Friday, November 27, 2015

My Favorite Black Friday Deals 2015

This post contains affiliate links and referral links.

I want to give you a list of my favorite Black Friday deals (for today 11/27/15) that you can redeem right from the comfort of your home! Some of these end today and some are good for the whole weekend. Please refer to each individual website or offer for all the details.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

Start by opening an Ebates account! Ebates is the place to get money back for almost every online purchase. As you shop you can use an Ebates link for up to 12% cash back for purchases. Please use my referral link to start your account: Plus you will get a welcome bonus! Black Friday means double cash back with Ebates! Today's offers include 10% back from Macy's and 8% back from Kohl's!

You can get your family registration to Teach Them Diligently and save $10!!!! Please use my link to redeem your offer. In 2016, TTD will be in 3 cities and this unique convention is fantastic for homeschooling veterans, homeschool newbies, and Christian families. You can read all about my experience at TTD 2015 in Nashville.

Maestro Classics is offering up to 70% off with free shipping. 3 of their CDs are only $5 today! My kids fell in love with their version of The Nutcracker when we received it to review recently.

Great Products is offering 50% off all their Homeschool Christian T-Shirts. Everyone in my family owns at least one of these fun, humorous shirts. Be sure to use code SAVE50.

We have fallen in love with Grapevine Studies since reviewing their Old Testament Level 1 study. You can get 30% off their Birth of Jesus Study as a Black Friday/ Cyber Monday special! Take advantage of this offer using my affiliate link:

HEDUA is offering a FREE 2015 Homeschool coupon book! Get it by clicking the image above. Today you can also save 50% on their 2015-2016 Well Planned Day planners! This is one of my favorite planners and you can get the deal by following my affiliate link: They are on day 3 of 6 days of deals. Sign up for their emails to get access to the rest of the special savings!

Educents is always offering fantastic freebies and great deals. Today through Monday you can get free shipping and an extra 10% off using my link,, and the code GIVETHANKS. Educents is also offering a free coupon book! Make sure to get yours here:

If you use Homelife Academy, you can preregister your kids for the 2016-2017 school year for 25% off. This deal is good through Monday. You will also be entered into a special prize giveaway! This is the biggest sale HLA offers, and I take advantage of the huge savings every year!

Doorposts is offering the Parenting Pack for 50% off! This pack includes 2 charts and a checklist to reference and with the discount it is only $9!

Unlock Math has become a new favorite for Apple since our review. You can get $50 off the annual purchase using my referral link: This all online math program is great for PreAlgebra!

Check back here because I will post more deals as I see them! Thank you for supporting Carter Chaos blog by using referral and affiliate links included in posts.

Monday, November 23, 2015

D is for Delicious

My dad's favorite treat was peanut butter fudge. It became a tradition to make it for him for every holiday. It was never too much trouble because I love it too! As far as I know everyone who has ever tried it has loved it. So of course I still make it for my family even though my dad is no longer with us. I made my first batch for the holiday season today, and it came out perfectly!

You need:

3/4 c butter
2/3 c evaporated milk
3 c sugar
2/3 c peanut butter
13 oz marshmallow cream

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it is melted stir in evaporated milk. Then add all 3 cups of sugar. Stir, stir, stir. Once it begins to bubble you really need to start stirring as you let it boil for 5 minutes. You arm will feel like it may fall off....keep stirring! When the 5 minutes is up, cut off the heat and stir in your peanut butter. I prefer crunchy but creamy will work as well. Once the peanut butter is melted, grow a third arm because you still need to stir as you add in the marshmallow cream. Once it is all melded together and feels like you are sticky from head to toe, pour the yummy sugary goodness into a pan. This corningware dish that was my grandma's is my vessel of choice but you can go with metal or glass. The size just depends on how thick you want your fudge. Then it just needs to sit for a bit to solidify. Cut into squares and serve to the people you love! It is very sweet but oh so DELICIOUS!

I am blogging through the alphabet with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude! Check them out and find all the other D posts for this week.
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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Results are In

Last week I gave you a rundown of some of our favorites for the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards. Today all the winners were posted and you can check them out on the Schoolhouse Review page. We enjoyed all the reviews we were able to do this year. 

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards

Many of our favorites made the list! Some of the ones that were voted into a top spot (that I didn't include in last week's post) were:

Favorite Grammar: Institute for Excellence in Writing: Fix It! Grammar
Grammar was a tied category for us but Fix It! was in our top two. 

