And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do You Fancy Yourself a Writer? (& GIVEAWAY!!!)


I've always wanted to be a writer. I love to write. I have tons of journals from my childhood and teen years. I'm still not positive that I'm a fantastic writer but hey you're all still reading me! But I digress, Sarah Mae has brought all of us aspiring writers an excellent read in How to Market and Sell Your eBook. She compiles all the information you would need to become a real writer! Well not really because you do need some talent and of course only God can provide that!

I'll be honest I am all in all a hands on printed book gal still. I know that it's not "cool" but I really love to hold a book, smell it, dog ear my favorite pages. However after reading this eBook Sarah's almost got me convinced! The stats she provides on eBook sales are astounding! This lady has done her homework and she has put together some sound arguments for publishing in eBook format and some fantastic information for anyone that is serious about writing.

Everything you need to know from marketing, to writing, to producing, to editing an eBook are all included. Sarah Mae has a rich background in the online world and since this is her third eBook she has solid information on the things that do and don't work. I would recommend this eBook to anyone that wants to know more about online writing and/ or eBooks.

You can buy How to Market and Sell Your eBook on amazon.com. More info on the book is available at http://marketandsellyourebook.com/.



Sarah Mae has generously provided one copy (eBook) for one of my readers. Leave a comment below with your email address. Giveaway closes at 10 pm CST Tuesday, July 5. I will choose a winner with random.org.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck


Kathleen Y'Barbo tells the tale of young Charlotte Beck, an American heiress on the verge of becoming a lady of society in America and Europe. She is quite unconventional for a lady of her era and her age. She has interest in business and mathmatics and less interest in marriage and children. Charlotte is immediately thrust into a series of frustrating encounter with Alex Hambly. Their personalities clash as do their families. However they (predictably) come into one another's paths again and again, not only in Europe but in America as well.

While enjoyable the tale is not a supremely unique one. It is very predictable in many areas of the storyline. Also some bits are confusing as they are a bit undeveloped. I had trouble keeping up with the members of Charlotte's family and how they all went together as well as trouble understanding the "fued" between the Beck and Hambly families. However the relationship between Charlotte and Alex was interesting and humorous.

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is a quick and quirky read. Kathleen Y'Barbo has penned a number of Christian fiction novels. They can be purchased directly through Waterbrook Multnomah or on amazon.com.







I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do you enter giveaways? Join blogging programs?

Do you ever enter blog giveaways? Or company giveaways? I have won some pretty great prizes from coupons to small items to $100 Ebates check on Mother's Day! Stockpiling Moms hosted the Mother's Day giveaway and I was thrilled when I won! Blog giveaways are getting easier and easier with simple forms to fill in. I want to encourage you to enter giveaways as you often can win a prize for less than a minute of your time! I recently hosted a book giveaway and I'm looking forward to hosting more soon! I hope more of you will enter in the future!

I was notified that I won another very EXCITING prize yesterday. I can't share what it is yet but I will tell you that it wasn't a typical blog giveaway. It was a special blogger giveaway and I had completely forgotten all about it! I was very happy that I won and even happier with the prize! When I can I will do a complete write up!

As my blog grows, I am finding it to be a lucrative adventure. If you blog I want to encourage you to look for special programs that can help you earn money, gift cards, and products for your blog! Social Moms often offer compensated blog opportunities and there are other like it. I've also been selected for some special product teams like Purex Insiders and Coffee Mate Brew Crew. I learned today that I was also selected for a special Kraft project. Like I said these offer free products, gift cards, or both for very little time or effort. These are also great ways to get your blog promoted to new markets since mose of these have discussion boards.

One last promo, I want to encourage you to check out The Blog Frog. This is a great place to find blogs to read, discussions on topics of interest, and new blog readers. You can check out the Carter Chaos Community at the Blog Frog by clicking on the widget in the right sidebar.

 This is all a work in progress for me! If you have a blog and are frustrated by low numbers, don't give up! It's a time and effort commitment like anything else in life!

Kroger Deals

So going to Kroger on a Tuesday night gives you the opportunity to double dip into the savings pool. In our area Tuesday night is the time to swap the sales for the week as new sales begin on Wednesdays here. One drawback to it is that you can't be very organized. You don't know what sales will be already in the computer so you spend more time at the store. However you spend less time at home organizing so it may all even out! Especially if your hubby will keep the kids while you are there like mine did today! Thanks babe!

