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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Girls Wanna Have Fun #NERFRebelleParty

House Party thank you for the AWESOME Nerf Rebelle party pack. All the girls (and boys) at the party LOVED them. I received this party pack free for the purpose of sharing with friends. Here's how our party went:

Here was our party pack! Lots of blasters, bracelets, a bow, and ammo!

*Having recently moved and very recently throwing a double birthday party in our new home, I decided to take this party to a different location. The church seemed like a great place because of a wide open field and a playground area. We happened to have a potluck that day anyway so we were all able to eat and then head out for some action.

This is most of the group. There were a few kiddos that didn't make it in the picture. I'll be honest I wanted the kids to hold the Nerf gear in the picture but I knew once I handed it to them the war would be on so no weapons in the pic.

House Party had some awesome ideas for training exercises and other organized fun but with such a diverse group of participants and ages, I figured extreme chaos was in order. Plus most of the suggested ideas were for girl only parties. While Rebelle is obviously a girl line, we couldn't keep the little brothers out of the fun! Also we had more kids than we did weapons even though my Speedy brought one of his own Nerf guns. So we passed out weapons with ammo and let them go at it!

The kids tried blasters, a Heartbreaker bow, and Power Pairs. There was plenty of ammo and tatoos to go around.
 The Rebelle weapons all worked and fired correctly. they held up to use by the big kids and little kids. The recommended ages for these weapons are 8+. The colorful ammo was easy to spot and retrieve even in the grass. Most of the weapons hold extra ammo which is important in a big fight like this!

We ended the long "war" by letting them shoot Hubby. They all really seemed to enjoy that. :) In the midst of the party I passed out the bracelets and "Captain" headbands. Seriously every girl wanted a Captain headband. I wish I had more! I also let everyone take home the guns. Again I wish I had more! Luckily every mom received a coupon good for $5 off a $9.99 Rebelle purchase. I hope all the girls were able to get the other weapons they wanted!

I think the big open space behind the church was the perfect place for this event. The kids were able to run and holler without disturbing anyone. They were all so happy for some time to just play together. 

Rebelle is marketed as a toy to help girls feel brave but I think Rebelle is a great toy for bringing kids together. The Rebelle line helps my son and daughter enjoy Nerf fights together like never before. It is also a great way for girls to play together in a non-traditional way. Nerf weapons including Rebelle are a safe, fun way to get out some aggression, get some exercise, and strategize. 

This Spring's Rebelle line features different patterns. Here's the comparison of the Heartbreaker bow Apple received for Christmas vs. the one in our party pack.

After the party all we had left was....

Well and a coupon....

Thank you House Party for this fun party pack! We so enjoyed our party especially my 9 year old Apple. She was thrilled to be the honorary hostess this time!

I received a free party pack of goods from House Party. The purpose of the party pack was to review the products and share them with friends. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My New White Smile #BrushWhitenGo

I shared with you recently that I had received a free box from Influenster containing some new Colgate Optic White goodies.

I have been diligently using my new Colgate Optic White toothbrush with Built in Whitening Pen for a few weeks now I wanted to share my results with you.

My teeth started showing signs of improvement right away but now my smile is nice, white, and bright! I am so pleased! Colgate Optic White has a whole line of mouthwash, toothbrushes, and toothpastes along with this awesome toothbrush + whitening pen. If your teeth show the signs of coffee and soda like mine did then I totally recommend you get your hands on one of these toothbrush combos ASAP!

I received this Voxbox of products free from Influenster in exchange for review. All opinions and results are my own. Your results from this product my vary from mine.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Limited Edition Fresh Fabulousness!

I'm so glad to be one of the first to try the newest Purex Crystals (I got a bottle for free from Purex Insiders for the purpose of review). Introducing Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh:

I have loved every scent that Purex Crystals has had and this one is no exception. In fact I think it is my all time favorite! This scent is so flowery and so spring like it is chasing the winter blues right out of the Carter house. 

I want to share with you what I did to make my new favorite scent last even longer. I've been using the Duggar recipe for liquid laundry detergent for a few years. You can view the recipe on their blog here: Did you know you can use Purex Crystals to add fragrance to your homemade detergent? Here's how:

First lay out all your tools and ingredients. I keep the pot, measuring cup, grater, funnel, and scraper in my laundry room and only use them to make detergent. You need Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (both of those are in the "laundry mix" bag- I pre-measure and make those bags when I buy the ingredients), and a Fels-Naptha bar. Don't forget your Purex Crystals!

