Reviews

Free 4-Week Trial to Reading Eggs

by Katie on January 13, 2015

As a homeschooling mom of more than 10 years, I’ve definitely tried out a wide variety of curriculum materials over the past decade.  I’m realistic enough to know that not every program, book, or manipulative is a good fit for each child.

Every child has their own likes and dislikes as well as a learning style that is best suited to them.  I’ve also learned that finding new and unique curriculum is often very helpful in order to keep subjects fresh and exciting throughout the school year.

Several months ago, I stumbled upon Reading Eggs, an online program that fosters a child’s love of learning to read.  The program was an instant hit with both of our younger two children.  They loved that they could jump right in on their own level, and move along at the pace that was comfortable for each of them.

Upon signing up for Reading Eggs, your child can take a free online reading test that will place them at an appropriate level within the Reading Eggs Program according to their reading ability.  From there, children will move on to the Reading Eggs lessons.

Each lesson builds upon the previous lessons and focuses on five key areas – phonemic awareness and phonics, sight words, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  The lessons are broken down into three broad levels with 40 lessons contained in each level.

The program is set up for long-term retention of reading skills.  Once the child has completed a series of lessons, they’ll reinforce those skills as they read the online books that contain words they’ve already learned within the program.

Children can also earn golden eggs as rewards for their completed work.  In turn, these eggs can be utilized to buy reward games.  Plus, after every ten lessons, your children will complete a mastery quiz.  The quiz will provide parents with a summary of what their child is learning.

The Reading Eggs Program is priced as low as $1.33 per week, depending on which subscription you choose.  As an added bonus, Reading Eggs would like to offer my readers a FREE 4-Week Trial of Reading Eggs. This trial will enable your child to try out Reading Eggs to ensure that the program is a good fit for your child.

For more information about Reading Eggs, you can check out their page of FAQs regarding their program as well as a breakdown of their subscription prices.  You can also try out a sample lesson as well before starting your free trial.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Reading Eggs. All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Once the task of list making and present purchasing is over, the real work actually starts.  Then it’s a mad rush to track down scissors, tape, and wrapping paper in order to prepare each gift for its proper place under the Christmas tree.

Office Depot and Office Max made my job much simpler this year by sending me a Holiday Workshop Toolkit.  This toolkit contained everything I needed to finalize my holiday preparations – scissors, tape, pens, permanent markers, gift tags, Washi tape, curling ribbon, and holiday cards.

Plus, to make gift wrapping and card writing more festive, the toolkit even contained hot cocoa mix and a portable speaker.  Now I can sip hot chocolate and listen to my favorite Christmas songs while I’m “wrapping” things up.

While I’ve always been rather neurotic organized about my wrapping paper, tissue paper, and bows, it’s never occurred to me to put together a holiday toolkit box.  The concept is pure genius!  Instead of trying to corral all my wrapping and card writing supplies, this box provides a convenient storage location for all my holiday preparation accessories, making my wrapping process a snap.

Once the holiday season is over, I plan to shop the after Christmas sales to restock my holiday toolkit so it will be ready for next year’s wrapping season.  It will be an easy way to get a jump start on our holiday preparations for next year.  By the way, if you’re still in need of wrapping supplies for this year, be sure to check out your local Office Depot or Office Max store to finish up your Prep and Landing procedures!

Out of curiosity, what items would you include in your Holiday Toolkit?

Disclaimer: This giveaway was provided by Office Depot & Office Max. All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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World Vision Balinese Necklace Giveaway

by Katie on December 22, 2014

Over the course of the Christmas season, most Americans plan to make a charitable donation to at least one organization between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  With so many worthy causes available both in the United States and abroad, it’s difficult to know where the gift can best be used.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice.  It is their mission to work with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

The World Vision Gift Catalog offers more than 250 items that help fight poverty and save lives both in the United States and around the world.  The gifts they offer are not only beautiful in a material sense, but a blessing to both the recipient and the people helped by the organization.  There are a wide variety of items available from World Vision:

African Soapstone Box – New to the 2014 World Vision Gift Catalog, the hand-carved African Soapstone Box is a safe place to store necklaces and rings. Coated in light blue with an image of a giraffe, this ornate box features pretty details that will complement nearly any decor. Donations go toward the Kenyan artisans who crafted the box to help provide medical care for their families.

Balinese Multi-Strand Necklace – Help meet the unique needs of families worldwide and receive this gorgeous draped beaded necklace. This necklace is handmade by an artisan in Bali who helps children get the education she never received herself.

Silver Vines Cuff – Ladies will love wearing this elegant adjustable silver cuff bracelet deigned by artisans in Old Delhi, India, to holiday parties. Each bracelet supports fair trade practices.

