My Current Giveaways

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Just when you think it's over - #SensoryBlogHop

Do you ever have one of those days where something from the past suddenly blindsides you? In many ways, that's what it is like to have a loved one with a sensory processing disorder (SPD).

Recently, we went through our own blindsided epiphany. Nathan is now 13 years old. And through a lot of therapy, practice and the grace of God, he is able to participate and handle most situations. Things that used to bother him don't bother him in a way that makes him meltdown...usually. We are so far past crying in restaurants and crying at prayer and fighting against certain clothing choices that I almost forget we have SPD issues...almost. 

Nathan had a day where he was sick and stayed home from school. He had thrown up once (a one and done as my daughter calls it) but was having some bathroom issues. Our school says we stay home for 24 hours after vomiting. I'm not one to mess with that rule so he stayed home even though he looked good, felt good, and hadn't gotten sick again. But the day proved he was tired and it was the right choice. We were able to catch up on some homework and still have time to relax and let him play video games. 

A few days later, we're at lunch at a popular restaurant. One that we don't go to with great frequency, but we eat there about once every other month. He even said he'd go there with our group to celebrate my friend's birthday. We are all laughing and talking and picking our food, and I'm not paying much attention to Nathan or Rebekah. They have their own system with kids menus. They look them over and use the crayons provided to circle their picks and then we make them practice giving their orders to the waitress. I look over at Nathan as she's starting at the other end of the table, his face crumples and out of nowhere, it hits. He's overwhelmed and just went into overload. Dang, I didn't see that one coming. 

The music was a little louder than most places, the whole restaurant is a little louder than most. Not something you'd normally notice, but that day, it got to him. He was also extra-tired as we had a late night the night before and he was coming off of his illness day. Poor kid. He was floundering to keep it together and choosing a meal was more than he could take. All he wanted was an appetizer, but he was very upset because he had the drink already for the kids meal and he felt trapped into picking a kids meal. So I threw the idea of making him order out the window and intervened. Ordered the appetizer he wanted for his meal, told the waitress to charge me for the drink. (God bless her, she said she'd give it to him on the house because it wasn't a problem.)

In that moment, I was thinking, "What just happened here?!?!" Later I figured it out. 

Just when you think it's over...








This month, I'm once again participating in the Sensory Blog Hop. Please take some time to enjoy the other fine blogs listed below in their sensory journeys. 



Friday, May 01, 2015

New products from Dial for Babies + Kids - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure:  I received a sample of Dial Baby Body + Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you seen the two new products for kids from Dial? There's Dial Baby Body + Hair Wash and Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash. 



Even though my "baby" is 8, she liked the gentle baby body wash for her. It's mild enough that anyone can use it, no matter what their age. I really love the light scent and how nicely it foams up. 



Our favorite of the two products is the Dial Kids Foaming Hand Wash. We love the foam, the smell, and mom especially loves the clean hands leaving the bathroom. I have found that they are more likely to wash their hands and wash them well if there's a foaming hand soap. The selection from Dial for babies and kids is amazing and fun and makes kids want to get (and hopefully stay) clean. 

I can't wait for one of my readers to have the opportunity to try one of these products for free, so I'm holding a GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a coupon for their choice of a free baby body/hair wash or a free kids foaming hand soap. 

Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Winner must live in the US. Ends Sunday 5/17 at 11:59 pm Central Time. 



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Autism Awareness Month--oh yeah, I'm aware #SensoryBlogHop



Did you know April is Autism Awareness month? I'd prefer we change it to Autism Acceptance Month---trust me, I'm aware. In fact, with the incidence rate at 1 in 68 (1 in 54 boys), autism has reached an all time high in recognition and diagnosis.

I think most everyone has heard of autism at this point--and almost everyone knows someone with autism. Yet, we have trouble sometimes finding acceptance for people on the spectrum. I find it frustrating that because my son doesn't "look" disabled, he is not always given the accommodations he needs.

