Brittany Hargest - Love All The Way CD Review

Four years after the final studio release from Jump 5, Brittany Hargestthe group's youngest member is branching out onto her own with her release of Love All The Way. 

Brittany's debut release is full of energy and combines club beats with the message of God's love. 

My oldest (who is now 14) discovered Jump 5 right before they disbanded, and absolutely loved them, so I was very excited when I received the chance to review this album. While Brittany's work is no longer reminiscent of the 90's pop style that was signature Jump 5, her voice is still recognizable as the strong powerhouse that it used to be only now all grown up with a style all her own. 

Track Listing
1) Critical
2) Love All the Way
3) Slow Motion
4) Miracle
5) You Met Me
6) I Believe In You
7) He Can
8) Like a Fire
9) Bring the Party
10) Put It All Together

The album does come in a bit short at just over 30 minutes with all 10 tracks, but if you are looking for something upbeat and fun, this is it. 

You can find Brittany on FACEBOOKTWITTERiTunes, and on YouTube.
*Disclosure: I received this product for free from Propeller in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

One winner will receive their own copy of Brittany's CD Love All The Way! Simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The form has been a bit slow to load, and the FB "like" button hasn't been working right with Google Chrome. :(

Memoria Press- First Form Latin

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When considering which foreign language to teach my children, I have to admit that Latin wasn't my first choice. Nor my second, nor my third. You get the picture. It just seemed so intimidating to me. 

However, when I was chosen to review First Form Latin by Memoria Press for the TOS Crew, I decided to toss all of my preconceived notions out the window and to give it my best shot.

Having been designed for teachers with or without a Latin background, First Form Latin will guide you through the course in a simple, yet effective, process. Written by Cheryl Lowe, who also founded Memoria Press in 1994, this revolutionary grammar first series is based on Mrs. Lowe's 20 years of teaching experience. 

To be honest, I still feel that the task is daunting, but I believe that I am now well equipped to guide my children down this new path of learning. Actually, guide might not be the right word. Maybe "drag"? I should probably add kicking and screaming as well. But, it is my hope that the farther down the path we travel, the more my children will come to love and appreciate this journey. 
Watch a 5 minute DVD demo of Lesson 8 below:

First Form is the ideal text for all beginners, grade 5 and up. The grammar first approach focuses on grammar forms and vocabulary because those are the grammar stage skills suitable for the grammar stage student. Completion of First Form Latin is equivalent to one year of high school foreign language. While perfect for the homeschool setting, I can see using this in our homeschool Co-op as well!

I received everything pictured above, which includes:

Teacher Manual
Student Text
Student Workbook
Quizzes and Tests Pronunciation CD
PLUS Flashcards & DVD

(Taken directly from the website.) Features include:
  • Designed for students and teachers with no Latin background
  • 8x8 inch Student Text, small, concise, unintimidating with 34 two-page lessons on facing uncluttered pages
  • Limited vocabulary of 185 words
  • Full-size Student Workbook with 4-6 pages of exercises per lesson
  • Vocabulary derivatives and detailed explanations of Latin sayings
  • Grammar catechism for daily rapid-fire review
  • Milestone markers for each grammar objective
  • Everything-you-could-possibly-need teacher manual
    • Organized for easy access
    • Student Text inset with answers in color
    • Chalk-talk scripted lessons
    • Recitation schedule
    • Pronunciation reminders
    • Workbook with key
    • Unit tests and lesson quizzes booklet
    • FYI section for extra background

 I must say, if I am going to teach Latin, I am grateful it is with the guidance of First Form Latin. I appreciate everything about this course from the beautifully designed book covers to the DVD & CDs providing the extra help I need. I'm not going to say that we "enjoy" learning Latin yet, and as unschoolers, the structure can be difficult for us, but in the long run I know we will be glad we did this! 

I highly recommend this product!