Colors of Africa Bracelet & Earring Set – Add some color and sophistication to holiday outfits with a Zakale bracelet and earring set from Nairobi made with beautiful multicolored beads. Zakale crafts are made from recycled materials by Kenyan artisans, who received a loan from World Vision to grow their business and lift themselves out of poverty.

Hand-woven Guatemalan Headband – Sport this colorful headband to the gym, during holiday travel or a day of leisure. Each beautiful, 100 percent cotton headband is woven by Mayan descendants in lake Atitlan, Guatemala and addresses urgent needs of children, families and communities around the world.

To help raise awareness of the World Vision Gift Catalog, World Vision would like to offer one of my readers a Balinese Multi-Strand Necklace.  You have six ways to enter this giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post – what will your family be doing this Christmas season to help out those in need?  This is a required entry!
  2. Follow Cincinnati Cents on Pinterest.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done this.
  3. Like Cincinnati Cents on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done so.
  4. Like World Vision on Facebook – let them know that Cincinnati Cents sent you.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done this.
  5. Follow the World Vision Twitter page and retweet this giveaway.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done this.
  6. Watch the video that explains how the World Vision Gift Catalog works.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you’ve done this.

Please make sure you leave a separate comment for each method of entry on this post.

This giveaway ends at 8:00 p.m. EST on Friday, December 26th, and is open to all U.S. residents, ages 18 years or older.  The winner will be selected randomly, and will be notified by e-mail.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond.  If no response is received by that time, a new winner will be chosen.

Disclaimer: This giveaway was provided by World Vision. All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Beth Quinn Designs: 20% Off Online Order

by Katie on December 9, 2014

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’m a huge fan of unique gifts, especially ones that can be personalized with the recipient in mind.  One of my favorite online places to shop for these types of gifts is Beth Quinn Designs.

Beth features one of a kind jewelry, ornaments, key chains, and more.  Each piece is handmade in Beth’s studio, combining texture and heartfelt sentiments to create pieces that will be cherished for years to come.

Whether you’re a fan of big charms or little charms, vintage pieces or modern, there’s something for everyone at Beth Quinn Designs.  However, timeless jewelry is just the tip of the iceberg.

Beth also features key chains with a variety of inspirational messages.  These make fun stocking stuffers as well as inspirational gifts, especially for new graduates.

Plus, just in time for Christmas, Beth Quinn Designs has unveiled a new line of Christmas ornaments.  These ornaments are a beautiful way to add a personalized sentiment to a loved one’s tree this year.

Beth Quinn would like to offer my readers an exclusive promotion to save 20% off your online order when you enter the promotional code thankful at checkout.  This is a great way to save on a meaningful gift this Christmas!

Disclaimer: This giveaway was provided by Beth Quinn Designs. All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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As a general rule, the holiday season is rarely synonymous with healthy eating.  While most holiday gatherings and parties have food as one of the central themes, it’s not often comprised of healthy choices.   To be honest, how often do you see platters of broccoli arranged like Christmas trees or gingerbread made out of hummus?!

Now, I’m not suggesting that party-goers should skip the festivities and pack a bag of raw veggies to munch on at each occasion.  However, in between the parties and festivities, there’s plenty of time to focus on health eating by incorporating a variety of fruits, veggies, and heart-healthy proteins into your diet.

Whether fruits and veggies are eaten alone or as a complement to a main meal, these foods are easy to incorporate into your daily menu plan.  And now, eating healthy is truly as easy as the click of a mouse.

Green BEAN Delivery brings organic and all-natural foods sourced from Midwest farmers and artisans whenever possible directly to local consumers’ homes.  The company’s network of local farmers and artisans provide year-round service and gives members a healthy alternative to conventional grocery stores while at the same time, supporting local farmers and artisans.

Once you create a Green BEAN account, you can select the bin size that you’d like to receive:

  • Small Fruit & Vegetable Bin – $35
  • Medium Fruit & Vegetable Bin – $42
  • Large Fruit & Vegetable Bin – $49
  • Fruit Only Bin – $42
  • Produce & Grocery Bin – $28

Delivery days vary according to your location, and the deliveries can be set up as either weekly or bi-weekly shipments.  If you need to modify or change your order at any time, you can contact Green BEAN Customer Service at  (513) 761-BEAN.

Each bin can be customized to your family’s needs and preferences, and customers can even add local dairy, meats, bread, and other grocery products.  All of the products from Green BEAN Delivery are all-natural and free of additives and preservatives.  Plus, with hundreds of items available for delivery each week, there are endless possibilities for creating your perfect produce bin.

