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Saturday, June 29, 2013

My "Baby" is now 7

Does anyone know where my chubby cheeked, diaper rump, toothless smiles babies went? They seem to have all disappeared from my home. Now we have a teen, a tween and a youth. There are no more babies in our home. While I love their ages and independence (ok--and their self-toileting skills), I do find birthdays the day that I reflect on the little squishy babies that used to be in our home. And--just for the day--I miss the babies.

So here are some photos of my precious Rebekah and her 7th birthday. She got to have a 'movie theater birthday party' where she and her friends saw Monsters University. We had the best row in the house reserved for us (in a packed theater) and a tuxedo clad usher to lead us to our seats. All the kiddos got a kiddie combo of popcorn, soda and gummies. Afterwards, we had cake and ice cream and  presents. And did Rebekah ever get the presents!! Her friends know her so well and she LOVED every single gift she got. From Barbies to puzzles to art kits to nail polish to stuffed animals and more. There was no end to the awesome gifts.

And now, we present Rebekah the Seven Year Old Girl!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Reading Kingdom Review - Reading/Writing Program

 Reading Kingdom is an online reading and writing program designed for children ages 4-10. It allows the child to work at his/her own pace--and to work independently. Rebekah loved the fact that the 'rules say' that mom can't  help. She has to do it all by herself. We had to try out both the mouse with the onscreen keyboard and using the actual keyboard. In the end, for her, it was better to use the mouse and on screen keyboard.

I liked the interactive nature that keeps Rebekah engaged in 'playing' the games for about a half hour at a time. She's playing, but learning at the same time. It took us a couple sessions to get her advanced through the testing to the level she is actually at. Once we got there, she enjoyed the program more as it is the right amount of challenge for her. She took to the program right away and never looked back. There is also information on the website for parents and for educators. 

From the manufacturer:
Reading Kingdom is an award-winning online program that teaches children 4-10 to read and write to a 3rd grade level. The program is based on the work of Dr. Marion Blank from Columbia University, one of the world's top experts on reading and language development. It uses her patented and research based "6-SIM" (Six Skill Integrated Method) technique that yields incredible results.
I liked the many areas of reading that the software covers. Reading Kingdom teaches sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar and comprehension. It's a very well rounded program. Even Cindy Crawford has used Reading Kingdom with her kids. It's a program that we have enjoyed using. I think it's appropriate for a wide variety of learning styles and skill levels. 

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: The Award that Started it All

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

This past month, our family has been blessed that everyone has received an award. Andrew double lettered, Nathan was PE Student of the Month, Rebekah was Cub of the Month, I was volunteer of the year and our family received the Lifesaver Award.

But, the first award we got was received by Sean. He got the Golden Dustpan. His company was having a volunteer and donation drive. His team decided to do a clean up for charity and clean up clutter in our homes and donate to charity. They were giving a gift card to the winner, but Sean thought a golden dustpan would be a fun award to add to it.

Well--guess who won the golden dustpan (and gift card)?? Oh yeah, Mr. Sean himself. 

And that started the chain of events that ended up with each of us winning an award (plus a family award). We've had an amazing month. 

Congratulations, Sean!! Love the Golden Dustpan (and the boxes we cleared out of the basement). 

#Superbook comes to ABC Family on July 1

The summer series of Superbook will be airing on ABC Family beginning July 1. I am excited to see this series. I am so excited that our family has been chosen to preview all 14 episodes on DVD. The Superbook Series from CBN is helping bring the Bible into the lives of children all across America. This animated series will be on ABC Family, but you can also join the Superbook DVD Club where you can sign up to receive each episode or order specific episodes that you are interested in seeing. 

Be watching my blog for a review of the DVD series. You can catch the new series on ABC Family starting on July 1 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. 

