My Current Giveaways

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Take the #FamilyDiningWeek Challenge and Giveaway

Disclosure: Live Well Omaha Kids partnered with me for this post. All opinions are my own.

What does dinner time mean to you? If you have children, it can often mean chaos and a big hustle to get food to the table and get the kids there, too. Now that our kids are older. it's harder to make family dinners work. So when I was approached by Live Well Omaha Kids to blog about the Family Dining Week Challenge and Pledge, I knew I had to participate. The week of October 19 - 25 has been named Omaha Family Dining Week by Mayor Jean Stothert.




Sean and I have always put a focus on sitting down at the table as a family as much as possible. We turn the TV off and have a no-screens rule. Then we talk about our day over dinner. I read an article once that said the one common denominator among Rhodes scholars was they sat down to have family dinners together. I used to tell my kids, "We're getting you a scholarship so sit and eat."  


Family meal time seems to be dwindling--even in our home. We still work hard to make a family meal a reality as often as we can. Sometimes we eat early to make it to activities or we eat late--with our kids being older, I don't feel as pressured to have the exact same meal time each night. There are so many good reasons to eat together as a family, but some of the facts on the website surprised me. 


In addition to nutritional benefits, family dining has other benefits, such as:
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving communication among family members
Dining together more than four nights per week is also attributed to:
  • Reducing risk of depression in teens
  • Reducing teen drug use
  • Reducing teen pregnancy
- See more at: http://livewellomahakids.org/programs-solutions/at-home/family-dining/#sthash.h5jLpbCC.dpuf


How about you and your family? Do you want to join us in bringing back Family Dining?


Live Well Omaha Kids is also sponsoring a giveaway on my blog. For those who take the pledge, you can win a $15 HyVee Gift Card. Enter below for your chance to win. 


For more chances to win a $15 HyVee Gift Card, please stop by these blogs and enter their giveaways, too.


Midwest Mammas


Sensory Mama Saving Cents


Liv, Laugh, Love


Mom Saves Money


Makingmine


Oh My Omaha

Family Fun in Omaha

Curtain and Pen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Restaurants, Autism, and "The Look" -- #SensoryBlogHop


I'm so excited to be participating once again in the Sensory Blog Hop. It's a monthly hop where those of us who are or love people with sensory issues can have a moment to speak our minds. So far, I appear to focus on restaurants...every month...

I don't mean to focus in on dining out, but at the same time, I hear over and over how people who have kids with special needs don't eat out because it's hard. And last month, I was challenged (nicely) by Full Spectrum Mama.com to post about how we handled reactions to our son and his behaviors at restaurants. Gauntlet thrown - challenge accepted. And as easy as it was for me to say 'challenge accepted,' the reality is that going back in time to those years is very hard. It's picking the scab off of a wound and it goes back to a much darker time in my life. The place where we didn't know who our son would be or what he could or could not achieve. (Spoiler alert - next month I'm talking about figuring out what you can achieve with sensory issues.) To catch up quickly, here's where I talked about The Sounds of Restaurants and here's where I talked about What Would You Do


So the look, the stare, the commentary--usually unpleasant at best. I am happy to note that I don't remember a single time anyone said anything derogatory to us. I'm forever grateful for that. If anyone would have said something while we were in the midst of those years, I would have either become an instant emotional wreck or I'd have come back verbally attacking and being generally ugly in return. It would have depended on the day and if I was fed up with the world or feeling like I was a pond scum parent. Now that Nathan is older (12 years old), I can look back with a few more hours of sleep under my belt, with a larger tool kit of information and with an arsenal of assorted word weapons and deflectors. 

Now I aim to educate. I'm the first one to let folks know my child has autism. Autism Awareness--we've come a long way baby in just 12 years. The numbers have gone in Nathan's lifetime from 1 in 150 to the current statistics 1 in 68. If I get anything that could resemble a look, a stare or if there was a comment, I'd hit education mode. I usually say something like, "It's ok, he has autism." With the new 1 in 68--every person knows SOMEONE with autism. I give them a little information about Nathan, "It's a little loud in here for him so he'll be covering his ears a lot." Once they see I'm willing to talk, I get a LOT of questions...about someone else's child. I hear all sorts of questions...well my cousin's son or my sister's daughter has autism. That child does xx, is that normal for autism? I answer questions as best I can, often give them a resource card listing the Autism Society of Nebraska website where they can get more information. 




