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 28, 2013

Don't Miss the End!



The Purex 31 Days to Fun giveaway is nearing the end. You have a few days left to enter to win some fantastic prizes. Remember to enter every day through August 31, 2013.




Today's giveaway is a surround sound system! Wouldn't that be awesome for all your fall and winter get-togethers?


You can enter to win a different prize everyday. Check out this one that's coming up soon! 


My kids would be so jazzed about that one! So don't forget.....



I will be entered in a drawing for the chance to win a gift card for sharing this information as a Purex Insider.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Made Me Moody






I saved all my little birthday cash last month and splurged on a new Kindle Fire HD when I found it on sale with some extras. This is my first "tablet" or e-reader so I'm very excited! Of course my up-to-date daughter has had one since Christmas but that's neither here nor there. So I was so happy when it arrived and I quickly picked a Booksneeze selection to read via the Fire. When I saw the description for The House on Moody Avenue by Cellestine Hanneman it sounded like a great place to start! 

"Homes are the embodiment of memories. Each house has its own unique story to tell, but no house story is quite like the house on Moody Avenues. Surviving for 90 years, the house kept many individuals and families safe. Whether it was Lisette with her unshakable faith sustaining her or Julia, a social-climbing snob who sees her world crumble when her children marry inappropriately, each memory was saved. Join Cellestine Hannemann as she brings out all the memories that were housed in the house on Moody Avenue."

History & mystery: two of my favorite things!



I finally figured out how to get the book loaded to my Kindle (user error not system error) and was ready to get started. I was a little shocked when it said there were over 5,000 pages. That turned out to be some sort of formatting error I was happy to find. There are instead 366 pages. A good size book to be certain. I found that the book was divided into 3 sections: The Victorian Era, The Roaring Twenties, and The 60s. First of all are all e-books filled with this many grammatical errors? Obviously it's possibly my review copy is not the final product but I found all the misspellings, missing punctuation marks and capital letters a bit hard to ignore. Anyhow I delved in.

The first part (and longest part) follows the life of Lisette, an abandoned orphan with a sunny disposition and a peace no matter her circumstances. Lisette is helped off the streets by Mr. Ray and her life changes and then changes again and even again. The story of Lisette (while a bit odd in places) was an easy read in spite of the old language style. I found myself swept away in her tale and couldn't wait to read it to the end. Unfortunately part 2 was not as enthralling. Part 2 is a choppy tale of boarders who have no real connection. Each of their stories is odd and each felt as though it ended prematurely. One character was only mentioned once or twice and had no real significance so I'm not even sure why he was included. Part 3 wasn't really a part at all but a winding ending to the book.

If I were to recommend any part of the book I would say just read part 1 and stop there. The rest of the book is a sure disappointment. I hope the e-books I choose in the future will be cleaner (grammatically) and have better storylines.

I received a free copy of this e-book from Booksneeze for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Can It Be?



I've felt pretty comfortable in my parenting the last year. Although we've had behavior issues I've felt equipped to deal with them. I feel like I can relax a little in the homeschool area because I now have some years in my belt. It was just beginning to feel as though we were moving along at a steady pace when things changed. I won't embarrass anyone with details but let's just say the tween stage seems to be approaching at a rapid pace.

I need help again! I need to read books and talk to other moms and I talked with the pediatrician and whoa! Right back out of the comfort zone. Of course God plans these things so they don't hit us all at once. We are on the very, very, very beginning edge of this stage. I still have plenty of time to prepare (read that pretend to prepare) for the BIG changes. Whew. I'm skeered.



My first tool for this is She's Twelve Going on Twenty by Kim Camp. I didn't realize until I began reading it that this is actually a re-release. Since originally writing the book the author has divorced and so she has gone back and added in new information and things she's learned while being a single parent. When I first read the description on the book I thought maybe I was jumping the gun but it describes tweens as 9-12. 9! My sweet baby will be 9 in a few months. EEK! 

I was so relieved to see that some of the suggestions in this book are things we are already addressing with Apple- beliefs, influence, music & media, girl friendship drama. Of course she has suggestions for lots of issues that we haven't approached yet at this young age. Camp has some great, Biblical based suggestions for parents. She has years of experience raising her own daughters and serving preteens/ teens in other outreaches. Many of her suggestions come from countless conversations with girls over the years. Each of the chapters concludes with a section for moms & daughters to "work it out." 

