Sample Products for Free with Smiley360

Smiley360 is a word of mouth program where you can try products for free in exchange for feedback, reviews, and sharing to social networks and person to person. I've been a member of Smiley360 for several months now (as of this writing) and wanted to share my experience as well as tips.

Signing Up

One of the things I like about Smiley is that you can sign up via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Options are great.  I recently locked myself out of another sampling program when I inadvertedly closed my Facebook account and Facebook was the only way to log in! So yeah, multiple ways to log in is great.

When you've created an account, go to your dashboard and fill in all your profile information right away so you can be considered for Smiley missions.

Points System

Smiley has a point system. You get points for completing surveys (that help match you to relevant missions) and you get points for things that you do on your mission. Each mission is assigned a number of points and you complete sharing activities to get points. Usually to complete a mission, you only have to get a certain amount of points, not the total. For example:
The mission score total is 50 points, but as it says on my mission page, only 40 points are needed for you to be considered as having completed the mission.

This graphic also shows the different ways that you share on a mission to get your points. Sometimes the missions contain a required retail review (not shown here)

If you don't complete missions that you've accepted, it hurts your chances of receiving future missions.  

Qualifying for Missions

When a new mission is available that you may qualify for, you should get an email inviting you to the mission.  You should respond as quickly as possible because missions can fill up quickly (you can also just keep checking regularly on the site) If a mission is available, you will have to complete a qualifying survey to see if the mission would be a good match for you. If it is, you have the choice to accept or decline the mission.  If you accept, you're in and you will be taken to your mission page which gives you information about the product and has the Smiley sharing tools and your score tracker (like the one in the picture just above).  

All missions have a deadline, but they tend to give you a generous amount of time to review. Once you accept a mission, you should receive your Smiley kit (with your product or coupons or a gift card to buy the product in a store near you) in about 2-4 weeks.  The neat thing is that you get full sized samples of the products.

Completing Your Missions

Once you get your Smiley kit, you should definitely take pictures of what you got in your kit as you may want to use these when sharing.  Before/After pictures and/or video will make your submissions even better.  Also, try to get pictures with the product container in as well. Try to come up with creative layouts and/or props to use in the pictures.. You may also want to do some photo editing to make collages or add text.  

You complete your missions by sharing a link to the product, posting to Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes you will be required to write a review on a retailer's site.  

What Kinds of Things Can You Sample?

Below are some pictures of Smiley missions that I have either completed or am in the process of completing. I belong to about 3 or so sampling sites right  now and at the present, I've gotten the most campaigns with Smiley. The key is to complete missions and be patient. I remember there were weeks when I didn't hear anything from Smiley or when I would check the website and nothing, no surveys. And then recently, boom, lots of missions came my way.  

Here is my Pinterest Board for my Smiley360 missions.  As I get new missions, in shaa Allah, I'll post them on the board so you can check here to see other products I may have gotten after this post was written.  If you like to get free products (does any one not?) then you should definitely check out Smiley360. I've had fun including the kids in on the missions (taking pictures for me or helping try out the products). It's also neat knowing that your opinion is hear by big companies.

So, if you are interested, hop over to Smiley360 and join today!

Follow TJ HOMESCHOOLING's board SamplingPrograms-Smiley360 on Pinterest.

Sample Products Free with BzzAgent!

BzzAgent is a word of mouth (WOM) marketing company.  Members, or BzzAgents, can try out products for free in exchange for feedback and reviews.  As of this writing, I have been a member of BzzAgent for about 4 or 5 months and I wanted to share my experience.

Of course the first thing to do is to set up an account at BzzAgent.  You can create an account and connect it to Facebook so that you can sign in easier with Facebook if you would like.

One you have an account, you will begin to fill out surveys. You get surveys from time to time and this helps BzzAgent match you with products that are relevant to you.  Be sure to check back frequently in the survey section and complete surveys as soon as possible as this increases your chances of being selected for campaigns.

If you get selected for a campaign, you will a full size sample of the product, or in some cases, a coupon that will cover the purchase price.  Once you receive the product, you are expected to try it and give feedback. The feedback may be in the form of a review, a tweet, a Facebook post, a blog post, a retail review, a Pinterest board, or other creative ways to share your opinion.  Quality, not quantity, is the key.

