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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Educents 31 Day Back to School Giveaway

The information was provided by Educents.

Educents wants to help you get ready for Back to School! Every day in August they will have a giveaway. If you enter every day you will be entered into the Grand Prize giveaway. If you share it on Facebook you can increase the Grand Prize to $1000! That means a grand prize shopping spree on Educents for $1000! I could do some damage with that amount!

The giveaway starts tomorrow but you can get a sneak peek of the prizes up for grabs. Just click here for the calendar: #31days31giveaways.

I would love to win the Seat Sack (8.24) or the Advanced Writing Resources (8.28).

So get ready. Make yourself a reminder. Enter every day beginning tomorrow 8.1.2013! Get more information on the Educents Facebook page.

Self- Hatpan

I decided to have a little fun rearranging the letters of this product as a post title. Don't be alarmed. ;)

I get so excited when one of these boxes arrives on my doorstep.

It means I have another fabulous product to review for you from the Purex Insiders program! Actually Fels-Naptha is a product I'm quite familiar with. 

Maybe you've seen Fels-Naptha in the laundry aisle and wondered what exactly this bar is suppose to be. The wrapper says Laundry Booster and Stain Fighter. Let's start there. The directions are right on the back of the package to use the bar in those manners. I've certainly used the bar as a stain fighter in a pinch. I just wet the stained clothing a bit and rub the bar right on the spot. It can be used to remove greasy stains, treat oily stains, and more!

The bar has a lovely clean scent.

Another terrific use for Fels-Naptha is making your own laundry detergent. You can use it to make liquid or powder detergent. The recipe I use calls for a Fels-Naptha laundry soap bar, Borax, and Super Washing Soda.

At Christmas last year I made liquid laundry detergent and gave gallon jugs away as gifts to family and friends.

I even included the recipe on cute paper so they could make their own later.

So what do you use Purex Fels-Naptha for? Would you like to win a bar? I have 3 coupons to give away! 


For another chance to win check out the Purex 120 Years, 120 Winners giveaway! You can win one of 119 Fels-Naptha laundry bars or you could be the grand prize winner and get $500! The sweepstakes runs July 31, 2013- August 28, 2013.

I received a free product for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Awesome August Daily Giveaway

Purex is doing it again! Another awesome giveaway and this one is phenomenal because a new winner will be selected EVERY DAY in the month of August! I don't know about you but I would love to win ANY of these fabulous prizes:

I could really, really use the Juicer & Essentials, Laptop, or iPad mini. Apple would LOVE for me to win an iPod Touch for her. Speedy is a Samsung lover so he would think the Galaxy Tablet was for him. Hubby is our photographer so he would be jazzed about the digital camera package. 

Which would be your favorite prize? I have great news for you. This giveaway (that begins tomorrow August 1st) will be SUPER easy to enter. This is a giveaway exclusively for Purex fans on Facebook. To get started go here to the Purex Facebook page. Like the page and starting August 1st make sure to enter every day! Set an alarm on your phone or write a note on your computer to remind you to enter every day.

Be sure to let me know if you win one of these amazing prizes!

I wrote this post as a member of Purex Insiders. All opinions are my own. I will be entered into a special drawing as a result of participating in this promotion.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Almost Time

Our school year begins later this week. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn. Actually I'm feeling good about it. My house is full of boxes (including some of homeschool resources) but I'm certain we can wade through. I didn't want to move during our school year but we are still looking for a new house so looks like we will be moving while school happens.

I'm excited about some changes in curriculum we are making this year. Apple will be a fourth grader and because she is such an avid reader I have selected more resources that will involve her reading independently. Last year we added Life of Fred into our rotation as a supplement to Math U See and both children love it so we will continue to do dual math.

