Friday, February 27, 2015

A TOS Review: Koru Naturals

Koru Naturals Review

Koru Naturals is an all natural beauty product company based out of New Zealand. Their products utilize the best their country has to offer from nature in skin care, gourmet honey, health supplements and so much more. They have hundreds of products, and they pride themselves on using the most quality of ingredients and no animal testing. I was sent their Emu oil and Koolpurrie Restoring Balm to review for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

The first product I got to review was one of Koru's most popular products, pure Emu Oil Premium Golden ($9.85 for the 2oz bottle).

Koru Naturals Review
I had never heard of emu oil before this review, let alone use it for anything. I wasn't sure what all it could be used for, so I looked it up. Here is what I found online:
- take by mouth to improve cholesterol levels, weight loss, and cough syrup
- apply topically for aching joints and muscles, healing of wounds, cuts and burns, diaper rash and eczema
- promote healthy nails and cuticles
- moisturizer    (

Koru Naturals' website promotes their emu oil for skin moisturizer (on unbroken skin) and leave-in hair conditioner. I am not sure why, if it is known to do so much, that the company only encourages its use for these two things. I chose to use it on my nails and cuticles and as a facial moisturizer. 
I have just recently had my 6th child. Through the pregnancy, I had multiple breakouts. It didn't seem to matter what I was using to wash my face, or how little makeup I wore, I was constantly fighting a breakout. I started using a couple drops of emu oil after cleaning my face about 5 weeks ago. I have seen a difference. I was worried the oil may cause my pores to clog and leave me feeling greasy, but not at all. I have had much less acne and don't seem to have any greasy areas at all. As for the nail treatment, I can't say that I've seen much improvement.

The second product I reviewed was the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm ($12.50 for the 1.4oz jar).

Koru Naturals Review

The Koolpurrie restoring balm is a mixture of emu oil and pure lanolin. It is about the thickness and consistency of petroleum jelly. The website states that its emollient action is long lasting and great for hydration and healing of extremely dry or damaged skin.

I decided to try the balm on my stomach stretch marks. I didn't like the feel of it at all. I felt like I was rubbing for a long time, and it never fully absorbed into my skin. It left me feeling slightly sticky. I didn't see any significant improvement to the look of my stomach, either. I also used it on my hands, and that was a little better. I have extremely dry skin in the winter, and I felt the balm kept my hands moisturized better and longer than most lotions I have tried. 

One use for the balm that I was very impressed with was for Cadie. She was born past her due date, and her skin has been very dry. She also has already had a little bit of a diaper rash. I used the balm on her legs and arms, and on her bottom for her rash. WOW! It made a huge difference. In two or three applications, her legs were not flaky and dry any more. As for her bottom, the balm is thck enough to form a protective layer so that her rash had time to heal. I was very happy with the results. 

I also found another great use for the balm this week. Wednesday, I was frying bacon for lunch when the grease splattered all over my left arm. I immediately went to the sink and sprayed it down with cold water, but I could already see the welts rising. It was really sore! After lunch, I went to look for my aloe vera and saw my jar of Koolpurrie restoring balm sitting on the table. I thought it was worth a shot, so I covered the welts with it. By evening, my welts didn't have any heat or pain in them, the swelling was gone, and they had faded to light red. Today, I just have a few pink dots where the burns were. I was so excited to see how well it worked on burned skin.

Overall, I liked both products. I don't see myself continuing to use the Emu Oil, but I would definitely purchase the Koolpurrie Restoring Balm again. While I thought the price tag was a little high ($12.95 for 1.4 ounces), once I saw how many uses it has and the effectiveness of the product, not to mention that I've used it in so many ways and have barely put a dent in the jar, I believe it is worth every penny.

Some of my fellow crew members reviewed some different products from Koru Naturals. You can find out what they thought in their reviews here:

Koru Naturals Review

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

A TOS Review: Heirloom Audio Productions

A country under attack. A young boy with high hopes of vengeance, in need of guidance. The hero he admires. That hero's journey of faith. Heirloom Audio Productions has brought the story of one of the greatest warriors in history, William Wallace, to vibrant life with their presentation of G.A. Henty's In Freedom's Cause.

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

I was sent the In Freedom's Cause single package ($29.97) for my TOS review. I also received these special bonuses:

- MP3 download of the audio production
- E-book download of GA Henty's original story with new graphics
- Official soundtrack
- Promotional cast poster
- Printable copy of William Wallace's prayer
- Full access to the membership website
- Behind the scenes documentary with a run time of 30 minutes
- Study Guide and discussion starter
- Cast and characters roadmap

Our family has always enjoyed listening to audio books. The freedom of being able to throw a cd into the player while in the van, or freeing my hands (and saving my voice) to do other things while the kids learn is always a great occasional change of pace. Heirloom Audio Productions does not just give you a book on cd, however. It is a full theatrical production that will immerse the entire family, taking you back in history as if you were there. The detail that goes into the making of these productions is truly impressive.

We listened to the first cd in the car one day, then the second cd in the house another evening. At first, Caleb was a little frightened. He said it was creepy and he didn't want to listen. However, he was soon engrossed and completely enjoying himself.

I love accents - British, Scottish, French, you name it. So I was thoroughly captivated by the storytellers and actors right away. I really felt like I was in the middle of the story, and I loved every minute of it. I also found it enjoyable to recognize some voices: Skandar Keynes (Edmond, The Chronicles of Narnia), Joanne Froggat (Anna, Downton Abbey) and Billy Boyd (Pippin, The Lord of the Rings), just to name a few.

