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The New American Herbal {Book Review}

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The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr is a extensive guide that both beginner or advanced herb enthusiast will want to add to their book collection. Whether you like using herbs for the cooking, aromatic properties, medicinal use, or decorative purposes this book covers many of these areas in adequate detail. Many known herbs are obviously included as well as many not so known. There are over 900 entries within this 386 paged book. The full color photos make this book fun to look at and even better for identifying specific herbs.
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This book is one I’m thrilled to have. It’s extremely easy to navigate and for that I applaud. A book of such a size with so much information can sometimes seem overwhelming but not this one. The table of content lays out the book as follows; Herb Basics, Herbal Preparations, Garden Projects, Kitchen Projects, and Specialty Herbs. In each of those sections, there’s much to learn from growing advice, DIY projects, recipes, preservation, harvesting, and much more. Following the table of contents is the Herbs A to Z page. There are more than 125 listed. If I want to look up Cilantro, I can easily do so using the A to Z page.

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Each herb page has helpful lists, sidebars and sometimes a quote. Each sidebar provides information such as category the Herb falls within, its origin, type, height, other names & varieties, how to grow, season, and safety. Each featured herb section is about 2-3 pages in length. There’s usually a brief history, a recipe depending on the herb, as well as other information that will help you get acquainted with what variety you so chose to learn about. There’s always up-close photos to go with each herb as well as the recipes included.

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I feel that this book will help me greatly in my gardening and DIY herb projects. There’s so much helpful informational provided in guiding readers no matter what way they intend on using Herbs or growing them indoor or out. I’m eager to try some of the 40 recipes and crafting projects from herbs I manage to grow myself! The harvesting and growing information I found extremely helpful! I would highly recommend this title! It’s a  beautifully complied book full of a plethora of information!

15 23Interested in Purchasing? The New American Herbal can be purchased on Amazon.com as well as other book retailers online and in store. Amazon prices are 11.99 for e-book and $20.22 for paperback.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience of the title.

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Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors

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If your aim this Holiday season is to surprise some one with a gift that will leave a lasting impression, why not aim for something handmade? Nielsen-Massey with their fine vanillas and flavors makes this extremely easy! I think their products would make a wonderful addition to those desserts in a jar gifts that can be thrown together fast.

When looking through the companies recipes page ideas I learned their products can be used for more than just baking but in easy to make skin care products. These thoughtful DIY gift suggestions are sure to be well appreciated by friends a loved ones!

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Over the weekend, I made chocolate chip cookies per the recipe suggestion found on the companies website. Let me just say, these chocolate chip cookies may just be the best I’ve ever had. The Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla was quite present in taste and just added that extra special something.

I can’t wait to try it out this vanilla for our annual December sugar cookies and for the cake frosting I plan on making for my sons upcoming 4th birthday cake! This vanilla is certainly very high quality and smells amazing! I would recommend every kitchen pantry having a bottle on hand.
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It’s very easy to make the suggested skin care product with Neilsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Sugar and I’m happy to share the recipe below. I plan on making this as soon I get a jar for it. It sounds quite delightful and it’s not too late to start making this now before Christmas gets here!

 Vanilla Body Scrub

1 cup Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 drops of an essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, etc.
Decorative, waterproof container

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.

Spoon into a decorative, waterproof container.

Wrap in decorative paper.

Instructions for use: Apply a small amount to damp skin while in shower or bath. Gently scrub skin with a soft washcloth. Rinse thoroughly.

 

P1160645Overall, I’m quite impressed with the pure vanilla sugar and pure vanilla extract I’ve used from this company! I would certainly recommend these and am eager to see if I can find them locally! These products can be found at numerous places online and are well worth the price for the quality you are getting!

Please visit the Nielsen-Massey website for more product information and additional recipes, including more DIY gift ideas.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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NCircle Entertainment Back-to-School Review & Giveaway!

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If  you are looking for some fun as well as educational media to back up as well as introduce certain learning concepts, you’ll want to check out NCircle entertainment! The following DVD’s are perfect for children age 2 to around 6 years old and range in numerous differences. There’s music and dancing, science, exploration, ABC’s, travel, and more!

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The Wiggles: Apples & Bananas – On this DVD, The Wiggles feature many nursery rhyme songs. My kids are 6 and nearly 4 but still love the Wiggles though the group is geared more toward the younger crowd. Most of the songs my kids knew already but still enjoyed seeing each sung and acted out. The DVD is 65 minutes long and there are 22 songs total on it. Special features include a photo gallery and a episode from the Wiggle! TV Series about washing your hands.

Our favorite songs on this collection are This Little Piggy Went to Market, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and This Old Man! Overall it’s a great collection of songs and kids can learn numbers, reasoning, problem solving, communication, and literacy skills in fun musical way!