But in the olden golden days, we sometimes got 'the look.' People would stare and glare as Nathan would start crying as the fast eater parent quickly wolfed down the last few bites. How did I handle the stares? In public, I ignored them. Too bad. It's not like I've never eaten where a tired, cranky or unruly toddler has disrupted an entire restaurant. So my kid is rocking and flapping and starting to cry--deal with it. I just couldn't cope with one more thing in those moments. I was on as much sensory overload as Nathan with trying to keep him calm until we got him outside. In private, I cried--a lot. I cried that we disrupted restaurants, I cried that people can't 'see' his disability, I cried as I grieved for the dreams for my son vs. the reality of life, and I cried as I hurt for him. I didn't know why he melted down in restaurants--still don't. I have guesses, but no solid proof. But a mom knows when her child has needs and knowing I couldn't fulfill them was heartbreak for me. 

Here's the bit of hope I want to leave  you with. While we got some stares and some glares, they were few and far between. Most of the time, we got smiles and nods of encouragement. The people who stopped to say something would tell us what a great job we were doing. People told us that Nathan was blessed to have us for parents--that one still makes me cry. He's blessed to have us? Ha! We're muddling through not really knowing what we're doing, but we've learned through Nathan to discover different joys in life. Our world opened up in a whole new way. While I might not have chosen this path for myself, I can't imagine any other life. 



Most memorable--one precious woman who put her hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear, "Keep up the good work. He's a great boy and you're a terrific mom." With a squeeze of my shoulder and a sunny smile, that angel left the building and restored a piece of my heart. It was a really down day and she gave me enough encouragement to just keep trying. 

So in answer to the challenge--how did we handle stares, glares and comments?

  • Comments -- we didn't get any but now I'd come back with something snappy like, "He's got autism, what's your excuse for being rude?" (Seriously--I don't tolerate rudeness!)
  • Stares -- smiles, or ignore. I chose to never stare back...stares are interesting because we interpret them so differently. I learned over time that most stares were people trying to understand or figure out how they could help. It wasn't mean or nasty. It was curiosity...and I'm into education. If a smile would encourage a question where I could educate, bring it on. 
  • Glares -- I still ignore them. Let them stare. I've got a super power--I'm an autism mommy and a sensory specialist. What are their credentials?
Have you encountered the stare, glare or commentary? Has it been positive or negative? I'd love to hear from you. 

Be sure to check out the other Sensory Blog Hop Blogs below:


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Omaha Giveaway - The Phantom of the Opera: Halloween Organ and Film

Disclosure: I was provided two tickets to this performance plus two tickets to give away. No other compensation given and all opinions are my own. 

Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera
Have you heard what is going to be happening at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha? For one show only, on October 22 at 7:00 p.m., you can once again see the historic theater in it's full glory. The mighty Wurlitzer Organ will once again play during a showing of the classic film, The Phantom of the Opera.

The Wurlitzer onstage at the Orpheum Theater Omaha


The Phantom of the Opera: Halloween Organ and Film featuring organist Clark Wilson will be sure to please. I was blessed to hear the Wurlitzer last year through Omaha Performing Arts. I can't wait to hear it again...and add the visual of a silent film. Clark Wilson is one of the most prominent and recognized scorers of silent photoplays in America today. He works exclusively with the Organ in developing accurate and historic musical accompaniments as they were performed in major picture palaces during the heyday of the silent film. I've heard him play at one other organ event and he is impressive in his attention to detail and ability to bring out the best in a pipe organ.


Clark Wilson
Excellent seats are still available at a mere $15 per ticket. Purchase tickets online through Ticket Omaha.

From an Omaha Performing Arts Press Release:
Channeling the 1920s experience, this special production of the classic horror film, The Phantom of the Opera, makes for the perfect Halloween festivity. Complimented by the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, the silent movie stars Lon Chaney as the deformed Phantom haunting the Paris Opera House.
Wilson is one of the most prominent and recognized scorers of silent photoplays in America. He works exclusively with the organ in developing accurate and historic musical accompaniments as they were performed in major picture palaces during the heyday of the silent film. The musical style of the time remains intact; no attempt is made to distract from the picture by using themes or styles that entered the musical scene years later. Most important of all, the film remains the focus and star of the performance.

