The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Beeyoutiful–B.A.L.M. & Tummy Tuneup


    Last month I received a package with two different products from Beeyoutiful. I had never heard of Beeyoutiful before this review. It is a company whose goal is “bridging the nutritional gap between our modern diet, and our bodies nutritional needs.”  The two products I received were Peppermint B.A.L.M. and Tummy Tuneup.

      I began by checking out their website, I was impressed by the many products they have available.  They have Bath and Beauty products, Essential oils, Nutritional oils, Supplements, Baking supplies, tea as well as books and appliances. You can also find videos on how to use the different products on their website.


  • B.A.L.M – Beeyoutiful All-Natural Lip Moisturizer
  • $3.00
  • Available from Beeyoutiful 

      B.A.L.M. is an all natural stick type lip balm. It comes in two different scents, orange and peppermint. Only four ingredients are used to make this all natural balm: Grape seed oil, Shea butter, Beeswax, Essential oils.

     I have used B.A.L.M. exclusively for my lips this past month. I can safely say that my lips have been well-moisturized without being greasy. I used the peppermint scent and found it to be mild and  pleasing, definitely not an overpowering scent. I also liked that while it had a peppermint scent it had relatively no taste to it.


  • Tummy Tuneup
  • One bottle contains 60 VCaps
  • Stable at room temperature
  • $18.00
  • Available from Beeyoutiful

      Tummy Tuneup is a probiotic dietary supplement. Each capsule is filled with eight vital strains of friendly bacteria.  A probiotic is in favor of good bacteria as opposed to an anti-biotic which is against all bacteria. Taking a Tummy Tuneup capsule delivers a blast of 4 billion reinforcement good bacteria to help out your digestion.  Tummy Tuneup pills are enterically coated, which means they will make it through your highly acidic stomach before dissolving and delivering the probiotic bacterial where it needs to be, your intestines.

      I have used Tummy Tuneup for a month.  .I usually took two Tummy Tuneup pills before breakfast and again before dinner. I did notice after about a week of taking them that I did not have the gas and bloating that I usually get. There were also two or three times that I took them as I was going to bed in response to some intestinal upsets. I was impressed that I could take two pills and go to bed and sleep all night, no getting up with stomach cramps or worse.  I also had the experience of having a horrible headache, combined with stomach cramps. I took two Tummy Tuneup pills and about 40 minutes later had to visit the bathroom. When all was said and done the head ache and cramps were completely gone.


     Many of my Crew Mates were able to experience Beeyoutiful products for themselves. Visit the Crew Blog and read about the the different products they were sent to review.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received Peppermint B.A.L.M. and Tummy Tuneup for free from Beeyoutiful in exchange for my honest review of their product

Friday, February 24, 2012

A is for Aggravation Blogging Through the Alphabet

     I decided it might be fun, and a good way to prompt me to write on my blog, to join Marcy of Ben and Me in blogging through the Alphabet. This week we are starting with the letter A.  Make sure you visit Marcy’s blog and read what other people chose for their letter A posts.

     So for this week I choose that the letter A could stand for Aggravation. I tried for two days to think of a good topic starting with the letter A. Could I do it? NO! I could not seem to come up with one A word that would create a long enough blog post.

     I asked my husband, he said apples. Huh! I did not think I could wax eloquent about apples. We are coming into Spring, not Fall. Apples are not on my mind right now.

     As I am running through a list of A words in my head, I had no idea where some of my thoughts were coming from. Aardvark popped into my head. Aardvark? what would I know about those animals. Aliens? Well, I do live in New Mexico, but not in Roswell, so there went that strange topic. Authority? This came up as I had to tell my daughter she was not the mother, I was. But definitely not a topic I wanted a whole blog post on. Awesome? I think my husband and kids are awesome. but a whole post on that might be insipid for others to read.

     So I ended up on the topic of Aggravation. I am aggravated by not being able to think of some wonderful, awe-inspiring A word topic. But it sure got my brain thinking. I was thinking A words as I was doing dishes last night. A words were popping through my head as I was getting my hair cut today.

      And not only A words, but I was able to create a list of words for other letters of the alphabet.  I have a pretty good start on what to write about for the next 25 weeks. Although, I am still not too sure about Q, and X, but I am sure something will present themselves.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dealing with Fighting Kids–Jill’s Way

      My sister and I were talking about some of the ways that we discipline our children. I thought I would write a few posts that outline some of the techniques I have used through the years. Here is the first.

    One of the fastest ways to make a mother’s stress level go through the roof is for siblings to fight with each other. With four kids,I have been through this many times. The kids are playing beautifully together, sharing, laughing, having fun. Mom walks out of the room and not more than 5 minutes later, someone is crying.