So here's what I got! I'll try to put a star by the "new" sale items for this week! Oh and you need to know that this week is a MEGA SALE!!!!!! Now if you are new to Kroger shopping, let me tell you that these are usually THE BEST sales of the year to stockpile and get some great savings! During a Mega Sale, you mix and match 10 items to get $3.00 your total. Basically .30 extra off of each item. There are always lots of items included and you can do multiple $3 off in one transaction but you MUST have items in groups of 10. Like I said you can mix and match but you must have 10, 20, 30, etc. Ok here goes:

Cottonelle Bath Tissue $5.99- $1 Cars 2 Sav- Kroger Catalina $2= $2.99

Juicy Juice $2.99- $1 Cars 2 Sav= $1.99 x 2

Keebler Cookies $2.69- $1 Cars 2 Sav= $1.69 x 2

Healthy Choice Steamers $2.20- $1 All You CPN= $1.20 x 2

Lays Stax $1

Goldfish $1

Kroger Eggs .88

Kroger Bread & Buns $1 x 3

Peaches .88 lb

Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad 2/$3- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= 2/ $2 x 2

Kroger Beef Patties $8.99- $1.25 KCPN= $7.74

Kroger Bagged Chicken $5.91

Minute Maid OJ $2.99

Hormel Pork Loin $5.99- $1 SCPN= $4.99

* Coke 12 pks 4/ $11

* Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs $1.79- .30 MEGA- $1/2 SCPN= 2/ $1.98

* Caprisun $1.99- .30 MEGA= $1.69 x 2

* Compleats $2.29-.30 MEGA- .55 SCPN- .55 DCPN= .89 x 2

* Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks $2.29- .30 MEGA- .50/2 SCPN-.50 SCPN= 2/ $2.98

* Pop Tarts 12 pk $2.69-.30 MEGA- $1/2 KCPN= 2/ $3.78

I picked up a couple of other items not on sale and no coupon and ended up with 40% savings!!!!!! I saved $64.70 total!!!

Other items in the Mega Sale include Pillsbury Grands, General Mills Cereal, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Ritz Crackers and MUCH MORE!!!!!!!!! Go Krogering this week, you won't regret it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Four!















He just isn't a baby anymore. He's 4 now. 4....... how did that happen? He is so big. He's my constant surprise. My unassuming one, the laid back one, the one with a heart of gold. He's a big boy now. Well a tall boy anyhow. He's all boy too! Check out the fearless Superman jump from the diving board! He's so excited that he's finally 4. And I'm so sad......... no more 3 year olds in my house. Sigh............I can't imagine how awful it'll be next year when he's 5.................Happy Birthday Speedy! Love, Mama

#DiscoverCanning House Party was FABULOUS!!! @BallCanning


Are you familiar with House Party?? If you aren't you should be! This was the first Party Pack I was choosen to receive! I got a Jarden Canning Party in a box! This package was FABULOUS! It had everything we needed to get started canning. I had NEVER canned before and I was able to make some terrific strawberry jam!





The party pack had a flip chart, canning tools, and party bags for each guest to take home. It had coupons and samples in it! There were also books of canning recipes for everything from pickles to salsa to sauces! They included pectin, funnels, and even the berry mashers! House Party has special sites and info for any party that they select you to host. If you set up an account on their site, you will get notifications when new party applications are available! I applied for about 5 before I was selected for one. The secret seems to be logging in the site on the actual "selection" day.                                                  

See how happy fresh, homemade jam makes folks? :) For more info on canning see the Ball Facebook page or go to http://www.freshpreserving.com/!!!! You can also see more terrific canning photos and info about the parties at houseparty.com! Thank you Jarden and House Party!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cars 2


Speedy's birthday is coming up so we HAD to go see Cars 2 today! I thought you might like to know what we thought of it! Well Apple REALLY liked it! She hasn't been to the movies in awhile so this was a BIG deal for her! She loved that Finn McMissile is "always prepared." She said that through the whole movie. Speedy also enjoyed it. He thought Mater was hilarious! He did at the end say that he thought Kung Fu Panda 2 was a better movie.

I enjoyed the movie! It kept the kids interested and had an intriguing enough storyline to keep me involved. The orginal Cars was very original and one that we watch over and over. Cars 2 moved well away from the initial storyline but did have many remnants of other movies and storylines involved. The animation was very exciting during several action scenes. Pixar never fails to amaze me with what they can recreate in cartoon format. There were a few twists and turns to keep me guessing.

Okay for the downers: I really wish children's movies wouldn't have "drinking" and "gambling" scenes. They are in many of them, including Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. They are unnecessary. They could have been completely left out and wouldn't have altered the story in anyway. I don't need there to be a Cocktail-esque scene in a movie my kid is watching. Okay rant finished. That was it, the only negative I saw.

So I recommend it! My kids recommend it! It's a fun summer movie!


I was in no way compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.

FREE Sample Available! Glad Force Flex with OdorShield

Go to vocalpoint.com/GladSample to get yours today! Not a member of Vocalpoint? It's super simple to sign up, it's free, and you'll get more great offers like this one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Need to Save Time??

These days I feel busier than EVER! We are constantly in motion, running here, there, and everywhere! I'm always looking for ways to save time without cutting quality. Here are my ten time-saving tips to make your life as a busy mom easier:

1. Get the kids to help! This is one I'm trying to teach myself. Our kids are big enough now to help bring in groceries, put them away, sort laundry, feed the cat, etc. I've realized beyond teaching chores and responsibilities, I need my kids to help because I can't get it all done by myself! Save yourself 3 extra trips to the van to get groceries, let those short people that eat all the food make some trips!