I perused the study guide and discussion starters. I loved how there were questions of many age levels. Some my 6-year-old could answer with ease, others that left my 11 and 13-year-olds deep in thought. There was a good deal of information that they knew, but a lot of details that they missed. They actually said they want to listen to it again sometime soon so they can get more out of the story the second time. :)

Although I liked the study guide's questions, I did have one complaint. I was in and out, running errands and doing housework or taking care of the baby. So there were good chunks of the story that I missed. I wish the study guide had the answers to the questions so I could keep up on the parts that I had missed. I used this as our history for a week, so I wish I could have had a better idea of how much they retained. Since I missed so much, I didn't know whether or not they had answered correctly or thoroughly at times.

Overall, I think In Freedom's Cause was one of the best audio books we have come across in a long time. Heirloom Audio does a fantastic job of drawing their audience into the story, making history truly come alive. They have already announced their next project will be released around Memorial Day. It is called With Lee in Virginia.

 I am excited, and I can't wait to order!

Check out what my fellow TOS Reviewers had to say about this great product here:

In Freedom's Cause Review

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A TOS Review: Great Commission Films

"This is the story of our children. This is the story of the big yellow bus. This is the story of IndoctriNation." Scottish native-turned-Texan Colin Gunn has caught my attention, and we are not even 2 minutes into this movie. 

"IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America" was released by Great Commission Films in 2011. (retail price $19.95) is a documentary/testimonial of Colin Gunn, a Christian homeschool father of seven who takes his family on a 3-week journey across our nation in a big yellow school bus to investigate the origins of the government school systems, the major shifts over the 200 year history of government schools, and where we are as a nation today compared to when they began. 

IndoctriNation DVD Review

I was glad to be chosen to review this movie by The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. In this 102-minute DVD, you will hear from some of the most respected evangelical leaders in America, government scholars and historians, university professors, as well as public school principals and teachers.

The movie began with a warning to parents that this was not a video appropriate for children, for which I was grateful. While there was nothing graphic or explicit, and I wouldn't have minded my older 2 watching with me and answering their questions, the content was definitely for adults. Major points of discussion were:

Sexual education and promiscuity

Homosexual education material

School shootings/violence

Pressure to undermine or renounce the Christian faith

It is important to know from the get go that this film is made for a Christian audience. Most of the arguments and concerns regarding the public schools in America are that they are, as stated above, undermining the Christian faith. Many of the people interviewed stated from personal experience how they have witnessed the moral decline of the schools they are a part of. If you do not hold to the moral tenets of the Christian faith, then you are not going to relate or even care about some of the arguments made against government run schools. If, however, you are a Christian and strive to uphold biblically based morals in your home and family, then you may want to hold on to your seat...because it could be a bumpy ride. Be prepared to have your toes stepped on, but more importantly, your eyes opened.

One of the most striking testimonials for me was an elementary school principal who was a devoted Christian. When asked by Gunn how he uses his position of high standing to be salt and light to his students and in the community, he gets kind of emotional. He compares his role to the story of the little boy standing in front of the dike, putting his finger in the hole to stop the flood. All the while, the foundation is crumbling underneath him. The foundation of the government run schools is no longer built upon God and His word. He says, "I know I am on shaky ground, and I have a hard time with that."

I have heard the "salt and light" argument so many times over the years. That if we take all the Christian families out of the public schools, then we are turning them over to the darkness. It is unfathomable to me that we would put this argument out there. When the teachers and faculty who proclaim Christ are finding the battle overwhelming and essentially unachievable, how then are we to argue that our children should hold the front lines? It is absolutely absurd to me.

Another statement that I found profound and thought provoking was from renowned pastor, RC Sproul, Jr, a huge opponent of government run schools.RC Sproul, Jr. He said that as a Christian community, we aren't "losing" our kids, we are giving them away. "We are sending our Christian kids to a government school who refuses to allow God in, and we wonder why they aren't thriving."

It is a spiritual battle, certainly. But we are not only asking our CHILDREN to fight the battle, we are asking them to go in, hand over their weapons...and still expect them to win.

We are a homeschool family. We started this journey when our oldest was 4 years old. He has never been in a public school setting, nor has any of his siblings. This was a decision prayed over, agonized over, and committed to by my husband and I nearly nine years ago. I will not say it is easy. In fact, it is the hardest thing you could probably choose to do for your kids. 

There have definitely been days over the years that that big yellow bus driving past our house had its enticements.  I would dream of packing little sack lunches, kissing their cheeks, and enjoying 8-10 hours of child-free living. That is what I'd always assumed I would do. It's what my parents did, and theirs before them...why would I do it any differently? Kelly and I both attended public schools ( I did my entire academic career, Kelly did from 7th grade on) and we came out relatively unscarred. In fact, I mostly enjoyed my school years. So what was the big deal? "IndoctriNation" shows many of the reasons why it IS such a big deal.

Choosing to homeschool was not something we did lightly, or something that we had even considered until the Lord laid it on our hearts. We were convicted and shown in very direct ways that it was the path He had for our family. We (more so, I) struggled with it, in fact even rebelled against it, until we finally committed to follow His leading. I truly believe if I had seen "IndoctriNation" during that time of deciding what to do for our family, the decision would not have taken me nearly as long, nor would I have been so reluctant to try homeschooling in the first place. I know in my heart that we are on the right path, but watching this movie gave me comfort and peace to continue pressing on. That big yellow bus will never hold the enticements that it once held for me, ever again.

More information on IndoctriNation can be found at:


If you would like to know what my fellow TOS Reviewers thought of IndoctriNation, check out the other reviews here:

IndoctriNation DVD Review

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