Product Reviews


Nutri Ninja IQ Review – The Must-Have Kitchen Appliance

With the holidays right around the corner and family coming in from all directions to spend time with their loved ones, it’s never been a better time than to start whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen. Whether you’re seeking to wow your loved ones with something you found on the food network or just looking for a way to try out something new for yourself, The Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ is a great way to start. It’s a wonderful new addition to our appliance family and one that I’ve enjoyed using so far while making things like sauces, smoothies, shakes and more!

The Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ is my favorite new way to whip up healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This workhorse will put your old model to shame with its 1100 watt motor that aids in blending, chopping, pulsing and pausing your way to your consistency of choice. With the Auto IQ feature your Nutri Ninja is preprogrammed to do everything your old model could do with just a single touch of a button–no need to resort to the old methods of shaking, stirring of mixing required!


My daughters have both really enjoyed smoothies but, to be honest, most times they have been more work than they are worth. Sure, putting ingredients in a blender and pressing a button sounds pretty easy, but when the ice gets caught in the blades, then you have unplug it, stir up the ingredients, trying to dislodge stuck ice cubes from between the blades, blend some more, repeat, repeat, repeat. And, let’s not even talk about that little “dance” my old blender would do across the kitchen counter.

The Nutri Ninja makes such short work of it all. The Auto-IQ feature keeps the ice and solid bits from getting stuck. It’s amazing how the Nutri Ninja can sense when the blending needs to stop or slow down to accommodate the ingredients! And, there’s no dancing blender routine! Seriously, it’s as easy as adding your ingredients and pressing a button, then going about your business in the kitchen until the Nutri Ninja stops on its own.


It comes with 2 24oz cups, which is great. Not every person wants the same smoothie. This makes life easy because everyone can have a custom recipe without having to clean out the big container in-between (although, it does come with a big pitcher container, if you need to process more).

As someone who has always been a fan of creamy smoothies, the Nutri Ninja has been such a blessing. It creates smoothies in just seconds, without leaving any unsightly and straw blocking chunks around. While the benefits and features of the Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ are many, a few of my favorites include:

  • Powerful 1100 watt motor that makes the machine a true workhorse
  • Auto IQ Smooth Boost Technology
  • Comes with 2 24 ounce Nutri Ninja Cups with two sip n seal lids
  • 24 Ounce Stainless Steel Nutri Ninja Cup
  • 40 Ounce Blend and Prep Bowl with dough chopping blade
  • 48 Ounce XL Multi-serve Nutri Ninja
  • Recipe guide that includes 30 awesome recipes
  • Easy to read display
The Nutri Ninja with Auto IQ has been a lovely new addition to our kitchen appliances and has made making the foods and drinks we love easier than ever!
While I’ve mentioned smoothies a lot, the Nutri Ninja can help with sauces, dips and more. It comes with a recipe book and now I’m dying to try out some of their suggestions – there’s event a gluten-free cookie recipe!

Connect with Ninja Ninja on Facebook|Twitter|Pinterest|Instagram|Youtube and never miss an update!

Shark Rocket Powerhead – Everything I Wanted In a Vacuum

my-shark-ah401-rocket-vacuumReplacing any household appliance or gadget can be a frustrating task, especially with the many different models available to choose from and the ever rising costs, especially those of the latest and greatest models. With these things in mind, it was with great pleasure that I accepted the opportunity to work with Shark to review one of their innovative Shark Rocket Powerhead models. It was just the thing my family needed to help make our vacuum relates chores easier and to help me from losing my mind while trying to choose between all the brands and models available on the market today.

