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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Steps4Kids Giveaway

Sponsored'>http://www.tomoson.com/?code=CONTESTfccfe18a0a8f9b2159f6abb7d89b52b3">Sponsored by Tomoson.com

Now that you've read my review of the Steps4Kids Modern Manuscript DVD, you have the chance to win your own copy! One copy will be given away after the Rafflecopter form closes on 9.08.11 at 12 pm EST!


Step Up Handwriting



When I began teaching Apple to write, we worked on the traditional block letters. She, being the princess she is, has honed her writing and now uses what she terms as "fancy" writing. As fancy as it may be it is horribly hard to read! I've been searching for a handwriting curriculum to use with her in homeschool this year and I was so excited to have the opportunity to review the DVD curriculum by Steps4Kids that is for Modern Manuscript (D'Nealian). She has been begging to learn cursive so I have enticed her by saying if she can practice with this DVD and improve her handwriting, then we will begin cursive.

It also worked perfectly to try this DVD curriculum because Speedy is just learning to write! While I was looking over the Steps4Kids page, I was really wondering if the DVD would be too hard for Speedy and too easy for Apple. The recommended grade level says Kindergarten+. The kids were excited as soon as the package came! They both really enjoy DVD curriculums that we can use during homeschool. It doesn't feel like learning even though it is!





They both got seated at the table, and we got it turned on. The program is great! Not only are the kids learning handwriting but it repeats the letters over and over (great for Speedy who is still learning them) as well as the phonic sound of each letter (which Speedy is also working on). I will say that the DVD goes pretty fast! We had to pause it again and again and again for Speedy. Even Apple wouldn't have been able to keep up the whole time on her own. Having Apple write her letters over and over while it was paused for Speedy worked well though. After the intial letter work (which is broken into similar letters C, G, O, Q) then there was word recognition and practice using those same letters. Again perfect for Apple and we adjusted for Speedy. When Apple was writing a whole word, he did his best to write the first letter of each word. Then Apple's favorite, there was even an art break using the letters to draw! Anything that includes art is fabulous in Apple's book! By the way she loves the "fancy" letters!

I have very little to say that is negative. If I was doing a revision of this video, I would give more pause for writing. I would also make the menu a little easier to navigate. There is an introductory menu which isn't bad, but the sub menus are very confusing and have way too many choices. I would prefer that it was only broken into lesson plans, not by lesson plan, individual letter, and more. It's a little overwhelming and wouldn't be easy for the kids to navigate alone.

If you haven't already go check out Steps4Kids website. There you can see the other products they offer including a Multiplication DVD and Cursive DVD. Did I mention they offer free writing templates and printing worksheets? They're right there on the website. They are also on Facebook where they offer learning tips and discount codes!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.comhttp://www.tomoson.com/?code=BOTTOMfccfe18a0a8f9b2159f6abb7d89b52b3">Tomoson.com>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Mix Up Your Party Invitations

http://www.tomoson.com/?code=TOP3ede4f910022c657c9d9892052527ca7">>


Have you tried Mixbook? I was given the awesome opportunity to review 5 x 7 Custom Card/ Invitations. This was my first time using Mixbook and I was immediately impressed! The process to register and upload pictures was extremely easy. I choose not to do a photo invitation but instead picked a premade card. We will be having a Kabob Party very soon and I wanted to make some great invitations for it! After going through several selections, I found one in the birthday invitations that was perfect! Only it isn't going to be a birthday party........ What to do, what to do..........

Well thank goodness with Mixbook, you can change almost all the features of their premade cards! My card went from this birthday invitation to a fantastic Kabob party invite! Their slogan is "Make It Yours" and that's exactly what they allow you to do! I was able to remove the words "It's a birthday BBQ" and replace it with a larger photo of the BBQ grill.  Then on the back instead of a picture I "branded" BBQ on it! It made the perfect Kabob party invite! My friends were so excited to receive the invitations and they were all very impressed with the design!

The best part is that it only took me about 15 minutes to begin and complete the order. My order came quickly and everything was PERFECT! My cards came with nice envelopes too. You can find more birthday party invitations and they have a terrific selection of Christmas cards! It's never too early to get those ordered and ready to mail out! I love their Nativity Story card.

If you'd like to learn more about Mixbook see them on Facebook and Twitter. Mixbook has much more than just photo cards and invitations, they also carry photo books, calendars, and more. Now all I have left to do is have our big Kabob party! I'll be sure to post some pics later!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.comhttp://www.tomoson.com/?code=BOTTOM3ede4f910022c657c9d9892052527ca7">Tomoson.com>. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Protecting the #FamilyNest

Have you made plans for the future? None of us likes to confront the reality that someday we will leave this earth. For those of us with children, this is an especially hard reality. However the Bible tells us that our time here is short and we need to prepare! Of course the most important way to prepare is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As a responsible adult we also need to prepare financially and legally for those times.

I recommend that each of you put a will into place. I have learned through several circumstances in recent years how very important it is to have a will in place. Even if you are not wealthy it is essential to have guidelines for your possessions after your death. For those of you with children it is extremely important to set forth a will naming a guardian for them. It is so important for you and your spouse to get this in writing. Also I would highly recommend a medical power of attorney and to have written instructions for your medical care. In this day and age your body can be kept alive long after you have gone. If you do not want your family to suffer over decisions, get your specific wishes in writing. All of these legal forms can be done by an attorney or lawyer or many can now be found online and simply taken to be signed in front of a Notary Public.

Another way to secure your family nest is to invest in life insurance. Life insurance is generally inexpensive, can usually be purchased through your employer, and will make a world of difference when you are gone. Final expenses are insanely expensive these days and you do not want to leave that burden on your family. Allstate Insurance recommends you purchase life insurance that totals 5 to 10 times your income.

