Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A TOS Review: The Pencil Grip, Co.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Are you one of those moms who love arts and crafts? Glitter, glue sticks, and play dough makes your creative juices flow? Well, if you are...we probably can't be friends! I don't love craft time - in fact, I avoid it whenever possible! I know this is an area I am sorely lacking in for my kids, but I feel like they get great exposure to these things at church, Co op, and my mother in law's house! I am not the greatest housekeeper, and I hate the idea of extra messes! So when the Review Crew wanted me to test out a new painting system from The Pencil Grip, Inc., I was very hesitant. But I knew the kids would love I decided to give it a go. The company sent me a 12-pack of their new product, Kwik Stix.

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Kwik Stix are sticks of solid tempera paint. They are all the fun of painting with very little mess. When we opened the box, I was actually a little surprised. They looked just like glue sticks! I didn't know what to expect, but this was not it. Even though I knew it was "solid", I didn't have a clear understanding of what it would possibly be. When I think of tempera paint, I think of thick, gloppy, gooey blobs of brightly colored mess. This was a very pleasant surprise! The paint is literally the consistency of a glue stick. The stick even has a turn knob at the bottom, just like a glue stick, so you control how much paint is being used at a time.

Castle loves to finger paint! But as I've already stated, I can't stand it. When I pulled the Kwik Stix out of the box and asked him if he wanted to paint, he gave me a look like I was crazy.

"You mean color?"

"Nope! This is paint!"

Another look from my 3 year old that he really shouldn't be able to give yet.

But when we sat down and I showed him what they did, he got so excited. I drew a few things, and he joined right in. His little hands had no trouble handling the sticks, and he had great control over what he was creating. 


Before I knew it, Caleb had wandered over to see what we were doing.  He grabbed a piece of paper and joined us. A few minutes later, I looked up, and Chloe was painting, too! Needless to say, kids of all ages love this product. (Even my 17 year old niece saw them this weekend and was super excited to use them!!)

The kids had a great time using the Kwik Stix. We've had them out a few times now, and they've made some great paintings. I've been very happy with the fact that they are little to no mess as well as how fast they dry. It says on the package 90 seconds, but it has actually been barely 30 seconds and they are dry. 

So if you are a mom who finds herself saying no to the kids when they ask to do an art project, you may find yourself saying yes to Kwik Stix!

You can purchase Kwik Stix through The Pencil Grip, Inc.'s website, or you can find them on Amazon.

To keep up with the company and new products, follow them on these social media sites:

The company also sent us a sample of their original product, their classic pencil grip. It makes hours of copywork much less tiresome for little ones. Plus, it encourages them to hold their pencil correctly. I am looking forward to trying out their many other grips in the future.

To see what other crew members' families thought of the product, follow the link here:

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A TOS Review: YWAM Publishing

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

History comes alive with books about people. YWAM Publishing authors do this amazingly well. We were glad to review the book Heroes of History-Ronald Reagan from the Heroes of History series and the adjoining Study Guide.

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

Ronald Reagan is unquestioningly one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century. His life story is one of overcoming challenges and rising to the top with hard work and integrity. He still is considered one of the most influential men in America.

The story begins with a look at his childhood. Ronald "Dutch" Reagan's family moved a lot, but he mostly grew up in small towns in Illinois. His father Jack was a shoe salesman who struggled with alcoholism through Ronald's entire life, causing much heartache for the entire family. His mother Nelle was a strong Christian woman who strived to put others' needs before her own, and to teach her boys to do the same. Her giving spirit made her beloved to all who knew her. Dutch also had an older brother named Neil, who he was admittedly not very close to.

As he grew, Dutch became very interested in sports - particularly football and swimming. He also loved theater. Some of his greatest childhood memories were going to see silent cowboy movies every Saturday. In college, he found a new passion: politics. All of these interests and pursuits helped him to become a great radio announcer, then actor, then public speaker, then politician. Through it all, he kept a steadfast faith in God that his mother shared with him from a very young age.

