Zirrly Super Beads Mega Pack

The following is a review of the Super Beads Mega Pack from Zirrly with the TOS Homeschool Review Crew. 

We received a Super Beads Mega Pack which included a bag filled with over 4500 Super Beads, as well as enough clear trays and design pattern cards for four people to work on the same design (or a different one) simultaneously, two tiny spray bottles, a green plastic design tools, and instructions. Additional instructions were also provided by email. Small bags of black and orange beads were inside the large bag; the other colors of beads were all packaged together. Four color coded design cards for each of the four designs pictured below were included, sixteen cards total.
Sorting the colors by picking them up individually could be a helpful task for someone needing to work on improving their pincer grasp or sorting skills. Placing the beads onto the tray also requires a precise pinch.  

When we first opened the bag, my son compared the strong scent to school glue. We emptied the bags onto two large plates. The smell remained but was less strong after the beads had been open for a while. 


The instructions directed us to place the beads with the raised line pointing up. Without reading that, I may not have noticed that thin line. 

We initially followed the designs on the included cardboard pattern boards which were folded and pushed under the plastic bead boards. We had fun creating our own designs. We noticed two 3-D jewelry designs (crown and bracelet) in the website’s pictures for this kit. When we first received the package, we were also watching the Olympics, so I was inspired to copy the Olympic Rings.

Making circles with the board was not easy, and overlapping the colors correctly was a challenge. We even tried turning the board diagonally when making heart shapes, but we found that using it the way it is designed worked best.  

If not yet sprayed with water to adhere together, such as the circles which were not really connected, the beads can be removed from the board and used again and again. 

These Super Beads would be useful for addressing multiple visual and visual motor skills. Following the included design cards could be made more challenging by completing the design with the card visible but not directly beneath the clear design board. Eye hand coordination and fine motor coordination were required for bead placement. Minimal strength was required to spray the water bottle and to remove/pull the dried designs from the boards. When we completed each design we positioned the boards over a plate before spraying them with water. 

The tiny water bottles held enough water to spray several projects before refilling was needed. We left the completed designs on a scrap of cardboard to dry overnight. 


These Super Beads are a fabulous safer alternative to similar ones which my daughters used years ago which fused together by ironing. We all had fun! I recommend them for anyone cognitively aware not to put the tiny beads in their mouth. Their 3-D kits are recommended for ages 10+.   

Other Crew reviewers also tried out these sets: 


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Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

Super Beads Mega Pack


Home School In The Woods À La Carte Selections

The following is a review of three À La Carte products from Home School in The Woods with the TOS Homeschool Review Crew. 

The À La Carte projects are individual projects which were originally part of larger unit studies and are now provided as individual downloads to enhance any curriculum. We reviewed The Art of Quilling, The Orchestra File Folder Project, and the New Figures of the 20th and 21st Century

Years ago, we first heard of quilling when my girls were both in an activities group with other homeschooled friends. A friend shared beautiful pictures of quilled art that her daughter created. I even created a Pinterest board just for quilling, then deleted it when we never tried it. Fast forward 8-10 years. When we read through the course opportunities with Home School In The Woods and my kids expressed an interest in quilling, I still had the unopened box with the special tools. We downloaded and then printed the project pages. With our printed instructions we were ready to try. Sample pictures illustrated some of the ways to shape the paper once rolled to result in different effects.    

We followed the directions provided to make homemade quilling tools with toothpicks as well as using our purchased tools.  It was not easy at first, but with practice the  different shapes became easier. In addition to the template provided (it resulted in a project like the completed picture below) which both of my children completed, I attempted creating a heart design on a Valentine’s card. This is by no means a fast project, but time and attention to details can have beautiful results. After completing this, the techniques learned can be used for other quilling projects. 

Our house is often filled with music. My senior is planning to pursue a degree in music education and was interested in creating the Orchestra File Folder Project. 

