Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sweets for the Sweethearts

Necco's conversation hearts are a Valentine's Day staple, like teddy bears and flowers. Now the chatty candies are looking for help from all of us to come up with sweet sayings for our sweethearts.

And they're willing to make it worth your while.

Join in the caption contest at, create your own sweet sayings before May 31, and you could win a run of customized hearts worth $8,000 or other great prizes!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Kingdom for Each Kid

At Kidlandia your child can explore, customize and then create their own magical world in the form of gorgeously illustrated maps made just for them. The smidgen of the map to the left, as a matter of fact, is one I customized for our family.

Each customized map allows for an incredible amount of input for your child--seriously, I was so impressed with just how many family members, friends, pets, sports, favorite hobbies you could enter on Kidlandia along with your child.

It's a fun way to spend the day, thinking up all the special people and things you want to include in your map. You can name rivers, valleys, mountains, towns, is, as they say, a whole kingdom for your child. There's even a legend in each map that includes your child's name as the kingdom's leader, and you can choose whether you want King or Queen, Prince or Princess, Emporer or Empress, President or...President.

That's right. I love that it's not "First Lady"--why shouldn't a little girl dream of the day when she can be President herself?!

The Kidlandia maps, and by the way there are several that you can choose to customize, are perfect for kids' rooms and make a fantastic birthday gift for, well, any kid. And "kids" means anyone 1-100 years old, because I'm mumblety mumblety old myself, and I would love one of these!

The maps are just, as I say, lush and gorgeous and I can see them becoming a treasured legacy for your child through the years to come.

In addition to just having a superior product, really the best customizable I've seen on the market, the Kidlandia artist and founder, Brian Backus, must have a heart of gold.

Because not only does a portion of the sales for Kidlandia maps go to charity, Brian has also offered a special discount exclusively to Cool Moms Rule! readers.

Just use the code "coolmoms15" at Kidlandia to receive a 15% discount, limit two per customer!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Natsume Knows What Kids (and their parents) Want

Natsume has announced their new lineup for the rest of 2009, and I just wanted to share a little about it with you because they really have settled on a list of family-friendly, kid appropriate games!

My favorite from the lineup is this game, because I just love animals:

Afrika (PS3)
Explore the wildlife of Africa in this revolutionary safari game! Players will capture lifelike images of everything from lions and zebras to giraffes and cheetahs in this breathtaking PlayStation® 3
game that features photorealistic environments and animals that move and behave exactly like their real-world counterparts. Like real-life
photographers, players will need to be careful if they want to take photos of the animals without disturbing them, and make the best use
of their equipment in order to capture that perfect shot. The photography in the game is as meticulously modeled as the animals themselves; players will need to learn to compose their photographs with the eye of a professional photographer if they want to earn top dollar. Money can be used to purchase new licensed cameras and equipment, all of which behave just like their real-world counterparts.

But there's also several new additions to the Harvest Moon game series, a fishing game, and others, all with kids in mind. You can check out the whole lineup, with a little blurb describing each of the games being offered, over at our gaming site, Fuel the Rebellion.

Win With!

Want your kids to play ball inside?


Well, normally, neither would I. ; )

But with, kids can kick goals, throw passes and shoot hoops all in the safety of a virtual playground, where no windows get broken.

Designed for kids 6 and up, promotes a healthy, positive lifestyle through fun games, quests and social interaction. Childen can learn about problem-solving, goal setting, good sportsmanship, teamwork, fitness, good nutrition and environmental awareness by playing games, either individually or with other kids just like them!

As citizens of “Varsity Heights,” the virtual world of, members have their own User IDs and passwords.

Once registered, their first stop is in (where else?!) the “Locker Room” where they log in to the world and select one of seven sports-themed, animated characters as their onscreen persona, which can be changed as often as a child wants to. wants you to share in the fun, which is why, just for visiting their site, they are giving away an adorable All Star Buddy plush for your child.

Here's how to WIN: head over to the site, then come back here and tell me which Buddy is your favorite. Be sure to include the name and the sport the Buddy represents: "Bob the Bocce Ball Player," for example (no, that's not a real buddy, but I do like the sound of it!).