View some sample pages:
Student textbook lesson 8, student workbook lesson 8, teachers manual lesson 8, Contents, and sample first form Recitation

First Form Latin plus DVDs & Flashcards can be purchased for $115.00 plus shipping.

First Form Latin (without DVDs & Flashcards) can be purchased for $55 plus shipping. 

Items can also be purchased individually and Memoria Press offers a full refund on the price of their products for 60 days!

They offer several ways to order: online at, Toll-free at 1-877-862-1097, or by mail with this printable order form with credit card, check, or money order.

Read what other TOS Crew members thought of First Form Latin HERE.

*Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. I received no other compensation.

Disney's Winnie the Pooh DVD/Blu-Ray Giveaway Winner

Winner has been contacted! Thank you to everybody who entered!


Everyday Education: Excellence in Literature Review


Everyday Education offers an abundant selection of resources for homeschooling through High School and beyond. 

TOS Crew members were recently given the opportunity to review Excellence in Literature :: English 1: Introduction to Literature (with Honors option).

Click for a Free Sample Unit.

Purchase options include a 132 page, 8.5" x 11", printed book for $29.00 + $4.95 s/h or instantly in an e-book download for $27.00. The e-book is perfect for those who prefer a 3-ring binder format. 

Introduction to Literature is a college preparatory course that utilizes quality literary selections to help students gain an understanding of the development of literature. The author, Janice Campbell put much thought into deciding which literary works to include in this curriculum, and you can read more about that in this blog post.

This course consists of nine units, with the first being short stories and the rest being based on novels. 

Unit 1: Short Stories by- 
• Sarah Orne Jewett: A White Heron,  Edgar Allen Poe: The Purloined Letter,  Guy de Maupassant: The Diamond Necklace,  O. Henry: The Ransom of Red Chief,  Eudora Welty: A Worn Path,  James Thurber: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Unit 2: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne 
Honors: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Unit 3: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Honors: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
Unit 4: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
Honors: Shirley or Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Unit 5: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw 
Honors: Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
Unit 6: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Honors: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Unit 7: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Honors: 1984 by George Orwell
Unit 8: The Tempest by William Shakespeare 
Honors: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Unit 9: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Honors: The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

Taken from the website:

By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the process of writing, including the use of tools such as a writer’s handbook, dictionary, and thesaurus.
  • Have specific understanding of selected representative texts by major authors of the periods studied.
  • Have a general understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the works.
  • Be able to analyze literary texts and present thoughtfully developed ideas in writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in essay organization, style, and mechanics.

What's Special About Excellence in Literature?

  • Carefully-chosen great books increase cultural literacy.
  • Self-directed courses encourage independent learning.
  • College-style syllabus helps to prepare students for university academic experiences.
  • Week-by-week lesson plans make it easy to know what to do when.
  • Honors Option provides motivated students the opportunity to earn advanced placement or college credit.
  • Evaluation rubric makes grading simple.
  • Carefully designed end-of-semester evaluation reports provide a detailed snapshot of progress.
  • Context readings provide in-depth understanding of literature in its historical and artistic context.
  • Students will be introduced to books they'll never forget.

Everyday Education offers other products such as Transcripts Made Easy, CLEP and DSST Study Guides, and more. Learn more about all the products they have to offer in their online catalog.

As unstructured "unschoolers", it has taken us a little time to find our groove with this curriculum and we are still working our way through the book, but I believe it will be most beneficial to them in many ways. One of the things I love about Excellence in Literature, is how it is adaptable for children with learning challenges. Even if the assignments are shortened, it will still teach the student college-style study skills that will benefit them for a lifetime and expose them to quality literature.

Read more TOS reviews HERE.

*Disclosure: I received free product for review purposes. No other compensation was received.

Marshall Publishing George Washington Carver DVD Review

I recently had the chance to review Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks  DVD & Full-Color Book (read my review HERE) from Marshall Publishing, and with it, they also inadvertently sent me this DVD on George Washington Carver- His Life and His Works

Item# KVFD-106
Regular price: $24.95

Intended for ages 4th grade through adult. 