With all of the stress and different worries we face on a daily basis, it's easy to let matters like these fall to the bottom of the list. We never know our day and time so I recommend you take care of these items soon, if you haven't already. It will give you a sense of relief to have them in place and it's just one more way to protect your precious little ones! Won't you feel better knowing they will be taken care of in every circumstance?


I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Allstate blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Free Hair Serum (pay s/h)

GK Hair is offering a FREE sample of their Serum! You pay only $2.99 shipping and handling! Get yours now at http://gkhair.com/index.php/serumpromotion!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Girls will Love Gabby



One of Apple's favorite authors Sheila Walsh has written a new book Gabby God's Little Angel. I think the first thing that strikes you about this book are the wonderful illustrations by Marina Fedotova. It's impossible not to notice how the angels jump out of the page in brilliant colors. The details are vibrant and the pictures make it easy to imagine Gabby flying off on her mission.

The book introduces us to the clumsy angel Gabby who has a new assignment. She will be the guardian angel for a little girl Sophie. Gabby and Sophie share some similar traits even though one is an angel and one is a human. Of course Sophie doesn't know Gabby is there but Gabby takes her mission very seriously. Walsh presents the story in a simple way to let little girls know that God loves us very much and even sends angels to protect us. She uses Psalm 91:11 to let girls know this concept is biblical.

Apple really enjoyed the story of Gabby. We haven't talked with her very much about angels although she knows the Bible speaks of them. She was quick to point out the similarities between the characters and she understood the implications of the storyline. I think this book is appropriate for her age (6) and a little higher to present a serious idea and truth in a pretty, easy to understand and read package. It would also be well suited for younger girls as beginners introduction to angels. I'm sure the terrific pictures would keep them interested.

This would be a great Christmas gift idea for the little girls in your life! To buy visit Gabby, God's Little Angel.





 I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements.  

New in 90- I did it!

Back at the beginning of summer, our Pastor challenged us to read the whole New Testament in the 90 days of summer. Quite an undertaking in the midst of vacations, birthday parties, etc but I wanted to try it. I had previously tried the Read the Bible in 90 Days program that so many bloggers participate in and I failed miserably! I may try that one again some time because it is a great program. Here is the reading plan we used. Feel free to print it out! The church had ours made into bookmarks printed front and back. Excellent for marking your place and checking off where you are!

 DAY    PASSAGE
1      MAT 1-4
2      MAT 5-7
3      MAT 8-10
4      MAT 11-14
5      MAT 15-17
6      MAT 18-20
7      MAT 21-23
8      MAT 24-25
9      MAT 26-28
10    EPH 1-2
11    EPH 3-4
12    EPH 5-6
13    1PET 1-2
14    1PET 3-5
15    TITUS
16    1COR 1-4
17    1COR 5-8
18    1COR 9-12
19    1COR 13-16
20    MAR 1-4
21    MAR 5-8
22    MAR 9-12
23    MAR 13-16
24    1JOHN 1-2
25    1JOHN 3-5
26    JAMES 1-2
27    JAMES 3-5
28    1TIM 1-3
29    1TIM 4-6
30    ROM 1-3
31    ROM 4-5
32    ROM 6-8
33    ROM 9-11
34    ROM 12-13
35    ROM 14-16
36    JUDE
37    ACT 1-4
38    ACT 5-8
39    ACT 8-12
40    ACT 13-16
41    ACT 17-20
42    ACT 21-24
43    ACT 25-28
44    COL 1-2
45    COL 3-4
46    PHILEMON
47    GAL 1-2
48    GAL 3-4
49    GAL 5-6
50    LUKE 1-4
51    LUKE 5-8
52    LUKE 9-12
53    LUKE 13-16
54    LUKE 17-21
55    LUKE 22-24
56    HEB 1-2
57    HEB 3-4
58    HEB 5-7
59    HEB 8-10
60    HEB 11-13
61    2JOHN
62    3JOHN
63    1THES 1-3
64    1THES 4-5
65    2COR 1-3
66    2COR 4-6
67    2COR 7-9
68    2COR 10-13
69    JOHN 1-3
70    JOHN 4-6
71    JOHN 7-9
72    JOHN 10-12
73    JOHN 13-15
74    JOHN 16-17
75    JOHN 18-21
76    2THESS
77    PHIL 1-2
78    PHIL 3-4
79    2PETER
80    2TIM 1-2
81    2TIM 3-4
82    REV 1-3
83    REV 4-5
84    REV 6-7
85    REV 8-10
86    REV 11-13
87    REV 14-15
88    REV 16-1
89    REV 19-20
90    REV 21-22

We also had church members write daily devotions to go along with the day's reading. It was awesome to check my email each morning and have an encouraging word to go with the reading. I'd really like to encourage you to give this a try! It isn't hard and if you miss a day, the readings are short enough that you can easily catch back up! I was reminded of so many things while reading these passages and there's something wonderful about reading all about the ministry of Jesus in a short amount of time! We ended with the last chapters of Revelation this morning and the devo from Pastor mentioned the phrase Jesus repeats 3 times in the last chapter "I am coming soon." He is coming soon and I want you to be ready! Look for an availability partner to undertake this with you! If you can't find one, email me at carterchaosblog@gmail.com and I will be your partner!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

You Know You've Settled into Motherhood When..........