You MUST use this initial entry method for that first entry into the giveaway. Also, although they will do their best, can't guarantee that the plush will be your favorite.
Extra entries for:

Following CoolMomsRule on Twitter;
Tweeting about this contest;
Subscribing to our feed;
Blogging about this contest; and
Adding my button (on the sidebar to the right) to your site.
Deadline for entries is Sunday, June 7th. Also, please note, cannot guarantee that the plush you receive will be your first choice.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Skinny Cow Review--I'm Milking It

I am watching my weight. I am always watching my weight, so you'd think I'd be eating healthy. And so I am.

Which is why, this morning, along with my half of a banana, I had an ice cream sandwich for breakfast.

I know you are doing a double take right now, and you've got that finger ready to shake at me. "Now, Viv," I hear you saying, "That doesn't sound very healthy to me!"

But actually, at just 140 calories, with 3 grams of fiber, no Trans Fat, and 97% Fat Free, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches are a great choice when you're craving something sweet.

Which, with my sweet tooth, I constantly do.

I'm so glad to share Skinny Cow products with you on behalf of their Mom Central blog tour, because I've been a Skinny Cow fan for years. My Mom, who always eats a disgustingly healthy diet, introduced them to me, and they were one of the few low-fat foods I actually liked.

Now, I'm not diabetic, but it runs in the family, so I tend to look for products that are friendlier to people who are. And if you choose, as I did, the No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches, you will have eaten the equivalent of just 1 carb and 1 fat on the Diabetic Exhange. And Skinny Cow treats have also been approved as part of the Best Life Diet.

And they're delicious. In my opinion, you really can't tell the difference between Skinny Cow and any other ice cream sandwich on the market. They aren't these little wimpy bite-size treats, either. They're a real mouthful.

You can use the Cowculator on the Skinny Cow site to see how some of your favorite snacks match up in terms of nutrition. For example, you can eat an entire Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich for far less calories than a single chocolate chip cookie:

YAY! So, you know, I'm not feeling guilty. And neither should you.

Go ahead and have that Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich for breakfast.

Or, if you prefer, save it for an afternoon snack!

Announcing the Funky Monkey snacks winner!

Congratulations to suburban prep, who won the Funky Monkey giveaway!

They'll be getting their favorite flavor (okay, I know that sounds weird, but I don't know if suburban prep is male or female!), Bananamon, and I'm throwing in the Jivealime flavor as just an extra thank you from me personally for checking out Cool Moms Rule!

Thanks to all of you who entered our contest, and stay tuned, because we have a new one coming up soon. And I mean REALLY soon, people!


Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm So Proud

This is a silly commercial my nephew made. I have no idea why, but hey, it's silly and funny!

Last Day for Funky Monkey Giveaway!

Don't forget to enter the Funky Monkey Snacks Giveaway today--the link's in the sidebar under Current Giveaways. We're about to start a new contest, so we are announcing a winner tomorrow!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spring Showers, The Spring Fing and Graduation

The Rhino had a middle school dance scheduled for Friday, the Spring Fling.

But then, sadly, he and his girlfriend broke up last weekend. He's fourteen, so the only "dates" they had been on were group dates with all their friends, but he was naturally really down after the breakup. He decided he wasn't going to go to the dance after all, despite already having purchased a ticket, and we certainly could understand that.

I thought it would be good for the Rhino to have his guy friends rally around him this weekend. That way, if he had to stay home, he wouldn't be dwelling on it. Final exams, after all, wouldn't begin until Tuesday with this three-day Memorial Day weekend.

We set up a sleepover for Friday night. Most of the Rhino's friends are also his big brother's, so we invited two 15 year-olds. The Engineer had poker that night, which runs sometimes until midnight, but that was okay, because I would be home to watch all the guys until he came home. We planned to go see the new Terminator movie around noon the next day, and have their parents pick them up from the theater.

