Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A TOS Review: Accountable2You

Let's face it. Our children are living in a world that we have a difficult time relating to. The availability to virtually anything via the internet can be a blessing and a curse. While the technological age has some advantages, teens today have practically unlimited access to the world beyond the eyes of their parents...and that can be a huge temptation to many. Inappropriate websites can pop up inadvertently one time, but one time is enough to spark their curiosity and take them down a path we would not wish for them. I know for myself, it is very daunting to know exactly what my children are looking at online, and I have been looking for something that would help me keep them safer when I can't be everywhere at one time. That's why I was excited to get to review Accountable2You's Family Plan.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Accountable2You is an accountability software. The purpose of the program is not to block content, but to keep a person accountable for what he or she is viewing on the internet by sending a report of all activity to what is called an accountability partner. For adults, this can be a spouse or close friend. For children, you can set it up for the email to come directly to you, the parent.

It also has a component called the "objectionable word list". Now this can be used to not only protect the user from objectionable content. This gives the parent a way to screen things that they may want to know if the child is searching for. For example, if you have a child who is spending a lot of time watching Minecraft videos on YouTube, you could put the name of the person they follow on the word list, and the email alert will let you know how many times your child has accessed a search with that name in it. It can also, of course, be used for illicit material, as well. You can set words as Questionable, Highly Questionable, or Not Questionable.

The family plan allows you to install the software on up to 20 devices. The personal plan covers 6 devices. The group plan offers 6 devices per person, and the small business plan offers a per-device charge. The programs are reasonably priced when broken down per device.

I have heard from many people who have used other safety and accountability programs in the past, and they were discouraged with the lag those programs caused. I did not encounter any slowing down, but I did notice my cell phone battery dying much quicker since downloading. I'm assuming it's because the program is constantly running in the background, tabulating everything I am doing every day and compiling my usage report. I don't know if there is a way to fix this, but I hope so. I have more research to do.

Accountable2You is a Christian owned and operated business that wants to build family relationships and protect Christians by opening a dialogue between loved ones about a very serious, yet difficult, subject. The thought behind the overall program is that if you know that others see what you are doing on the Internet, you are much less likely to join in questionable behavior.

To follow Accountable2You on social media, go to the links:

Many other reviewers got the chance to use Accountable2You. To check out their opinions, click here:

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

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Friday, October 28, 2016

A TOS Review: CrossTimber

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

I love giving gifts. However, there are some people that I struggle with finding just the right something that will bring joy to the receiver and show just how much I care. I have gone the typical route in the past - bath gels, hand soaps, coffee gift cards. But I had a chance to review a lovely product that will fit the bill for several gift giving opportunities in the future: CrossTimber. I reviewed their personalized framed plaques with name meanings and scripture.

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

CrossTimber has a host of personalized gifts to choose from: different sized name plaques, personalized mugs, and music boxes as well. The Dehnerts are a homeschool family who have found their small business niche in printing and now the personalized gift industry. John has spent 17 years running his own business. 

I know many people who struggle with choosing their children's names. Naming a child is a huge responsibility, and many people do endless research and pray that their name will bring honor. Others choose family names or go a completely unconventional route. Whichever way they go, everyone knows that a name can carry significant meaning for its bearer. But not all people even know what their name means! John and his wife Katie do research, write stories, and find beautiful pictures to create unique and beautiful gifts for their customers. For someone who married into a family who takes great pride in their family name, I saw the value of this gift right away.

I chose a screenprint of our last name, Quinn. I got to scroll through dozens of different pictures to choose my backdrop. You can choose backdrops from these categories:
  • Faith & Inspiration
  • Animals & Creatures
  • People & Relationships
  • The Great Outdoors
 I browsed through The Great Outdoors. There were sunsets, mountains, rolling hills, oceanscapes and so much more. But I settled for a Gaelic design with an Irish knot scrollwork making the border. Then I typed in the name and chose a frame. They have several choices at different price points, or you can choose the Frame Artist's Choice button and they will pick one from an array of special frames they have. Click and done!