Friends recommended Shurley English and I was ready to move away from traditional English textbooks so I order Shurley for both kids. I buy as much curriculum used as possible and Shurley was no exception. I had to order the TM and workbooks separately. When they all arrived Speedy's was perfect. Unfortunately I had made an error and ordered the school version of Shurley 4 rather than the homeschool version. Somehow I managed to order the right workbook for that version but they weren't exactly the same edition so I have unmatching Shurley 4 in the wrong version. I wasn't completely sold on Shurley for Apple anyhow. A few weeks ago a friend showed me the Wisdom Books for Language Arts that are recommended by the Duggars. They look like they will be perfect for Apple and they are inexpensive so I ordered the first set of them for her. I'll let you know how she likes them.

Speedy will be using Shurley English since I ordered the correct items for him. He will be focusing on math, reading, and handwriting. We will also begin spelling. He's become quite the baseball player and I'm hoping all the extra physical activity in the evenings will improve his focus in the mornings. He hasn't complained about school starting soon so I hope he's secretly excited.

My goal for the summer for Apple was:

1. Teach her to cook 2 dinner meals from start to finish. Well we got one down pat. She can make a mean meal of sauerkraut and hot dogs/ brats. The other meal I intended to teach her was chicken salad sandwiches. While we didn't have a formal session she has been making tuna salad for sometime and has made chicken salad once. I've tried to bring her in the kitchen (at least briefly) every time I am making a meal. She loves to cook and I want to continue to nurture her in that area. Speedy usually wanders in as well and is beginning to help too.

2. I wanted Apple to read and do unit studies for 3 of the books on her reading list. To be honest this didn't go as well as I had planned. It was a battle to get her to do the work. She did make it through Bridge to Terabithia and The Hobbit but just barely. She had no trouble reading and comprehending them but she wasn't thrilled to do the unit study work. I am praying her attitude improves as she has many more books on the list. I may have to tweak some of the unit studies for her so that they keep her interested.

All in all it has been a lovely, busy, productive, fun, cool summer that is ending too quickly BUT I am looking forward to the structure of the school year. We have taken on more extracurricular activities than we intended to so it will be a busy fall as well.

Ecc 3:1 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So Soft and Fresh

Are you looking to spice things up in the laundry room? Are you bored with your regular products? Do you need to add a new fresh smell to your clean clothes? Look no further than the NEWest line from Purex. Purex Fabric Softener Sheets are now available in 2 fresh scents- Sweet Lavender and Mountain Breeze.

I couldn't wait to try these new dryer sheets. I knew this Purex product wouldn't disappoint and it didn't! The sheets are big and thick. The smell is fantastic and my clothes are soft and fresh. 1 sheet is perfect per load. My whole laundry room smells like a mountain breeze.

With a husband in law enforcement and 2 children that stay busy playing sports I can tell you that our laundry needs all the scent help it can get! When all of our clothes come out smelling great I know I've found a terrific laundry product.

Now you know as a Purex Insider I love to share the latest Purex products with you! 3 readers will win 1 coupon each good for a FREE box of Purex Fabric Softener Sheets. The Giveaway Tools entry form seems to be working well for everyone so we will continue on with that format. Enter via the easy widget for your chance to win!

As a Purex Insider I was sent a free product to try in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. Google

Plus Points of Homeschool

I keep thinking of fun little things that are a plus about homeschooling right now in the chaos of back to school time.

1. No school uniforms or back to school clothes to buy
    Apple & Speedy just wear their regular clothes or pjs to "school"

2. No need to buy school supplies during the mad rush
   In fact I am free to hit up all the clearance sales that begin a few weeks after school starts

3. No first day of school jitters and/ or worrying about which teacher they will get
   Obviously I'm always the best choice :)

4. No school lunches to pack and/ or lunch money to remember
   Of course I do have to remember to keep the cabinets & fridge stocked

5. No need to change our sleep schedule
   We are free to get started in our own time although we do get started early enough to            finish our school room work by lunchtime

6. No back to school fundraisers so we don't have to beg friends and family for money
   Although we still get begged and support local schools when we can

7. No homework
    No homework! Well no homework at night because all our work is homework!

As you can see there are so many positives with homeschool! I'd have to say my favorite is number 5. I tend to stay up late and sleep a little later in the mornings. I am not a happy camper when I have to wake up early for days on end. 