I love to read books like this and take suggestions from several then talk over the ideas with Hubby so we can decide which approach is the best for our kids. With these big issues there are lots of things to take into consideration so it's really important to be on the same page and to be in prayer. If you are coming up on the tween age, remember that you are building up to the teen years. You can put in extra work and prayer now during this special stage or you can just sit in fear and wait on what the world wants you to believe is a rebellious, impossible stage with your child.

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





Friday, August 16, 2013

Calling All Homeschoolers!

Why should the public school kids be the only ones with school spirit? Wouldn't your kids like a homeschooler shirt? Maybe you'd like one for yourself so the world knows you are a proud homeschool mom or dad. Now is the PERFECT time to get shirts for your whole family.

Great Products is hosting their annual $5.99 t-shirt sale! They have a wide selection of homeschool t-shirts in a variety of sizes and colors (XXL and XXXL are $2 more). Last year I got Apple & Speedy super cute Ninja shirts during the sale. Yesterday I placed an order for shirts for Hubby & me. I can't wait to get them! At this price I may have to update Apple & Speedy's shirts too. We've found that they love to wear their shirts during homeschool field trips and also to sports practices, etc. They are proud to be homeschooled!


You really aren't going to find a better deal on shirts for yourself or your kids and these shirts are awesome! Some are hilarious like the one I ordered Hubby that says "I am in love with my kid's teacher." Some are honest like the one I ordered myself "Homeschool mom just add coffee." So true. This great sale runs through September 15th, 2013.


Make sure to check their Facebook page before you place your order. There's a special coupon code there for a FREE product! Now I want you all to go and order your family some cute shirts but to sweeten the deal Great Products is going to give one of you a shirt! Yay! Enter on the Giveaway Tools widget for your chance to win a homeschool shirt of your choice (and you will get to select size & color). 





Entry-Form

This giveaway is sponsored by Great Products. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Getting in the Routine

Well we are now in our second full week of school. We've had some wonderful, smooth days and we've had some rough, long, tearful days. I try to remember through both that this is God's plan for our family and that we are serving Him as we school.

I'll admit though there are days when it is REALLY difficult. I'm trying to remember how to cook, clean, school, and do my 2 part time jobs between practices and choir and life. It isn't easy and we've eaten more take-out lately than I want to admit.

I think what keeps me going is God's grace. Knowing that He loves me and cherishes me even on the days I don't do it all right. He smiles at my obedience to homeschool even when we're eating burgers and fries. He doesn't mind the sinkful of dishes and the dirty floor if I've given my all through the day and sought to bring Him glory.

Saturday mornings are for fresh donuts at the Farmer's Market


Look life is hard and it isn't getting any easier. Being a Christian doesn't make it all sunshine and lollipops. Being a Christian, having that real RELATIONSHIP with Christ makes it peaceful, it gives me joy, and it keeps me grounded. My bank account isn't full, my house isn't clean, and my kids aren't perfect but I can take a deep breath and smile because I have God's mercy and I can try again tomorrow.

There's a new phone commercial that talks about us loving our devices until the next new thing comes out. The phone company wants you to believe their new program for getting devices will make you happy. I just have to laugh. I love new devices. I'm a tech junkie but I know that every new device in the world wouldn't bring me happiness. I might have a fleeting moment of excitement but I'd soon grow bored with all that technology and I'd search for something new. Don't fall prey to life's programs, promises, and plans. There's only one way to find true, lasting JOY!

If you're a Christian and you're trying to be perfect, don't be discouraged. Our perfect Jesus died so we would have grace. He gave up His life for us because that's how much He loves us. Don't strive for perfection, strive for obedience. Isn't that the example you want to show your kids?

Crime Fighting Chick



I've always had an interest in law enforcement. I took several Criminal Justice classes in college, I love shows like Criminal Minds, and Hubby works in law enforcement. When I saw Critical Pursuit by Janice Cantore and read that she was a police officer for 22 years I couldn't wait to read it! I was so glad that it was a mild crime fiction without too much violence (too much violence makes me worry!). 

It is a fiction crime drama about search & rescue officer named Brinna Caruso. Officer Caruso usually works with her dog Hero but circumstances will lead her into a brief partnership with recently widowed detective Jack O'Reilly. Brinna and Jack both have some major events happening in their lives that make them question their purpose and God. Will they turn to God in the storm? Will they find a way to be friends or more? Will they both talk to their mothers? I found it interesting that both characters avoided their mothers although for different reasons. 