Grating the bar of soap. Takes mere minutes but you can use a food processor I hear. When I make several batches at once (for family and friends) I enlist the kids to grate soap.

Bring it to a boil with 4 cups of hot water. You are melting the soap here. Don't walk away because this will quickly boil over and make a soapy mess!

This is where I add the Purex Crystals. When most of the soap has melted add in a capful (or 2 like I did!) and let it continue to heat up. I had my stove on Med-Med High at this point. Once it is melted head to your 5 gallon bucket with your bag of powder mix.

You need to fill the bucket about halfway up with hot water and then pour in your powders and your soap/ Purex Crystals mix. I have been doing this a long time but accidentally put in the powders before the water this time. It still works fine but I will be mixing much more as I use this detergent.

After it is all well mixed fill the bucket the rest of the way up with hot water. I made another mistake and overfilled this time. I was in a rush and will make sure I am careful next time!

Sit the lid on your bucket but do not snap down! Your detergent needs to sit and set overnight. 

Now I have some fantastic smelling detergent (10 gallons worth!) and I still have lots of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh left to enhance the rest of my laundry! I enjoy Purex Crystals because they eliminate odor and give your laundry a lasting fresh scent.

Now for your favorite part:

I have 3 coupons good for a FREE bottle of Purex Crystals to give away to 3 lucky winners! Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget below.

I received a free bottle of Purex Crystals from Purex Insiders for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. Google

Zesty Chicken

Right before we moved I was offered a discount on this 2-in-1 Zester/ Grater from The Busy Hedonist. I've never owned a Zester but have always wanted one so I decided to give it a go. I got it quickly after ordering it and then we moved and it got pushed in a drawer.

Yesterday I decided to make orange chicken. It is one of Speedy's favorites and we usually have a bottle of sauce on hand but we were out. I decided to try my hand at making my own orange sauce and my Zester came in handy!

I popped the popcorn chicken (pre-breaded, frozen) in the oven and got to work on the sauce. I started with a base of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (cause what isn't good with Sweet Baby Ray's in it?!?!) and then zested (I felt like a real chef) in some orange peel.

When I felt like I had enough orange peel in the sauce, I cut the orange and squeezed in all the juice. 

Then I added a small can of pineapple juice and a healthy squeeze of soy sauce. I stirred it all together and let it simmer on the stove until the chicken finished cooking. I also made a batch of white rice in my rice cooker. When it was all finished I tossed the hot chicken in my homemade sauce (I don't really know what to call it because it wasn't exactly orange sauce but it was GOOD!). We then served the saucy chicken on the rice. The only thing that would have made the meal better would have been some water chestnuts, carrots (but Speedy doesn't eat them), celery, or other crunchy veggie.

I had good intentions of showing you a picture of the finished meal but they ate it all too fast! It was gone! Which was bad for picture taking but made this mama's heart happy.

So if you are in the market for a Zester I would recommend this one. It is sturdy, the handle is comfortable, and the plastic shield keeps my fingers safe and the blades sharp. It will also grate cheese, chocolate, etc. A multipurpose kitchen tool for sure.

I received a discount on this product. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flush to Paradise

Soft Scrub 4 in 1 toilet care has a new promo happening now! I was sent some promotional information but no free products from Purex Insiders. I wish I had some awesome coupons to share with you but alas I do not.

Let me tell you a little more about this promotion because it's not one I would normally participate in. Soft Scrub has made a video and some ad material featuring a 4 member male band. Each man is suppose to represent one of the cleaning qualities of the product. I've gotta to tell you that I didn't realize the men would be topless in all the ad material and I wasn't aware that this was a promotion targeted to help women find "paradise" while cleaning the bathroom. Ahem. So I will give you links to fulfill my obligations to this promotion but I won't be posting any of the actual videos or ads here (unless I can find some where the men aren't topless).

Now the good news is there is some good to this promotion! Right now on Facebook Soft Scrub is hosting a giveaway.

"For #FlushToParadise - we're giving away MORE new Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care to 10 lucky winners this week! Like, Comment or Share this post and sign-up for our email family to be eligible to win. 

The 10 winners will be contacted on March 21, 2014 via email. Good luck!" 

Here is my unique link to that page and promotion:

If you'd like to know how well the Soft Scrub 4-in-1 works you can see my review from last year. 