You know you've settled into "real" motherhood when:

  • Sleep would make a great gift. "No honey no jewelry for me this year, can I just have a 2 hour nap?"
  • You've given up on the idea of privacy in the bathroom "No dear mommy can't read you a book while I'm in the shower"
  • Relatives no longer acknowledge you at gatherings because they are too busy greeting and playing with your kids. This was an actual phone call from my grandad "Honey I meant to hug you goodbye but I forgot when I was playing with the kids."
  • Eating warm food is a rare occurence.
  • You can make a cup of coffee, pour cereal, answer the phone, make your hubby's lunch, and brush your teeth all at one time.
  • You call your children by the wrong name.
  • You occasionally forget your own name and age.
  • You can turn ANYTHING into a song. "This is the way we put on our shirt, put on our shirt, put on our shirt."
  • Dropping your kids off in the church nursery feels a little like a vacation.
  • You've turned up the car radio to drown out crying and fighting in the backseat.
  • You've said "Because I said so." And meant it........
  • You make a list of things you need to make a list of. 1. Make a grocery list 2. Make an errand list 3. Make a To Do list
  • Christmas feels more like a chore than a magical, enjoyable holiday
  • Poop no longer freaks you out
  • You realize that having extra kids around actually gives you time to yourself
  • Fashion has taken a back seat and now you just make sure you don't stink before you leave the house
  • You say "No" more than 50 times a day
  • You remind yourself of your mother.

An Apple for Mommy Blog Hop




Let's start a new HOMESCHOOL only blog hop! Each week I will post a topic here for us! Simply go write a post on your blog about this week's topic and then link up! I may be using guest posts in the future so if you have a homeschool blog and you're interested, shoot me an email at carterchaosblog@gmail.com.

Here we go, a simple topic for our first time, what is something new you are trying in your homeschool time this year? This can be a new subject, a new supply or tool, a new curriculum, whatever you'd like to write a post about concerning something new for you this homeschool year. Please use the thumbnail linky below to add the link to this week's topic post! Please do not put your general blog address but the specific address to this topic post! Have fun and be sure to hop around to the other homeschool sites! We learn most from other homeschooling families!!!

For us our big new thing this year is a Science co op! If you've followed me long you know I have bemoaned the fact that there are no real homeschool co ops in our town even though we have a HUGE homeschool population. I began developing a co op plan last year but decided it was just too large of an undertaking for me right now. My wonderful friend Tammy decided she really wanted a fun interactive science class for her kids and so she created one! Our library is allowing us to use a large room there every other Friday. The kids are L-O-V-I-N-G it! The first week our subject was mammals and we had lots of different stations for the kids to learn about and explore mammal info. This week was birds and the kids dissected owl pellets! Super gross, I was totally green the whole time but they loved it! And they learned so much! I cannot wait for the next set of lessons! We are so excited about it that we threw the science textbook we were using to the side so we could use the book a majority of the class is using. This is it The World of Animals (God's Design for Life). I think classes like this are great because somethings just work better for a large group than it does for one or two kids. Also it's extra time for socialization and for the children to learn some things from another adult that has more knowledge on a certain subject than I do. Amphibians next which goes right along with this hop, hop, hop!

I can't wait to read each of your posts to see what you are doing new this year! Happy hopping!





Friday, August 26, 2011

Walgreens Preview

Prices good Sunday Aug 28- Sept 3

M & Ms 4/$10- $5 RR- $1.50/2 All* You Cpn= 4/ $3.50

Planters Peanut Butter 2/ $3 -.75 CPN- .75 CPN= 2/ $1.50

Mead 5 Star Binder $5.99- $2 CPN= $3.99

After School Snacking Tips from Farm Rich




MOMS OFFER EASY TIPS FOR INCLUDING WHOLESOME SNACKS IN BUSY SCHEDULES

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (Aug. 4, 2011) – School is back in session and that means more scheduling and nutritional challenges for kids – and moms – on the go. Between soccer, ballet, homework, Scouts and the myriad of other responsibilities facing today’s kids, moms can use all the help available in making sure these busy children get to their activities on time and with enough energy to succeed.

“School-age children – especially those in middle and high school – have so much on their plates in terms of activities and homework that it’s a real juggling act to balance it all,” says Jennifer Meetz, director of marketing for Farm Rich, the frozen appetizer and snack brand.  “It’s a well-known fact that there are significant benefits for kids who are well rested, active and eating a balanced diet, but the challenge is finding the time and wholesome options to make sure they are fueling their bodies and minds properly.”

First lady Michelle Obama frequently acknowledges the pressures facing families today as part of her platform to bring awareness to children’s health, nutrition and fitness.  "We are living in a time where we just don't have enough time. People are rushed. They're overworked, overscheduled...But the thing that I want people to understand in this campaign is that families can make small, manageable changes in their lives that can have pretty significant impacts," said Mrs. Obama during the “Let's Move” live web chat. 

So what’s a busy parent to do?  Farm Rich talked to moms across the country recently to discover their real-life tips for working wholesome snacks into the chaotic schedules of school-age kids and their families.

·            Start the Week Off Right. For Bethanne Latkso of Worchester, Mass., organization is the key.  “I have two kids, a busy husband, and I’m designing my own jewelry line, so I don’t have time for frequent trips to the grocery store. Instead, every Saturday, I map out the week’s activities and plan our meals and snacks around that.”  Latkso says in addition to saving time during the week, planning also helps eliminate poor food choices.  “Because I’m eliminating impulse buying, I make better food choices – everything from buying more fresh fruits and vegetables, to buying better snacks for my kids.”

·           Mini-Meal Replacement.  For Leah Welch of Brandon, Fla., a mother of two boys ages 10 and 12, snacks that serve as a mini-meal are a lifesaver. “We are constantly going between baseball, soccer and chess,” explains Welch. “Just before I drive them to an activity, I’ll pop something like Farm Rich Mini Quesadillas into the microwave. They eat them on the way to the game and they’re good to go until we can get home for dinner. It’s a much better choice than fast food.”

