Saturday, October 25, 2014

Homeschool Resources as Your Children Get Older

As my kids get a little older and we continue to homeschool, I'm finding that I need different types of resources. In the beginning homeschool classrooms need lots of manipulatives and flash cards. Now that we are doing 2nd and 5th grade we need a different caliber of resources. Don't worry we still have plenty of puzzles, crayons, markers, and such!

Earlier this year I had to invest in a good dictionary. Apple had been using an old dictionary that Hubby & I had along with a cheap small dictionary I picked up somewhere along the way to supplement the other one. We found that many of the words the kids needed to look up were not included in either dictionary. Apple has an extensive dictionary on her Kindle but she prefers a book in her hand. I found a highly recommended dictionary on Amazon and it has made a huge difference in our school time. She also has a decent thesaurus for the all important synonyms and antonyms. Our history curriculum uses a lot of maps and so I purchased the kids a Biblical Map Atlas. These resources are certainly more mature than our happy little flash cards.

I received a free copy of this Bible dictionary from BookLook in exchange for my honest review. 

I've found that we also need a good Bible dictionary. I've never owned a Bible dictionary before but I'm really glad that we have one now. The Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is HUGE y'all. Like really big and really heavy. I feel like you should know that because I was very surprised by the size and heft. It contains over 1,200 pages of information.



Let me give you an overview of what all is included:

*Definitions of many, many Biblical words along with descriptions of notable people and places

*Full color illustrations on most pages {Want to know what a ziggurat looked like? There's a pic on page 1217.}

*Several maps in the back of the book

*Teaching Outlines for people of the Bible like Amos and Esther

*Teaching Outlines for books of the Bible

*Timeline

*Table of Contents for all the charts, outlines, maps, etc.

*A multitude of charts like "Pagan Gods Mentioned in the Bible"

This is so much more than just a Bible dictionary. I got it for the kids to look up words during Bible study but now I'm excited to have it as a resource in my own study time. This Bible dictionary would be an amazing gift or resource from any minister or Sunday School teacher. It contains so much information that it will be a valuable tool for years to come.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Doggy Treats #Stackerz

I received this product free from Influenster. All opinions are my own.


Our doggy is a big girl. She's an Italian Mastiff and she's HUGE. We've moved to this small town and most people here find out where we live and say, "Oh you're the one with the GIANT dog." Yep that's us.




See how well trained she is though?
She's a good girl and she's not a puppy by any means. We love to give her treats but we try to manage her weight to a degree. So since she's a big 'un we need bigger treats for her. If they are too small then we have to give her TONS of them. That isn't good for her weight or for our wallet. If they are too big she swallows them quickly and that's even harder on our wallet.

Pedigree has a new snack called Stackerz. They are made with real meat and they are a good medium sized snack. The bag we tried was Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavor. As soon as doggy saw the treat she was sitting at attention! 


I really expected there to be a very strong, pungent odor when I opened the bag. They definitely have a pet food smell but it isn't horribly overwhelming.



You can see there are many Stackerz in the bag. That makes us happy because she gets at least a treat a day. We need a bag that will last us more than a couple of days at a time. She actually catches the Stackerz in her mouth, bites it in half, and then eats the two pieces. She's a little particular so this has been her pattern each time we've given her one. 


As you can see our fur baby has a new favorite treat! Look for the soft Stackerz treats at your favorite retailer.





Be sure to check out all our current giveaways.

Hay Hay Harvest Time

While we don't actually participate in harvesting anything this time of year we do love fall. I always hope to take the kids apple picking but it hasn't happened yet. We usually take a field trip to our favorite local farm but we've voted to skip it this year. While we are still looking for a fun, inexpensive field trip to replace that one, we have had some special harvest fun already.

The kids went to a fun birthday party with a pumpkin scavenger hunt. They got to take their pumpkins home after the party and of course we gutted them, roasted the seeds, and they (daddy & kids) carved them.



We had a special crafty women's ministry night at our church and made some really awesome wreaths for fall!

Our fearless leader and her wreath.


Speedy finished up his fall ball season and Apple is down to one game in her soccer schedule. Apple also tried out for a play with the local children's theater and is excited to have a role in the choir of the play.

We've just finished our "fall break" week. The kids enjoyed some time off of school and I got some items checked off my to-do list. 

All in all it's turning out to be an enjoyable fall. I keep ignoring the "so many days until Christmas" posts on social media. Last year I had my Christmas tree up in October. This year I feel like enjoying the cool weather, falling leaves, and pumpkin everything a little longer. 

We have some special books and movies we enjoy this time of year (Great Pumpkin anyone?). The kids are always thrilled when it is time for our holiday movie stash. They've already started working through the fall themed ones. 

If your family enjoys special books during particular season then you may be interested in the current Harvest Sale. You can find some special children's selections at great prices.

Find books like this one:



And many more.

