Arlington National Cemetery

What’s the big deal?
I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the controversy caused by our President’s decision not to attend the Memorial Day Service today. One refrain I’ve been hearing from non-military people is the question above. I’d like to try to explain why it is such a big deal!
Arlington is not the only national cemetery, but it is by far the most well known and for good reason. Everyone has heard of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which contains the remains of several unknown soldiers from various wars. It is guarded constantly by The Old Guard. During special occasions, such as the Memorial Day Ceremony, Honor Guards from each branch of the military are present to show their respect and honor for their fellow fallen comrades. My husband gave two years of his military career without being able to advance in order to participate in the Coast Guard Honor Guard and honor his fallen Coasties and all the other men and women who have sacrificed their lives. When foreign dignitaries visit our country one of the most respectful things they can do is visit the tomb and place a wreath. My husband was present for many such ceremonies and stood still as a statue for hours on end in order to show our military’s discipline and strength. He is in the group to the far left below.
My husband also took part in many funerals during his time in the Honor Guard. You can ask any one who has participated in an Arlington funeral about what a solemn, moving, deeply meaningful experience it is. Anyone who has given their life for our country deserves the greatest and utmost respect and that is exactly what they are given at Arlington. Below you can see my husband in the front center helping to bury a fellow Coastie.
There are over 300,000 grave sites in Arlington. On Memorial Day the Old Guard places a flag before each and every grave with a salute. How long do you think that takes them?!?!
What I’m trying to say is that Arlington, and the Memorial Day Service at Arlington, are HUGE deals. It really, really saddens and disappoints me that so many people, including the leader of our country, fail to realize this and would rather spend the day enjoying their time off and relaxing in whatever way is most convenient and comfortable for themselves.
Please, take a few minutes today to thank a veteran/coastie/marine/solider/airman/salior for their service and sacrifices for our dear country. Take a few minutes to pray for those who are currently serving overseas and their families left behind.
Please make today be a big deal to you!

Bare Escentuals Mascara *Review* (and my fab new haircut as well!)

I am super duper picky when it comes to mascara! It seems like no matter which brand I try or what kind I get I’m always disappointed! I can’t stand clumpy goopy lashes or stuff that flakes! I have always heard great things about Bare Escentuals so I was really excited to get to try out their bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara! I wasn’t disappointed! You probably remember the Giveaway I hosted for it awhile ago. I really love this mascara! It goes on easily and does not clump or flake at all and it makes my eyes really pop and my lashes look long and fabulous! (as you can see above 😉 ) The only tiny problem I had with it was when it was brand new I had a hard time not smudging my top lid when applying it because it was so slick and my preggo hand is quite clumsy, haha! Now that I’ve had it for awhile though I’m not having this problem anymore. I will most definitely be buying this mascara again and would definitely recommend giving it a try! I honestly like it as well if not better than any other brand I’ve ever tried, and light years better than the last few bottles I’ve had–which has been everything from Wal*Mart specials to designer tubes!
(P.S. How do you like my fabulous new haircut?!?! I got it for my Mother’s Day present right before we left NC. I love it but haven’t been able to get it to look like the picture above since I washed it, haha. Why is it that it looks SO much better when they do it at the salon??? I seriously want a beautician to come do my hair for me every day!!!) 😉

EcoMom Revolution Food Sampler *Review & Giveaway*

***This Giveaway is now CLOSED Congrats to Lara who won***
Thanks to her 6’7″ tall Daddy Amber has always been in or above the 95th-100th percentile for both height and weight. While her “Michelin Man” arms were the cutest things ever when she was a baby, because of the fact she’s always been at the top I have to be very careful about what I feed her in order to keep the delicate balance between healthy and overweight. Hence, I am a food nazi when it comes to her, haha!
I don’t want to deprive her of tasty treats and yummy snacks, however, so I’m always on the lookout for healthy positive alternatives that I can feed her and not have to worry about. I was thrilled to receive the Revolution Foods Sampler to review! It contained the products you see in the picture above, all of which Amber absolutely loved!!! She acted like she was getting a special dessert or treat and called the Organic Mashups “tasty sauce”. She definitely loved the Grammy Sammys as well though! She thought they were cookies and was so excited and surprised that Mom was giving her a cookie for a snack! So cute! 🙂 All of the products in the Revolution Food line are so healthy, tasty, and surprisingly extremely affordable as well! The Revolution and Plum lines don’t just carry great food, however, they also contain everything from high chairs to lunchboxes!
EcoMom has a great program going on right now called EcoPass which allows you to purchase a $99 annual membership which provides for a 15% discount on every order, as well as free shipping with no $75 minimum requirement! They are also offering my readers a special promotional code that will allow you to save 15% off your first order with them! Just use the code SBBL213 when you checkout, it will be good till the end of June! They have another great offer for you as well!