2. Do 10 minute pickups. We are trying to enforce a "toys in your bedroom only" rule. It's still a work in progress. In the meantime, most days I can't do a full house cleaning so I give the kids specific instructions and have them help me for about 10 minutes. We get toys put away, shoes put away, trash thrown away, and all that dirty laundry makes it to the laundry room. The house may not be spotless but we don't have to hide in the dark if someone makes a surprise visit!

3. Combine trips and errands. Again this is nothing new but it works! We live on one end of town and do most of our playdates and things on the other end of town. As often as we can we hit the library, store, etc when we will already be on the other end of town. Even if we have to indulge in a chicken nugget meal while we do errands on that side of town, it saves us gas and time. I don't see any use in wasting 20 minutes to drive that way for just one thing. It's much better to fit in 2 or 3 twice a week. It's also a time saver in getting kids dressed, ready, and in and out of the car if we do it all in one trip!

4. Put it on the calendar! Whether you use a wall calendar or the one in your phone, as soon as you make an appointment put it in the calendar. If you take prescriptions, put the refill date on the calendar. Write down the pest control service, Aunt Franny's birthday, etc so that you don't forget and you can plan ahead. No one wants to be on the way to a playdate and realize it's check up day! If it's written down you will work the rest of your schedule around it and tah dah time saved!

5. Keep a stash. Keep a collection of tape, wrapping paper, cards, gift bags, etc. Those things you don't need all the time but you don't want to make a special trip to the store to pick up last minute. I also pick up toys and other items on clearance or sale in case I need a gift in a pinch. Sometimes those situations arise and can't be helped but if you are prepared you won't waste time on them!



6. Keep a stash. No I'm not just repeating myself! Keep a stash of food items as well! We all get behind on trips to the store so keep around some extra groceries to pull out in a snap. I always try to keep a frozen lasagna on hand because it takes no effort, no thaw time, and can be a meal all by itself. Same thing with frozen hot dogs, tuna, sandwich meat, etc. This way that day the kids were hanging from the ceiling and you couldn't make it to the store, doesn't mean you have to pay a bundle for an unexpected dinner and you can save time by not running out to eat or on an emergency grocery run!
7. Stay on schedule. If you keep a generalized schedule for your family of bedtimes, wake up times, meal times, etc. everyone knows what to expect and is ready when the time comes. We vary our schedule on special occasions but most nights my kids are in bed by 8 pm and they get up around 7 every morning. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times everyday (if we are at home) so there are no surprises or whinies over meal times. This is not only a time saving tip, it's a sanity saving tip!

8. Keep your keys, purse, and any items that need to leave the house with you in one central place. If I know we are going to the grocery store and the library, I have our book tote, the grocery bags, and my coupon binder on the table with my purse and keys. Nothing wastes time more than driving all the way back home for the bag of library books!

9. Lay out clothes the night before. This seems like such a simple thing but it makes a huge difference for us, especially on days we need to be somewhere early. Simply laying out everyone's outfits down to the appropriate shoes, helps the kids get ready all on their own and I don't have to send them back for wardrobe changes!

10. Use that smartphone for all it's worth! There are so many apps to choose from and you don't want to load them all and bog your phone down. However it is a good idea to look for apps that will save you time! Starbucks has a new app you can use basically in place of your Starbucks gift card!  You can pay with your phone and keep your gold card rewards while using it! Many other stores are starting to offer these apps and they will help you save time and money because you won't be digging for your card every visit! Just whip out your phone and go! Check out greats apps by Starbucks, Groupon, Target, and more!

I hope these tips help you to save some precious moments! I use all my "extra" minutes to snuggle up with my kiddos for a few minutes of quiet. These days will be over quick enough and I want to cherish them while I can!!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: The Complete Zoo Adventure


As a homeschooling family, I like every trip we make to be educational. If we go to a place that is field trip minded, I check their website before we go to see if they have additional information or worksheets for my kids. We need to go above and beyond just visiting the zoo and oohhing and ahhing over the animals. I want both of my children to take educational tidbits away with them. I was SO impressed when I received The Complete Zoo Adventure! This book will be useful for any family for children whether you homeschool or not! It would also be wonderful for a church group or birthday party trip to your local zoo! This book is versatile and could be used at any zoo or wildlife center!

This beautiful hardcover, spiral bound book begins with colorful tabs to guide you through this "Field Trip in a Book." There are tabs for "Before the Zoo", "At the Zoo", "Birds", "Reptiles", "After the Zoo", etc. This is a full learning experience that can cater to several age groups! Your child can learn valuable information with wonderful pictures and resources for many different types of mammals, birds, and reptiles. there is a valuable index to use also! The very back of the book includes a special pocket chock full of:


7 Devotionals • 27 Encounters with God's Creatures • "Looking Ahead" * 7 Creation Foundation Lessons • Detailed Professional Educator Guide • 27 Scripture Memory Aids • 12 Name Badges

The field journals and name badges are enough by themselves to get your children EXCITED about a trip to the zoo, even if its one you've visited several times in the past! I'm excited to learn more about animals and refresh my memory on facts!

