!!

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filed under Recipes, Reviews
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Kazoodle Kids

by bosssanders on June 6, 2012 with 24 comments

Summer comes with a lot of things… laughing, playing outside, swimming in the pool, swing-set fun, bubbles, splashing in the rain… and really cute t-shirts.  (Aidan agrees.)  Kazoodle Kids has some adorable tees (for babies and kids, both!) – each one with a picture, letter, and word.

Personally, we love the unique and whimsical designs of the Teach Me Tees… not to mention, they are lightweight – perfect for summer!

Lorelei, on the other hand, loves that each shirt gives her yet another opportunity to spell and read.  As her mom, I love that these shirts offer more than just a cute picture – they help her connect the object with the letter it begins with and then, with the entire word!  Lorelei will be in Kindergarten this fall, and with short attention spans, it’s important for her age group to have a variety of learning experiences.  We’ve enjoyed writing letters, coloring letters, tracing letters in shaving cream/sand…but, now we’re enjoying letters (that weren’t fashioned from permanent marker on her dresses…ahem.)

The girls (Lorelei and Aurora) have become very conscious of the clothes they wear…they enjoy matching (or mismatching, as the case may be with Aurora) and have it down to a science.  While Lorelei loves to be perfectly coordinated and offers advice to her father and I when it comes to clothing choices and style, Aurora believes the bolder and crazier, the better.  She loves her “Newt” shirt with her rain boots and a big winter hat with the built in ear flaps, by the way.  With shirts that come in different colors, kids can not only practice their spelling and reading, but their younger siblings get great practice with identifying animals, letters, and colors!  Aurora chose her Newt shirt, but I’m pretty sure it’s because her favorite letter is “N” – you know… NO, NUH-UH, NADA, NOOOOOOOOTHING!!!

Kazoodle Kids has an entire selection of colors and creatures to choose from on their website.  From elephants to cats -  there’s something every child will love!

OH!  AND WAIT!!  THERE’S A

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Kazoodle Kids is giving away a shirt to one lucky winner!  (You pick any letter, any size, and either blue, pink, white, or heather grey).

Great, right?!

Winning is super easy! – There are a few ways to enter (and you can do all of them!):

1.  Leave a comment telling us which shirt from their site you’d love to win, be sure and leave your email address, too.

2.  Like us on facebook and then come back and leave another comment saying you did.

3.  Share a link to this post on your facebook page with this message: “Bosssanders.com and Kazoodle Kids are giving away an adorable Teach Me Tee at http://www.bosssanders.com/2012/06/06/kazoodle-kids/… and I want to win it!!”

Easy Peasy, right?

We’ll pick a lucky winner June 16, 2012 by midnight…NOW, GO!

(And, for those of you who don’t want to wait to see if you won, use the code “bosssanders” at checkout to get 15% off.)

UPDATED!!

Congratulations Alicia Sneed!  You won!!

bosssanders
filed under Fun/Giveaways, Reviews

Christmas Stocking Stuffers – 2 Games For The Whole Family! (Review)

by bosssanders on December 9, 2011 with 1 comment

Family Talk 2 is a conversation game – it has 100 cards, each with a thought-provoking question to inspire fun and thoughtful conversations with your family and friends.  To play, simply pick a card and ask the question!  This game is a great way to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those you care about!  What’s more is that it’s incredibly portable – so, take it on car trips or play it around the Christmas tree (or table!)  Either way, you’re sure to have a blast!

Retails at $9.99  / Ages: 3 & up /  2 + players

The Lumps Legend: Children around the world have been so good over the past few years; lumps of coal have built up at the North Pole. Puzzled by what to do with the excess coal; Santa’s elves decided to create an exciting new game that uses lumps of coal of all shapes and sizes. The game is so much fun, good little boys and girls, for the first time ever, are excited to get lumps of coal in their stocking!

Lumps, the Elf Coal Game is a family-friendly dice game for ages 6 and up.  It can be played with one player or up to 100, making it a great game for anywhere!  It’s compact size and easy rules make it a great game for all ages!

