Thursday, April 22, 2010

What to Do on Earth Day?

Watch WordGirl: Earth Day Girl!

WordGirl” is a new animated series that follows the every day life and superhero adventures of “WordGirl” as she fights crime and enriches vocabulary usage, all in a day’s work. I'd heard parents say really good things about the show on Metafilter:

I would non-ironically watch Word Girl as an adult show if I could. Hilarious.

Word-girl is awesome and I have watched it even when my daughter wasn't around.

Word Girl is fantastic.

So, I checked out the Word Girl: Earth Day DVD myself, and it's a real winner!

In the DVD, Word Girl takes on new villains like Birthday Girl, Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy, Dr. Two-Brains, The Butcher, Tobey, Mr. Big, Granny May and my personal favorite: Lady Redundant Woman.

The DVD also includes Special Features like Interactive Games, Video Shorts and Coloring Pages for your kids.

Street Date: March 30, 2010
Pricing: $14.99
Runtime: approximately 100 minutes

Buy Yourself a New, Eco-Friendly Laptop Case

The Nuo Tech environmentally-friendly collection is constructed of eco-friendly materials such as water and vegetable-based dyed cotton/canvas and synthetic leather materials. The materials do not contain harmful AZO dyes or PVC and are RoHS compliant (Restriction of Hazardous Substances).

Cases start at $19.99 and all Nuo and Kailo Chic products purchased at the week of Earth Day (April 19-26) will receive a 20 percent discount in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day!

Go See Disney's New Movie, Oceans, in Theaters Today!

Narrated by actor and outspoken environmentalist Pierce Brosnan, the film's powerful imagery chronicles the mysteries that lie beneath the surface of the planet's latest endangered habitat – our oceans.

I received a review copy of the Word Girl: Earth Day Girl DVD to facilitate my review of that product in this post.

Tropicana Juicy Rewards Twitter Party! (With PRIZES!)

You already know I'm a Tropicana Juicy Rewards Ambassador, and let me tell you, I've really been enjoying their rewards.

For example, when you go to the Juicy Rewards website, did you know that there's a different special offer showcased every day?

Recently I was able to get a FREE movie ticket from Fandango for just 3 of my points through one of these daily offers (I still have twenty-something left; it's really easy to get points when you drink orange juice every day). So far, I have just downloaded the code for the ticket, but I haven't used it yet (I'm thinking of going to see Oceans today for Earth Day!).

Juicy Insiders can save $15 on an FTD flower bouquet of $49.99 or more for Mother's Day for just 3 points, too, so be sure to give a nudge to your family before May 9th rolls around. You deserve it! ; )

Mom Central, who has been working with bloggers like me to spread the word about Tropicana Juicy Rewards, is having a Twitter party today from 3-4 PM EST.

Here's the best part: six lucky winners will be randomly selected throughout the Twitter Party to win a $50 American Express gift card!

To be eligible to win one of the six giveaways, log onto Twitter during the party and enter a tweet using the hashtag #TropicanaRewards. Anyone leaving a comment using this hashtag during the party will be automatically eligible to win.

See you there this afternoon! Look for me on Twitter, @CoolMomsRule. This is the time when I usually pick up my kids, so I won't be on the entire time, but I'm definitely tuning in!

Oh, and here's some tips for following the Twitter party:
  1. Set up a #TropicanaRewards search on or on your twitter program (e.g. TweetDeck or Twirl), or
  2. Use a twitter aggregator such as to follow the hashtag.
I wrote this post while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my reviews of the program.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox: Feckless Fox Foments Feud with Fearsome Farmers

So I just watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and I'm a bit nonplussed at just how to describe it to you all.

The plot itself is simple: Mr. Fox (superbly voiced by George Clooney) has a tendency not to listen to advice and go his own way, and he draws his family and his friends into his adventures right along with him.

In his own way, though, as his wife (Meryl Streep and clearly the brains of the operation) says, Fox is fantastic.

But also frustrating.

Though usually I'm all for non-conformity, Fox's stubbornness annoyed me with its selfishness at times. I felt for his long-suffering wife keenly.

Ash, Mr. Fox's son, is the more intriguing character, at least in my opinion. An angsty, sardonic teenager (I think; not sure how those fox years work), Ash is a mystery to his father, whom he longs to impress. Yet in his cape and pajamas, Ash too marches to the tune of a different drummer himself.

Also a standout is Kristofferson, the cousin who comes to visit and who, much to Ash's chagrin, seems to excel in everything Ash does not. Kristofferson meditates, is a natural athlete like Ash's Dad, and even a master of martial arts. Plus, the girl Ash likes the most is immediately drawn to the much cooler cousin.