I don't have everything as organized for our school year as I did last year but I'm looking forward to getting started on 4th grade and 1st grade!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Get It Clean

I told you before how much I love Borax! Borax is a natural cleaner that is totally versatile. I always keep a box...or two....or three in the laundry room. How do I use Borax? Let's count the ways:

1. Laundry booster- helps boost your detergent to remove tough stains and eliminate odors

2. Additive to make your own laundry detergent (Google or check Pinterest for recipes)

3. Additive to make your own dishwashing detergent (again Google or check Pinterest)

4. Sprinkle on carpet to eliminate odors

5. Ant control- sprinkle in ant problem areas and/ or mix with jelly to get rid of ants

6. Make slime

7. Use as a cleaner in the toilet, bathtub, floors, etc.

So you see you should always have a box of 20 Mule Team Borax in your laundry room too!

What's your favorite way to use Borax?

I received a free product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Purex Insiders team.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marked or Markless

As Apple continues to CONSUME every book she can get her hands on we struggle to find appropriate reading material for her. I can't tell you how excited I am to find the Swipe series by Evan Angler. I personally enjoyed reading this book and it is a book that Apple will love. It has suspicion, mystery, intrigue, excitement, and Biblical references. I read the third book in the series Storm. I can't wait to go back and read the first two books now but I will say it was easy to jump into the series without starting at the beginning.

Revelation 13:16-17

King James Version (KJV)
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Evan Angler has taken this verse and created his idea of what these times might look like. In this mystery thriller, the "Marked" and "Markless" are living in a post-war torn America under the leadership of General Lamson. Lamson has joined forces for Global Unity with the European leader Cylis. The world should be reveling in the promises of this G.U. but instead Marked and Markless are suffering the effects of drought and there is a new sickness going around. How will Logan, Peck, and the Dust help out? Can they save their friend Erin?

Storm is exciting. It is full of mystery. Any older elementary- middle school aged child will enjoy it. I mean anyone really because I enjoyed it! Watch for the author's references to himself and the first book of the series Swipe. I'm curious to see if Apple will pick up on those. Check out a special sneak peek here:

Would you like a copy of Storm? I have one copy to give away. Enter via the easy Giveaway Tools widget.


I received a free copy of this book from Tommy Nelson for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever wondered how to become a Purex Insider? Have you ever been jelly of all the amazing products I get to review as a Purex Insider? Are you a blogger? Well read on.....

Purex Insiders are a group of bloggers that specialize in product reviews, giveaways, savings, and feature family friendly content. Purex Insiders are social media savvy and enjoy posting online regularly. Purex Insiders get to test the newest Purex products and other new products from Henkel like Dial, Soft Scrub, and more.

The Purex Insiders program has recently unveiled a whole new website for easier access to the community, simple reporting forms, and more opportunities for reviews. In addition to free products, Insiders have a chance to win gift cards from regular drawings.

Does this sound like a program that would fit you? Do you enjoy Purex laundry detergent? Apply now for the Purex Insiders program-


Monday, July 15, 2013

It Matters

I told you about Motor Oil Matters (MOM) in this previous post. Last week I had the opportunity to go and get the oil changed on my van. It was just over the recommended time/ miles. First I checked the MOM website to see if they had suggestion for an oil change shop in my area. Alas they did not so I decided to head to the closest oil change facility. That happens to be at a superstore retail location. I normally don't use that facility but I had some other shopping to do so it was convenient. 

I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't much of a line. A super polite gentleman came out and got my information. I had the MOM checklist pulled up on my smartphone and I asked him a few of the questions. He was so patient and helpful! He went over the various oil change options and went as far as to tell me which ones weren't worth the price. I felt safe leaving my vehicle in his hands.

Once inside the store I double checked that I would be getting a new oil filter and that the oil being used was the correct viscosity and was API- Licensed. 

The kids and I took our time in the store and picked up all the items we needed. We were able to pay for our items and the oil change all at one time. The oil change was finished in less than 45 minutes. I left with a receipt in hand and a clear understanding of the service my vehicle had and the next time it should be done.  I have a high mileage vehicle and I need to do everything I can to keep it running smoothly.