With BzzAgent, agents earn a score with each activity that they complete, adding to an overall score.

Depending upon how well your submissions are, your score can go up or down.  Agents with higher scores tend to get better campaigns, (at least that is what they say. I had a friend with a perfect score of 10 and she hadn't gotten campaigns in a while so I'm not sure what the deal there was).

When I first started BzzAgent, the campaigns were coming pretty fast when they started, but at the present time they are not as frequent.

A few tips:

  • Take pictures and/or videos of everything you get. These really add to your submissions and possibly your score.  If you have to create a recipe or something from the product you get, try to include the actual product in the picture as well. Before/After pictures are great too. Videos are even better showing the product in use.
  • Try to produce quality reviews. Don't just say you liked a product. Why did you like it?  (or why didn't you). Detail adds value to your submission. As I tell my kids in homeschool, when you make a statement, be prepared to back it up with details, especially sensory ones.  Apply that same principle here.
  • Remember, it's not about the quantity of sharing you do, but about the quality.  More thoughtful and creative submissions fare better. Companies are not giving away products just to be nice, they need your help and expect constructive feedback.

Below you will find pictures of the campaigns I have received since joining BzzAgent and below that, you can find my BzzAgent Pinterest board which showcases everything I have gotten from BzzAgent (so new campaign items will appear in the board that may have been received after this post.)

Opal Apples - Non GMO apples that are a mix of Golden Delicious and Topaz apples and resist oxidation so they are less likely to brown.

Hot Wheels Street Hawk Remote Control Airplane/Car - flies and drives. The kids had a blast with this!

Nestle Toll House DelightFulls - filled chocolate morsels (with fillings such as peanut butter, mint, caramel and cherry). These were awesome. We used them in cookies.

Secret Outlast Clear Deodorant. Most campaigns come with coupons for you to share
Lawry's products--couldn't find my pictures from this campaign

As you can see, I've gotten some great products from BzzAgent and have had fun with the campaigns trying new products, taking pictures, and sharing.

Earn Extra Cash with Bing Rewards!

Get Paid to Search with Bing Rewards
Ok, I have to admit it, We're a Google family. Everything in our family is Google. We have Gmail, We have Google Drive. We have Android phones.

And the same pretty much goes for surfing the web. When we talk about searching for information on the internet we tell each other to go Google it. And that's pretty much our go-to search engine.

But, as of this summer, we have ventured a little bit into Bing.  They have this Bing Rewards program where you get rewards points just by using Bing search  Those reward points can be turned into e gift cards such as Starbucks, Burger King, Amazon, Applebee's and more.  And, if you are familiar with Swagbucks, you can turn those points into 500 swagbucks points.

Is it worth it?  

Well, you won't get rich from  Bing Rewards, that's for sure.  The earning potential is limited by the cap of daily searches you can earn points for.

You see, there are two levels, silver and gold.  Each level has its own daily limit of points.  You start off at a basic level and you can advance to silver level by getting 200 Bing credits.  I can't remember the exact daily cap for the silver level, but it is somewhere around 25-30.  You can reach the gold level, where I am now,  after you get 750 Bing credits. At the gold level, the limit is around 40 bing credits a day (update, this varies and they have recently LOWERED it at will--frown), but an added bonus is that you get a 10% discount when redeeming rewards. So, for example, at lower levels it takes 525 Bing credits to get 500 swagbucks, but at the gold level, it only takes 475 bing credits.

So, how much can you make in a month? Well, at the gold level (and depending upon what card you want, they are different prices), you can make at least $5 in gift cards about every 11 days if you search everyday.  

I joined Bing Rewards in June, and to date, I have purchased the equivalent of 12 $5 cards. Now, some of those points did come from referrals, I got about $20 dollars from referral points, but the rest was just from doing daily searches. And before you possibly get excited over referrals, when I started and referred friends and family, I got 200 credits per person.  But, a few weeks ago, they bumped referral credits down to a paltry 5 points.

