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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner of Digital Photo Keychain

Congratulations to Hillary. She was selected by as the winner of the Digital Photo Keychain. The number selected was 21 and Hillary won for a daily tweet.

Thanks to everyone who entered. More giveaways will be coming shortly. I'm excited for you to see some of the products we have coming up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Robyn & Sean with The Kool-Aid Guy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Treasure Your Chest

Watch live streaming video from treasureyourchest at

Orbit White Bubblemint Gum is sponsoring this video on breast health and awareness. The 'Treasure Your Chest' video is available online through October at, where women can watch as Giuliana and Lindsay share (and show) tips for how young women can be proactive about their breast health, including bonding with their breasts regularly.

Moms--just a kids heads up. These gals are talking about breast self exam and while there are no actual breasts shown, they do use a model set and they show a woman doing a BSE over her clothing. I did watch the whole video and did not find anything offensive to me...but wanted you to be aware if you don't want little eyes and ears to see and hear.

The other thing I loved about this video was the medical findings on how to decrease your risk of breast cancer through things like diet and exercise.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Curious Sean takes a Field Trip

Sean (brave man that he is) agreed to chaperon the middle school field trip to a local church camp. There were 150+ middle schoolers broken into small groups. They did a lot of team building activities.

Andrew (and Sean) started with their group at the paddle boats. Andrew is in the center paddle boats.

For this game, they had to get the whole team (all 150 of them) through the jump rope without messing up. They were supposed to do it so that the rope never went around empty.

Here's a video of some of the kids (and Andrew) going through the rope:

They all seemed to have a lot of fun. I was glad Sean could go do the 'outdoorsy' field trip. I'm going to chaperon the math competition next week. (I think I got the better end of the deal!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CLOSED: Knights of Arrethtrae Review and Giveaway

I had the opportunity to read and review books 5 & 6 in the Knights of Arrethtrae series (see below for a giveaway). Book 5 is titled "Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor". It tells the story of Twich (Quinlan is his given name, but he is always called Twich) and his desire to do more and serve the Prince. He has lived with Tav's family since orphaned and is very comfortable with them. Twich and Tav are almost inseparable until Tav trades his shield for a paytha (reworking of the word apathy). Shortly after, Tav's uncle comes to see if he can recruit Tav to fight with him in the Swords of Valor for the Prince. Everyone has always known that Tav was destined for great things. So when Baylor asks him to join the Swords of Valor, Twich figures it's a sure thing. But when Tav decides that there are too many things keeping him from leaving his hometown, Twich makes a commitment to the Prince and instantly is put on the front line of good vs. evil. He decides to fight for good and becomes Sir Quinlan and part of the Swords of Valor.

From there, a terrible thing happens at one point and Sir Quinlan believes he is unlovable and unredeemable. I don't want to spoil any of the things that happen, but the road to recovery and redemption was personally moving to me. As an adult who has made more than my fair share of mistakes, I could see the truths of the Bible shown so gently through this book. My oldest is starting with the first book in the series and I am thrilled that he will be shown Biblical truths through this story in a way that will speak to his heart.

The final story in the Knights of Arrethtrae series is "Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest". Sir Rowan is a young knight of the Prince when we first meet him. While training, he soon realizes he is one of the best sword fighters around. Coming from a background of poverty, lack and being from the wrong side of the tracks. He has always felt inferior, but sees his opportunity for greatness. He becomes a tournament fighter and is renown as the greatest fighter in the vicinity. This winning causes a lot of pride and the tournaments become a stumbling block for following the Prince. It always seems like there's one more fight before he can focus on the Prince and his work. When a major event occurs in his life, he finds himself helpless for the first time ever. Will he begin to see the Prince working in his life and follow Him? And when he meets Lijah, he's not sure what to think of this man who claims they need to work together. Who is right? What will become of the two of them?