Would you like to win two tickets to the show?
Enter below using the Giveaway Tools form.
Remember - if you click on settings in the top right corner and select "Show All at Once," it will make your entering faster and easier.



Sunday, October 05, 2014

LeapFrog #FitMadeFun #MommyParties


Disclosure: I was provided materials mentioned in exchange for hosting a party and review. All opinions expressed are my own.




I can't tell you how excited I was to find out I got to host a Fit Made Fun party sponsored by LeapFrog, CLIF Kid ZBar Protein and Mommy Parties. I was sent a party box including two LeapFrog Activity Bands, multiple boxes of CLIF Kid ZBars and activities and ideas for the party. We had all the neighborhood kids over and had a fantastic outdoor fun time. 


The new LeapFrog activity band--to me--was a mash up between a tamagotchi and a cross fit wristband. It tracks activity, has cute characters that need you to move to give them energy joules (my daughter is still convinced she's giving her puppy jewels...like a crown). The more active you are, the more joules your animal gets. You can also take care of your pet to unlock bonus features and items. 

To me, the biggest surprise was that my 12 year old son took to it faster than my 8 year old daughter. Nathan loved it and is still more likely to make sure it's charged than his sister. I don't know if it's an autism thing or a 12-year old boy thing, but he loves the premise. He goes out to exercise (burn off steam) after school before starting homework. He's set it to talk to him after about an hour to take a 1 minute activity break. It's the same concept of the 'brain breaks' they get during school. For him, taking one minute to move and be active will recharge his brain so he can go back to work and work faster than before. 

To learn more about the LeapFrog Activity Band, click here for activities and information


The CLIF bars were a much bigger hit than I thought they would be. The kids...and moms...all loved them. I had a few icks to the Chocolate Mint--but the grown ups loved that flavor. My kids are now begging to have one every day as a snack. And with the excellent nutrition, I feel better about this than a lot of other snacks they like. We tried Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Filling and great taste plus they are made with natural ingredients and better for you than other snacks--it's a win all around.

Here are a few pictures (action shots) of some of the kids doing their activities. It was a fun party and a great way to get active with LeapFrog. 

Nathan wearing the LeapFrog Activity Band.

The band told us to do jumping jacks for
60 seconds. Nathan led the way (so it's blurry).
Some of the girls doing handstands and cartwheels.

Boys making their own rules & game.
They were sword fighting with wiffle bats. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Salonpas Pain-Relieving #Giveaway

Product suite

Welcome To Our Salonpas Pain-Relieving Sweepstakes~
Hosted By Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More and Michigan Saving and More
and
Sponsored By Salonpas
Pain is something we call all admit is not easy to deal with and finding options that other than replying on a narcotic is a bonus. Salonpas offers you that option by providing products like those seen above in the picture. These products do what they claim to do and so much more by relieving your pain and offering you peace of mind in that you can actually function and get the things that you want done completed. You can read Tammie's thoughts on this product by going HERE.

Robyn's Thoughts: I am thankful that I generally do not have to handle pain or pain management. However, on those instances where I am in pain due to muscle aches or injury, I am reluctant to use too much pain relieving medicine. The side effects aren't good for me. I have not yet tried Salonpas, but like that it is patch, gel or spray. I wish I would have had this product when I sprained my ankle! I hope you will enter to win the giveaway. 

Onto The Sweepstakes~
  • One reader will win Salonpas products approximate retail value of $100
  • This Sweepstakes will end Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • This is open to the U.S. only
  • Winner will be notified by emil
  • All entries will be verified
  • One entry per household
  • Void where prohibited by law
  • Must be 18+ and older to enter
  • Full terms and conditions are on the entry form below
Enter below and Good Luck to you!
**Remember - If you click on options (top right) and select show all entries, it makes entering faster and easier than ever.**



Disclosure-Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts was not compensated either by free product or payment. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own. Open to the US, must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this giveaway or to have me promote your product, Please email Tammie at info@tpankuch.com.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lugz Men's Canvas Shoe #Giveaway

PicMonkey Collage 1

Sponsored By Lugz
and

This started out as a back to school event but you can tell by the date that it is a little bit late for that. It is never too late for a pair of new shoes. Men deserve new shoes just as much as women do. Once you discover the Lugz brand, I doubt you will ever chose another as they are superior in quality and styles as well as design. Lugz is celebrating their 20 year anniversary. You can read Tammie's review by going HERE.