When I received my order, I was very pleased with the printing. It has a lovely background that is in earthtones, making the red and green in the design very vibrant. And I absolutely love the scripture chosen to accompany our family name. It will hold a place of significance for my family from now on. I will admit, I wasn't blown away by the frame, unfortunately. It was just a plain, wooden 8x10 frame that I could purchase from any discount store. There were also two prongs broken off the back. The back was still secure, so it wasn't worth going throught the trouble of having to return it. It hangs just fine.

The Dehnerts pride themselves on customer service, and my order was no exception. There was a small hiccup with a mailing mixup, but John contacted me very quickly, even before I'd had time to check into it myself. He oversaw the entire situation, cleared up the mistake and communicated with me throughout the entire transaction. I was very impressed! I have had trouble in the past with online ordering, and this was a breath of fresh air to have that personal touch. Even though we never met, I felt he cared about me and my purchasing experience. I am happy to encourage anyone to order from CrossTimber!

For holiday shopping, CrossTimber has some great discounts when you buy multiple items:

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

CrossTimber is also having a giveaway from now to December 4! Click here to enter:
CrossTimber 2016 giveaway

To follow CrossTimber on social media, go to these links:
To see more reviews from TOS, click here:

Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews

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Friday, October 7, 2016

A TOS Review: Everyday Education, LLC

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

Handwriting. For some families, it is just a normal part of their day. Five minutes of instruction and practice, a pat on the back for a job well done, and moving on to the next subject. For other families, like ours, it is 5 minutes to 2 hours of strife, tears, arguing, and just plain ugliness. So when I was chosen to review Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC, there was not much cheering going on in the Quinn home. But we are always willing to give something new a chance and see if we can benefit.

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

None of my children have ever excelled in handwriting. My 13 year old daughter has finally begun to care and started taking more time in forming her letters. My, not so much. There are seriously days that I take their work back to them and make them read it aloud to me - and some of those days, they aren't even able to decipher their own writing! It is beyond frustrating, but I've never been able to find anything that encouraged them to excel in this discipline.

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting is a phonics based program that works on reading and handwriting. You can purchase the hard copy or an ebook version, which is what we were able to review. The book has a great breakdown of how you can use it for both, or just for one of the subjects above. The chapter outline is here:

  • Chapter 1 is a breakdown about reading and handwriting, as well as teaching tips on how to utilize this program.
  • Chapter 2 is filled with reproducible alphabet worksheets.
  • Chapters 3, 4 and 5 are the reading portion of the curriculum. There is a lot of teaching on short and long vowel sounds, blending, digraphs, and also copywork pages of sample words and sentences to go along with the lessons. We did not use this section of the book since we were focused on handwriting and jumped from Chapter 2 to Chapter 6.
  • Chapter 6 begins the handwriting portion of the teaching. The type of handwriting taught in this book is called italic (which before now, I believed to be a font, not a writing style). It teaches the basics of forming slanted lines and ovals rather than perfect circles - which I found to be much less intimidating to a child who feels perfection is unreachable. It is a lovely writing style that teaches how letters can be joined into a cursive-like style as well. It is actually the foundation of calligraphy, which it also teaches in the end of this chapter. I think this is something Chloe will enjoy working through at some point.

One thing I found very encouraging in the handwriting practice was the reproducible sheets. All of the copywork is the author's handwriting, not a typical mass produced lettering that is perfect. I've always thought copywork was better than reproducibles for this reason - so the child doesn't feel inferior to a computer generated - formed letter. This way, the child is seeing an actual person's work and can emulate it, but still make it his own. I think my 8 year old really worked well with that as his example.

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting takes a subject that my kids have struggled with for years and brings them an approach that made them feel successful. I am glad we had the opportunity to try it out, and I think we will continue to use it in the future.

To follow Everyday Education on social media, try one of these out:

To see what other reviewers thought of the product, click here:

Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

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