     Over my 19 years of parenting, I have learned to handle this in what seems to be an odd, unfair way. I walk in and state the obvious. “I hear you guys are fighting.” At this point, the kids will usually both be trying to tell me what happened. Well, tell me what the problems is from their own viewpoint. I quietly put my hand up, palm out and say I don’t want to hear it. Then, I separate the guilty parties.  One sits in a chair in one area, another sits in a chair across the room.

     A couple points I want to bring out about this method.

  1. I do not try to figure out who is at fault. Parents can drive themselves crazy trying to figure out who did what and why. In my experience, there are no innocent parties. Very rarely is one child completely at fault. Even if one child has taken a toy away from another, the injured child will generally retaliate in some way.
  2. By making both children take a “time-out'”, no child feels that the other one is being favored. How many times have you heard teenagers and adults talk about younger brothers and sisters getting away with many things. When they are both being punished, there can be no favoritism. The older never has to feel like the baby got him into trouble.
  3. I do not yell. Because I am not refereeing between two kids, I can remain very calm. I simply state that because they are fighting they will have to be separated. They can yell and cry, and at the beginning of using this method they will, but I can just set the timer and go about what I am doing.
  4. After the timer rings, I bring the kids together. Again, I will not listen to who did what. I tell them that they need to apologize to each other and ask for forgiveness. Our own little formula for this is: Ben, “Rebekah, I am sorry for taking your blanket. Do you forgive me?” Rebekah then replies, “Yes, Ben I forgive you. I am sorry I tried to yank it back, do you forgive me? Ben then replies, “Yes, I forgive you.” Then they give each other a hug. If I am dealing with kids that are not in the same family, I do not require the hug, only the apology. And my preference is that they do not say “That’s ok” to the I ‘m sorry. Because really, it wasn’t ok. Also, I always make them state what they are sorry for. This points out what specific behavior was wrong.
  5. Then they are free to go play. If they begin fighting again, we repeat the process. After about twice in the same day though, I will separate them for the rest of the day. This means that Ben can’t play where Rebekah is and Rebekah can’t play in the same room as Ben. This is very effective as well. It just irks my kids when they can’t play with each other.

      So there you have it, Jill’s “unfair” method of dealing with fighting. I have had four kids. I have used this method for many years. Eventually, the fighting extinguishes itself. The kids learn quickly that it is just not worth it to fight with each other. We now only have to go through this about once or twice a month. When your kids are smaller and very close in age, they will probably fight a little more often.

      One of the biggest reasons I like this method is the no yelling. I hated to yell, and it did not help anything. Yelling only made me more upset. Another reason is because, if you try to referee and reason out what happened everybody loses. Kids do not really have the ability to reason until late elementary or older. Until then, they only want to see things their way when they are mad. I feel by separating both and making them apologize afterwards, they can calm down and think about how their actions hurt the other person.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I am no Different

      How much am I like the Israelites of the Old Testament? When you read through Exodus, it is easy to look upon them and wonder how they could be so dense. They went through the Exodus with not one of their firstborn children dying and then when they see the Red Sea they grumble and complain. The Israelites witness the parting of the Red Sea. They walk upon dry ground, not even mud! Then they come to a place with bitter water and they grumble about God bringing them to the wilderness to let them die. On and on it goes. God provides, the Israelites complain.

     Unfortunately, I can be no different. I live in a completed time. The Israelites witnessed the first Passover. I live in the grace of the Last, Perfect and Final Passover, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet, I still act no different at times than the Israelites.  God acts, and I complain. While I am awed and thankful at the time, quickly that thankfulness turns to complaining. It is a good thing I know that God forgives, again and again.

2 For great is his steadfast love toward us,
   and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD!  Psalm 117:2


Saturday, February 11, 2012

See N Read

     Last year we reviewed a neat little reading tool called, See-N-Read. This year we are reviewing a new product from the same company called See-N-Spell, A Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide.


  • See-N-Spell Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide
  • Available from See-N-Read Reading Tools
  • $9.99 for 40 page softbound book

     The See-N-Spell is a 40 page book containing over 300 commonly used words. It is divided into three categories: 1)Most Commonly Used Vocabulary Words 2) Commonly Misspelled Words 3) My Special Interest Words.  Each Category is organized alphabetically. By knowing the first few letters of a word you can quickly identify the correct spelling and usage of the word.

