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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: The Road Less Traveled

I know I'm late posting today's Tips on Tuesday column. I try to have them done well in advance, but sometimes life interferes and it's hard to find exactly what I want to post. Today was one of those days. Then I ran across a book about Autism that I've added to my purchase list (I'm sure I'll post more about it when I read it) and found the following essay as part of the introduction to the book.

I don't do as much blogging over here about our life and autism, but Nathan is on the Autism Spectrum. He's gifted and autistic which makes him Twice Exceptional. (You can go to my blog for more information on Twice Exceptional children.)

We often feel like we're navigating through a foreign country with him. It's also difficult to put into words what our life is like. We often don't know what to say because many people pity us, but we don't want pity. We would prefer understanding and patience. Many people expect us to get him 'fixed' but what's hard to explain is that his isn't 'broken', he's 'different'. If we took all autism out of Nathan, than he'd cease to be the Nathan we know and love. So while we wouldn't have chosen this path for ourselves, we don't regret the path we're on.

When I read through this essay, it hit me like a ton of bricks. She explains my thoughts and feelings with accuracy and insight. I cried when I read this and am crying again now thinking about it. I may not have arrived in Italy, but Holland is nice this time of year, too.

Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting. After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy." But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.
©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley.

I know everyone has at least one Holland in their life. It's just part of living. I hope you find the encouragement that I found in this essay. Whenever you find yourself on the road less traveled, take time to look around and find the windmills and tulips.

Enjoy Holland!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mommy's Favorite Christmas Gift

What could be in the GIANT box?!?!

It's a My Twinn box. For those of you who don't know, My Twinn makes look-alike dolls. I spotted an ad for them about 15 years ago before we ever had children. I saved the ad knowing that someday I'd make one for one of my kiddos. When we had two boys, I thought that someday I'd make one of me. But when Rebekah came along, I knew I might get to buy one. But every year, it's just more money than I really want to spend on one child.

Praise God---I WON a doll. I entered a giveaway on another blog and won a custom made My Twinn Doll. I thank God for this great win because it's been the desire of my heart since before I had children. Now to compare doll to child...

Rebekah (the doll) is in the box and is half the size of Rebekah (the girl).

Rebekah and her Twinn

Rebekah loves her new Rebekah doll.

I even found the matching outfit for Rebekah (the girl) so they can dress alike, too.

It was the gift I was the most excited about and the greatest valued win that I got this year. We were all laughing so hard by Saturday night. The doll had lost one hair ribbon (found it) and one pony tail was half out. We tried to fix the pony tails and they were lopsided after only a few minutes---just like the live Rebekah. And yes, I'm setting aside money  now so that someday when Rebekah is old enough, we can send the Rebekah doll back to the "hospital" and have her restored to heirloom quality. In the meantime, I'm letting them play together and have a great time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas: Hallelujah Chorus

Here's one you have most likely seen already this season. The Philadelphia Opera got a group of 650 singers together to be at Macy's and sing the Hallelujah Chorus earlier this fall. They called it a "Random Act of Culture". I love this music and hearing it through the multi-story historical building gives me chills every time.

I hope you will take a few minutes to enjoy the music and reflect upon the real reason for the season, Christ the Lord.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Almost my birthday...

Dear loved ones,

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" ... as if the party were in his honor!

At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and ... do you know ...  no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me.

What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that over two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party.

I'm still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don't answer the invite will be left outside.

Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part of my great party.

See you soon.
I Love you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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

Andrew has taken up wearing bracelets for causes. He never got into the Silly Band Craze. When another boy at school asked him why he wore those instead of silly bands like everyone else, Andrew replied,
"Because I don't follow the trends, I make them."

I love a kid with confidence in who he is!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Take Time to Ponder

As we are almost to Christmas Day, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the real reason for the season--the birth of Jesus. In the Bible, the most familiar account of the birth of Jesus is found in Luke 2. In verses 1-20 it says:  
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.  
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
I've spent some time this Christmas season thinking about Mary and the part where she treasured these things and pondered them in her heart. I've pondered this and have worked to make the season one that isn't full of so much hustle and bustle and instead have tried to focus on the treasure. I may not have succeeded fully, but we were able to do quite a bit of things as a family. We didn't get everything done and had to take a few things off our list. But, we were able to laugh together and play games and spend time together as a family. That's something I treasure in my heart.