Yet, every so often, there's a glimmer of hope in the storm. When he gets nervous, or excited, or upset, he has to get sensory  input to offset the emotion. He will try to get it by jumping or pacing...or if we are at home by jumping on the mini-trampoline, riding his scooter or his bicycle. When we are in public places, this is harder to do. You get some strange looks for jumping in a store for "no reason." He's learning ways to cope and how to find sensory release that is more socially acceptable. I've noticed he will tap his toes or drum on his leg with his thumb to get some sensory input and release the tension. I've noticed he might find a small hallway (such as to a bathroom) and pace in the hall where he's out of sight.

I enjoy seeing him grow and learn to deal with his sensory needs.


Check out these other fantastic posts as a part of the Sensory Blog Hop:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash with #Giveaway

Disclosure: The Dial brand provided me with a sample in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. 


Have you seen the new body wash available from Dial soap? It is infused with Marula Oil and helps make your skin feel soft and silky smooth. I love the scent of this new body wash. It smells nice on both men and women, and even my kids liked the scent. More than the scent, I loved how this body wash helped moisturize my skin. I want healthy skin and soft skin - and the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash delivered. I like having a family body wash that everyone likes and leaves everyone feeling clean and refreshed without drying our skin. The scent is key in making a body wash a 'family body wash.' Some are too feminine, some are too masculine, but Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash is just right. 


I don't understand how the Marula Oil works, but I know they are calling this a restoring body wash. I'd agree. It restores moisture to your skin. I hope you'll consider trying it the next time you need body wash. And - to sweeten the pot, I'm going to be giving away a coupon for a FREE bottle of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash to two lucky winners. I hope you'll enter using the form below. Winner must reside in the US. Good luck!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Texas K-9 Unit Series #Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Do you read fiction books? I've loved mystery books since I picked up my first Nancy Drew...in fact, my living room bookshelf holds my collection. The entire series of Nancy Drew mysteries, most in the familiar yellow spine hardback. Once I found Nancy Drew, not only mystery stories, but all books opened up to me. I discovered a way to transport myself to other places and times and found the most wonderful adventures in books. Over time, my love of reading expanded and I became a romance junkie. Although, I was often disappointed by the lack of crossover between genres. It seemed as if writers could/would only write one thing. 

When Harlequin came out with the Love Inspired Suspense series of books, I know I was one of the first in line to check out this new line. And I fell in love. It's a crossover line of books. These are Christian Romance books with Intrigue/Suspense. A mystery AND a romance...with a Christian moral compass...all in one book. Needless to say, I own a lot of Love Inspired books. (Hint - keep reading for a chance to win a Love Inspired book for yourself.)

I'm so excited to let you know that three authors have teamed up to give us a three-book series with not only the romance and suspense that you've come to expect from Love Inspired, but also dogs. Not just any dogs, K-9 cop dogs. I don't want to give out spoilers, but having read the three books in this series, I know you won't be disappointed. These three authors are in sync and this series is going to be a runaway hit. 

Be sure to order your boxed set now: Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty

About the series:Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can't remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer's target.
About the authors:
Shirlee McCoy  Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn't until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.
Margaret Daley  Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn't working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.
Sharon Dunn  Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.
Who would like the chance to win a Love Inspired book of your own? 
I'm giving away a printed copy of Shirlee McCoy's "Protection Detail" to one lucky winner. This book is Book 1 in the Texas K-9 Unit series. Even if you don't win, you can use this coupon to take $1.00 off of your purchase of "Protection Detail." This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. Good luck!!!

Enter here:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Motown the Musical at Orpheum Theater Omaha - March 25-29

Disclosure: I will receive complimentary tickets in exchange for promoting this musical. All opinions are my own. 



Who is ready to get their 'groove' on with me? I've been looking forward to Motown the Musical coming to Omaha ever since the announcement almost a full year ago. Here's my personal thing...I was an acting major. I originally wanted to be a music theatre major, but I changed my mind when I saw their workload in college. And, I'm not sure that I would have made it into the program. 

