Friday, September 24, 2010



After receiving a box of animals, I had no way of knowing at that time, that Thing 1 was going to develop a love for the Schleich collection that is very strong.

You have likely seen them, if you frequent places like Target, in the toy section.  Small animal figurines with a tag around their foot with a red S in a circle.  These are the Schleich figurines. 

The Schleich company was founded in 1935, and so currently celebrating their 75th anniversary.  You can find activities so you can participate in the celebration on their website.  While you are there, you can also look at the wide variety of figurines they offer, including animals from all of the continents, some plants, some historical figurines (like knights) and also some fantasy figurines, like elves.  And when you go to get more information on a particular figurine, you also get additional little tidbits of information

We received a total of 8 figurines for the purpose of our review: an Asian elephant calf, Przewalski’s horse, gnu and gnu calf, okapi, donkey, Swabian-Hall piglet, and Dartmoor pony.  Thing 1 has custody of all but the okapi, dartmoor pony and swabian-hall piglet.  I have the pony and piglet, and Thing 2 has run off with the okapi.  The amount of detail on these is AMAZING.  The Dartmoor pony even has horseshoes painted on!

You may notice that there are different colors on the tags (opposite the side of the S).  In all cases that I have come across (I totally went and looked for local retailers), these are used for determining prices

Like I said before, the younglings have run off with all but the Dartmoor pony and the Swabian-Hall piglet, who have a home now on my desk.  ♥  (minus their tags... I took all of the pictures before removing the tags because I knew once the tags were off and the animals discovered by the younglings, I would be lucky if I ever saw them again)

I love these figurines.  I love the attention to detail, the quality in craftmanship.  And while the tags all said 3+, I feel personally that the quality is enough that Thing 2 can run around with the okapi and play with it.  Thing 2 has made the displays at our local retailers a required stop so he can look at the animals (he's a bit upset that we don't have an adult elephant, for example)

Curious about how other Crew members feel about this product?  Check that out here!

Disclaimer: I received this product free from the vendor for the purpose of this review in exchange for my honest opinion and experience on it.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salem Ridge Press


In a world where it is becoming more and more difficult to tell what the ACTUAL ratings are on things like movies, and so many books that children find interesting are actually based on those questionable movies, it is a breath of fresh air when someone comes into the publishing side of things with high standards of morality.

The company prides themselves on providing books such as this, which have wholesome, moral content.  Their philosophy is
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8)
Something very difficult to find these days when we are being desensitized to so much.

Before I continue, let me say this (well, I'm going to say it whether you let me or not, afterall, it is MY blog): I am not a reader of historical fiction, typically.  So when I was given the chance to review this company, I was a bit hesitant.  Afterall, I don't get to CHOOSE what books I am sent for the review, what if they send one that I just cannot stand?

So when I received Soldier Fritz, by Emma Leslie, I was already a bit skeptical about whether or not I'd be able to do this review without sounding completely mean and awful.  No need to fear though.  The book, which takes place in Germany during the Reformation around the mid-1520s, is a very uplifting, well-written story about a young man's desire to be a soldier of the Lord.  You can read the basic summary given by Salem Ridge Press (and purchase the book) at Salem Ridge Press's website.  This book is 10.95 for a paperback version, and 20.95 for hardcover.  Given the quality of the book, how sturdy it is even as a paperback (let's face it, there's some pretty flimsy paperbacks out there), the quality of the pages and the print, it is worth every penny.  While you're there, check out the other books available, which you can also get in paperback, hardcover, and in some cases e-book!

You can read more about founder Daniel Mills and his parents, his choice of books, and find additional retailers on the website.  And you can read about my fellow Crewmates' experiences on the TOS Homeschool blog.

Disclaimer: I received this product free from the vendor for the purpose of this review in exchange for my honest opinion and experience on it.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010



What do you see when you look at these cards?


You may see numerals, as well as the words for those numbers in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and Roman numerals.  They don't appear at first glance to be all THAT exciting.

Until you have the entire deck in your hands, and are playing a game of Pyramath.  This game is addictive and fun to play, while helping to reinforce math facts.


Produced by I See Cards, this game takes on hand-eye coordination (picking up and placing cards), learning to count in multiple languages, and math drill.  54 cards are in the deck, and these cards are able to be used starting as early as KINDERGARTEN, if not sooner.  As an adult I love to play a few rounds myself (when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are out of sight of course, or else I'd have to share!)

While you can play the game online, I feel that there is just something about having the cards in your hands that makes it soooo much more fun.  It also is more helpful to have the cards in hand when you have a child who does not know all of the math functions yet.  Thing 1 only knows addition, so the online game does not really appeal to him since it takes into account playing with subtraction, multiplication and division as well.  At $6.95 per deck (plus shipping and if applicable, tax), it's not too far out there to even purchase multiple decks.  (Something I am contemplating doing in the future, so I have a deck to hand the boys so I can still play)

Doesn't that look FUN?!

If the "regular" play of this game doesn't interest you, I See Cards' website actually links to additional game rules you can use.

One disadvantage we did come across with trying to play the traditional game with just addition facts is that we tended to end up running out of a particular number.  The one round that sticks out most in my mind is the one where everything kept ending up as 5 and 10 (which uses the 0 card).  Thing 1 thought it was hilarious though since I decided to just pull cards that had already been "played" and place them in the new spots.  I highly doubt this is an issue if you are using more than one type of function at a time though, since you aren't restricted to 5+0, 5+5, 0+0, for example, partway through your game.

I am looking forward to using this product for a long time, as well as looking into I See Cards' other games which include working with fractions and learning prime numbers.  This is something I foresee using as something to keep one child busy (while drilling math facts!) while I am working with another.

How did other Crew members feel about this (highly addictive) game?  Go take a look and find out!

Disclaimer: I received this product free from the vendor for the purpose of this review in exchange for my honest opinion and experience on it.  I received no other compensation for this review.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Such a Long Way Already

My darling Thing 2, today you are ONE YEAR OLD!  You are such a little bruiser now, and it's hard to imagine you were ever a tiny little newborn.

So I am sharing a number of pictures from during my pregnancy to your first birthday ♥

And here you are, your first birthday giving Momma a dirty look because you're playing and don't want your picture taken.