Friday night was also High School Graduation. A friend's son was graduating, but I'd already told my friend I couldn't make the actual graduation, because at the time I thought I'd be taking the Rhino to his Spring Fling dance. Instead, we would attend an open house for the graduate Saturday afternoon. It would be a little tight with all the guys coming for the sleepover, but they would be home before we had to leave for open house.

For some crazy reason, the Friday graduation was scheduled to be held OUTSIDE, in the high school stadium, which is just nuts. In Florida, at this time of year, it is insanely hot and humid, and graduates wearing clothes under their robes, wanting to look their very best for graduation night, end up sweaty and irritable instead from the hot Florida sun.

But sun wasn't the problem.

I know the saying is, "April Showers Bring May Flowers," but it's been all showers here in May! For the last week, Florida has been hit with a barrage of showers. The county north of ours is literally underwater. Don't believe me? Check out the Daytona Speedway track:

Because of the rain chance Friday night, graduation was moved to--can you believe this?!--Saturday morning at nine. Forget all those graduation parties Friday night! You have to get up at 7 in the morning and be at the school by 8 to get ready! I was happy for my friend, though, since she had scheduled her open house for Saturday afternoon.

So, things *seemed* under control.


Thursday morning rolls around--THURSDAY!!--and the Rhino says, "I think I'm going to the Spring Fling tomorrow after all."

Seems one of his friends had broken up with her boyfriend recently as well, so they decided to go together.

Which is all, "Awwww" and nice, sure, yeah, but it meant I spent Friday ordering a corsage (and of COURSE the Rhino had no idea what color her dress was!) as well as shopping for the sleepover and making sure it was okay if I left the other boys alone at the house for an hour so I could drive the Rhino to the dance (because, remember, the Engineer was playing poker).

I got a white carnation corsage (White goes with everything! It will be all right!) with a sparkly silver ribbon, praying the girl would not wear gold jewelry.

Friday night was a hectic night, full of tracking down dress socks and shoes and trying to remember how to tie a tie (I blame my left-handedness for never mastering this art), which we did by--I swear I am not making this up--downloading a video from Youtube.

We ordered pizza for sleepover dinner, the Rhino dressed up in his black suit with the brick-red shirt and black/red tie, I handed him the secret weapon (breath mints) and I reminded him twenty times or so NOT TO FORGET THE CORSAGE and we were off.

It was, I noticed as I drove along, a beautiful balmy night, with no rain at all despite the forecast. They could easily have held the graduation Friday night after all.

The Rhino's date wore--amazingly--a red and black dress, matching him perfectly.

The Engineer picked the Rhino up from the dance at midnight (no Cinderella jokes allowed!) after his poker game was done.

Meanwhile, at the sleepover, the kids were in bed a little after midnight, though they stayed up talking until 2 in the morning.

Yay! Success!

Then Saturday we wake up late.

To the sound of Rain. Buckets of it. All over town.

And all over the graduating class of 2009.

At the open house later, my friend explained, "We had to stand in the 'tunnel' of the stadium to keep from getting wet. No, not allowed, but none of the relatives had rain gear. The minute they called for his row to stand up, the rain came pouring down. We could barely see him on the stage, because there were so many open umbrellas in front of us."

And this after both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles had traveled from Ohio and Michigan to see him graduate. I felt so bad for them!

But the open house was lovely. They'd rented out the church fellowship hall and done the whole place over in the school's colors. My friend is a Scrapbooker par excellence, and she had fabulous books full of all the mementos of his school years. His track trophies were on display, along with small treasure chests on the tables, with costume jewelry and coins spilling out, in honor of the school's Pirate mascot. She had a buffet, a huge cake, napkins printed with his name and graduation year (thank goodness, not Friday's date). Even the silverware was wrapped and tied with raffia bows in school colors.

I told the Owl, who graduates in two years, that to top this we'd have to go to the Caribbean and get some real pirates.

Honestly, there's no way I'm matching up as a Mom, people. I don't have scrapbooks, I have digital photos and the blog!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Enter the Roommate of the Year Video Contest for Mucho Dinero

According to a recent national survey, economic factors are the number one reason more and more renters are choosing to double up with roommates. I know, you are not shocked by that. Times are tough. lists the top three reasons renters choose to live with a roommate as:

1. Saving money
2. Cannot afford to live alone
3. The desire to afford a nicer place

And that's why is running a Roommate of the Year Video Contest.