Reed L Shannon as Michael Jackson (center) with the Jackson 5
Motown the Musical First National Tour (c) Joan Marcus, 2014
With a theatre (and musical theatre) background, I love music. I especially love music with really good harmonies. As you can imagine, I've been a Motown fan for most of my life--even though many of the classic Motown hits were before my time. I'm a sucker for 'oldies' that have great music and harmonies. I love songs like "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Shop Around." There's actually very few songs in Motown the Musical that I don't know well and love. 


Krisha Marcano (Florence Ballard), Allison Semmes (Diana Ross) & Trisha Jeffrey (Mary Wilson)
Motown the Musical First National Tour (c) Joan Marcus, 2014
 

Don't know what Motown the Musical is all about? Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.  Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Motown the Musical tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. 

Performances for Motown the Musical will be at Omaha's Orpheum Theater:
Wednesday, March 25 - 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 26 - 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Friday, March 27 - 8:00 pm
Saturday, March 28 - 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
Sunday, March 29 - 1:30 pm and 7:00 pm

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.ticketomaha.com/productions/Motown.

Make sure you don't miss one of the hottest tickets in town. If you love music, you have to get to Motown the Musical!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lakeside Collection - Great Pet Items and $25 GC Flash Giveaway

Disclosure: I was given free product from Lakeside Collection in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Have you ever shopped at the Lakeside Collection? They have wonderful gifts, home furnishings and even things that your pet would love. The best part of Lakeside? The price. Hands down some of the best internet shopping at incredible prices.

I was asked by Lakeside to look at some of their pet offerings. I have purchased some wonderful things--both for the dogs in my life to use now and some they will get at Christmas time. Not only can you pamper with Lakeside Collection items, you can also find great things to pamper yourself.

I was able to spoil some cute pups in my life with unstuffed toys (no stuffing for them to tear out and eat--which they will) and a trainer that helps train dogs to stay off the furniture. And check out this cat perch.

I can't wait for Christmas to bring out some additional toys like the stuffed bone that says Naughty/Nice on each side. Love it--waiting to see which side the dogs carry facing out. Anyone have a guess?

Would you like to purchase some great items from the Lakeside Collection? 

Enter the flash giveaway. It's only open for 2 days so your chances of winning are extremely high.

Car Washes - Sensory Blog Hop - #SensoryBlogHop


What did we avoid with Nathan for years? Yup, the dreaded car wash. It would put him into a sensory tailspin like you couldn't imagine. He'd start freaking out from the moment we started to pull in. Lots of tears and crying and even some screaming as we went through. It was NOT worth it. We would only go if he wasn't in the car. You know how we parents of kids with sensory issues are...sometimes avoidance is easier than actually trying to teach and desensitize. When you're in the midst of so many sensory and other battles, sometimes you pick and choose. 

Inside the colored soap carwash. 
Fast forward to just this week. Nathan still doesn't love car washes like his little sister does. She sees them as a grand adventure. But, he's now able to articulate with us and he had this to say about car washes, "When you learn what to expect, you learn that it can be kind of fun in the process." Who would have believed it? 

What is it about car washes that can put even a non-sensory kid on edge? Between the vibrations, the change in air pressure, the noise and the visual stimulation, it's a recipe for sensory overload and meltdown if you can't control all the emotions and anxiety. We did eventually find he prefers the car washes with colored soap that squirts onto the car. It makes the visual a little more appealing. 
And...when he asks if he can skip it these days, we give in. But, we know he CAN manage to get through without becoming overloaded and upset. 

How do your kids with or without sensory issues handle car washes? 





Wednesday, March 04, 2015

New Book - Screens And Teens - Purchase on March 5

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 


Do you ever know before you read the first word in a book that you will love it with your whole heart? Do you know it's going to hit the keeper shelf before you even pick it up? That's what I knew about Screens and Teens by Dr. Kathy Koch. Now that I have (gulp) TWO teenagers in my house, I knew I needed to get my hands on this book and read it. 

