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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Little Fun....and Movies Too!

Do you use Redbox? We do. We love renting the newest movies for a little more than a $1 a night. We don't get to go to the movie theater much anymore so as soon as Apple and Speedy realize a movie is on DVD, they can't wait to get their hands on it! We love to rent a movie before we buy it to make sure it's one we will allow them to watch again and again. It's also hard to beat the convenience of Redbox. We have 3 kiosks within 3 miles of our house so they're easy to pick up and drop off. I also love my Redbox app on my smartphone to check to see if the movie we want is available before we drive to the nearest location.

Now I'm not a big watcher of the movie awards that happen around this time of year but I'm sure a lot of you are. Redbox has a fun new Facebook game called Redbox Movie Awards. This little app is easy to use, fun, and you could win FREE Redbox rentals for 1 month, 2 or even 3 years! WOW! What a great deal that would be! The game is simple,  you select pick your choices for the upcoming movie awards. I just played and it only took me a few minutes to complete! Use this link to play!

Smiley360 and Redbox are graciously giving away 1 night DVD rentals to 3 Carter Chaos readers! Fill out the simple Rafflecopter form below for your chance at one of these codes! Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of the form and follow the rules!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fun Pretzel Snacks

With our resolution to have a healthier lifestyle as a family, I've had to become a little more creative in our snack times. Since we are only eating dessert one time a week as a family, we've needed more healthy snacks to fill that void. Fresh fruits and veggies are terrific but we have to spice it up a little more than that to keep the kids involved. They've been so good natured about the lack of dessert, that I want to surprise them with fun treats and snacks. Pretzels, like the ones from Snyder's, are great snacks and healthy too.

Since my kids are still fairly young and we homeschool, I like to incorporate our snacks into the themes we are studying. We try to think of snacks that correspond with the stories we're reading or subjects we're studying. Pretzels make great math manipulatives for counting or adding and subtracting. Dress up simple snacks with a little creativity! Most moms have heard of ants on a log, celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top, make a variation by putting peanut butter and raisins on top of pretzel sticks. Make "windows" on your child's sandwich with the square shaped pretzels. Place a grape on a pretzel for a salty/ sweet combination. For healthier yogurt covered pretzels, serve a bowl of plain yogurt with pretzel sticks for dipping. Cheese and pretzels is more fun than cheese and crackers. Pretzels are great for on the go snacking too!

It's simple and easy to engage your children with their food in a fun way. Pretzels are versatile and tasty and a healthy treat. Let your kids be creative with snack time by putting out a variety of items, inculding their favorite Snyder's pretzels, and see what they can come up with on their own. Let your children use their imaginations and see what kind of fun you can have being healthy! I think you'll be surprised by how creative they can be and how much fun they will have. Let their first "cooking" lessons be with fruit, pretzels, cheese, and veggies. Sometimes when we have a night with just the kids and I, we have a dinner made out of "snacks." Mine is usually a salad but the kids love thinking their munching on "snacks" instead of a regular meal. Pretzels, veggies, and fruit are the great makings of a meal or a snack and will keep you on track with your own healthy lifestyle.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Snyder’s of Hanover blogging program, for 6,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

My Fave Netflix Shows!

Netflix is so wonderful! No commercials, we can handpick what our children watch, we can pause, start, or stop anytime we want, and it's so affordable! My personal favorite feature is that I can watch episode after episode of a show without waiting a week or a month or a season to find out what happens next! The only downside to Netflix is that occassionally we run out of things to watch! Seems impossible with all the choices but it does happen. Right now we are waiting on new episodes of several shows to be added so we can jump back into them. Just for fun I thought I'd share with you our favorite shows to watch on Netflix (maybe this will help you if you're looking for something new to enjoy!):

The very first show Hubby and I watched from episode 1 together, Law & Order SVU drew us in. We have always liked crime shows and the cast of this one got us! We love Benson and Stabler and hated Casey Novak together. We cried when Alexandra Cabot was killed (we rejoiced later! ;). It was amazing how quickly we made it through over 200 episodes. We rarely catch the newest episodes on TV since they air on Wednesday night but we look forward to the newest seasons coming to Netflix.

We actually own the first 4 seasons of The Office on DVD but we got Netflix around the time we were looking at buying season 5. Instead of buying it, we just watched it! The Office is still one of our favorite sitcoms and while I've tried to keep up with the newer episodes, it'll be so much easier when they are added to our Instant Queue. The Office will never be the same without Michael but I'm not ready to end my "relationship" with Jim and Pam just yet.

Mad Men.......that's all I can say about that.