I've earned about $40 dollars from the search credits alone, so that is still good for me.   I've been able to buy hubby lots of Starbucks cards that he uses for his morning commute so that's a good feeling. He has a physical reloadable Starbucks card and I can just reload it with the Starbucks e gift cards I get.

How Can  You Get In On This?

1. Sign Up

First, you need to go to Bing Rewards and sign up. You will need to sign in with a Microsoft Account. If you don't have a Microsoft Account, you can sign up for one with any email address (I used my Gmail address).

I would love it if you would sign up with my referral link here: Bing Rewards (TJ Homeschooling Referral)

2. Search from your PC.

You are allotted a certain amount of daily points for PC searches and a separate amount of points for mobile searches. For the PC, you get 1 credit for every 2 or 3 searches you do.  Make sure you are signed in (or stay signed in) in order to get your points.  

3. Search from a mobile device

To search from your mobile device, you will need to download the Bing Rewards mobile app (you won't get credit from  searching at on your mobile device)

You currently get 1 Bing credit for every 2 mobile searches.

4. Level Up

When you reach 200 Bing credits, you reach the silver level. You get 50 bonus credits when you reach this level. Just be sure that you have taken the tour and selected a goal (card). You won't level  up unless these conditions have been met. And don't worry, you can change your goal at any time.

When. You have reached 750 Bing credits, you can reach the gold level if you have/after you redeem your first card.    To maintain gold status, you must do 150 searches per month, which is not difficult.

5. Redeem

It's super easy to redeem your points once you reach the purchase amount. What I like about Bing Rewards is that you get your card that very same day (they say to allow 24 hours, but I've always gotten it within minutes or at the very latest a couple of  hours).


A helpful bonus, is that every so often (not sure how regularly), there are double points weekends, where you can earn double the points on your PC searches (not mobile). They just had one last weekend and are doing it again this weekend. Normally the double points weekends are further apart.  And, the weekend seems to last through Monday evening.

Final Thoughts

So, if you are looking to earn a little extra cash (in the form of e gift cards), I think Bings Rewards is definitely worth trying out. It takes me roughly 5 minutes, maybe less, to do my daily searches on the PC and then about the same or less to do it on my phone.  However, please be aware that they do change point values which can be a little frustrating---but hey, it's still free stuff if you have the time, right?

Earn Money Back from Shopping with Walmart Savings Catcher

I'm no money guru by any stretch of the imagination, but these are small ways I've found to earn money, save money, or get a great deal.

Grocery/Shopping Rewards Programs 

You've got to shop, right? Why not earn money back from your purchases? We're not talking big ticket items, we're talking everyday purchases (bread, milk, mayonnaise).  Swing by here and browse programs and apps where I've earned some money back (mostly in the form of e gift cards, but other ways as well).

Get Paid To Programs 

Got a little spare time? Earn money from home (or on the go) by watching videos, doing surveys, searching, or checking out special offers. They won't make you rich, but can be good for earning extra cash (usually in the form of an e gift card)

Word of Mouth Programs
Who doesn't like FREE stuff? What a rush--receiving FREE products in the mail. One way to earn free products is by word of mouth programs, these programs will send you FREE products to try (usually full size) to get your honest feedback/review. I've scored all kinds of neat products from food to cleaning items to toys. Who doesn't like FREE stuff? What a rush! Check these out today!

Product Reviews

The good, the bad, the ugly (and in between). These are reviews for which I have received compensation (mostly free products) in return for a review (and I'll let you know), OR products that I have tried/purchased without compensation, but just wanted to share my opinion (good or bad).

If you're in a browsing mood, click above to see all my reviews, or click on a category below:

Get Cash Back From Your Groceries with Jingit

Jingit Rewards Program - Earn e gift cards

Want to earn some extra cash for grocery shopping?  Jingit is an online program/mobile app that you can use to earn cash back from shopping. I currently use it and wanted to share my experience as well as tips for using it.

How Do You Earn Money With Jingit?

One way to earn money with Jingit, is to watch videos online and take surveys and give feedback.  I am not familiar yet with these avenues of earning, but I am familiar with the cash back offers. You can earn egift cards with your cash back by submitting store receipts, and now, they have recently started to allow users to link Jingit to their bank account so that earnings can be deposited directly into their bank account.  