WANT TO WIN THEM?

One lucky reader will win both of these games! To enter, simply follow them on twitter (#ContinuumGames) of “like” them on Facebook.  (Then, come back here and let me know which you did in the comments!)  Contest ends December 16, 2011 at noon CST.

And, for ALL of our bosssanders.com readers, they are offering 15% off purchases made on their website – just use the code: funforallages

Disclaimer:  I received these games as part of a review.  Like always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not swayed in any way.

bosssanders
filed under Reviews

Original Sprout – A Review

by bosssanders on December 9, 2011 with no comments

Original Sprout -

Original Sprout has become one of our family’s favorite body care brands.  The makers of Original Sprout products not only make products that smell and feel good, but that are also safe for our babies and children.  They do not use any natural or synthetic ingredients linked with estrogen & hormone disruption, cancer & autism such as: Phthalates, Dioxanes 1, 4, Sulfates, Parabens, Formaldehyde, Propylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Acetaldehydes, Styrene, Toluene, Glycol Ethers, Ethylene Oxide, Musk, Lavender or Tea Tree Oils, Clove, Soy, Nonylphenol, Mineral or Petroleum Oils, Triclosan, Eurethane, 1-2 Propylene Oxide, Placenta, Synthetic Colors & Titanium Dioxide or Nanoparticles.

Their regulated, European Directive Compliant products are:

• Are made by a master stylist and mother, so they are safe and natural, but perform as good or better than high-end salon brands.

• Free of phthalates, phytoestrogens, soy, gluten, animal products, parabens, and propylene glycol with no added dioxanes or formaldehydes.

• Free of skin penetrators & photosensitizers (plasticizers & nanoparticles).

• Extracts are certified organic. The majority of ingredients are plant derived & from natural sources.

• E.U. Directive Compliant with full label disclosure of ingredients.

• Fragrances are made with naturally derived ingredients & are certified FREE of phthalates, lavender, tea tree, PG, DPG, parabens, dioxanes, benzenes, formaldehydes, acetaldehydes, styrene, toluene, chlorobenzene & glycol ethers.

• Products are vegetarian/vegan & biodegradable.

To read more, go here.


The Natural Shampoo, Scrumptious Baby Cream, and Miracle Detangler are three of my favorite Original Sprout products.

The Natural Shampoo gently cleanses as it moisturizes hair.  I love that it can be used on the whole family (including me!)  It’s subtle scent is lovely but not overwhelming, so your sweet babies still smell like sweet babies and not heavily perfumed or obnoxious.

The Scrumptious Baby Cream – OH!  The Scrumptious Baby Cream!  I think the name itself says it all!  The scent is light and fresh and leaves baby (or your) skin feeling and smelling scrumptious!  The cream is ultra-moisturizing, lightweight, and non-greasy!

The Miracle Detangler is one of my faves!  My oldest daughter (age 4) has thin hair that tangles easy.  Post-bath has been a battle since her hair has covered her ears – me trying to sort through the tangles and her dodging the brush!  But, with this detangler, her hair becomes manageable and soft.  Other detangling products (a popular brand) have been tried on her hair, but leave her hair limp and smelling like chemicals – UGH!  Original Sprout’s Miracle Detangler leaves her hair pretty and tangle-free, without the horrid chemical smell!  (And, it leaves me without the headache!)

And, guess what!?  Original Sprout is offering Bosssanders.com readers 10% off their first order by using this code: FIRST_ORDER_10-U at www.originalsprout.com!

Disclaimer:  I received these products as part of a review.  Like always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not swayed in any way.

bosssanders
filed under Reviews

Science is Simple

by bosssanders on September 20, 2011 with no comments

Science is Simple

Why, yes it can be!

With two little ones – a Kindergartner and a toddler, science needs to STAY simple.  Both of my girls are hands-on learners, so that makes science REALLY fun in our house!

Because my girls are young, and because I believe exploration and hands-on activities (especially science!) is best, Science Is Simple is a great book for us!