I may not know what it's like to be the mother of the Savior of the world, but I know what it's like to be the mother of Andrew, Nathan and Rebekah. I've spent extra time marveling at the treasure they are in my life and this Christmas, I have pondered these things in my heart. I ponder at the miracles they are and how each one has grown and changed this year. And, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, each one has shown such a different "Ah-ha" moment that I treasure. Each one has done selfless acts that may not be recorded in history books, but are recorded in my heart. As they grow, I ponder the people they are becoming. I pray they will keep living out their faith and that they will always know the reason for the season. 

I've been introspective this year. I've pondered a lot. And like Mary, I too have treasures stored in my heart. As we draw near to Christmas morning, I hope you'll spend a little time pondering the treasure and the blessings of your life in your own heart.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

If Mary & Joseph had Facebook...

For those of you receiving this via email, click on the title link to take you to my site where I have loaded a video. It's a look at what would have happened if Mary & Joseph had access to Facebook.

Enjoy! And have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Zhu Zhu Winner Chosen

Congratulations to Ronda. She was the winner of the Zhu Zhu Pets Prize Package. Her prize package has been shipped and will hopefully reach her in time for Christmas.

Keep watching the site as I have several new giveaways that will be going up right around the first of the year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Winter Boredom Busters Part 2

With Christmas just around the corner, this means there will be a lot of children out of school and at home with you. One of the things I hear lamented the most about the Christmas season is that the kids are too bored at home. If you end up with bored kids, try out a few of these boredom busters and see if you can fight the winter blahs.

Scavenger Hunt: Never underestimate the power of a scavenger hunt. Get a small reward of some sort (stickers, crayons, candy bar, etc.) and create a scavenger hunt throughout the house (or outdoors if you live where it's warm this time of year). If you have more than one child, they can take turns or hunt against each other with two separate routes leading to the prize. If your child doesn't read yet, use pictures or work with them to figure out the clues.

Gak - Gloop - Flubber: Doesn't matter what you want to call it, the result is matter how old you are! This recipe is great for those of you (like me) who make your own detergent because you have the Borax on hand. By mixing glue and borax, you get a gooey, oozing, cool substance that is so much fun to play with. WARNING: Gak can stain if you use food coloring and it is not edible. If your kids are too young to keep things out of their mouth, skip this. When you play with it, you might want to cover the surface of the table with wax paper or newspaper (not required). But be sure to keep Gak off of clothes and carpet.
TO MAKE: Mix together a 7.5 oz bottle of glue and 3/4 water in a bowl. Add 6 drops of food coloring and stir until mixed well. In another bowl, mix 1/3 cup water and 1 tsp. Borax (found in laundry aisle). Use a different, clean spoon to mix Borax and water until the Borax dissolves. Mix the borax into the glue mixture and stir constantly. It will get difficult to stir.
Let the Gak sit for a few minutes and then pour off any excess water. Take the Gak out of the bowl and enjoy!
Painting without Paint: Here's one for the bathtub! Take materials that are not paint and paint with them. Use shaving cream, pudding, yogurt, etc. and have a blast. You can do this on a table and "paint" on paper, but I prefer sticking everyone in the bathtub and letting them go at it. Then you hose them down and the mess goes down the drain.
A fun alternative is putting shaving cream on a mirror and letting them paint on the mirror. It's fun to see yourself through the shaving cream. WARNING: Shaving cream can discolor clothing so make sure you are wearing grubbies or a paint shirt.

Indoor Bubbles: Mix equal parts dish detergent and water together for a great bubble solution (Dawn or Joy works best). You can add glycerin (3 Tbsp for 2 Cups solution) to make them not pop as fast. Glycerin is found at your pharmacy/drugstore. If you add glycerin, you need to let the solution sit overnight before using. I've also added 1 tsp Borax to help give the bubbles more oomph.