Apple snatched this book up right away and has been pouring over the pages. She and Speedy can't wait until our next trip to the zoo! With highs in the upper 90s and full southern humidity in force, we will be doing the "Before the Zoo" section for several weeks before we journey to our nearest zoo! This book will be in use for the next several years for us! I can't imagine a better animal study! It's got book work, written work, and will have hands on at the zoo! There's even a checklist of things to bring to the zoo with you!

I received this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Growing Up Amish


In Growing Up Amish, Ira Wagler shares his childhood and young adult years. I've always found the Amish to be an interesting people, and I enjoyed learning more about them in a first hand account. Even after reading this memoir, I still feel the Amish are a mysterious group. However Mr. Wagler shares customs, rites, traditions, and expectations in a Amish community. He even shares some of the differences between communities. Mr. Wagler shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Amish world.

Growing Up Amish will lead you to a gammet of emotions. At times I felt connected to Ira and his typical teenage struggles. On other pages I felt angry for the unjust things that he endured and in the next chapter I was furious at Ira for his choices. All in all I am glad Mr. Wagler shared his story. It would not be an easy one to pen and publish. He certainly has a hand to write just as his father did (does). Following his story from birth in a traditional Amish family, to a family move to a different Amish community, to his struggles with his Amish faith, to journeys in and out of the Amish community, to his lifelong decision, you get a first hand account of Ira Wagler's life.

If you enjoy true human stories, memoirs, people group studies, or just a good read, you will enjoy Growing Up Amish. It's hard to put down because you want to learn Mr. Wagler's final decision!


Tyndale Publishers provided the copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mega Swagbucks Day!!!!

Search & Win

It's Friday and that means Mega Swagbucks Day!!!!!!!! What is Swagbucks? The easy way to earn Amazon.com giftcards and other prizes! Do you do internet searches? Then you can win swagbucks! Have a minute to do a daily poll? You can get a swagbuck a day for that! Want an easy toolbar that gives you swagbucks just for opening your internet everyday? Get swagbucks! Please use my referral link by clicking the image above! It will take you right to Swagbucks and you will earn Swagbucks just for signing up! It's easy and there's no commitment!!!

Get Motts for Tots Savings from Vocalpoint




Get some special savings for Motts for Tots today from Vocalpoint! Go to the link here. If you've never joined Vocalpoint.com, try it now! Vocalpoint connects moms with companies to give honest opinions on products. I've received several free products from them and I've never been disappointed!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What does homeschooling look like in the summer?

What is summer time like for homeschoolers you ask? Well I'm sure it's different for each and every homeschool family, just as a school year looks different for each home. As with most things, I had a plan for this summer........ well our summer has looked nothing like my plan so far! You saw our summer vacation photos in an earlier post. I thought we would come home and have some leisurely time to work with Speedy on letters and numbers and work with Apple on home ec. Ha! Ha! Ha!

The kids have been to Vacation Bible School and Basketball Camp (in the same week)


It was Speedy's first year at Bball camp and he was a CHAMP! He enjoyed his first "sports experience" and did a fabulous job!

Apple is a Bball camp pro! This was her 4th year and her last year as a Pee Wee Camper. She'll move to the big girl camp next year! She did a terrific job and was so proud of scoring several baskets on her own!

We've spent lots of time at Aunt P's pool! It is a quiet place in the country where we can swim and play! Apple is a fish and swims all over the pool all by herself (we've never done formal swim lessons) and Speedy is working on it! He now goes sans floaties and has finally moved off the pool steps. He has learned to go under water and to jump off the diving board (with a grown up to catch him) in just a couple of weeks!

Aunt P is so sweet, she even lets our friend come swim with us! Nothing better than a pool of kids on a HOT day!


The kiddos have also joined the summer reading program at the local library, and they have enjoyed checking out books and filling up their reading logs! Speedy has began Hooked on Phonics Pre K and he LOVES it! He feels like such a big boy doing his own homeschool! He's also working on a couple of Kumon workbooks in addition to his HOP. Apple is learning some home ec things and she is thrilled to have a REAL keyboard! She has started working on the My Piano DVD to learn some piano basics! She has such an artistic heart and God has blessed her with musical ability. She also has picked up some of her new curriculum (for the Fall) and has done a couple of lessons with no prompting from me. On advice of our umbrella school, she has done a math placement test and scored well above what we anticipated!