I had the pleasure of (briefly) meeting Dr. Koch at a MOPS convention about 7 years ago. I attended her session on the Multiple Intelligences everyone has. That brief talk impacted me more than I can express. Let me tell you something, Dr. Kathy 'gets' kids. We could extrapolate that to say she 'gets' people, but her focus is on kids. She helped me figure out how to teach Nathan, my son with autism, the ways he is differently smart from many of his friends. I've used her book, "How Am I Smart," to connect with all three of my children.  

And now, with her newest book, "Screens and Teens - Connecting with our Kids in a Wireless World", she's done it again. Her book made more sense to me than anything I've read about teens. By the end of the first chapter, I had more understanding of my 17 year old than I had gained in the past 5 years of researching teens. She's that good and that on target. 

I'm so excited this book is available. I urge you to join me tomorrow, March 5, in purchasing a copy. I have the ebook, but I'm going to get a paper copy. This is a book I need to read again...and highlight. Lots of highlighting. Her explanation on why teens change their mind so often was so easy to understand. It suddenly made several things make sense. 

In my personal life, I've stepped down from co-chairing a major fundraiser. It's a cause I believe in, but after 4 years of co-chairing, I could see the toll that my volunteer efforts were having on my family. And when I read this next sentence in the book--it convicted me more than anything else that me stepping back was the right choice. My kids need to know that they are more important than the organization that has helped us the most since Nathan's diagnosis. 


Since we all have so much access to technology, I could also relate to this last one. Dr. Kathy addresses how society treats technology and gives some practical hints to help offset the messages our children are given. Let's be clear, this isn't a technology-hating book. It should be used to help guide decisions about technology and help interested adults understand the mindset of teens. 


Would you like to purchase a copy of your own? Head to the  Celebrate Kids Website or Amazon and grab a copy on Thursday!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Purex Power Shot #Review and #Giveaway





Have you seen the innovative new product from Purex? I'm so excited to be a Purex Insider so I got the chance to try the Purex Power Shot.

Do you wonder if you are using the right amount of laundry detergent when you do your laundry? I am never sure if I'm using too much or too little. I know the line is in the cap to pour the liquid, but sometimes it's hard for me to see the line depending on the time of day that I'm doing laundry.


I'm so happy to be trying Purex Power Shot. You turn the bottle upside down and the bottle measures out the exact amount you need. Less waste and no more guessing if you have enough or not.


How would you like to try Purex Sure Shot? 

Enter below for your chance to win. 
Good luck!


Entry-Form

Disclosure: I was provided Purex Power Shot in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The 5 Love Languages for Men - Review and #Giveaway #5LL4MEN





I'm honored to have a guest co-writer for today's review. My husband, Sean, is reading The 5 Love Languages for Men and agreed to give some insight and commentary into this review. I'm so very blessed to have a helpmate like him. Just think, you could win a copy of this book--see the entry form below. It's a book worth trying to win!

Sean & I were introduced to the book, The 5 Love Languages, 20+ years ago when we were first married. It revolutionized our marriage and we tell people it saved us from a divorce before there was ever any trouble. Turns out, I'm an Acts of Service kind of girl...Sean's a Words of Affirmation sort of guy. So I was spending all day showing how much I loved him, when he just wanted to hear something affirming like, "Thank you. I appreciate your help." He was complimenting me and thanking me, when I just wanted him to load the dishwasher. Once we learned to 'speak' each other's Love Language, our marriage was refreshed because we both felt loved in the way that means the most to us.

And now some thoughts from Sean:
The book is well organized and will really resonate with men. Not only do you learn what your wife's love language is, you will then be given instructions on how to speak that language to her, and speak it fluently. I really like the updated stories in this edition and the pictures are fantastic. It really drives the point home in a visual way. The tips given are practical, realistic and easy to do . Even if you've read The 5 Love Languages before, it is worth your time to get this new edition. You and your wife (and your marriage) will not regret it.

