Giveaways For You

Growing up, I remember  each year asking my mother what she wanted for Christmas and always getting the same response:

“All I want is for you and your brothers to get along. No fighting on Christmas.”

“Please,” I’d think as I’d push her for an easy gift. Still she would stand strong on her “simple” request.

I now understand my mom’s wish list. Yet, I am blessed to know something I’m not sure my mom understood and that is; I cannot control what anyone else says or does BUT I can control how I process it and how I choose to respond. It would be lovely if my kids didn’t fight and there was little drama on the stepfamily front but reality strikes and I cannot control the many people and situations I inherited when I said “I do” to a wonderful man with two kids.

That’s why this new ebook Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace that I co-authored with Gayla Grace is so near and dear to my heart. And I’m excited to announce it is now available at all major ebook retailers. This book was written to help you feel peace in your heart and in your home. Our Ebook is available for Kindle, ipad, nook, kobo, ereader and more and at all major e-retailers.


You may remember that together, Gayla and I co-authored  and published “Thriving at the Holidays: Unwrapping the Gift of Stepfamily Peace” in 2011. Due to the amazing response and great feedback, we decided to write a second edition and make the title a little shorter (you could barely tweet it out last year).

Gayla and I have poured our own experiences, failures, successes, knowledge and most importanly our hearts into this book. You will find practical tips and tools to use today to bring peace and joy to YOUR heart and therefore into YOUR home.

In addition to all the practical tools and tips, the book has a heartfelt prayer you can say during the holidays and beyond, yummy recipes, and great ideas for creating your own unique stepfamily holiday traditions.

Our book is 37 pages and chalked full of great tips. We deal with managing expectations, scheduling, self and couple care, creating and maintaining boundaries, remaining hopeful and so much more. This book is formatted for the busy stepparent; easy and fast to ready. If you don’t have an ereader, it’s no problem. You can download a free e-reader for your computer.

Smom T-shirt (size S, M, L, XL, XXL – winners choice)
Smom Brushed Twill Cap
Smom Ceramic Mug
Smom Stainless Steel Travel Mug
$65.00 total value

To thank all of you for checking out the book and to spread some holiday cheer, I’m giving away a Smom gift basket from my e-store. Please enter below for a chance to win a CafeSmom gift basket. Contest closes at midnight EST Monday, December 10th. You can enter daily.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat. This word is special to me. It describes something that I don’t get very often but when I do get it, I savor every moment. Given this description, I could accurately describe Monday night as a real TREAT. I had the pleasure of hosting eight local bloggers at a fabulous new restaurant, DC Pasta, to talk about the amazing new Treat Cards!  CafeSmom, stepmom, blended family, treat cards

We enjoyed a beyond delicious dinner, superb service and great conversation. It’s such a treat to meet in person, bloggers that you have connected with via social media. I had the pleasure of having dinner with Tesa of 2wired2tired, Cinzia of Creative Growth Strategies  , Karen of Karen At Home, Melissa of I Crashed the Web, Amie of My Retro Kitchen, Lisa of Lisa Brown Design, Kate of KaKaKaKaty and Adrianne of  The Right Words are Wrong.

We talked about Treat Cards and we are all super excited about these cards. Seriously, it’s a greeting card company that allows you to design your own greeting card for any occasion, and they mail it for you. If you have a Facebook account, you can sync your special dates into your Treat account. This means:

  • no more time spent at the card store laboring over “the perfect card.”
  • no more letting your card sit around because you keep forgetting to purchase a gift card to put in it. Treat Cards allows you to purchase a gift card to major retailers and include a digital code in the card.
  • no more searching for stamps or waiting in line at the post office.

I just used Treat Cards to send out my Mother’s Day cards and to send a birthday card to my Sister-in-law and a thank you note to a friend who recently did something very nice for me and my family! Normally, I would have that thank you card on my “To – do” list and it would take a week or two to get done, now it’s already in route to my friend’s mailbox.

Here are just some of the benefits to Treat Cards that us ladies were dishing at dinner:

  • we all love the idea of sitting down one night and setting up all our cards for the year and then enjoying the fact that Treat will remind us to customize the card and send it out and/or that we create all the cards and Treat sends them out per our selected delivery schedule.
  • everyone felt they would be better about sending out cards with this service. We discussed how we all have great intentions about sending out cards but “life” gets in the way.
  • we discussed how easy it would be to have the kids design cards.
  • we talked about sending out custom thank you cards. We talked about how we are all trying to instill gratitude in our children and helping them design and send out thank you cards would be wonderful. The idea of importing a photo of the gift they are thankful for into the card is amazing!
  • we talked about how many of the cards because of the customization would be adorable framed.
  • we ALL love the idea of doing custom Christmas cards and putting a personal touch on each card.
  • the ladies all loved the variety of cards and the ability to attach gift cards and/or donate to charity.
  • one of the women commented that she will use this to send out graduation cards/gift cards for this year. Everyone agreed that was a great idea!
  • we all loved the magazine cover cards and thought they would make great keepsake cards for our kids and for teachers, weddings, graduation, etc….
  • all of the women are excited to start sending Treat cards and sharing the love with others.

You’ve got to try Treat for yourself. The first card is free. One card and you’ll be hooked!

And one lucky winner from my giveaway is winning a VIP Membership to Treat Cards – this is one full year of free cards AND stamps ($350.00 value). The winner was chosen using and the winner is: Carol (I’ll be emailing you from the email you used to post on my blog with details to claim your prize)!

Congratulations Carol! Make sure to come back and let us know how much you love Treat Cards.

Connect with Treat in Social Media and keep up to date on their offerings and promotions:

Twitter: @TreatCards

FaceBook: TreatCards

Google+: Treat Cards

Pinterest: TreatCards

Share what you love most about receiving greeting cards? Share what holds you back from sending cards? Give Treat a try. One card and you’ll be hooked!