Now, I know you might not be thinking of yourself as video material, but consider this:

The winner receives free rent for one year plus an additional $10,000.

I know, I had to read that twice, too. Wouldn't that money be a godsend in this economy?

Okay, now, you know you don't get it for nothing.

Here's what to do:

Enter in one of five categories. Entries begin today, May 18 and run through June 30.

Your entry goes in one of five Roommate Contest Categories:
  • The Coolest Crib – for the roomie with the coolest stuff;
  • The Loveable Compulsive – this roomie cooks, cleans and pays the bills ensuring the apartment is always in order;
  • The Superhero – everyone has a hidden talent, this category is for the roomies that possess unique skills making their roommate value soar;
  • The Purr-fect Pet – what makes a renter the best roommate to their pet(s);
  • The Individualist – for the all-around “great guy or gal” who can squeeze every ounce of creativity and originality into an entry to make it stand out from the rest.
Renters’ entries will be judged with equal weight on originality and creativity, overall “wow” factor, persuasive argument and style and production.

Entries will be narrowed down to a field of up to 15 semi-finalists across the five categories by a panel of qualified judges.

And then...America votes! The top five finalists, determined by a combination of public vote and the judging panel, will be flown to New York City to participate in the “Roommate of the Year” finalist event

The Winner, picked by popular vote, will receive The Ultimate Bailout: Free Rent for One Year Plus $10,000.

Four runner-up winners will each receive $500.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jif Really is My Choice!

When I was contacted about Jif's new selections recently, I felt I had to be honest and admit it: I usually go with a competitor for my peanut butter.

I actually felt bad about this, as I know that Jif's slogan is "Choosy Moms Choose Jif!" and so, obviously, by not choosing them I must have low, slacker-Mom standards.

But the Jif folks were completely understanding, and they were undeterred by my admission. They were confident that once I tasted their New Natural Jif or tried the convenient Reduced Fat portable packs, I would just love the Jif offerings.

And you know what? They were right!

I am addicted to this stuff, people. Especially the Jif To Go Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread. It comes in a package of six convenient, portable 2.5-ounce cups, and each cup contains eight grams of fat LESS than the regular Jif To Go, and eight grams of protein.

When I went to open my Jif to Go Reduced Fat, what I noticed right off was the picture, which depicts dipping a pretzel in the Creamy Peanut Butter Spread. Now, you might think this is weird, and I don't know why, but I have never eaten peanut butter that way. And I love pretzels.

So I went to the pantry for my favorite pretzels (Snaps by Snyder's, if you're interested), and dipped them in the peanut butter, and my mouth fell in love.

I know that sounds over the top, but I really do like this combo so much that I went out to buy more pretzels today, just so that I can eat them with the peanut butter spread. Lunch is my big meal of the day, because our schedules are so erratic sometimes I don't even eat dinner until late. Anyway, I have either a half cup or a cup of the Jif To Go Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and some pretzels every day for lunch. If I have half a cup, I also have some applesauce with it, but either way I end up with less than 500 calories, feel really full because of all the protein, and don't snack on anything until dinner.

Now, I want to address the taste issue, because as I said I didn't used to like Jif as much, but I feel like either I have matured or they have upped the deliciousness factor, because their Reduced Fat version is as satisfying as the other, full-calorie brand I used to "choose."

So, yes, Jif has a convert in me.

In addition to the Jif To Go Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread, which retails for between 2.99-3.19, Jiff also has introduced a new Natural Peanut Butter Spread.

This is a great alternative for anyone who is looking to simplify their diet. Nutritionists usually say that if you can't pronounce the ingredients in something, you probably shouldn't put it into your mouth.

Well, all that's in Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread is five simple ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt and molasses. And 90% of the spread are those fresh roasted peanuts.

Which means it also has half the sodium of regular peanut butter, another health benefit.

Looks like this is peanut butter you can even serve your vegetarian friends, because it really doesn't have the "butter" part.