I really liked the characters and the storyline but I have to say it felt a little lacking by the end. There were so many good story elements that could've been developed but felt as though they were left hanging. This is the first book in the series so I have great hope that those details will be embellished in subsequent books. Brinna's story of being kidnapped at the age of 6 and then rescued is heart grabbing. The idea of her becoming an officer to help rescue kids is inspiring. Jack's development from depressed and angry to a man with a mission is exciting. The book is good and I'm hoping the rest of the series will be better. If you like crime drama without excessive violence then you will like this book by Cantore.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Blogging Network for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Open the Door





Apple amazes me. She's open to reading any book pretty much anytime. When I first saw The Door Within I wasn't sure that she would like it. A book about a realm of knights, kings, warriors, and mysterious creatures didn't sound too girly to me. I'm glad I second guessed myself because she is deeply engrossed in the whole trilogy now!


Wayne Thomas Batson begins the trilogy with The Door Within. In it we are introduced to Aidan. Aidan's family has recently moved to live with his Grampin and he isn't happy about the transition. As he's struggling through the summer in a new town with no friends Aidan seeks some adventure. When he finds a set of mysterious scrolls in Grampin's basement he sets off on a journey that he never could've imagined.

This tale of The Story parallels beautifully with the Bible. Apple had such a good time relating different events in the book to the history she knows in the Bible. As I read it I found even more hidden similarities. I must it admit the book is a real page turner. I can see why she found it so intriguing. I think the beautiful character Gwenne does an excellent job of drawing in the girlies. I can see that Speedy will also love this book when he is a bit older. If you have a child that loves to read, loves stories of knights and castles, and/ or just loves to see THE STORY portrayed in a new format, please introduce them to this series by Batson. Apple has already read book 2 (The Rise of the Wyrm Lord) and is impatiently waiting to get her hands on the final book (The Final Storm).

See a special preview of The Door Within here.

This is another book that I've enjoyed reading because it gives us something to connect over and to chat about. It is so important to find common ground as she is growing up. This book will be great for advanced late elementary readers all the way up through late middle school. Now would you like to win a copy for yourself or your child? Enter via the easy Giveaway Tools widget.



Entry-Form

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

Following by Faith




I've always been intrigued by the book of Ruth. The world tells us that all mother in laws are monsters and that no one gets along with their in-laws. When I met Hubby I was so excited to learn that I liked his family. We still get along well and I enjoy having them as a part of our lives. I try to encourage young ladies to shed the idea that in-laws are all bad and to enter relationships with a boyfriend's family with an open mind. I also want my kids to see the good relationship that Hubby has with my family and that I have with his. We have to model positive in-law relationships. Boy did Ruth set a high bar! Not only did she get along with her mother in law, she pledged allegiance to her and left her own family for her mother in law. Of course Naomi reciprocated the beautiful relationship by guiding Ruth as we assume she would've guided her own daughter.



I am Ruth by Brenda Duff & Kenneth Berg is a beautiful retelling of the book of Ruth. The story is retold in detail with amazing pictures. The pictures were taken near the area where Ruth lived in Israel. The pictures are so detailed that you feel as though you are watching a movie as you turn the pages. It really is one of the most artistic picture stories I have ever seen.


The 88 pages brought to you by New Leaf Publishing contain pictures, the story, the verses taken from the Bible, a map, and more. What a wonderful way to bring to life this story of loss, love, and redemption. You can now see it in a new way for yourself and share the story with those around you.

See a special preview of I am Ruth.

See more reviews here.



I received a free copy of this book from New Leaf Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Make a Plate


I’ve just been given the opportunity to review the Make A Plate Art Project and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. If you want to follow along, my readers save 30% on their Prepaid Art Plate Kit (that’s a savings of over $5!) - USE PROMO CODE: USFAMILY at http://www.makit.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductCode=K1100PP














Makit has been in business for over 40 years. Make A Plate kits allow children to let their creativity soar in crafting a lasting gift for Mom, Dad, Grandparent or teacher. All Make A Plates are nontoxic, BPA-Free, dishwasher safe and proudly made in the USA.



Apple & Speedy love to do crafts like this and they will make perfect Christmas gifts for special family members! I can't wait for our kits to arrive so I can share pictures with you!

I received the opportunity to try these plates for free as a US Family Guide Blogger.