If you are interested in watching the Soft Scrub Flush to Paradise video you can view it here:

I did not receive a free product for this post, I did receive promotional materials and will be entered in
 a drawing for a $50 gift card from Purex Insiders in exchange for my post on this promotion.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Super White

I told you way back last spring how much I was digging the Colgate Optic White mouth care line. Well I'm still digging it and now they've added a neat new product to the line! Influenster sent me a FREE Colgate Optic White VoxBox so I could try the new Optic White toothbrush + buil in whitening pen.

I am so excited about this product. I love things that are neat, clean, and organized and a whitening pen IN my toothbrush certainly qualifies for that! I am also a heavy coffee, tea, soda drinker so not white teeth have been a concern of mine for quite awhile.

I've been using this product about 2 weeks and I'm so excited about my results. I'm going to share more with you in the next day or two. Also know that I've already seen these on an end cap at my local Wal-Mart so you can start looking for them now!

I received a free sample of these Optic White products from Influenster for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Trusting God

In the midst of life, trusting God can be hard. Whether you are waiting patiently (or impatiently like me) for the answer to a specific prayer or if God is guiding you to do something out of your comfort zone, it can just be so difficult to trust in Him.

When Apple was younger I was one of those mamas that was ready for her to go to school. Don't get me wrong I had loved my time with her as a stay at home mom but I felt like it was the natural progression for her to go to school. I was also telling myself more one on one time with Speedy was in order. I even sent her to school early for Pre-K. I never prayed about the situation much, I just thought it was what we were suppose to do. A few weeks in, I was heart sick and so was she. Things weren't going the way I thought they were suppose to go. We hung in a few more weeks before we waved our white flag and kept her home. I still was denying God's call to home school. He had slowly been whispering to me for a long time but I kept pushing the thought away. It didn't make any sense! Hubby & I went to public school and we both turned out okay. Sure God had surrounded us with homeschooling friends but that didn't mean anything, right? I wasn't a teacher and quite frankly Apple and I have been known to lock horns a few times (even at that age). I wasn't ready to trust God with all the plans I had made. I wasn't ready to give him all my dreams of how I thought our lives should look.

Eventually I did. I gave in to God. It was that reluctant. Then I had to convince my equally reluctant husband and explain to our dismayed parents. Now 5 years later I am so glad I listened to God. I'm so glad I decided His plans were better than ours. We have tough, horrible, awful days but we get the chance every day to try again. I couldn't possibly list all the times that home school has shown to be the best for us but some examples are: trips, Hubby's shift rotation, moving, family and friend emergencies. Time and again we are grateful for our flexible schedule and the time we get to spend together.

Now how do we help our children see how important it is to trust God? Well we talk with them about things like our decision to home school based on God's prompting and we share stories from the Bible with them about people who followed God's lead. One of the best stories of that is Noah. Boy I'm sure Noah got some HUGE awkward moments while he built that big boat in the desert. Max Lucado wants kids to get a funny picture of what it was like for Noah so he has a new Hermie DVD out called I Will Trust God! We <3 a="" hermie="">! 

Hermie is in a Noah-esque situation as he builds a boat in the garden in Hermie and the High Seas. Hermie is following God's instructions but his friends don't understand what he is doing! Hermie keeps telling them it is going to rain but they aren't listening. How will this situation turn out for our favorite bug?

The DVD includes a second story called Who Is In Charge Anyway? In this story Freddie the flea is feeling jealous of some of the others special talents in the garden. What kind of special talent does a flea have? This story reminded me quite a bit of the original Hermie story where he is trying to figure out how he is unique. It is another colorful reminder that God has a special plan for each of us and that he's given us some pretty unique talents too. Now that Apple & Speedy are 6 and 9 we are certainly starting to see their natural bends. God has made them each very unique and we love watching their talents develop. 

Apple sings like a bird and Speedy has natural athletic abilities that amaze me almost daily. They each have had moments where they lamented their inability to do something....I won't name names but one can't dance and the other isn't awesome in the arts and crafts area. We are quick to point out the wonderful things that they can do and do well. This Hermie video is just another reminder for them that God has a special plan.

Would you like to win a copy of this Hermie 2 story DVD? Enter via the Giveaway Tools widget below! One winner will be selected.

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


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Normal Questions or Probing Inquiry

I want to give a big shout out and thanks to all my teacher friends (and there are many) who aren't intimidated by our choice to home school. Thanks to my friends who send their kids to public schools and don't feel like I deserve a scathing inquiry about our activities.

