Koru Naturals ~ Oil, Shampoo and Conditioner {Crew Review}

The Schoolhouse Review Crew reviews more than home school products. Sometimes we get to try wonderful products for mama. This time we got to review products from Koru Naturals.  Everyone received Emu Oil along with another product or in my case product set.  In addition to the Emu Oil my family received Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo and Conditioner.

Read Tess's Review of Koru Naturals Emu Oil and Manuka Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.  Leaves skin and hair feeling silky soft! ~ Circling Through This Life.

Manuka Oil and Honey Shampoo

I was stalking my mail waiting for my package to arrive ~ ok I sent the girls to check ~ and I used the shampoo and conditioner the same day they arrived. I was that excited! When I first opened the bottle I smelled a strong scent of almost peppermint. I had everyone smell both the shampoo and the conditioner and we all agree that it smelled like mint. Supergirl named it the mint poo. I was initially very confused because I did not see peppermint oil listed with the other oils: lavender, chamomile, white willow bark, and rosehip. I thought it odd that it did not list peppermint.  Well it does on the website and if you read the itty bitty fine print ingredients, peppermint oil is indeed listed.

The first time I used it, I noticed that my scalp was all tingling. I felt very wide awake. On subsequent use I realized that the shampoo tingles a bit but that it is really the conditioner that really wakes me up and causes tingling sensation.

Most of us loved the Shampoo and Conditioner.  Turtlegirl did not.  Her hair tends to be on the oily side whereas her sisters and I have hair on the dry side. Her hair looked greasy and stringy after using it.  She did like the tingling sensation but this is not the right shampoo or conditioner for her hair type. BooBear liked it.  She colors her hair which can leave hair dry and damaged. This helped to soften her hair.  Tailorbear, Supergirl and I all loved it!  Tailorbear is asking for me to buy more because “it is the best shampoo I have tried for my hair.”

This shampoo does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate.  These work similarly to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate but are not considered as hazardous as SLS. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulosuccinate are surfactants that provide the cleaning agent of the shampoo.  Despite the fact that there are foaming agents in the shampoo this shampoo does not lather as much as other shampoos that do contain the not nice SLS.  If it does not lather at all, then you might not have used enough but be careful as if you try to get a good lather you’ll end up using too much shampoo.

Manuka Oil Shampoo and Conditioner from Koru Naturals ~ Review at Circling Through This Life

Because we have long thick hair here we tend to use twice as much conditioner as shampoo. I tend to use one bottle of shampoo per two bottles of conditioner or I just condition my hair every other time I shampoo.  This product can purchased as a set or in individual bottles.  I plan to buy two bottles of conditioner for every one bottle of shampoo.  Using the shampoo, skipping the conditioner and then using Emu Oil as a leave in conditioner works really well for both Tailorbear and I.  We are very pleased with how soft and manageable our hair has become.

Emu Oil

Everyone assigned to the this review received a 2 oz. bottle of Emu Oil. Yes, this is the oil from an emu. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Yes, it’s bird fat. Emu oil is made from the fat of an emu, a large bird native to Australia.

2 oz. does not sound like very much but you only need a few drops. We’ve barely put a dent in our bottle and we’ve been using it regularly for deep conditioning of our hair. Tailorbear has very thick hair.  She has enough hair on her head for three people! It is really that thick.  Thick enough that it can be quite difficult to take care of.  She loves the emu oil because it helps her to manage her hair.  Because her hair is not as dry it has become much more curly. No, I’m not saying that Emu Oil will make straight hair curly, but what I am saying is that her hair was so damaged that the Emu Oil is restoring health to her hair and that in turn is bringing out the natural curl.

I love how soft my hair feels after using the Emu Oil as a leave in conditioner. I wash my hair with the shampoo and skip the conditioner.  Then, immediately after my shower, while my hair is still wet, I put several drops of the Emu Oil on my finger tips, rub between both hands and then apply to my ends working up towards the scalp. I have to be careful to not use too much.  I used too much the first time and my hair looked and felt greasy after it dried but when I use the right amount it makes my hair soft and silky.