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Still Going On!

I will be entered into a giveaway drawing for a gift card by sharing this information with you.





Purex's 31 Days of Fun Giveaway is still going strong! Today is Day 9 and the prize up for grabs is one my whole family would enjoy- a $450 camping getaway package! We love to camp as a family. We've planned 2 different trips this summer and have been rained out both times. Maybe we will get to go soon. A new tent and cooler would certainly make the trip better!


Now I told you all about this promotion here but let me give you the basics again. You can enter everyday on Facebook. You must be a Purex Facebook fan to enter. Please enter everyday following my link. The giveaway ends August 31, 2013. Here is the calendar of each day's prizes: 



To sweeten the pot Purex will give one lucky Carter Chaos reader a $10 Amazon gift card! Enter for your chance to win on the easy Giveaway Tools widget.



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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ready to Play?


I am posting this information as a Purex Insider. I will be entered into a gift card giveaway for my efforts.


How would you like to win a $1000 shopping spree to the Little Tikes online store AND a year's supply of Purex detergent? I think that would be FANTASTIC! It would make a great Christmas for my kids, our niece, and our nephews. Just check out what I could pick!

Slam 'n' Curve Slide
A giant slide or.....

Little Tikes® 7' Trampoline
A small trampoline or......

Lil' Wagon

A great wagon or.....

Sand & Sea™ Play Table
A great water table! 

There are so many choices on littletikes.com. So are you ready to enter now? Follow my link to enter on Facebook. You must be a Purex fan on Facebook to enter. This promotion ends on August 30, 2013. 




I will be entered into a drawing for a gift card for sharing this information and link.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Getting Into Nature




My kids are nature fanatics. They enjoy spending time in the outdoors with Hubby. Hunting, fishing, hiking they love to do it all. On top of traditional outdoor activities, we spend time as a family swimming, camping, and enjoying baseball, softball, and soccer. Basically we are outside as much as the weather allows (which in TN is most of the time). 




The Nature Bible is perfect to take along on all those outdoor excursions. Made with a sturdy, cloth, zipping cover the Nature Bible published by Tommy Nelson will stay safe while trekking through God's creation. It's size (7.4 * 5.3) is just right to tuck away in a baseball backpack or a hiking bag. It comes in ICB version- International Children's Bible which is great for reading aloud or for young readers.

                                                        

All the extras included in this children's Bible are great. From the detail of the tiny compass on the zipper to the color timelines and maps, it is sure to hold your child's interest. There are also pages to jot down special verses and there is a dictionary in the back. I will let you discover the other special features for yourself. 

Speedy will get this beautiful Bible. He can carry it with him to baseball or on adventures into the woods. He's so excited! The light blue and green make this Bible great for girls or boys from 0-13ish. Do you have a child in your life that would be blessed by this Bible? One reader will win a Nature Bible by entering on the Giveaway tools widget.



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

Studying Dinosaurs



My kids are FASCINATED by dinosaurs. Most of the kids I've met are intrigued by these ginormous reptiles. Their size alone is interesting but add in the element of mystery surrounding dinosaurs and their demise and suddenly it's a topic of great consideration.

On a recent trip to a museum my kids spent a good deal of the time "playing" with this motion activated T-Rex.

He wasn't really scared, he's just clowning for the camera.

She seems to think she is a dinosaur.

So for all of their excitement over the subject I have to say it's one I hesitate to tackle. I'm just not that knowledgeable about dinosaurs. I mean I know what we've learned on Dinosaur Train but what does the Bible say about dinosaurs? I am so glad to have some answers now that we have Chronicles of Dinosauria: The History & Mystery of Dinosaurs and Man by Dave Woetzel.




Woetzel has outlined his knowledge and research of dinosaurs in this beautiful text that was illustrated by Richard Dobbs. The 8 chapters include fossil evidence, historical evidence, aartistic evidence, Biblical evidence, and more. My kids (especially Speedy) are going to LOVE this book as a science study for homeschool. I'm gathering material now to use this book as the foundation of a dinosaur study.



Really it is perfect timing too. My kids also LOVE listening to books on CD while we are in the car. Hubby & I love it too because we can discuss the books as a family. We've been checking out books on CD all summer from our library. Our last book was How to Train Your Dragon (which is nothing like the movie) and the kids got all stirred up about dragons. Lo and behold there is a whole section on dragons in Chronicles of Dinosauria!