The Orchestra File Folder project includes instructions to print small pockets on card stock. After cutting, folding, and gluing as instructed, the inside of the folder is set up like a real orchestra. Instructions are even included to set up the instruments on the stage (folder) differently for specific time periods! Beautiful illustrated instruments are printed on regular paper. Pockets are numbered (included on the printed paper as well as lines for cutting and then folding.) Then the instruments which fill the pockets are set up according to which time period you choose. They can be changed out and used over and over again.    
Our all-time favorite Home School in The Woods resource is their timeline and specifically the timeline figures. This set includes President Obama, Queen Elisabeth II, Hurricane Katrina, and other key people, inventions, and events which are not included in the CD collection. Reading the descriptions (each timeline figure can be printed with or without corresponding facts) provided details for an interesting modern events discussion. My daughter laughed as she read about the exponential growth of computer data storage. 

Timeline figures are for much more than just pasting into timelines.  My daughter created a British Monarchs notebook which corresponded with her study of British literature. She added the Queen Elizabeth figure to her otherwise completed page. 
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products 
Last year we reviewed the beautiful Timeline Trio from Home School in The Woods. It included every timeline image available up to that point. This set could be considered an update to that. Important people and events from 1908 through 2015 have been included in this new set of timeline figures. It has always been fun to add current events to our timeline lessons in addition to historical figures. The drawling of a hand holding a cell phone to illustrate The 24-Hour (24/7) News Cycle is certainly one that my children can understand. 

Each of these downloads were less than ten pages printed, but full of detail and beauty. There are so many options in their À la Carte selections that can give you a smaller taste of what the larger units contain. Click the banner below to read Crew reviews of many of them. 

Visit Home School in The Woods on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, and be sure to tell them hi from Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life. 

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À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}


Scripture and a Snapshot

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3

My husband and I have been married over two decades, and we’ve been parents for most of those years. Our “date nights” were long ago replaced with family nights. When he asked what I wanted this year, I told him a date night would be nice. We celebrated our anniversary all day. My husband planned to take me out to eat. It turned into spending the whole day together. We did simple things. Being with each other was what made it special.

We started our morning with a drive through country roads to a farmer’s market that I had especially enjoyed visiting years ago. We listened to a mom and daughter who sold goat milk and they listened to a cute video of the two new kids on our farm, our first goats. Then they showed us pictures of their newest goats born that morning. We made faces at each other when a farming family from closer to home tried to convince us to purchase bags of chicken poop. Really! We have chickens. I’ve never seen that for sale, but their eggs for sale on the same table just added to the grossness.

Lunch was slowly eaten at one of my favorite cafes. We bought each other trees. Technically, his is a shrub. But it is a sweet smelling shrub he’s been wanting. He got me a pink buckwheat tree. Both of them already have pretty flowers blooming. When we got back home we walked around then sat on the front porch swing while discussing just where they should be planted. We bought a few vegetable plants, too, but where to plant the vegetables is tricky as we now let our chickens roam the yard during the day.

We have been planning our second daughter’s graduation and reminiscing as we see old pictures. I am incredibly thankful for all that God has done for us in our marriage and family through the years. We are glad! 

     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit some of the other links, too.  

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Scripture and A Snapshot

But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. I Chronicles 29:14

     Last week at church we talked about one of the names of God: Jehovah Jireh. I learned the meaning in a song when I was younger “Jehovah Jireh, my provider.” Our children all three play the piano. We have a nice keyboard, but when my senior discussed her piano skills with the dean of the music department (in his office with two grand pianos) he recommended that she play more on either a real piano or one with weighted keys. The one she plays on when she goes to piano lessons is nice; her piano teacher suggested we look for a used one. We looked in a nearby piano store, and they recommended one more than four times as much as the new (also out of our budget) one we saw online. This week, God provided just what our girl wanted in a price that fit our budget! He knows our desires and constantly amazes me with how He provides! The kids have all three been playing even more, and I love the joyful music filling our house. There is no comparison between our situation and Abraham being provided with a sacrifice in God’s perfect timing. But there is thankfulness in yet another gift from His hand. 

     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit some of the other links, too.  

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24 Pack Magic Stix Washable Markers

The following is a review of Magic Stix Washable Markers from The Pencil Grip, Inc. with the TOS Homeschool Review Crew.  

The Pencil Grip, Inc.

We have had so much fun trying out this 24-pack set of Magic Stix Washable Markers! 

