My Current Giveaways

Thursday, September 30, 2010

FREE 8x10 Collage Print from Walgreens



Here's a collage I did last year for my sister & brother-in-law. I got this from Walgreens and through October 1, 2010, you can have a free 8x10 collage (normally $3.99). Go to Walgreens Photo Online and after creating your collage, add it to your cart. Use the Coupon Code FBCOLL at checkout to received the print for free. If you select in store pickup, you will pay $0. Enjoy!

Thank you for your prayers!

I just got off the phone with Maria Bailey at Mom Talk Radio and Elizabeth from The Thrifty Divas. We discussed homework for our roundtable time and it was a lot of fun. Maria is wonderful to work with and our minutes ticked away incredibly fast.


The show will air on Sunday evening in Mom Talk Radio markets and I'll link to the podcast when it becomes available online.


Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I don't think I stumbled much when I was speaking. :-) I had a blast and hope to be able to join Maria again someday on another roundtable discussion.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Last week Nathan & Rebekah had Cowboy and Cowgirl day at school.


Nathan made his own badge.



Stick 'em up!

After school in her extra bandanna, shades and pink checkered coat. Thumbs up for Cowgirl Day!

My 15 mintues of fame...


It looks like I'm in line to get my 15 minutes of fame tomorrow. I am part of the Mom Select team with Maria Bailey. She hosts a radio show called Mom Talk Radio. I was contacted this week and selected to participate in a round table discussion with Maria and one other mom. I'll be part of the next to the last segment on tomorrow's broadcast.

I'm excited--and a bit nervous--to be on a national radio talk show for moms. I'll be sure to link up here when the podcast of the show goes online. I'm praying that I put that acting degree to good use and that I won't stammer or sound like an idiot on national radio. Thankfully, it's voice only. Phew!

Send me a few prayers tomorrow if you don't mind. I'm taping my portion around the lunch hour, but the show airs on Sunday. Most of the airtimes on the station schedule I received are Sunday  evening.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Sister What?

I had planned a follow up to the Marriage Tips from last week. Instead, I've prayerfully chosen to preempt myself to next week. Instead, I feel the compelling need to blog about the new show on TLC called "Sister Wives." Ironically, it's another view of marriage.

I will be the first to admit that I did tape and watch the series premiere that aired on Sunday night. I watched it when all my children were gone from my home because I wanted to see what this show was really all about. There's been a lot of hype and a lot of negativity about the show that stirred controversy before the episode ran.

Here's what I saw. I saw three women (yes, this season he's looking to add wife #4) and their children who are happy and well-adjusted. I saw them struggle against natural feelings like jealousy, betrayal and at times, a sense of self and self-worth. I really didn't want to like the women. I wanted them to be so repulsive that I'd not like a thing about them. What I saw were women who look like, talk like and seem like my own friends....and that made me very, very sad.

I meditated on this show throughout the day until the spiritual truth I was looking for hit me. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." (NIV)  I also read the Amplified which says, "Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour." Finally, I checked the ever popular Message version which says, "Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up."

That's my conclusion about this show. These women, their husband and their church are all being consumed by the enemy, the devil. He has stolen from them the gift of monogamy. The enemy and their families and fellow church goers are all succumbing to the lion devouring the sanctity of marriage. And the worst part of all of it is that we, the American public, are allowing it to happen and letting this into our homes.

It reminds me of the book "1984". If you've never read it, I urge you to read it now and think about where reality TV has taken us. In the book, with Big Brother watching, nothing was private or sacred anymore. Everyone's private lives were public. Big Brother was able to desensitize society by using images to rewire their thoughts and essentially use mind control. Then I look at a show like Sister Wives (or Wife Swap or Temptation Island or The Mole, etc.) and see how desensitized the public is and will become to this behavior. Watching it weekly makes it somehow 'ok' behavior, even if we know it's wrong.

Check out the following quote from one of the producers:
“They are very much a modern family. They are open-minded. They are generally adorable,” said Bill Hayes, president of North Carolina-based Figure 8 Films and co-executive producer of the show. “Their children were so well behaved and polite and healthy and happy,” he added. “Pardon the cliche, but the proof was in the pudding. I thought, ‘What a bunch of great young people, and there was nothing strange about them.’"