I'm trying to convince myself that maybe people are just curious but there's a proper way to ask questions when you are curious and then there is a rude, disrespectful way to interrogate someone when you disagree with their choices.

In my new neighborhood, I just met the daughter of a neighbor. His introduction of her included the fact that she was a teacher in a nearby large city. She told me they were on Spring Break this week and then she stared at my kids. Obviously it is not Spring Break in the district we now live in. I told her we home school and we are also on Spring Break. In fact we were out for a walk to enjoy the beautiful weather. Then came the rapid questions dripping with disdain:

Do you test here? No we do our own testing.

Well do you go to some kind of classes or get together with other homeschoolers? We have in the past but not currently.

{Receive look of pure shock, get a little incensed} However my child goes to choir at such and such university and our children play sports.

Oh...(looking less haughty) well do they play soccer or baseball? Kids pipe in with, "We play soccer and baseball/ softball."

Oh... (looking even less haughty) well it does sound like you stay busy.

Me (because I couldn't resist a final zinger) Oh yes ma'am we get all sorts of SOCIALIZATION.

Hmph. Walk home. :P

I know at this stage of the game I should just let all of this roll off my back but I just can't seem to let it go. I should have asked her how she felt about teaching to the test or if she was enjoying those new Common Core standards. I could have peppered her with questions about student to teacher ratio, lack of arts and physical education in schools, those awful school lunches, and more but I don't think that way. I'm not out to attack the school system. My choice to home school is just that- a choice. Everyone gets their own choice. And my choice doesn't change my respect for all those teacher friends one iota. Education is hard. Educating children is tough.

Shouldn't all of our (parent, teacher, homeschoolers) goals be educating our children to our best ability? Don't we all want this generation we're raising to be productive, intelligent adults? Couldn't we help each other instead of being suspicious and tearing one another down?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pink and Flowery and Girly and Godly

I received a free copy of the Young Women of Faith Bible from BookLook for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Since I didn't grow up in a family that attended church regularly, I don't remember having my own Bible until I was a teenager. By that time I had been going to church steadily for a few years with friends but when I got really involved in a boyfriend's church I felt ashamed that I didn't have my own Bible to carry with me. (Maybe that's why I feel the need to fill my house with Bibles!) So I went into a Bible book store alone and I remember feeling so intimidated. The only Bibles they had were pretty much plain with simulated leather coverings and I was so surprised by how expensive they were! Anyhow I was convicted to get one and so I did, a maroon covered NKJV with my name printed on the outside. I loved that Bible (plain or not) and I still have it although the binding is falling apart. It felt like such a sacred book (and it absolutely is!) but I was almost afraid to "overuse" it and I feared ruining it.

Now of course I know that all those worries were just a part of the new experience of being a Christian but I want my kids to be completely comfortable with the Bible. I don't want them to be afraid to read it, absorb it, make notes and highlight if they need to. I also want them to feel like their Bibles are their personal books from God because they are! So now that you have a little more insight into my obsession with Bibles, let me tell you about another amazing one I have found!

:) NIV- a long time ago I decided this was the best version for me
when I'm just reading the Bible. If I'm really studying I like to have several
versions in front of me (including a NKJV) but to just read and listen to God's 
Word I find NIV to be the best (obvs that is a very personal decision)

:) Pink and Flowery and Butterfly laden to appeal to the tween crowd

:) Hardback which is awesome for an at home Bible for reading God's story 

:) Designed to engage your tween daughter

:) It says Women of Faith, I <3 faith="" of="" women="">

:) Includes a great "My Story" page for your girl to fill in some personal info

:) Has maps! We love maps! Homeschool nerds unite!

:) Has a 63 page Concordance in the back. That's HUGE and amazing for studying

:) Speaking of Studying there is a "Weekly Studies Index" Mmmhmmm

:) Includes a Table of Weights and Measures (great for when Apple asks me what a ephah equals- check the table!)

:) Weekly Study Notes for reading through the Bible in a year. Bam!

:) Journal entries from other tweens and places for your tween to do her own journaling

:) And so so so much more that I couldn't possible tell you all of it!

Truly one of the better Bibles I have seen for young girls and I know I tell you they all are great but that's because I only fill you in on the very best ones. I wish I'd had a Young Women of Faith Bible when I was a tween! Hey I wish I had a Women of Faith Bible right now! I hear the 2 mesh together in case you want to do a Bible study with your tween! How great would that be for some homeschool Bible time?!?! 