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Octonauts: Deep Sea Mission – On this exciting DVD, join the Octonauts as they explore the hidden depths of the Midnight Zone! Peso must conquer his fears to treat a Vampire Squid! Dashi and Inkling go head to head with hungry Gulper Eels! Then, Barnacles, Kwazii and crew must rescue sea creatures before an underwater volcano erupts!”

My son and daughter ages 3 and 6 years old totally adore the Octonuats! My kids really like all the exploring, rescuing, and seeing their favorite characters doing their part in protecting all sorts of animals found in the sea! They make the dark somewhat unknown of the ocean a lot less scary for kids to learn about and that’s real winner. I love the take away due to the fact my kids will start spouting off random ocean creature facts throughout the day.

This DVD is 70 minutes long, you can easily sit and watch all the episodes or break it up and watch one at a time. There are a total of six episodes and a bonus feature teaching kids more about the marine life in six Creature Reports.

As a mom and home educator, I’m liking the educational value of this DVD quite a bit! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend not just this DVD but the entire series!

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Cat in the Hat: Show & Tell Sure is Swell! – My children ages 6 and 3 years old, girl and boy, like the Show & Tell Sure Is Well DVD! There’s a Spanish language option as well as English and runtime is 60 minutes.

I like that you can choose to play a couple of the adventures one day and save the others for later. We for the first time sat and watched the DVD with five episodes from start to finish and later discussed the seasons of the year, migration, growing up and changing, and how we see with our eyes! I know they are learning because my kids are always going around telling people facts they’ve learned!

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Animal Atlas: Animal ABC’s – This DVD is a bit beyond my nearly 4 year old and 6 1/2 year old. It definitely has a good educational value though. Children not only can learn their ABC’s but will learn facts and be able to recognize specific animals. There are recognizable songs played throughout with lyrics pertaining to ABC’s and about the animals as well as insects. The imagery and animal scenes are interesting and the video quality looks good.

After going through the alphabet, simple words are spelled out and taught. So children will learn simple spelling too! My kids did enjoy seeing the animals but I’m not sure how big the returning playability will be for my kids but imagine it would appeal to kids who are still learning the things specified. Runtime is 60 minutes.

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Sid the Science Kid: The Ruler of Thumb – Sid the Science Kid: The Ruler of Thumb – On this DVD, Sid teaches kids all about how to create charts, gather data, and much more in a fun and interested way. Not just scientific facts are learned about but the tools most scientist use as well such as rulers, magnify glasses!

There are four episodes which are The Sticker Chart, The Rolie Poliee, Enough with the Seashells, & The Whale Episode. DVD runtime is 115 minutes with additional bonus content. There’s a bonus music CD that has 9 songs from the series! My 3 1/2 year old son was very interested in watching this DVD and has asked to see it numerous times. He really liked the episode on charts and wants to make one for himself!


Want it? These NCircle DVDs can be purchased their website and  other retailers.

Get Connected:  Visit NCircle at http://www.ncircleentertainment.com/

Follow NCircle on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Want it? These NCircle DVDs can be purchased their website and  other retailers such as Amazon.com.


Win!

One lucky reader will win all 5 of the DVD’s mentioned here which make up a $50 value.
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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Learning Resources: Translucent Geometric Shapes {Review & Giveaway}

getransshapesI like sets I can use in my homeschooling in more than one way. For instance, the Translucent Geometric Shapes from Learning Resources we’ve been using not just for math but for art as well! Since this set is so open ended, I’ve been able to utilize it to the max for educating for both my nearly 4 year old son and six year old daughter. Which means the needs of a first grader and k4 student can be completely met with the right activities. There are many that can be exercised from sorting & classifying, identifying the shape, building, fractions, geometry, and more!

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This set includes 408 shapes pieces and a helpful activity guide. All the pieces are translucent and would work really well with a glo-Pane light panel. Of the 408 pieces there are 14 different shapes in 7 colors and several of the shapes come in different sizes and indifferent angles. Shapes include squares, rectangles, triangles, hexagon, trapezoid, rhombus, circle, half circle, and quarter circle. The different angles of certain pieces allow for introduction an introduction to right, obtuse, and acute angles! The shapes used as a whole can really open the door to teach about all sorts of math concepts.

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The shapes seem to made out of some sort of plastic. The plastic appears durable and if needing to be cleaned, it appears that no damage would come of it. The set is easily stored in the container it comes in! Major plus to not have to purchase a container separately!

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I’ve been using this set with my six year old daughter right now to teach basic fractions and the names of certain shapes. It’s been a lot of fun for the kids to take different shapes and make another. I bring this set out for play quite a bit for quiet time. My kids could spend all day creating all sorts of art and patterns! I like any way to make schooling more hands on for my kids and this set totally fits the bill. I highly recommend it!