I disagree with Bill. There is definitely something strange about them. It's not in their clothes or speech or friendships, it's in the polygamy. I urge all of you to pray for the Brown family. Kody (the husband) and his wives Meri, Janelle and Christine. Pray for the potential next wife, Robyn. Pray for the 13 children in the Brown home already and the possible 3 coming with Robyn. If there's ever been a group of people needing prayer, it's all of these Fundamental Mormans.

Please pray that the light of Christ would shine wisdom and discernment into their hearts and home. Pray that they would come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and that they would find not condemnation in Christ, but find the truth. Pray that the devil would stop his prowl around them and that they would break free of the grip that satan has on their home and their lives.

I can't say that I will watch the show again as it broke my heart. I grieve for these women who are so misguided in their faith. I am praying without ceasing for them and I truly hope they all can break free of that bondage to sin.

I'm reminded of the story where a mom wants to prove a point to her child. She bakes him a special cake and shows him how she does it with her 'secret ingredient'. She adds the flour, eggs, sugar, cocoa and a little bit of dog poop. She tells him you'll never taste it. When he says it ruins the whole cake, she reminds him that it's the same as his sinful behavior. I know the Brown family would disagree with me, but it's the dog poop of polygamy that ruins the show for me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

CLOSED: Simulated Diamond Earrings Review and Giveaway





What a great opportunity to get some nice costume jewelry for minimal cost. I was allowed to try a pair of Simulated Diamond Earrings from http://www.diamondearrings.org/. When I went to the website the first time, I have to admit it looked like something that would be a pop up ad and not a legitimate website. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong.

I was sent this pair of 5mm studs, made from Cubic Zirconia and .925 sterling silver. They are dainty earrings which look so nice on. I was pleased that they didn't turn my ears colors (like cheap rings do) and the earrings were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They are a nice size that would be possible for most women to have a pair of 'real' diamond earrings that size. Not at all ostentatious or gaudy. Just a nice looking pair of diamond earrings (only you and I know they are simulated diamond earrings).
I'm so excited because http://www.diamondearring.org/ is doing two things for my readers. First, they are giving away a set to one lucky reader of my blog (see how to enter below). Second, anyone can receive a set of earrings if you would like one. The earrings are free, but you have to pay shipping and handling of $3.77. Can you believe it? Under $4 for a nice pair of simulated diamond earrings. What a steal!

Want to win a pair of Simulated Diamond Earrings??

**Mandatory Entry**

Tell me where you would wear these earrings if you won.
PLEASE NOTE: You do not have to be a blogger to enter this contest, but you must leave a way for me to contact you. Use the anonymous comment form to enter and leave an email.
*You MUST do the mandatory entry! All bonus entries will be deleted if it's not done first!*


**Bonus Entries**
{Leave separate comments for each entry}
1. Follow me publicly on Google Friend Connect (current followers, too) {2 entries}
2. Subscribe to my blog {1 entry}
3. Follow me on Twitter {1 entry}
4. Add my blog to your blog roll/sidebar {1 entry}
5. Email three friends with the link to this giveaway inviting them to enter. Remember to cc me at coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com {2 entries}
6. Tweet about this giveaway {can be done once per day} {1 entry per tweet} You can use this:

@Coolestmommy has a #giveaway of Simulated Diamond Earrings you can #win at http://bit.ly/99b07R. Ends 10/15


**Rules**
•Giveaway ends Friday, October 15, 2010
•Winner will be chosen via Random.Org. and contacted by email
•Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen
• Open to addresses in the United States




Disclosure: This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by www.DiamondEarrings.org for this review.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Family Fun

The boys were out of school one day last week so we got Rebekah after preschool, got lunch and went to the museum. If you haven't discovered it yet, I'm a museum lover. I particularly like obscure museums--but I reserve the right to deem what is obscure to our family.

On this day, we went to a museum that isn't really obscure, but we managed to find some of the more obscure things to do. The whole thing is based on trains and train stations. But, we focused on the Native American exhibit and sort of ignored the trains.

Cowgirl Rebekah wanted to have a picture with the buffalo.
Inside a tee pee, you can have a fire. Got Andrew in for a photo (a rare event these days) and Rebekah has to stick out her tongue. UGH!!!

Andrew took off and I got a nicer photo of the fire.

Rebekah & Nathan inside a tee pee on a pelt.