Developed by SharkNinja Operating LLC, Shark is one of several house-care brands owned by CEO Mark Rosen. By providing highly functional, innovative products products, SharkNinja has made a place for themselves in a significant market share in the housewares industry. Since getting their start,  in Boston three generations ago, SharkNinja has become one of the leading companies in their niche. From innovative products like their chemical-free steam mops to their state of the art blender systems, SharkNinja products have been positively impacting the lives of people in homes all around the world!The Shark Rocket Powerhead is the latest addition to our favorite appliances. It’s compact design makes it super easy to take just about anywhere in our house and only 9lbs so it’s incredibly easy to lug around without having to ask for assistance, unlike some bulkier models that make you feel like your arms might just fall off just from moving it from one room to the next!

Benefits of the Shark Rocket Powerhead include:

  • Fingertip controls that allow you to switch from carpet to hard floors seamlessly.
  • 9lbs for ease of portability.
  • Multiple Surface Brush.
  • 2 speeds to choose from.
  • Pop up dust cup with quick release foot pedal.
  • Brushroll Garage that include removable and rinseable brushrolls.
  • Gentle Touch hard-floor brushroll for enhanced hard-floor cleaning.
  • Additional brushroll holster that attaches to the wand of the vacuum for easy brushroll exchange.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Shark products, particularly my steam mop, but I admit that I didn’t think this vacuum would compare well next to my Oreck XL. Boy, was I wrong. The Shark Rocket Powerhead is not only easier to manipulate but picks up more dirt and dust than my Oreck (for much less money, I might add!). The other thing I love about the Shark compared to my old vacuum is that it has a dust cup versus a bag for collection. It might seem like a minor thing but it’s very frustrating to be in the middle of house cleaning and realizing that your vacuum bag is full but you don’t have a replacement!
If you are considering a new vacuum for yourself to help tackle all that cleaning before holiday guests, or if you’re looking for a great gift for anyone setting up house (think: college kids!), this vacuum is most definitely worth the investment!

Connect with Shark on Facebook|Twitter|Pinterest|Instagram|Youtube and never miss an update!

Homeschooling Your Young Black Child: A Simple Getting-Started Guide & Workbook {Giveaway}

Disclosure: I received the homeschooling guide and workbook in exchange for this post and giveaway.


“Homeschooling Your Young Black Child: A Simple Getting-Started Guide & Workbook” was created by Rachel Garlinghouse.

The getting-started guide and workbook is “for parents and caregivers who wish to give their children an education that fosters creativity, self-confidence, attachment, and balance.”

What is included?

  • A workbook for parents/caregivers
  • A 12-month homeschooling plan
  • Monthly checklist
  • Extensive resources list featuring Black musicians, authors, illustrators, and characters
  • Activity and field trip suggestions
  • Tips on setting up the homeschooling space
  • Supply lists
  • Troubleshooting Q & A

About the author:

Rachel Garlinghouse is mothering young, Black children and is the author of four books, including “Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays.”  Her experience and education has been featured in many places, including MSNBC, NPR, Huffington Post Live,, Scary Mommy, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Adoptive Families, The Good Men Project, My Brown Baby, and many more. Rachel is a former college writing teacher turned stay-at-home-mom.

“I wanted my children to be educated on their history and culture as Black people, as well as develop a healthy racial identity.”

If you would like to connect with Rachel and learn more about her adventures you can follow her on Twitter @whitebrownsugar and on Facebook.

You can also visit her blog at White Sugar Brown Sugar. “The sweet life of our transracial, adoptive family.”

****WIN IT****

enter to win

In celebration of this resource, we are giving away one copy of “Homeschooling Your Young Black Child: A Simple Getting-Started Guide & Workbook.”

Just fill out the form below, leave a comment, and complete other entries to build-up points by September 9th.

One winner will be picked randomly after the giveaway has ended. If you are the winner, you will have 2 business days to respond or another winner will be randomly chosen.

Homeschooling Your Young Black Child: A Simple Getting-Started Guide & Workbook {Giveaway}

If you are interested in purchasing one right away, you can do so on Amazon.

