Category Archives: Giveaways

Friday Freebie: Safe Sunscreen

Wait, isn’t that redundant? Aren’t all sunscreens “safe”? Oh, I know, only those with high SPFs are safe, right? Wait, you mean even those aren’t safe either?

If you’re like me, you like to keep up with the latest in consumer safety news to keep yourself and your family as healthy as possible…what toys are being recalled, what foods are dangerous (have you heard the latest about diet sodas????), what natural gas drilling company or power plant is releasing toxins and where, what’s going on with plastic water bottles and cell phones, which cars have accelerators that stick, which body and hair care products are unsafe, what’s the deal about Styrofoam—to those not into this kind of thing, it sounds like an exhausting amount of worrying and checking, but it’s really not. When I have time to read the newspaper or online news, which isn’t a lot, I read up on this kind of stuff, sometimes do a little online research, and simply make a decision each time something new comes along. I don’t sit around and bite my nails over it, it’s just matter-of-fact: if something’s unsafe, we won’t have it around anymore. Too many times in the past I’ve waited to take action, only to find out the initial findings were correct.  To not keep as up-to-date and informed as possible in this chemical, cancer-laden world (and to believe that free enterprise automatically equals safety and benevolence) is like living with blinders on, in denial, I think.  So I definitely sat up in my desk chair when my friends at Fort Worth-based eco boutique The Greener Good ( sent me a few statistics last month about sunscreen safety, from The Environmental Working Group’s latest sunscreen report.

The EWG ( tests sunscreens (and many other things) annually and just released its latest report on June 23rd.  I decided to check it out myself, and it’s pretty interesting (their whole website looks pretty interesting).  According to their latest research, only about one in five sunscreens on the market today meet the EWG criteria for protection and safety, and in a lot of cases the higher the SPF, the more dangerous they are. If you’d like more info on the study and the list of which brand offerings passed and which didn’t, click here or head to

I’ve also got some info below on what to look for on labels, but for now, let’s get to the freebie/giveaway from The Greener Good: one reader will receive a full–size box  of “Dr. T’s Supergoop Everyday Sun Protection” swipes (retail value $34), which is mineral based, chemical free, and made EWG’s list of “best beach and sport sunscreens”. (Liz Johnston, owner of The Greener Good, says the swipes are a huge hit with moms, as you don’t have to worry about rubbing in cream on squirmy kids. Liz has two young daughters and says one swipe covers her along with both of her girls.)  Just drop me a line at if you’d like to be included in the drawing and I’ll let you know if you’re the winner. Write to me by midnight on Monday, July11th. Also, the Greener Good currently has a coupon on their Facebook page for “buy one full size, get a travel size free”. (

Here’s more info on sunscreen safety from Liz, and the EWG:  


WHAT TO STAY AWAY FROM (Check the labels!):

  • Avoid Parabens and Oxybenzone. 
    • These are found in over 41% of sunscreens–
      • Parabens are preservatives used to increase shelf life. They can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer. They’ve also been known to adversely affect the functions of the male reproductive system.
      • Oxybenzone is another hormone-disrupting compound in 60% of the 500 beach and sport sunscreens. It penetrates the skin and is absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Avoid Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate, which is a form of Vitamin A.
    • Found in 30% of all sunscreens, this ingredient is often promoted to slow skin’s aging – however recent studies have shown that this may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.

Why High SPF numbers are NOT safer.

    • Most high SPF sunscreens don’t adequately protect from UVA rays, which is the primary cause of sunburn, and bind directly to DNA causing cancerous mutations.
    • High SPF sunscreens also contain higher amounts of sun-blocking c
      hemicals than low SPF sunscreens which may pose health risks as they break down and get absorbed into the skin.
    • High SPF gets its ranking due to testing on volunteers where they apply the appropriate amount of sunscreen to the skin being tested. The average consumer uses 1/4 of the recommended amount which exponentially reduces the effectiveness and ranking of the advertised SPF. (Example: SPF 30 drops down to SPF 2.3 and SPF 100 drops down to 3.2.)



 Look for Zinc and Titanium Dioxide in the ingredients list.

    • They are naturally occurring ingredients that are not absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. 
    • They provide a boundary against UVA and UVB rays and are stable in sunlight.