·           Sneak in Wholesome Snacks When They Least Expect It.  “When my teens are having a study group or a sleepover, instead of letting them load up on sugary soda and potato chips, I try to sneak in a snack that’s more nutritionally sound and the brain food they need,” says Nicole Mills, an Atlanta mom of three.  If teens balk at serving friends fresh veggies and dip, parents can try Farm Rich Cheese Sticks or Mozzarella Bites made with real mozzarella cheese.  Real mozzarella cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, but they don’t have to know that!

·           Make Healthy Snacking Convenient.  Kim Griffin, a business owner with two teenagers, says because her children are at the age where they can prepare snacks for themselves, “I stock the freezer with things that are easy to heat and eat. They like being able to reach into the freezer to grab a snack they can heat in the microwave and be ready to eat in just minutes.”  With frozen appetizers like Farm Rich Mini Bacon Cheeseburgers or Mini Philly Cheese Steaks, they can have a filling and better-for-you snack in just minutes.  Or, suggests Griffin, put some Farm Rich Meatballs in the Crock-Pot, let simmer all day and bowl the kids over with the aroma when they walk in the door from school.

In light of last year’s snacking study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tips like these are important for helping give kids snack choices that are better for them, despite the chaos of an active lifestyle. According to the UNC study, kids are snacking more than ever before – in fact, nearly 98 percent of children 2-18 snack between meals. 

"Kids still eat three meals a day, but they're also loading up on high-calorie junk food that contains little or no nutritional value," said study leader Barry Popkin, Ph.D.  He also noted that salty, fatty snacks, such as chips and crackers, accounted for the largest increase in the types of snacks children were eating during the three-decade period reviewed in the study.

About Farm Rich
A leading brand of Rich Products Corporation, Farm Rich (www.farmrich.com) is based in St. Simons Island, Ga., and features a successful portfolio of frozen snack and appetizer products sold at grocery and club stores nationwide. Featuring the tagline, “Keep ‘em Happy,” Farm Rich makes wholesome, great-tasting snacks that are sure to please family and friends. Visit www.farmrich.com or the brand’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FarmRichSnacks. Follow on Twitter at @farmrichsnacks.  Video is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/farmrichsnacks.

Pre-Order Cars 2

You can Pre-Order Cars 2 today for $24.99!!! This fantastic movie releases November 1!!! Amazon.com also has a great deal so you can get $7 off your order when you pre-order Cars 2 and purchase another select Pixar DVD/ Blu Ray combo pack! This is going to be a HOT HOT HOT Christmas item this year!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dry Erase= Green

One of the items we use most often is our lined dry erase boards. These save us tons of money because we don't have to buy so many lined tablets. It's also a green idea because there is no waste with reusable boards. Board Dudes makes dual sided Dry Erase boards with a convenient marker holder on top!

While I was browsing their products I also came across this great Lap Desk with storage! This would be fantastic for those times when we need to school in the car. It's not the ideal location but it does happen!

And then I saw this great Magnetic Dry Erase chores/ rewards chart! What a great idea! We've tried the charts with all the little wooden pieces.... that didn't last long. I also printed them weekly for awhile but that seemed like such a waste. With this $10 product, I'd be able to mark their chores as they did them and change chores when needed!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homeschool Happenings





So I have to say the BEST part of school this year is our new schoolroom. There is something wonderful about having a whole separate room (no toys allowed) with the express purpose of doing school. Hubby even got us a flag and so we say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning! Apple and Speedy really like the room too. They are much less distracted in there. We get started at about 8 am every morning. We go over the weather, date, phone number and address, our verse of the day, prayer and pledge. Then we dig in and get started on their work. I try to go back and forth between the kids as they need me.

Speedy is doing very well. After struggling our way through the summer and the first couple of weeks of school, he pretty much has letters A-L down. We have been doing LOTS of flash card reviews of his letters. And lots of association seems to help him, like H for horse and hat. He is also doing good with numbers. He's mostly got down 1-10 so we are beginning to work on the teens. He is so funny, I cannot get him to quit counting 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20. It is pretty amusing. Me "No honey say 13, 14, 15, 16...." Him "Okay 13, 16, 18, 19....." All I can do is laugh and try again! His days are fairly short. He does numbers, letters, a few worksheets, and a puzzle usually. He also has a devotional book we are working through and a Social Studies book. He is participating in the Science class also so we do a little work to go along with that.

Apple is doing great. She is a little frustrated with all her "hard" work but she is being a trooper. We have a handwritting curriculum coming soon to review. I'm excited because her writing needs some practice. She finds the spelling very boring, but that's to be expected since it is mostly a review after doing Hooked on Spelling last year. She is enjoying her regular Science curriculum and the work for the Science class. She is enjoying Living Literature, Grammer, and Language Arts . Doing a different book each week keeps it very interesting for her, but the material is a challenge! I've had to look up a few of those words so I could refresh my memory! Math U See Beta is a hit here! So far it's mostly review for her so she watches the video and does 2 worksheets, then the next day does 2 more worksheets, and she's ready for the test by the third day! Then we do money, time, and fraction worksheets the other days.

It's been an interesting and enjoyable start to our year! I'm enjoying looking ahead in my Well Planned Day planner to schedule holidays, tests, curriculum ends, etc. It really is an amazing tool and keeps me feeling so organized! I write out our weekly plans and then each day as they complete an activity I write their intial in the check box. I can keep up with our attendance, grades, and more all in one place!

How is your year starting out? Are your kids into the swing of things or wishing for more summer?

Parents- Do You Need Some Encouragement and a Laugh?



Pam Vredevelt brings us Espresso for Your Spirit. Divided into 28 short chapters, these can be completed alone or as a group (there are group questions available for each chapter). These are short enough that you could do one a day, one a week, or just one when you need a pick me up. Each chapter has a Bible verse, with an encouraging short story, and a page with funny tidbits. The book is terrific. Each story is easy to relate to, easy to understand, and encouraging to any parent!