Phonetic Review and Giveaway

Digital Eye Strain: It’s a Real Thing (Phonetic Eyewear Review & Giveaway)

About a year ago, I bought myself a pair of reading glasses upon the recommendation of my eye doctor when I complained that my eyes were really tired at the end of the day. By “really tired” I mean they alternated between watering and being overly dry, blurred vision and headaches. I thought I was simply getting old and it was time to rock the granny glasses.

The thing is, they gave me more headaches. I tried to continue to use them, thinking that my eyes needed time to adjust but the headaches only got worse so I stopped and just dealt with the uncomfortableness at the end of the each day.

In July, I met the fine folks of Phonetic Eyewear at BlogHer and I think I may have found the answer to my problem. Digital eyestrain.

Well, duh, Christina. You are in front of a computer, tablet or smartphone for most of the day. It makes sense, right? But seriously, this was like a “V-8” moment for me.

Phonetic Review and Giveaway

According to the Vision Council, nearly 70% of US adults experience digital eye strain and almost 2/3 of kids and teens spend 9 or more hours a day in front of a screen. I’m surprised at how high these numbers. It makes sense that so many of my friends feel like they need glasses too (and no, it’s not because we’re old!).

Digital eye strain isn’t just a grown-up problem. If you have kids or teenagers that use any type of electronic device, they could be suffering from digital eye strain and not even realize it because they’ve just become used to the symptoms.

What happens is our digital screens have a blue light that’s actually pretty harmful to our eyes. The longer we’re exposed, the greater our chances of digital eye strain.

How do you know if you have it? Some of the symptoms of digital eye strain include eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes and general fatigue. Yes, the exact same issues I was having!

I was lucky enough to receive a pair of Phonetic Eyewear for review and I cannot tell you how much of a difference they’ve made! I’ve been wearing them fairly consistently for about a week now and my headaches are nearly gone! I’m so pleasantly surprised at how much of a reduction in symptoms I’ve had. It’s particularly noticeable at the end of the day. Before, I my eyes were so tired and strained that I would avoid driving at night. Now, I feel my eyes are hardly tired and I’m much more comfortable.

Speaking of comfortable … the glasses are very lightweight. While I am used to wearing glasses already (when I’m not wearing my contact lenses), they normally irritate me after a while (even my sunglasses) but I can wear the Phonetic eye wear all day and hardly notice them at all.

phonetic eyewear review and giveaway

(This image is not me. This is someone much younger and cuter than me, shot by a photographer that is much better than me.)

What’s cool about these is not only how they look but how they work. What they do is block that harmful blue light emitted from your digital screen with a special coating over clear lenses. I haven’t noticed any differentiation in color when looking at my computer – just that I feel better at the end of the day. And, it does feel like what I’m looking at is crisper.

Bravo - Tortoise

If you need readers, that’s not a problem. You can get Phonetic Eyewear in non-powered or reading powers up to +2.00.

Do you think you may have digital eye strain? Go ahead and try Phonetic Eyewear and see for yourself what a difference it makes. For more information, read the Phonetic Eyewear blog.

If you’re interesting in buying your own pair of Phonetic Eyewear, be sure to use code HOMESCHOOL10 at checkout to receive 10% off your entire purchase!


One lucky Modern Homeschool Family reader will have a chance to win a pair of Phonetic glasses for themselves! Entering is easy, just visit the Phonetic Eyewear website and leave a comment below (required!!) telling us which pair you think is nicest, then fill out the form (yes, you have to do this too). You can get extra entries for social sharing (sharing on Twitter or Facebook) and other things.

Just remember, this is only open to adults (18 year of age or older!) in the U.S.. You have until midnight on August 26, 2015 to enter. The winner will be picked at random and notified via email.



Modern Homeschool Family Phonetic Eyewear Giveaway


Thank you Phonetic Eyewear for providing the glasses for this review and giveaway.  That was a pretty awesome thing to do!  Because I’m awesome too, all opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced by anyone or situation other than my individual experience with this product.


Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 Laminator {Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: I received a Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 Laminator for the purpose of this review.  All opinions expressed here are honest and my own.


As a parent, you may be searching for more ways to get organized – including keeping tabs on important documents such as: transcripts, certificates, memories, or maybe a portfolio for your homeschool student.  With all of the papers adding up, how many times have you wished that a laminator sat on top of one of your shelves or desks just to achieve this task? Is there one that can actually do that without taking up a ton of space?

I recently received a small office laminator, the Saturn 3i 95 (colors silver and black) by Fellowes. Upon pulling it out of the box, you can most definitely tell that it’s a space saver.  It’s also light weight!

That’s right, it’s not a bulky laminator and can laminate more than you think.  I also received a package of Fellowes Laminating Pouches to complete my laminating tasks. They are water resistant, can enhance colors, and are easy to wipe clean.

As soon as the laminator arrived, I was so excited to get started and give the Saturn 3i 95 a try. Let’s just say I was like a kid in the candy store.

Is the Saturn 3i 95 easy to use?  In one word, yes! 🙂

How to Set Up the Laminator

Just find a stable surface for the laminator. Make sure that there is enough space behind the machine to allow the items you want to laminate to pass through without any issues. Plug the machine into an easy electrical outlet and you are good to go.

How to Use the Saturn 3i 95 Laminator

Turn on the laminator.  There is a power button on the back of the machine.  As soon as it is turned on, all of the buttons on the front of the machine will flash.  This is to show it’s working properly.

There are different settings to choose from 3mil to 5mil default hot settings. For cold setting, press the snowflake button to cool the laminator for self-adhesive laminating.

How do you know when the laminator is ready to use? You will hear a beeping sound.

Pull out one laminating pouch and place document into the open side of the pouch. Line the document against the edge of the laminator. Be sure to use appropriate sized pouch for the document you want to laminate. Place the sealed edge of the pouch into the laminator first. It will slowly move into the laminator and upon exit may be hot or soft. The machine does have a red release lever (on the back of the machine) when it comes to the end of laminating task, or if you encounter any issues.

The first document I laminated (after doing a test run with a piece of paper, highly recommended), was my daughter’s baptism certificate.  It turned out beautifully.  Since then, I have laminated a variety of documents that I have been aching to laminate, including my husband’s I.D. cards for work, etc. He’s loving the machine as well.

Here are some photo images of my laminating experience:




The Saturn 3i 95 is definitely my new favorite small office machine. The best thing about the laminator is that when it’s performing a job, it’s quiet. There is no noise to worry. In fact, it’s so quiet I had to check to see if it was working properly when indeed it was.

I highly recommend this product for all families. The Saturn 3i 95 small office laminator is valued at $169.99. Some retailers may offer it at a discounted price.  You can purchase this product from these retailers:

Online Retailers

  • Office Depot
  • Quill
  • Buy Online Now
  • Office Super Savers
  • Walmart

Buy From Retailer

  • Staples

You can also buy from a retailer near you.

Fellowes offers a free laminating resource center where you can download fun templates. Simply visit, for educational worksheets, flashcards, and planners.

You can stay up to date with Fellowes office products by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

****WIN IT****

enter to win

Are you ready to get a laminator of your own?

In celebration of this review, one laminator will be given away {for free} right here on Modern Homeschool Family.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form, leave a comment and complete other entries to build-up points by August 5th.

One winner will be picked randomly after the giveaway has ended. If you are the winner, you will have 2 business days to respond or another winner will be randomly chosen.

If you are interested in purchasing one right away, visit

a Rafflecopter giveaway


PEANUT BUTTER PRINCIPLES – 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

PEANUT BUTTER PRINCIPLESIn Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids, Eric Franklin has assembled a wealth of wisdom he learned from his parents, extended family and other influencers that has stuck with him — like peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth! 🙂

Franklin’s simple concepts can prove to have lasting power to develop young leaders, including:

  • “Be thankful you don’t get everything you ask for.”
  • “The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.”
  • “Your accomplishments should speak for themselves. Don’t interrupt.”
  • “If you don’t make your own decision, someone else will make it for you.”
  • “Count your blessings, not your problems.”

