Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sexting?!

Have you heard of "sexting"? It's the practice of sending sexy text messages or suggestive photos. Sexting is common among teens--and that makes sexting a concern for most parents I've spoken with.

Recently, an email was passed along to me on behalf of Shane Neman, CEO of EZ Texting (www.eztexting.com), regarding the dangers of texting. Now, I am not a sponsor of, or affiliated with, EZ Texting, but I think the points here are worth considering, so I'm passing them along to all of you as well.

A Parent’s Guide to Kids & Safe Texting

1) Never Text & Drive. While this may seem obvious, many people ignore their common sense and do it anyway, especially teenagers. Many states have banned talking on mobile phones without a hands free device while driving. They have the right idea, never text and drive. Don’t let the cost of a few headsets stand in the way of your child’s safety. If you have to, suspend driving privileges.

2) Sexting. Another ‘seemingly obvious’ rule. Talk to your kids about the practice, and about peer pressure. A survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that more than 50 percent of the girls who "sexted" did so under pressure from boyfriends. If either party involved is under 18, the pictures may be considered child pornography. Make it clear to your child that ‘sexting’ is not a way of being intimate with another person, and that there are other, more private, more appropriate, alternatives.

3) Text and walk. This one’s for parents & kids: Always keep your eyes ahead of you, not on your phone. This is especially true when walking on a busy sidewalk or crossing an intersection. When using your cell phone, it’s very easy to get distracted and lose focus on what is taking place around you. A study by the University of Alabama found that children speaking on a cell were 43 percent more likely to be hit or to have a close call in simulated street crossings than kids who weren’t on the phone.

4) Think before you text. It only takes seconds of poor judgment for a private thought to hit the airwaves. Once you send a text message, even to a friend, you can’t take it back and you never know who might see it. Prevent embarrassing moments by thinking twice before you text - just as you would before you speak.

5) Avoid paying additional fees. Call your carrier to block third-party applications on your child's handset. Think of it as a V-Chip for the phone. Explain to you children – ringtones, games, apps – they all cost money and can contain explicit content. As children are granted cell phone privileges at such young ages, not all have a true understanding of money and the value of a dollar. If an explanation doesn’t cut it, take control and limit the programs and features your child can and cannot access with their phone.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Announcing our Contest Winners!

We have THREE contest winnners to announce, and I know you're all just chomping at the bit to see who won that iPod Touch, so I'll get started right away with our winning announcements.

First off--

The Disney Oliver & Company DVD winner!

All of our winners, by the way, were chosen by the Random Integer Generator.

Valerie2350, who follows the blog and subscribes and tweets and just makes a nuisance of herself, I honestly can't get away from this woman (just kidding, Valerie! I'm SO glad you're a fan!) is the winner of the Oliver & Company DVD, that special 20th Anniversary Edition! She won with comment number 29, although she had comments all around that one, because she really wanted to win and she is a really loyal fan of Cool Moms Rule!

Congratulations to the loyal Valerie!

Next, we have our Giftybox winner, who is also just so lucky because goodness knows I'd love one of those too! They're so romantic and unique, like 2 gifts in one!

Okay, without further ado, the winner is....

sbarnesmom04, who just blogged and tweeted her way to the winners' circle with numerous entries, as well.

Way to go, sbarnesmomo4!

Do you see how advantageous it is to subscribe, and follow the blog, all of you? Do you? Good!

Okay, here it is now, the big one, the contest to end all contests, the one you have all been waiting for--

Only, of course, we aren't ending all contests, because we have LOTS more coming! So don't despair on that end--

But really, this prize is just amazing--I'm so envious! I mean, you thought my eyes were green before this giveaway, you should really see them now, I am just teeming with jealousy folks.

That's right, I'm talking about....

The Norton and BlogHer iPod Touch winner!

We had 165 (wow!) comments from you all, giving us your take on the Norton Online Family software.

Thanks so much for the invaluable feedback, I know they are really happy to get it.

AND, of course, there is that extra little matter: all of you who commented were entered into our giveaway to win the iPod Touch!

And now, our winner!

Again chosen by Random Integer Generator, the winning comment was number 51:

Insignificon said...

My kids are still quite young, so I keep tabs on them currently by always being in the room when the one who is capable of using the computer is on the net. I'll definitely something like this when they get bigger. For now, Mama's eyeballs are keeping things safe.
February 10, 2009 12:11 PM

Congratulations, Insignificon!