As a stay at home mom, homeschooling 2 kiddos, with a hubby that works very hard for us and is away from home many hours everyday, working part time from home, and blogging along with maintaining friendships and family obligations, I get TIRED (I'm sure you never do though, right?). Often I need some encouragement and a good laugh. Just a little story to remind me that other parents endure these same things we endure is often enough to get me through to bedtime. Combining that with a refreshing memory verse and a Christian perspective, makes it terrific!

I have been reading one of these a night after my regular Bible reading. I plan to finish these out and then maybe I will get one of Pam Vredevelt's other Espresso books. And the lady LOVES coffee- that just completes it! Get your copy of Espresso for Your Spirit, you will thank me later!




I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All opinions are my own.

Review: Smack-Dab in the Middle of God's Love



I love books for my children that speak of God and His love. I want my kids to be surrounded by the truth that God loves us. I enjoy them having lots of books with Christian themes on their shelves. It's important for them to know that people all over the world love God. I was excited to receive this book and the kids always get excited when a new book arrives for them.

This book has a great premise, a childless couple spend time with children from the neighborhood and share God's love with those children. Willie Juan and Ana are funny and endearing. The kids flock to them for the conversation and Ana's sopapillas. I love that the book is set in a Mexican village and that there are Spanish words sprinkled throughout. It's important to us that our children learn about different cultures and that they see God is known and loved throughout the world. The illustrations are beautiful. They are really a big asset to the book.

Unfortunately I think the book could have been a lot better. I was disappointed that Jesus was not mentioned one time. If you are talking about God's love for us, how can you not mention Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice? Also there was a focus on God showing love by giving us good desserts. Now I love desserts and I believe God gives us great blessing through many things, but in this world of self indulgence and materialism, I want the message to my children to be about loving people and self sacrifice. The idea of introducing children to the term "smack-dab" is cute but it is dispensed in many awkward places throughout the story.

Overall I like the book but I don't love it. I'm sure my kids will flip through it occasionally but it won't be anyone's favorite. If you'd like to learn more about Smack-Dab in the Middle of God's Love by Brennan Mannung and John Blase you can see it at http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=9781400317134.




I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade
Commission's 16 CFR 255.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Walgreens this Week

I know it's Friday and I'm just now posting this week's Wags deals. So sorry everybody! So these are good today and tomorrow only! I will say my store had restocked and had everything I was looking for!

Pert 2 in 1 (my store was out of the one on sale with RR so they subbed for me!) .99- $1 SCPN= FREE

Herbal Essences Shampoo $3- $1 RR- $1 SCPN= $1

Revlon Tweezers $2.49- $1 in Store CPN- $1 SCPN= .49

Cottonelle Toliet Paper $5- $1 in Store CPN- .75 SCPN= $3.25

Scott Naturals $5- $2.50 Catalina= $2.50

Revlon Nail Polish $3.99- $3 RR- $2 Catalina= $1 MM!!!

Used $1 RR from last week.

Total $13.66

Savings
WAG AD SAVINGS $6.10
MFG CPN SAVINGS $10.25

Total Savings $16.35, received $4 RR back = about 60% savings!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Winner Winner!!

The winner of the Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood has been choosen by Rafflecopter! The entry was #3 by Karen for "liking" Pumpkin Seed Press on Facebook! Congratulations Karen and please check your email inbox!!!!

Thank you again to Pumpkin Seed Press for providing the review materials and this prize!


I hope Karen enjoys her prize! You can see her blog at Mommy's Moments! She always has great things happening there including her Blogtastic Extravaganza that is going on now!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall.......ing Temps?

In the South it has been SO hot this summer! I am really looking forward to Fall (although it never lasts long for us!). We had a low of 59 earlier this week which was a little piece of joy for us! Although the heat was back to the 90s today I can't help but look forward to cooler weather! Check out these fantastic shawls I fond on Amazon today! And they qualify for free shipping if your total is over $25! Happy shopping!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Want an Invitation?

Superpoints Network is the newest way to earn gift cards and rewards! This invitation only program lets you earn Superpoints by completing offers, watching videos, clicking the "SUPERPOINTS" button, and and winning emails! Points are easy to earn and gift cards from great places like Amazon and Starbucks are plenty of motivation!

Here are 5 exclusive links! Each is only good for one new member! When these are all used I will post more on the Carter Chaos Facebook page!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Are you ready for some ..............?

I am a HUGE Chicago Bears fan! I am SO excited that their first preseason game is tomorrow night! Check out these great Bears items from Amazon.com! And they have tons more! I have to shop for most of my football items online because living in Tennesse, most stores only stock Titans stuff. I really like these earrings and what a great price! So go ahead and stock up now because when the real season begins next month, they'll be hard to come by! Who is your favorite NFL team(so I can rag you)? :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Traditional Girls (*Hint there's a giveaway!)

Have you heard of Pumpkin Seed Press? Pumpkin Seed Press is a terrific publisher of Christian books focusing primarily on mother- daughter Bible studies. They also have a selection of other items including purity jewelry. You can find them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter!




On to the review, I received The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood amd Beyond Beautiful Girlhood Plus Companion Guide. Let's talk about Beautiful Girlhood first. I do not have the actual text for this one so I cannot speak to that book but the Companion Guide is terrific! Beautiful Girlhood is a revision of a text originally written in 1940! They really knew about traditional girls back then! This text and Companion Guide is geared towards girls ages 9-13. It covers Biblical basics for young girls translated into real life issues such as appearance, prayer time, friendship, and more. The book and companion guide are made as a study for mothers and daughters to delve into together. It is broken into 32 lessons and the Companion Guide includes Discussion Questions, Bible Activities & Applications, Journal Topics, and a Journal Response area for each one. Each one also includes quotes to add to the discussion. Here's one discussion question "Explain the comparision between the growth of a plant and friendship." What a terrific way to open up dialogue with your little girl. Sometimes it just takes the right question in the right context to dig into those deeper discussions. (Keep reading there is a giveaway of this Companion Guide in this post!)

