Monday, September 28, 2015

Sing Freedom! (A True Story)

History is filled with unusual events. We are, alas, familiar with war and bloodshed and countries vie against each other, or seek independence. What is less common are successful, peaceful protests that have lasting national effect - Estonia truly must have a story like no other nation.

Sing Freedom! A Country Wins it's Freedom Through Song is a tastefully written and illustrated book for children about the true story of the unique singing revolution in Estonia that freed the nation without bloodshed. Seriously? The nation won independence through song, not war. Crazy! The story is easy to understand, but there is a glossary in the back of the book for potential problem words. The pictures are well done and easily communicate mood. 

I highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary ebook in exchange for my honest review, but like the book so much I want to get a printed copy! This is a great book to add your home library and use in your elementary homeschool or classroom!

This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive commission for referring business. Thank you for your support!

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Creep Factor {and Existing Double Standard}

Women, how many of you have encountered something like the following? You're out watching a movie and hear guys behind you making comments about the woman on the screen. You're scrolling through facebook and see a couple guys going on about the hot waitress who served them last night. A couple old guys are sitting in front of Cracker Barrel ogling the women who walk by.

I bet you're mad. Furious. Creeped out. Maybe you even give them a piece of your mind.

But how many times has something like this shown up in your facebook feed amid likes and laughs and encouragement?

 "That's funny," we might see written, or "you go girl!" 


Why are we upset or grossed out by the one, but not the other?

Why is the reaction any different when it comes from a woman?

It shouldn't be.

There should be no complacency when it comes to females doing the same thing we abhor from males.

We have a cultural double standard, it seems. Women can do whatever they want sexually like this, because women were subjugated and now we're empowered. We need to show the men that we're equal to them - by degrading them into sex objects? 

Since when did equality mean degradation? 

I know, some of you will tell me I need to lighten up, that I'm too serious.

But this IS serious. 

Even if the spirit is one of jest, how would you feel if a man made that kind of joke about a woman? It's inappropriate, and it's not becoming. Especially not for a Christian. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things I've Said to My Children

By now, you've probably seen the posters on the internet that graphic designer Nathan Ripperger has shared of bizarre things that left his mouth because of his children. He also sells the prints on Etsy for about $12 a piece.

But if you love his work in this area, there's really not much to see. I mean. The same posters appear everywhere with pretty much no variety. And, if you're a parent like me, you know this can't be because he's only said a handful of weird things to his kids. If this has bummed you out, his book is releasing today!

This book features all the ones that pop up on the internet, plus many new ones. While the book is 96 pages, with only a handful of words on each page, it goes by fast. And some of the graphics are double spreads. 

So here's the thing: if you love what you've seen from him so far, you'll love this book. And with a list price of $15, this is the route the go. You couldn't buy two of his prints for this price! If you are amused, but don't love his work, I'd skip it. This is the camp I fall in. The posters mildly amuse me, but just don't really strike my funny bone. 

Honestly, though, the biggest thing I am disappointed in is the size of the book. I was expecting a large coffee table kind of book. The kind you can set out that sparks interest and conversation. This is a rather small volume considering it contains poster-type images on every page, measuring just over 8x7 (but over half and inch thick). 

Still, the volume isn't too small to appreciate his graphic talent, and, honestly, if you want some of his prints for the wall, these are of frameable quality, if you're ok with their size. Some of these could be pretty cute in a playroom collage, reminding all parents that kids really do bring out the bizarrest phrases from us. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive commission for referring business. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Best Survey Site

Surveys are often touted as a great way to make some extra income on the side. I'm been participating in surveys off and on since I was in college. Quite honestly, most are less than impressive. When I first started taking surveys there was discrepancy between how much your points would get you in actual dollar value.

This meant some survey sites were great and others were less than stellar. It was also common for there to be a tiered system, meaning, the longer you held on to your points waiting to redeem, the more value you would get for your points.

This is not true anymore.

Point values have largely been standardized. Basically one point = one penny. So whether you are going through Swagbucks or Ipsos (the two I still actually do recommend) you're honestly largely looking at a waste of your time. Is 90 points for a 30 minute survey really worth it? That means you're making $1.80/hour. Or 45 points for a 20 minute survey - $1.35/hour. We're talking really meager pickins.

I participate in these when I have to be stuck sitting down ... which pretty much means, when I have to pump, or maybe during lunch. I mean, if I HAVE to be immobile for a few hours a day when I can't do much anyway, I might as well make that time count for something. So I do these surveys, and I read.

My by-far favorite survey site, though, is YouGov. The reasons why this one is superior are manifold.

  • If they send you a survey, you pre-qualify. None of this taking 10 minutes to answer a bunch of questions and then get a consolation penny or nickel. Instead of one point equally one penny, however, it takes twelve points to make a penny. Even so, this is a better deal than the other sites! Read on to see how
  • Every survey earns you at least 500 points. This means about $0.42/survey
  • Their surveys ALWAYS take me less time to complete than they estimate. This is almost unheard of. Most survey sites say "20 minutes" ... it may take 20 minutes, but many times I'm going ok this is definitely more like 30 minutes ... or more. Additional time for no extra points decreases value.
  • YouGov usually estimates their surveys to take 5-10 minutes to complete. This means you're making $2.50-$5.00/hour. Except usually the surveys don't even take me that long, which is a value adder. Score! This is easily double (or more!) the other survey sites out there I've found. I consider that significant.
  • The options for redeeming your points aren't exhaustive, but they're still helpful - Michael's, CVS, Regal Cinemas, Lowes, Old Navy, Target, and more are all options for gift card redemption. (Note: I usually redeem in the 30,000 points for $25 gift card, 60,000 for $50 gift card is the same point value as the former, but takes longer to achieve. The store options do differ though. The best point to dollar value is the 100,000 for $100, if you don't mind waiting that long for redemption.)
For a long time I was super sporadic in answering these surveys, so it took me a long time (read, years) to earn enough for a $25 gift card. I changed my settings now to get survey invitations as frequently as possible. That was one month ago, and I'm already over a quarter of the way to my next $25 gift card!

This isn't your get-rich-quick-site, but it is a way to easily bring in an extra $100/year without much time or effort. That's nothing to sneeze at. They take marginal time, are actually enjoyable, and don't waste my time. This is one survey site I heartily recommend to everyone.

I like using my points for Regal gift cards. Going to movies isn't something that is in our budget - it's so expensive! - but it's something my husband really likes doing. This way we can have free date nights...Woohoo! 

Bonus! If you sign up through my referral link, you'll earn an extra 2,000 points ($1.67) once you complete 3 surveys, putting you that much closer to earning your first gift card. It doesn't get much better than that, does it?

By signing up through my referral link, we both will receive 2,000 points credited to our accounts upon completion of your first 3 surveys. YouGov did not ask me to write this post and is providing me no further compensation. This post does contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive compensation for referring business. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support!