ABC Family Airings – 9:30 a.m. EDT:
            July 1st – In the Beginning: Adam and Eve
            July 2nd – Let My People Go: Moses
            July 3rd – The First Christmas
            July 4th – He Is Risen: the Resurrection of Jesus
    July 5th – Revelation

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coca-Cola’s America Is Your Park campaign #TakeItToThePark #Giveaway

Rebekah throwing the red disk
frisbee. Do you see it?
This summer, Coke is encouraging families to get active. They have a campaign called "America Is Your Park (AIYP)" and they are encouraging families to rediscover their favorite parks. Then you can nominate your park online for your park to have a chance to win up to $100,000 for the park. 
What do you like to do at the park? Our family loves going to the park that's a few blocks from our home. But we also have several favorite parks across our city that we enjoy. We took our Coca-Cola Take It To The Park kit and went to one of our favorite parks. There is lots of green grassy areas for the kids to just run and play. Then, there's playground equipment and even a climbing wall for them to work on climbing. 

In our Take it to the Park Kit, we received a frisbee for frisbee golf (although our kids prefer to throw and chase it around) and a ball and a Subway gift card. Also in there is a rally towel to clean up the sand and grass after we're at the park and a beach ball for water park fun. (We have some spray grounds in our area.) This kit was a promotion for Coca-Cola's America is Your Park Campaign
My kids had a blast and a half with the ball. They were doing their own kind of soccer and having fun kicking the ball around. Nathan and Rebekah like to try to kick the ball past each other. Then Nathan was doing Ninja moves and kicking the ball. 

After we played with the ball and fisbee for a while, we took some time to play on the playground with their equipment. The kids took turns being the pilot of the space shuttle. Now it's MY turn to drive. Then they spend a LONG time trying to master the rock climbing wall. You can't believe how high they can get on this!! Then lots of sand play, swinging, slides and fun. 

Guess what the best part of this is? Coke has agreed to give a small Take it to the Park Kit to one lucky reader. The winner will receive a $20 Subway giftcard and a Coca-Cola Beachball to take to the park. 
**Please note that it is the sponsor's requirement that you submit a photo via social media or by email to me in order to qualify for the prize package.**

Enter using the Rafflecopter below and remember that Rebekah loves you.

Disclosure: I received a Take it to the Park Kit from Coca-Cola and She Speaks for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Lifesaver Family Award

Our family enjoys volunteering at the local children's theater. We help their guild out by manning a table at shows and selling little trinkets to the kids at the show. The money raised helps provide every 2nd grade child in our state with a live theater experience. If they live too far away from the theater to come in as a field trip, then they receive a caravan tour and see live theater in their school. Since Sean & I are both theater majors, this is an important program and we try to instill in our children that community service is required throughout your life in order to be a part of the community. They also know the bonus is that we get to stay and enjoy the show so we can sell more things after the show ends. 

When we get there, if they are short  any volunteers, we shift Andrew and Sean around to other area where they need help. Booster seats is one area where they are often short a volunteer. The volunteer loans out booster seats so children can see better and then checks them back in and puts them away after the show. Andrew loves this job and we have now started contacting the theater in advance and signing him up to do boosters. 

At the last show, we were invited to a volunteer appreciation night. We went and when they started giving out awards, we were telling the kids--almost over. We'll go when the awards are done. We won't get any since we are not really volunteers. Then we hear them announce, the next award goes to a family who doesn't even know they are volunteers. Uh-oh...ok kids, we might just win one. 

Yup, we won the "Lifesaver Family" award. They consider us Life Savers for always being willing to pitch in and help wherever we are needed. It was very sweet and the kids were thrilled to get two bags of Life Savers to share...and public recognition and applause. We've talked about how blessed we are because we never volunteered to 'get' anything. We do it because we believe in what they are doing and our family believes in giving back. But, it is nice to be recognized for our work and willingness to help. 

So we are thrilled and looking forward to giving back next season again. (The lineup is amazing and we can't wait!)

Rebekah giving our award bunny ears. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Holsted Jewelers #ShoppingSpree Giveaway

Holsted Jewelers Shopping Spree

Welcome to the Holsted Jewelers Shopping Spree

Do you like jewelry? I know I do. But I have trouble finding designs that I like and that I can afford. I was happy to be invited to the Holsted Shopping Spree in order to give you a chance to win some fantastic jewelry for free. What a great deal!! I think you will agree that Holsted has some absolutely incredible designs in their jewelry. I know you'll find something you like. 