Let’s read the reviews:

“Peanut Butter Principles” by Eric Franklin is a very insightful and encouraging book. Mr. Franklin touches on some very good points on how to encourage children and others to reach their full potential. As the author points out, our journey to reach our full potential and to make our lives a success is not easy, but with hard work and perseverance it is possible. Mr. Franklin speaks about how to build up the child’s self esteem when helping them. He mentions that they should think for themselves as opposed to giving the child the answers or completing a task for them. Mr. Franklin tells us the importance of persevering in our endeavors and not giving up so easily.”

“Eric Franklin has opened my eyes to the power of leadership lessons. As a father of three and a businessman, it’s hard to find books that apply to both aspects of my life. Peanut Butter Principles does that and more. The 47 leadership lessons will teach you basic human truths: take responsibility for yourself, what a goal truly is, wisdom for your journey, and many more. When we apply the principles in this book, we don’t just change our lives, we change the lives of the people we love and have influence over.”

Eric Franklin’s Peanut Butter Principles is simply outstanding! With its succinct focus, process-oriented style, and easily applicable lessons, I highly recommend this book for ANYONE who has ever been, is being, and will ever be a parent and/or guardian. Furthermore, I STRONGLY recommend this as required reading for a yearlong PLC (Professional Learning Community discussion in any K-12 and post-secondary environment. Assistant Principals, Principals, Curriculum Facilitators, Professional Development Coaches, Superintendents etc., use this book with your staff!!!!!! My husband serves as a high school assistant principal, and I am a former high school principal and current college instructor. Given our careers, coupled with our honorable title as parents of children at various stages of their lives, I am eternally grateful for the captivating wealth of information Mr. Franklin has chosen to share with the world through these easily relatable, and candid messages that some parents may not have even been aware – including us!! What makes the reading even more relatable is the homage Mr. Franklin pays to both his parents and his own family. He takes pages out of his own playbook!!! You won’t regret this reference tool!!!”

Purchase your book here: Peanut Butter Principles: 47 Leadership Lessons Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

For more information, visit


Fellowes Laminator Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I received a Fellowes Saturn 2 95 Laminator for the purpose of this review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.


Do you remember that giddy feeling you had as a child when you received that one special birthday or Christmas gift?  You know, the one that you were really, really, really, really, hoping you would get?  And then, after you did have it, you couldn’t stop looking at it.  You treated it like it was the most special thing EVER.

That’s exactly how I felt when I received the Fellowes Saturn 2 95 Laminator to review.  For years, I dreamed–no longed for, a laminator.  So many missed opportunities to take pieces of paper, coat them in plastic and have them last forever!  I cannot count how many things I “fake-laminated” with clear packaging tape in my homeschool and as a Girl Scout leader–and how frustrating it was trying to align the tape just perfectly.  (not to mention how many papers I ruined trying to do it this way)

The Fellowes Saturn 2 95 Laminator does not disappoint.  It’s ridiculously easy to use.  Just plug it in, give it time to warm up (about 5 minutes) slip your object of desire into the laminating pouch and insert it into the laminator opening.  The machine does the rest.  This is so much easier than trying to cover things in tape or trying to position the paper “just right” in the self-adhesive sheets (yes, more ruined papers!).

That’s it.  I realize that this is a product review and should be lengthy and detailed but really, the Fellowes Saturn 2 95 Laminator is so easy to use there isn’t much more to say!  Plug it in, warm it up, laminate stuff.  Done.

There are some really nice features to this machine, though.  I love that the surface remains cool to the touch.  Truly cool to the touch.  During my laminating-sessions-of-goodness I moved the laminator around (it’s very light weight too!) while it was in “ready mode” without any discomfort.  This model can accommodate self-sealing pouches in it’s coolest mode and 3 mil and 5 mil in it’s warmest modes.

