Our Favorite TOS Review Products of 2013

I can not believe 2013 is almost over! With the end-of-year holidays comes the end of our first year as a review family for The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew. I wasn’t sure I’d make it back for 2014, but I just got the acceptance email today. This was Jack’s reaction:

2013-11-21 14.19.27

I finally did what I’ve been meaning to do all year, and posted a page with a list of all of our reviews. I might even remember to add to it as I publish each new review next year so I don’t have to do a marathon update at the end of the year.

The Crew members voted on our favorite products from this year, and you can see the results here. I thought I’d take a minute and post our favorite products, one from each of us.


I actually have two that I couldn’t decide between. One is the Understanding Child Brain Development DVD from Family Hope Center because I was absolutely fascinated by the information shared on the DVD. Every parent and parent-to-be needs to watch this DVD.

My other favorite is The Presidential Game. This was so much fun! I just want to sit around and play board games all day every day. 😉



Jack’s favorite by far was Homeschool Programming. He learned some HTML and now that we have a bit of a break, he wants to finish the course.

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Blake’s favorite was TouchMath. He liked playing with the numbers and making things from the shapes.


Click here to see the Blue Ribbon Award winners for the 2013 Crew!

Let Your Kids Take Over Your Blog

Most of us write about our kids, but have you considered letting your kids take over your blog one day a year? I found this fun idea on Kidmondo.com: Using your blog to chronicle your child’s/children’s answers to the same questions each year on their birthday. You may even want to throw in a couple of questions of your own, and definitely a picture or two.

Questions to Ask Your Child Each Year for Their Online Journal

Online Small Business Owners: Want To Promote Your Black Friday Sales?

It’s that time of year again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales ads all over the place. (Well, really, now they’re Black Thursday ads.) As a small business(es) owner, I’d prefer to help promote other entrepreneurs.

If you have a small business, and want me to include your business in my Thanksgiving night post, then leave a comment here or on the facebook page.

  1. You must have some kind of website, even if it’s only an Etsy page.
  2. I will only list one vendor for each type of product. This mainly applies to direct sales, but could apply to crafts if two people are selling the same items. First come, first listed.
  3. I am a Pampered Chef consultant, so I will have to be mean and say that I won’t list any other PC consultants. We’re not supposed to link to our personal websites anyway. Other direct sales companies are welcome, as long as your company rules don’t prohibit it.
  4. People love discounts on Thanksgiving weekend. If you’re not already planning a sale of some sort, you may want to think about it. Be sure to mention the details of your sale in your comment.
  5. Authors, if you’re running a sale on your family-friendly/YA/clean romance/Christian book next weekend, or offering it for free (if it’s usually not), please feel free to include it. (Remember, it doesn’t have to be Christian, but this is a family-friendly blog.)
  6. After you enter your information, please share this with your friends. The more people we have listed, the more people will be sharing the post next weekend, which means more exposure for your business. Think of it as free cooperative advertising.

What are you waiting for? Tell me about your jewelry/craft/art/cookie/direct sales/whatever business!

Changes, Maybe?

Once upon a time, long, long ago, back before mom blogs became huge, I bought a domain name, and decided that I would start reviewing products we used. I had no idea that there would come a day when bloggers could get stuff for free in exchange for reviewing it. I just wanted to review as a service to other moms. I never did around to actually writing any reviews, though, and I let the domain name go. Too bad, because it was a pretty fabulous name for a review blog. *sigh*

So now I’m considering reviewing more products. I reviewed a bathroom scale, but I was originally planning on putting that on my health blog. Then I realized I would use it for mailing books more than for weighing myself.

I was considering starting a new blog, but I checked recently, and my amazing blog name is being used and I can’t think of another one. Also? I’d have to start from scratch with my stats. Companies like to see numbers. I don’t really have the time or energy to build the following for another blog. Plus, I don’t really want to have a review-only blog, which is what that would be, since I blog about kid stuff here already.

So I’m wondering how many readers I’ll lose if I start reviewing products on this blog. They’ll all be products I’m actually interested in, which I hope will mean that they’ll interest my readers.

What I won’t be reviewing:

  • Makeup
  • Fat-burning supplements
  • Pet products
  • Beer/wine/alcohol (unless it’s gluten-free, then I may consider it, but I don’t really drink)
  • Baby products

What I would probably review:

  • Kids’ toys
  • Jewelry or accessories (not many because I’m not very girly and don’t usually wear this stuff, but something may catch my eye)
  • Books (of course)
  • Whatever other fun things I run across

What do you think? Do you read product reviews or will you skip those posts? Or should I just skip those posts? 😉


Ever Thought About Starting Your Own Editing Business, But Aren’t Sure Where to Start?

I’m getting so many inquiries about how to start an editing/proofreading business that I’m either going to write a blog post or a how-to book, depending on how much information I can scrounge together. So, if you’ve had any questions about…stuff like that, post them here and I’ll do my best to answer them in…whatever I end up writing. If I wind up with a book, I will give some of the posters the opportunity to beta read the book (which will include all the information).

I’m not an expert, and I’ve only been doing this for a little more than a year, but I’ve been pretty successful at it, and I’m happy with the way my business is going. I’d love to be able to help others get started, and I find that I’m answering the same questions again and again. If you’ve ever wondered how to get started, please post your questions below.  I’m going to try to get my notes together this weekend, so if you can do it over the next couple of days, that would be fabulous!

Thanks for your help!

Blogging for a Cause in September and October

It seems that there are an endless number of memes and blog challenges out there. Pick a month, and you can find something to do. After surviving the A-Z Challenge in April, and the WordCount Blogathon in June, I’m not up for another challenge right now. There are some excellent things going on in the blogging world in September and October if you’re up for it, though.

September NaBloPoMo

Each month has a theme, and (optional) prompts are provided for weekdays. September’s theme is Serve.
NaBloPoMo September 2013

Suicide Prevention Blog Carnival – Post needs to be published by September 10

Help raise suicide awareness.
Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge


Celebrating Womanhood – Linky goes up September 16

Write a blog post with a positive message about women. It can be about women in general or a specific woman who has inspired you. Linky goes up Sept 16, and posts can be added until Sept 23. Posts published previously are acceptable as long as they fit the theme.

Living, Learning, and Loving Life

Anti-Bully Project – October 1- October 31

You don’t have to have your own blog to participate in this one. Write a guest post for the Anti-Bully blog about bullying, or share your story on the blog (either as the bully or the person being bullied). If you would like to donate an item for a giveaway, you can also do that from the form on the site.

 Anti-Bully Project


Blogathon Bash Fail

Biannual Blogathon Bash

I got busy working and almost forgot to post today! I signed up last week for the Blogathon Bash. It’s a weekend-long clean-up-your-blog event. With two full-length books and a novella to edit this weekend, I wasn’t sure I would get to any of the tasks, but I signed up anyway.

And didn’t get anything done.

It ends at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning if you want to jump in and try to get something done. I’ll just have to wait for the next one.