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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My #VueParty

If you read my post here then you know I was am a VERY EXCITED House Party Keurig Vue Party recipient. Tonight was the big night! What a perfect setting, the first day of fall, perfect weather, grilled hot dogs, chili, and loads of sweet tea, hot chocolate, and coffee fresh from my new Keurig Vue! We had so many wonderful friends come to join us, and I think everyone had a great time!

Keurig and House Party provided us with a new Vue brewer, 6 boxes of iced tea, coffee, and iced coffee Vue cups, mints, cookies, cups, napkins, an apron, 2 Brew Over Ice tumblers, and more! Hubby and I provided grilled hot dogs and chili with the fixings and the families that joined us brought sides and desserts. We had so much good food!


 Cappuccino- can't make that with the original Keurig.


 It even made Toad happy! Now that's a special machine!
 Rap Master J enjoying a steamy cup of goodness!


As the guests arrived, some tucked into the Vue right away. The biggest question of the night was "What is the difference between a regular Keurig and the Vue?" My response "Customization." I had my "regular" Keurig out to so it was easy to point out the big differences. The choices on the original are 6 oz or 8 oz cup.  The choices on the Vue seem endless! Control the temperature, change the options for brewing over ice, brewing tea, brewing coffee, or brewing hot cocoa. On a Vue you can use the clock and timer options that weren't available on the original. You can also HEAR the difference in the brewing processes. I was able to compare K Cups to Vue cups and show them where the "pods" are pierced with each machine. Everyone was so excited to try the Vue out themselves!

From babies to Papaw, we had 31 guests. The kids were able to try the tea and hot chocolate. The overwhelming response was YUM!


Now you can check out my first post to see the blow by blow comparison but I want to update my original opinion. After using the Vue brewer for a couple of weeks, I'd say it is head and shoulders above the original. There are so many great options. My favorite feature is definately the clock/ timer setting. Nothing like having it ready to go when I wake up. I complained about the noise in the first post but honestly after having it awhile, it doesn't seem any louder. I am looking forward to the Vue becoming more main stream so there will be coupons available for Vue cups and the cups will be offered in more places. With the impending changes to a certain coffeehouse's gift card program, my Vue is gonna get plenty of use!


Perhaps we shouldn't have given coffee to the baby or the dog......




It was a WONDERFUL party! Thanks to my great friends and a special thanks to House Party and Keurig!


I received a free party pack from House Party and Keurig. I was not required to write a blog post. All opinions expressed here are my own.





Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unstoppable

Have you heard of Nick Vujicic? If you haven't, you're gonna want to check him out. He is the director of Life Without Limbs and he has inspired many, many people. His inspiration will continue with the release of his new book Unstoppable. You see Nick was born without arms or legs YET he lives his life for God. He carries on and perseveres no matter what obstacles stand in his way. In Unstoppable, Nick uses his life experience to help you see the way to becoming unstoppable for God.

I can't wait to read it! Because seriously this mama needs to be inspired! Check out the first chapter here. Oh you want more? Well you'll have to wait for the book to release in a few short weeks to read more BUT you can see a special video here or below. {PS I just LOVE Australian accents! Aren't they fantastic?}





I wrote this promotion on behalf of Waterbrook Multnomah and I will receive a copy of the book in exchange for this post. However all opinions written here are my own.

Times They Are A-Changin....