There are so many, many, uses for a laminating machine!  If you are part of a homeschool co-op group, getting one of these is a complete no-brainer.  You can make long-lasting staff or faculty identification badges, room signs that will actually last for the entire school year (and beyond!), student awards and any classroom materials that you may want to reuse.

Here are a few more useful laminating ideas:


Make your own Homeschool Student ID cards


Help extend the life span your File Folder Games


Create reusable Chore Charts


Make your child’s reference papers, like maps, last longer


Preserve that family recipe your great grandmother sent to your mother in 1976, so your kids will have the official “this recipe came from your great-great grandmother” recipe


Or anything you’d want to not get messed up in the kitchen, such as this handy-dandy conversion chart


And, of course, any special creations made by your favorite 6 year olds!

(If you’re the creative type, check out these Erasable Funny Faces)

****WIN IT****

So, aren’t you just dyyyyiiinnnng for one of these now?  Lucky you, we’re going to give away one for FREE right here!   Just leave a comment telling me what you would laminate (nothing that’s actually alive, please) and complete the Rafflecopter form below by October 23, 2014 (you’ll get extra entries for sharing on your favorite social media channels too! – rack ’em up folks).  We’ll pick a random winner shortly thereafter.  If you are that said random winner remember to respond within 2 business days; otherwise; I’ll be picking a different random winner.

If you want to absolutely guarantee that you’ll get one of these smart machines, you can find one on Amazon for right around $75;  a very small investment for something that you will get so much use out of.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blingerz Review

Blingerz GiveawayI received a package recently, the contents of which was a product intended just for a mom of girls – like me! I was also given the story behind the product, which reads: “Two moms, sick and tired of the prices of blinged-out shoes, especially for kids whose feet grow constantly, decided to figure out a way to make it easy for other moms to bling-out their daughters’ regular gym shoes without having to spend a ton of money.”

Right away I was intrigued, since I am a huge supporter of small and mommy-ran businesses!
We homeschool (as you know), so while my kids are most certainly not sheltered from trends in fashion and fun, I suppose we’ve been immune to the pull of certain products by being largely unaware of the schoolyard economics that inspire them.

There are plenty of things that my kids covet but so far sparkly shoes don’t seem to be one of them yet. (Or perhaps it’s more to do with Raye being largely disinterested in flashy things and AV being finnicky?) As we tend to think outside the box here, it was easy to see the Blingerz as great sparkly new craft things though!

Raye immediately saw them as the perfect size studs to supply her Littlest Pet Shop toys with a lifetime Free Blingerzof stick-on earrings. AV has of course given her toys many a makeover using the Blingerz as well. She has also personalized her stainless steel water bottle and Playstation remote control, both of which were already distinctly hers, and yet she is a girl always welcomes an opportunity at expressing her individuality. As she already has sparkly sneakers (as it seems that in her size the affordable shoes are saturated with bling already) she agreed that her Crocs now needed Blingerz as well.

As for myself, I’ve considered adding a strip or two to my own cell phone and probably still will. Heck on Pinterest recently I saw this great picture of a bedazzled KitchenAid mixer and it took a minute or two to talk myself out of adding some Blingerz to my own (my husband uses it more than I after all).

However, I must admit that if I saw them in the store I would pass them by. At first glance they seem to have only one true intended application, and aside from it they are little more than very overpriced rhinestone stickers. All that being said, I can see them being a way for a troop of Girl Scouts, Cheerleading Team, or the like to afford-ably add a touch of matching flair to their group.

I imagine it would likely be an affordable and fun thing to bring a team or birthday party together – the perfect favor for a craft-challenged parent. Regardless of what I think, my kids have enjoyed sharing Blingerz with their friends. Kids can often find the value in things that even crafty adults overlook, can’t they?

Share your homeschooling journey with people like you.