The Fantastic Mr. Fox on film, of course, owes much of its allure, and its mystery, to the original story by author Roald Dahl, who also penned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Which might help to explain why I am at a loss as to the perfect audience for the film: Dahl's works can suffer in translation. While I loved the original Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for instance, the Johnny Depp adaptation left me cold with its bright orange oompa loompas and decidedly creepy Willy Wonka.

Thankfully, Tim Burton had nothing to do with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I think that, in this case, the film makers did an impressive job of nailing both Dahl's sophisticated humor and childlike wonder.

Still, I'm not sure who the film was targeted to in theaters. Adults could easily be put off by the stop-motion animation, seeing this as a "kids' film," yet the sly and ironic humor would just go over the heads of young children.

Now on Blu-Ray and DVD, though, The Fantastic Mr. Fox definitely worth the rental. See it with your pre-teens or teenagers, who may well identify with the mixed-up Ash and enjoy the rivalry with the perfectly easy-going Kristofferson, who does not even realize they are competing.

I received a copy of The Fantastic Mr. Fox on DVD to facilitate this review.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

(The Perfect Accompaniment to) Easter Leftovers

I always make ham at Easter. Here's a pic of our Easter meal, with ham, scalloped potatoes, salad, fruid and a pina colada bundt cake with buttercream glaze I made for dessert.

I don't know why, but ham > Easter as turkey > Thanksgiving in my mind.

Which is great, because we do like ham.

But the kids? They don't like leftovers. So I have to "disguise" them. And if I can get some veggies in with the ham, that's even better.

So my favorite recipe for leftover ham is my own take on a Ham and Swiss Ring Around.

Here's the ingredients (I'm estimating amounts, because I never measure):

Two refrigerated tubes of crescent roll dough.

One small-sized package frozen chopped broccoli, mostly thawed (in warm water and drained or in microwave). I hate to admit this, but I actually used less than the whole package.

Leftover ham, diced in food processor (about two cups works well with this recipe)

Swiss cheese, grated (1 cup)

Parsley to taste newest discovery!

In the past, at this point, I'd add some diced onion and dijon mustard and maybe a little lemon juice and fool around with it until it tasted right.

But now? I just add about 3 Tbsp of French's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. I was sent some of this when it first came out (look for it on your shelves now), and thought it made a great dip for pretzels and sharp cheddar cheese, which it does.

But it also does double-duty in my Ham and Swiss Ring-Around, so I can cut out a few ingredients and have a savory, slightly sweet taste. I just don't use the word "mustard" around he kids, because they think they don't like mustard.

But they love the Ham Swiss Ring Around made with the French's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce!

By the way, to finish that Ring, you want to set aside the crescent roll dough and mix all the other ingredients together in a big bowl, just glopping them all together.

Then take most of the crescent dough, unroll the triangles, and make a ring with the points out. I usually reserve a few triangles because they are longer on one side and so I never end up with a perfect ring.

Then you glop your mix onto the ring and fold the points up over the top. Use any leftover triangles to "patch up" the ring so the filling doesn't spill out the bottom, though it is find to let it peek through the top in places.

Cook at 375 for around 15 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn't get too dark on the bottom. This is why I think the pizza stone is a MUST, because it really gets the Ring done all the way through without over-cooking the bottom.

French’s Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce complements all kid and family favorites such as chicken nuggets but is also ideal for dipping other finger foods like veggies, fish sticks, French fries and even pretzels. It is available in a 12 oz. squeeze bottle and has a suggested retail price of $2.49. I received a sample of French's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, as indicated in this post.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport Review and Giveaway!

The Owl plays soccer.

Now, if any of you are the ubiquitous "soccer moms" (don't you just love that term?) I hear about in the media all the time, you know that means he has, in addition to a ball and a water bottle and a uniform, soccer shoes and stinky shin guards that he wears, week after week, for practices and games.

Those stinky shin guards are a must because the aforementioned soccer shoes, like those of his teammates, have cleats.

Which hurt.

A lot.

And, as I've mentioned before on the blog, the Owl is a little...accident prone.

So if anyone is going to get bruised and bloody shin guards, it's him.

Not only that, on the soccer field, he's like a vacuum for dirt and stains.

If there's an anthill, he'll find it. By falling on it.

Puddles? He's splashed in them.

Mud? Been there, done that.