Also, I think the ingredients make it vegan friendly? Please write and let me know if I am wrong, because Jif is not the one saying that, I am, so I may be mistaken and I don't want anyone blaming the Jiff people!

You can find Jif Natural Peanut Butter Spread in grocery stores everywhere, for $2.70/18 oz. and $4.15/28 oz.

Edited: Hey, Everybody, I did hear back from Jif, and the new Natural Jif IS Vegan friendly!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Funky Monkey Review and Giveaway!

I've mentioned before on the site that the Rhino loves fruit and I do, too, so I was really interested when Funky Monkey asked me to try out their all-natural freeze-dried fruit snacks.

Funky Monkey fruit snacks are 100% fruit, with no added sugar, colors, flavors or preservatives, and each bag gives you three of the those four recommended servings of fruit that you should be eating every day (but probably aren't because you are so busy). Three of the four fun Funky Monkey flavors (Bananamon, Purple Funk and Jivealime, love those names!) are certified organic, and I've been trying to go the organic route lately because I just think it's the healthier choice.

Funky Monkey snacks come in 1 oz pouches that you can take with you anywhere. The flavor I tried was the Carnival Mix, which contains organic banana and pineapple in the mix.

Normally the Rhino won't even try dried fruit, but he gave these a try, mostly because they just smelled so good when I opened the bag that he had to taste them. I have to say that, in the past, most of the dried fruit that I have eaten tastes all right, but it is a little...rubbery. Sometimes even tough. So normally I just skip it.

But the Rhino and I agreed that the Funky Monkey Carnival Mix was a pleasant surprise. First off, it was really flavorful, better than other dried fruit I have eaten. You could really tell that you were eating actual pineapples and bananas and not any nasty chemical stuff.

Even better, though, was that Funky Monkey was crisp and chewy, not rubbery at all. What makes them different, according to the manufacturer, is the (original, patented) freeze-dried process they use right when the fruit is at its freshest, which is designed to remove 97% of the moisture while still retaining that crunch. Turns out Funky Monkey's trademark slogan is, "The Fruit That Crunches!" and in my experience, they lived up to that promise.

I really enjoyed my Funky Monkey Carnival Mix, and so did the Rhino. We ate the entire bag of Carnival Mix at lunchtime, and I felt good about the healthy choice we had made.

You can find Funky Monkey snacks in all 250 Whole Foods Markets across the country. can win some here! Cool Moms Rule has two bags of crunchy, flavorful Funky Monkey Snacks to give away!

To enter:
just visit their website to find out which flavor you'd like, then come back here and leave a comment on this post!

If you Tweet, Follow CoolMomsRule! on Twitter or blog about this post, you'll also get an extra entry.

Finally, add my button or subscribe to the Cool Moms Rule! feed (or both!) for an additional entry as well.

That gives you SIX chances to win these delicious Funky Monkey snacks for your family!

Good luck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Plant A Seed To Rebuild Your Favorite Field!

Want to help your kids "Earn their stripes"? Tony the Tiger and Frosted Flakes do! That's why they've started a campaign known as "Plant A Seed," and Mom Central and I want to tell you all about their efforts.

What is Plant A Seed? It's a grass roots movement honoring traditional values like courage, perseverance and determination by the Kellogg's Frosted Flakes folks, in an effort to rebuild America's playing fields in parks around the nation. And, because they know times are tough in this economy, they're picking up the tab!

Anyone--you, me, coaches and kids--could nominate a field to be rebuilt, and thousands did. Now, the final 100 that made the cut are eligible for voting. It's like the American Idol of kids' sports! ;)

You can go to the Plant A Seed website, and help a team rebuild their field by casting that crucial vote. Unlike most of those reality shows on TV, there won't be just one winner, but many--Thirty fields in all will be rebuilt.

Once you've cast your vote, you can come back to the Plant A Seed site and watch videos of the rebuilding efforts all across the nation.

Maybe one of the fields in your own home town has been nominated. Heck, maybe more than one.