Now here comes the really fun it time for an oil change on your vehicle? Motor Oil Matters is going to supply one lucky reader with a $50 gift card! It will be a Visa gift card so you can use it at the facility of your choice. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Enter via the easy Giveaway Tools widget below. If you are the lucky winner don't forget to take your MOM checklist to your next oil change!

"The Motor Oil Matters information and gift cards have been provided by Motor Oil Matters.” 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It Really Is Incredible

My family got the privilege of trying out Incredible Pizza of Memphis for free. I was sent a special blogger's coupon that covered our meals and some bonus cards to play games. My kids were SO excited as they have been hearing about Incredible Pizza from all of their friends. I really wasn't sure what to expect but I was game for the trip. We happened to be taking a little family vacay with my mom and stepdad to Memphis so that was the perfect time to try it out!

We didn't have any trouble finding it. As you can see the building stands out!

The kids were so excited that they didn't want to stand still for a picture but I made them anyway. :)

We went on in and the kids began to "ooh" and "ahh." The cashier was very friendly and when she had a little trouble with my special coupon another employee came over and assisted her. We were ready to dive in! I was so impressed to see this sign prominently posted:

The buffet was so big! There was a salad section, a taco/ nacho section, baked potatoes, veggies, pizza, and dessert! There was a slushie machine and several soda stations. We piled high some plates and went into the Diner seating area. There are 4 seating areas at Incredible Pizza Memphis. The Diner, the Family Room, the Gymnasium, and the Drive In. There was a movie showing in the Drive In and the kids wanted to sit there but most of the tables were reserved for a big group that was coming in so we went to the Diner instead. As we ate we discussed some other fun seating areas that they could have like a beach/ fishing theme, a rustic cabin, a theme park or carnival theme, etc. I think they really could do a lot more with the themed seating areas.

We had the diner to ourselves
Once we picked our table we headed for the buffets. On closer inspection there weren't many pizzas out at that time. We did see a sign to create your own pizza. My mom attempted to do that but they happened to be pulling one of the ones she wanted out at the exact same time. She did say several were sitting in a window ready to be put out. With so many empty places on the buffet I'm not sure why they weren't putting them out quicker. However we found plenty to eat. The cheesy bread cut into pizza shaped slices were everyone's favorite! Apple also enjoyed a loaded baked potato she built on the bar. The pizza was decent. For the regular price, the pizza and all the extras were well worth it. After 2 plates of pizza and extras (did I mention the green beans were fabulous?), we went for the dessert bar. OH.MY.WORD! The fresh baked, hot cookies were the BEST. Peanut butter and chocolate chip were available and they went great with the ice cream that was included. Of course we had to have some slushies too.

Pizza, pasta, & nachos

After that we were full and the kids were over the top excited to go to the game room area. Now this isn't your typical arcade. Not only were there TONS of video games, there was mini golf, laser tag, indoor go carts, bumper cars, and more. We tried everything except the laser tag. Honestly we really wanted to do laser tag too but the price wasn't clearly displayed and I never got around to asking the cost. Apple BEGGED to do the golf carts until her Papaw finally agreed to go with her. She had so much fun. That was her favorite part of the hours we spent there. 

Speedy LOVED the bumper cars. He had the best time ramming his sister and anyone else that was there. He also enjoyed the car and motorcycle video games. 

One thing we all loved was the virtual ride machine. There was always a short line for it and each of us rode it several times. I tried the jet and old abandoned mine. They were both fun rides!

We also all enjoyed a round of mini golf. It was totally free the night we were there although I think there is normally a charge.

I have a bunch of pictures but I'm sure you can tell from these what a great time was had by all! We were there around 4 hours total. After playing we stopped by the prize area but we didn't have many tickets so the kids picked some candy. We stopped by the slushie machine for a treat before leaving.