One Lucky Reader will win $20 worth of Plum and/or Revolution Foods!
(and like I said, it’s super affordable so that’ll be a lot of snacks!)
This giveaway is open to US residents 18 years and older only
As always be sure I have a way to get your email address so I can tell you that you won! If I don’t have an easy way to get it I will automatically choose a new winner. A new winner will also automatically be chosen if any of the entries are not followed specifically (such as doing the mandatory entry). Also leave a separate comment for each additional entry that you do! One comment = one entry!
**Mandatory Entry**
This must be done in order for any other entry to count
1 Entry each ~ Follow me through Google Friend Connect, Subscribe to my RSS feed (Ramblings For You), or subscribe to me via email (Ramblings to Your Inbox)
You only have to do one but each you do counts as an extra entry! I have lots of nice stuff, I promise! Plus the more followers I have, the better things I can offer you! 🙂
**Additional Entries**
Because every kid deserves delicious nutritious tasty snacks!!!
1 Entry **Daily** Follow Me and EcoMom on Twitter and Tweet. Be sure to leave me the link! You may copy/paste the following:
Win $20 worth of food from @ecomomceo ! @coastiewife321 http://tinyurl.com/25pjsds ends 6/13 #giveaway Pls RT!
1 Entry ~ Become a Fan of EcoMom
1 Entry ~ Join EcoMom’s Newsletter
1 Entry for every 3 people you email about this! (As in if you email 9 people you get 3 extra entries) CC me da_angel_321@yahoo.com
1 Entry ~ Snag my blog button, isn’t it cute?! Leave me the url so I can come visit your blog!
3 Entries ~ Blog about this, leave me the URL to the post, you know you wanna share the love!
1 Entry ~ Tell me the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you! (I’ll share my story at the conclusion of this contest 😉 ).
This Giveaway will end 6/13/10 at 10:00 p.m. EST
I will choose the winner via random.org contact them via email and post them on this blog. They have 48 hours to claim their win before a new winner is chosen.
Good Luck!!!

North Carolina to Boston!

We have arrived! :oD
After a few crazy days of packing (or rather watching the packers and movers work!) we were off on our adventure! Hubby was sweet and took Amber in the new car with him so I got to enjoy the road in peace and quiet. The first day was really nice because I am virtually never alone. I can’t remember the last time I got to drive by myself singing along to my favorite cds at the top of my lungs. It was really nice!
Then came day two….
And a whooooole lotta this!!!! Yikes! Thanks so much to everyone who prayed for us because I could definitely feel it! Nothing will stop your heart more than almost rear ending your hubbies car when your daughter is sitting in the back seat! A bunch of idiots slammed on their brakes on the NJ turnpike right in front of us and almost made us get into a wreck. Thankfully I was following at a safe distance (no thanks to the crazies who kept cutting between me and Bob because I was following as far behind as I was supposed to) so I was able to stop in time.
Then came New York–YIKES! We were able to by pass every other big city but couldn’t find a way to avoid NYC..it was just way too big!
It was just as bad as I imagined driving smack through the middle of NYC would be….took us 2 hours and I got honked and screamed at lots. So to any of you NYC people who were mad at the poor little pregnant lady with Wyoming plates who was trying to hop 6 lanes over to get to the Cash Lane at the toll booth–I really apologize but did you really need to be so mean?
All’s well that ends well, however, and we did make it! My day improved when a sweet lady with a super thick Boston accent told me what a good mom I was at one of the Gas Stations when she heard me talking to Amber. 🙂 Everyone else in Boston has been so sweet so far also! We drove to 4 different motels and each was completely full. It turns out it was prom and graduation weekend, go figure! A sweet girl at the Extended Stay hotel called around for us to find vacancies at the surrounding hotels and when she couldn’t she pulled some strings and got us into a motel room there–I can’t tell you how grateful I was for that after that crazy day!
Our apartment is absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! It is everything I’ve ever dreamed about having but never thought we could ever afford. I will post some pictures once we get everything set up (if you’re interested!) We get all our stuff back tomorrow, hurray!!! 🙂 So I’ll be MIA again for a few days but then I’m hoping to hop back into the full swing of things and get some good reviews and giveaways going for you all! 🙂

Limbo

Life is a little insane right now! It’s so hard to believe that in just a few short days we’ll be gone from North Carolina and headed to Boston. I’ve been experiencing a strange sense of dejavu. For those of you who don’t know this is actually our second time “leaving North Carolina forever” I’m experiencing the same nostalgia and thinking about all the things I’ll miss about North Carolina. I think 3 years of here is a good amount of time though, and I’m thrilled about moving to Boston. The more I hear about it the more wonderful it sounds and now that we found a place to live I cannot wait!