Friday Freebie: Green Giveaway for Father’s Day

The Greener Good,  a nationally-acclaimed green lifestyle boutique based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area that features products and services for greening your life,  has donated a fabulous prize for my blog readers: one lucky winner may choose from The Bicycle Chain Frame (value: $20), or the Recycled Record Coasters (value: $20), a set of six coasters made from the centers of actual LPs.   Just write me at by Monday evening, June 7th at midnight with your name and the prize you prefer, and if your name is chosen, The Greener Good will whisk the gift to you in time for Father’s Day—or if you don’t have anyone to give it to, keep it for yourself to enjoy!

And, if you don’t win, or want to win even more, check out The Greener Good’s Facebook page at beginning June 13, where you can win a larger ($36) picture frame (one winner each day until Father’s Day), key chains made from recycled bicycle parts, and while there, print off a coupon good for a free solid shampoo bar. The Greener Good has been given high praise by Redbook, The New York Times, and AOL, among others, so this is good stuff!! Check out their website at to see their product offerings in home décor, lawn & garden, cleaning, apparel, body, baby and pets.  And stay tuned for more Greener Good giveaways in the future!

Friday Freebie: Win Free Groceries for a Year (or diapers, if you prefer)

“Ever notice how Mom upside down spells Wow?”
What a great line. Think I’ll use that on my kids someday.  That was the line that caught my eye in a
recent Texas Health Resources ad. 
They’re trying to drive traffic to their blog and educate people about
their hospitals and services with a fun website ( that’s
currently running a register-to-win until April 18. You can enter as often as
you like and the prize is free groceries or diapers for a year, or you might win some other goodies like an Apple iPad or a Flip Video camera.  Not bad! And they’ve also got a section
where people can share their favorite parenting lines.  Of course I had to offer up some Uncool
Momisms but I also read through what had already been submitted, and there are
some good ones, like: “Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back”, “You
may think this is a democracy, but it is a MOMocracy!”, “I’ll talk to you when
your voice sounds like mine” and “Don’t look at me with that tone of
face!”  Some of them are definitely
worth memorizing! Anyway, just wanted to pass this on, not just for the great
one-liners, but because the prize is one of the better ones I’ve seen lately.  Good luck!

Friday Freebie: “Boorito” and More from Chipotle Restaurants

If you or your children are fun (or brave) enough to wear a costume just about anywhere you go this weekend, there’s bound to be a prize, discount or 2-for-1 waiting for you, as retailers have fun with Halloween. And not always “just any costume”—in an effort to promote awareness of eating “fresh”, Chipotle restaurants are offering $2 burritos from 6 p.m. to midnight on Halloween to anyone who arrives dressed as a “horrific processed food item”.  And for my Uncool Mom readers, they’re offering Halloween goodies as well: one lucky reader will win a gift card good for one free Chipotle burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos; and another will win a gift card good for an order of Chipotle chips & guacamole. Just send a note to with “Boorito” in the subject line, between now and Halloween night (that would be Sunday, Oct. 31st for those of you “furriners”) at midnight.  In the body of the email, write the answer to this question: If you could dress up as any kind of processed food, what would it be? I’ll draw winners and then ask them for names and addresses.  I’ll announce the winners in the comments section of this post, on Monday morning, Nov. 1st. 

Traditionally each Halloween, Chipotle asks customers to dress up as their favorite Chipotle menu item (i.e. wrap yourself in aluminum foil) for a free burrito, so the focus on fresh ingredients and anti-processed food is something new.   (Hmmm…could it be they can finally do that now that McDonald’s doesn’t own them anymore?!) All proceeds (up to $1 million) from this Sunday’s  “Boorito 2010: The Horrors of Processed Food” will benefit Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, a ca
mpaign to get people to cook again and to replace processed food with fresh, unprocessed meals at home, in schools and in restaurants. Seems like a perfect pairing for Chipotle, as their food offerings now include naturally raised meats (from animals that are not given antibiotics or added hormones); local and organically grown produce; and dairy products made with milk from cows that are not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).

If you do stop by Chipotle in costume on Sunday, be sure to snap a photograph of yourself, as they’re also having an online photo contest of “the most horrifying processed food costume”.  To enter, customers can take a photo in their costumes at a Chipotle restaurant on Halloween and post it online at One grand prize winner will receive $2,500, with five runners up getting $1,000 each. Twenty honorable mention winners will receive a burrito party for 20 guests at the Chipotle location of their choice.