I've seen it in the last 10 years. Times are slowly changing. Well things are always changing but now things are slowly moving backwards instead of forwards. Okay hear me out...I know technology is moving forward at leaps and bounds BUT I am referring to more social-economic issues. Ten years ago I began to see a trend of stay at home moms. Now when I was a kid, I only knew 1 mom that stayed home with her family. 1. That's it. She was awesome, fantastic, and a second mother to me but she was the only one I knew. And I didn't grow up in a tiny town. I'm sure there were other stay at home moms in my city but I didn't know them. However by the time I got married I saw a trend of young mothers staying home with their babies at least a little while. Between my "childhood" and adulthood I had seen 2 aunts make the choice to stay at home and the trend (in my sphere) grew and grew. So much so that when I got preggers I wanted nothing more than to be at home to snuggle my bambino. Now I had wanted that for as long as I could remember, way before I was married or had children, BUT by the time I was pregnant, it wasn't an unusual desire. Day care is expensive and horror stories abound. Private in home care at that time was harder to find and I shuddered from the stories I had heard of mistreatment, neglect, filth, etc in those environments. (DISCLAIMER: one of my bestest buds runs an in home daycare now and she is FANTASTIC and clean and lovely! :) So I had to return to work for a short time but with much prayer I was able to quit my day job and stay home with Apple from the time she was only a few months old. In the years since we have made countless friends that stay at home with their children and the "network" just continues to grow and grow. I'd love to see numbers on stay at home moms vs. working moms but I know it's hard to measure. So many moms work from home in order to stay at home, some full time, some part time, many parents also work swing shifts so someone is always at home and there's the curve ball of stay at home dads. So in these regards, I feel like our generation has taken some hints from the past. Many of us now see past the women's movement, the need for everyone to work, etc. and we value the importance of the family unit, raising our own children, choosing family life over riches, etc. It's a good thing we began to see this early. (God's wisdom is profound and His plan is always perfect) Now the current economic times are pushing us even farther back. The latest news stories (if you can read around the political goop) are on multi-generational homes, homeschooling, and relearning arts of the past like making our own laundry soap, canning veggies, making jam and homemade bread, and relearning skills that many of us have forgotten like hunting, gardening, etc. These are important skills! Take note! Now is the time to learn some if you haven't. Times are a-changin and we may not be able to run to the local super store every time we need a widget or whatsit. How can that be? We will always be able to run down and buy everything we need, you say. Maybe not. I wouldn't depend on it. Stores and restaurants are constantly closing due to the economy. Manufacturers are shutting down. People are still losing jobs left and right. Times are a-changing. I can make my own laundry detergent for a year for less than what many of you pay for one month's worth at the store. What I see with many of these things is the initial cost seems high but oh boy does it equal out in the long run! My friend Deeds calculated the cost for making the laundry detergent the first time and I think including the 5 gallon bucket she came up with less than $15. Then you can make 3-4 additional batches at $1 each. One batch is 10 gallons of detergent. It lasts a loooooooong time. So hook up on Pinterest and learn some new skills y'all! My morning rant is brought to you by many online articles about homeschooling and a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch with extended family. We talked about the "new" economy, the things we've all been driven to look into due to tight budgets, and the things we have felt led to learn. I was chewing over the conversation in my mind after everyone left, and I was thinking back to a conversation my friend Toad and I had about 3 years ago. We were jokingly considering communes and how they work. He and I discussed that day the need for friends and family with various skills in order to survive. While I'm not ready to create a commune or even an underground bunker, I do think these are all important things to consider. If for nothing else, to pass along the art of bread making to our children. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Scrubbing with #SoftScrub

Our bathroom has a white floor and is mostly covered in white tile- counters, half of every wall, etc. Finding a household cleaner to keep the bathroom really clean and really fresh is difficult. We've been in this house a looooong time and all that white has been the bane of my existence! Sigh. Having a 5 year old son has certainly not improved the cleanliness of that room. I was so excited to try the new household products from Soft Scrub!





First let me say the smell of bleach just screams CLEAN to me. If I can smell bleach then I know it's been scrubbed and it's now sanitary. The great thing about the new Soft Scrub Total All Purpose is that it comes in a Bleach formula! Woohoo! Now if you aren't a bleach fan there is also a variety without bleach. However I was thrilled to receive the bleach formula that you can use as a foam or spray! And I don't know if you will be able to stand it but........it works upside down!!! How many times have I flipped a cleaner upside down to reach a particular spot and then been disappointed that it wouldn't work? More than I can count. My cleaning regimen was revived! I was runnin around like a crazy person disinfecting and cleaning everything!