If you are looking for a study or resource on dinosaurs with a Biblical perspective I encourage you to check out Chronicles of Dinosauria. You can find more information and a list of other reviews here. Check out a preview of the book here.





 I received a free copy of this book from MasterBooks as a member of the Book Reviewers for New Leaf Publishing. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

That Green Eyed Monster

When everyone else is buying a new car I have to remember that my old minivan was/ is a huge blessing. I have to remember all the laughter and love and fun we've had in the old minivan. I try to ignore the windows that don't work and the air that isn't quite cold and that the van keeps eating tires.

When all my friends are blowing up Facebook with vacation pictures I try to remember the great trips we've taken in the past. I dwell on the fun times we've had around town and the great family nights playing games together. I try not to be so jealous of the sand between their toes, the fancy restaurants, and the shopping trips.

When I see ladies lunching with no kids in tow, when I envy their solo shopping trips, when I wish I had 10 minutes alone with no questions I must trust in God. I must praise Him for the blessings He has given me. I must remember that I serve Him by serving my family, homeschooling my kids, and taking grocery trips with 2 wild animals.

I'm not perfect. I get jealous. Oftentimes it's just too much. Sometimes I want to stomp my foot and beg for a new car/ a vacation/ some me time......usually though the feeling fleets quickly. I'll trade those things for the smiles and hugs and giggles that I get to enjoy every day. Thank you Lord.




Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Journey

A little over 5 years ago, God started guiding me into the world of homeschool. I became one of those Garfield cat toys with my arms and legs spread out fighting against the pull. I laughed at the idea. I panicked even at the thought of it. I wasn't prepared. I didn't want to homeschool. I didn't know how. I wasn't patient enough. I couldn't do it.

I had some amazing cheerleaders around me to encourage me. They all assured me I could in fact do it. I argued and told them my child was different from theirs. She was strong-willed. She and I generally didn't see eye to eye. I didn't have the patience. I would not be able to teach her. They kept gently prodding. God kept gently (and sometimes not so gently prodding). I begrudgingly decided to try it for 1 year. I was certain after 1 year we would put her in school and go on about a "normal" life.

I'll be honest. That first year was tough. We've had tough years since then. However I learned that I can do it. I learned that even though I don't always have the patience I should have, God is merciful. The biggest thing I have learned is that

God is working on me while I'm teaching my children.

He's helping me gain patience through this journey. He's teaching me all about those fruits of the Spirit. I'm memorizing scripture right along with my kids. And over time the most amazing thing happened

I can't imagine NOT homeschooling my kids.

Me. The one who resisted. The one who all but refused. Now I'm the one gently encouraging friends that they can in fact homeschool their kids. The patience will come. The love will grow. The joy is infectious. 

I want to encourage YOU. Stop telling yourself you can't do it. Stop counting your faults. You can do it if you choose to homeschool. Don't miss God's call. Homeschooling my kids is a huge blessing to me. Even on the bad days. Maybe even MOST on the bad days because I know I'm dealing with them out of love when they are having a terrible, awful, no good day.



Look at those faces! I'm so glad I'm not missing out on this opportunity!

Prodigal Pig



Back around Father's Day I was preparing a lesson for our Sunday School class. I was jotting down stories from the Bible that involved fathers. When I asked Speedy for suggestions he brought up the Prodigal Son. I should have known that would be his choice because that is one of his favorite Bible stories. I included his selection in my lesson and let the class know it was his pick that Sunday.


Back in April, I introduced you to an On the Farm DVD called Cocka-Doodle Dooo the Right Thing. Now I want to tell you about a new installment from On the Farm: The Prodigal Pig. The voices of Randy Travis, Vince Gill, and Amy Grant will take your children through this fun take on the Prodigal Son story. This cute cartoon features the letter P so your child can reinforce their knowledge of the letter P while learning about God's forgiveness.

Speedy loved Farmer Bob, Hercules, Jenny, and Porkchop and their version of his favorite Bible story. Apple enjoyed it too. I felt really good knowing they were watching a wholesome show that focused on God. I am so disappointed lately with the things on television and even many of the new "kids" movies. I just don't understand why so many (nearly all of them) have curse words, romantic story lines, violence, and sinful behavior. If we allow our children to fill their minds and hearts with those shows then soon those behaviors will feel right to them. I don't want to see that happen with my kids so we will stick to wholesome dvds like The Prodigal Pig.