I look forward to trying out these shoes. They look so comfortable and I would hope they last a while. I have boys in my home who are excessively hard on shoes! Please be sure to enter the giveaway below. If you click on the top right corner, select open all entries at once. This will remember your setting forever and it makes this a super fast giveaway to enter. Good luck!!!

Onto The Sweepstakes~
  • One reader will win a pair of their choice of Lugz Men's Canvas shoes
  • This is open to the U.S. only
  • This Sweepstakes will end on 10/13 at 7 p.m.
  • Must be 18+ to enter
  • Only 1 entry per person, per household
  • Void where prohibited by law
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner will be notified by email
  • Full Terms and Conditions are on the entry form below
Enter below and Good Luck to you~


Disclosure-Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts was not compensated either by free product or payment. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own. Open to the US, must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this giveaway or to have me promote your product, Please email Tammie at info@tpankuch.com .

Friday, September 26, 2014

Masik Collegiate Fragrance #Giveaway

Masik Collegiate Fragrance   

Hosted By Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and Moreand
Sponsored By Masik
While I had never heard of Masik Collegiate Fragrance before, I looked through the scents and loved what I saw. Having been at several of the colleges and universities represented, I think their choice of scents to blend is spot on. I wish they had a University of Nebraska scent...but not yet. Is your favorite team one of the scents--and do you think they got the mix right? 

Tammie's Thoughts: How do you show your team spirit? The team that you cheer on the most? The team that you bleed their colors? You can read Tammie's Review of this product by going HERE. It does not matter if you are a guy or a gal, They have the fragrance for you.

Onto The Sweepstakes~
  • One reader will win a their choice of either perfume or cologne and their choice of their team to be placed on the bottle
  • This sweepstakes will end on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. EST
  • This is open to the U.S. only
  • Void where prohibited by law
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner will be notified by email
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Full Terms and Conditions are on the widget below
Good Luck!!!


Disclosure--Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts was not compensated either by free product or payment. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own. Open to the US, must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this giveaway or to have me promote your product, Please email Tammie at info@tpankuch.com.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frozen Soundtrack CD #Giveaway

Disclosure: Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Frozen - The Songs Soundtrack Giveaway
Hosted by: Queen of Savings
Sponsor: Walt Disney Records/Disney Music Group

If you haven't seen Frozen yet, I'm sure the music from the movie would not be unfamiliar to you. Let's face it, this has some of the best music we've gotten out of a Disney film in years. And now you have the chance to win the soundtrack of the movie on CD. Christmas is coming and most people on your list would not turn down this gift. I know I wouldn't!!!

Featuring original songs from Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“In Transit,” “Winnie the Pooh”) and Tony® winner Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q”), and an original score by Christophe Beck (“The Muppets,” Oscar®-winning short “Paperman”), “Frozen” won two Academy Awards® (best animated film and best original song with “Let It Go”) and a Golden Globe® (best animated feature film). It is the fifth highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing animated film earning more than $1.27 billion globally. See the full track list here.

Prize: Frozen - The Songs Soundtrack CD
Dates: 9/25-10/3
Open to: US Residents 18+
Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

Plank Seafood Provisions Omaha Twitter Party and #Prizes from #BlogOmaha

Table set and ready for bloggers.



One of our place settings. 
I've been having a ball with my #BlogOmaha peeps. We have been working with local businesses to expand our presence and help businesses understand what a blogger can do to help you and your business out. Earlier this week, our group went to Plank Seafood Provisions (Old Market location) to sample some food and finalize our big event coming Monday--the Plank Twitter Party. It's the don't miss event of the week as there will be lots of prizes given away during the party. (Details and registration below.)



Oysters on the half shell--$1 during happy hour.