With both of these books, it is all about having an open, honest relationship with your daughter. Our world today and culture really fight this idea of enjoying your child and them enjoying you. We are bombarded with the idea that all children despise their parents or that parents become their child's friend rather than guardian and guide. These books remind us that God intends for us to have a loving relationship with our children that includes a healthy dose of discipline and respect. The next book Beyond Beautiful Girlhood is for 12-18 year old girls. It reminds us that we want to be a friend and confidant to our daughter as they become adults. My mom and I are great friends. I spend time with her almost everyday and she is often the one I go to still for advice and talking out tough situations. I pray now that Apple and I will be very close friends when she is an adult and no longer in our home. We invest in our children now to enjoy the reward of watching them as Christian adults later.



So for Beyond Beautiful Girlhood, Shelly Noonan has revised and expanded original text that Margaret Elizabeth Sangster wrote in 1900! The companion guide is included in the text. The lessons are broken into 7 weeks and each week includes a Mother's study and a Daughter's study. The idea is that you will independently read the text and fill in your sections and then come together once a week for a discussion time. Shelly Noonan changed very little of the original text and so it reads rather funny in some places. However most truths about us and our emotions and stages are timeless. I did laugh when it referred to girls needing to begin chores and allowances at the age of thirteen. My kids are 4 and 6 and have several chores and receive a very small allowance now! The study guide portions include discussion questions, quiet time suggestions, verse studies, and more. One section even includes chore charts and meal planners that you can make copies of for use in your home. Again this is another great way to ensure discussion and interaction with your daughter. I consider myself to be pretty traditional and of course I hope Apple grows up to be traditional as well. No matter what she chooses to do or be as an adult, I want her Christian principles to be strong! I think any study that uses the Bible for its basis needs an A+!

I received these books for the purpose of review from Pumpkin Seed Press. All opinions are my own.

Now for the giveaway! The first solo Rafflecopter event for Carter Chaos! Use the form below to enter to win a copy of The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood! Ends 8/18/11!!!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Motivating My Monsters.....


So in typical fashion, I had all these concerns about this schoolyear. And so far none of the concerns I had have been as issue (of course the year is young!) but the things that are issues I would've never guessed.

Speedy is actually still interested in school. He wears out after about 2 hours, but for those 2 hours he is really hanging in there with us. He likes the activities and as soon as he finishes one he is ready for the next one. Right now the challenge I am running into with him is following directions. Bless his heart, he just does not like to color. He never ever has. It is really a struggle to get him to put any color on a paper and he has never colored a whole picture. He isn't into drawing either. It just doesn't interest him at all. He is beginning to write his name and some letters but that is a struggle most days. Anyway so he has had several color by number or color by letter sheets and he just doesn't want to do them. He does recognize the letters (Praise the Lord!) and he will put a dab of the correct color on the letter but he will NOT color the whole section. Today I asked him to do better and he just looked so defeated. Then he snuck in scribbling over them with a pencil. He is so much more interested in a pencil than markers or crayons. I asked him why and he said he likes a pencil more. So we had to have a talk about following directions from me and on worksheets.

Apple...... well Apple needs some motivation. She is doing well learning the material. She likes the Math U See (Praise the Lord!) and she is enjoying her other curriculums but she is SO slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. You have no idea! I mean today it was CRAZY! It's been reoccuring so I have tried several different tactics. A couple of times we had a dance break, a couple of times we had a jumping jack break, we've tried a snack break, all those just made her that much slower on the next activity. I've talked until I'm blue. Nonna and Daddy both talked with her about it. She says she likes to really study the work. Unfortunately she's really just studying the wall and the ceiling and she isn't doing her best work. Today after working for a grueling hour and a half on three fairly simple worksheets about half of it was wrong. She knows how to do the work, it's all based on her visual style of learning, it's the correct level she's just.... well... unmotivated! Because she is visual and we've started talking about grades some this year (because she handed in a test that was only half done), I made her a grade chart tonight. She's really never known about grades so I colored a small poster with A- The BEST! All or most answers correct, neat, done in a timely manner, etc.... for all the grades down to F. I'm going to introduce it to her in the morning and see how that goes. She has a competitive nature so I'm hoping this will motivate her. If this doesn't work, I'm pretty much out of ideas. The only other thing I can come up with is a sticker and treasure chest rewards system. We've tried that sort of thing before and it wasn't highly successful but we've gotta do something! School today lasted about 4 hours longer than it should have. At that rate we will never have clean clothes, dishes, or dinner because I can't do much else while she is working on her stuff! Prayers appreciated!!

Do you have a special method of motivating your kids to do their homeschool or homework?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Saved 45% at Kroger!

I hit the Kroger sale tonight. Our ads officially change tomorrow but I believe the Cartbuster sale will be continuing so most of these should still be good.