 Young and old alike, student or history buff, you are sure to find inspiration in this 30 minute DVD of the life and inventions of George Washington Carver. Set to a superb original music score and featuring stunning photography, this is a DVD worth owning. A study guide to accompany the DVD is available on the website. Visit them online at to see what other products are available and to order online. You can also order by calling Toll Free 1-888-300-3455.

My family enjoyed this DVD, and I would recommend it to anybody wanting to supplement a unit study or as a stand alone study.

To read what other Crew members thought about this product, click HERE. 

*Disclosure: I received this product for free in exchange for providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

Pillsbury's First Ever Rookie Bake-Off Challenge

For me, Fall and the Holiday Season are synonymous with baking. If you love to bake, and are up for a challenge, be sure to visit for complete rules and information on how you can bake your way into winning $500.

The Rookie Bake-Off Challenge consists of six weekly challenges, with each one providing you with a chance to win & 5 new recipes to vote on and use each week.

To enter for your chance to win each week, go to for the weekly challenge and to submit your entry. 

Entry Guidelines:
Must submit a recipe, story, AND a photo.
Prep time must be 30 minutes or less.
Recipe must consist of 5 ingredients, including at least one Pillsbury refrigerated dough product.

What are you waiting for? Grab your apron, roll up your sleeves, and submit your entry for a chance at this week's $500 prize.

Good Luck!

*Disclosure: I received details from Pillsbury through My BlogSpark. No compensation was received.

Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge DVD Review & Giveaway - 11/2

To enter the giveaway, please scroll down the page to the Rafflecopter form!

Watch the movie trailer.

When I was given the opportunity to review the Thomas Kinkade movie Christmas Lodge, I jumped at the chance. Christmas is my favorite season, and I am always looking for decent family movies to watch with my children. I have also always been drawn to the works of Thomas Kinkade, which made this movie even more appealing. 

This was one of the best family movies I've ever seen and it is sure to put you in the holiday spirit!

From beginning to end, this movie more than exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised at how solid the story line was and how well the sets, the music, and even the choice of actors all meshed together. Erin Karpluk plays an endearing, compassionate leading lady with Michael Shanks as her love interest, Jack Rand. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but I thought it was wonderful when a couple spent the night in separate rooms in a lodge when they went out of town together. As a matter of fact, there is no "adult situations" at all, and no kissing until the end of the movie and even then it was conservative. The movie highlights family and the importance of spending time together with those you love and getting to know one another. Grace was said over meals, the grandfather was shown reading his Bible, and the only drinking in the movie appeared to be cider. I just finished watching it, and I am already looking forward to watching it again with my children! 

This film has been Family Approved for all ages by

"Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge: a place where a heart-warming past and loving future meet for one remarkable group of people. During a weekend trip to the mountains, Mary (Erin Karpluk) finds herself at the now- dilapidated lodge where she spent the holidays with her family growing up. She becomes determined to restore the building to its former glory. Inspired by her grandfather and guided by her grandmother in heaven, Mary throws herself into the project, and during the process finds herself drawn to Jack (Michael Shanks), a handsome man who loves the lodge as much as she does. Historically unlucky in love, this chance encounter allows Mary to renew her faith in life and discover her one true love. For an uplifting story about the importance of faith, family and the true holiday spirit, go to the Christmas Lodge."

This movie would make an excellent gift! If interested, you can purchase it HERE.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
One lucky winner will receive their own copy of Christmas Lodge in this giveaway sponsored by Propeller. Please enter using the form below. While following my blog via GFC is not mandatory, it is very much appreciated!

Marshall Publishing Fire Trucks Review

Marshall Publishing Homeschool Special!
Save $30 off the regular price of $49.95 and pay only $19.95 (plus S&H) on the book & DVD combo by entering coupon code TOSF1 at checkout!
To order, call Toll Free 888-300-3455 or online at

Teach your kids and family about fire safety and everything else there is to know about fire trucks and firefighting!