I've already emailed you, and our two other winners, to let you all know, and I'm just waiting for your reply now.

Okay, folks, that's it for THOSE contests--but don't worry, we have one coming up FRIDAY, there's just no rest for the wicked, is there? ; )

And then, of course, as always, more to follow.

~Viv

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Smart Teens= Safe Teens


MomCentral asked me to clue you all in on a new teen website designed to, "Educate, engage, and empower kids as Internet users."

Now, in case your teen is looking over your shoulder, reading that description and stifling a yawn, you should both know that NSTeens.org is really laid out well, with a comic, videos and bios of the NSTeens to keep you both interested (and aware).

When you first get to the site, you might want to check out the NSTeens Bios. From Allie, the new girl, to everyone's BFF, Tad, the football player, your teen is sure to find someone they can relate to (for example, Tad reminds me of a very real friend of the Owl's).

Next, head on over to the Comic entitled, "How Much is Too Much," which deals with just how much (and how little) personal information your teen should be sharing when they go online.

I recommend the fast-paced Videos next. Set to music, they, like the comic, cover all the important aspects of online privacy, and include tips to help your teen deal with (and refraining from participating in) cyberbullying.

Lastly, here's something you won't want to miss, as a parent, and will definitely want to share with your kids: Click on the link (bottom right corner) to the Real Life Stories from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

To me, that last link is the real meat-and-potatoes of the NSTeens site, though the comics, bios and videos will probably initially have more appeal for your teen, since they are better "eye candy."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Viv's Going On Vacation!

This time tomorrow, if I'll goes well, I'll be on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas cruise ship, heading out to the Caribbean.

Don't worry, I'll be back in a week, AND, until then, I do have some posts scheduled, including another giveaway, during the time I'll be gone.

I'll try (keeping my fingers crossed) to send you some pics straight from my iPhone of (hopefully) sunny Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize!

I'll also try to give you and of the dirt (good or bad) on how this cruise goes--it's my first ever with RCL (we've always cruised Carnival before and we're going to compare the two lines, see which one we like best, in case we book another cruise for our 20th anniversary, coming up later this year during the summer).

iPod Touch Giveaway Deadline Extended!

If you haven't checked out my new BlogHer review blog, Viv's Cool Moms Reviews, you are missing out on a chance to win an iPod Touch from BlogHer and Norton (and me).

And now, the deadline to enter that giveaway has been extended. Instead of ending today, you have until the 21st! So, if you've been procrastinating, you still have time to get those entries in. Quick reminder: to enter, you need to read the review and post a comment.

Got it? Good!

And...good luck!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Send a Free Virtual Cupcake for Valentine's Day--and Raise Money for the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

Kelly Ripa wants you to know that right now, when you visit the Electrolux website, you can join in their Virtual Bake Sale!

You can create and send virtual cupcakes to everyone on your list for Valentines. Each one is worth a dollar towards the fight against Ovarian Cancer and spreading awareness, so go ahead and flirt-- send cupcakes to your honey, your kids, your aerobics instructor, the mailman, the pet sitter--anyone you can think of!

Plus, each virtual cupcake you send earns you an entry in their giveaway of a gorgeous red Electrolux Washer and Dryer set!

Log-in and registration required to join in the Virtual Bake Off.

The Perfect Accompaniment to the Seal CD...

Send them the e-card and share Seal's song, "If You Don't Know Me by Now." Then personalize the e-card with your own photo or video and a personal message to your loved one. On the big day, surprise them with the Seal's CD! There, I've just solved your Valentine's Day gift-giving dilemma for you! ; )

A Sweet Gift for Valentine's Day

If you didn't win our recordable cards with music, here's a romantic, musical gift you can give to your loved one for Valentine's Day:

The Winner of Our Hallmark Giveaway!


Congratulations to the winner of the Hallmark Recordable cards with music giveaway!

Once again, our winner was chosen randomly, and that winnner is (drumroll) commenter #6:
moushka said...

How fun are these? A lot more fun then the traditional boring card. My family would be thrilled to receive one of these.
Again, congratulations, mouska! I've already emailed you--just get your shipping info to me and I'll have those cards right out to you!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Giftybox--The Perfect 2-in-1 Gift! Review and Giveaway


Whether it's Valentine's Day, Birthdays or any day, I like to give gifts of experiences whenever possible.