So this one night I was whining on Facebook about being out of shows to watch and my wacky friend Randa recommended Raising Hope. I watched the first episode and decided Randa was even wackier than I though because the first episode is .....well.....pretty stupid. However I decided when I was very bored the next night to try just one more episode and it was HILARIOUS! In a very non-intelligent, redneck, this stuff could really happen and vaguely reminds me of my childhood sort of way, it is funny. I told my Mom and stepdad to watch it to see if it reminded them of my childhood too....they didn't think it was very funny. PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK ON MAWMAW!

We liked Everybody Loves Raymond so we decided to try 'Til Death. The first set of episodes are really funny. The relationship between the Woodcocks and the Starks makes the show. Then in the middle of the episode list things get wonky and shows are backwards and new characters appear out of nowhere and the Woodcocks disappear. That is one bad thing about not following shows when they appear on TV. You get lost if a show is cancelled and then brought back with a different format. We tried a couple of episodes after the Woodcocks mysteriously vanished, but the humor was gone and the storylines were lame.

Downton Abbey is a show that EVERYONE has been talking about and I refused to watch. I mean it's PBS and probably requires lots of thought, right? WRONG! This show is fantastic! I loved the 7 episodes on Netflix and I've been holding my breath from Sunday to Sunday waiting for the newest episodes. All in all this is an English soap opera set in the early 1900s but it is so good! The characters are well developed and so are the plots. Don't miss a glance, a word, or a gesture- they all mean something! The characters grow and progress from episode to episode but I'm not so quick to forget their original natures- I still think everything Edith does has spite in it! You will not be disappointed if you watch Downton Abbey. Hubby even watches with me!

We watched several episodes of 24. Let me just say, this show is much too intense to watch episode after episode. After the kids go to bed, Hubby and I like to watch a couple of hours of TV while we talk and spend time together. Most of the shows above work great to watch a couple of episodes each night. 24 does not. It's just overwhelming and honestly after the first season we were rolling our eyes. Something about watching them back to back makes all the murder, kidnapping, and intrigue just come across as silly and overdone. We may return to it someday but we left in the middle of season 2.

Law & Order, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent just don't hold a candle to SVU. Law & Order began sooooo long ago that it's funny. We just couldn't relate to the characters of those two shows like we did Benson and Stabler. In the crime genre, I also began watching Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. I love Criminal Minds and it isn't on Netflix so I thought this would be a good substitute. I knew Penelope was on this spin off too. I watched the whole thing (I think 13 episodes) and was stunned by the cliffhanger at the end. I started searching online to see if there was somewhere I could find the conclusion to the cliffhanger dismay I found out it was cancelled (although I could see why) and the conclusion never aired. Sigh.....wish I would have known that before I watched them all.

Hubby has also enjoyed Top Shot, MacGyver, The A-Team, and Swamp People. I passed on those. I've enjoyed Hoarders, Hoarding: Buried Alive, and we've found tons of movies on streaming for the whole family.

Shows I would love to see added to Netflix: The Middle, Criminal Minds, Golden Girls, and Castle. Seriously Netflix, I NEED those shows! :)

What are your favorite Netflix shows and movies? We are always looking for new ones! Currently we are working our way through Bones.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Winner!

A new winner was selected in the Purex/ Jockey giveaway! Congrats to Cheryl who will be receiving the Purex Crystals and Jockey sports bra! Thank you to everyone who has entered!

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

What I Learned on Pinterest this week.......

How to make homemade liquid hand soap from The Farmer's Nest. I made a big ol batch using my favorite soap Lever 2000 with Aloe.

How to make Apple's bunk bed even cooler! I was inspired by Delightful Distractions. Below was how ours turned out.

How to make EASY egg mcmuffins at home from Macheesmo! We had these for dinner Wednesday night and everyone RAVED over them! So easy and so good!

I found TONS of other great ideas that I can't wait to try!!! Find me on Pinterest here!

Other exciting parts of our week:

Apple lost her other front tooth! Four down! :)

He is First, I am Second

When I received I AM SECOND by Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett, I wasn't really sure what it was going to be about. I cracked it open and saw a name for each chapter. Some of the names were extremely familiar like Bethany Hamilton and Michael W. Smith but some I had never heard like Brian "Head" Welch. I started to read planning to only get through one or two chapters before going to bed. 15 chapters later I didn't want to put it down but I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore! I finished it early the next day.