During our event, we were able to sample items from the Happy Hour menu. The food was beyond amazing. And I must admit that the Baked Mac & Cheese was the best Mac and Cheese I've ever had. Here's the description: cast iron baked, cheddar, bechamel, cavatappi pasta, parmesan breadcrumbs, paprika, chives. It's one not to miss!

Baked Mac & Cheese
Here's a few more facts about Plank Seafood Provisions:
  • Eco-Friendly Water: We offer Vivreau environmentally-friendly water at Plank as part of our sustainability program. It's filtered, purified and chilled, bottled on-site, and you have your choice of still or sparkling. The service is just $2 per table with unlimited refills.
  • Tap Wines: Another part of our sustainability efforts is our eco-friendly tap wine system. Choose from 8 wines, stored in reusable steel kegs, eliminating waste from cardboard and glass packaging. Our kegs are vacuum-sealed and temperature-controlled to ensure every glass is fresh and served at its optimum temperature. 
  • Happy Hour: Enjoy fresh shucked oysters on the half shell for just $1 during Happy Hour! No minimum, no maximum. Slurp to your heart's desire! You'll find soups, sandwiches and several hot starters with favorites like Braised Beef Flatbread, Scottish Salmon Crostini, Poutine and Potato Crusted Calamari. Pair these tasty dishes with $6 spiked lemonades, $4 select cocktails, $3 house wines and more. 
  • Our Happy Hour is offered Monday through Saturday 3-6:30pm and Sunday noon-8pm.


DESSERT!! (Chocolate Torte)
For dessert, I got the Chocolate Torte. It had chocolate ganache, coffee flavored ice cream and raspberries with the torte. I normally don't like coffee ice cream, but this really worked to balance out the incredibly sweet torte.


Plank Seafood Provisions Twitter Party
When: September 29th at 9:00-10:00 PM CST
Hosts: Follow @AMomOnTheSide and @PlankSeafood
Follow me: Follow @coolestmommy
Panelists: Follow @momsgoodeats @momsavesmoney @herheartlandsoul@livingsunnylife @mrsbrich26
Hashtag: #PlankSeafood
Prizes: (6) $15 Plank Seafood Provisions Gift Cards and (2) $50 Plank Seafood Provisions Gift Cards
What: Join us on Twitter to learn more about Plank Seafood Provisions and answer fun questions to randomly win prizes! The more you tweet with the hashtag #PlankSeafood during the party the more chances you have to win. You must RSVP at this website and be present during the Twitter Party to win.
RSVP: RSVP HERE in order to be entered to win. 

If you haven't been to Plank Seafood Provisions yet, and want a sneak peek at the Happy Hour Menu, checkout #PlankSeafoodHH on Twitter and Instagram for some yumminess! Now go on, RSVP below and mark your calendar for the Plank Seafood Provisions Twitter Party on September 29th!


Twitter Party Rules: Winner must RSVP and be present to win. Winner must be able to go to Plank Seafood Provisions in Omaha, Nebraska to redeem Gift Card. Winners will be drawn randomly from RSVP list and announced during the Twitter Party if they are present. Any information obtained is solely used for the Twitter Party and Prizes.




Would you like to know what the other bloggers thought? Check out these #BlogOmaha bloggers and their Plank Seafood Provisions posts:
  • http://www.ohmyomaha.com/2014/09/plank-seafood-provisions-twitter-party/
  • http://www.mardrasikora.com/sharing-love-plank-seafood-provisions-omaha/
  • http://momsavesmoney.net/2014/09/plank-seafood-twitter-party-omaha.html
  • http://www.thebaubleblog.com/plank-seafood-provisions/
  • http://mommyworksalot.com/2014/09/25/out-about-in-omaha-happy-hour-at-plank-seafood/
  • http://www.midwestmammas.com/2014/09/5-reasons-to-dine-at-plank-seafood.html
  • http://bakesinslippers.com/plank-seafood-omaha/



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Papa Murphy's Omaha Area #Giveaway and Behind the Counter Tour

Disclosure: As a Papa Murphy's Mom, I was provided a behind the counter tour in exchange for a review. 