I thought this book was going to be all about pride, but I was amazed at how well Chuck Black was able to translate the end times stories from the Bible into an easy to understand format using more allegories. I really don't want to spoil more of the plot than I already have, but the end time events that have been fairly difficult for me to grasp as an adult were certainly very clear in the story. And the author notes at the end that it's one interpretation, but even if the exact events aren't true, we get a true glimpse of what the Bible is referring to.

Here's a snippet of information about Chuck Black found at the website. Chuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This led him to write more allegories and add five more titles to the Kingdom's Edge series.
Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.

Learn more about the author Chuck Black here.

Would you like to win Books 5 & 6 to read for yourself?

**Mandatory Entry**

Visit Waterbrook Multnomah and tell me which book you would most like to read.
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}
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5. Follow Chuck Black on Facebook {1 entry}
6. Can you figure out what Arrethtrae stands for? (hint: look at it in a mirror) {1 entry}
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8. 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}
9. Tweet about this giveaway {can be done once per day} {1 entry per tweet} You can use this:

@Coolestmommy has a #giveaway of a two Knights of Arrethtrae books you can #win. Ends 11/12

•Giveaway ends Friday, November 12, 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 MamaBuzz review. The books were provided by Waterbrook Multnomah and no other compensation was given.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Awards & More

Life is not measured by
the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

Rebekah gets the Sharing Bag...

Rebekah took her puppy that Andrew won for her in the sharing bag. She determined the puppy's name is Rebekah and she's a soft puppy--that's why the puppy was chosen. She wanted to take her softest animal and this one tied for soft...but it was the biggest (insert inappropriate size joke here).
The Sharing Bag (Show & Tell) is the most coveted item at preschool.

State Music Festival for Piano
Both boys were invited to the State Music Festival based on their performance and theory scores at the District Festival. A Superior Rating is a "1" and both boys got Superiors. Andrew got a 1+ and Nathan got a 1. That earned both boys a trophy. We're proud of their hard work and happy it paid off for them.

This year, there were two trophies to choose from. Andrew took the Red, White & Blue trophy.

Nathan chose the other trophy with a music medallion at the top. He selected it because the back is shiny gold and he can reflect the light and make flashes of light with it.

Rebekah had to get in on the photos.

We are so proud of all of our children. Each one is a winner regardless of the awards they receive. We're just happy to see others recognize their excellence, too.
(Next, I'm going to try to get videos of the boys playing their songs because I think you will be impressed by their pieces. I know I am!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Walgreens Deal on Crystal Body Deodorant

I just got a heads up that Crystal® products are on sale at Rite Aid and Walgreens at $1 off for the Stick and $.50 off for the Roll-Ons and Spray. Sale goes 9/26 – 10/23. Hurry in to get this before it's gone. For more information on Crystal products, check out the Crystal Website.

I've used Crystal off and on for several years after deciding I didn't like the reports on alum and antiperspirants. It's a nice brand and I'm going to check out these new Crystal Essence products.


Disclosure policy in effect for this post.

Tips on Tuesday: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Remember to do your BSE every month.
Please get a mammogram at age 40.
Do it for your health, your family and your life!

Found this ad at Ads of the World

For further information regarding Breast Cancer, visit:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winner: Simulated Diamond Earrings

Congratulations to #25 Ginny. She tweeted her way to a new pair of Simulated Diamond Earrings from

I'm so excited for you to get these, Ginny. They are so comfortable to wear all day and they look really nice.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Don't forget the Digital Photo Keychain Giveaway is going on right now. And I've got another one scheduled for later next week--keep an eye out for it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My 8 minutes of fame...

As I told you a couple weeks ago, I was selected to participate in a round table discussion on MomTalk Radio. The podcast is now available online. Head over to MomTalk Radio and click on the 10/3/10 podcast. The roundtable discussion starts at about minute 26:00.