Lots & Lots of Fire Songs & Safety Tips includes 9 topics and songs including "Call 911" & "Stop, Drop, and Roll".

Lots & Lots of Fire Trucks and Firefighters is a full color 128 page book!

From the time my older kids were little, my husband has been a volunteer firefighter.

Lieutenant Daddy with Mr. B

The station my husband runs with is actually about 5 minutes away from our house so we pass it often. My youngest son, Mr. B, is almost 4 and it never fails to excite him when the bay doors are open and he gets a glimpse of the fire trucks parked inside.

Mr. B

My children and I have had the privilege of riding in several of the different fire trucks during parades and have even helped with the huge task of washing them and getting them parade ready! The fire house is a familiar place!

Even so, when I received the chance to review this book & DVD combo for TOS, I jumped at it! The DVD held my son's attention for several viewings straight. He was riveted and still likes to watch it. One of the things that immediately caught our attention were the songs. We recognized the voice as the same musician who sings on the Toy Trains DVD (which my son adores), James Coffey. The songs provide attention grabbing learning fun and include: Lots and Lots of Fire Trucks; Call 911; Fireman Jim's Safety Tips; Stop, Drop, and Roll; Your home Safety Plan; It's an Emergency; Heroes Brave and Tall; Great big Fire Trucks; and Fire Trucks in Action. 

The 128 page book is truly not just for kids - even my husband enjoyed looking at it and learned a few things!
It is a fun learning tool and reference guide that can be used in libraries, fire house training, the home school, and the classroom. The full-color photos add to the experience.  Topics include: Meet the Firefighter; A Firefighter's Tools & Equipment; All Kinds of Rescue Vehicles; Fire Fighting Facts; Fire Science Basics; Fire prevention Week; Safety Tips; Firefighters in Action; Tributes to Firefighters; Old Time Firefighter's Alphabet; Classic Fire House Traditions; History of Fire Trucks & Firefighting; Antique Fire Trucks; Greatest Fires in History; Firefighting Time Line; Fire House Museums; Fire Related Websites; and more!

If you are looking for a fun way to teach fire safety, this is the way to go! Perfect for young and old alike.

I also received, from Marshall Publishing, George Washington Carver: His Life and His Works DVD which is a 30 minute story of Carver's life - a life not to be forgotten. For anyone looking for an inspirational story about Carver's life and inventions, this is for you. 

Visit to check out their other money-saving DVD Value-Packs & As Seen On TV Offers and to order online. You can also place an order by calling 1-888-300-3455.

To read other TOS reviews, click HERE.

*Disclosure: I received this product for free in return for posting an honest review. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

#HEXBUGHalloween Party


This past Saturday, thanks to Mommy Parties, I had the privilege of hosting an awesome Hexbug Halloween Nano party! We really had a blast!

When my Hexbug Halloween Party Kit arrived, I couldn't believe all that it included! My kids were so excited that they wanted to tear right into it.

HEXBUG Larva. These were so cool! They actually change direction in reaction to physical obstacles in their path. 

We received 12 of the limited edition Halloween Zombie Nano, which come in coffin-shaped packaging and have a glow in the dark removable exoskeleton. These were a HUGE hit!

We also received the Glows in the dark HEXBUG Nano in several random colors. There were plenty for everybody, as well as replacement batteries to send home with each guest too. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the battery life is a lot longer than ones we have had previously. They have received hours and hours of play and are still going strong. 

My daughter assembled the habitats the night before the party, so we could have everything ready to go when our guests arrived, but they were simple to put together. No long drawn out instructions were needed. She just looked at the pictures on the box. The configurations really are endless though, especially with all the different sets available. We had a simple habitat set up for the younger kids as well as several more, including a glow in the dark Elevation Habitat Set for the older ones. The Nano HEXUGs had a bit of trouble going up the ramps, but that is the only "problem" that we had with the habitat. Love all the different color HEXBUGs we received, which made it easy for the kids to tell which bugs were theirs. Even the adults thought they were awesome and it's no surprise that The HEXBUG Hive Habitat set has been named a Best Toy of 2011 by Dr. Toy!