Doritos $2.28/ bag (best price is $2 per bag but my family loves Doritos)

Yoplait Yogurt .60 ea x 6-.40 SCPN-.40 DCPN= 6/ $2.80

Tropicana OJ $2.99- .75 KCPN= $2.24

Hamburger & Tuna Helper $1 ea x 5- .50/5 SCPN- .50/5 DCPN= 5/ $4

Keebler Crackers 2/ $3- .50/2 SCPN- .50/2 DCPN= 2/$2

Diet Pepsi 12 pk $3.33- $1 KCPN= $2.33

Pop Tarts $1.99- FREE KCPN= FREE

Kroger Sour Cream $1.25- .40 KCPN= .85

Kroger Shredded Cheese $1.89 x 2- .50/2 KCPN= 2/$3.28

Tyson Chicken Nuggets $4.99- $1 SCPN= $3.99

Toaster Strudels $1.79 x 2 - .50/2 SCPN- .50/2 DCPN= 2/ $1.58

Golden Graham Bars $1.99- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= .99

Viola Skillet Meal $4.29- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= $3.29

Bryan Bologna $2.50- .25 SCPN- .35 DCPN= $2

Bryan Sandwich meat $3.29- .50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= $2.29

Perdue Chicken Strips on markdown $1.99- $1 SCPN= .99

Philly Cream Cheese 4 pk $1.89-.50 SCPN- .50 DCPN= $1

Perdue Chicken Nuggets $3.99- $1 SCPN= $2.99

Orville Popcorn $2.29- .75 KCPN= $1.54

Mahatma Rice .99-.50 SCPN- .49 DCPN= FREE!!

With a few other items my total savings was:

MFG CPN SAV $17.75
BONUS CPN SAV $8.96
KROGER PLUS SAV $ 49.14
TOTAL SAV $75.85

TOTAL 45%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Walgreens This Week


I was disappointed in Walgreens because they were already out of the Listerine Smart Rinse for $3- $2 RR- $1 SCPN would have been free. Bummer. But I got happy again when I found 2 of the above cases in the clearance bin. Online regular price is $12.99 and I got them for $3.29 each! Brought them right home to put on Speedy and Apple's DS Lites. They have carrying cases for them but these clear protector cases should keep them going longer! Now onto the regular deals:

Purex $1.99- .50 SCPN= $1.49 x 2

Scott Naturals Paper Towels $5- $1 SCPN= $4

8 * 10 photo FREE with online code "FREE" today (8/7) only

Sundrop 2/ $3- B1G1 FB CPN= 2/ $1.51

Planters Trail Mix $2.69 ea- B1G1 sale= 2/ $2.69 (printed a Catalina for $1/2 so I may get these again when I go back to look for the Smartrinse!)

Tic Tacs .89 Clearance- .75 SCPN= .14

Herbal Essences Conditioner $3- $1 RR- $1 SCPN= $1

Used $4 RR from last week. Receipt showed savings as:

WAG Savings $2.99
Wag Advertised Savings $12.88
MFG CPN SAvings $9.24

Total Savings $25.11

I only paid $18.50 out of pocket and got my $1 RR back. Actually if you factor in the $2.99 savings on the photo and the $19.40 savings on the Lite Cases (neither of those were in the receipt savings #s) then my actual savings would have been $47.50 or about 72%!!!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Homeschool Report

Well we are 4 days into this new school year. I think we've had a good cross section of what the year will look like. Now keep in mind that this is Apple's 3rd year of homeschool and in general she loves to read and learn. This is Speedy's first year of homeschool and he is not typically interested in sitting and learning and so far his knowledge is about cars, toy guns, and beating up bad guys.

Monday- Speedy was SUPER excited about school. He dove right in and cheerfully completed all of his tasks. In fact when he was finished he actually came back and asked for more! WOW! Apple not so much. She was very ho hum about the whole day. She was more into staring into space than completeing her tasks. I really thought she would be excited especially about her new Math U See but really she wasn't (and I'm wondering if we should've chosen Gamma instead of Beta). It was difficult to keep her on task but we eventually made it throught.

Tuesday- Speedy was TIRED and whiny and beside himself. So he completed a minimal amount of tasks. I contemplated throwing Hooked on Phonics PreK out the window, and he went to take an early nap. Honestly I/ we LOVED HOP K, 1st, and 2nd grade but the PreK version just isn't doing it for us. For one thing back in the day when I had no idea how to homeschool or what to teach, I taught Apple the alphabet Uppercase letters first and then went back and tried to teach lowercase. I realized quickly that I should have taught them together and included some phonics sounds while I was doing it. Most classes, curriculums, etc teach it that way. It was a lesson learned and eventually she caught on that A is a is ah but it took longer than it would have the other way. So I was detemined that Speedy would learn them all together. I was shocked to see that HOP PreK teaches A= ah but that they go through all the uppercase first and then do the lowercase. Also it isn't set up to be easily planned. It says on the box and the beginning page to do the workbook page (which is consummable- frustrating!), then the DVD, then the story. But the DVD only has 3 videos: A-H, I-Q, P-Z and there are only 3 books. The videos are looooooong too. So all summer he'd do a letter page, then the looooooong video, then a story. Well lo and behold I finally found a page that indicated he should've done all the letter pages A-H and then only watched that video and read that story 1 time. First he isn't retaining the letter by doing one page and second the video is the fun part he wants to do. So I adjusted all that and now instead of HOP being his main teaching tool (which is what I paid the money for) it now is secondary while I teach him through other things like flash cards, etc. Wow that was long. Sorry needed to vent about it! Apple did better that day because her work was easier. I basically have her set up to learn new material on Monday, practice Tuesday & Wednesday, test Thursday, and do PE/ socialization/ etc on Friday. So she burned through Tuesdays work pretty quick plus she was not distracted by her brother.

Wednesday- A FABULOUS day for both. They were in the classroom ready to go before I ever got in there. They were excited to learn and didn't wanna leave the classroom when we were finished. In fact after lunch they both went back in and worked puzzles and played with Play Doh while I did the dishes. I'm thinking about getting the Play Doh numbers and letters set above. Speedy loves Play Doh and he's so hands on that I need things like this to keep his interest. They learned a lot yesterday and Speedy impressed me by matching some pictures to the letter that begins them by himself and doing an ABC puzzle all by himself! Apple did her work well and was cheerful and pleasant. I wish everyday was like that day!