Maria was so pleasant to talk to and I enjoyed meeting Elizabeth from The Thrifty Divas. We had a lively discussion on how to handle homework and it's sparked a few ideas that I'll be blogging about at a later date.
Thanks to Maria and MomTalk Radio for this opportunity!

Wordless Wednesday

Life is not measured
by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.

GO BIG RED!! Beat the Longhorns!

Doesn't Rebekah look like she's having senior pictures taken? I know if I blink, it will be senior picture day so I continue to try to cherish every moment and live a fully engaged life. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: More Keys to Marriage

After talking about keys for marriage a few weeks ago, I wanted to revisit for a few updates I received from you. I received a few nuggets of wisdom that bear repeating.

Yoroshiku said, "the best thing I've learned in the past few years is to enjoy being married to the specific man I'm married to. Sounds like a no brainer...but I spent a lot of years comparing my husband and his style to other people's husbands. HUGE waste of energy. Once I decided to get on board with the man I married...that's when the fun started! Forget about other people's husbands!"

That is wonderful advice that was echoed to me on twitter and email. Some of you said to stick it out--no matter what. Decide to stay together and never change your mind. Many echoed Yoroshiku and said that being content with the spouse you have is critical. I've said before to stop comparing your children to other people's children because a comparison is meant to put one person down. Don't compare your husband either--somebody will end up getting put down.

Patty said, "...I would also add this: never assume the two alternatives you are arguing about are the only ones to choose from that would make each of you happy. Look for the Third Alternative." That is sage advice, Patty. What a nice way to remind us to think outside the box. It doesn't have to be your way or my way...look for the third way and make it OUR way.

Another person told me to remember that most actions are done in love. We can choose to accept them as a loving gesture (even if we didn't feel loved by it) or make an issue. Walking a mile in another man's shoes might make a lot of difference for many of us who are feeling unloved.

A final thought came from my own husband of 19 years. (Yes, I was a child bride, married at age 10.) He asked me to tell everyone to get and read the book,  The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.

This book is one that saved our marriage before we even realized it needed saving. Sean & I both read this book in about the second or third year of marriage. It revolutionized our marriage and eventually our interactions with our children and it continues to positively affect our lives to this day. Learn what the top love languages of your spouse are...and learn to speak them to him. Sean now understands that I feel most loved when he does the dishes for me (acts of service) and he feels most loved when I say thank you (words of affirmation). We demonstrate our love for each other in these easy ways that mean so much. I agree with him and think everyone should be required to read this book before marriage!

Finally, remember to love your spouse. When is the last time you said, "I love you" to him...with meaning. When is the last time "I love you" was a connection of sharing love instead of lip service? Try connecting with an "I love you" and top it off with a giant kiss. It will be the start of a beautiful thing.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What are galoshes to you?

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot more than I bargained for.

Rebekah & I were on the way to preschool this week and listening to her Kindermusik CD. One of the songs is about things we wear in the rain and bad weather. It talked about where you put a coat, hat, gloves, then galoshes. I asked Rebekah if she knew what galoshes were.

Her answer? "Is it a bad manners for stupid?" Hmmm...let me tell you about bad manners. I told her once to stop saying stupid and instead of saying it's a bad word, I told her it's bad manners. Good thing! Anytime she hears someone say stupid (any age, any where), she will announce to them in a high volume way, "Stupid is a bad manners word."

I'm not sure how she equated galoshes with stupid, but she did. I explained the galoshes are really rain boots, like her pink kitty cat rain boots.

"Ahhhh," Rebekah answers, "like my kitty cat boots. Those are galoshes."

That made me remember a photo taken a couple weeks ago. She was in full soccer uniform and I needed to run a quick errand. Afraid of being left at home, she grabbed the first shoes she found....the pink kitty cat galoshes. She put them on and was so stinkin' cute, I had to have a photo.