YWAM also sent us their digital study guide with comprehension questions, projects, and essay assignments. We enjoyed reading this book together as a family and discussing the questions. The older kids were very interested in all the events in history through Reagan's lifetime like the Depression, WWII, post-war Communism suspicion, and the Vietnam War, and how they affected him personally. His past as a Hollywood actor intrigued them, as well, and made them consider who we admire in Hollywood today that we would like to see make a move to politics. There were many varied answers to that question!

Some of the activities included putting together a time line of important historical events during Reagan's life. It sparked a lot of conversations and rabbit trails about different topics, including what major historical events I have seen in my lifetime and what ones have occurred in theirs. I don't think this generation even comes close to the major changes that the greatest generation overcame.

There were also some very interesting projects to do in the study guide. One suggestion was making a crystal radio, which we have not done yet. But we have looked at kits online and will probably do this soon!

Studying Ronald Reagan so quickly after the loss of First Lady Nancy Reagan made this book truly reach my kids. They wanted to know more about them both when they saw how much I mourned her passing. Two great people who had a profound effect on our nation. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell their stories to my children.

The books from YWAM Publishing are very well written. They are not just a dry biography with facts and figures. There is dialogue, personal introspection, and exciting detail that draws the reader in. I love reading aloud to the family, especially books from YWAM.

To keep up with YWAM on social media, follow these links:

To hear more about other books from YWAM, check out my fellow bloggers' reviews!

Christian Heroes {YWAM Publishing Review}

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A TOS Review: A+ Interactive Math

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

It's great to see your kids succeed. But there will be times in this homeschooling journey when your child will hit a wall. It may not seem like a major issue, but down the road, you may see it really become a problem. That's why I was glad to hear about and have the chance to review the new Math Mini-Courses from A+ Interactive Math.

Canon has always done well in math. He's flown through his lessons with very little help from me. But I noticed this year that he was struggling. It wasn't every section, just one: multiplication and division of decimals and fractions. He just couldn't understand why multiplying would give you a smaller number! I know from years of doing math how significant it is to understand these confusing problems. The thing with math is that each new concept builds upon the last and prepares you for the next concept. So when we had the opportunity to check out A Plus's new mini courses, I knew exactly which one I'd have Canon use.

The Math Mini Courses are not a full year curriculum, as you could guess from the name. It is an intensive lesson plan focusing on a key component that your child is needing more help in. Canon reviewed the Decimal Numbers course, and Caleb reviewed the Time course.

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Canon's course contained 20 different lessons, covering the many properties and uses of decimals. The first lessons were pretty basic, information he already understood. But I had him do them anyway, explaining that he may have missed something earlier that could help him. Canon told me this:

"It was a fairly easy curriculum. If you got a question wrong in the Interactive Q & A, it would explain it to you. Then you could go back to the question and do it again. I liked the lessons, they were fun. It really helped me. I understand decimals much better now. I can now see why dividing decimals gives you a bigger number and multiplying them gives you a smaller number. The lessons really helped me see what I was doing!"

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

Caleb has already finished his 2nd grade math for the year. But he did not do as well as I wanted with analog clocks. He kind of had the same idea that his older brothers had - that he could just wear a digital watch! But I still want him to comprehend and be able to read an analog clock if and when he needs to! ;)

The Time course had 20 lessons to go through, as well. It started out with days of the week, calendar skills, and units of time. It broke each piece down so he could absorb it all and retain it. He hasn't finished all the lessons yet, but he has really enjoyed it. Here's what Caleb thought of the lessons:

"I really like this mini course. I didn't like to read old timey clocks before this, but now I like to look at them and figure it out. My Meemaw and Papa have a big tall clock at their house, and I can read it now without their help!"

I don't know if the boys will have struggles like these again, but I am very glad to have a program like A Plus to turn to if they do. If you know your child is not getting a math concept, I urge you to check out A+ Interactive Math Mini-Courses!

You can keep up with A+ on these social media outlets: 

To hear about more of A Plus's Math Mini-Courses, check out some of my fellow bloggers' reviews here:

Math Mini-Courses {A+ Interactive Math Review}

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