I also was able to try the Soft Scrub Bath and Bowl cleaner. Wow. This cleaner also flips upside down (perfect for inside the toilet bowl) and it also works as a foam and a spray. In minutes I had my toilet, shower, and all that tile in the bathroom sparkling clean! I can't tell you enough how happy I am with these Soft Scrub products. We are having a little party next weekend and I will be busting out my foam and sprays to get the house in tip top shape!

As if all of that isn't enough, Soft Scrub is running their own sweepstakes! The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and 50 other winners will receive $40 each! Now that's a lot of cleaning dough! You can enter here for your chance at those prizes. Surely you don't think that's all, do you? I want you to try these products too! Soft Scrub has graciously supplied coupons for 3 lucky Carter Chaos readers! Simply follow the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! Giveaway will close at 12:01 am EST on Sept 24.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pack It Away






 If you have kids, you have lots of things to store. In the Carter household we have every spare inch of our home stuffed with something. Now don't get me wrong, we aren't hoarders but we keep homeschool work, we store out of season clothes and I often buy ahead when I find clothes for a good deal, I have a small stockpile of cleaning and household items, we have photos and memory items in storage (lots of my dad's things), etc. It really piles up quick. Cardboard boxes and plastic totes just aren't practical for everything. Some items need a different type of storage container. I was excited to find out about Packaways storage boxes.

 Packaways are reusable plastic multi purpose storage boxes that fold flat when not in use. How convenient is that? It took less than a minute to pop the box into place and start filling it up! I am so excited to use these for homeschool papers and crafts. You can write (and rewrite) on the label with China Dry Erase markers. So we can use these again and again or open up and add to the box. They also fold back down in just minutes. I am totally using these to store donate and yard sale items.  That way they can be used to store the items, used to transport them, and then broken down until they are needed again. The multiple colors are fantastic too as I work hard to keep things organized between Apple and Speedy. The bright colors also work great in the attic. I can immediately spot the bright green box even way in the back under 3 other boxes! 

Packaways would be perfect in an office, storage locker, attic, or in the closet. The classic boxes come in 3 sizes and Packaways also offers totes and under the bed storage all available in white, green, pink, and blue. They are reusable and the plastic they are made from proctects against water and humidity. You can order and find everything else you need to know at http://www.packaways.com/.

PS-We aren't hoarders but Apple could easily become one. When these arrived, she instantly began making plans for them! I had to fill up the pink one quick to keep her away from it! That child tries to collect everything including rocks, feathers, pieces of string, and straws. She's always planning to create something with them in the future. Sigh....I'm sure I've heard that on the special TV shows before....LOL! I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Fresh Scents

Who doesn't love for their house to smell good? With our 150 lb horse....errr doggie and a 7 yr old and a 5 yr old, I typically can't describe my home as fresh BUT da, da, da, dum enter Glade's new expressions line! These new oil diffusers and sprays smell fantastic. They also are designed to be elegant. No more metal can sitting around, the new sprays are in all white bottles that blend into the background. The oil diffusers are even nicer with white cutout sides.

The spray is wonderful for a quick burst of scent. The Fuji Apple and Cardamon Spice is perfect for fall. I've got it conveniently stowed in the bathroom for...well ya know. I chose the Lavender & Juniper Berry Oil Diffuser. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much. It's super simple to put together and it's not real big or anything so I thought it would be real fragrant when I opened it and then it would just sit there. Not so! I placed the diffuser in the living room. When I walked in my back door last night I could smell it! Now that's about 4 rooms away from where it is placed and it was hours after I had opened it. This morning I can still smell it!!

The new expressions line also boasts scents like Cotton & Italian Mandarin and Pineapple & Mangosteen. So go ahead now before all your fall activities begin and freshen up your house! :)


I'm a BzzAgent! I received FREE products from www.bzzagent.com and Glade for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Vue is Great From Here! (#vueparty)

Have you tried HouseParty.com? I know I've told you about it before. It's a wonderful place where YOU can be selected to receive awesome party packs to share with your friends! I've been so happy with my parties I've done in the past. I have to tell you though that this newest venture is COLOSSAL! Are you ready for it?