I never seem to be in any of the photos because I'm taking them of everyone else. Being a rebel, I did a self-portrait with a steam engine in the background. See, there are trains in the 'Indian Museum'. :-)


Rebekah and Sean took pity on me.
Sean & I posed while Rebekah took our picture. Nice job, sis.

Rebekah loves making the piston work by shooting the black cap into the air.

Nathan gets the wheels turning.

Andrew tries to find the best wheels to use for a train to keep it on the track.

We had a fantastic time and a great family fun day. It was nice to have Daddy to ourselves for the whole day and we even got ice cream after the museum. Top it off with pizza for dinner and it was a winner of a day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Soccer girl with Asst. Coach Daddy
GO HUSKERS! (They picked the team name)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Keys for Marriage

Recently Sean & I were able to have a date night and go see a play at the theatre. The show we saw dealt a lot with marriage--particularly the end of a marriage. Sitting in the theatre where an informal poll had been taken, Sean & I were obviously among some strong marriages since there were at least 6 people/couples in marriages over 50 years. It sparked an idea after the show that I've been working through.

What are the keys to keeping a marriage strong after 5, 10, 20, 50 years? Why do some couples make it and others don't? I can't presume to know all the answers or be an expert, but I've noticed things about my friends who have remained married and things about my friends who have marriages that ended in divorce. I think there are five main keys to unlocking the married forever door.

1. Where's your focus? Are you me-centered, he-centered or God-centered. While I know I'm not always God-centered, it's a goal for my life. Putting God in the center keeps the focus off of you. I listen to people whine about how their spouse never does 'this or that for me' and I always think--well, what have you done for your spouse? I also think it sounds more like my 4 year old. She seems to think she is the center of the universe and I know it's my job to guide her to the truth that the sun doesn't rise and set on her shoulders. But how many people think their spouse needs to treat them as if they are the center of the universe? No offense, but if that's you--grow up!
Who is your focus centering on? I'm not saying be a doormat, but put your spouse first and see if it makes a difference. Even better, put God first in your marriage and let your prayers and relationship with Him guide your actions and reactions with your spouse.

2. Keep the spark alive. Fan the flame of love in your marriage. Remember when you were first dating? How you anticipated time spent together and couldn't wait to be with him again? Work to bring back some of that spark. Set a date night--even if it's putting the kids to bed early so you can watch a movie at home together--and keep your date. Make time with your spouse a priority. And don't forget when you were first married, work to rekindle that spark, too.

3. Communicate! How many divorced couples say he/she just didn't understand me anymore? Learn to communicate. Take time to learn what is going on with each other. Again--don't be self-centered and think your spouse needs to know everything about you. It's a reciprocal action. Communication takes two people interacting. Learn about each other...and don't underestimate the power of silence. There's something comforting when you are comfortable enough with a person to allow a gentle silence to fall. Not every minute needs to be filled with words. I enjoy just sitting near Sean and holding his hand. Sometimes the trust communicated in silence is more valuable to me than all the words in the world.

4. Make time for you. Keep up with a hobby or passion of your own. Don't lose yourself in these middle years when it seems that spouse and kids and life take everything you have with nothing left over for you. If you lose sight of who you are, how can you expect your husband to continue knowing you? I love to scrapbook, but I'm the first to admit it's taken a back seat for a while. Instead, I've been following another passion I have--reading. I take time away to go to my room and read. I know that as the seasons of my life change, I'll be back to scrapbooking with the gals a couple times a month. And since I'm keeping aware of who I really am, it's ok.
I also sneak out a couple times a month to have lunch or dinner with friends. One BFF and I attempt to meet once a week. The reality is, that usually ends up being once or twice a month--but she's a friend where the conversation picks up right where it left off. I still meet up for dinner with moms who were part of a playgroup when Andrew was an infant. These dates with girlfriends keep my sanity in tact. I'm grateful for a supportive husband who knows that I'd lose my mind if I didn't go. So he takes care of kids and puts them to bed solo without grumbling or complaining because he sees the value in a wife who is relaxed and recharged just from a three hour power dinner.

What do you think the key is to a long-lasting (and great) marriage?

I guess if there's one more key, I think it's the "Golden Key". I believe the Golden Key helps get you to a Golden Anniversary (50 years for those who don't know). We decided when we got married that divorce was not an option and is not to be mentioned. If we're arguing, it is not allowed to be used in the argument. If both of you understand that it's not an option, I figure you'll fight to save what you have. It helps us fight fairly because one can't emotionally blackmail the other with the threat of divorce. It's helped us keep perspective on our marriage.