All in all we had a fantastic time! The bathrooms were clean but a few of the faucets weren't working. They had the SUPER LOUD hand dryers so Speedy didn't want to go back in. Incredible Pizza of Memphis offers food and fun for all ages. They have discounted prices for seniors and they offer daily specials during the week. There were also party rooms for birthdays! I would totally recommend Incredible Pizza of Memphis to any family looking for a fun excursion. Before you go take a moment to play their spin to win game for your chance at a free buffet, prize points, or other prizes!

I was so grateful for the free buffets and play cards I received in exchange for my honest review from Incredible Pizza of Memphis and US Family Guide. All opinions and pictures are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Teaching Little Ones Their ABCs

When my little ones were learning their ABCs we used every resource we could find. That included tons of ABC books. What a great way to teach your children while spending good quality time together as you read to your child from a book! I want to introduce you to My ABC of God Loves Me. This lovely book is perfect for girls and boys, features a carry handle, and is terrific for reading  to your child.

From A to Z each hard page features a letter with a Biblical truth about God's love. The illustrations really jump off the page and are sure to keep the attention of your baby- 5 year old. The sturdy construction ensures it will endure for many years. For a closer look check out this preview.

I believe my favorite page is "R- God is our rock, His love stands firm and true. In the biggest storms of life, He will carry us through." What a wonderful, timeless truth that is perfect for teaching your child! I cannot wait to give this beautiful treasure to our niece for her birthday next month. I know she will love it!

What is your favorite phrase or verse to convey God's love to your children? We usually remind our children with John 3:16- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." I feel like this verse has such power and even small children should know that God sent his own son to die for our sins.

Would you like a copy of My ABC of God Loves Me for a special little one in your life? Enter via Giveaway Tools for a chance to win!


I received a free copy of this book from Tommy Nelson for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oil Matters

Are you headed out of town for a 4th of July celebration? Maybe it's almost time for your family to take off for the beach or another summer vacation destination.

Some fireworks from last year's celebration of the 4th.

  • AAA expects between the major summer holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day to aid over eight million motorists, and cautions drivers that auto maintenance is key to avoiding summertime travel breakdowns. Ensuring quality motor oil in your car is one way to prevent road trip problems. 
  • Motor Oil Matters, or MOM, a new consumer education and industry watchdog program by the American Petroleum Institute, has been established to stress the benefits of quality licensed motor oils and call on to the carpet those who engage in deceptive practices. 
  • Service-locators can be quick to offer discounted services to people who are looking to reduce their automotive maintenance costs.  Make sure your service provider is pouring quality motor oil into your car before you decide on a cheaper deal.
I know it's important to me to keep my vehicle service so I don't encounter any problems while shuttling the kids around town. Regular oil changes are routine for us. I don't always ask enough questions though so I'm so happy that MOM is providing a checklist to carry on your next oil change.

You can download your free copy of the checklist on the Motor Oil Matters checklist on their webpage. You can also find MOM on Facebook and Twitter. So don't forget to get your regular oil change before your next trip! Keep your eyes on Carter Chaos because I will have another post soon regarding oil changes and it will involve a giveaway!

Disclosure: The Motor Oil Matters information and a gift card have been provided by Motor Oil Matters. 

Homeschool Vs. Public School

Let's continue with the theme of encouragement today. If you homeschool your children then I'm sure you have days when it seems it would be SO MUCH EASIER to take them and drop them off at the nearest public schools. Surely you have days when taking them with you to the grocery store seems akin to torture at the hands of your worst enemy. Maybe you feel like you just can't do it anymore, like you aren't teaching them a thing, like it's just too hard. I have lots of those days. LOTS.

Now I want to give my personal disclosure before I delve into my review: I have many friends that send their children to public school. I do not fault them for that. Every family has different dynamics and scenarios. It is not my place to judge anyone for their decisions about schooling.

I first heard of IndoctriNation as the video documentary. I had heard it was interesting and gave some new insight to the public school system. I still have not watched the documentary however. It's on my list of things to watch "someday when I have a some time." That day may never come. ;) However I was intrigued enough to jump on the opportunity to review the new book by the makers of the documentary. So first of all it is a documentary type book. That means the purpose is to shed one thing in the most positive light possible (homeschool) and one thing in the most negative portrayal as possible (public school). So parts of it do seem harsh but that is the nature of such an undertaking.