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I was selected to host a Keurig Vue House Party!!! SQUEAL!!!  Okay deep breaths. I am a huge coffee lover. I've had my Keurig Special Edition for about 2 years now and I've never looked back. Hot coffee on demand, tons of flavor choices, versatile enough for tea, iced coffee, hot chocolate, etc. It has gotten plenty of use. The Keurig Vue is the hottest revamp of the Keurig line. It uses a whole new line of Vue cups rather than K cups and it has so many more features.

 So I get to host a fantastic party later this month to debut the Vue to family and friends. Well lucky me the Vue arrived today with a sample pack! Even though Hubby and I had already had 2 cups of coffee each when it arrived, I set it right up to try it out!

While this new experience is still fresh in mind, I want to share it all with you!

 It's here, it's here!

Wow! I didn't stop to read the outside, I just dug right in!

 Right on top was my manual and my sample box!

What a machine!

 Look at all those goodies! Now to plug it up!

It's getting ready! Takes about 4 minutes to initially heat up.

Mmm coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea, & iced tea!

The force (a light saber DS stylus) was really helpful with the touch screen. I was able to set the clock, adjust the temperature setting, set an energy saver timer, and set an auto on time for the mornings!

Ahhh! Beauties! The day I announced that I was chosen on my personal FB page the line began for my old brewer! For now we will keep them both until we decide who the lucky recepient will be.



What I already love:


  • It's slick and stylish
  • It has a clock
  • It has an auto on
  • It has an energy saver AND an auto off time selection
  • I can adjust the temperature
  • It has different selections for brewing coffee, iced coffee, tea, and hot chocolate
  • It makes all the way up to a travel size mug full

What I'm not impressed with:

  • You cannot see the max fill line when the reservior is in place
  • It's louder than my other Keurig
  • It splatters when it's brewing BUT the bottom tray can be moved up to put the cup closer to the nozzle which would eliminate the splatter. Lesson learned.
  • The K Cups/ Vue Cups are not interchangable and so far I haven't found Vue cups for sale in store locally  **UPDATE- I found some at the local Bed, Bath, & Beyond today and they had my favorite- Donut Shop! WOOHOO!
  • The Vue cups are much larger and do not fit in either of the K Cup holders I already have. I have one mounted on the wall and one that will sit on the counter and neither will work. The holders are $20- $30 each so I really wish one was coming with my party pack. It isn't on the list but maybe it will be a surprise in the other box ?!?! 
  • I have very small hands and I still needed to use a stylus for the settings on the touch screen. It wasn't a problem since we have styluses on hand but I'd have been mad if I had to buy one just to set the clock for my coffee pot!

So this is merely the beginning my sweet readers! More to come on the Vue, House Party, Keurig, and my coffee addiction! 

Please enter my latest giveaway here until Sept 15.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You a Sports Family?








We are a sports family. We all love to watch the NFL (DA BEARS!) and the kids are very into basketball and soccer. In fact soccer games start this Saturday- woohoo! Our kids also love magazines and reading. Speedy is especially becoming a magazine fan. With his money own money he is earning through the system we are using he often heads straight to the magazine rack to find a new treasure. One thing we have recently talked to him about is the benefit of saving money through a magazine subscription. I think I may have found the one he should order first!



About Sports Illustrated Kids
SI Kids is THE magazine for boys and girls who love sports. It presents sports the way kids want to read about them: with great action photos, easy-to-read stories about star athletes, helpful instructional tips from the pros, and humor, comics, and activities. SI Kids is a great way to encourage kids to read, and it has won highest honors from the Association of Educational Publishers and the Parents' Choice Award.









