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Have you heard of the Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System?

What a fun convenience this Esio beverage system is to have in my kitchen! The countertop unit can dispense favorite hot and cold drinks, instantly, with no waste and no mess. It has a drop’ndrink™ technology that lets us switch immediately from say, a cold V8 Splash to a hot tea without one tasting like the other.

Nick using Esio Beverage System

Nick using Esio Beverage System

Now, water is the best drink, I always tell the kids. But, that being said, this is a really neat appliance! My teenagers love it. It is their very own drink machine.

You can choose what drink you want from a line of Esio’s MultiServe E-Paks™, then you put in your E-Pak and set the strength you want your drink and your temperature. It is dispensed instantly. The E-Paks reseal automatically after use so there is no waste and they stay fresh.

I like that using the packs saves money overall. At about $.40 per 8-oz. serving, you spend less than single-serve bottled beverages. The beverages are familiar brands, low calorie and low sugar and the unit itself has a carbon filter for your water.

Esio Hot & Cold Beverage system is now available in Walmart stores and at EsioBev.com.

 

I received the Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System, and a supply of Esio’s MultiServe E-Paks™, to try out with my family and friends over the holidays. I received no additional compensation and all opinions are mine.

 

 

 

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use paper carton
As mama, I am very concerned about caring for my family’s health. Because of this, we have been going green one step at a time. We began eating organic foods. We began using green cleaners. I started buying my children organic clothing. We began recycling more.

Today, I just realized another thing I can do that is green. Good for my family and good for the planet. And, it is super easy!

I can choose paper cartons over other types of packaging. Yes, it is that easy!

I read up on the benefits of using cartons on the Evergreen website www.choosecartons.com  

Here are some facts I like:

  • Cartons block UV light preserving the nutritional value of foods like milk.
  • Cartons are made from renewable materials – more than 70 percent of the carton is made from paper, all from trees from responsibly managed forests.
  • Pulp and paperboard is manufactured into cartons using 50% or more biomass fuel, a renewable energy source.
  • Reducing food and packaging waste with a great product- to-package ratio, an average of 94% product to only 6% package. So more of what you buy is product.
  • Cartons are recyclable where facilities exist. The paper fiber contained in cartons is valuable. Recycled cartons are used to make products such as tissue, office paper, wall boards and other building materials.  To learn if your community accepts cartons for recycling, please visit www.recyclecartons.com

This really makes a lot of sense, using a renewable resource and I love knowing that my shopping habits can make a difference.

And then I went on a fridge hunt, looking through my refrigerator and pantry to see what cartons I already use and what changes I could make.

inside of refrigerator

What’s In YOUR Fridge?

As I use a lot of local and organic products, I was glad to see I already had some cartons, like the buttermilk and cream! Some brands I like were already looking out for me, I suppose.

milk

I noticed that my gallon of milk is always in plastic, rather than carton form. When I buy the half gallons, they come in paper cartons. I often have soymilk (although I was out) and that always comes in a paper carton.

I know I buy a lot of yogurt and kefir and that always seems to come in plastic packaging.

I do also seem to have most condiments in plastic or glass.

The frozen stuff all seems to be in paper packaging…

I would love to get more things in paper cartons. With my family of six, we go through groceries quickly and I like using cartons.

I believe most of the things in my fridge are recyclable. And, I looked up if paper carton recycling is available in my area, and the form said no, but actually, I always toss our paper cartons into our recycle bin and the recycling guys are picking mine up, so I will need to check on this.

So far, I have learned a lot lately about how to help my family AND my environment. I will be looking around the grocery store for more cartons when I shop tomorrow. Of course, at the farmer’s market, I use nothing, and that is good when possible:)

What Can you do?

Join in the conversation!  Every carton fact shared, via Twitter, using the hashtag #choosecartons will help raise money for Habitat for Humanity® Play the cart game, learn more about packaging and green living by visiting choosecartons.com! Follow @choosecartons on Twitter and via Facebook at facebook.com/choosecartons.

 

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Evergreen and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

 

 

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I love it when our homeschooling is moving ahead with everyone pretty confident about their coursework and content with their schedules.

But, the reality of teaching several kids at different stages often translates into learning curves for all of us as we go through the year.