Holsted Jewelers was founded in 1971 and has a passion for bringing jewelry of the highest quality and the finest design to its customers. Why can't gorgeous jewelry be affordable too? Not only van you buy online but you are able to buy jewelry in convenient collections, beautifully coordinated by experts, and delivered right to your door at specially discounted prices. These collections always begin with a free piece of jewelry valued at $50 or can you beat that? Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts has teamed up with several other bloggers to bring you this sparkling giveaway of a $200 shopping spree at You can also read a Holsted Jewelers review over at The Review Wire.


One Winner will receive a $200 Shopping Spree at See form for Entry Details. Open to U.S. You must be 18 years old to enter to win. Ends 7.2.13

Disclaimer: An email address is required to enter. The winner will be chosen randomly through Giveaway Tools and contacted via email. A reply to the winning email is required within 48 hours before a new winner is chosen. One person entering per household please. U.S. only. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on July 2, 2013. Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts was not provided with product for this review and is not responsible for the shipment of prizes. Companies and bloggers, if you would like to participate in group giveaway events like this one, sign up to be emailed about future events hosted by The Review Wire.

Happy Birthday to My True Love!

Happy Birthday to the most wonderful man I know. 
Sean, you are my other half and you deserve the best of everything today and the whole year through.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spring in Your Step Mom Meet Up with #Giveaway

One of my great privlidges as a blogger is to be a part of the Mom Crew for Children's Claritin. I don't know if you are aware, but my Nathan suffered from terrible allergies. One of the things we found that has really helped him is Children's Claritin. He is now at a point in his life where he needs it occasionally, but for a while, Claritin was part of our daily routine.

Please don't take any of my experience as medical advice. See the counsel of our doctor and make sure that if you choose Children's Claritin that it is right for you and your child.

I got to host a "Spring in Your Step" Mom Meet Up where some friends and I (and our children) got together for some fun and relaxation. It was a beautiful day so the kids were able to go play in our backyard while the moms enjoyed some pampering and learned about Children's Claritin. Everyone received a chart with a Preparedness Checklist and Tips. We also got to have a hot/cold mask. You can freeze it or heat it and use as an eye mask to help with any sinus pressure or pain. We've been using it frozen for more than just sinus. It makes a great hot or cold compress for all minor injuries my children seem to get. 

Rebekah loves the ice pack and was the first (and only) volunteer who WANTED a picture wearing it. 

I received samples of both the liquid and the tablet Children's Claritin. We talked about the benefits and who has tried it in the  past. Then we put cameras away and had a relaxing mom spa time. We were able to do a Milk Foot Soak (I got GIANT pails at the dollar store that our feet would fit into) and a Yogurt and Honey Mask. No photos of masks allowed. But we had a great time and enjoyed some healthy snacks. We discussed many ways to help keep allergy symptoms at a minimum during allergy season. 

Would you like to try the Milk Foot Soak or Yogurt and Honey Mask? Here's the recipes.

Milk Foot Soak: Add 4 cups warmed whole milk, 2 Tbsp. of Epsom Salt and 6 drops of your favorite essential oil such as lemon, sandalwood or lavender to warm footbath. Soak for 20 minutes. Use favorite moisturizer on your feet. 

Yogurt and Honey Mask: Mix 1 part yogurt and 1 part honey and apply to clean, moist face. Let it set for 10-15 minutes and rinse well with warm water. The mixture moisturizes, hydrates and soothes the skin.

Now for a giveaway. I'm going to send a Moms Preparedness Checklist & Tips chart and a Hot/Cold Face mask to one lucky reader. Use the rafflecopter form below to enter. 

Disclosure: I received the products at no charge in exchange for a meet up and blog post. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

$150 eGift Code to

I don't know how many of you have seen murals like these in kids rooms or in other rooms of homes. We had one in our nursery in our former house and I do miss the big wall mural. Ours was painted, but these are fantastic because they are decals and can be removed as the child grows up.

Evgie and Ev are the expertise in digital illustration, interior decoration and wall decals design behind They grew up drawing from early childhood and loved it so much it became their profession. EVGIE Studio was started in 2010 and pretty soon became a full time career.