What a great way to combine 2 loves! Even better he can view the September issue completely free before he makes his decision! Check this out:

As a special offer for you and your readers, SI Kids is providing their SEPTEMBER tablet issue COMPLETELY FREE! The tablet edition has everything that the print magazine has, but also includes bonus photos and interactive features like games and sports cards that kids will love! Simply download the SI Kids app on iPad or Kindle Fire, and use these credentials to access this latest issue:

•           Login: freeissue@sikids.com
•           Password: september2012

How awesome is that?!?!?! Can you stand even more? Well right now SI Kids is holding their first ever "SportsParent of the Year" contest and they want you to nominate inspirational parents! The winning parent will receive $1000 gift card to use towards community sports or for their child's sports activities. They describe a SportsParent as one who "exemplifies qualities that SI Kids aims to impart to children through a shared passion for sports, including fun, dedication, healthy living, and the value of community and team." I can think of a couple of fantastic coaches my kids have had that are very deserving of this nomination. So go and nominate your choice here before 9/24. Make sure to read the Official Rules first.

Don't forget to get your free September issue of SI Kids using the link above. When your child is ready for a subscription you can get it in print and on tablet for only $19.95/ year! That's a great deal compared to the rack price.  


For more information go to: http://www.sikids.com/

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SIKids


I will receive an SI Kids goody basket and a year subscription to Sports Illustrated Kids in conjunction with this post. 




S.T.O.P.

I haven't talked about our homeschooling in awhile. We've had a less than stellar beginning and today marks the beginning of month 2. Honestly school just seems to be taking for.ev.er. this year. The work is a little more intense and difficult for Apple and Speedy but really I'm not sure that has anything to do with it. You ever feel like your kids are teaming up against you? Yea. Me too.

I initiated some new programs this year and I think they are just trying to buck the system. I wanted to do more good behavior rewards and also clarify bad behavior circumstances. At the very end of last school year I began the S.T.O.P. system. Basically each letter represents a block of screen time. My kids are electronics nerds (they get it honest) and while we are very picky about which shows they watch, games they play, etc. we do seem to allow them quite a bit of screens. So to keep it from being a free for all they have a set limit of time everyday and now school behavior directly corresponds to the amount of time they are allowed. It worked pretty well for a thrown together plan last year. Over the summer I tweaked it a bit and even since then I read The MoneySmart Family System and tweaked it even more.

So here's how it works for us, each school day, each child gets an S.T.O.P. If they disobey a school rule (biggest one is DO YOUR BEST) then they lose a letter. Losing a letter= loss of one block of screen time. They each have a kitchen timer and a card to keep up with their screen time for the day. This has vastly cut down on the number of times in a day that they would ask if they could watch a movie, play DS, play Wii, get on the computer, etc. They are being held responsible for using their screens throughout the afternoon and evenings.

Now here are the tweaks. If they lose a letter during school then they automatically lose their school point for the day. Also for us the "school" point includes homeschool time, science class, choir, and soccer. So to keep their school point they must not break any rules/ have any negative behavior in any of those places. The further reward is that anyone that can go a whole school week (typically Mon-Fri but this week Tues-Fri) without losing any letters gets to pick from our new treasure box! There are little "rewards" or happies in the box for them. Some of them are random things we've been given that they haven't seen, some are little items I picked up on clearance. Nothing expensive but lots of little items that make it worth it.

Unfortunately due to the behavior we've had the first few weeks each child has only been to the treasure box 1 time in 5 weeks. Sigh. I have great hope for this week! I'd love to see them both get a treasure. :) I feel like if I can overcome the mutiny these first few weeks then maybe we will hit smooth sailing soon. I pray. I pray. I pray.

As for The MoneySmart Family System, the first week we were a little easy on them and they earned 22/24 and 20/24 points. Last week I cracked down a bit more on expectations, routines, etc so they only earned 11/24 and 14/24. They felt the sting when it was time to get paid yesterday. Even Speedy immediately recognized the difference in money. I think they will try much harder this week. I had already made a visual chore chart for them and to keep from repeating morning reminders over and over I created a visual morning chart.

As with anything else, staying consistent is just as hard for Hubby & I as it is for them. I know that once we can all make this a habit it will be so worth it. Already my house is 10 times cleaner because 1) they are keeping all of their clothes and toys picked up and 2) I feel obligated to keep everything else clean if I am going to have them clean.

How is your school year going so far?

Get Rid of Those Creepy Crawlies!