But time is running out. Right now, you have less than 3 weeks to help Kellogg's decide which fields to restore. So visit Plant a Seed now, and cast your vote!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Motherhood, and Superheroes

My Mom is a superhero.

It occurred to me this earlier in the week, when I listened to my regular radio station.

Two of the morning guys were putting together costumes in a bid to apply to the World Superhero Organization. Dee decided his alter ego was Blackout, while Taint was (this still makes me snicker) Walken, Texas Ranger. That's Walken, not Walker. As in Christopher Walken, with a dead-on impression to match. Hilarious.

Anyway, it occurred to me that there is a superhero, perhaps, lurking in all of us, just waiting to be discovered.

Only the thing is, I couldn't really figure out what I'm so good at that I would qualify for super powers, dammit.

But my Mom, now, that's a different story.

My Mom is the most selfless person I know. She would do anything for anyone at the drop of a hat. I know this is true because I have put it to the test more than once, calling on her and my father when I was in the hospital and needed someone to watch the boys because The Engineer was across the country (or even out of it) on business. I have asked for the same favor while we were away celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, or just when I was falling apart from stress and couldn't handle it any more.

Every time, my Mom would come through for me, even if it meant driving across the state at the last minute to be here.

And she does the same thing for her own Mom and siblings.

My Mom is the oldest of six brothers and sisters (though I think she looks the youngest). Despite living on a fixed income herself, Mom and Dad chip in financially to make sure her own mother, my grandmother, is cared for now that she has reached her mid-nineties(!). Great-grandma, in fact, is a bit of a superhero herself. Here she is with a painting she made last month.

But back to Mom. She is, as I say, one of six kids, and she helped raise her younger brothers and sisters. Maybe that's why she can remember the names and birth dates of all of their kids, and their kids' spouses, and all of their children, too. I don't know how she does it, because I can't, and I'm mumble mumble years old.

But although I may forget my own niece and nephews' birthdays occasionally, or neglect to call my two wonderful brothers-in-law when they are celebrating, my Mom never lets anyone's special day pass without notice.

My Mom is also a very private person, though. She wouldn't want to go around having anyone treat her as Mother Teresa despite her caring and empathetic nature. So, even though I think she deserves it, I wouldn't make her superhero alter-ego be Super Selfless. That's much too showy for Mom.

Instead, I'd draw on her other talents to create that superhero persona.

First of all, Mom is fantastic with language. When I was growing up, Mom was always working on a novel that she never really finished. I think her unpublished status is due more to modesty than a lack of perseverance, because Mom never gave up on anything.

Her love of language makes her excel at word games, scramblets, crossword puzzles and the like. She loves Scrabble and can always find that seven-letter word hiding in the tiles. So that's a good place to start.

I also don't think Mom'd want some silly sidekick hanging around, dragging her down, when she was performing her heroics. Mom's the kind of person that likes to get things done. She's really organzied, and she does well on her own.

So, that's what we have to work with--a lone avenger who loves any kind of linguistic challenge.

So (prepare yourself for ingenious superhero name time!) I have decided that my Mom would make the perfect....

Crossword Crusader!

That's right. Imagine the scenario: you're stuck in the middle of a Scrabble game. You're down by fifty points and your tile rack holds an umpromising combination of U I R Y O X Q. You're about to concede defeat when...

In swoops the Crossword Crusader!

Dressed in comfortable loungewear (because she has far too much fashion sense to opt for skin-tight spandex), a pencil tucked handily behind her ear, a thesaurus in one pocket and a dictionary in another, she reaches down with lightning speed and rearranges your letters, playing them on a T for the game-winning, ridiculously high-scoring: QUIXOTRY.

Or perhaps you are taking a long flight somewhere. Trapped on your plane, you have concluded (in pen, because you are not without your own pride) 3/4 of the NY Times weekly crossword on your own, and you're feeling pretty good. But that last square--you know, the one on the bottom that has not one, not two, but three words you just can't figure out, so even the remaining letters fail to provide the clues you need to solve it--is just sitting there, mocking you with its empty squares.

Lucky for you, my Mom is on that plane.