My daughters both teach music lessons in our house. Most of their students have siblings, so we try to always keep a few kid-friendly things out to occupy them as they wait on their sister or brother. At Christmas, in addition to my favorite but breakable nativity which is now displayed out of reach a little higher, we set out a toy set that my oldest daughter received years ago. Lately, we've had paper and these washable markers available on the table for them to use. I did add a layer of cardboard between the paper and the tablecloth, just in case the color bled through.  

My niece and her family recently visited us. Their little baby girl is just learning to walk, and their two year old son is incredibly active. While his parents were talking with us, Matthew actually sat still when I showed him these markers.  

First I spread out a large piece of paper, next I showed him how to make spiral scribbles, and then he took over. He drew, took off the lids by himself, amazed me by putting the lids back on, and even put the markers back in the case after a few prompts. He tried out almost every single color, sometimes two at a time. And then, was it inevitable? He accidentally marked on his face. 

We tested the package label's washable claim. It almost wiped completely off (pictured above) with a damp cloth. With a dab of soap and just a little pressure, his blue mark was gone. His mom loved that I got him to draw a circle, and he loved sitting and scribbling. 

Have you done it too...grabbed a marker only to learn it was too dry to mark your paper? We have gone through so many that dried out even with the lids firmly in place. These Magic Stix are different. They have a vented safety cap which means technically, in addition to being safe for young kids, they are also never completely air tight even with the lid on. They also have a handy case with a spot for each marker to conveniently snap into. 
Magic Stix Washable Markers

Just like the original 12-pack which we reviewed last fall, these markers have several benefits that are especially helpful for sensory defensive children. These markers have no odor! That's a big deal! The long lasting washable formula is also non-toxic. A lot of attention to details that matter obviously went into the Magic Stix formula.

We recently joined a new homeschool group. I heard it again for the first time in a while-- the socialization myth. Apparently, from listening to other parents in the group, grandparents of homeschooled kids are the ones who most often bring up that question. And really, when you think about it, concerned grandparents are a good thing. We do not have a socialization problem. One of the groups that my children have been involved with for over a decade is 4H. We made the awards for an upcoming shooting sports competition, and decided to add a little color to the laser-cut wood. There are five different shades of green in the Magic Stix 24 pack, and one of them is just the right shade for our 4H project.  

We first tried these markers at Christmas on wooden etched ornaments. Now I like the wood that is colored one solid shade with these even better than the ornaments on which we used multiple colors. 

They are also available in their original 12-pack, too! 

The Pencil Grip, Inc. is also giving a 24-pack set of their washable markers to one of you! Enter my giveaway after clicking here.

Visit The Pencil Grip on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, and be sure to tell them hi from Jennifer at A Glimpse of Our Life. 

Disclosure: The Pencil Grip, Inc. provided their Magic Stix markers for this review. All opinions shared are my own. 

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Magic Stix Washable Markers {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}


Magic Stix Washable Markers 24 Pack Giveaway

The following Kwik Stix giveaway is sponsored by http://www.thepencilgrip.com

These Magic Stix Washable Markers are fabulous! Read my review here, and then enter the giveaway below. The Pencil Grip, Inc. is giving one of these 24-pack cases to one of you!

Magic Stix Washable Markers

The Pencil Grip, Inc.
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to The Pencil Grip for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” 

Scripture and a Snapshot

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” Genesis 1:20

     This week we had the opportunity to join friends at a “swamp walk” that we heard of years ago. It was beautiful, but mixed with the beauty we saw a huge alligator and two snakes. Nobody knows how many we didn’t see! Moss hung from branches all around us. Far in the distance white egrets and some large pink feathered birds (spoonbill?) fished and swam by the cypress knees. We carefully stayed on the wooden path right above the dark water. 

     It is amazing to imagine how life was in the Garden of Eden. Perfect. No sin. All of creation living together. Adam naming each animal. Do you think any of our common names resemble those original names? Alligator.  I imagine it was in ways similar to Louisiana. Not the swamp, but the humidity, though maybe not as hot temperatures as our weather can reach. 

     Thank you for joining Scripture & A Snapshot. Leave a comment with a verse that God has placed on your heart this week, or leave a link to your own post sharing a Scripture and a snapshot. Take time to visit  some of the other links, too. 

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