Think about the best times you've had-- your first dance (when you 'danced' with your feet on top of Dad's as he whirled you around the room), the night your husband "popped the question," maybe, your honeymoon (I SO hope that was one of your best times! *grin*), the moment your son or daughter was born.

I find that when a gift involves an experience of some kind, it creates memories that last a lifetime, while even the nicest outfit will eventually end up in the dustbin.

That's why I really like Giftybox, and recommend it as a great Valentine's Day option for your loved one.

Giftybox has gifts for all tastes. If you know someone who loves wine, for example, you can choose a Giftybox which includes a bottle of wine along with a Winery Tour. Or, if someone you know wants to learn how to cook like a French chef or paint like a master, There's Giftyboxes that include classes all over the country!

Each Giftybox comes with a Guidebook outlining all the options available to the recipient, an All-Inclusive Gift Pass for the activity or product of their choice, and even bonus offers for discounts at other venues for their specific interest.

Popular themes include The Love Collection (again, ideal for Valentine's Day!), the Adventure Box and Spa Boxes (for men and women).

You can purchase a Giftybox by visiting the website or calling their toll-free number.

Or...you can win a Giftybox from Cool Moms Rule!

How: Just visit Giftybox.com and then come back here and comment on your favorite Giftybox option! This is the required initial entry method.

What you can win: A Classes or Wine Giftybox (winner's choice) valued at $59!

Additonal Entry methods: You're going to love this--I'm giving TEN EXTRA ENTRIES to anyone who enters our iPod Touch contest on my new BlogHer Reviews site. So you get to enter two fantastic giveaways at once! Just comment there, then come back here and let me know for an additional entry.

Tweet or blog about this contest for FIVE additional entries!

Subscribers also get FIVE additional entries! Let me know in an additional comment if you subscribe.

Add my button (middle right sidebar) to your site for TWO entries. Again, let me know in another comment.

Follow my new Review blog for one more! Follow Cool Moms Rule! for yet another. Leave a comment letting me know you are now following me for each blog.

If you use ALL the entry methods, you'll have 25 chances to win! Wow!

Contest ends February 21st at midnight EST.

Good luck!

Win an iPod Touch--Link corrected!

Ack! I had my link formatted incorrectly in the post below (left out an 's'), but it's fixed now, so you can click over and read that review!

Or, if you're just too lazy to want to go to the trouble (it's Monday morning, so I hear you on that one) here's the correct name and link to my NEW BlogHer Reviews site:

Viv's Cool Mom Reviews

All you have to do to enter is read my first review, and you could win an iPod Touch! There are additional entry methods available.

Good luck!

Read My BlogHer Review and Win an iPod Touch!


Okay, folks, you need to check out my new BlogHer Reviews site right now, and read my very first review, because you can WIN AN iPOD TOUCH! I'm checking out some new software--Norton Online Family.

Make sure you read right through to the bottom and find out how to enter--there's 10 iPod Touches up for grabs altogether, and you can enter to win each one!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Clorox Greenworks Wipes Review


I've written reviews of Clorox Green Works products before, and I love them, so when Mom Central asked me to check out the new Green Works™ Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes, I jumped at the chance.

First off, I knew that Green Works products are better for the environment, they have a clean, fresh scent, and they work.

But that doesn't mean I took it easy on the new Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes when I tested them.

No way.

You know what I spent yesterday doing? Take a guess. You'll envy me when I tell you.

I thoroughly cleaned out our bathroom AND the cats' litter box. And yes, I do mean cats' and not cat's, because we have three of them.

So when I tell you that Green Works™ Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes really are a quick and simple way to clean naturally with the cleaning power of Clorox, you can trust me on this, people. My bathroom sparkles, and though I wouldn't go so far as to say the litter box does, it definitely looked and smelled fresh and clean when I was done wiping it down (with, I admit, copious amount of wipes, because I really didn't want to touch what was in that litter box. I'm sure you can relate).

Fortunately, the new Wipes are made from 100% cellulose fibers and derived from renewable farm grown trees. Like all Green Works products, they are formulated using biodegradable ingredients, are packaged in recyclable canisters and not tested on animals. So I didn't have to feel guilty about using a few of them at a time, knowing that they were better for the environment than other wipes out there. In fact, the Green Works line, including the new wipes, is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for using environmentally preferred chemistry.