Emu Oil ~ great for hair and skin! From Koru Naturals ~ Review at Circling Through This Life

I also used Emu Oil for some dry skin patches that I have. Yes, it feels oily as I apply it but it soaks into the skin and does not feel greasy when I finish applying it. Just a few drops covers a large area. I think my skin feels softer but I noticed something else. The inflammation that I sometimes get in my skin [it’s a fibromyalgia thing] seems much better. I did a bit of research on emu oil in general and there are some studies that suggest that emu oil may help with inflammation and diabetic nerve pain.

For more information and directions on how to use the Pure Emu Oil as a hair conditioner visit the emu oil product page. This oil is for external use only on unbroken skin or hair. It is 100% emu oil with no preservatives or additives.

Koru Naturals:

Koru Naturals offers many natural products for hygiene and skin care from Australian and New Zealand sources. Visit Koru Naturals and read about their history. You can also read about the brands and the manufacturers. Do be sure to look for the other crew reviews to read about the other products offered by Koru Naturals.

The Details:

 Koru Naturals Review


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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Random 5 on Friday

Random 5 on Friday

Oh I just realized this is the LAST ONE for the month of February.

Random Five Circling February 27, 2015 Edition

1. This past Sunday was Forgiveness Sunday. My church always has a special vespers service. This is the service that liturgically ushers in lent even though the fast doesn't start until the next day. About half way through the service the altar cloths , vestments and candle holders are changed from gold to purple.

2. Forgiveness Sunday is the liturgical anniversary of my reception into the Orthodox Church.  My whole family was chrismated together.  It’s been five years.  It’s been wonderful.

3. My first review of the 2015 Review Crew year posted earlier this week. Did you catch it? If you love history especially Scottish history you may want to check out my review of In Freedom's Cause by Heirloom Audio Productions.

In Freedom's Cause Review

4.  Did you see my post Introducing Catherine’s Pascha? This is a lovely book written by my good friend (a REAL friend, not just an e-maginary friend who lives in my computer) Charlotte Riggle. You can also read Tailorbear’s thoughts about the book.

Christina enjoys Catherine's Pascha.  A wonderful story of the celebration of Pascha (Easter) told through the eyes of Catherine.

Introducing Catherine's Pascha

5. How do you know it is Lent at my house?  We eat soup two to three times a week instead of once or twice a month.  Variations of vegan vegetable soup.  No pictures of this weeks soups but the first was one Garden Vegetable Soup from Build A Menu.  It was tomato based with broccoli and cauliflower. Wednesday was my mock beef vegetable soup.  Vegetable Better-than Bouillon plus some soy sauce gives almost the flavor of beef.  Add in some mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and cabbage it you could almost fool yourself into thinking you’re eating vegetable beef soup.

The Pebble Pond

Come join us over at the Pebble Pond for this week’s Edition of Random 5 on Friday!


In Freedom’s Cause ~ An Audio Drama Review

We are a literature loving family of all girls. Well, all girls except for Dad. So having only daughters I never really explored books by G.A. Henty. I know they come highly recommended in home school circles as great adventure books based on historical events. What I didn’t realize though was that my husband liked G.A. Henty. He spends close to two hours a day driving around, and I’ve been on the look out for things he can listen to in the van.  Tailorbear found her daddy’s copy of the Classic Illustrated version of In Freedom’s Cause and when she saw the cast list for this audio drama version she decided she also wanted to listen so I expressed strong interest in receiving In Freedom's Cause Single Package.

In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce from Heirloom Audio Productions uses audio theater to tell the story of William Wallace and the fight for Scottish freedom. Heirloom Audio Productions refers to their productions as active listening audio dramas.

In Freedom's Cause Review

We were expecting to receive the bonuses from the Single Package but Heirloom Audio Productions very generously also gave us the bonuses from the Family Four-Pack Package. The starred items are included in both packages.  We received:

  • *Physical 2 CD Set
  • *In Freedom’s Cause MP3 Download
  • *In Freedom's Cause Study Guide (Digital Download)
  • *In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download)
  • *Printable copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace. (Digital Download)
  • 30 Minute Video Behind the Scenes Documentary (Streaming ~ watch online)
  • In Freedom’s Cause Cast Poster
  • In Freedom’s Cause eBook (PDF format)
  • In Freedom’s Cause Cast of Characters Roadmap
  • Free unlimited access to the In Freedom’s Cause membership website

I think it would be best to describe this audio theater production as an adaptation of G.A. Henty’s novel. John Formof, who wrote and directed In Freedom’s Cause: the Real Story of Wallace and Bruce, did his own research into the life of William Wallace and wanted to bring out more of Wallace’s faith as the backbone of his strength.