What is better than pizza for dinner? 
Pizza that was made fresh before your eyes. You know its quality when you watch it being made! And where do you get this sort of quality? At Papa Murphy's of course. (Be sure to keep reading for a giveaway of a Papa Murphy's Meal Deal.)

By the "Always Fresh Oven" at the Papa Murphy's
store and the pizza that I got to make. 

Our family has been eating at Papa Murphy's for about two years now. When I discovered their pizza--and pricing--and tried it out, I was hooked. So was my family. We tend to stick to the 'Faves' line of pizzas. They are pre-made and ready to purchase. Most markets sell for $5 per Fave which is what Omaha sells for, but please check your local location as some markets are lower or higher. A Fave is a cheese, pepperoni or sausage pizza at a low price. You buy, take home and bake. (And for Omaha folks, it's less money than the other hot and ready pizza location and baked fresh in your oven.)

I was able to tour the Samson Way location in Bellevue last week and I was truly impressed. Dan, the district manager, took us on a Behind the Counter Tour and gave us access to everything in the store. I took the tour with Nicole who blogs at MomSavesMoney.net and we had a blast. I learned all sorts of things I never knew about Papa Murphy's.


A few 'tastes' of what I learned:

  • There are no freezers in any Papa Murphy's location. This guarantees you receive fresh product since there is only a walk in cooler.
  • Papa Murphy's is an international chain.
  • The s'mores dessert pizza (absolutely delicious) was created in Council Bluffs, IA
  • Cheese arrives in blocks and is freshly shredded in house.
  • Veggies arrive whole and are cut in store.
  • Papa Murphy's takes pride in their customer interaction. 
  • Gluten Free pizza now available. It comes premade and is wrapped before arrival to cut down on cross-contamination.
  • The new Gourmet Delite pizzas are now available: Angus Steak and Roasted Garlic or Spicy Fennel Sausage

Guess what else I learned?!?! If you don't want to heat your oven, did you know you can grill your pizza? Instructions are online. (Nicole taught me to stop thinking of the grill as 'just' a grill. It's an outdoor oven.)

Please pop over to Nicole's post at MomSavesMoney.net.

Here's a few photos of the prep area.

Time to make the dough...
Mikey showing his freshly made crusts
as he puts them in the cooler. 
Green peppers getting washed and then chopped
(I used these on my pizza)
Nicole and I both had the opportunity while we were "behind the counter" to make a pizza for our families. I chose a Murphy's Combo (no mushrooms and no black olives) on a pan pizza crust. I hadn't tried pan pizza there before. I don't know if I'll ever go back to regular crust! There's a butter and garlic sauce on the bottom that is divine. I can't describe how delicious it was. My finished pizza is in the first picture at the beginning of this post. It was DELICIOUS!!! I also tried the 'pink sauce' and loved it, too. If you want to get daring at Papa Murphy's, go pink. It's 1/2 red and 1/2 alfredo sauce mixed together (hence the pink name). Although they really use about 2/3 red and 1/3 alfredo because the alfredo is so rich. It really brings out the flavor of both quite nicely and adds richness to the pizza.


Not to be left out, my little ones got to make their own Mini Murph at home. They loved it! Rebekah's pepperonis were decoratively arranged in a happy face design. Nathan took the remaining pepperoni's from her plus his own to totally cover his pizza from end to end. They agreed they are the best pizza chef's in town. A Mini Murph is only $4 for the first one and $3 for each additional pizza. That's less than I spend on individual pizzas elsewhere and they have such a sense of pride in making their own food. It's an easy way to give them some kitchen training and I find they eat a lot more of the pizza when they made it.


A few more points of interest. I'm involved in a lot of groups...three kids in three schools means 3 PTO groups. And that's just the beginning. Papa Murphy’s has a program called Peel-A-Deal® fundraising cards. It’s a plastic card with eight great offers on their most popular items. Each offer is a plastic sticker that can be easily removed and used at Papa Murphy’s just like a coupon. If your group would be interested in these cards, please contact your local Papa Murphy's. They will also work with your group to have a fundraiser night where a portion of the sales from the evening goes to your group. And, if you are a part of a scout troop, preschool, or similar group, your group can have a tour similar to mine at no charge. (Please note if you add pizzas to your tour, a pizza charge would apply.)