From the publisher:
At the heart of every man is a desire to master what matters. Getting a compliment at work or on the court is nice, but nothing beats hearing your spouse say, “You make me feel loved.” If you haven’t heard that in a while or feel like you are not bringing your A-game into your relationship, this books is for you. The 5 Love Languages has sold 10 MILLION COPIES because it is simple, practical, and effective. In this edition, Gary Chapman speaks straight to men about the rewards of speaking their wife’s love language. You’ll learn each language, how to identify your wife’s, and how to speak it clearly. Packed with helpful illustrations and creative pointers, these pages will rouse your inner champion and empower you to master the art of love.

Giveaway Time!

Enter below to win a copy of The 5 Love Languages for Men book. Open to the US and Canada. Best wishes!




Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge



Today is Ash Wednesday and the start of the season of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days leading up to Easter weekend. It is meant to be a season of greater reflection and many churches include fasting and prayer as a part of Lent. You give up something and reflect on God instead. It is also meant to mimic the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert and was tempted; and during that time, Jesus fully relied on God.

40 Bags in 40 Days

Many people give up something during Lent. They give up TV or chocolate or caffeine. Some give up trips to Starbucks. There are lots of options, but this year, a group of friends and I have gone in together to have a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. We are working to remove 40 bags of 'stuff' from our homes during Lent. We did not put sizes onto the bags--that's up to you. We were discussing how often we no longer own our stuff--our stuff owns us. What better way to start bringing back some control than by making a purposeful effort to decrease the stuff we have hanging around. 

We are tracking with a very scientific method...tally marks on a whiteboard. I thought it was such a wonderful idea that I wanted to invite all of you to join with us. Who wants to try the 40 bags in 40 days challenge? Join in and let me know in the comments how it is going for you. I'll be posting some updates as we go, but I'm excited to work on decreasing the 'stuff' in my own home. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

British Soccer Camp and #Free #Gifts -- Nationwide Camps

Disclosure: My daughter will receive a week of camp in exchange for this promotional post and my review after camp. 



Are your kids into soccer? My boys did soccer and Andrew went all the way into middle school. He ended up moving away from soccer when he got into all of his indoor percussion groups. But our Rebekah really seems to love soccer. She's the 'runt' of her team but is a scrapper! I think having two older brothers makes her a little more feisty than people expect. Her coach gave her the nickname "Small but Mighty."

She's not ready for select soccer--and might not ever be--but we like to find soccer camps for her to improve her skills, get exercise, and make friends. That's why I'm excited to learn about British Soccer Camp. They have camps all over the country and even our mid-sized city has seven camps. 

From the promoter:
British Soccer Camp is the most popular camp in North America - 150,000 campers! With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, British Soccer Camps provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert's right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp today and receive a Free British Soccer Jersey - Sign up during Early Registration and we will immediately ship you a great looking British Soccer Jersey! PLUS - enter code FMG15 and we will include a bonus Challenger water bottle.



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When things don't feel right - #SensoryBlogHop


Welcome to this month's Sensory Bloggers Blog Hop. It's that day I focus on something from the archives of our family's journey with autism and sensory issues. This month, I am here to talk about when things just don't feel right...and I don't mean feelings. Let's talk clothes. If you have a sensory child (with or without autism), you know what I mean.

The tag is poking me--scratching me--hurting me. There have been times when a tag in a shirt (God bless the tagless shirt makers) appears to be causing more pain and suffering than it would be if we broke an arm. You'd think the kid was being tortured to death...because of a measly little tag.

If tags weren't bad enough, think about how jeans feel to a kid who doesn't like stiff or anything that would rub in funny places on your skin. It took us a REALLY long time to desensitize Nathan to jeans. They couldn't be new. I had to get a 'worn out' (or well worn) pair for him because then it moved more like clothes are 'supposed' to move. Underwear can be another really big issue. Thankfully, in our home, it wasn't a big deal. But I have one friend who just told me her daughter would only wear new underwear fresh from the package and insisted on changing each time she used the restroom. This friend would stay up ironing washed underwear to get it to appear new and put back into a package. It took some time to break that particular habit.