Study Guide and Discussion Starter:

This 49 page full color pdf helps younger students talk through the story. It can also be used as written assignments for older students. It is divided into sets of questions based on when the story or narrative changes. Each set of questions is divided into three parts. There are no answers included.

The three parts are:

  • Listening Well ~ These are comprehension style questions which can be answered just from listening to the story. Some are harder than others and you may need to listen to the story more than once.
  • Thinking Further~ I like to think of these as the discussion starter questions as you dig deeper into the story and make connections or draw conclusions.
  • Defining Words ~ This section requires a student to define vocabulary words. It might be a good idea to use these sections before listening to the story in order to increase comprehension and understanding of the story. Students may need to use a dictionary.

I do wish that the study guide included answers to all of the questions. It would make it easier to use from a parental perspective. I want to foster independent study and learning in my children but I do not always have time to listen to the story 3 or 4 times to make sure that I know all the answers to the comprehension questions and I do not always know what they are trying to get at with some of the Thinking Further questions. I do know most of the vocabulary but having the words already defined would make this a much more valuable tool for homeschooling families.

In addition to the sets of questions, the study guide includes notes about the history of Scotland, suggestions for further reading, and three short bible studies. 

I found the Study Guide difficult to use. It’s very pretty and the graphic design is stunning but because the backgrounds are colored and textured it makes reading the text very difficult. It also does not print well. It would be easier to use the Study Guide if the pages included graphics or pictures rather than the paper scroll look. I admit I do like how it looks but I’d rather have something that I can use.

Honeybear’s Thoughts:

I found the audio drama overall well put together and well presented.  The actors involved sounded as if they truly enjoyed participating in the story.  The script followed the main plot points of the actual story pretty well from what I can remember (although I read the Classics Illustrated comic book version of the book and not the actual book).  It brought back my desire to read both the comic and the actual story.

My one criticism was the name of the main character, which if you are familiar with the book can distract you from enjoying the story.  In the book his name is Archie Forbes, but in the drama his name is Ned.  However, there is one scene in the audio drama where the uncle asks him if his name was Archie, which seemed to be a 'nod' to the story.

Tess Note:  In the Behind the Scenes documentary we learned that the writers used the names Ned and Gerald because those were the non-historical boys from the previous production. 

Behind the Scenes

Thoughts from Tailorbear (age 15):

I enjoyed it. It was an interesting story. I really didn’t like mom though in the beginning. It’s my issue but the whole pushing of the faith was too much for me. The mom’s character was good though. The voices were fantastic.

Thoughts from Supergirl:

I liked it. It’s good. I like how his mom told him about his father’s death. She saw his father stabbed with a sword. I like how Ned and the girl met when she was up in the tree. I like how they tell story.

Thoughts from BooBear (age 19, college sophomore):

I enjoyed the story and found it interesting as a way to look into Scottish history and important figures. The plot was interesting and driving. It had a wonderful mix of humor and adventure.

Final Thoughts:

I am really glad that I was able to watch the behind the scenes documentary. It gave me background on the choices that the writers and producers made.  Knowing why they choose to emphasize Wallace’s faith or why they added certain scenes helped me to enjoy the story better. It really helped my husband to understand why the main character’s name was changed to Ned.  I think Heirloom Audio Productions may want to consider adding that bonus feature to the Single CD Package as it increased the value of the CD for my family.

The Details:

  • The Vendor:  Heirloom Audio Productions
  • The Product: In Freedom's Cause Single Package
  • Executive Producer: Bill Heid
  • Produced and Directed by: John Fomof
  • Written by: John Fornof, Aaron Fullan, Bill Heid, Nick Heid, and Nick Huizenga
  • Format: Available as a physical Audio 2 CD set or as an MP3 download.
  • Also Available:  Under Drake’s Flag which the crew reviewed in 2014 and coming soon With Lee in Virginia.
  • NOTE: This is not an audio book but rather it is a dramatized adaptation of G.A. Henty’s novel In Freedom’s Cause.

