Wednesday, October 29, 2014

TOS Review: Clued in Kids Treasure Hunts

Because I'm Me reviews Clued in Kids holiday treasure hunts, created for kids and adults
When you're in a business that caters to holidays your "holiday season" begins way ahead of everyone else's. I begin creating and marketing holiday ties at least five months before the arrival of that holiday, so when I was asked to do a review of Clued In Kids Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt and Christmas Treasure Hunt in a Greeting Card it didn't seem odd at all and I was excited, even though it was only September. Cause that's how we roll around here.

Clued in Kids offers over 20 different treasure hunts, from holidays to nutrition and more. Helen, the creator of Clued in Kids, is a huge treasure hunt fan, believing that these hunts are a fun, memorable, active way to learn.

The Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt is a downloadable hunt. After printing the full-color pages the parent or leader cuts them in half, to create 12 half-page clues. Each clue tells the parent where to hide it, and then where to hide the treasure hunt prize, which can be anything the parent wants it to be.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt in a Greeting Card arrives in the mail, making for twice the fun - what kid doesn't love to get mail?! The envelope is decorated as a full-color treasure box. Inside is another envelope containing the clues, two pages of temporary tattoos, and a sheet of simple stickers which I used to seal the clues after rolling them up.

Because I'm Me reviews Clued in Kids holiday treasure hunts, created for kids and adults

Each clue clearly tells the parent where to hide it, and hiding takes just a few minutes (the hardest part is hiding them without them being discovered too soon). Ok, truthfully the hardest part is getting the house clean enough to be photo ready, the sun to shine, and hiding them in a good place ... this whole blogging and photos thing isn't always a piece of cake!

Once the clues are hidden the children get to work. I asked River (age 5) to choose two siblings to help him in his hunt because he's not a strong reader yet, while the treasure hunt is perfect for a five year old he needed a little extra guidance to read the clues. For the second treasure hunt two other sibling helped him out. The kids got along so well while doing this - no fighting or bickering for a whole 20 minutes or so.

Each clue has a space to write a name for the person responsible for solving the clue and finding the next clue. I was able to designate the harder clues to the older kids, especially Adam (13) and Kaden (11), which made things much easier all around. On many of the clues I wrote all their names which led to some good teamwork. When it came to finding the clues they opted to take turns or, when things got tough, work together.

Some of the clues in the Thanksgiving hunt include solving math problems, filling in history answers, and answering questions about Thanksgiving. In the Christmas hunt are clues that also require math knowledge. Both treasure hunts also include fun, easier clues like "Stand on your front doorstep, hold your belly like Santa, and in a booming voice say "Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas"", "Look in the dishwasher" written backwards so the kids have to hold it up to a mirror, and "Run around the house three times, flapping your arms and gobbling like a turkey", perfect opportunities for the younger kids to be as actively involved as the older ones.

Because I'm Me reviews Clued in Kids holiday treasure hunts, created for kids and adults

These were so much fun! The kids loved their treasure hunts and loved finding the clues. The clues do vary in difficulty, giving everyone something to do in the game, and are diverse enough to maintain the interest of the older kids. Each treasure hunt took about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how well the clues were hidden.

River especially loved the Christmas treasure hunt because it came in the mail and came with tattoos, and we agreed that this would make a terrific Christmas gift for friends his age. The Thanksgiving hunt, it was decided, would be just the right thing to do after the Rose Parade and before Thanksgiving dinner.

These Clued in Kids Christmas Treasure Hunt Gift in a Greeting Card and Thanksgiving Printable Treasure Hunt are available at Clued In Kids for $9.95 and $5.99 respectively and are geared towards kids and grown-ups aged 4 and up.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Christmas Plaid

In the shop, I highly recommend buying sooner rather than later as these holiday ties are very popular.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Falling In

Plenty of handsome autumn and Thanksgiving bow and neck ties have "fallen" into Because I'm Me.

While these ties are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner and family photos, they aren't theme-specific, making them great ties the whole year round.

Find these, and more, fall ties in the shop.

*Just a reminder, most items ship within 1-3 days of ordering and ship USPS First Class mail, giving you plenty of time to order these wonderful ties for the holidays.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review: Plan to Be Flexible

Even after a gazillion years of home schooling there are times when our routine of the last 13 or so years isn't working.

Actually, that's kind of been the case with one of the kids for the last two years or so. He's super smart, he's talented, he's quick to learn new material, but he's disorganized, easily frustrated, disinterested, and very short-tempered. Getting him to accomplish anything - whether it's math or writing, textbook or online, short and quick or long and detailed - is like pulling teeth, very painful for both of us. At the end of the day I'm emotionally and mentally drained of energy and, frankly, it sucks.

I was recently offered an opportunity to read the 178 page e-book  Plan to be Flexible, Designing a Homeschool Rhythm and Curriculum Plan that Works for Your Family, by Alicia Kazsuk of Vibrant Homeschooling, and was very intrigued, based on my issues with my son.

Plan to be Flexible covers topics like creating an educational goal and plan for the entire school year, but doing so flexibly, as well as creating a core curriculum for your students that allows lots of wiggle room to adapt to the needs of the children. Alicia described, clearly, how her yearly schedule and core curriculum planning and implementation works, using real life examples to make it make sense.

The book also addresses adapting your homeschooling to your specific family, avoiding the idea that your family needs to school like a traditional school schools and/or school like anyone else you know. It also addresses issues like schedule interruptions, such as a new baby, move, etc, and quirky daily interruptions like illness, babies and toddlers at home, appointments, and activities. These things do, and will, happen every. single. day (at least it feels that way sometimes!). Some of the things that have come along and thrown a wrench in our home schooling days over the last few weeks are: Because I'm Me orders (yippee!), orthodontist appointments, a broken air conditioner, the children's father coming to visit, and working on an Eagle project (double yippee!).

I found Alicia's style to be very personable, real, intelligent, and professional. She's been homeschooling long enough, and with enough kids, to have some great background to work from. "Chatting over a cup of coffee" is how I'd sum up her writing style, she writes like a friend you can sit down and be real with, because you know she's being real with you, and who you can bounce ideas off of and leave the coffee table wiser for the visit.

This e-book is a great resource for a new homeschooler, full of real, practical advice to get you started. It's also nice for those of us who need a little reminder that we need to bend, and won't break doing so, and adapt to our kids learning styles and individual needs, that we just might need a few tweeks to our system.

Will this book solve my problems with my son and his challenges? I found it helpful, but he and I need to dig deeper to work through our issues, but we got some ideas to try to make our days a little less tense.

Plan to be Flexible can be found at Vibrant Homeschooling for just $8.99.

What are the unplanned things that require you to be flexible, whether home schooling or not?


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