Back in the days when we didn't know Nathan had autism or sensory issues, we had a lot of questions. Why won't this kid wear these socks (seam felt funny or hurt)? Why won't he wear anything that isn't athletic/swishy pants? Come on--can't you just put on the coat? (No, because if it's too thick it rubs funny on his arms and he can't stand the change in sensation.) Fast forward to today--he wears almost anything...well, at least for short times. He mainly wears athletic pants and jeans--even new ones...but he prefers I wash them first. He will tolerate shirts with tags, but prefers tagless tshirts. But, please don't cut the tag unless you can do it well...he doesn't like how the remnants poke him in the neck where you cut it out. You have to get really good with scissors to cut a tag. Good luck.

How about you? Can you relate to any of the clothing feel issues?


Saturday, February 07, 2015

LushDecor.com Gift Card Giveaway

PicMonkey Collage
How would you describe your decorating style? Do you prefer inexpensive...or if money was no object, would you get the most lush and beautiful things you could find? Lush Decor is here to show all of us that you can have pretty things without paying the extreme (not-pretty) price. With a wide range of options, you can have the style you want at a price you can afford. 

Lush Decor is all about inspired living. The founder and CEO Jenny Zhu created the company with a her desire to offer affordable and stylish furnishings for the everyday person who wanted a beautifully decorated home. Lush Decor offers a wide range of designs and styles to create your own look. Lush Decor is designed for life as they want you to enjoy their products today, tomorrow and for years to come. Lush Decor is helping to define the future of home textiles. Tammie's Reviews is waiting to receive the curtains she ordered for her review which will be coming very soon to http://tpankuch.com/

Onto The Sweepstakes Rules~
  • One reader will win a $200 LushDecor.com Gift Card.
  • This is open to the U.S. only
  • This Sweepstakes will end on 2/20/2014 at 7 p.m.
  • All entries will be verified
  • Winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to respond or another will be chosen. pankuch1605@hotmail.com is the email it will come from.
  • Must be 18+ to enter
  • Void where prohibited by law
  • Full terms and conditions are 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, February 06, 2015

RoadMap Genesis - Review and #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was allowed to preview this movie in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was given.



If I say Genesis--you say _____. How would you fill in that sentence. I would have said Creation...but then as I think about this question, there's Moses, Noah, 10 Commandments, plus Creation plus even more. This question is the starting point of the documentary movie RoadMap Genesis. The interviews are incredible. It shows how each person interviewed applies the book of Genesis to their own life. I was absolutely stopped in my tracks by filmmaker Nolan Lebovitz's statement that everything about how to live, life and morality is wrapped up in Genesis. The more I thought on that, the more I agreed. 

There is so much that happens in the book of Genesis and Nolan Lebovitz isn't shy about going after the tough questions. Creation vs. Evolution - not excluded. Morality issues and sin, you'll learn about it here. Noah and the flood, he's talked about, too. There is so much in this short movie. I can't wait to get my own copy because I think every time you see it you will find a new nugget to take away. 
See the trailer here:


From the producer: 
Roadmap Genesis is a film documentary that makes the case that the Book of Genesis is a roadmap containing guideposts on how to live a productive, fruitful, and fulfilling life that will help our society lift itself out of its current decline and return it to prosperity, promise, and accomplishment.
When Filmmaker Nolan Lebovitz found himself at a crossroads in his life, he knew he had to choose between continuing to make the Hollywood suspense thrillers that were his livelihood and trying to make the world a better place for his new young family. After much struggle, he found his answer in the Book of Genesis.
He decided to combine his love of the Book of Genesis with his passion for filmmaking and set out to travel the United States, interviewing clergy and public figures in order to build an undeniable argument about the continued importance of the Book of Genesis as guiding force in our Judeo-Christian country.
Roadmap Genesis invites Americans of all faiths to engage in a dialogue about the relevance of the Bible in the modern age. Through interviews ranging from Gov. Mike Huckabee of Fox News Channel to Rabbi David Wolpe, from Alan Dershowitz to the Archbishop of Chicago Cardinal Francis George, from Erick Stakelbeck of the Christian Broadcasting Network to Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, and many, many more, Nolan explores the rules that God has set forth to help us maintain a successful and working society.
Now for the giveaway!