      The premise behind the See-N-Spell is that writers can compose broader and more vocabulary rich written work when their fear of misspelled words is taken away. Usually writers will have a larger verbal vocabulary than written vocabulary. By not being confident in spelling more advanced vocabulary words,  writers will not develop their thoughts fully, or use words that do not adequately express what the writer is trying to say.

     To help the user quickly and easily find their word using the See-N-Spell, a See-N-Read reader tool is included in the book. The See-N-Read reading tool is a handy product designed to help new and struggling readers easily keep their eyes on the line they are reading. This is the product we reviewed last year. To read more about how it worked for us, check out my review here.

ClarkClan Thoughts

     How did the See-N-Spell work for us? Well, not quite as I expected. When I received the book and looked through it, I was very intrigued. I liked the layout of the book. I thought the words included were words that would be useful in everyday writing.

     The first section gives words in alphabetical order and is organized into the most common language functions for the word. Each letter has nouns, Pronouns, Articles (if any) Conjunctions, Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, and Homophones.

     The second section is simply commonly misspelled words. The third section is called Special Interest Words. These pages are divided alphabetically as well, but they are blank lines for you to write words of your own that you may be having trouble with.

     While I liked the premise of the book and the layout, I found it was not very well used in our house. I had it available any time we were doing writing assignments. Ben (10)  and Rebekah (8) never touched it. They just never seemed to need any of the words contained in it. Sarah (14) had it with her as well. She writes frequently, mostly on computer. She found that she just rarely would pick it up to look for a word. She said it just seemed like too much trouble.

     I do think I will keep this around for writing assignments, though. I think it will be most useful for Ben and Rebekah as they start to write more and more. They are still in the process of hand writing most assignments, not using a computer with spell check.  I think this book will come in handy as their writing becomes more advanced.


      Many TOS Crew Mates reviewed the See-N-Spell book. Visit the Crew Blog to read what experiences they had with this tool.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received See –N- Spell for free from See-N-Read, in exchange for my honest review of their product

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Math Rider

     Looking for an intelligent math game. A math game that your kids will want to play even after school hours.  Math Rider is a new and innovative math game that helps kids learn their number facts.


Product Details

  • Math Rider  The Intelligent Math Facts Game
  • Available as a download from Math
  • Price: On sale through February 14, 2012 for $37 on February 15, 2012 the price goes back to $47.
  • Free trial version available on Math


Features include:

  • All four math operations included, from easy to master levels.
  • Game Intelligence: the game learns what the rider knows and what they need to work on to customize the problems for each player.
  • Well thought out Feed back page. Shows at a glance what has been learned and what needs to be worked on.
  • Easy to use controls that adjust to your child’s speed.
  • Noble quests are completed riding Shadow, the horse, across fantastic lands .
  • Rewards built in throughout the game.


ClarkClan Thoughts

Ben:   Ben, who is 10, enjoyed Math Rider. He was very serious about the game. While he was playing, you could hear laughing and exclamations of “Yes” as he got things right. He enjoyed the story line of the Quests and considered it a challenge to go further on the map. Ben had no problems stopping and then picking up the quest the next time he played. He would begin by checking his progress and then his statistics page to see what percent he had mastered. Then he would start his ride.

Rebekah:  Rebekah did not enjoy Math Rider. After about 3 times of me telling her to play it, she told me she just did not like it. I sat with her to see if I could figure out why it was not working for her. Rebekah is a kid who likes a lot of action, this game did not necessarily provide that for her. As I questioned her, she said she got  frustrated trying to remember the problem she was on and knowing another one was coming up soon. (Matching the speed the problems are coming to the individual playing is an aspect of the game, but it never went  a speed with which Rebekah was comfortable.)  Rebekah also wanted to change quests each time she changed operations. Since she never got past the easy level, the quest did not change.  It was not a challenge to Rebekah to finish her ride, she just got bored.

Mom’s opinion:

  • Math Rider is a great concept and a well put together, well thought out game.
  • I liked that the game had “intelligence” it would slow down or speed up to match the players ability. I think this feature is important, even if it did not work so well for Rebekah.
  • The ability to practice all mathematical operations in one game, with  differing levels, was nice.
  • The statistics screen was easy to read and gave the stats in 3 different formats which made it easy to understand.
  • Multiple users are supported with this game. Each child gets their own log in.
  • To make sure the game is compatible with your child, I recommend trying the free trial before buying.