The kids loved that they got to take their HEXBUGs home with them, as well as some other goodies that I bought for the party. While I didn't use all of the recipes in my kit, I did make the mummy dogs and those were a big hit as well. 

If you are planning on hosting a halloween party of your own, visit the HEXBUG Downloads, and click on the HEXBUG Halloween Party Menu and Activities link (or on this link) to download a pdf zip file that includes recipes for the Mummy Dogs, Swamp Punch, Cemetery Swamp Dip, and Creamy Candy Corn Pudding along with some great party games like Zombie Tag and Spooky Spider Web, and fun things to do with your HEXBUGs. 

Most of their items can be purchased online, although some of the limited edition items can only be purchased at places such as Radio Shack and Target. 

Download the Everything Nano Field Guide.

Find them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!

Look for the HEXBUG Nano Christmas Ornament coming soon! What a great stocking stuffer!

*Disclosure: I received a free party kit from MommyParties in exchange for hosting a HEXBUG party and posting my honest review. No other compensation was received.

The Mighty Macs - Opening in Theaters October 21

If you are looking for something fun to do as a family this weekend, look no more! The Mighty Macs opens in theaters this Friday, October 21st. It's definitely a film worth seeing!

I had a chance to preview a special online screening of the film, thanks to Propeller, and although I'm not much into sports, I was drawn in by this movie and the story behind it.

In 1971, a new era is dawning in collegiate sports - major universities are preparing their game plans to win the first National Championship. Immaculata College, a tiny all-women's  Catholic college in Philadelphia is looking for a coach to lead them to that title. Cathy Rush is looking for a job in the aftermath of a short-lived playing career of her own.

Though faced with many obstacles, with the help of a spunky assistant named Sister Sunday, Coach Rush creates a whole new game plan for her group of players and leads them farther than they ever dreamed they could go.

It's not often that I run across a movie that I really feel comfortable watching with all of my kids. More often than not, there's adult situations or language to worry about. Not so with The Mighty Macs. It's truly a family film for all ages.

Based on a true story, The Mighty Macs shows what can happen when you dare to dream and dare to believe and is the first theatrical release from Quaker Media.

Find a theater, follow them on TWITTER, like them on FACEBOOK, and find them on YouTube.

In theaters October 21st!

Disney's Winnie the Pooh DVD/Blu-Ray Widget & Giveaway- 10/27

Disney's Winnie the Pooh - a true childhood classic! My oldest to my youngest children, (ages 13 to 1 & 1/2) love Winnie the Pooh in every way, shape, and form and I am eagerly awaiting the release of Winnie the Pooh on October 25th on DVD/Blu-Ray combo. 

Click on the widget below to take the Personality Quiz, download coloring sheets, game, activities, and more!

Open House at the Fire Department

My husband has been a volunteer firefighter for about 13 years now. The department he runs with had their Open House this past Sunday, so I took the kids up to see the fire trucks (and their dad). My 3 1/2 year old didn't want to leave! He LOVES fire trucks!

Baby C with Twin 1

Lieutenant Daddy with Mr. B with the newest tanker (it still has that new car smell!)

Lieutenant Daddy & Mr. B with the truck we usually ride on in parades.

Baby C chilling out on the bumper.

Mr. B - future firefighter

The kids got to use the fire hose to knock a ball off of a cone. This is Twin 2 with Lt. Daddy

Mr. B ended up with a plastic fire hat and a goody bag filled with crayons, a pencil, badge, tatoos, and a safety coloring book! I think he would have stayed up there all day if I had let him. He never misses a chance to see the trucks!

We appreciate our volunteer fire fighters!

North Star Games - Wits & Wagers

Available for purchase on from $15.23.