Friday, October 08, 2010

CLOSED: Digital Keychain Review & Giveaway

Ever wished you had a few recent photos of your kids, pets or spouse to show your friends? I found the perfect product to help with keeping current photos readily available in your purse. It's a pink digital photo keychain from Wholesale Keychain.

  • 1.5 inch 128x128 LCD display;
  • 4.8 MB internal memory which can store about 72 pictures;
  • Manual and automatic photo slide show
  • Manual switch between photo and time display
  • Photo format: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF;
  • Photo size automatically cut by software.
  • Time display
  • Photo View Software included allows input/output of photos
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • USB cable also included
  • Available in Black and Pink (and a similar one in red is available for a limited time)

I really like this keychain. It's amazingly clear in displaying photos and I can't believe such a tiny thing shows off my kiddos so well. It was fairly easy to use, but the directions were severely lacking. It really just took me playing around with the keychain and software in order to make it work. It's fairly intuitive software and once you figured out the basics, it was a piece of cake.
I thought this was an inexpensive way to give grandparents and other special people a nice photo display. I alos thought of weddings and that this would make a nice gift to the bridesmaids/groomsmen if you loaded with some photos of you and the attendant. This particular keychain is only $9.99 so it's fairly inexpensive.

Want to win a Pink Digital Photo Keychain??

**Mandatory Entry**
Visit Wholesale and tell me your favorite product on the site.

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) {1 entry}
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 a Digital Photo Keychain you can #win. Ends 10/29

•Giveaway ends Friday, October 29, 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

Sponsored by

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Down on the farm

Took a family day to spend time "down on the farm." It was family weekend at a local farm so we went for the day. First thing we saw were the horses. Rebekah can't leave any horse un-petted. All horses must know she loves them.

Nathan was cold so we switched coats and found the "Welcome to the Farm" window.

We were able to catch a couple special exhibits like the Raptors and the Exotic Animals. I didn't get many photos because it was so dark in there. We also had the chance to get inside the star lab which shows how to find constellations in the sky and the stories behind the constellations.

Here's a photo of one of the Raptors.

Then back to the horses and ponies to let the younger ones have a ride. 
Nathan and Rebekah enjoyed pony rides.  

 Check out the painted hay bales. We thought they were really cute.

Rebekah sticking out her tongue at the camera. She was inside a HUGE log. I wanted a family shot in the log, but that didn't work out so well for me.

Scarecrow girl.

Rebekah (obviously) was more interested in photo taking than the boys. They mainly wanted to see the special exhibits of exotic and wild animals. This turtle is carved from a tree that had to be removed when it was damaged and leaning over the picnic pavilion.

My boys thought this was the funniest sign, "SLOW Children Playing". They didn't see it in the same light that Sean & I did. Thought I'd split my side laughing. 

One final decorated hay bale on our way out. What a full and fun day!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: When Marriage Hurts

I wrote the following article a couple years ago for our MOPS newsletter. Since I last posted on marriage, I've been nudged repeatedly by the Holy Spirit to post this article here for you. If your marriage is in a good place--a healthy place--then praise God. If not, I urge you to take action.

There is one key we didn't discuss regarding marriage. It was brought up after the self-defense class we had at MOPS. One of our moms reminded me that while this is great information and training to have, most of us will never use it. It’s good to be prepared, but if we look at statistics, the biggest threat to us as wives and mothers comes in our own home. Statistics show that 1 of 3 women is abused—either physically, emotionally or sexually in her own home by her spouse/partner. Think about your group this year and try to imagine three of your friends from your discussion group facing abuse each week or each day. It was my wake-up call.

If you are one of the three in an abusive relationship, remember that there is hope and help. Take heart and remember that an abusive home is not God's design. Get going—to places and shelters where they can help you get on your feet and out of the abuse you currently receive. There are places and hotlines for you to use. Use them! Most cities have hotlines open 24 hours a day. Call the local YWCA or shelter--most homeless shelters know where to take an abused woman & children. If you know of a woman in an abusive situation, please don’t turn a blind eye. Talk to her and try to help her make the call to get help.