So I make plans and sometimes they get scrapped but the general framework is there. I'm continuing to plan curriculum for the fall and once I have it all in, I will begin Fall planning. I learned quickly last year that the more daily and weekly plans I have in place, the more successful our school days are! Especially working with both this fall, I need to have weekly goals in place! What does your summer look like?

Review: A Vision of Lucy



Lucy is a photographer in a day when women aren't professionals and don't even have a vote. Lucy wants her part time hobby to turn into full time employment with the local paper. When the editor gives her a nearly impossible assignment, Lucy goes after it with gusto but instead of completing her task, she falls into the middle of a stagecoach robbery!! A "wild man" named David Wolf steps from the shadows to save her and the real adventure begins. David and Lucy's lives and different pasts intermingle and collide again and again. The secret of what happened to David when he was 10 and what has brought him back to Rocky Creek almost tear he and Lucy apart.

Margaret Brownley has a rich style of writing with deep insight into her characters. Some of them deserve a good punch in the nose and some you'd love to have as a friend. She develops each of them carefully and winds all of their stories together (as often happens in small towns). I enjoyed the read and all the mystery to the very end. This book is the last in a series of three, the first two are A Lady Like Sarah and A Suitor for Jenny. Since I started with number three, I need to go back and read the first two!

If you enjoy Christian fiction novels with a hint of romance, you will like A Vision of Lucy. Don't forget to enter the giveaway of another Christian fiction novel here: http://carterchaos-ecarter.blogspot.com/2011/06/review-when-sparrows-fall.html! All it takes is a comment on that post to be entered! Giveaway close on June 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm CST!!!


I received this book from booksneeze.com for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: Bombus The Bumblebee



Bombus the Bumblebee make you want to pick up a bumblebee & give him a big hug! Bombus has an identity crisis because of some unkind words from some honeybees. Bombus doubts God's purpose for him, but God reminds him the He always knows best! The story reminded me of the Hermie books and Bee Movie came to mind more than once. This is a story that can open up several spiritual and emotional discussions with your child. Simple enough for my 3 year old to understand but deep enough to catch my 6 year old's attention, this is a fabulous book! The illustrations are eye catching and the information in the back makes it a fabulous homeschool edition! Learn all about bumblebees and how they fly with the extra info at the end. There are also discussion questions to open up a dialogue with your child about self- confidence and seeking God's purpose. There are even activity and craft ideas that would make this an excellent read in children's ministry! The activities are simple but effective and one or two would be perfect for a Sunday School or children's church service! I was excited to see that there are 2 other Bombus books available and I will be checking those out! So if you are always looking to add Christian based fiction books for your child (I know I am!), or if you'd like a homeschool unit on bumblebees (Bombus is the scientific name for bumblebees) then check out Bombus the Bumblebee!


I received this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the author or publisher.

Coffee-mate Brew Crew


I am a HUGE coffee person. I have a couple of large cups every morning and I hit Starbucks several afternoons a week. I also enjoy a cup in the evening after a meal with friends. All this leads to my love for my new Keurig (not pictured above) and the Coffee-mate Brew Crew! Never heard of this Brew Crew you say? Well the Brew Crew is Coffee-mate's way of connecting with their consumers! It's a way for them to get out the word about new products and special offers. It's also a way to promote their items and participate in activities for points to earn gift cards. I was only accepted into the program about a month ago and already I have earned a gift card AND today I was notified that I was selected for a sampling party! What's a sampling party you ask? A chance for my friends and I to get together to enjoy some Coffee-mate creamers and a party pack of other goodies! All of my guests will be able to answer a survey after the party for a FREE product coupon! So if you love coffee and Coffee-mate creamer, take a shot at joining the Brew Crew!

Walgreens Deals 6/12- 6/18



Dove Chocolate Minis 2/ $6- $1 RR- $1 SCPN- $1 SCPN= 2/ $3

Nestle Candy Bars (great fillers!) .39 ea= 2/ .78- .50/2 SCPN= 2/ .28

Lysol Toliet Cleaner 2/$2.99- $1/2 SCPN= 2/$1.99

Airwick Freshmatic $7.99- $3 RR- $4 SCPN= .99


Not as many items as I usually pick up, but some great deals! Used some Register Rewards from last week and made out like a bandit!

RR= Register Rewards

SCPN= Sunday paper Coupon

Review: When Sparrows Fall & GIVEAWAY!!! *UPDATED*



Jack receives a phone call that he needs to come care for some family members because their mother has had an accident. Jack is thrown off guard because these are the children of his half brother that he barely knew and there are 6 children! He is a professor living a life alone in Chattanooga but now he needs to go back to the small area of Georgia backcountry where he was raised. As if this isn't a precarious enough situation, Jack finds that his widowed sister in law and her children have been living a life without modern culture, even fiction books! As Miranda heals from her fall, she is struggling with Jack's presence and some odd decisions by her pastor, the extremist Mason Chandler. Through trials and misgivings, arguments and new bonds, Jack and Miranda look to find what is best for the children.....