The concept is simple, a group of people from different walks of life sharing their stories about how God has touched their lives. People giving their testimony of why they are second and He is first. While the concept is simple, the stories are anything but. These testimonies are gut wrenching, some familiar, and all awe inspiring. What miracles God has performed from the greatest of these to the least of these. I held my breath as I turned page after page. I cried, I laughed, I was inspired. I learned about people like "Head" Welch who was once a member of Korn. I learned more about people like Michael W. Smith. And I related in a new way to each one of them. They opened their lives (which is SO hard to do) and shared about their struggles.

What a fabulous reminder that we all struggle. We all have needed and do need the amazing saving grace of Jesus. Are you struggling? Have you always wanted to know more about the one that is called Savior? Have you wondered if any "regular" people believe in Him? Do you just need your fire for Him renewed? Read I AM SECOND, learn more about the concept and see more testimony on the website I just watched the video on the website of Josh Turner's testimony and it is wonderful! Grab a tissue!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 13, 2012


I find it really hard to talk about nutrition with Apple. I have tried in the past to stick to the topics of the Food Pyramid and more recently MyPlate ideals. Of course as many of you know, those generic discussions aren't really enough to help my children understand how important it is to eat healthy, exercise, and take care of their bodies. Despite my best efforts I have one child that undereats and one child that overeats. Part of my reluctance to delve into these topics is due to my own self image issues. I don't want my daughter in particular to struggle in that area like I have so in the past I have thought silence was the best option.

Well our "lifestyle" goal for 2012 has made the subject all the more important. We have decided on a "special" dessert only once a week as a family. The other 6 days of the week, sweets are off the menu. I'm not keeping them in the house to avoid temptation. Now there are already places and times when my children have been given sweet snacks by others or candy as a treat at church. I'm not harping on those events and we are taking them as they come. We did however get all the candy out of the cabinents (I am amazed at how much accumulates) and we booted the rest of the sweets out as well. Now I'm really proud of how well the kids have been doing with it. It has led to lots of talks about food and what is good for us vs what isn't good for us.

I think the most interesting thing for me is that the word I felt like God gave me for the year is so integral in this topic. Balance. It's all about balance. I probably talk about balance in reference to food at least once a day with Apple and Speedy. See I printed this really awesome list of 100 Zero/ Negative Calorie foods (I found it on Pinterest of course!) and posted it on the fridge. Now I was posting it for myself but Apple immediately read it and asked about 100 questions. The next day she was literally trying to eat all day from the list and as much of each item as she could! I talked with her about the list again and explained (again) that the list was full of good ideas for snacks BUT we have to eat more than just what is on the list AND we only eat when we are hungry even if the food is zero calorie.

I know adults that have trouble understanding these concepts so I know it's even harder for a 6 yr old and a 4 yr old. It's so important that we implement balance in our diets and the diets of our children. It's important to "eat the rainbow" and to incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables into our plate but it is JUST AS IMPORTANT that we have and our children have portions of protein, dairy, grain, and even some fat. I see a trend with parents only feeding their toddlers fruits and veggies. Those are totally necessary in every toddler diet but if you only feed your child these "zero" calorie foods then their bodies and brains will not develop properly. When Apple was little I clipped tons of feeding plans, charts, etc from magazines so that I had lots of ideas on what to feed her. As a first time mom, I needed all the help I could get. I loved seeing that she should have a little of each food group for 3 meals a day as well as 3-4 snacks throughout the day. I needed to know how much whole milk she needed and that it was okay to give her something more than fruit in her diet.

Balance. It means it's just as important to not underfeed your child as it is to not overfeed your child. Children don't belong on "diets" and we won't be putting ours on one anytime soon. Instead we are modeling and living a better lifestyle and that's what we want for Apple and Speedy too.

How do you deal with nutrition at your house?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year, New Lifestyle

I shared some of my goals for the new year with you in a previous post. One of the biggest goals is a healthier lifestyle for our whole family which we are hoping will result in a 50 lb weight loss each for Hubby and I. In the first 12 days, I have dropped 6 lbs so I am well on my way to a slow and steady drop.

There are 2 big parts to a healthy lifestyle- diet and exercise. I have jumped back into Zumba 2 days a week and I love it as much as I did a year and a half ago! It is just so much fun! I have lots of friends (including my mom) in the class and I love our instructor! In order to properly enjoy Zumba, it is necessary to have the proper gear. I was more than thrilled when I received a special package from Jockey and Purex that contained a new sports bra and a bottle of Purex Crystals fabric softener.

Most modern exercise gear is made with moisture wicking material. Jockey Tech Terry Performance Sports bras are no exception. Did you know that traditional dryer sheets contain oil that prevents the wicking material from working properly? I didn't know that! So basically by using "regular" fabric softener or sheets with your workout gear, you are destroying the specialized fabric that keeps sweat off your skin. Purex Crystals meet this need because they don't contain oil! And if you haven't used Purex Crystals, you are totally missing out. Purex Crystals are easy to use, smell FANTASTIC, and come in 3 great scents. I will only be using Purex Crystals on my workout clothes from now on because I want to retain the moisture wicking properties.