I’m so excited to have all my new followers and hope that you’ll stick with me during this time of “limbo” as we try to get settled in to our new home. I’m afraid my blogging is going to have to be a little on the back burner for a little bit but hope to hop right back in once we get all settled in! 🙂

Giveaway Winner’s

Congrats to all our winners! Since I’m in the midst of moving the giveaways will be slowing down for a little bit, but please stay tuned and stay with me till I get all settled back in and can get them all up and running again! Thanks 😀
aden + anais ~ Stacy
Horizon Chocolate Milk ~ clallen & flychild7
Moody Mamas ~ Heidi P.
Sandra Magsamen ~ Lara
Breyers Yogurt ~ Karen, itsme, kari, lilhuga2001, lilyk, sarabear3490, flychild7, rbailey1958, and Cheryl

2010 Summer Blog Tour!

Hello and Welcome to Ramblings By Nicole! First off I’d like to say a great big thank you to Living My Moment and The Work at Home Woman for putting together this amazing blog tour! I’m super excited about being the very first blog on the tour!
There is a reason I got the “top spot” however- life around here is pretty crazy! I’m a Coastie wife and next week we’re moving from North Carolina to Boston. I’m also 30 weeks pregnant with my second child, a baby boy, who will be joining our family in July! Because of all of this they were so sweet to let me schedule now, before my life becomes super-duper crazy!
My blog is filled with product giveaways, reviews, all things parenting (going through the potty training phase right now as well!), Recipes, my scrap-for-hire business Artistic Albums By Nicole, and–of course–my ramblings! I hope you’ll hop on in and follow along with all the new and exciting changes that are going on in our lives right now! (who doesn’t love Boston and new babies??!!)
Thanks for visiting and enjoy the rest of the tour!

Get some Zarbee’s for Free!!!!

You might remember my review of Zarbee’s Cough Syrup several months ago. At the time I hadn’t been able to use it so couldn’t vouch for whether or not it worked, although I did love the concept. Amber has been sick several times since that post and I’ve been using Zarbee’s for her. I LOVE IT!!!! It’s amazing for coughs! There were several nights she was hacking and coughing and coughing and just wouldn’t stop. Every time I gave her Zarbee’s within 20 minutes she would stop coughing and be sound asleep! It’s wonderful! Amber loves how it tastes too and actually asks for it even when she’s not sick! LoL!
Now you can have a chance to try it FREE for yourself as well! I’m sure you’ve all heard about the massive Children’s medicine recalls (more than 40 OTC medicines!) that are going on right now! Zarbee’s has a great offer for those of you who have been affected! Visit http://www.zarbees.com/ for details on how you can participate!

Sensory Learning Ideas and Crafts

Amber has always been a big “hands on” kinda girl! She couldn’t be happier than when she’s outside soaking in fresh air and exploring dirt, sand, grass, and anything else she can get her hands on!
Inside it’s the same, even though she knows how to use silverware now I continually have to tell her that she needs to not eat with her hands when she’s eating cereal, yogurt, etc. She just loves feeling the different textures too much!
While I always thought that this was just typical kid behavior I’ve since learned it’s actual an important and vital part to learning called Sensory Learning. Here are some great articles from my friend Shara that talk about why it’s so important, and also some great ideas for projects you can do that are cheap and fun and encourage sensory learning!
What Does Sensory Learning Mean? <-- her pictures look so much like all the ones I have of Amber!
Orange Peel Artwork Craft <--both this in the following use things you'd normally throw away
Dish Sponge Crafts and Activities <--good for sensory learning as well!
Sensory Activity using Pine Needles <--the picture of Amber above reminded me of this!
Sensory Activity for Early Learners <--this one uses free stuff you find outside!
50 Ideas to beat the Boredom Blues! <--several sensory and virtually all budget friendly!
20 Craft Tips <--also several sensory

Big Green Alligator by La-La Lisa *Review*

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of children’s music, lol! I can do kid shows and even cds that have a storyline with music mixed in no problem, but stick in a cd that’s nothing but non-stop perky kid music and soon I go nuts!!! It might just be me, but I have a sneaking suspicion most adults probably feel the same way!
That being said, Big Green Alligator does not get on my nerves nearly as much as most children’s cds do (lol!!!) Most of the songs are super cute as well as having sweet, positive Christian messages behind many of them while others are just lots of fun. In my opinion it is a little on the long side for a children cds with 18 tracks, but this does provide a good variety of music from very up-beat contemporary tunes to soft soothing songs.
It is kid approved! (which I suppose is really the important part right?!) Amber especially likes to dance to the song the Cd is named after, and made me get up and dance with her for a couple of the other songs as well. I have a feeling the song “My Little Brother” will become a big hit in just a few months 😉
So if you’re looking for a fun, peppy children’s cd and can deal with 60 minutes of bouncy melodies be sure to check this CD out! 🙂