I enjoyed that the book delves into the world of homeschooling. This is obviously a subject near and dear to us. Although pieces and parts of the story are predictable, it is an enjoyable read and there are a few unexpected secrets that come to light. The characters are endearing and the story is as comfortable and warm as the cuddle quilt. As with many Christian books, there are viewpoints that I agreed with, there were a few that I disagreed with. However overall, the book was a fun read.

Would you like to win a copy of When Sparrows Fall? Simply leave me a comment below with your email address. If you are a Google Friends Connect Follower, leave an extra comment for an extra entry! This giveaway will close at 10:00 pm CST on June 20, 2011. Within 24 hours of that time, I will use a random number generator to select the winner. Winner will be contacted by email and they will have 24 hours to respond with an address! Good luck!!  WINNER IS JENNIE!!!!!!!


I received this book and one for giveaway from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the author or publisher.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's Your Indulgence?

As a mom, I'm often meeting the needs (and wants) of my family. I usually don't have a lot of time to focus on myself. However we all know that we are better moms if we allow ourselves an indulgence or want every now and then. Just a little something to give us that pick me up or smile we need to get through the day. For me that little daily indulgence to get me through is COFFEE! I am truly a coffee fanatic! And I've become a bit of a coffee snob (boo! hiss!)!! I love a good cup of Keurig coffee with a Splenda and a splash of Coffee-Mate Creamer! It really gives me the energy I need to start the day with my early birds!

 Their Homey Vanilla Creme is the best flavor I have ever found! Unfortunately I can't seem to find it in my area any more! Never fear, Coffee-Mate has so many great flavors to choose from and I have never been disappointed with any of them! I often have 2-3 flavors in the fridge, like right now we have a bottle of Vanilla Caramel and a bottle of French Vanilla open in the fridge. I first became so infatuated with Coffee-Mate liquid creamer when I visited with a friend several times and each time she had a couple of different flavors of Coffee-Mate to try! I loved all the rich, creamy flavors she had and I started to buy and try different ones myself. After using the liquid for a while, I found no desire to go back to powdered creamers.

Of course the couponer in me loves that I often have great Coffee- Mate coupons to use! And Coffee-Mate creamers go on sale at my favorite stores often, so I can always stock up at a good price. It's safe to open a couple at a time because usually they do not expire for a couple of months after purchase. I stick them right in the door of the fridge so they are easily accessible when I'm still groggy in the morning! Even with the HOT summer temps we have here in West TN, I just can't start the morning without my cup of coffee with that special splash of flavor!


I wrote this post as a member of the Coffee-Mate Brew Crew. I was awarded points for this post.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Walgreens Deals

Trans #1

Gillette $9.89- $5 RR- $4 SCPN= .89

Total $1.86

Advertised Sav $3.10
MFG CPN Sav $4.00

Total Savings $7.10

Trans #2

Herbal Essences Shampoo $2.99- $1 RR- $1 P&G CPN= .99

John Freida Foam Color $11.99- $11.99 FREE CPN from John Fredia Promo= FREE

Cotton Balls $1.49

Bic Flex 3 Razor $5.99- $2 RR- $3 SCPN= .99

Reach Total Care TB 2/ $5- $3 RR (weekly deal)- $1 RR (monthly deal)- $1 Catalina CPN- $1 Catalina CPN= +$1!!!!

Used $5 RR from Trans #1

WAG AD SAV $5.98
MFG CPN SAV $22.99

Total Savings $28.97

Total Paid $7.15

Got back $9 in RR!!!!

Don't forget to pick up June's Wags Cpn booklet!!!!

Total Paid $7.15

Kroger Deals- Saved 47%

Kroger Milk 3/ $5

Kroger Eggs (unmarked) Dozen Large .99

Kroger Frozen Potatos $1.79

Kroger BRead $1.19

Oscar Meyer Sandwich Combo $3.79- FREE from KRAFTFirstTaste.com

Oscar Meyer Deli Meat Combo $4.39- FREE from KRAFTFirstTaste.com

Hebrew Franks B1G1 $5.99- $1 All*You Coupon= 2/ $4.99

King Hawaiin Sandwich Rolls $2- $1 All*You Coupon= $1

Cheetos Puffs 3/$5

Tabasco Sauce $1.69- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= .69

French's Worchestershire $1.65- .75 SCPN= .90

Lawry's Marinade $1.69- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= .69

Kroger Instant Rice $1.41- .40 Kroger CPN= $1.01

Perdue Chicken Nuggets $3.50- $1 SCPN= $2.50

Perdue Grilled Strips $3.99- $1 SCPN= $2.99

Knorr Rice Sides 2/ $2- $1 SCPN= $1 (x2)

Ocean Spray Juice $2.29- $1 Ocean Spray CPN= $1.29

Kroger PB  2/ $3.38

TOTAL $51.32


MFG CPN $16.04
BONUS CPN SAV $1.90
KROGER PLUS SAV $24.14
TOTAL SAVINGS (47%) $42.08

Happy Krogering!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hayneedle's Your Backyard Escape Contest

Hayneedle.com has an exciting app on Facebook! Try the Backyard Escape application on Facebook to build your own dream backyard! Create your own and share on Facebook for your chance to win a $10,000 shopping spree at Hayneedle.com or other great weekly prizes!