Written by Peggy Ashbrook and having won the Learning Magazine’s Teachers’ Choice Award, Science Is Simple divides its experiments into lessons.

What Kinds Of Lessons Will My Child Learn From This Book?

Of course, just like with any tools or curriculum, it really depends on how you present the material and their curiosity, but here are a few of the great “lessons” listed in the Table of Contents:

Magnets and Testing Hypotheses
Year-Round Gardening
What Do Seeds Need To Grow
Why Do Some Tree Leaves Change Color?
Stretch Your Senses on a Walk To A Nearby Park
Compost Critters
Spring-Flowering Bulbs…Are Planted In The Fall
Corn and an Introduction to the Globe
Winter Birds
What is Melting
What Can the Wind Do?

Why Is This Book Different From Other Science Textbooks?

Well, first off, it isn’t a textbook!  Second, it’s written for Preschoolers and Kindergartners (although the activities can definitely be altered for older kids if you have siblings involved).

Science is Simple contains over 250 Activities and each Lesson is divided into different sections that give you tips for presenting the material to your child.  And, if you struggle with what to say or the questions to ask, this book covers that too!  Also included in each lesson is a section on other activity ideas and book ideas beyond the experiments to help supplement what they just learned.

Would I Recommend This Book?

Definitely!  This is one of those resources that we’ll continue to use with all of our children.  Whether you are a home-educator or you teach in a classroom, it’s great!

Where Can I Get It?

You can find it on Amazon.com HERE.  Currently, it’s $13.57 (list price is $19.95).

PS – Want to see one of our experiments from the book?  Check out our mantis babies!

bosssanders
filed under Homeschooling, Reviews

Silly Comcast

by bosssanders on July 30, 2011 with 3 comments

The Internet isnt working … Again.

Call to comcast:

C: …to upgrade your service, press 2.

A: (presses 2)

C: Hi and welcome to comcast, how may I help you?

A: Hi, I was wanting to upgrade my Internet account to one that works…

C: Okay, we can definitely help you with that… (she takes my information down should we get disconnected. I want to remind her that my phone service isnt comcast, so it shouldnt be a problem. But I dont.)

It shows here that you already have an existing Internet account with us…

A: Precisely.

C: We dont have any upgrades at this time for Internet, would you like to upgrade your TV service?

A: Oh really? I was starting to wonder if maybe I accidentally bought the works half the time package.

C: (in all seriousness, she says…). No, we actually dont offer any packages like that. Currently, we dont offer anything for just half the month. According to your account, you have unlimited Internet usage. You can get on any time you want for however long you want.

A: Exactly.

C: What?

A: So… I should be able to get online whenever and however long I want? Then, why does comcast keep turning it off?

C: Maybe I should transfer you to technical support instead of upgrades. They could probably help you better.

A: (I wonder about the accuracy of that statement and stifle another giggle.)

C: …..But, before I let you go, let me tell you about this great offer (speed talking starts) ifyousignuptodayforblahblahblah…

A: Im not really interested. Id really just like my Internet to work…

C: Yeah, but…

A: Transfer me.

C: Okay, well you are also eligible for our special service where we cover all technical equipment and it gives you 24/7 access to a technician in case you have more problems… Its only $9.99 a month.

A: No thanks.

C: Well, I thought you might be interested since youre having so much trouble. The technician could login to your computer remotely and help you get back online. And, itd all be free.

A: You mean… After the $9.99 a month, itd be free?

C: Thats correct.

A: So, let me get this straight: You want me to double-pay for Internet service I should be getting anyway but Comcast keeps screwing up. And then, you want your goofy technicians to have access to remote-in to my private computer from wherever to do absolutely nothing because lets face it… My Internet problems? Its not me, its you people.

C: Er…um…but…Well, okay. You are also eligible for a free home security system, but I will just have someone call you back about that so I can go ahead and transfer you to technical support to get your Internet back up.

bosssanders
filed under Reviews, The way I roll

Time 4 Learning Review – Homeschool Curriculum

by bosssanders on April 28, 2011 with no comments


What Is Time 4 Learning?