To celebrate this Harvest Sale, Tommy Nelson has given me a bundle of 3 books to giveaway to one of you! 1 winner will be randomly selected to receive The Pumpkin Patch Parable, A Pumpkin Prayer, and Good Night Little Pumpkin. These books are also part of the sale! Enter today via the Giveaway Tools widget.









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I am giving these books away on behalf of Tommy Nelson.

Be sure to enter all of our current giveaways!

Essential Oil Crystals #Giveaway

I received these Purex Crystals free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


All of the uses and benefits of essential oils are really becoming evident to the general population. Naturalists have long known their positive affects but regular folks like me are just learning about all the things they can do. We use essential oils for disinfectant, headaches, muscle pain, skin issues, and so much more.

Y'all know I love Purex Crystals so I was THRILLED when I found out about the new Purex Crystals Aromatherapy.


I got out my Purex Detergent and my new Purex Crystals Aromatherapy Energy and I was ready to do my laundry.


These Crystals smell AMAZING. All Purex Crystals have a pleasant scent but the orange scent definitely gives a me a small burst of energy.


In went the towels, detergent, and Crystals. I decided my towels were the perfect test subject because who doesn't want a little extra energy after their morning shower? The towels smelled fantastic after they were washed and dried. Now my whole linen closet has a pleasant citrus-y smell! 


Purex Crystals Aromatherapy comes in 3 scents (Energy, Well-Being, and Serenity) and they all help eliminate odors. They are great for other odor elimination as well. Our doggy sleeps in the basement at night. She's a large dog who HATES baths so she can be a little.....odoriferous at times. I poured some of the Purex Crystals Aromatherapy in a small bowl and set it out of reach in the basement. I couldn't believe how fresh it smelled by morning! 

Thank you for another fantastic product Purex! 


Who wants to win their own bottle of Purex Crystals Aromatherapy? I have 3 coupons to giveaway. 3 winners will be randomly selected to receive one coupon each. Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Deep Cleaning the Sofa #leathernova

I received a free product from Tomoson for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 



Y'all know I like to clean right? New cleaning tools make me happy. One item that I haven't been able to clean to my satisfaction is our very large, leather sectional sofa. We purchased it used (like bought, put in their house in a spare room, and never sat on) from some friends several years ago. We have 2 kids who were young when we bought it and we moved it earlier this year when we changed residences. The best I've ever done is wipe it down and vacuum out the hide-a-bed. Well and an unfortunate incident with some alcohol that faded out a spot.......


So when I had the opportunity to try Leather Nova Leather Cleaner I was super excited. Now I can finally really deep clean my sofa. Here's a before:







To use the Leather Nova you simply spray it on (be sure to test a spot first- I tested on the back of the couch).




Wipe in a circular motion with the included microfiber cloth.






Then do a final wipe with a dry, clean cloth.



I was amazed at the grime just off of one seat!




I was also so excited at the difference in the seat I cleaned and the dirty one next to it. Ewww. I'm not sure the pictures do it justice. Trust me. Eww.



You can follow up with a leather conditioner if desired.


Hubby wanted in on all the clean so he tackled his duty belt. He was very pleased with the results too.

Leather Nova comes in an easy to use 18 oz spray bottle. It is suitable for leather and vinyl (always test before using). Not for use on suede, nubuck, or microfiber. Try it on your belts, shoes, furniture, purses, wallets, car seats, and more!


Well now I have to go clean the 6 other seats on my couch. Then it will be good as new! Except for that unfortunate faded spot from before......


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Be sure to enter all of our current giveaways.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Unique Gift Ideas

I wrote a little last week about our plans for Christmas gifts this year. I wanted to share some unique gift ideas that might help friends and family get off the toy aisles this holiday season.




In the past my kids have really enjoyed:

*Cash. I know cash and gift cards aren't always a popular choice but my kids are at the age that they really enjoy cash. They don't get money on a regular basis and so a little money they can spend on their own makes them feel very grown up and responsible. Cash also offers some exciting teaching moments. We're able to discuss giving, saving, and deal hunting with them when they have their own money. While we ultimately let them make the decision about what to use their money for it is great to have those teachable moments.

*Gift cards. This deserves a special recognition because there are so many choices. My kids LOVE gift cards to their favorite eateries. They know they will get to go and enjoy their favorite meals as a special treat when they have a gift card. They also enjoy gift cards to favorite stores because it is like having cash. Think outside the box- favorite restaurants, book stores, clothing stores, online retailers, cards to buy digital content like music and apps. The choices are plentiful and many can be ordered online and save you some time standing in line! Also look for special deals this time of year. Many places offer bonuses when you buy gift cards in multiples.

*Household items. My daughter got a sewing machine last year. Both kids have received new bedding, lamps, etc over the years. Kids who enjoy cooking will enjoy kitchen items, aprons, etc. Boys (and girls) may like their own tools.