I received a free copy of the Young Women of Faith Bible from BookLook for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

Get Ready with Riley Mae!

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

Riley Mae is up to new adventures as the spokesgirl for an athletic shoe line for girls. After her first set of adventures in Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek, this time she's off to a secret hideout in Montana for Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids. This second installment in The Good News Shoes series includes more surprises, mysteries, and adventure! Here's what Apple has to say about this latest book from Jill Osborne:

"This second book is perfect. Like the first book it's based on Christianity. I love that. The book is perfect for Christians because Riley Mae is a Christian. The book reminds me of my crazy life! I like how this one picks right up where the first book ended. I like how it has some mystery in it too!"

Apple has also told me she feels like she can't relate to Riley Mae because things don't usually turn out the way she expects them too. While Riley Mae does encounter plenty of adventures these books have a wholesome theme and are easy reading for the tween crowd. As I said with the first book, the idea of being a spokesperson for a shoe company is one that easily catches Apple's attention and it helps that the main character is a softball loving, outgoing, adventure seeker. The discussions about Jesus and Christianity make this mama's heart happy!

Like Apple, I can't wait for more books from this series to be published! Special thanks to Zondervan for bringing such a great new series!

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Throat Soothing Honey Drops

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. Pine Brothers have been making throat drops since 1870. Their Softish Throat Drops are made in America (with ingredients from the US and imported ingredients). The design of their "delicious soothing relief" drops are reminiscent of a time long ago. The redesigned classic packaging comes via the newest owner Victoria Knight-McDowell (creator of Airborne).

The Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops provide relief for sore mouths and sore throats. I couldn't have received these throat drops (free to review) at a better time. Our weather (like most of the US) has been insane. We had 60+ degrees, rain, thunder, sleet, snow, and freezing rain all in less than 48 hours. To say we've all been suffering from sinus issues and sore throats would be an understatement.

Pine Bros comes in 3 flavors- natural honey, wild cherry, and black licorice. I chose the natural honey. I wish I would've opted for the mixture of flavors because now I am really curious as to what the other 2 taste like. The drops come in bags of 32 drops or a tin of 26 drops. Now these both hold the same product but I will say I like them from the bag better. The little tin of drops has a extremely strong smell when you open it and the drops seem to have a stronger flavor. Speedy was not a fan of the taste at all. It isn't a bad flavor but it is very strong. The bag had a lighter smell and in my opinion a lighter flavor. I love the consistency of these. They feel hard like a cough drop but the minute you pop them into your mouth they become soft and then almost gummy like a candy. The natural honey drops are very soothing. These are perfect to keep in your purse for church or running errands to help relieve that tickle we all get in the back of our throats sometimes.

Find locations that carry Pine Brothers here:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Deep Cleansing with Style

So I told y'all we moved and now that the boxes are unpacked and things are starting to fall into place, I'm ready to start doing little things to make this place feel like home. I've purchased a few more organizing whatchits and I need to get a few more (this house is smaller and we're feeling the pinch). Little things can make a big difference. One little thing I'm so excited to share with you is some new hand soap that I got! I received this Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap free from Purex Insiders in exchange for a review. I placed one in "our" bathroom and one in the kitchen.

This new Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap comes in 3 lovely scents: Water Blossoms, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Yellow Raspberry & Black Sugar. I can tell you that the first and last smell amazing! I was sad that I didn't receive the Coconut Lime Verbena but I will be picking one up ASAP!

This is a premium hand soap that contains little micro beads for deep cleansing. Not only is it a micro-scrubber but they smell so good. These Dial soaps also leave your hands feeling refreshed and moisturized. Although they are deep cleansing they are gentle enough for your whole family to use.

These soaps really give my counters a bright, fresh look and I know they will be a big hit when we have a birthday party here later this month!

Now I have some good news for you but there is a bit of a catch. I have some coupons to giveaway but they expire really soon- 3.31.14. So what I am going to do is give 3 coupons to one lucky winner so they can try all 3 scents. I am making this a super short giveaway and the winner will only have 24 hours to respond to the winning email. I want to make sure the winner has time to receive their coupons and use them before they expire! So enter via the easy Giveaway Tools widget and then watch your email! Winning emails come from if you want to add that to your safe list in case it is you!


I received these products free from Purex Insiders in exchange for my honest review.