Time 4 Learning is an online curriculum for PreK – 8th Graders.  It can be used to complement their current curriculum or as an entire curriculum in itself to cover language arts, math, science, and social studies.

My Thoughts:

The Positive –

  • Age appropriate “cartoons” teach the lessons.  Lorelei (age 4) and I tested out several different grade levels to see the differences in each.  As the grade level goes up, so does the appropriateness of the “cartoons.”
  • The lessons were fun for Lorelei.  She generally enjoys school and learning anyhow, but these were easily presented as games for the most part.
  • The ability to move at your own pace within grade levels and even beyond.
  • Easy enough for a 3.5 year old to know how to move to the next lesson and within lessons (easy navigation)
  • Slow and repetitive (great for younger or slower learners)
  • Parents are able to see progress reports for their child’s work and set time limits for child to be on the program.
  • Enhances computer skills
  • Provides lessons plans and extra printable worksheets

The negative -

  • Parents can’t select certain lessons to show or not show on a child’s page – would be a helpful option so the parent can let child do “assignments” instead of possibly wandering.  Also, would be helpful to not repeat lessons already learned.
  • Repetitive and slow – great for slower learners, not so great for those who catch on more quickly.
  • Not what I would consider a complete curriculum – except maybe the Pre-K could possibly stand alone.  Time 4 Learning lesson plans are correlated to the learning standards for all 50 states, however I believe there are some things that need to be hands-on and covered in more depth.
  • Not enough reaction time before the lesson will begin repeating itself.  Lorelei would sometimes get very frustrated because she didn’t have enough time to make her decision and click.
  • Price – Their prices are always available to change, so please check to see what their current pricing is set at.  Currently (at time of posting), their program cost about $20 per month for the first child ($14.95 for second child).  So, for us, that would be $240 for one year.

My Final Thoughts:

While Lorelei did enjoy the program, it wasn’t right for our family after we considered the yearly cost and the completeness of this particular program compared to what we needed for her.  However, if it was less expensive, we might consider it as a “fun activity” to complement her learning.  Also, I’m not very comfortable with her being on the computer for a large amount of time – whether it’s schoolwork or not.


Is it for you and your family? You decide.  Check out Time 4 Learning and their lesson demos for free!

Disclaimer:  I received Time 4 Learning as part of a review.  Like always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and are not swayed in any way.

bosssanders
filed under Reviews

Scars Of A Chef

by bosssanders on April 12, 2011 with no comments

If you watch much of the Food Network, it’s easy to get caught up in how *easy* things seem:  Pre-measured containers of food, a finished version of the dish already in the oven, and a crew to clean up your mess (and do your shopping for next episode!).

Often, we hear about the rags to riches stories, but really…those are few and far in between.  Rarely do we hear about the countless folks who apply their dreams and struggle through countless obstacles, sometimes never being able to fully realize their goals.

The story of Rick Tramonto, is laced with heartbreak, hardships, and inspiration.  Rick began as a dropout working at Wendy’s and slowly worked his way up to culinary stardom, encountering rough times in the process.  From the outside-in, it looked like Tramonto had all of the makings of a meaningful life.  But on the inside, his marriage and life were falling apart.  He had finally reached the point of giving up hope when things changed.

Rick Tramonto’s story is a wonderful one that attests to our need for God in our life in order to truly find meaning in our life.  –That it doesn’t matter if we reach every dream and attain the luxuries we think we need if God isn’t front and center in our life.

I’m not going to ruin the rest of the story (which is great by the way, and packed full of some of his original recipes), but this story is a hopeful one – one that speaks to those of us who have met more than our fair share of obstacles on the way to our dreams.  But, more than that…it gives hope that happiness and meaningfulness can be found regardless of where you are in life as long as you have your key ingredient:  God.

*DISCLAIMER:  I received this book to be reviewed.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and can never be bought.

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filed under Reviews