It appears that as of 2008, 40% of all marriages end in divorce. What are you doing to stay in the 60% who remain married?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Princess Bible Review

Book: My Princess Bible
Author: Andy Holmes


Price: $12.99
Publisher: Tyndale
Learn more online at Tyndale.com
Follow on Twitter @Tyndale


Description from the publisher:
My Princess Bible is based on the popular format of My Pajama Bible. The new board book combines princess-like art of women of the Bible with art more reflective of the modern-day princesses who will learn of biblical women.



My Princess Bible shares stories of 19 women of the Bible through a rhyming story and a short takeaway summary in prose. Each story ends with two lines that remind the reader of valuable character traits of a princess; the little princesses are even encouraged to recite the learning of the biblical princess using her name in the blank instead: “________ is God’s special princess; ________ is sad when she does something bad” (the takeaway from the story of Eve). This format helps children see biblical women as princesses who teach us about godly principles. It also helps reinforce that the little girl reader is special and seen as a princess because she is created by God. The final story (number 20) is taken from Psalm 139 and features the reader as the godly princess. It reminds the reader that princesses are daughters of the King and are loved by God. Little girls will love to read My Princess Bible over and over to learn about God’s princesses.


My thoughts:
We are so in love with My Princess Bible at my house. My foo-foo girl is all about anything with princesses and I love the fact that there is strong Biblical teaching housed in gentle rhymes and engaging pictures. Rebekah is so excited to have a Princess Bible. She wants to read the stories all the time. I like how they are just a couple pages so it's not a long reading. A younger child would be attentive long enough to get through the story and prayer. Each one gives you a place to say your child(ren)'s name and it really helps them internalize the lessons taught.


I also thought that $12.99 for a thick board book was very reasonably priced. I know you can order My Princess Bible online at most book retailers. I know it just released so it should be in stores now. You can check your local Christian retailer to see if they have a copy.


I hope your princess enjoys My Princess Bible as much as mine did.


Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing. No other compensation was received.

The harder I try....

There's a phrase, "The harder I try, the behinder I get," that fits our life right now. Last week was my week of rest because I had sick children. After getting them on antibiotics, I thought they would get better. It's how I think....silly me!

Andrew came home last Wed. complaining he felt worse not better. Hmmm....101 fever. Oops, no school on Thursday...no school Friday...still not feeling better Saturday so we kept him home from church on Sunday. His fever was gone Saturday night, but the coughing he had was not improving. Got him an appointment Tuesday after school with our doctor and she discovered he has pneumonia. What?!?! That's not what I expected to hear. Oh, don't forget a double ear infection after a week of antibiotics. Upped his antibiotics to a super strong one. Now he's feeling stronger every day.

Then last night, I'm packing up Nathan's stuff to go to AWANAS and Andrew said something about how we weren't checking Nathan's temp even though he was coughing. Thank God Andrew said that for two reasons. First, it crystallized a thought that had been swirling in my head--I can't tell them apart when they cough. The cough itself is identical. Felt Nathan's forehead really quickly and couldn't believe how hot he was. Yup, 101 fever and same cough. Off to Urgent Care instead of AWANAS. The doctor put Nathan on the same meds as Andrew. Kept him home from school today because of last night's fever. Today, his fever is gone, but we will play it by ear for tomorrow.

I know we caught it much sooner for Nathan so I'm hoping he doesn't get as tired and run down. I now feel really bad that we were clueless with Andrew's cough. I kept thinking whooping cough, but I was obviously wrong. (We always said the first one is the test model so you can get it right the next time around.)

Tomorrow, I'm taking Rebekah in for an ear recheck (double ear infection). She's not really coughing like the boys, but I'll be pushing for a really long, hard listen to those lungs. And I thought pneumonia isn't contagious. The Urgent Care doctor was quick to point out that Andrew caught it from someone before giving it to his brother.

As a parent, I am adopting a new philosophy. I think I'm against sharing. Toys--sure. Germs--knock it off and keep them to yourselves. :-)

Please keep us in your prayers!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday




Having fun with the full moon. Andrew saw some 'moon-fun' photos and wanted to do a few himself. He set everything up and I snapped them.