Thursday- Boo. Seriously I wanted to cry or walk them across the street to public school or something. Boo. Their attitudes stunk and their work ethic stunk worse than that. First week blues maybe? Speedy woke up asking where we were going. He just wanted to get out of the house. He didn't want to do school AT ALL so he had a few short flashcard drills and then he was sent to do chores. Apple wasn't much happier. Let's just say she'll be redoing her tests tomorrow. So we will have regular class again in the morning although that wasn't the original plan. She also had some chore time and then we went out to lunch and to do errands with the Nonna. Sigh..... hope it's better tomorrow and next week!

All in all we have accomplished pretty much all the schoolwork I had set out for us to accomplish. It wasn't easy but it could have been a LOT worse! Did you begin school this week? How was it? Also I am seriously considering K12.com's online public school for next year now that it's available in my state. Have any of you tried it? Thumbs up or down? I'm intrigued by the FREEness of it all but have my concerns about it being up to Apple's level. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Winner of the Fiber One 80 Calories Cereal Pack from #MYBLOGSPARK



And our winner is #15 Greenlove421 who said "My favorite cereal is the honey nut clusters or mini wheats! :) Also I am a Google Friend Connect Follower!"

Thank you to all who entered and stick with us! Another great giveaway is coming in a few days!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Well Planned Day Planner


How do I love thee Well Planned day planner? Let me count the ways.....

1. It is attractive. The cover is visually pleasing and the colors are great inside and out. The fonts are easy to read but not too plain.

2. It's sturdy. The spiral binding makes it easy to flip the cover back or fold it over. The front and back covers are durable. The pages are thick so they will not rip or tear easily (except the ones that are suppose to!) and writing will not bleed through (unless you use a heavy marker).

3. It's practical. It's large enough to hold TONS of important information, but it isn't too big to carry with you. Tiny planners rarely hold everything you need (so you end up with 3 or 4 different ones to tote) and something as large as my coupon binder isn't convenient to take on a field trip or whatever.

4. It has EVERYTHING!!! Okay I'm gonna need to break this down into several different ones. First, this particular model is geared towards homeschool families. They do offer many other planner choices so don't stop reading if you don't homeschool! The homeschool features are HUGE! It's broken down into two semesters for the school year. There is a nice section at the beginning of each semester for semester goals, curriculum plans, etc. Then there is a monthly calendar and then weekly pages broken into subjects. These sections have room for several students and all sorts of other info.

5. There are places for chores (including pull out chore charts), weekly goals, shopping lists (pull outs), and more, more, more!!

6. I have been saying for months that I wanted one place to keep up with school, family activities, and meal plans. This is it and EXCEEDS every expectation I had! Each week there is a section on the side to write dinner meals for each day of the week!

7. The calendar for each month has scripture recommendations to read through the Bible in a year and there is a nice scripture for each week as well as an inspirational story each month.

8. Back to homeschool features, the planner is designed for up to 4 students in the one planner. There are even 4 Report Cards included in the back!!!! Along with a place to record weekly grades and a spot for planning for next year.

9. Lots of little places for notes are throughout the planner. If you're like me, I'm always jotting down a recipe, address, directions, date, etc. There is a place to put all of that!! Oh and a place to keep up with you bills too! That's one more notebook I can ditch!

10. I can't begin to tell you every little thing this planner includes but I do want to let you in on one more surprise you'll find smack dab in the middle. Are you sitting down? A Holiday Organizer section!!!! A gift list, budget section, store list, and more! Who doesn't need to be organized for Christmas and Thanksgiving???

Seriously I am a pretty OCD person and I'm visual so I write down EVERYTHING. My personal FB status after I received this involved my heart being happy to have all these little blanks to fill in! And I meant it. I have moaned and groaned for at least a year about the lack of one place for everything. I've had a lesson plan book, grade book, menu plan, chore list for each child and myself, bill notebook, family calendar, school calendar, and more. That will all go away because now I can keep it all in one simple place. I like simple, don't you? This planner isn't hard. Step by step it walks you through easy organizing. Just fill in a blank at a time!

So I tried to take some great pictures to show you some of my favorite pages on the inside but the lighting just wasn't working. I went to The Well Planned Day website and lo and behold they have a nifty "PREVIEW PLANNER" button that allows you to browse through every page! On that website you can see all the wonderful products they have to offer!

To Buy Click Here! You will not be disappointed with this planner at all!  It's also available in PDF form if you prefer that format to paper. And don't forget they also carry multi purpose and student planners!

I received this planner for free for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Walgreens This Week


The deals are good at Wags this week! I tried to get there last night but just didn't make it so I missed out on a few things like the Goody Hair Clips that were free after RR. Here's what I did get:

Cottonelle TP $5 - $1 inStrCPN- .75 SCPN= $3.25

Dawn Dish Liquid .99- .50 SCPN= .49 x 3

Sundrop 2/ $3- $1.41 B1G1 CPN= 2/ $1.59 (My cashier was bad. There was only one so I didn't have a choice. He should have subtracted the max $1.49 on this deal.)

Crayola 8 ct marker $2- $2 RR= FREE

Pantene 2/ $7- $2.01 FREE CPN- $2 RR= 2/ $3.99  (Again VERY bad cashier. I didn't notice this until I got home or I would've argued with him. Their register rang them up as $4.99 + $2.01 instead of $3.50 each so he took off the lower price. Err!)

Jordana Lip Liner Clearance priced .50 x 2 (fillers)

Wexford 4 ct dry erase markers 2.99- $2 inAd CPN= .99

Bic Mechanical Pencil 5 ct $2.49 x 2 = $4.98-$3 inAd CPN- $1/ 2 SCPN= 2/ .98

*And I used $4 in RR from last week

WAG COUPON SAVINGS $5.00
WAG AD SAVINGS $10.96
MFG CPN SAVINGS $11.67

TOTAL SAVINGS $27.63

Total Spent $15.65 and received $4 in RR back