While most of our curriculum is working this year, I noticed a few things that needed tweaking. Two things stood out to me:

  1. Nick needed more English—especially Grammar practice
  2. Emma was bored with her Math

As I did not want to change up my major curriculum choices, I was not quite sure what to do. Luckily for me, I happened to get a chance to review some homeschool curriculum from Timberdoodle and The Critical Thinking Press.

I was inspired by the bright colors and entertaining artwork of The Critical Thinking Co. books. I liked the theme of challenging kids to think–developing critical thinking habits is an integral part of all their products.

And, I liked the idea of supplementing our current schedule with some items that would appeal to the kids and filled an important need in our curriculum.

As I was able to choose some books to fit the children, I chose Math Reasoning Level A (kindergarten) for Emma, and Editor In Chief C2, for Nick.

The book for Emma was an instant hit and totally solved our “boredom with math problem”. She loves this workbook. I was also thrilled with the colorful, sturdy pages that introduce and explain new math topics very well.

Bright graphics and positive reinforcement really motivate

Bright graphics and success really motivate!

The 250 pages reinforce many beginning math concepts without becoming dreary, as the authors introduce a concept, work on it for a few pages and then move to something else…and come back around.

For the first time ever, Em liked doing the number lines

For the first time ever, Em liked the number lines

This method of spiraling through many concepts gave Emma lots of practice while never leaving her frustrated and mathematical reasoningbored—the authors seemed to know exactly when to take a break and when to keep going! I began allowing Em to do as many math pages as she wanted each day—some days she will do at least ten without any motivation from me.

As the title suggests, the book teaches reasoning and problem solving skills, with topics including: addition, bar graph, calendar, capacity, coins, count, fractions, language, length, likelihood, match, number line, odd/even, order, pattern, real world problems, shapes, subtraction, time, weight, and whole numbers.

There is an answer guide included in the back of the book and this level can be used as a core math or a supplemental. We began using this as supplemental, but I soon felt that this book could easily be Emma’s complete curriculum for this level.

Look at some sample pages from the book.

We did not fare as well for Nick’s experience. But, it was not because the book wasn’t creative and just plain challenging. Our problem was that it was too challenging!

editor in chiefYes, I made an error in judgment on what level to get for him. While this level is recommended for grade levels 9th-12th, it is a serious grammar study—fun, yet the exercises cover some complicated concepts. Attempting to work through this book really forced us to decide to regroup and focus on grammar at an earlier stage–because Nick actually wanted to do this book, as it was entertaining, it showed me that he was not just lacking in motivation.

We liked the idea of the book, Editor In Chief. In these books, your child basically acts as if they are an editor and as they search for grammatical errors, they are truly analyzing the materials and thinking about correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization and more.

The 130 page book includes an editing checklist, 33 lessons, answers, even a guide to grammar, usage and punctuation.

They do have five other levels for this book. See which Editor In Chief Book might be age-appropriate for your kids, here. We will be getting another one, so we can have a bit of fun, too.

See a sample page.

Are you looking to fill a void in your curriculum? Looking for Math curriculum? Language Arts? Check out Timberdoodle for tons of educational items, including complete curriculum kits. I so enjoy their catalog!

Click to get their free catalog!

Click to get your free catalog!

You can even get fun updates on the Timberdoodle Facebook page.

As a member of Timberdoodle’s Blogger Review Team, I received a free copy of these books in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger. Here is the latest update from Mary:

By Mary M. Byers

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Other work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.There’s a big difference between working to put food on the table vs.working for the “extras” such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it’s essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order. When my children were young, I worked for the extras. However, instead of stopping when I earned enough to help with vacation costs I kept right on going, becoming a workaholic in the process. It didn’t serve me or my family. When I recognized my error, I was able to cut back on work in order to create a healthier balance. Now that my children are school-age and I’m working to help cover orthodontia, tuition and retirement, I’ve increased my hours accordingly.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you’re working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you’re working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you’ll adhere to.

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Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at http://www.makingworkathomework.com/. Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Summer Treats

Heather —  May 28, 2009

Okay….Nick…this one’s for you!

Baskin Robbins is still doing the B1G1 coupon for any 31 Below Ice Cream Treats!!
(also taking sign -ups for the I Serve You Serve–and giving coupons for free cones with that)

On top of that, Sonic is having a free 10oz. Rootbeer Float night, June 3rd from 8 til 12!! (while supplies last)