With her trusty thesaurus and pocket dictionary, the Crossword Crusader makes short work of those final squares. When your plane lands, you saunter off nonchalantly, the finished crossword prominently displayed as you tuck your newspaper under your arm and depart the gate.

You can thank my Mom. The superhero.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Lee Website With Fit Finder!

Lee just introduced their new website, and as one of their Fit Ambassadors I was really excited to try out their new Fit Finder!

The Fit Finder is a tool to help you find just the right Lee styles to suit your figure type and preferences. Here's a screen shot.

All you do is answer a series of questions about your body shape and how you like your clothes to fit (just check the appropriate box).

I found The Fit Finder simple to use. The questions asked about my waist, thighs, stomach, and seat to determine which products would provide the best fit for me, and as it turned out there were lots of different styles that worked for me.

For instance, I don't like pants that are really low on the waist. This is because I have a scar from my 2 C-sections and my hysterectomy and also my stomach is, well, poofy. You know what I mean, ladies? Anyone? Bueller?

The Fit Finder also has video demonstrations from Lee's team of fit experts during each step of the process, so you can see how certain styles fit differently and how to choose the style that flatters your figure.

What I like about The Fit Finder is that if you are even a little bit self-conscious about your figure (I'm sure all you goddesses never have even a momentary qualm, but we humans sometimes feel less than confident with our shape), you can still find the perfect fit right there in your home, without having to deal with crowds and dressing rooms and all that.

Oh, and here's another great feature: once you’ve found your fit? You can save your Fit Profile for next season’s shopping!

Here's what else you'll find on the new
  • New photography to give you a closer look at the products you are most interested in – just like in the store!
  • Ability to compare different products that meet your selection criteria, so you can pick the very best.
  • Consumer reviews about Lee’s products and the opportunity to upload your own photos (if you are really brave!) wearing Lee products.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Too Cute Not to Post!

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Sesame Street, Tuesday, May 5th, to tape a Public Service Announcement with Elmo as part of Sesame Workshop’s Healthy Habits For Life initiative. Mrs. Obama and her pal Elmo talked about eating right, exercising regularly and being a healthy and positive role model for children. (c) 2009 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Richard Termine

Calling All Readers!

I have to give a tip of my hat to Kidazy. They are offering an Amazon Kindle 2 in their latest giveaway, and I'm envious!

Of course, I've entered to win, and you should too. Just follow my link and make sure to leave your favorite book, the author and why you love it in your comment! This is such a great idea for a contest--favorite books and authors. I'd love to know yours. Looks like I'll have to think up a giveaway and have you share (I'm always looking for good books to read).

Good luck! If you win, I'm coming to your house and sneaking off with your prize! ; )

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Ultimate Mom Giveaway (times two!)

The Ultimate Mom is the perfect item for our Mother's Day giveaway this year. Filled with uplifting stories, endearing photos and expert advice, this lovely book should be gracing the shelves of every Mom's library (even if the "library" is a pile of books on top of that waiting-to-be-emptied laundry basket).

Maria Bailey, the author of The Ultimate Mom, is an award-winning author, radio talk show host, and nationally known speaker. She is the founder of award-winning websites and the host of both The Balancing Act on Lifetime TV and Mom Talk Radio, the first nationally syndicated radio show for moms. She also co-hosts Good Day on the radio with Doug Stephan.

And, of course, she's a Mom. She gets it. Her book is like a how-to manual and an inspirational pick-me-up all in one.

In fact, Maria's book is so great, we decided to give away TWO copies instead of one to our winner! Consider signing that second copy to gift to your own Mom, mentor, sister, grandmother, maybe that special girlfriend who is experiencing all the challenges of motherhood right alongside you--I just know so many women who would love this.

To win TWO copies of this comprehensive and inspiring book, The Ultimate Mom, one to keep and one to share, just leave a comment below this post, ONE per email.

Additional entry methods:
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Please include #coolmomsrule in your Tweet
  • Blog about the giveaway
  • Subscribe to the Cool Moms Rule! feed
  • Add my button to your site.
That gives you up to FIVE chances to win! I'll announce The Ultimate Mom (times two!) winner on Mother's Day, May 10th.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Like Polar Bears? Does Mom? Adopt One for Mother's Day!