Gift Cards

If you want to earn money back in the form of gift cards, they are currently very limited. You can currently get a gift card for Walmart, AMC, Sephora, and Cabela. (UPDATE: They have added Target now!) I recently cashed in my earnings for a $5 Walmart gift card.(They have over denominations as well, but I was anxious to try it out and see if it really worked so I cashed out at 5).

How It Works/Tips

Here are some tips you might find  helpful if you use Jingit for shopping rewards.

1. You must sign up for a Jingit account.  You can do this by signing up using your email address.

2. To get the cash back offers, you must use the mobile app; you can't submit receipts or reserve offers via the website.
3. Jingit is a little different than some of the other rewards programs that work by scanning receipts. With Jingit, you have to "reserve" offers BEFORE you purchase them. Most other similar programs that I use, you can select the offers after your purchase. So be sure to reserve that before you check out.  Also, with Jingit, you only have 24 hours after you reserve the offer to scan your receipt and submit it.  So keep these things in mind.

In a nutshell:

1. Reserve an offer or offers (e.g. $.25 on milk, $.50 on cereal, etc),

2. Buy the items,

3. Scan your receipt

4. Submit.

Make sure to save your receipt until you get confirmation that it has been approved. Sometimes there may be an issue with your scan so they may email you and let you know that it didn't work and that you need to resubmit.

You won't get rich with Jingit, but it is nice to get some money back.  The drawbacks of Jingit for me are that you have to reserve offers before your purchases, which I often forget, and that you only have 24 hours from the time you reserve offers to submit your receipt. The pros for me is that it is pretty easy to use and I racked up money to redeem a little faster than some of the other programs because you don't often have to buy a specific brand of a product and they usually have products that I normally buy (bread, milk, cereal, produce). I recommend giving Jingit a try. 

If you'd like to see more rewards programs I use, visit my Grocery/Shopping Rewards Programs and Apps Pinterest Board:

Follow TJ HOMESCHOOLING's board Money Matters - Grocery/Shopping Rewards on Pinterest.

What to Do When You Miss Salah


We had an impromptu lesson on missing and making up salah last week.

It was an eye opener for us.

We were previously under the impression that when a salah was missed for any reason, that salah was to be made up.

We were wrong.

As for the Salah you intentionally abandoned while believing in its obligation, according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions such an act constitutes major Kufr (disbelief that takes the Muslim out of Islam). Source: AlIfta.Net
..the person who gives up salah intentionally should not make up for what they missed of salah and they have to repent to Allah. (

SubhanAllah. I've been Muslim for almost 18 years, alhamdulillah, and don't recall that I have ever learned this.  I'm so thankful for having children to teach about their deen because it provides an opportunity for me to learn, as well as to review what I may have forgotten.  

I shared this information we had learned with my husband later that day and he was just as shocked as the kids and I were.  We knew missing salah was not a good thing, was a sin, but this really put things in perspective for us and we have been more mindful of the salah. And I ask Allah to keep us in this mindset.

Below I've put together some links and learning ideas to teach/review about this topic.

What is the rule on abandoning salah in general and congregational prayer in particular?

Missing Salah Due to Oversleeping, forgetfulness

  1. Missing a Salah because of sleep or forgetfulness until its due time is over
  2. Oversleeping and Offering Salah beyond its missed time

Manner of Making Up Salah

What to Do If Salah Was Intentionally Abandoned

  1. Making Up for Missed Salah*
  2. Also, see fatwa number 3 above for what to do when prayer was missed intentionally: (Repent, Seek Allah's Forgiveness, Regret Abandoning it)

Fear of Missing Salah (Running Out of Time)

Learning Checkpoints

  • What should you do if you oversleep for a prayer? 
  • How do you make up salah when you have more than one to make up?
  • What should you do if you miss salah without a valid reason?
  • If you realize you missed a salah, but are in fear of missing the current salah due to time, which one should you pray first?