 Wall decals are easy to apply, easy to remove, easy to tailor to a specific wall or surface. It is very easy with the wall decals to take a plain unexciting room and transform it into a jungle or safari, forest or friendly animals, outer space or the ocean. We all want these rooms for our little ones to spark their imaginations. helps to make the decorating easy, fun, and simple! They offer handmade large and small vinyl wall stickers with designs and ideas for kids’ and grown-up’s rooms.

 So if you would like to make your living room have a custom family photo can! EVGIE Studio also specializes in producing customized wall decal designs. They will create a personal design just for you that reflects the ideas you have in mind. They will tailor it to fit your unique space!

Right now you can also grab FREE shipping in the US and Canada using the code: FreeSHP

One lucky person will receive $150 Credit to

You can also find EVGIE on Etsy
This giveaway is hosted by Baby Costcutters and Giveaway Booster
Giveaway ends July 3, 2013, at 11:59pm, open to US and Canada residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Coolestmommy's Coolest Thoughts is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. This event was organized by Baby Costcutters and Giveaway Booster please contact with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Anniversary, Sean!

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

Sean & I recently celebrated our 22nd Anniversary. (Our marriage became a legal adult last year.) We happened to be at a family reunion and everyone there signed a card for us. My favorite part was the signatures of my sons.

*Your*favorite*son*    < ----- Yea * Right
Andrew                            Nathan R

It's a classic and a keeper. And makes me laugh every time I read it. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway The #FastMetabolismDiet

Author Haylie Pomroy
I had the opportunity to read The Fast Metabolism Diet: Eat More Food & Lose More Weight by Haylie Pomroy. I have not yet tried the diet, so I can not report my findings, but what she said made a lot of sense to me. I've been trying to 'purify' a lot of our food and go back to nature--original nature. With Genetically Modified Foods (GMF), it's not the same food as what our ancestors ate. 

From the Publisher:  Haylie Pomroy has helped thousands of clients lose up to 20 pounds in just four weeks -all through the fat-burning power of food. Haylie says "This is not a book for first-time dieters. This is a book for last-time dieters." Hailed as "the metabolism whisperer," Haylie reminds us that food is not the enemy, it's the rehab needed to rev-up your sluggish, broken-down metabolism and turn your body into a fat-burning furnace. 

The diet has three specific phases where you eliminate certain foods in order to help your body restart your metabolism. What I liked is the way Haylie broke down information into easy to understand tidbits. She helps you understand how to stop storing fat and how to start burning it. She breaks down dieting beliefs and 'myths' and gets into the truth of how diets work on your body and the effects to your metabolism, your fat and your body.  

Another thing I liked was how this isn't meant to be a permanent diet. It's a 28 day (4 week) plan. The three phases take 7 days and then you repeat the phases for 4 weeks. The idea is that at the end of the 4 weeks, your metabolism will have repaired itself and you will be losing weight.  

There are recipes and exercises in the book and even more are found on Haylie's Facebook page. Even though I haven't yet done the diet, I have tried some of the recipes and really liked them. You can also follow Haylie on Twitter

Beyond all of that, there is a FAQ Page on Haylie's website as well as an app you can download and use. With the app, it takes you through the 28 day cycle and provides information on recipes, menus, water intake and more. I thought the app had a lot of extras to offer. I find it hard to remember all the 'little details' and don't want to carry a diet book with me everywhere I go. All of that information can be at your fingertips with the app. 

How would you like to try The Fast Metabolism Diet for yourself? I actually got a second copy through a sample box I won and now I have two. I'm giving away my second copy to one of you fantastic readers in the Rafflecopter form below. 

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of The Fast Metabolism Diet by She Speaks for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, June 07, 2013

Beautiful post from a fellow autism mom

Do you ever have a moment when you read something written by someone else that says absolutely everything as if you wrote it from your own heart. Well, yesterday I was blessed to read a post by Leigh from She answered--quite nicely--the question that we autism moms are often asked. I'm often asked if I'd like a cure for autism. The answer--NO!!!! Do I want to 'cure him'? Of what?!?!