*Sporting Goods. Even though their sports season may not be happening in December they will still enjoy sports related gear. Last year Speedy received a pitchback net for baseball and he's gotten lots of use out of it.

*Tickets to special events. A concert, play, museum entry, etc go a long way for the older elementary set. It doesn't have to be something huge either. Movie passes are a special treat for kids like ours that don't go to the theater often.

*Paying for a sport, camp, or class. Apple was gifted a semester of choir one holiday. She was thrilled! This year she has a special camp picked out and it's pricey. I know she'd be thrilled to receive that as a gift.

*DVDs. We don't have cable and dvds are exciting business in the Carter house.

*Books. No need to explain this one. Just make sure they are age and reading level appropriate.

*Special interest items. Craft gear, science tools, etc. These are biggies especially for home school families. My kids often ask for high end items like microscopes and telescopes. They haven't received them yet but that hasn't lessened their interest.

*Clothing. While socks and undies may not elicit a smile, older kids often have their eye on a special brand or type of clothing that they'd like to have. Apple still loves extravagant dresses. Speedy enjoys the special brands of sporty clothing. Both kids dig new shoes and boots. Don't forget items like accessories- hats, belts, jewelry, etc.

If you are buying for kids this year, think outside the toy aisle. Consider other possibilities. Not only will you bypass the craziest section of the store, you can find some terrific deals and make a short person super happy!

Be sure to enter all of our current giveaways.

Do You Have a Brave Girl? #TNBraveGirls

Is your daughter brave? Apple truly is brave. She's rarely scared of anything. She can share her opinion with ease, jump up on stage and sing or perform, make a new friend in a moment, and take on any challenge. I'm always in awe of her bold nature. I want to nurture that quality in her but I don't consider myself to be very brave.

I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of review as a Tommy Nelson Mommy. All opinions are my own.

Thankfully there were plenty of brave women in the Bible. These women weren't feminists or bullies. They were just bold, brave women following God's prompting. In this sad time when Christianity is so blatantly under attack it is imperative that we teach our girls to be bold for God and for what they know is right. Now the stories of some of these courageous women are gathered in Brave Girls Bible Stories: Celebrating Great Women of the Bible. Watch this short clip to learn a little more:




So in this hardback book your girl can become acquainted with Hope, Faith, Glory, Gracie, and Honor. These youth group girls will then introduce Bible truths by exploring women of the Bible in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament. So they might flip and find the story of Anna from Luke 2. They will learn believers will be rewarded (Heb 11:6). Through this story Hope realizes there are rewards greater than her sports trophies. She reflects in the end what she's learned from the story of Anna and shares a short prayer. The book is full of those types of short stories and applications to real life. The book includes a ribbon bookmark, a quiz at the end for your daughter to see which brave girl she relates to the most, and some brave verses to remember.

Apple is thrilled to be a Tommy Nelson Brave Girl!


I love that this is just the beginning of Tommy Nelson's Brave Girls. Soon there will be 2 Brave Girl Devotionals: Better Than Perfect & Faithful Friends (coming in Spring 2015) as well as a Brave Girls Bible (coming in Fall 2015). This 207 Brave Girls Bible Stories should keep your daughter engaged until the next Brave Girls releases. See a special preview of this book.

I have one copy to give to a reader! Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget and one winner will be randomly selected.

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Here is a special word about the Brave Girls from the Tommy Nelson team.

Dear Parents,
If you have a daughter, you know that the deepest desire of any parent’s heart is to see 
her happy, confident, and most importantly, deeply aware of God’s love for her. For her 
to know how courageous and strong she can be, and that God has a plan to use her life for 
good! 
Strong, confident girls and women are making a splash in pop culture. From Disney’s 
Merida in Brave to Veronica Roth’s Katniss in The Hunger Games, girls are taking their 
place as the heroes of the story, and rightfully so! 
Women have been a crucial part of God’s story for generations, and the Bible is full of 
brave girls whom God used to make a difference. Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “With God’s 
power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. 
To Him be the glory!” 
We are overjoyed to tell you about a new brand making its debut this September that we 
hope will speak these truths to your daughters’ hearts, Tommy Nelson’s Brave Girls!
Brave Girls Bible Stories, the first book from the new brand, will help girls grow in their 
knowledge of the Bible and in their faith. Your daughters will get to know our Brave 
Girls – Hope, Gracie, Glory, Faith, and Honor – five modern-day friends – as they
journey through the Bible together.
The girls are each very different, but they all love Jesus and love each other. Readers will 
find parts of themselves in each of the five Brave Girls as they share their strengths –from 
sports to fashion – and struggles, including making new friends and working through 
dyslexia. 
As the Brave Girls narrate, readers will learn such valuable truths from more than thirty 
women in the Bible who dared to follow God.
Sincerely, 
The Tommy Nelson Team


Be sure to check out all our current giveaways: http://carterchaos-ecarter.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html.