We live in an older home that is surrounded by huge, mature trees. We love it because the trees provide such wonderful shade from this hot Tennessee sun. One of the drawbacks to all that shade though is ants. When it rains especially we get ants outside, inside, everywhere! They seem to thrive in the shade and soil around our house. While this dry, hot summer has had horrible effects on crops I can't say I've missed the ants. We finally had a few short showers and yep the back patio was covered in ants!

No fear I had Combat Source Kill Max! Now let me preface this with saying that this product is intended for use indoors and I can promise you that when I see just one ant inside I will be breaking out another pack! But since my ants were outside for now I decided to give it a try and see how it worked. I was very pleased with the results! Combat Source Kill Max Ant Gel is a tube of gel that is so easy to use in cracks, crevices, and really anywhere you need to get rid of ants.



Since I wasn't experiencing any ants inside I decided to test it outside on my patio. There were 100s of ants going up a pole and across the wood on the ceiling. I used the gel all along the crevice and instantly saw some ants dying. Combat says the Source Kill Max gel allows the ants to take the poison back to the colony thus killing the whole population. I believe it! I saw some ants dead at the gel but many more were still going away. I checked in a few hours and there were only a few stragglers left on the ceiling and the pole. I give this product 2 thumbs up! Combat Source Kill Max also comes in an ant bait. These little traps allow the ant to go in, collect the poison and then return to the colony killing all the residents there including the queen. The ant baits are a much safer option where there are children and pets. Both options are much safer than sprays which can't be contained to a single area and leave a horrible pesticide smell.

Combat is doing 2 exciting things! First they are holding a $1000 sweepstakes to hold your very own Bug Free Backyard Bash! It's so simple to enter! Follow this link, watch a very short video, and fill out the form!
Second they would like to offer one Carter Chaos reader their own Combat Source Kill Max Ant Bait and Ant Gel package. These would be great to have on hand BEFORE you have an ant problem! 

To make it simple, just follow the link to the Combat page and enter the sweepstakes, print off the $1 coupon, and/or just take a look around and come back to let me know you did it. Leave a comment below telling me which you did and your valid email address. On September 15 I will use random.org to pick a winner! If you give this post a +1, share it on Facebook, or Tweet about it let me know in the comments and you will get an extra entry! 

Combat provided a free sample of their Ant Bait and Gel so I could review them. All opinions are my own.

Sometimes It's Louder Than Words

Does God ever SHOUT at you? Sometimes He seems to SHOUT at me. Not a verbal loud SHOUT but by presenting the same things to me over and over and over again. He knows I don't always get it the first time so he will make sure I hear His words on a topic over and over. I'll be honest and say sometimes it still takes me a while to listen. I've mentioned it before but fall is just going to be a tough season for us. I love fall it's my favorite time of year with football, bonfires, chili, sweaters, and hot cocoa but this year is different. My hubby has some extensive training to do over the next couple of months and so our lives are going to be CRAZY.

Now obviously from the title you know CHAOTIC is our norm but honestly I'm all about routine and schedule and .....control and I'm not going to have any of that for a little while and right smack in the middle of the holiday season. So you know what I've been drowning in? Fear. Oooh shudder. What an ugly word! Fear. We aren't suppose to fear when we know Jesus. He calmed storms, He performed miracles, and He died for us so we don't need to fear. But it creeps in doesn't it? One little life change and some of us (raising my hand) are instantly drowning in fear, worry, and self doubt.

But God loves us and He wants us to remember who is in control. So He has been shouting at me! Through sermons on FEAR, devotionals on FEAR, conversations with friends about this FEAR, and through another little Kay Arthur study called Breaking Free From Fear. I needed to be shouted at. I needed all these reminders at once to remember not to FEAR. And through the next few months I will return to those words again and again until life settles back down. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50


Even those of you that do not consider yourself fearful or a worrier will learn from this book. It's a quick Bible study but a fantastic one. It's easy to do on your own time but would wonderful in a small group. Take time for yourself and remember that FEAR can be combated with the peace of Jesus! Read the first chapter here.


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