Perhaps we need to rethink the question. He's not sick. He doesn't have a disease. If we 'cured' Nathan, what would the cure be for? If we took away his unique view on the world and the way he looks at it, wouldn't we lose the quintessential essence of who Nathan is?

My son Nathan. He doesn't
need a 'cure'--he needs
Would I love to make his road easier---YES!! But if it was easier, wouldn't we lose the things that make Nathan who he is? It's the essence of who he is that I want to hold forever. The fighter in him that never gives up...and his precious face when he succeeds. A few years back, I found another writing that moved me to the same level as Leigh's writing did today. If you would like to see about taking the road less traveled, check out the essay about Holland. 

Would I like Nathan's life to be easier? Yes, yes I would. Do I ever wish he could be as social as his sister--yes, yes I do. But not if we lost the precious boy who is an old soul in a young body. He sees things that others miss. He reads emotions and feelings of people (accurately) when they don't even realize they are feeling those emotions. He's attuned to the inner self of those he meets. He's loving and kind and truly cares about others. So why would I 'cure' that? 

So take a moment before you read this to follow Leigh on Facebook and on Twitter, then grab a tissue and read. 

If You Were Cured Tomorrow

Leigh's son Callum says "Cheese!"
for the camera when caught
"redecorating" his bedroom. 
If you were cured tomorrow, life would be easier for you.  You could eat without ritual, go anywhere without fear, and would understand everything being said – even when it isn't being said. 
If you were cured tomorrow, people wouldn’t stare.  Your play would not be questioned and corrected.  You wouldn’t feel compelled to move and shout and seek in the ways that you do.  You would sit in rooms where people talked to you instead of about you.
If you were cured tomorrow, I would ask you to explain so many things.
If you were cured tomorrow, you would gain better access to all those beautiful dreams we wished for you before we knew you.
But, if you were cured tomorrow, you would be a stranger to me.  Living a stranger’s dream.  And I would never get to see you live the dreams you have for yourself.
If you were cured tomorrow, my worries would be eased — but my heart would be broken.
Because I love you.  You you.  Not some hypothetical you.  Not the you you might have been had you not turned out to be you.  It’s all very complicated.  And it’s all very simple.
If you were cured tomorrow, I’d miss you.

**A special thank you to Leigh who granted me permission to copy her post in its entirety to share with you. Not everyone will allow you to repost their content and I am honored for this privilege. I hope you enjoy her words, too. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

$200 Melissa and Doug eGift Code Giveaway

Summer weather is here! Melissa and Doug has all kinds of great toys for you to help keep the kids entertained for the summer. You can get toys for all ages including classic toys, tents, sand toys, puzzles, arts and crafts, plus many more!

Maritime Mates Sink and Seek
Some of our favorite toys over the years have been from Melissa and Doug. I have at least a half dozen of their puzzles and their 'Learn to Tie Your Shoe' wooden shoe is an amazing teaching tool. For the summer months, we found that the Maritime Mates Sink and Seek rings for the pool were immensely helpful in getting our kids to start diving under the water. One of my favorite pieces has always been the Stacking Train. And, having a child with an autism spectrum disorder, we have long found Melissa and Doug to have lots of awesome toys for kids with special needs.

Stacking Train

Not only do you have the opportunity to win this giveaway but you can also head on over to the Melissa and Doug on Facebook fan page and then click on the Play to 250k Sweepstakes tab to enter the Play to 250,000 Fans Sweepstakes.
Each time their fan base grows by 1,000 fans, a fan will win a selection of Melissa and Doug toys. Plus, when the Facebook page reaches 250,000 fans, all fans will receive a special gift. WOW!!
If you are curious about what real moms thinks about Melissa and Doug toys, you can read these reviews:

One lucky winner will receive a $200.00 eGift Code to Melissa and Doug!

Giveaway ends June 27, 2013 at 11:59pm, open to US only, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: By entering this giveaway you agree to receive email communications from Melissa and Doug. I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. is not responsible for prize shipment.

This event was organized by MomPoweredMedia please contact with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!
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