While I didn’t plan to have such a heavy topic for today, it became crucial to me to share this message with all of you. Sometimes we do need to just ‘go’ and abuse is one of those times. Life is a grand adventure and mothering can be a roller coaster of a ride. But there is one adventure that no person should ever have to go through—abuse. Please seek help for yourself and your children. I’m praying for you.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gumdrop Swap Review

Gumdrop Swap is an online store that essentially allows you to consign online. It's a simple system to give you the opportunity to end up 'trading' outgrown clothes for new clothes. I've done consignment at stores and I've done large consignment sales, but this is the first online site that I've found using the same principals and practices that I've come to expect at kids sales and consignment stores.

To swap, you must have a membership. A three month membership is $15 (about the same as I pay to consign at a large kids consignment sale). Once you are registered, you fill out a list (found online) to print and send with the clothes you are sending in. There is a 'gumdrop value' for each item (1 gumdrop = $1.00) and you mark how many of that type of item you are sending. If there is a problem (such as a stain or the clothing is too worn or outdated), you receive 1 gumdrop for that item and it is either recycled into a new outfit or donated to charity.

Here's what I submitted:
Lightweight girl jacket, Gymboree tank top (NWT), two pairs boy pants

Girl sundress and capris

Girl tank top, Gymboree outfit, boy swim trunks and boy shorts
(Not Pictured: two Gymboree hats for boys)

For all of these items, I received 60 Gumdrops. It cost me about $11 to ship everything in a flat rate USPS box. I did check UPS ground as well and it was almost the same price. When the package of clothes arrives, the folks at GumDrop swap get back to you within a few days so you're not waiting a long time. I placed my order the same night I received credit on the site and my package was shipped out within 48 hours.

Here's what I received:
Dress shirt for Andrew, Rugby shirt (GAP) for Andrew,
Two pairs dress pants for Nathan
(Not pictured: sweat pants for Nathan)

Sweater for Rebekah, Beetlejuice of London NWT dress and smock dress for Rebekah and Abercrombie hoodie for Nathan.

My total (including shipping) was 59 Gumdrops. I have one leftover for the next swap. Out of all these clothes, one pair of pants was too small for Nathan, but the kids can wear everything else. That pair of non-fitting pants will go back to Gumdrop Swap for my next trade in.

One of the benefits I found was the ability to purge out some of the kids summer clothes even though it was fall. Gumdrop Swap currently accepts all clothing (regardless of season) all year long. They also sell everything year round so when we travel to warmer places for Thanksgiving, I can order some outfits in their new sizes for the warmer temps--even in November.

To recap, my total out of pocket for this would have been $25 plus 12 clothing items sent. In return I got 8 articles of clothing (and one that I can return on my next swap for a total of 9 items) and my return shipping was paid for out of my gumdrops as well.

When consigning, I usually am required to give 25-30% of my sales as a commission. So I mailed 12, got 9 and didn't have to pay shipping out of pocket (which is equal to another outfit or two for me). I honestly came out almost even.

Bottom line: Do I think it was worth the effort to mail clothes off? Yes, I do. Especially if you have or need off-season items (like a swimsuit in fall/winter). For those who live where there are large consignment sales, it might seem a little unnecessary. I know that was one thought that crossed my head. I was happy to be able to swap out the items I couldn't sell at the local kids sale. It was nice to get it out of here and get things I needed right away instead of holding those items waiting for the spring sale to start.

I found all the clothing I received to be high quality and free from all stains, rips, tears. While it was difficult for me to give up enough control to let somebody else pick colors and items for me, I was pleased with everything I received.

If you'd like to learn more about Gumdrop Swap, please visit the Gumdrop Swap Blog, follow on Twitter or Facebook.

Disclosure: This is a Business2Blogger review. I received a 3 month subscription for this review. I was not compensated in any other way.
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