Please enter using the Giveaway Tools link below. Good luck!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Performs at Holland Center Feb 20




I don't know about you, but I fell in love with Ladysmith Black Mambazo back in high school when we were working in choir on a capella songs for competition. They had it going on then and they still do today. Since then, they have gained popularity (and a place in pop culture with their Lion King appearance). And with their concert coming to Omaha on February 20, I learned a little more about the group that fascinates and inspires me. 

Full ticket information below, but if you are interested in seeing Ladysmith Black Mambazo live, tickets are available at Ticket Omaha for their show on February 20 at 8:00 p.m.

Here is a video of Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing at YouTube headquarters. 

Check out this information from their press release. I've always been impressed by the group, but this goes beyond amazing for one group to accomplish so much.
The South African a cappella vocal group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has been performing worldwide for more than 50 years. A young farmer, Joseph Shabalala, formed the group in the early 1960s. The name comes from his hometown, Ladysmith; Black being a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals; and Mambazo, the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol of the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them. The group sings from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s discography includes more than 50 recordings; 15 albums have earned Grammy Award® nominations, and several have won – including their first worldwide release, Shaka Zulu, which won a Grammy® in 1988. Their 2014 release, Always With Us, is a tribute to the group and Shabalala family matriarch, Nellie Shabalala, Joseph Shabalala's wife who passed away in 2002. The collection of songs are recordings Nellie made with her church choir; Ladysmith Black Mambazo added their voices to the recordings.
The group has collaborated with many artists, starting first with Paul Simon on his Graceland album in 1986. Others they’ve worked with include Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and Melissa Etheridge. They’re included on film soundtracks for Disney’s The Lion King, Part II, Coming To America, A Dry White Season, Cry The Beloved Country and Invictus. The film documentary, On Tip Toe: Gentle Steps to Freedom, the Story of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was nominated for an Academy Award. They have appeared on Broadway and have been nominated for Tony Awards®.
The title the group holds most dear is that of "South Africa's Cultural Ambassadors to the World. This honor was bestowed upon the group by the late Nelsen Mandela and they dedicate themselves to sing for peace around the world. 

Performance information:
Friday, February 20, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.
Holland Performing Arts Center
1200 Douglas Street - Omaha
Tickets start at $20 and available at Ticket Omaha

Hope to see you there! (And a word to the wise, the group meets fans and signs autographs after the show!)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Favorite Winter Character Day

Rebekah's school had "Dress as Your Favorite Winter Character Day" today. Rebekah originally wanted to be one of the scores of Elsa's or Anna's but we don't have those costumes yet (hint for a birthday gift--tee hee). Instead, she went as Frosty the Snowman complete with a bubble pipe. 


Right down to buttons and boots. I think she looked totally darling. 



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2015


God Bless You and Yours on Christmas and throughout the New Year. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Must be Dressed to Be Our Guest #BATBsurprise




Immediately following our #BATBsurprise reveal, Rebekah started plotting to go see Belle. It goes without saying that her wardrobe for this evening will be the yellow ball gown. In discussing this vs. her Belle's Christmas dress, she came to the conclusion that the yellow gown was the only real choice. 

"Oh, no!" Rebekah suddenly exclaimed. "Mom, you have to go online and find a pair of long yellow gloves to go with my Belle dress." At this, I'll tell you the dad and the teenaged brother both rolled their eyes. But, the princess in my home knows the right buttons to push and while I told her the classic cop out 'we'll see,' I started hunting online. 

And check out what I found. 

I surprised Rebekah with them at dinner, so all evening she wandered around dancing in her dress up dresses with gloves. 

And here is a preview of our big night (tonight) where we will be guests of Belle. 



TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE
Beauty and the Beast Broadway Production will be at the Orpheum Theater, 409 S. 16 St.
Performances: Friday, December 19 - 8:00 p.m.
          Saturday, December 20 - 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
          Sunday, December 21 - 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased through Ticket Omaha

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