Chalk Inside: I used to do this at the old house on my old carpet, but haven't tried it at my new house on my new carpet. I tested a spot on the carpet by coloring it with sidewalk chalk. It all vacuumed up without leaving a stain so I'd let my kids color on the carpet with sidewalk chalk. It was hours of entertainment and on a snowy day, we could pretend we were outside. Some variations I've used include purchasing a few carpet squares to color on (instead of my new carpet at my  new house). We did all sorts of chalk drawings on the cement floor of the unfinished portion of our basement. The garage (if it's not too cold) is another wide open space for creativity. Pull the cars out and shut the doors. Then chalk away. We even made race courses and would have tricycle races in the garage.

Make a Fort: Here's another one that even my teenager will get involved in. Drag out blankets and chairs and a card table and let the kids make a giant fort. My oldest gets yarn (and creative) and ties the corners of the sheets/blankets so they won't slip. Once the fort is built, they play in there, read in there, etc. for hours and days. Yes, it makes my living room look like a disaster relief zone, but the peace and quiet value is generally worth it. They also like to take in their flashlights and do shadow puppets and campfire stories. Let your imagination run free.

Game Night: How many of you have a game closet filled with games you never play? Drag some out and play them. Clear time out of your schedule to play with your kids. You'd be surprised how much fun you all can have.

Kitchen Creativity: Have the kids help make a simple dish with you. I love making a pudding pie. Prepurchase a graham cracker crust (or make one for added fun). Then use instant pudding. Instead of stirring, put in a tupperware container and shake it until it's ready to pour. Put in the crust and refrigerate until it's time to eat. You can also have them help add a layer of Cool Whip to the top and let older ones grate chocolate bars to sprinkle on top. Fun you can eat!
Some other easy things to make are graham crackers with frosting (and sprinkles if you dare). You can also whip up a batch of cookies or a pan cookie with the kids.

Finally, my last idea isn't some grand new experience, but a sage piece of wisdom passed to me from other moms. The best thing you can do to survive Christmas Break with your sanity in tact is remember one important truth. "The days are long but the years are short." Some days, we need to set aside our desires for peace and quiet and a clean home and remember our babies won't be a baby for very long. I honestly have no clue how I got a teenager in my house. I'm sure we brought him home from the hospital just a month or two ago. Take some time to build a memory with your kids. It's something you really won't regret.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winner: Brilliant Lens Cleaner Giveaway

Congratulations to Brenda!!!

She won the Brilliant Lens Cleaner Giveaway.

Thank you to all who entered. I've got another giveaway that will be posted this week. And remember to enter the Zhu Zhu Prize Pack Giveaway.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winner of 100 Follower Frenzy

Congratulations to Life is a Sandcastle for being one of the 100 (and still growing) followers of my blog. I'm so excited to have over 100 friends on Google Friend Connect. I promised a winner when we hit 100 and I'm so excited to give this away.

She has won a $10 Gift Card. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who follows.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Review: Community on NBC Special Christmas Episode

This might date me, but do you remember those claymation shows we got to watch as kids? The stop-motion filming? Well, tonight, you can see a brand-new old-school TV show with good old fashioned stop-motion animation. NBC's show "Community" is airing a special Christmas Episode tonight at 8pm EST/7pm CST.

From NBC:


When Abed (Danny Pudi) wakes up in stop-motion animation, he takes it as a sign that he and the group must re-discover the meaning of Christmas. Meanwhile, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) become growingly concerned about Abed's mental health and enlist the help of Professor Duncan (John Oliver). The group undergoes hypnosis to explore Abed's winter wonderland and soon unravel the truth behind Abed’s madness. Chevy Chase, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, and Ken Jeong also star.

I had the opportunity to preview this episode. While I don't usually watch the show, it was a really cute episode. I think regular viewers would enjoy it more than I did, but I did enjoy just watching the stop-motion animation. It took me back to my childhood. Some parts were cute and a few were not so cute to me, but overall, it was fun to watch. If you have time, join in the stop-motion animation fun!

Here's a teaser for you to see:

Overall, it was cute and while it's modern, it brought a little nostalgia to my Christmas season.

Disclaimer: This is a One2One Network review. I was entered to win a HD Camera for my review.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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

Sometimes a Grandma and her girl just need a nap. Playing all day is hard work!

Get 4 Zhu Zhu Pets for $5

I know there's a lot of interest in the Zhu Zhu pets giveaway on my blog, but I did find another deal in stores this week only. At CVS, you can combine coupons to get 4 Zhu Zhu Pets for only $5.