The new Green Works™ Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes are advertised to, "work on grease, grime, dirt, soils and messes, and are safe to use on multiple surfaces throughout the kitchen and bathroom", and as I can attest, they are great in kitty bathrooms as well! ; )

Plus, I feel better using cleaning products for my family and my pets that I know aren't going to be giving off toxic fumes (and that I won't be breathing in nasty chemicals as I clean).

By the way, while you are at the Green Works website, check out their new "Green Heroes Grant Program," which will award five grants of $10,000 each to eco-friendly community projects across the country.

Between January 15 and February 28, 2009, anyone can nominate eco-friendly community projects for a Green Heroes grant by submitting a photo and short essay about the project. Each winner - or "Green Hero" - will receive a $10,000 grant to help their eco-friendly community projects grow and flourish!

Then, beginning on March 16 through April 10, 2009, you can vote online for your favorite eco-friendly community project. The final five Green Heroes will be announced on April 22 - just in time for Earth Day!

Announcing our Bathtime Winners (Tiny Tillia AND Johnson's Bathtime Buddies!)

We are going to have some seriously clean folks walking around next week, once they get their bathtime goodies from Tiny Tillia and Johnson's!

Before I announce our winners, though, I have two other exciting announcements to make:

First, I'm now an official BlogHer Reviewer! Because I have BlogHer ads on Cool Moms Rule!, and we want these reviews to be unbiased so that you get the real scoop on products, I'll have another site that is specifically set up for reviews for BlogHer (and also some giveaways!), and I'll be posting the link tomorrow along with that first review. You'll want to be sure to visit, because BlogHer has a giveaway ready to go for you all to celebrate the new review site tomorrow, February 7th! I'll also have a link in the sidebar to the new blog, so you can visit any time you want to see my latest BlogHer reviews.

Also, I am proud as punch to announce that I am now one of only 25 Fit Ambassadors for Lee Jeans nationwide. Let me tell you, I am so thrilled to be allied with Lee in this way. They really went above and beyond in our last giveaway with them, when a slight glitch led to a delay in shipping. Lee went to bat for us and made sure that our winners all received their One True Fit Premium Bootcut Jeans this month. I'm especially excited for YOU, my readers, who will benefit in the form of more reviews and giveaways of fabulous Lee products here at Cool Moms Rule!

Okay, now, without further ado, our winners! First, our winner for the Tiny Tillia bathtime goodies, picked through the Random Integer Generator, was commenter #26,

Jeanreg said, "I've subscribed via Google Reader!"

Which just goes to show how those additional entry options can make you a winner!

And our winner for the Johnson's 50th Anniversary Bathtime Basket, also picked by Random Integer Generator, is commenter #22,

gahome2mom said...

I like the Johnson's Bath with Lavendar. Thanks.

gahome2mom(at)gmail(dot)com

http://lovingheartdesigns.blogspot.com/

Congratulations, Ladies!

I've emailed you both about what to do to claim your prizes.

It's so much fun, giving things away--which is why I am so glad we have more giveaways coming up begining tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Disney DVD Giveaway!

Do you know Oliver?

Who do I mean, Oliver Hardy, from Laurel and Hardy? Nah, ya'll are way too young to know who that is.

Oliver Twist from Dickens? Nope, but hello, fellow former English majors!

No, I mean Oliver from Disney's Oliver & Company, the adorable stray kitten who wins the loyalty of a misfit gang of dogs (and who, by the way, is voiced by Joey Lawrence. Remember him? Come on, you guys aren't THAT young!).

You know, come to think of it, that movie is like Disney's Oliver Twist, only with animals, and I never actually got that until right now. : P

Disney's Oliver & Company is, just like Mary Poppins, celebrating an anniversary this year--it's twentieth. And the twentieth anniversary is...um...china? Damn, I should know this, mine is coming up in June.

Well, anyway, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is celebrating by releasing the Anniversary Edition of Oliver & Company, Disney's 27th full-length animated film, today on DVD!

Besides brilliant animation, the musical feature has a great soundtrack, with the voice talents of Billy Joel, Bette Midler, and Huey Lewis, so that, as you are watching that movie along with your kids (over and over again, because you know your kids can't watch a movie just once), you can enjoy hearing some of your own adult favorites.

The Oliver & Company: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD also contains these bonus features:

Games & Activities
• All-New Game
Backstage Disney
• The Making of Oliver & Company
• Puss CafĂ© – A delightful animated short starring Disney favorite Pluto and friends
• The History of Animals in Disney Films – A Disney animated featurette
• Return of a Classic – A look at the 1996 theatrical re-release of Oliver & Company
Bonus Short
• Lend a Paw— Pluto rescues a kitten and saves the day in an Academy Award® (1941 Short
Subject -Cartoon) winning animated short.

totaleclips.com

Oliver & Company: 20th Anniversary Edition
has a suggested retail price of $29.99,
or you can WIN IT from Cool Moms Rule!