Hot on the heels of all this polar bear watching I've been doing lately came this idea, which I just love: adopt a polar bear for Mom for Mother's Day!

We have adopted animals before. The Rhino earned his nickname through his love of rhinos when he was just a little tike (he never wanted a stuffed teddy bear, but he has tons of toy rhinos in all shapes and sizes all over his room), so we adopted a rhinoceros named Piggy in South Africa. Piggy 'married' another rhino named Rebecca and had two little rhinos, and we would get regular updates on their status as their adoptive "parents."

So, anyway, I know firsthand that adopting animals is a lot of fun. We have some giveaways coming up for Mother's Day, but in the meantime, surprise her with her very own polar bear!

Adopt through the Defenders of Wildlife Adoption and Gift Center (a national, non-profit organization) and the adoption comes with Mom's personalized certificate, a fact sheet and a photo of her very own polar bear! Or, choose any other animal for mom to adopt--lots are available, including sea turtles and snow leopards. Even though, at just $20, adoptions are reasonably priced, you can save even more through Cool Moms Rule!

Make sure to enter code MOM for 10% off of any wildlife adoption and free shipping through May 3rd!

Arctic Tale on Blu-Ray

On April 21st, Arctic Tale became available in Blu-ray format from Paramount Home Entertainment. On April 22nd, Earth Day, Disney's new movie premiered. Having seen both, here are my thoughts.

First, if you want to choose between the two, I recommend Arctic Tale over Earth. Both films have incredible coverage of animals in the wild, in the harshest environments imaginable, some shot from within (in Arctic Tale's case) the actual den of a polar bear. How they managed to do that, I have no idea!

But where the movies differ is their approach to the narrative.

While Earth is aptly narrated by James Earl Jones, it is definitely a serious documentary.

Themes include the melting polar ice caps and how polar bears are at risk of drowning as a result, the challenges faced by animals, like elephants and whales, who are having to travel further just to find fresh water or food sources as a result of global warming, and attacks from predators. This is a film that has, underlying the stunning coverage of polar bears, elephants and humpback whales (among other creatures), a wake-up call about the need for humans to do more to protect their environment lest we lose these species to extinction. Shades of An Inconvenient Truth, activism underlies every word. There is much more focus on the changing seasons, the brutal desert heat and the freezing tundras.

Although the goal is admirable, the movie, which is not at all long, clocking in at under two hours, dragged as a result. By about the eleventh time we were shown a stark snowy landscape, I'm sorry to say I was past boredom and counting down to the film's end.

Arctic Tale, on the other hand, doesn't aspire to such a serious agenda. We are invited to share in the lives of a polar bear family and a pod of walruses, as well as glimpse the creatures they come into contact with in all their furry, ferocious and cute "Awwww" moments.

And the movie is chock full of those moments, which will keep the kids glued to the screen with you.

Lively play among the pups is partnered with upbeat music, and other scenes also match catchy tunes with the aciton. The narration by Queen Latifah (who often works on children's projects) is more down-to-earth and just seems friendlier. Though I occasionally questioned the language choices, wondering if they were scripted or ad lib: "When Mom calls, and Mama is a polar bear, you best listen," for example, seemed a bit contrived--this movie is a great family film.

If your children love animals, they will warm to this adventure much more than to the stodgier, at times even pretentious eco-vehicle that is Disney's Earth.

I have Arctic Tale in the Blu-ray version, which means it includes among its extra features "The Making of Arctic Tale". This, in my opinion is a *must-see*. It took years to gather the footage for the film, and what the photographers go through, even the threat of attack from the polar bears themselves, is incredibly engrossing material.

Also on the Blu-ray version are a trailer and "Polar Bear Spotting," in case you get it into your head to go and try to film some polar bears yourself (hint: don't even think about it!).

Arctic Tale on Blu-ray was released April 21st, and retails for 34.95, though you should keep your eyes peeled for deals. Amazon has it On Sale for 19.99.
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