So wasn't it nice that Tide, the detergent I use, decided to team up with Febreze odor eliminator to create Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent:
New Tide Plus Febreze Freshness™ Sport was designed to help remove tough stains and odors from clothes that take the hardest hits – leaving your entire load clean and fresh And, what’s more, the freshness technology in the detergent releases freshness as you move -- giving you added confidence on the court, in the field or at the gym.
I really love this new combination. I already trust Tide and Febreze, so putting them both into a detergent I can use to get those stinky shin guards (and also my husband's golf gear) both clean and smelling fresh is a total win/win for me.

But hey, why not try it out for yourself?

To celebrate the launch of the new Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent, Procter & Gamble has offered a GIVEAWAY for Cool Moms Rule! readers!

What you can win: A $10 Target giftcard and coupons (redeemable at Target stores nationwide, worth up to $5 in savings on C9 by Champion and Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent)!

C9 by Champion is a high-quality new performance sports line at Target (where you can pick up your Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport with those coupons).

How to Enter:
just leave a comment below telling me why you and your family really need these latest Tide/Febreze products! (required for entry)

For Additional Entries:

Subscribe to our feed (check the sidebar).

Tweet about this contest (one entry a day! You can do this until the contest ends).

Blog about this contest.

For more information on Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent, and other Tide products, please visit the Tide website.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents. Deadline for entries is Monday, April 19th at midnight EST.
I was provided with a $10 Target giftcard and coupons for Tide with Frebreze Freshness Sport laundry detergent and Febreze Sport Fabric Softener for this review and giveaway.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Goodness

The Easter brunch French toast has been cleared away. The kids have found all but one of their (extra-hard, camouflaged-for-teens) Easter eggs and enjoyed their small candy baskets.

There's always that ONE egg, isn't there? I swear, we can't find the darn thing either!

I have on my pretty sundress, the one I bought especially for Spring Break--but haven't worn until now because the ladies at J.C. Penney forgot to take off the big plastic tag on the bottom that has to be removed with a special Device or it splatters ink, necessitating another trip to the store Friday, after we got back from Disney (more soon on our very first Disney Resort vacation!).

The kids (grumbling the while) helped their Dad with the yardwork, pulling weeds and mowing the lawn, and are camped out in the air-conditioned house now, chatting with their online friends.

The cats enjoyed their Easter stinky goodness and are off prowling the grounds and hunting lizards (maybe one of them will find that missing egg!).

The fluffy lemon/coconut/pineapple bundt cake with buttercream icing is cooling, as are the potatoes I plan to scallop.

The ham is just about ready to go into the oven. I'll heat up the rolls soon and steam a little corn. I'll cut up some fruit to go with the cake, and we are having non-alcoholic pina coladas from the blender for a little added holiday goodness.

It's a beautiful, sunny Spring day, and all's right with the world.

So, how's YOUR Easter going?!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New! Bella Sara Sunflower, just in time for Easter

Just in time for Easter, Bella Sara has introduced its new Sunflowers series of collectible cards!

I've reviewed the Bella Sara trading cards and miniatures on the site before. Designed for girls from ~ages 5 to 12, the gorgeous illustrations will captivate young girls.

This new series from Bella Sara invites fans to join Emma & friends in a captivating search for Herd Sunflower. Using secret codes found in the set of 55 collectible cards, featuring horses, characters and stories, girls will be able to unlock the exciting Sunflowers adventures and experience the new features of the mesmerizing online world, including the ability to customize their own avatar on

To coincide with this event, Bella Sara has also introduced the Miniatures Series 3 set. Featuring 20 new velvety figurine horses, the Miniatures set includes a secret code in each pack to expand online play through Bella Sara Adventures. I love that the horses are soft and velvety--they'd make an excellent addition to your child's Easter basket this year.

Bella Sara is offering a special promotional code for Cool Moms Rule! readers. Just head over to the Bella Sara shop and enter in Promotion Code: SUNFLWRS for 10% off any item! The offer is good through 4/30/10, but can only be used once per customer.
The generous folks at Bella Sara have also set aside one set of the new Bella Sara Sunflowers cards and a Miniature Series 3 horse for a GIVEAWAY!

To Enter, first go to their shop (required for initial entry), then come back here and comment on your favorite Bella Sara item. They have lots of wonderful Easter-themed ideas.

For additional entries:

Tweet! You can tweet once a day for the length of this contest. Link your tweet below for another entry each day (1 entry EVERY DAY!).

Blog about this giveaway on your site, or add a link on your Facebook page (1 additional entry).

Subscribe to the Cool Moms Rule! feed, follow me on Twitter or follow the blog (1 additional entry each), using the links on the sidebar.

Contest ends Monday, April 10th, at Midnight (EST). Open to US residents only.

I received one set of Sunflowers cards and one miniature series 3 horse from Bella Sara to facilitate the review.
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.