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 29, 2012

Back to School BIG Giveaway

Purex is at it again! They want to help you celebrate Back to School with a big giveaway! You could win $1,000! How awesome is that?

Enter the Purex Back To School Shopping Sweepstakes for a chance to win $1,000 for all of your Back To School shopping needs. While you're at it keep your clothes Bright, White and Clean with a FREE year's supply of Purex UltraPacks and fresh with Purex Crystals.

While you are there you will find some fabulous tips to get your school year started back right! Even us homeschool moms can utilize back to school shopping tips and suggestions to get the mornings started off right! 

I am a Purex Insider.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kids and Money

Kids and money..... this is a topic that has just made me sigh for the last few years. I want to teach my kids about money, I want them to learn to be responsible with their money, I want tithing to be a natural discipline for them BUT we have tried so many things and they have never worked. We've done chore charts, chore sticks, allowances, and all that jazz. Either the kids didn't care about the money, I felt like we were paying them to do things they should do anyway, or we would all just give up after the first week.

I have been so blessed by the wonderful books I have read the last few weeks that when I saw The MoneySmart Family System I felt a glimmer of hope. Maybe this will be something new, something that works! After reading the book and starting the system I am so EXCITED! Steve & Annette Economides are  parents. This is so following the trend of some of the other books I've recently reviewed. These are just real people! A real dad and a real mom who set out years ago to teach their kids responsibility not just with money but in everyday life.

Their system is simple, it's a points system that will equal a very reasonable allowance at the end of each week for your children. It's an allowance we can afford which is saying a lot in these times. They use a 10/20/70 equation to get their children on the road to tithing, saving, and spending wisely. We started the system this week and my kids are enjoying it! They really like the wish lists and they are competitive enough to make earning their points into a game. Wait don't get scared of the points! I told you it was easy, we are talking 4 points a day each. Now the book does talk about bonus points and I think we will eventually add those in but for these first few weeks I just want Apple and Speedy to concentrate on the main points.

One point is based on chores and this is something we have struggled with. Honestly our kids are very good at "chores" but most of them are things we just expect them to do. The book addresses this idea that our kids need to learn that you have to make your bed, do laundry, etc just to live. However they need to learn to do those things well and it's a process so rewarding them a little won't make them feel entitled. Ahh entitled. A word I have shouted many a time when I feel frustrated with people who expect the world to be given to them. Entitlement is exactly what the Economides were fighting! Children are at a HUGE disadvantage for life when parents teach them that they "deserve" everything for nothing. When mommy or daddy always rushes to the rescue then that will never end. Those kids will still be running to mom and dad when they are 60. {Rant over}

If you have kids and you have struggled with teaching them financial responsibility please pick up this book. You will not regret it. Hubby & I have had to learn tithing together as an adult and it is not easy! Give your kids a leg up by making it a habit for them now.

I received this book from Booksneeze for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own and I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sweet Giveaway!!! Ends TODAY!!!

We are a camping family. We love to camp and are hoping to get in another trip or two before the end of the year. I've been stalking Trek Light Gear for a long time now. They do great giveaways all the time and I enter every time I see one. Right now (ending TODAY) they are hosting their annual ULTIMATE GIVEAWAY! They have tons of prizes to pass out and there are lots of easy ways to get entries and also lots of unique ways. :) I want you to have a chance to win some Trek Light Gear too so I'm posting their Rafflecopter form below! Get to entering because you only have about 7 hours left!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Justice and Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest

Are you ready for more Awesome Science??? Apple and Speedy sure were! They cheered and cheered when the package arrived containing Explore Meteor Crater and Petrified Forest with Noah Justice. Now I know everyone isn't quite as ...... enthusiastic about science as those two but as a non-science person myself, I can tell you Noah Justice makes it interesting for everyone!

Episode 3 comes with all new information and Biblical background. I really like the menu and chapter option on this disc. It's made it so easy for us to break the DVD down into bite size lessons just perfect for daily homeschooling. Again we got the extra study guide to reinforce those new lessons. Are your kids interested in dinosaurs? Volcanoes? 750 feet deep craters? It's all in this Awesome Science DVD and it's all brought to  them by a kid just like them. Noah Justice is a young teen that presents the info to the viewers in a graphic, imaginative way. My children are always so excited to view scientific information based on Biblical history. They love when Noah links current "phenomenons" to the Great Flood and volcanic eruption.

We can't wait for more episodes to be released. These DVDs and Study Guides are perfect for homeschool, special church groups, or kids that just need a Biblical perspective on science. The DVD is 30 minutes long and the Study Guide has 36 pages. Kyle Justice produced this work.

I received this disc and study guide from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Filled with Distractions

We live in a world just thriving with distractions. We are distracted while driving by our phones, music, kids in the backseat, billboards along the road, and more. We are distracted from our work by Facebook, co-workers, personal issues, and more. We are distracted at church, at home, everywhere we go. I even get distracted trying to watch a 30 minute television show! It's hard not to reach for my phone to check a message or pick up a magazine. I'm not sure that I ever fully give my attention to anything and that's not how it should be.

God created us to focus on Him. We should be going about our daily lives with the purpose of serving Him. How easy is it to forget Him in the midst of all our busy activity? Pretty easy unfortunately. I've heard of Kay Arthur for years but unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to do one of her Bible studies. Until now. This is the kind of Bible study I'd love to do in a group. It's simple, short, but packed with good information.