Supplemental Learning Activities

  • Memorize daleel (evidence) pertaining to the learning checkpoint responses.
  • Reflect upon your current prayer mindset. Are you missing prayers on a regular basis? Come up with a family plan to try to get all members to pray on time. Some  ideas:
    • set alarm clocks or calendar reminders for mobile device users
    • have one person alert others when the pray comes in (or call athan);
    • pray together as a family if you don't already, 
    • remind each other of the consequence for missing a prayer intentionally;
    • make duaa to Allah help you establish the prayer if you struggle

A Quick Update on TJ Homeschooling

As you may or may not know, TJ Homeschooling is a reboot of the Talibiddeen Jr. family of homeschooling sites.  I've been running TJ since 2002 and it's gone through a tremendous amount of changes and location changes.  TJ Homeschooling is my attempt to collate all the TJ resources into one site instead of spread out among many.

As you can imagine, I've got a lot of information that I am trying to cull. I've got well over 1000 blog posts that I migrated here. And it's been quite beastly to work with the old posts and add new content. So, I've decided to just kind of start fresh, move all my posts to a temporary location and then work on migrating them back a little bit at a time in a hopefully more organized fashion because it's just been simply overwhelming to work with all the posts and keep thing organized.

So, a few things I wanted to share with you.

New content.

 As I am adding  new content at the same time as I am updating older posts, I have left the email subscription service up so that email subscribers can get updates as new material is added. If you would like to get those updates and have not already subscribed, please use the email subscription box to the right.

In addition, I will be posting updates to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest if you are in to any of those social outlets., inshaa Allah.


As I organize whole sections, I'll add to the main navigation area under the header, in shaa Allah so you can go to the exact area you are interested in. Until then, you can use the Archive Area on the right or Labels sections to find topics you are looking for.  I've got lots of exciting :) topics to share and I didn't want to put up there landing pages until they were ready (as I had previously done).  

Old Content

If you would like to access older material, much of it can still be found at the old TJ sites which will be up and running only until I transfer their content here.

If you just can't find something that you were able to find before, please contact me via email.


I apologize for any inconvenience my moving around has caused (I admit it, I'm OCD on this) and I look forward to continuing sharing with you, God willing, in a more comprehensive and organized format.

Don't forget to subscribe to get updates of amazing new content as well as oldies but goodies content.!  In addition, you can get updates via TJ Homeschooling's Social Media accounts:

TJ on Facebook TJ on Twitter Google Plus
TJ on Pinterest TJ Linked In Contact TJ via Email

Try Microsoft Office 2013 Free for 6 Months!

Get Microsoft Office Free for 180 days!

For the past year, we've been using Google Docs a lot in our homeschool. The kids use it to type up a lot of their school work and I can easily check it online  without having to print it out, so we have less paper waste.

But Google Docs can be somewhat limited when you need extra bells and whistles (more advanced formatting options), so we like to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint when we need extra.  In addition, I typically use Office for making my homeschool printables and some graphics and Google Docs is not robust enough for those uses.

At Microsoft's TechNetEvaluation Center, you can download a full working copy of Microsoft Office 2013 which is good for 30 days. Before the 30 day expiration, you can legally rearm your Office Copy using the Office Trial Extender. Each time you rearm Office, you get 30 additional days and you can rearm up to 5 times giving you 180 days total usage of Microsoft Office. 

I first learned of this through

Salaatul Tawbah (Prayer of Repentance)

Manner of Making Salaatul Tawbah

As for Salaatul Tawbah, it was authentically reported on the authority of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Anyone who commits a sin
performs Wudu’ (ablution) properly,
and then offers two Rak’ahs (units of Prayer) wherein he asks Allah to forgive his sins,
Allah will accept his Tawbah.

Fatwa from Shaykh Ibn Baz ( via

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

"Any person who sins then performs wudu correctly and prays and afterward seeks Allah's forgiveness Allah forgives him."


Then As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with ) recited the verse:

"And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls
remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults--
and who forgives the faults but Allah,
and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done."
{ Al-Imran 135}

Ibn Taymeyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

"It is a recommended act for every person who sinned to perform Wudu
then pray two Rak'ah