My dream backyard would certainly have a pool (I can only dream!) with temps already hitting 100 here, it's needed! I also included a fun backyard playspot for the kids (like they'd ever leave the pool!) and a beautiful flower garden (Apple LOVES flowers). With 3 separate seating areas, there would always be room for adult conversation and a lovely spot to grab a burger or brat from the grill! I've always wanted a fire pit and I can't imagine a better one! The chimnea would be fabulous in the fall!

So go to Facebook, like Hayneedle, and give the dreamy backyard app a whirl! Hayneedle.com has an amazing selection of items for inside, outside, and everywhere in between!

I did not receive any compensation for this post but I will be entered into a contest for bloggers sponsered by hayneedle.com.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

10 Tips for Keeping Your Family Safe on the Road




If your family is like ours, summer time means more time on the road. Whether its extra trips across town or an out of state vacation, you want to keep your family safe. For us safety on the road means:

* Always wearing your safety belt. Our children ALWAYS are in their safety seats and are quick to point out to everyone in the vehicle "Safety First, Safety First!" That's their code for put your seatbelt on! Teach your children from the earliest age, and it will be a GOOD habit for life!

* Because you are all always wearing your seatbelt, keep a pair of scissors in the car. In the event of an accident, a pair of scissors will help you cut any seatbelts or child restraints that may get stuck. You don't want to be stuck in your seat unable to get to your children and you don't want them to be traumatized by being stuck in theirs. This simple step will mean a lot if its ever needed.

* Secure belongings. Items rolling around in the van, especially under the drivers feet, are a huge distraction! Our family practically lives in our van but I try to quickly eyeball the floorboards before I begin driving. Our children are allowed minimal items in the car. Maybe 1 toy for short trips across town and when we take a long trip they are allowed a backpack but must reasonably keep things neat. When we make pitstops we have them reload everything they've taken out back into the backpacks. This way there aren't arguments and tears over lost items or distraction from items jostling around.

* Before leaving, check your tires. No need to check the pressure or get dirty, just walk around and take a glance at all 4. Make this a habit so you are not surprised by a low tire. Many accidents are caused by flat tires and blowouts. While you can't predict them all, a quick safety sweep is well worth while.

* Watch your gas tank. With rising prices and groans at the pump, sometimes it's painful to buy a full tank! Especially if you are a mom alone with your kids, running out of gas isn't just inconvenient, it can be hazardous! Each time you get in your car, glance at the gas gauge and make sure you don't need to stop at the station.

* Don't wear headphones while driving. It's tempting (I know!) to drown out the kids with your IPOD but it's dangerous and illegal in most states. To be truly safe while driving, you need the whole picture and that includes the sounds around you!

*NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE! This should be a no brainer but it's so tempting to read an email or send a text while you are driving. DON'T! It isn't worth it. If something needs to be answered right away, pull over and take care of it. You're carrying precious cargo and that text isn't worth putting them in harm's way!

* Keep a first aid kit in the car. With coupons I've gotten a couple of mini kits for nearly free. With children, it's vital to at least have some bandaids and first aid wipes on hand. They are often getting scrapes and cuts and waiting to get home or elsewhere could allow infection to set in. Your mini first aid kit will fit nicely in the glove box with your scissors!

* Keep your vehicle "first aid" kit available too. Car kits typically have jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, and other items available in case of emergency. They can be purchased at your nearest WalMart or Target for about $20. These kits can be stashed away under the seat or in the trunk because you will probably never need it. However if you ever do need one of the items, you'll be glad to have it on hand!

* In the south it gets hot and when summertime arrives we always begin to see news stories about children left in cars. Sweltering heat often leads to death when children are locked into closed cars. It seems like a no brainer but we all can get distracted with other thoughts. ALWAYS check your backseat when you get out. You may think your child is with your husband or the babysitter but just make sure! Even on vacation it's easy to fall out of our normal routines and just jump out ready to see the next site! I've heard of ladies leaving their purses or wallets in the back just as a reminder to look before you get out. Children often doze off in the car and wouldn't know they were being left behind. That's one saftey tip we NEVER want to forget!

Safelite AutoGlass wants you to know that your windshield is considered the third most important safety component. Keep in mind:

*Think you can ignore a chip in your windshield? Think again! The windshield provides up to 30% of your vehicles structural integrity, and a chip smaller than 6 inches (or the size of a dollar bill) can easily be repaired by filling it with a special resin.



*A chip could turn into a crack at any time, often when you are least expecting it. Windshield repair is often a safe and economical alternative to a full windshield replacement.