Arthur along with David & BJ Lawson cover what they consider the 6 biggest distractions: pride, anger, jealousy, gluttony, slothfulness, and greed. Boy do those cover a lot of ground. We all fall victim to them at some time or another. I tend to fall in the trap of thinking I "deserve" a reward so I can eat that extra slab of cake or sleep in again or waste the day away staring at the TV. Alone those things are not inherently evil but they can distract us so quickly from our goal of serving the Lord. We must be diligent and we must be focused. Pick up Fatal Distractions: Conquering Destructive Temptations. It is a great tool to help us measure where we are and what areas we really need to focus attention on.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Being a Mom Isn't Always Easy

Wow. In the midst of life, I find myself worn out! We've started homeschool, we're gearing up for choir and soccer, we are still adjusting to attending a new church, there are lots of changes right now with friends moving and changing jobs, and within our own family Hubby has some serious training this fall that will be turning our lives upside down even more. I'm tired and I'm cranky and I'm finding it easy to say well if it wasn't for this XXXXX or if it wasn't for that XXXXX or if this was different XXXX, THEN I could relax, be in a better mood, accomplish more, laugh a little, heck I could breath a little!

Then God stepped in. In black and white words typed on a page He reminded me that it isn't about me. He reminded me that my attitude shouldn't be based on this or that. He reminded me that I need to Be the Mom He has called me to be in every circumstance. Wow. His timing is always perfect.

If you are finding yourself in the midst of storms or even if you are in the rut of everyday life as a mom trapped in a heap of laundry and grocery lists, you need to read Be a Mom by Tracey Lanter Eyster. Tracey is a real mom like us and she gives it to you straight. She isn't trying to talk over your head or make you feel bad about yourself. Tracey (I feel like I know her on a personal basis after reading this book) just wants to encourage us so we can be the BEST moms we can be. She wants us to be good moms because she knows that mom's attitude impacts the whole house.

Be the Mom outlines traps that we so easily fall into. Take no fear, she isn't just wagging her finger at us telling us all the things we shouldn't do. No. She is giving us advice. Simple, inexpensive, Bible based ideas to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, say a prayer, and move on to a better day, a better relationship with our families. This book was so timely for me.

It doesn't end with the book this time! Tracey will be conducting a virtual Facebook party from the MOPS convention on  *NOTE TIME CHANGE* THURSDAY AUGUST 9 at 9 pm Central Time. A Facebook party is very similar to a Twitter party. It's a live chat. It will conducted on the Be the Mom Facebook page. "Treat this just like you would a live book club discussion or party. Go grab yourself a soda, sweet tea, coffee or hot cocoa, a snack, and MINGLE."

That's not all! "Tracey and Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler, Texas are teaming up to give away one FREE camp registration for summer 2013! Tracey and her family have attended camp at Pine Cove for over 12 years and she knows life change happens there. For that reason, Tracey is donating all her author proceeds from Be the Mom to Pine Cove. Check it out at!" To be eligible for the giveaway "like" the Be the Mom and Pine Cove Facebook pages and "follow" Pine Cove and Momblog on Twitter. Then simply leave a comment on any post on letting them know you liked all the pages and you will be entered in the drawing.

I received this book from the Tyndale Blog Network for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. Additional information on Facebook party and giveaway were received from TBN.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another First Day Behind Us

It was the first day of school at the Carter Chaos household. Last year we were so ready to start, so bored, so excited that we began a whole week early. I was so prepared. I even had lunches planned and fixed. We didn't get off to such a roaring start today...... Now I'm a planner so I do have the first few weeks planned out in my nifty Well Planned Day planner (see the sidebar for link!) but there were no lunches waiting in the fridge, the house isn't quite clean, and there were some grumpies chasing us into the classroom.

The best thing I can say about today is we did it. We finished. I did have a new reward/ punishment system all ready and they were excited about it and I expected that it would be all successful on the reward side for at least 3 weeks. Sigh..... both children "lost letters" today resulting in a loss of screen time and no hope for out new treasure chest at the end of the week. They couldn't make it 3 days. Heck they didn't even make it 3 hours!

Thankfully I know this is just a season. We had such a super busy, fun, rewarding summer that I knew it would be hard to tune back into school mode. We really didn't have the long, leisurely break that we enjoyed last summer. As Apple & Speedy will tell you it wasn't really summer because we didn't go to the beach. However, we will survive. We will prevail. And we wait expectantly for the next great blessing the Lord bestows upon us.

As for our new system, my kids are all into screens right now, computer, DS, TV, Wii, etc. They both have a hefty wish list of more screen items waiting for Christmas. I have grown weary the last few weeks of "Mom, can I watch a movie?" "Mom, can I play DS?" "Mom, mom, MOM!" and I knew it had to end. We also were very blessed to have lots of school supplies just bestowed upon us over the summer. One was a Treasure Chest and we received many items perfect to fill said chest. So I bought each child an inexpensive kitchen timer (the old style that you turn the dial) and I made each of them a laminated chart of 30 min increments. They have up to 2 hours everyday. Each day the word STOP will be written on the board for each of them in our classroom. If they disobey a classroom rule (#1 and #5 are "DO YOUR BEST") then they have a letter marked off. Each letter represents one of those 30 minute screen blocks. The Treasure Chest will offer 1 reward on Friday for anyone who can keep all of their letters all week. My mom says it's too complicated. I pray it keeps them from asking me if they can do screen time and that it efficiently controls the amount of time they stare at screens. I may have to make Apple one for reading too. A problem I never thought I would have! {Not really going to make one for reading but it is tempting.}

I have also made a jar of chore sticks but I don't quite have it figured out in my mind how to implement those yet. Plus I want them to get the hang of the STOP system first. We used STOP towards the end of the year last year in a much simpler form. They actually just lost 15 mins of TV time for each letter that was marked but it wasn't very effective because we weren't really limiting their time as much and it was kind of vague.

So tomorrow we wake up and pray for a smooth day of school! :)