Who would like to try Papa Murphy's now? 
If you live in the Omaha Metro area, enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Papa Murphy's Meal Deal. Please note the locations where this deal can be redeemed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ESSIO Shower Aromotherapy Review and Givewaway

Disclosure: I was provided a free ESSIO in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts are my own. 




Some of you know I've been getting more and more in touch with my inner hippie. I call it my granola side. I've been really looking into and learning a lot about essential oils and how they can help us in our daily life. There's a lot of research out there and what I'm finding is that once again, combining some old world medicine with modern treatment is a win-win. (Keep reading and be sure to enter to win an ESSIO for your home as well.)

Essio Kit in the Box -
comes with THREE pods to start you off.



Why aromatherapy and do essential oils matter? The benefits to mind and body are being proven over and over by science. Certain smells can help improve our mood, help our behavior and even help us think better. Essential oils (and I will only consider oils that are all natural with no synthetics in them) are the best way to get the aromas and essential oils are absorbed quickly into your body and bloodstream to carry their healing powers throughout your body. 

So the ESSIO combines the best of both worlds. All of their essential oils are all natural. There are no chemicals or synthetics and the bonus is their oils are also certified organic. You quickly attach the arm onto your existing shower head (no tools required and VERY simple). Takes under a minute. Once the arm is in place, you attach the pod of whatever scent you will use and start your shower. You can even adjust the strength of the scent by raising and lowering the scent pod. Each pod lasts 4-5 showers, but depending on how strong you like your showers, it can last even longer if you are tilting it out of the way. 

Essio installed in my shower. 

A few things I want to touch on about what ESSIO is and is not:

  • IS - a kit made from fully recyclable materials so it's a green product
  • IS - made with 100% natural oils. NO synthetics or chemicals and the oils are Certified Organic.
  • IS NOT - Something that sprays into the shower. The oil is slowly diffused to get a consistent aroma experience throughout your entire shower. 
  • IS NOT - going to leave oily residue on skin, hair or bath. It's aromatherapy (that means scent...not stuff). 


Just turn on the shower, put the pod at your preferred scent release position and take a moment to allow the water to run over your head and body and breathe in the scent you have chosen. The benefits are almost immediate and if you've never tried essential oils, you will be (happily) surprised at how awesome this is. 

Here's a quick video to give you more information:



I'm excited to announce ESSIO is giving away an ESSIO Aromatherapy Shower Kit to a lucky winner. Enter on their website for your chance to win. (Ends 9/25/14)

Make sure you enter to give it a try. Essio is a unique and one of a kind item that transforms the everyday shower into a personal spa. It's an affordable lucury and a great gift. It makes your shower amazing. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rebekah's Student Council Speech 2014

Rebekah answered five essay questions and from that, was selected to go onto the speech round in Student Council selections. She wrote a speech and gave it to several teachers before school. Four students per class were selected to give a speech. From there, two will be selected to represent their class (and the school) on Student Council. 



Rebekah's Speech:

Hi, I’m Rebekah and this is my speech for Student Council. I think I can make school a better place, and I think I am a good leader. I also think that Citizenship is very important in me and that’s why I should be a leader on Student Council.
I will make school a better place by putting away the books in the library so that the librarians have more time and they can relax instead of having to organize books. I put them away spine out. The librarians really appreciate that because then they don’t have to do it and they can teach their class sooner. I will listen and obey the rules that my teacher asks. I try to never get on yellow or down.
I think I’m a good leader because leaders help out with many things. They help raise money for our school to purchase things the school needs. Leaders are great role models to different people. I want to be a leader because I can help raise money for the school and make it a better place.
I think the most important character trait in a leader is citizenship because that’s what a great leader is. I try to show citizenship by picking up trash, even if it’s not mine. I also help Mr. M with trays in the lunch room. I help out at the children's theater by selling toys at the gift stand and it raises money so schools can go see a show like we got to see “Big Nate” in second grade. You have to obey the rules to be a good leader and if you don’t; that’s not being a good leader. And that’s how you can be a good citizen.
The three most important things about being a leader are Citizenship, making school a better place and being a leader who puts others first. I want to make my school the best it can be. So please elect me for Student Council. Thank you.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

NutriBullet #Review and #Giveaway

NutriBullet-Giveaway
Sponsored By NutriBullet


You can read Tammie's review of the NutriBullet by going HERE to read it. Everyone I know loves making a smoothie and all sorts of healthy drinks but that is just about to get easier as the NutriBullet is a must have product to do it easier, make it easier and drink it easier.