Don’t forget to hop on over and check out the TOS Crew Blog and read what my Crew Mates had to say about Math Rider.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received a trial of Math Rider for free, in exchange for my honest review of their product

Celestial Almanack–Classical Astronomy


  • The Classical Astronomy Celestial Almanack a Visual Representation of the sky , February 2012 edition
  • Published by Fourth Day Press
  • 21 pages
  • Written by Jay Ryan  Astron., Cart., B. C. Sch.
  • Celestial Almanack available from CurrClick
  • $3.00 per month PDF download

     Did you know February is one of the best months for star watching? According to our Celestial Almanack the winter sky is  the most beautiful sky of the entire year!  After reading the almanack and then spending time outside observing the sky, I agree. I will say, having the almanack guide me through what I was seeing certainly helped.

     Until I read the Celestial Almanack, I had assumed that any serious study of astronomy needed a telescope. Was I pleasantly surprised to find that Classical Astronomy means finding the stars with your “naked” eye.

     I am totally blown away by this product. From the first page I was hooked. I cannot believe how much information is packed into this almanack. We begin by getting a short lesson on Leap Year and why we have it and how it came to be.  This led into a discussion of how our calendar came to be.

     A very thorough discussion of the Sun and its position during February, plus what stars are in space if we could pierce the daytime sky came next. Words and concepts like analemma, and  declination are clearly defined and taught. I had no idea that the Sun moved in a figure eight pattern. Now, not only do I know this from seeing the well-done chart, but by reading the explanation I understand why.

     The discussion on the night sky begins with an amazing full color chart of where the moon is during the month of February and where you will find various constellations in relation to the moon. Truth be told, the only “constellation” I have ever found has been the Big Dipper. (You can read for yourself why the Big Dipper is not really a constellation, but it has another name.  Buy the Celestial Almanac to find out exactly what it is.)  Sarah and I studied the charts, read the information then took a walk one evening to look at the stars.

     Sarah has been interested in stars for many years now. I remember finding a journal of hers that had almost a years worth of notes, all dated, that chronicled what the stars outside her window looked like each night. She happily pointed out to me some of the stars she knew, and then was super excited to learn the names of stars, different constellations, seeing Orion’s sword and knowing for sure she had found it.

     Scripture and famous quotes were easily and properly woven throughout the Almanack. The almanack is a PDF download, but it has the feel of a traditional Ben Franklin Almanac. The layout is really fun. We are Lutherans and as such follow the Liturgical church calendar. I was pleasantly surprised to see a small discussion on how the traditional church calendar is used to mark the seasons with a note that more will be brought out in future editions. Since this piggybacks on what we talk about at home during our worship time, I am thrilled.


     I couldn’t help but notice as I wrote this review that I used the words amazing, pleasantly surprised, excited many times. I wondered if I had over done it and decided, no, I have not. We have been blown away by the depth of this product. I have only highlighted some of the information contained therein.  Sarah has already announced to me that she wants me to buy this every month. She said it is the first astronomy text she has read that she  1) understood 2) could figure out how to use. She also said she liked reading how certain stars are mentioned in the Bible. She did not realize that.  We are also eagerly awaiting the rest of the year as Jay has said that three very rare event occur in the heavens this year.  Each of these events will be promoted in the Celestial Almanack.

1) the Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 (once every 24 years);
2) the annular solar eclipse on May 20 (once every 18 years); and
3) the transit of Venus on June 5 (last one til 2117!).

     I have agreed to buy this download for Sarah every month. I am amazed (once again) at the price of $3.00 per month.  We are also just ready to start a new science curriculum for her and she has asked to try Signs and Seasons which is written by Jay Ryan, as well. My recommendation is that you try the almanac and see what you think. For the price, you can hardly go wrong. 


     Many of my TOS Crew Mates also reviewed the Celestial Almanack. Visit the Crew Blog to read what fun they had while learning about the stars.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received a download of the Celestial Almanack for free  from Jay Ryan, through CurrClick, in exchange for my honest review of their product

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ruminating on Success

     This week I have finally pulled myself together and am able to join in the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog Cruise.  The topic for this week is: How do you measure success in your homeschool? Make sure to click on the link after reading my post, to read what my Crew Mates have to say about success.

     Success in homeschooling. I have to admit, my biggest confirmation of success has been that my oldest son graduated from our homeschool, was accepted into New Mexico State University and has successfully completed his first semester and started on his second.

     But as I have ruminated on this topic, I realize I have just measured success as “the world” measures success.When people hear we homeschool, and have one in college, there are usually no more questions. I must have succeeded, it worked, he is normal. But the success of our homeschool is more than just Matthew going to college. If I measured success as only doing well academically then our homeschool is no different than many public school kids that graduate at the top of their class.

      Success is first and foremost, loving God with all your heart and all your mind. Success is learning to honor father, mother, and others in authority, as Luther’s small Catechism puts it.  Success is learning to put others ahead of yourself.  Learning to put others first is not the way of the world. But over the years of homeschooling I have learned that what the world considers foolishness, I consider success.