Games With Personality:
North Star Games brings friends and families together with fun, innovative party and family games.

Prior to reviewing Wits & Wagers Family for the TOS Crew, I had never heard of North Star Games. To be honest, we don't really play a lot of board games together as a family so, I didn't know what the kids would think about this one. To my surprise, they loved it and play it often.

The game is very simple to play. After a card is drawn, every player writes down their guess to a fun question on a small dry-erase board (included). Then, players try to score points by choosing which guess is closest to the right answer without going over.

The game features 300 family-friendly questions and includes cute little human-shaped game pieces called Meeples that the players use to select which answer they think is correct. 

There is a Wits & Wagers Expansion Pack 1 available on for $13.59 and includes 100 cards each with 7 questions as well as 3 new dry-erase pens and can be used with the Wits & Wagers Family rules. I'm relieved to know this, because that was my one worry about this game. If the kids played it often enough, they would come to know all of the answers and the game would no longer be competitive. This solves that problem!

This is a great game to play on family game night and would be perfect for gift giving as well!

During the holidays, my husband's family has quite a few get-togethers and more often than not, they end up spending the evening playing one game after another. This year, I think I'll take our Wits & Wagers for all the kids to play.

This family game is for ages 8 and up.

Click HERE to find a store near you.

North Star Games can be found on FACEBOOK and TWITTER!

To read other TOS reviews, click HERE.

*Disclosure: I received this game for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Not other compensation was received

Betty Crocker Fun da-middles

Check out these funny Betty Crocker Fun da-middles commercials. Love them!

Big G Cereals and DC Comics Have Combined Powers!

 Full of  whole grain goodness, General Mills cereal is a staple in our house and as a family of 7, we go through A LOT of it! 

Even if the yummy goodness of Honey Nut Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, and others weren't already a hit in our home, Big G Cereals and DC Comics have combined powers in their dedicated efforts to promote reading among children. As a homeschooler and a mom, I applaud their efforts!

They have enlisted the help of the Justice League, from Batman to Wonder Woman to Green Lantern, and they are coming right to your breakfast table! Available now, specially marked Big G cereal boxes feature action packed, collectable Justice League comic books.
Want more action adventure? Each comic contains a link to for continuations of each story, not to mention a cut-out DC Super Hero mask on the back of the box perfect for helping the Justice League fight crime at breakfast time!

I'll be looking for them in the aisle of our local grocery store!

*Disclosure: I was provided this information from DC Comics and General Mills through MyBlogSpark. I received no compensation from this post.

CVS Halloween Party Event- Free Gift Pack

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Posted on the CVS FB wall:

Join us on Sunday, October 23 for our 2011 Halloween Party and Customer Event! We are offering a free gift pack to any child in costume on October 23, 2011 at all CVS/pharmacy locations, while supplies last. The gift pack includes $5 value of candy, toys, trick or treat safety items and $10 in coupons for additional Halloween products! The gift pack also includes a free 5X7 photo, supported by an in-store costume photo shoot. 
Make CVS/pharmacy your destination for Halloween!

Woo Hoo!

Home Ec Homeschool Style

Last week, the girls wanted to learn how to make fried chicken so that's what we did. Shelby had a simple Weight Watchers recipe that we used. It called for Corn Flakes for the breading, which I didn't have, so we substituted Special K cereal instead. Turned out great! They also made Parmesan Cauliflower and although I don't care much  at all for cauliflower, this was delicious. Grade A+!

Ok, ignore my not too nice pan and focus on the chicken. The girls first coated the chicken in a mixture of flour and salt, then dipped it in milk, and finally coated it with the crushed cereal before placing it in a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

The cauliflower had to be cooked until soft.

Tomato sauce, tomato basil seasoning, crushed red peppers, and Parmesan cheese is the base for the cooked cauliflower.

Topped off with more tomato sauce, seasonings, and CHEESE! I love cheese. 



Nanny & Shelby with the fruits of their labor.