Favorite Penmanship Program: CursiveLogic
We voted for CursiveLogic, and Apple is still using it! 

Favorite History Curriculum: Homeschool in the Woods
Apple and Speedy voted for this study. We stepped away from it for awhile but both have recently asked to pull it back out. 

Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies
Grapevine Studies was our last review item for the Crew for 2015. This was another tied category for us but Grapevine was in the top two!

Favorite Middle School Product: The Critical Thinking Co.
Apple voted for The Critical Thinking Co. with no hesitation!

It was so much fun to vote for our favorites. We were blessed to try over 35 new (to us) homeschool (and personal) items from the Schoolhouse Review Crew this year. I'm so excited to let you know that I was selected to participate in the Crew again in 2016! I can't wait to see what fun things we get to test next year!

You can see all the award winners on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website and if you scroll down there is a linky for posts like this. Be sure to check out the other Crew members' choices for the 2015 Blue Ribbon Awards! 

C is for Change

Sometime around year 2 or 3 of our homeschool journey I found that Apple operated well with a set of 5 plastic drawers. She had a drawer for each day of the week to keep all of her books and school work. When she finished an assignment she would put it into the next day's drawer. She was much younger at the time and rarely did a subject every day. Over time as we've adjusted this system as needed and Speedy eventually received an identical set of drawers.

Amazingly enough all children are not the same. After a particularly difficult few days, it was clear some adjustments needed to happen. Even though some of the things we do in our school day are things we've always done, some of them weren't working. I should have seen it coming. I've regularly needed to adjust and change things for one student. However I don't like change so I guess I just avoid. Avoid. Avoid. AVOID! Until I can no longer avoid.

So last week we made some changes. Now one student has a whole new organization system. Rather than use the big drawers (which had just become full of nonsense) this student now has a basket with a folder or notebook for each subject. The drawers are gone and there is just this small wicker basket in the space. Said student is thrilled with the system and I really am praying this is a step towards independence for this child. 

It's only been a few days but so far things are working well. Rather than put all completed work in one basket this student is putting completed work back into the subject folder. Now everything is in one place and the pupil seems pleased with the streamlined method. As you can see, the other student is still quite happy with the drawers system, and that is okay with me!

How do you organize your homeschool?

This post is linked up with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude.
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Listen to the New Testament

The kids and I love to listen to audio books and audio dramas in the car so we were so excited to receive an audio Bible to review. We spend a good bit of time in the car so I knew it would be beneficial to have the New Testament on CD. The Word of Promise is more than a simple reading of the New Testament in NKJV. It is an audio drama with a star cast of voices. 

When I read that it was an audio drama with so many big names, I was concerned that this would be a loose interpretation of the Bible. I was pleasantly surprised to find it to be a direct reading of the Word. Every part I've checked with my Bible has been spot on minus some "he said" or other similar wording that is unnecessary when someone is actually speaking it.

The cast includes familiar names like Richard Dreyfus, Kimberly Paisley Williams, Michael W. Smith, and so many more. We've enjoyed this production so much. The kids are asking questions. We've spent time comparing the gospels. We've paused the discs to discuss parts further. My kids don't know who any of the actors are, but they can appreciate the differences in voices to indicate various people.

This is a great product for someone new to the Bible that struggles with reading the Word. It is just as wonderful for someone who has read the New Testament again and again as this gives a fresh perspective. When my kids were little I was always looking for the Bible story books that told the real Biblical account. It doesn't get any closer than word for word!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

B is for Blue Ribbon Awards

We just placed our votes for the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards for 2015. This was a fun way to vote for all our favorite products we have reviewed for the Crew this year. It was so hard to pick in so many categories! The kids and I also disagreed on a few. The voting results for the whole crew will be posted on Monday, November 16 but I wanted to give you a little preview of our selections.

Favorite Math:

We were divided on this category but CTC Math won the vote. This multi-level online math program has so many advantages that I had to pick it. Speedy uses it every school day and is finding great success with it. 

2nd place in this division would be Unlock Math with Apple's very exhuberant vote! 

Favorite Reading:

Star Toaster Review

Star Toaster's Orphs of the Woodlands won this category easily. 

Favorite Writing: 

IEW's TWSS and SWI of course! I also voted for it as the Best Resource I Didn't Know I Needed. 

Favorite Spelling:

This was another divided category for us. I made the final selection and voted for Spelling You See. There are so many reasons I love this approach to spelling! Speedy also enjoys Spelling You See and still uses it but he wanted to vote for Phonetic Zoo which he is using at the same time. 