     I needed to put  success in perspective. Our homeschool is not a success because my son is in college. It is a success because of the grace of God. It is only by the grace of God, that I can have the patience and the desire to school my children at home. I am not perfect and neither are my children.  It is only through the love of Jesus, dying on the cross, that I am able acknowledge my unworthiness, ask for forgiveness and go forth in peace, knowing my sins have been forgiven.  May God continue to grant success, and may I recognize from where my success comes.

    You can read more stories of success by visiting the TOS Bog Cruise post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Solving Problems, Teenage Style

     When your children are little, mom can solve most of their problems.  Now that my son is an adult, he has to take care of problems himself. I sometimes think I am too sensitive, because when my son texts me and tells me about a problem he is having, I just want to cry and wish I could take care of it for him .

      Matthew was having a problem with one of his bosses at work accusing him of not doing a job, which someone else had already done and that Matthew was told earlier was not his worry. It bothered Matthew enough that he texted me to tell me about it. But I am currently over 1,400 miles away. I can only give advice in his preferred method of communication, texting. As I told him my thoughts (in short text bursts), I realized that texting your teenage adult son is really not that bad after all. Patterns of behavior that can cause annoyance, such as huffing on his part, or talking and talking on my part, are gone.

     A verse that I had my son memorize many years ago when I thought he was arguing too much with me comes  from Proverbs.  19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. Proverbs 10:19

      After I made him memorize this, it hit me that this was a verse that I also needed to take to heart. So I made myself memorize it as well. Last night, as I am texting my son I realized I am following this biblical advice using a form I would never have considered: texting. In a text, brevity is key. I tend to be very wordy and talk and talk and talk until I am blue in the face and my son has tuned me out. With texting, I had to choose my words carefully.  Let’s face it, I am not a teenager, I spell all my words out correctly and in complete sentences. This habit is not conducive to a long texting conversation. In this instance, I gave my advice, told him I loved him and it was over.

     It is amazing how God’s Word is timeless and transcends all things, even technology. I am glad I memorized the Proverbs verse years ago. I never would have guessed I would be following its advice one day through my phone and a few text messages.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


  • Music Lessons Online, I Pad or DVD
  • Ages 3-7
  • Child Paced
  • Engaging Video
  • Fun Characters
  • Music Theory
  • 6 levels of Kinderbach are available
  • Visit the Kinderbach website for a free trial.

     Kinderbach teaches note reading, rhythm, singing, and composition. Using engaging video, with memorable characters, Kinderbach provides a slow and gentle, but thorough approach to beginning music education.


  • Online Access: $19.99 a month or $95.88 annually comes with PDF downloads for the workbooks
  • DVD packages include a CD with the workbook pages. DVD’s are a great option for those with slower internet. Super Starter package is $55.95. Many more DVD packages are available here.
  • One Day online access is $5.95
  • Kinderbach is offering a coupon code for TOS Blog review readers. Use the coupon code TOScrew2012 to receive a 30% discount.The coupon is good until 2/3/2013.

ClarkClan Thoughts

      We had the pleasure of reviewing Kinderbach last school year. Ben and Rebekah really enjoyed the program. This year, Ben decided he was a little to old for it, but Rebekah has enjoyed the program again. She enjoys watching the videos, coloring the activity book and playing her rhythm instruments. Rebekah also takes traditional piano lessons and Kinderbach has helped to reinforce what she is learning.

      I think  Kinderbach lessons give kids a great foundation in music. It is a gentle, fun approach to music theory and ear training. Rebekah was older than the recommended age, yet she still enjoyed watching the videos.

     If I had kids in the recommended age range, I would seriously consider buying this program. I love how the video’s are slower paced, not frantic. Karri Gregor is very animated and engaging. The characters that are introduced are fun and memorable. Rebekah will still talk about Dodi the donkey and his house between the two black keys.  Karri Gregor has a unique “pre staff” method of teaching music notation that gets kids learning to read music off paper and playing songs almost immediately.

     The only supplies you will need to provide are a few craft items, crayons and a keyboard. You do not need a full piano. The Kinderbach website states that an electric keyboard will be just fine, the less bells and whistles the better. We used a full size keyboard and my laptop to watch the lessons.


     Many of my Crew Mates also reviewed Kinderbach. Visit the Crew Blog to read what their experiences with the program were.

As an Independent contractor for The Old Schoolhouse and member of TOS Homeschool Crew I received a trial of Kinderbach for free, in exchange for my honest review of their product.