His creativity stuns me!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Happiness or Joy

A friend at church made a simple comment that has had me thinking hard for a few weeks now. I said something about, "If she's happy, I'm happy to." And without missing a beat he said, "Happiness is an event, but joy comes from the Lord." And he kept on walking. Those of us near him stopped and asked for more.

Here's the thought process of what he said. If you seek happiness, you find it in events. When the event/moment is over, the happiness is gone and you have to go out seeking happiness all over again. It doesn't stick with you and is fleeting. But joy permeates your spirit and soul and stays with you because it comes from the Lord.

I've really been thinking about happiness and joy because I wondered if his words could be remotely true. I've discovered they are true. I can be joyful in the midst of sad circumstances, even when happiness isn't around. So I've noticed myself seeking out the joy of the Lord instead of the happiness of the world.

I've starting researching scriptures regarding joy versus happiness and while I'm not done, I want to share a few verses that spoke to me. (All of these quotes are from the King James version of the Bible.)

Regarding Joy:
John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.


The word Happiness is not found in the King James version, but Happy is listed 25 times.
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.


Interesting to note that Happy is found 25 times in the Bible and the word Joy is found 187 times. This says to me that Joy is more important to us than Happiness. I also note that many of the times Happy is listed, it does refer to an event or an attitude. But Joy is from the Lord--and it endures forever.

So the next time you want to be happy, I encourage you to seek out joy instead. We can't re-happy, but when the chips are down, we can choose to re-joice.










Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Day of School

The first day of school came EARLY in the morning. This momma got used to sleeping in this summer until my body was done sleeping. The blaring alarm was a giant shock to the system and I'm still trying to recover.

Andrew has to be ready to leave at o-dark-30 so we had to hustle to get a few photos of him. He's now officially Junior High even though he's in middle school. I can't believe that precious bundle has already become a young man.


Nathan leaves about an hour and a half later. It was much easier to get pictures of him because the caffeine had kicked in and I could hold my eyes open without toothpicks.


Rebekah started school a week later. She couldn't wait to go. When I took her to her preschool meet the teacher day, she got SOOOO mad. She was angry that we were only there for 20 minutes. She told me I needed to GO and come back LATER to get her. I finally bribed her with trips to the store just to get her out of the building.

Needless to say, she was one happy camper to go to school!


We are all settling into the new routine of the year. School seems to be going well for everyone and we are so proud of each of our children.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In Memory of 9-11-01

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Memories Suite Review and Online Discount Code



My Memories Suite is a comprehensive digital software for creating scrapbooking pages and albums. I was excited to try a new software as I generally just use whatever the photo printing websites have.

The software itself was easy to download and install. There is a class offered occasionally (sign up at their facebook page), but I was unable to take it when it was offered. I think this would have helped me a lot, but I was able to sit down and do one of the template albums on the first try.

Here's a couple of the album pages from the Buckle Up template:


 




I also managed to create a page from scratch....
Ta-dah!

Overall, I thought the software was fairly easy to use. There are a few things I'm still confused about, but I think the class would have helped. I could also read the help section, but haven't taken time to do that as of yet. It was an easy software to use and you can even save the pages to your computer to print yourself.

I like the way you can layer the pieces, but I found some of it tricky to figure out. I'm still confused on adding embellished corners, but I haven't given up. If you remember that a right click can be your best friend, you'll go far with this software. 

If you purchase My Memories Suite, please email me a page or two that you create. 

You can purchase My Memories Suite for $39.97 but my fantastic readers have been offered a discount. Recieve a 20% discount if you purchase the program, using the following code: MamaBuzz20.

You can follow My Memories Suite on Facebook and @MyMemoriesSuite on Twitter. You can keep totally up to date with the with the My Memories Suite Blog. The blog lists new products and downloads. If you "Like" My Memories Suite on Facebook, keep watching for the "Intro to MMS" class hosted by My Memories Suite.




Disclosure: This is a MamaBuzz review. I received a free download of My Memories Suite from My Memories Suite, for the purposes of this review.

A week of rest...

Sorry I haven't been posting this past week. Life has gotten in the way of blogging and I've ended up with sick children. They are now on the mend and I'm hoping life can get back to the normal, dull roar, frenzy of never-ending activities.

I've got a couple reviews to post this weekend including a new giveaway. And I'm hoping to catch up with some photos from the first day of school.

Happy Friday!
Robyn,
Chief Blogger currently serving as Dr. Mom
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