Green BEAN gift certificates make a healthy gift giving option for the Christmas season.  You can visit the Green BEAN site to purchase a gift certificate, or you can contact customer service at (513) 761-BEAN if you have any questions regarding Green BEAN Delivery.  After all, a delivery of fresh produce could be exactly what changes the outcome for someone’s 2015!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Green BEAN Delivery.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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The latest technology in deodorant has just hit the shelves at Meijer.  Axe, Dove, and Degree have all unveiled their latest innovation to keep men and women dry throughout the day – their new Dry Antiperspirant Sprays.

This new line of antiperspirants is designed to offer protection for 48 hours, and prides itself on leaving no visible residue with use.  The spray goes on instantly dry, allowing the user to feel cleaner and more confident throughout the day.  Plus, since there’s no residue with these sprays, they’re even little black dress approved!

Application of these products is an easy as one, two, three.  First off, you’ll need to shake the deodorant.  Then, leaving about 6 inches of space, spray the product onto your underarm area.  And then…you’ll be dry and clean, and completely ready for the day ahead.

I recently had the opportunity to try out this new line of Dry Antiperspirant Sprays.  And I have to confess…I was a little skeptical at first.  I tend to be a creature of habit, and I’m accustomed to using products that I’m very familiar with.

However, after one use, I became an instant fan of these products!  Not only are they easy to use, but they kept me dry and feeling fresh for the entire day.

If you want to try out this new line of products, Meijer would like to help you stretch your budget with these money-saving coupons:

This is an inexpensive way to try out this new line of products.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Meijer.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Danze Bathroom Faucets

by Katie on November 19, 2014

As I’ve been cleaning out our house this the past month, I’ve started jotting down a wish list of home improvements.  Of all the rooms in our home, the longest list without a doubt, centers around our main bathroom.

Now granted, the bathroom has seen a few improvements over the past decade and a half.  When we first moved into the house, the main bathroom was “decorated” (trust me, I use that word loosely!) with wallpaper that featured dinner plate size pink roses on a green background.  I can only guess the previous owners ran out of wallpaper as the one wall was painted cream with wallpaper roses randomly pasted to the wall.  Topped off with a Pepto Bismol pink shower curtain, the bathroom was nothing short of horrendous!

Needless to say, upon moving in, the bathroom was quickly visited by a scraper and a thorough coat of paint.  The roses were swapped out for a coat of bright cream paint, accented with a few green fern leaves and the pink shower curtain gave way to a marbled cream colored curtain instead.

While the bathroom looks much nicer on the exterior, there are still plenty of improvements that need to take place.  The most significant item that needs upgrading is our bathroom faucets.  From the pull-up faucet at the sink to the rusty shower head in the tub, there is definitely room for improvement in this area of the bathroom.

A new shower head is absolutely on the top of my bathroom wish list.  Since it’s the only functional shower in our home, it definitely gets more than its fair share of use on a day to day basis.  Besides simply being utilized each day, the shower head needs to be fairly effective, especially since our daughter has hair that spans past her waistline.

So, if I had my choice of shower heads, it would be one with multiple settings, that would provide consistent pressure throughout its lifetime.  Introducing (drum roll please!)….the Danze Florin Five-Function Shower Head.  Not only would it be a giant step up from our current rusty shower head, but it includes the following features:

  • 5 functions – wide, center jet, aeration, massage and wide plus center jet
  • Featuring Air Injection technology for a strong and yet smooth shower experience
  • Brass ball joint with polymer shell
  • Features Dual Force™ Technology
  • Optimizes water intensity even at low pressures

At just $58, it’s both functional as well as reasonably priced.

Is your family’s bathroom in need of a makeover?  If so, you can check out innovative showroom designs from Ferguson Lakewood in partnership with Danze.  Plus, while you’re perusing the ideas, you can also vote on this campaign as well.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Danze.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Creekside Farms: Artisan Made Wreaths

by Katie on November 13, 2014

One of my favorite gifts to receive is the gift of fresh flowers.  There’s something so simplistically beautiful about a bouquet of flowers that brightens up any room of a home.  Creekside Farms has taken a new twist on fresh flowers with their handmade artisan wreaths.

Family owned and operated, Creekside Farms features wreaths for every occasion as a unique alternative to fresh cut flowers.  With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, now is an ideal time to consider a fall-themed wreath.  Creekside Farms has a variety of options to choose from such as the fall harvest wreath, sunflower wreath, or wine country wreath.

A holiday-themed wreath would make a beautiful Christmas gift, especially for loved ones who will be out of town this holiday season.  From the apple berry wreath to the cinnamon pine cone wreath, these floral expressions are sure to add holiday cheer to any room of the home.

Creekside Farms also offers all-occasion wreaths and garlands that include such elements as lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, safflower, roses, and more.