Some of the focuses in this book took me by surprise and some did not. There is an entire chapter devoted to the over prescribing of medications for ADD and ADHD. 15 years ago I did an entire honors paper in college studying the same issue then. The number of prescriptions of Ritalin have increased DRASTICALLY in those 15 years. It was already a problem in 1998, it's an epidemic now. I am always crushed when I hear stories of bright, enthusiastic children put on drugs to "calm them down." They are children. They are not going to be calm. If they have social influences such as over-stimulation by violent video games, broken homes, lack of attention from parents, abuse, and/ or a diet full of dyes and chemical laced foods then they destined for failure in a traditional classroom. I encourage you to read at least chapter 2 of this book if you have a child in your life that has been labeled as ADD or ADHD.

The thing that surprised me the most but actually made the most sense to me was the talk of "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports." You may have never heard of this term. I had not but I immediately recognized the basis of it. This is the system that ignores negative behavior and focuses on positive behavior. This is the system that undermines actual discipline in favor of cheering a child on for doing the simplest things, even cheering them for doing things that they have or should have been doing for years. This is the system that lead to team competition with no scores and everyone receiving a trophy. I knew of this wild parental style but I didn't know it by name and because we were not involved in public school except for a few weeks, I didn't recognize how much this was used in schools. To be honest, I was SHOCKED to find a "discipline" sheet in our VBS last week that encouraged us teachers to use positive reinforcement and basically ignore any negative behavior that wasn't disruptive. I will say I read the page, laughed, and then treated the kids in my class the same way I treat my own kids. If they misbehaved they were given a stern warning. If they did it again they were pulled from the group so we could have a little chat. Thankfully I had a GREAT group of kids so there wasn't much discipline needed. Then we were watching the newer movie Parental Guidance (PS very cute and family friendly) and the parents in the movie were raising their kids on this PBIS basis and the grandparents come in and basically tell the parents how ridiculous their system is and the grandparents make some real progress with the kids through tough love. Yay for a realistic movie!

So what did I think of IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity by Colin Gunn & Joaquin Fernandez? I found it interesting. I took some time to research for myself some of the claims made in the book. And mostly I found it a great encouragement to continue our homeschooling journey!

Read what others thought of the book here. See a special preview here. And watch the book trailer:

This book is published by MasterBooks a division of New Leaf Publishing. They sent me a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

How Goes It?

June passed by like a flash for us! We celebrated Speedy's birthday & our anniversary. We looked at houses but don't have THE ONE yet. We spent time with family, one kid went to camp, we had VBS at church, and we spent little to no time at home. It was fast and now it's over.

Yesterday Apple bemoaned,"Only one month left before school starts again." And it's true. We will begin our next school year at the beginning of August as we always do. Between now and then we will celebrate Independence Day, my birthday, the other child will go to camp, and we will attend a family reunion. It just never seems to slow down around here.

In the midst of ALL THAT, it can feel like we are swimming in craziness. Plenty of those days I just wanted to throw in the towel. I haven't had enough sleep. We are woefully behind on communicating with extended family and friends. We barely have had enough time to do everything on the calendar and at the end of every day we were all exhausted.

As the mom though, I don't get the luxury of throwing in the towel. I don't get to call in for a sick day. I have to get up and keep going. We plan these things to enrich our child's lives. We want to serve God in these moments, even when it feels like all we can do to keep moving along.

Just when I wondered if it was all worth it, Apple made a very important decision concerning her future. She was still and quiet long enough to feel the prompting of the Lord. As we pray with her the next few weeks, I ask that you would pray along with us. I give all the glory to God but it is so encouraging to me to know we've been on the right track! All our time spent homeschooling, all the time we spend at church, the time reading and praying together, it had her heart primed.

Moms if you feel discouraged today please remember that you are making a difference! You are laying the groundwork! Find peace in the Lord.

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.