Robyn's thoughts: I have only had the opportunity to try out a Baby Bullet, but I'd love to have a NutriBullet. Not just for making smoothies and shakes, but also for making homemade salsa and guacamole. I would love to give this a whirl and see how many things I could use it for in my kitchen. I hope you'll enter and that you win! And if you are looking for an excellent source of recipes for the NutriBullet, be sure to check out http://www.nutribulletrecipes.org

And Now for the Sweepstakes~
  • One reader will win a NutriBullet
  • This sweepstakes will end on Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. EST
  • This is open to the U.S. only
  • Void where prohibited by law
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner will be notified by email
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Terms and Conditions are on the widget below
Good Luck to you~

  NutriBullet Sweepstakes

Disclosure- Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts was not compensated either by free product or payment. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own. Open to the US, must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Sponsor will be responsible for prize fulfillment. This event is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this giveaway or to have me promote your product, Please email Tammie at info@tpankuch.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 Never Forget


Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Sounds of Restaurants #SensoryBlogHop


When you think of dining out, what phrases come to mind? For me it's a break, a night off cooking, relaxing, fun, family time. For Nathan, it can mean overwhelming, too loud, confusion, too many colors, smells and sounds.

I'm once again spending a Sensory Bloggers Blog Hop focusing on restaurants. Why? Because it was the #1 place where we would experience a meltdown when Nathan was younger. You could almost set your watch by it. It's also the one thing I hear repeated over and over by families with a special needs (SN) child. "We don't go out to eat as a family--it's just too hard."

That attitude gets me every time. I guess I've learned that as a SN mom, I'm prone to meeting the challenge head on, like a bull in a ring. When we knew Nathan would melt down in restaurants, we made the conscious decision as a husband and wife that we would NOT allow this 'whatever it is' (nobody would give us an autism diagnosis back then) to get in the way of our family tradition. Our tradition has been in place since I was a young girl. We go to church on Sunday morning and go out to eat afterwards. That has been the one thing I could count on to never change in my life. I kept it going on my own throughout college and as a married couple, Sean and I did the same. I'll admit in the early married years there were weeks when we could barely scrape a couple of bucks together, but we'd go to the $0.39 hamburger place and get two burgers and one fries to share and take it home to eat. But we went out. Child number 1 is born and we continue to eat out on Sundays. Then along comes #2 and when he's about 2 years old, he starts this frantic meltdown.

If you read my post last month, you know Sean and I took turns being the 'fast eater' who would take Nathan out at the first sign of meltdown. Now, fast forward 10 years and as a 12 year old, he sits with us in restaurants for the whole meal. Loud places, quiet places, smelly places, places with weird lighting--he handles all of them like a champ. When he agreed to wear earplugs at different times, the meltdowns in places like restaurants immediately slowed down. If we forgot his custom earplugs, we learned that no car and no purse was ever without a box of wax earplugs. We still keep them in all gloveboxes...just in case.

We learned at a birthday party that multiple conversations at tables or many tables of conversation going on around us was overwhelming to Nathan. He hears so well that he couldn't figure out which conversation to follow...so he tried to follow all of them in the room. (This party had about 50 people sitting at 6 tables.) The party happened to be at Dave & Busters in a private room. Nathan asked if he could just go back into the gameroom to relax. What?!?! That place is decibels higher volume than the private room...but we finally realized the number of conversations what overwhelming. In a game room, none of the noise is anything you have to pay attention to.

It took time, and patience, to get Nathan to be able to stay in a restaurant. To this day, he's often done much sooner than the rest of us, but he's learned coping skills. So for all the SN families hiding at home, I urge you to give it a try. Maybe eat early (or late) when you can avoid a rush so the restaurant is emptier. We mainly ate fast food so we could pack it up and go at the drop of a hat. Don't give up!!! The result is worth the challenge.






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