This past week, I received an apple quince wreath from Creekside Farms (pictured above).  While the pictures of these wreaths are beautiful, receiving one in person is absolutely amazing!  From the perfectly placed greenery and decorative accents to the fresh aroma of eucalyptus, juniper, and tallowberries, the wreath is a stunning addition to our kitchen.

Creekside Farms would like to offer my readers an exclusive savings of 15% off your order when you enter the promotional code CENTS at checkout.  Be sure to follow Creekside Farms on Facebook and Twitter to see their latest wreath designs and custom creations as well.

You can also find more holiday gift ideas on my 2014 Christmas Gift Guide page.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Creekside Farms.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Our Family’s Visit to Wendel Farms Corn Maze

by Katie on October 13, 2014

The weekend before I had surgery, our family visited the Wendel Farms Corn Maze.  We brought along almost a dozen extended family members for an a”maze”ing good time (sorry…I know that was corny, but I just couldn’t help myself!).

Our oldest son had gone to Wendel Farms last fall with his youth group and enjoyed it so much that we went back as a family a few weeks later.  Their corn maze has a fun twist compared to most traditional corn mazes….it’s open even after dark.

So, as opposed to following a map and seeing each twist and turn in the daylight, you have the opportunity to get completely lost in the dark instead.  Both years, we laughed until our sides hurt as we wound our way through the maze.

This year, our older two sons split off with their cousin and formed a young vs. old team (I’m not quite sure I was fairly placed as I landed on the old team….but whatever!).  We had snapped a picture of the map at the beginning of the maze and were armed with all the essentials for the corn maze – flashlights, water, and of course, chocolate!

The three-person “young” team had nothing but limited lighting from the moon (we chose a very cloudy night) and their overall sense of direction.  So, naturally the older, wiser, more prepared team won, right?!  Sadly, no…but I was rather impressed that three of them beat the ten of us.

Three of the five sisters in my family at the end of the corn maze.

After completing the corn maze, we ambled through the rest of the farm, discovering a variety of fun surprises along the way.  We teamed up for tricycle races:

The kids wandered through the smaller hay maze that was designed for younger adventurers:

And they tried their hand at the farm equipment:

We even stopped by to say hi to the farm animals:

And played a variety of farm-themed games:

Once we had explored the farm, we headed back to the farm’s store where the littler girls enjoyed a cup of steamy hot cocoa:

The older kids enjoyed cocoa too, although they were pretty sure that they were much cooler about it:

Wendel Farms is located near the Indiana/Ohio border in Brookville, Indiana.  The corn maze is $7 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under, and free for little ones who are two and under.  Plus, if you have a group of 25 or more, be sure to inquire about the group rates available at Wendel Farms.

For the price of general admission, visitors can enjoy a trip through the corn maze, the straw maze, the petting farm, farm land, education center, the vegetable patch, corn bin, trike track, and corn hole.  In addition to the corn maze, Wendel Farms also offers campfire packages, school tours, fall decorations, and more.

This is one fall tradition that will definitely be an annual one for our family!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Wendel Farms.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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Of all the household chores that find their way onto my weekly to do list, it’s the ginormous pile of mismatched socks in my laundry basket that I tend to dread the most.  It was different when the kids were really little, and they had cute baby and toddler socks with lions and race cars.

The problem is, the kids and their feet are no longer little, and the sock pile no longer resembles anything associated with the word “cute.”   Instead, I have an overflowing laundry basket filled with boys’ and men’s socks in varying shades of white, off-white, gray, black, and grass green (I know….you’re wishing you had such an awesome laundry basket at your house, too right?!).

Instead of tackling the mound of socks on a routine basis, I have the tendency to avoid the task until the whole family is walking around in flip flops asking where their socks are.  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that Gold Toe recently introduced their new E-Z Match System.

Now, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first.  After sixteen years of folding boys’ socks (with a few cute girl socks thrown in the mix), I was certain that short of using velcro to keep the socks together, there was no possible way to put socks into the washer and end up with easy-t0-find mates once you pulled them from the dryer.

However, Gold Toe managed to do the impossible by making socks that are easy to match and fold.  Gold Toe’s E-Z Match System is as simple as it gets – the number of rings running across the toes of the sock indicates the sock’s size – either small, medium, or large.

Small socks contain one ring, medium socks have two, and large socks feature three rings across the toe section.  This system is incredibly helpful for moms and dads, especially if they have more than one child.  Instead of sorting through multiple sizes of socks, parents can easily see which socks go together based on the number of rings around the toe section of each sock.

The E-Z Match System is available in a variety of different sock styles including liners, sport socks, crew socks, and dress socks.  Plus, as an added bonus, Gold Toe is currently featuring 25% off all their kids’ socks, underwear, and casual wear through September 8th to help you stretch budget during the Back to School season.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Gold Toe.  All opinions expressed on Cincinnati Cents are (as always!) mine.

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