*Scheduling a windshield chip repair is easy! Companies like Safelite AutoGlass provide mobile service – wherever your car is – often within 24 hours of your initial call.





Safelite AutoGlass brings you peace of mind by emailing you a Technician Profile before your appointment, showing you a photograph and credentials of the technician coming to your home or place of business.


Keep SAFE and enjoy the summer with all these simple tips!



I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Safelite blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Looking for the HOTTEST TV and Internet Connection?

I'm totally a tech junkie. I love new technology and although I can't afford to buy every new item, I do keep my eye on new products because often they will save my family money. One technology I have been keeping my eye on is Verizon FiOS. FiOS offers TV and internet for your home. Unfortunately it still hasn't made it to my neighborhood yet, but I check often! To learn more about FiOS go here.

FiOS offers high speed, reliable internet. Let's face it, with all my blogging and couponing, I need FAST service, otherwise I don't have any time for my kids! PCMAG.com has awarded FiOS the Reader's Choice award five years running! That tells me that customer satisfaction is HIGH and that's what I'm looking for! I need a company that has outstanding customer service and will work hard to make sure I am satisifed. I love to coupon and I love to save money but only on products that WORK and work well. You can find video after video of satisfied customers- moms, dads, kids, single folks- on Youtube.

FiOS also offers a cable type service. You know all your cool apps on your Wii and phone, imagine that for your television service. Watch your favorite show and Facebook all from your TV! FiOS also offers Flex View, a new way to buy or rent movies then watch them on the TV, computer, or your smartphone! That's great for moms like me that rarely have 2 hours to sit in one place!

Anything that saves me time is also a plus, television service and internet all on one bill helps me maintain my sanity! They currently offer a triple play price of $89.99/ month for the first year. That's TV, internet, and home phone and it doesn't require a contract! What appeals most to my family about FiOS is the new technology, fast internet speeds, and high rated customer service!

I've had Verizon cell service since my very first cell phone. We've tried other companies but always kept at least one Verizon phone. For about 5 years now, we've had both of our cell phones through Verizon and love it. We get great coverage, competitive pricing, and FANTASTIC Customer Service. I know Verizon provides those same options with FiOS. Keep your eyes on FiOS, they are coming out with more new technology! Want to control your AC, lights, and cameras in your house through your phone or laptop? It's coming!



“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS blogging program for a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

Need a Coupon for Online Shopping?

So I've told you how to save some big bucks at the grocery store, but how about shopping online? If you're like me, sometimes shopping online is the only way to get anything bought! Most days Apple & Speedy are a little too.....energetic for shopping trips (unless we are shopping for them!) so I buy most of my clothes and many homeschool and household items online. Often I google for an online code and then go on a scavenger hunt of sorts. I'm never sure if the codes will work, if I will find the best one, and it takes time to click on each site that pops up. I've found a new, easy solution!!!!

CouponChief.com

CouponChief has over 50,000 coupons for over 15,000 stores (that's one of the largest databases on online coupons available)! You can easily search for what you need by store or topic. They have a featured coupon each day and you can always find the most popular coupon codes on their homepage. With their Coupons 4 Causes program they will up to 20% of the purchase to your favorite charity, school, or church. Just click the Coupons 4 Causes tab and search for your favorite charity. Can't find it in their database? Email them and they will add it!
With over 250,000 visitors a month they are growing quickly! The more visitors the better because CouponChief has the Pays 2 Save program. Set up an account, list a coupon, and anytime your coupon is used, you receive 2%! In your account you can track your earnings and request a check or paypal payment for your money ($25+)! It's easy to add your coupon, simply set up your account, then click the Submit Coupon code at the top. Enter the info and voila, it's active! Check out their FAQs section for all the information you need about this program!

Also in your account settings, you can choose stores or topics for alerts. CouponChief will send you an email to alert you for new codes or deals for that store or topic. Afraid of trying coupon codes? Never tried it before? Totally confused by all of this? CouponChief has you covered! Watch their video tutorial for everything you need to know!

So I like that:

*It's easy- all the coupon codes you need in one place
*It's economical- the site is FREE to use and they might even pay you through Pays 2 Save
*It's clean- the site is attractive, clean (uncluttered), and there are no tacky ads or immoral ads
*It's full of information I want- you know I always want coupons!

So I don't like that:

*I honestly couldn't find one thing I didn't like! You can even add your online store to their site! I've seen sites like this that are unorganized, sloppy, half maintained, but this is 100% FABULOUS! They are striving to ensure all their coupon codes are valid and up to date. They aren't blasting you with ads for other places. The site flows well and I didn't encounter any glitches on my visits.


So what are you waiting for? Go to CouponChief and bookmark your new favorite coupon code site!Sign up for an account so you can receive their emails. They're on Twitter and Facebook so you'll never miss a great deal!




I was compensated for this review by CouponChief. All opinions are entirely my own and were not influenced by this compensation.