Check out the post over at Champagne Wisdom for the links to the coupons.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tips on Tuesday: Winter Boredom Busters Part 1

The following is a sponsored post. I agreed to post this because I think the tips are terrific and I know people who are looking for educational opportunities over their children's Christmas Break. There is information below about some camps offered by Kindercare.

I know the camps aren't for everyone, but I hope you will look at the tips. They are great ways to keep education rolling over the holidays. Next week I plan to expand these boredom busters with a few more ideas that I've gleaned over the years.Kindercare Offers Boredom Busters for Winter Fun

(shhh...these are educational, too! :) )

Tips and Ideas to Keep Kids Busy this Winter!

As the days get shorter and weather turns colder, parents are often faced with more out-of-school time and the age-old question, "What can we do?" from children. Now, parents can look to KinderCare Learning Centers, a leading provider of early childhood education, for engaging and age-appropriate activities for their kids to enjoy over the winter months, including KinderCare Winter Science Camp, reading resources and other ideas that are great boredom-busters! KinderCare offers the following ideas for "weathering the winter season" with your children.

KinderCare Winter Science Camp:

The secret's about to get out: science is a blast! At the end of December, 1600 KinderCare Learning Centers across the U.S. transform into Winter Science Camps that give preschoolers through school-agers a chance to unlock the mysteries of the natural world. Split into eight 1-day segments to better meet the needs of busy families staying in town for the holidays, Winter Science Camp uses age-appropriate activities and a lively, hands-on approach to get kids excited about what they're learning. From fish to flowers, from robots to recycling-each center's camp covers chemistry, earth science, and physics. Among many activities, younger campers will get to be "science detectives," solving a series of science mysteries by using touch, smell and hearing. Meanwhile, school-aged kids will be busy experimenting with colored dyes, creating everything from paper to volcanic eruptions, building balloon rockets, and more. Kids can attend all eight days of camp, or drop in for a day or more. For more information about how KinderCare Winter Science Camp makes science as fun as it is smart, visit

Winter Reading:

There is nothing better than snuggling up with your child and a good book. Reading to a child on a regular basis is by far the best way to encourage a budding reader. From the earliest ages, parents are encouraged to begin a reading routine with their children. Building on its robust literacy curriculum and teaching expertise, KinderCare is now providing parents with a comprehensive reading guide (available at that incorporates tips on reading to infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well as recommended age-appropriate book titles. Some tips include:

  • You can help cultivate baby's interest in books by choosing ones that capture his or her attention such as board books, pop-up books, etc. Your child will want to see these again and again.
  • While reading together, ask questions about the pictures. Children are delighted in finding objects on the page. If they're saying 'da' and pointing at the dog, say, 'Yes, that's the dog,' If the child says 'ball,' follow up with, 'That's a blue ball.' You'll be giving them additional language for their verbal bank.
  •  Ask your child open-ended questions about the story you are reading, such as "Why do you think that happened?"

Play Time

The colder weather outdoors offers a good excuse for good old-fashioned indoor play time. Play is the natural work of children and essential to learning. Through play, children develop social skills, the ability to solve problems and the courage to express their ideas. The following are some quick tips for educational and fun family playtime:

  • For infants, playing peek-a-boo will help baby recognize your voice.
  • To help infants and toddlers develop fine motor skills, provide a variety of soft, easy-to-grasp toys, such as soft blocks or plush toys.
  • Blow bubbles with your child and watch them have a blast as they chase and catch the bubbles - both reinforce motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

About KinderCare

With more than 1,600 centers located in 39 states and the District of Columbia, KinderCare Learning Centers, an accredited early childhood provider, offer a range of educational programs and after-school care for infants as young as six weeks old to school-aged children through age 12. For more information, visit

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post from MomSelect and Kindercare. Compensation was provided for this post.

Monday, December 06, 2010

When Grandma Came to Visit...

On long days like today was, I like to pull out memories that I've tucked away in order to bring a smile to my face. I realized I never blogged about our visit from Grandma. She got to come and stay with us for two weeks at the end of October while Poppa stayed home with the dogs and did some renovations on their house. We missed seeing Poppa and the dogs, but gosh did we have fun with Grandma!!!!