Just leave a comment below to enter the giveaway for a chance to win!

Contest ends February 21st (you get longer to enter with this one because I am going on vacation and will announce the winner when I come back). Winner has three days to respond to notification email to claim their prize (make sure to leave that email address in the comment, folks!), giveaway open to anyone with a shipping address in the continental US only, please.

For additional entries, Tweet about this giveaway or blog about it, add our button to your site or subscribe to our feed. Leave another comment for each additional entry method you choose.

Good Luck!

Win an iPod Touch from one of our friends!

Mommy Daddy Blog is giving away something you’d love to touch; a shiny spankin’ new 2nd Gen 8GB iPod Touch MP3 player and a $10 iTunes gift card! Click here to enter this sweet giveaway!

The line for free Grand Slams at Denny's



I timed the line for the local Denny's by picking out one distinctive guy (he happened to be wearing a bright blue sweatsuit and matching hat) and then seeing how far he had moved as I ran the kids to and from school today. Looked like he was through to the front of the line in about 35 minutes.

I spoke with one lady coming out, and she said she waited, "About 45 minutes, but once you get seated they just ask you how you want your eggs and then it only takes about 5 minutes to get your food."

Think I will try around 1:00 this afternoon, since the Free Grand Slam offer lasts until 2, and see how crowded it is for lunch! : )

Monday, February 2, 2009

With a song in your heart...

Did you know that the most popular Valentine's Day cards are both romantic and non-romantic? According to Hallmark writer Linda Morris, sometimes the biggest little thing you can do to enrich a relationship is simply share a card. Here's a (surprising) breakdown of who is getting all those Valentines:
  • Husbands and wives 22%
  • Grandchildren 16%
  • Sons and daughters receive 15%
  • Friends 11%
  • Fathers and Mothers 9%
Hallmark has expanded their range of Valentine offerings, from Recordable Cards with Music to artistically designed cards that go for just 99 cents. They've provided Cool Moms Rule! with some of their newest offerings, and we are sharing the wealth with you.


We're giving away 7 (seven!)
Hallmark
Recordable Cards with Music for Valentine's Day!
  • 1 Hannah Montana-themed card (Song is "Rock Star")
  • 3 Cards suitable for family members (Song is "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge)
  • 3 "Love" Valentines (Song is "I Hear a Symphony" by the Supremes)

All of these cards can be recorded with your own personal message to play along with the recorded song.

Tips on Recording The Perfect Greeting: Write down what you want to say first, then practice it a few times to get the timing and intonation just right. Press and hold the card's recording button, then speak from the heart right into the card. Most importantly, be you!

Just leave a comment below the post to be entered to win all 7 Recordable Cards with Music from Hallmark! For additional entries, Tweet about this contest, blog about the contest, add our button to your site, or subscribe to our feed (if you are already a subscriber, just remind me in a separate comment).

Contest ends Monday, February 9th. We will try our best to have your cards out to you by Valentine's Day!

Good luck!

Puppy Play from Disney

Disney's hit movie Space Buddies is coming to DVD and Bluray February 3rd (tomorrow!).

Little ones can't wait? Copy and print out these activity and coloring pages (you may want to enlarge them on your printer):


Announcing our Mary Poppins winner!

The winner of our giveaway for the 45th Anniversary Edition of Mary Poppins from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment was chose by our old friend, the Random Integer Generator:

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2009-02-02 15:48:23 UTC

And the 4th comment on our post was made by:

RockCity, who said...

" i don't have a favorite scene, just all the songs are great...we have the CD in the car. I haven't seen the movie in years."

Congratulations, Rockcity, you are our winner!

Remember, we have more giveaway winners coming up this week! Be sure to check in--you might want to subscribe to our feed (top right sidebar) if you haven't already, so you will always be in the know when we run our giveaways, and announce the winners!

Also, be sure to check the sidebar (on the right, about midway down) for all of our great giveaways going on right now.
Cool Moms Rule! is in full compliance of the new FTC rules concerning Bloggers. I disclose on all posts where a product was received for free and/or if there was any kind of financial compensation involved.