Happy Halloween!






Freebie Friday- Dunkin’ Turbo Coffee

As some of you know, I am a coffee nut (I’m drinking “Southern Pecan” as I write this) and am always happy to have free coffee.  Lots of online sites like Corner Bakery send out free coupons every few weeks if you sign up; Starbucks gave out free coffee to anyone who brought in their own mug on Tax Day (yes, I was there, mug in hand!).  So I was happy to hear that a giant pink Dunkin’ Donuts RV is rolling across the country this summer (click here for the schedule), passing out coupons and free hot Dunkin’ Turbo coffee. 
Dunkin' Turbo RV
Unfortunately, I’m not going to be near Fair Park this weekend when it rolls into Dallas for the Taste of Dallas event, so the nice folks at Dunkin’ Donuts are sending me some to try—and will send a free sample pack to one of my lucky readers.  Just answer the following question below in the comments section before Friday, July 16 and I will draw a winner from all who answer, and your free coffee will be on its way to your door (I’ll contact you privately to get your address if you’re the winner).

(Facebook readers, don’t forget you have to go outside Facebook and go directly to the blog in order to comment.)  Good luck, and in case you don’t win and/or can’t stop by the RV, and you still want to try it, Dunkin’ Turbo is now available in the packaged coffee section at grocery stores.


What is your favorite flavor/kind of coffee?

Freebie Friday- “Words From A Fearless Heart”

                  Kara Lindsay as Laura in “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical”

                          Words From A Fearless Heart: Laura Ingalls Wilder
In honor of the touring production of “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical” (we took Emmie and a friend to see it Wednesday night and it was wonderful), I am offering up a hardback copy of “Words From a Fearless Heart”, a small “gift book” of thoughts and witticisms by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Who knew she also wrote for adults? I recently found this collection of writings at a local Half Price Books, pieces penned several years before she began the Little House series.  It’s full of humor and insight about family, society, relationships, and life in general.  It also includes some “what really happened to the Ingalls family” history and is great for someone who likes to keep a positive read by their bedside, as well as any Wilder fan.  (If you want it, check out the trivia question at the bottom of this post and email me at with your answer. I’ll draw a winner on May 22 from all the correct answers.)


I’m a renewed Wilder fan after having seen the musical.  Starring Melissa Gilbert in the role of “Ma” (yes, that’s right–  Ma; she’s all grown up now, and one of her children is in the show as well) and also featuring a host of other talented performers, it presents a nice snapshot of Laura’a childhood and eventual marriage, in two hours of song and dance (no small feat considering there are over 10 books in the Little House series!)  The show reminded me of what I liked about the books—the “can-do” spirit.  As I sat in the audience, I smiled as I remembered a conversation between Allison and me a few weeks ago, when I was upset about “Spring Awakening” and she went on and on about how good it was because, “even though it includes sex and abortion, it is based on ‘reality’, and not some stupid fairy tale musical like The Sound of Music”.  Well, the Sound of Music was based on a true story, and so is Little House: The Musical.  And it doesn’t make life on the prairie look like a nonstop happy jig.  The problems keep on coming: starvation, sickness, blindness, fire, depression, … (I don’t think those Spring Awakening kids would’ve lasted an hour on the Ingalls homestead!)  But in spite of all the problems, you walk away with the feeling that these people faced their problems with grit and grace and that in spite of everything, they never gave up, and were truly happy. (And if you do a bit of research, you’ll find they really were— after years and years of even more problems! Nice to know that not every family is dysfunctional, huh? Or every musical…) One of my favorite sayings is “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, and those Ingalls were lemonade pros.  Definitely inspiring.


So, saying that Little House: The Musical is good family friendly theatre is an understatement.  Though I don’t think any of the songs are catchy enough to become time-worn classics, the music is beautiful. (check it out at And Emmie and her friend were excited that they knew what “homesteading” was all about, since they’d just studied it in 5th grade Social Studies, so it’s a great history lesson as well.  I also liked the fact that it’s a show with lots of female leads, something that’s rare in musical theatre.

And, it gives modern-day parents something to think about when they see what 19th century children were capable of accomplishing.  Which brings me to the trivia question:


How old was Laura Ingalls when she left her family during the week to teach unruly kids at a one-room country school?