In Freedom's Cause Review

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All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Introducing Catherine’s Pascha

Many years ago my friend Charlotte was searching for a book about Pascha (Easter) to read to her young children. Not finding what she was looking for she wrote her own book.  Today Phoenix Flair Press is releasing Catherine’s Pascha

Catherines Pascha Cover Image

Written by Charlotte Riggle and illustrated by R.J. Hughes, Catherine’s Pascha tells the story of celebrating Pascha through the eyes of one little girl.  The story begins at Catherine’s normal bedtime on Holy Saturday and continues until Catherine and her family return home from the Pascha celebration. We experience the joyous celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ through Catherine’s eyes. Her excitement is contagious.

The story is simple enough for young children to follow and engaging enough to delight adult readers. The illustrations are detailed and add multiple layers to the story making it fun to read again and again just to notice the things you did not see the first several times.

I’m not just excited about this book because it is an adorable way to share about Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter) but as a home schooler, it’s a great way to sneak in some school while learning about Pascha. The Catherine’s Pascha website has a section just for activities that includes book activities, lesson plans and educational activities for both younger and older children. There are even crafts listed!

The website also has links for more information about Pascha including information about the Paschal calendar, Paschal greetings, and why the Paschal Liturgy is at night.

Supergirl got to hear the story read aloud by the author.  She also got to look at the book in a special PDF copy that I had. She begged me to purchase the book.  What she didn’t know was that I had already planned on purchasing a copy. I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when I handed her the already beloved book.  Like Catherine her favorite foods are Cheetos and hot dogs. She has been walking around the house hugging the book.

Introducing Catherine's Pascha

Awhile ago Tailorbear had the opportunity to read the book aloud while babysitting.  You can read her perspective here.

Be sure to visit Catherine’s Pascha on the Facebook Page and don’t forget to explore the Website

************Note: I purchased a copy of this book. I was not required to write a review.  I am posting because my daughter loves the book and we both love the book’s author.  I received no compensation of any kind for this post. **********************


Random 5 on Friday ~ Food Related Theme

This week’s Random Five is not so Random.  It’s my Five Thoughts on Eating Healthy or Five Thoughts about FOOD. Cause it just seems like I am obsessed with food.  Especially when you’re the chief cook (but not bottle washer).

This week’s Random Five is not so Random.  It’s my Five Thoughts on Eating Healthy or Five Thoughts about FOOD.

1. Why am I thinking of food so much?  Why do I feel obsessed?  One word.  One life altering word.  One turn your world upside down and smack you in the head word:  Diabetes. Yes, I have it but that didn’t smack me in the head. My husband has it. That has rocked my world. The positive thing ~ can there be a positive thing? ~ is that in trying to learn how to take care of him, I am taking better care of me and I am taking teaching my children about health more seriously.

2. Food can be healing. No, I’m not talking about the emotion driven urge to feel better by setting off endorphins in the brain. I’m talking about choosing to eat foods that nourish the body to promote the natural healing of cells. I still have far more to learn but I made bone broth.  Need to make more.  I also want to make homemade fermented cabbage aka sauerkraut.

3. I was once anti-Paleo. I thought it was more Atkins as in don’t eat veggies either. There’s lots of wiggle room in the definition of Paleo. For me I’m concentrating on avoiding grains, avoiding sugars and eating whole foods.

4. Some Paleo proponents do not do dairy. I’m not one of them. I like my Greek Yogurt and my cheese and cream, but I have become quite particular about which dairy products I buy and which brands. Not all Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese or Half and Half is created equal. I’m getting good at reading labels.

5. We’ve been following the idea of Trim Healthy Mama and separating out fuel sources so one meal would be protein centered with fats and another meal would be protein centered with good carbs. The foods that I am choosing, for the most part, would fit into the paleo philosophy of whole, real, unprocessed foods.  To help me with meal planning we subscribed to Build A Menu which gives me options for Paleo and for Trim Healthy Mama.  It gives me other options as well but those are the two I always gravitate towards.

The Pebble Pond

Come join us over at the Pebble Pond for this week’s Edition of Random 5 on Friday!