P1160588Want it? Translucent Geometric Shapes  can be purchased on the  Learning Resources website for $34.99 and you can also find this and other Learning Resources products on Amazon.com as well.

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Get Connected with Learning Resources

Request a mail catalog | Sign up for Email Updates | Follow them on Twitter (@LearningHandsOn) |Become a Facebook Fan |Follow their Hands On Learning Blog | Follow on Instagram  | Become a fan on Youtube

-Win it-

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Learning Resources is giving one of my readers a chance to win their very own Word Construction set Please Enter Below. US  only please.**If you have won a Learning Resources giveaway on any BLOG during the past 6 months, you are ineligible to win this giveaway! Once 6 months have passed, you can enter again. Thanks! **

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Learning Resources: Word Construction {Review & Giveaway}

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Learning Resources Word Construction makes spelling and word building a lot of fun! It’s definitely a unique and different option than what I’ve seen out there. The nuts and bolts approach is clever and it’s appealing not to just boys but girls too. I would like to mention that the age recommendation is for children ages five and up but even younger children can benefit from this learning tool. My son is is three and half and he’s been using these like a pro spelling consonant vowel sight words that we’ve been practicing this school year.

P1160006This set comes with thirty printed nuts, six bolts, a helpful activity guide, and a plastic tub for easy clean up and storage. I like that the set provides enough pieces that more than one child can use it easily. The nuts come in the colors orange, blue, green, and purple. The colors are vibrant and the pieces aren’t too big or too small making these easy for kids to handle. Each nut has a little lip on the inside which needs to be lined up with a part on each bolt to slide it into place. Once in place, the nuts twist easily on the bolt to make a variety of different letter and word combinations. There was no trouble or frustration whatsoever for my kids to figure out how to begin building words.

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The green bolts feature vowels and the letter y while the remaining colors feature a variety of consonants . Note that not every consonant is included in the set. It’s not a huge deal but something to take into consideration. Each bolt can hold up to four nuts. My kids have been spelling all sorts of two, three, and four letter words! I’ve used this set for them to practice sight words as well as to reinforce my 1st graders spelling lists for each week. They’ve also asked to play with these throughout the day aside from our schooling time!

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After testing them myself and offering them for use with my kids, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s totally hands-on learning at its finest. This set will get much use and I think it’s a great way to reinforce spelling, phonics, & word building aside from pencil and paper. Highest of recommendations!

Want it? Word Construction  can be purchased on the  Learning Resources website for $24.99 and you can also find this and other Learning Resources products on Amazon.com as well.

Get Connected with Learning Resources

Request a mail catalog | Sign up for Email Updates | Follow them on Twitter (@LearningHandsOn) |Become a Facebook Fan |Follow their Hands On Learning Blog | Follow on Instagram  | Become a fan on Youtube

-Win it-

Learning Resources is giving one of my readers a chance to win their very own Word Construction set Please Enter Below. US  only please.

**If you have won a Learning Resources giveaway on any BLOG during the past 6 months, you are ineligible to win this giveaway! Once 6 months have passed, you can enter again. Thanks! **

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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Back to Homeschool Celebration!

P1150690-001We officially started our 2014-2015 Homeschool on the 2nd of September. The kids were pretty excited to have some close (also homeschooling) friends over to celebrate and I was too! I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for things to celebrate. And what better a thing than the education of our kids right?

P1150698These girls have been friends since their first birthdays, believe it or not! They decided all on their own to give blowing up balloons a try at our get together. This was obviously after both their mommies wanted to chat instead of blowing up many more! They were both very proud and learned a new skill.  Honestly, we are always learning something whether we are having days full of curriculum or just just picking up a new talent!

2014-09-05The boys both age 3 and about two weeks apart in age are almost impossible to get a picture of together. It seems they are both always on the move. Who can blame them? The world is a pretty exciting place to make your mark on! They have quite different personalities and it’s super fun to see them play so well together! They’ve been pretty excited about school starting back and I know my son keeps stating he’s a big boy now and that learning is fun. That’s music to my ears.

10615008_10152655431835569_711718092_oThe playdate celebration was great. There were banana muffins, coffee, tea, crackers, juice, and lots of giggles and laughter. The kids had a lot of fun with each other and us mommies got time to talk about keeping our goals flexible and to expect not everything to work out. You have to learn to accept that truth earlier on or you’ll be second guessing everything, even your decision to homeschool. It helps to have others be there to encourage you throughout your school year! I highly recommend another homeschool mom to hold you accountable and if possible getting connected with a local or online support group!

Did you do anything special to celebrate the school year or the first day back? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to Kindred Spirit Mommy for taking quite a few of these pictures with her awesome camera! 

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