The picture above is Grandma by the big locomotive at the train museum. We went there because there was a "dirt" exhibit. OK--it was "Soil", but soil and dirt look the same to me.

I did find it fascinating to see how different the soil looks in various parts of the country.

Grandma & the boys learn about how the soil is created/enriched.


Rebekah kept going off on her own and didn't want photos taken. So here are the boys with Grandma in a trolley car.

Sneaky mom caught all three kids looking at trains in the train yard.

After our tour, we stopped for a snack at the snack bar. It's a tradition. Popcorn and tootsie rolls. Rebekah loves the food.

Grandma & I had fun.

So on a very long Monday, I'm smiling big remembering all the fun we had together at the museum.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

CLOSED: Zhu Zhu Pampered Hamster Playdate & Giveaway

I was selected by Zhu Zhu Pets and Mom Select to host a Pampered Hamster Playdate for Rebekah and a few of her friends. I knew it would be fun, but had no idea how much fun we would end up having! We've never had any Zhu Zhu Pets before so it was a whole new experience for us.

The kids know all about the Zhu Zhus, but I didn't expect the excitement I got when I opened up the box. We were given some Rockstar (or long-hair) Zhu Zhu pets, Fall Fashion Outfits, Pet Carriers and the Beauty Salon. Their eyes were bugging out of their heads.

Here's Rebekah with Kingston and Ryder. She's chomping at the bit to get the pets out of the box.

I didn't tell them about the beauty salon until I got it set up. It was easy to assemble and didn't take very long to do.

In the salon, you set the Zhu Zhu Pet in the hairdryer and the pet makes the fan run and turns on the lights of the vanity mirror.

Nathan & Rebekah were not going to wait for a playdate to check out the salon. They just about killed the batteries on one of the pets making the fan go forever.

Rebekah got the Sharing Bag at Preschool the same week we got the new Zhu Zhu pets so she had to take one in the carrier to school and show her friends. She announced she wanted to take something soft that moved. She debated between a puppy she has that walks and talks, but new Zhu Zhu Pets won out.

We had a Pampered Hamster Playdate where a couple of Rebekah's friends came over and we played Zhu Zhu Pets and had some games and snacks. Unfortunately, my camera messed up and the photos didn't turn out at all so you'll have to imagine it. The girls loved the "Hairstyling Contest" where they took the Zhu's hair and styled it and then had a fashion show running the pets on the floor.

We also did a fun activity/craft/snack where I had a sugar cookie frosted and they added licorice rope hair, and M&M eyes, nose, mouth. Fix and eat. Yum!

Are your kids into Zhu Zhu Pets?
Would you like to win a Zhu Zhu prize pack of your own?
One of Coolestmommy's readers will win a Zhu Zhu Pet (either Kingston or Ryder, may not be the one pictured here), a Deluxe Pet Carrier and two Fashion Outfits.

**Mandatory Entry**

Tell me who you would give your Zhu Zhu prize package to.
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. Follow me on Facebook {1 entry}
5. Add my blog to your blog roll/sidebar {1 entry}
6. Follow me via Networked Blogs (lower right side of this page) {2 entries}
7. 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}
8. Tweet about this giveaway {can be done once per day} {1 entry per tweet} You can use this:

RT @Coolestmommy @MomSelectAmy has a #giveaway of a Zhu Zhu Pet prize package you can #win. Ends 12/16

•Giveaway ends Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time.
•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
• I will ship out the prize pack when I get the winner's address and I hope you will have your package in time for Christmas.

Disclosure: I received these products from Zhu Zhu Pets and MomSelect. The prize package is provided by me out of what I received and I was not compensated in any other way.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hear it First 25 Days of Christmas

The folks over at have sponsored a new 25 Days of Christmas. Every day from now until Christmas, you can download a new song or video each day---for free. I believe you have to subscribe to Hear it First, but you get a free Christian Song download every week. (CLICK HERE to go to the 25 Days of Christmas site

The site is updated at 10:00am Central each day. So you can still get yesterday's video if you hurry. I have been a member of this site for several years and have gotten some of the greatest music downloads for FREE!

Enjoy--and Merry Christmas!
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