Favorite Book, Audio Book, or Audio Drama:

This was a really hard choice to make because we enjoyed all of the audio books and audio dramas we reviewed this year. In Freedom's Cause was the unanimous decision because it was so exciting and unique. 

There are loads of other categories but those are our top/ most controversial choices for the Blue Ribbon Awards. I will end with each of our final selections.

Apple's Kids' Choice Award: 

Speedy's Kids' Choice Award:

My All Around Crew Favorite:

Spelling You See

I'm excited to see the results next week! It will be interesting to see how many of our favorites made the top spot!

This post is linked up to Blogging Through the Alphabet with Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Adventures with Jude!
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Bible Studies for Multiple Grades and Ages

GrapeVine Studies offers a unique way to incorporate Bible studies for various grades or ages within a family. They were kind enough to send me Old Testament 1: Level 2 Creation to Jacob and Old Testament 1: Level 3 Creation to Jacob teacher's manuals and workbooks for review. These are all digital files and there are 4 levels available this study. I used the teacher's guides directly on the computer and printed out all the pages the kids needed from their respective workbooks. 

Each level basically builds a little onto the previous level so Apple had just a little more work to do for each lesson than Speedy did. My kids are fairly familiar with the Old Testament so these studies worked as a review for them. It's been awhile since we focused on memory work so I was pleased to see a good deal of memory verses included in each level. Since my Sunday School class has been reading through the Bible and we started with the Old Testament at the beginning of the year, I didn't have to review too much to be prepared for the lessons. GrapeVine studies offers this chart below to help you know where to begin your family studies. 
Grapevine Studies Review
One this I noticed right away is that GrapeVine studies include stick figuring through the Bible. Their premise is that kids will remember more by drawing, hearing, and writing through the lesson. I think it is a great idea! I thought my non-artsy kid might revolt but he did not. Both kids actually enjoyed the stick figuring very much! I am no artist so I'm glad this just required stick figures and not fancy drawings! 
The study begins with a timeline lesson. Each student is given a timeline to fill in as you explain each piece. It is recommended that the teacher do the drawings on a white board. After that first lesson, there are 9 regular lessons, a section review in the middle, and then a final review for a total of 12 lessons. There are schedule ideas included to do each lesson in a week (4 days) or weekly. We tried both ways and enjoyed both ways. For us it made more sense to do it based on the other things we had going that week. On busy weeks we did it all in one class and on slower weeks we spread it out into 4 days. The kids didn't have a preference. 
A regular level 2 lesson includes:
*Timeline Review
*Memory Verse Review
*Places to draw or stick figure the lesson
*Lesson review questions 
*New Memory Verse and drawing space
Level 2 also gives extra information to memorize like the first few books of the Bible and that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. Level 2 has been just right for Speedy. He has enjoyed the pace of the work and he's learning more about the Old Testament than he usually does in Sunday School. 
Level 3 includes all the same parts to the lesson as level 2 but there are more memory verses. There is also some mapwork for this level. This GrapeVine study has also been great for Apple. She possibly could have moved on up to Level 4 just based on her Biblical knowledge but this has been a great refresher course for her. 
This study gives lots of freedom to the teacher. As I mentioned before this is the perfect series to be a Bible class for multiple grades. We do Bible all together and this has made it a breeze because each one has their own work but the lesson is the same. Speaking of the lesson, this course leaves a majority of the lesson up to the teacher. You can simply read the verses or you can relate the stories to real life. It's basically up to you to decide how much or how little you'd like to do. You can do something different with it every lesson if you want! There are some discussion notes in the teacher's manual to keep the students on track for their reviews. It is recommended that you draw examples on the white board as you go through the lesson. Colored pencils are recommended for the students to do their drawings but you can see my kids preferred to use markers. 
I really like many aspects of this Creation to Jacob study. It is a solid way of studying the Bible. We've done a variety of devotionals, Christian living books for kids, and some apologetics over the years. I think this is the best study of the Word that we've used during homeschool other than some studies we did all on our own. Drawing their own visuals is a great way to help them connect to the story and make it memorable. It is also new which helps them both focus on stories that they've heard over and over. I think it is also a big plus that this is a relatively short study. It can easily be completed in 12 weeks or less. GrapeVine offers several other multi-level choices and I'm interested in doing more in the future with my kiddos. 
See which Grapevine Studies other Crew members reviewed:
Grapevine Studies Review
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Periscope: @Grapevine Studies

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