The Jockey Tech Terry Performance sports bra is by far the best workout bra I've had. I am a well endowed girl and finding a bra that keeps the ladies in place while I jump and exercise isn't easy. This bra kept everything in place and I didn't need to tug on it or adjust it at all during the hour class. If you'd like to learn more AND for a 20% off coupon for Jockey sports bra use the link. Thanks Jockey and Purex for 2 great products!

Drum roll please..............

Would you like to win an awesome pack just like the one I received? Of course you would! One lucky reader will receive their own brand new Jockey Tech Terry sports bra AND a bottle of Purex Crystals Tropical Splash! WOOO HOOO! Follow the brand new Rafflecopter form below and TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Week of January

It's been a busy week around the Carter household! We got back into homeschool after a lovely 3 week vacation. We started back with a short session on Monday to get back into the swing of things. While the first 2 days weren't ideal by any means, we made it through! It's been a week of new things for us......

1. We decided to implement a new disciplinary tactic. With Apple, we must always be creative and do new things. Any particular punishment only works for a short time with her. She is very smart and quickly finds a way to make the punishment ineffective. So we instituted a "Toy Time Out Box." They are so enarmored with all their new Christmas gadgets that I decided they would make wonderful tools. I took an empty tote box, put it in the laundry room, and declared it the time out toy box. Whenever the kids break a rule, begin to fight, or have a bad attitude. I pick one of their possessions to place in the box. The choice is mine. In order to get a toy back from the box, they have to exhibit good behavior by doing a chore without being asked or following the rules without being reminded. So far, so good. They like the level of "control" they have over getting the toys back. It is also very effective to just walk into their room and choose something. The rule is that they can only pick a toy that is their own when they get one out. Some days the box is practically empty. Right now it is overflowing mostly due to bad attitudes during the first two days of school. I will try to keep you informed to the effectiveness of this punishment.

2. On Monday we began our lifestyle change as a family. Smaller portions, healthier choices, more exercise, and dessert only one day a week as a family. Because we are only having dessert one day a week, it will be something special like ice cream or a homemade treat, etc. I personally have also dropped down to one Diet DP a day and eventually I hope to cut them out all together. I know they are no good for me, I just wish they didn't taste so darn good! I've already dropped 4 lbs and plan to keep it going!

3. Apple cut over 9 inches of hair off for a donation to Pantene Beautiful Lengths! She's been so patient growing it out for a donation. I was ready for it to be cut the last few weeks because it was staying so tangled. Here's her before and after! I'm so proud of her for doing this! She actually prefers her hair on the shorter side but she was concerned today that it was too short. I let her know that she is BEAUTIFUL inside and out! :)

We are BALANCING things just fine these first 5 days of January. I have tons of energy now that I'm eating cleaner and working out again (Zumba!). Today we got so much accomplished. We did homeschool, rearranged Speedy's room and sorted all his toys, cleaned mine and Hubby's room, did laundry, cooked dinner, Zumba, worked for awhile, now blogging, and still have lots of energy. I love it!

How is your January going?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ahhh That's Easy....

If you are like me, you are a busy bee! Most days I start going at 7 am and stop until 10:30 pm. Between homeschool, cleaning, cooking, blogging, working part time, etc there just aren't too many extra minutes in the day. As part of my 2012 new routine, I'm determined to wash, dry, and fold 2 loads of laundry everyday. That is the magic number for our family to stay on top of the wash and not get behind. I despise days when I need to do laundry all day because I'm chained to the washer and dryer.

Getting in 2 loads a day sounds like an easy addition but it takes time just like everything else. My new ally is the Purex Triple Action UltraPacks laundry detergent. These nifty little packets are similar to ones you use in a dishwasher, they are premeasured liquid detergent packs. When you get ready to run a load of wash just toss in a pack when you start the water. Then toss in your load and you're finished! The UltraPacks work so WELL! I have been really impressed with them. They work just as well as the regular liquid Purex and they take less time and there is NO MESS at all! They are so easy that anyone could use them! Apple occassionally helps me with the laundry and UltraPacks would definately make that easier for her.

Look for Purex UltraPacks coming in February 2012!!! Purex UltraPacks are formulated for all machines including HE.

Purex provided a free sample of their UltraPacks laundry detergent so I could write a review. However all of the opinions expressed here are my own.