In full disclosure, please note that I have been compensated for my participation in writing this post. Also note that I only work with brands and/or companies that I believe in and use myself. I will never bring a campaign to my readers that I don’t back personally. You will get my personal seal of approval. Integrity matters to me. I have physically seen and held the cards sent out by Treat and the quality is superb!

Note: Read to the bottom for an opportunity to win a fabulous Treat for yourself!


I was recently asked to finish this sentence “My ideal Mother’s Day treat would be…….?”

Immediately, my mind went to “….for my kids to all get along!”

Seriously, my ideal Mother’s Day treat would be for me to enjoy my husband and all six of my kids doing the things we love to do. I love how the kids make me breakfast in bed. While I typically don’t eat fruit loops, dry toast, pop tarts or pickles for breakfast getting them delivered on a tray with beaming smiles makes the food taste like it came from a five star restaurant.

cafesmom, mother's day, treat

Card from

I enjoy going to Church with no complaints and no requests to use the restroom while we are in the worship center.

I enjoy cooking dinner with my husband. He makes an amazing Mexican Lasagna and it’s my favorite dish of his. And I have to be full disclosure here. Typically when we cook that means he is chopping, slicing and dicing and I am managing kid drama, fielding phone calls and chatting with him while he does it. I love to cook but for some reason when we cook together I love to watch him and be in the kitchen with him but truth be told I don’t do a lot of cooking. Maybe I’m just distracted by his handsome good looks!

And I’d like to watch a family movie at the end of the day of my choice. This year it may be the original Yours, Mine and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Ford. I love the classics. Until my kids went to school they thought my classic movies were current movies.

Now, if I could give every mother – bio, adoptive, foster or step a treat on Mother’s Day – it would be for them to know they make a difference in the lives of the children they love. I would make sure they feel celebrated and know that their efforts do not go unnoticed!

I believe all types of moms should be celebrated on Mother’s Day! But sadly, the day can be difficult for many “non-traditional” moms whose children may not be with them on Mother’s Day and/or they don’t receive a thank you or a show of gratitude for the way they love and serve their family. Typically, it is the kids who celebrate their moms on this special day. For stepmoms, sometimes the kids get caught in an emotional loyalty battle and feel they can’t celebrate their stepmom out of fear of offending their mom. Even if the kids are grateful for there stepmom they may not show it. This can be heartbreaking for a woman who pours herself daily into her husband and her entire family.

cafesmom, mother's day, treat

Card from

As girlfriends, we have the power to knock this holiday out of the ball park for our fellow stepmoms and for all moms we know. We can send a card to each of our friends who are Smoms and/or moms telling them how much we love and care about them! We can thank them for the unconditional love the give their family. As women, we know the power of girlfriends. Getting an uplifting note from your girlfriend can really lift spirits.

If you are like me it’s not thinking about who to send the cards to but finding the time and the right words to say that can present a challenge. It’s in the evening hours when I have time to sit down and think about sending cards but by that time its to late to go to the store. And even if I have the cards on hand I typically don’t have the stamps. If only there was a way for me to make great greeting cards from my home computer and have them physically, not digitally sent, I could shower my friends and family with cards of encouragement any day of the year.  As if someone was reading my mind, in walked…..

Treat – is a new greeting card company by Shutterfly. They offer customizable greeting cards that you design via their website. You supply the address and pay for the cost of the stamp and card only and they mail it for you. In addition to the convenience, what I love is that they recognize that not every relationship is cookie cutter and therefore cards shouldn’t be either. Duhhh! You are talking to a stepmom here. To say that the relationships we inheret when we say “I do” is complex is an understatement.

I could go on and on about this new company and the line of cards but I’ll let you take at look at the site for yourself.

Treat has truly built something new and revolutionary – refreshingly personal cards made by you.

Treat is an easy and innovative service for people to create personalized greetings that reflect their style, personality and special relationships. Just choose your card, and if you want, make it personal by adding photos, nicknames, inside jokes or whatever kind of goodness you’ve got going. Let your creativity shine through—as little or as much as you want. Go ahead and be funny, heartwarming, sarcastic, sappy or thankful—at Treat, YOU get to decide. And if you can’t find the right words, we’re always here to help.”  They say it so well that the above description is taken from their site. They’ve got something great going on.

Now I will say that Treat does not have any cards specific for stepmoms however, they do have cards for “like a mom” and you can create and customize their great Mother’s Day selection any way you like. You have control over the card which is something that we often lack in our stepfamilies given the complexity of relationships.

Check out their Mother’s Day Cards! It’s so easy. You choose the card, you personalize it (with words and/or photos) and Treat mails it for you directly. One of the reasons I love sending cards is actually writing a message and I thought I would miss that digitally but I don’t. The reason I love writing things in my cards is because I enjoy personalizing it for the person I’m sending it to. You can write a very personal note in these cards. The person who receives it will know that you wrote it!

I love when I get a chance to treat my readers. I am super excited to give away a one year VIP membership to Treat – this is one full year of free greeting cards and stamps (100 individually customized greeting cards and stamps – a $350 value)!!! There are many ways to enter but all entries must be received by midnight on May 7th.

Ways to enter:

Follow Treat on Twitter 

Like Treat on Facebook

Connect via Google plus+

Connect via Pinterest

Sign Up Above to receive CafeSmom posts via RSS

Like CafeSmom on Facebook

Leave a comment for each entry that you make. If have already done any of the above previous to reading this post, leave a comment to let me know. You’ll be entered.

Don’t forget to check out Treat and start sending the love!


In full disclosure, please note that I have been compensated for my participation in writing this post. Also note that I only work with brands and/or companies that I believe in and use myself. I will never bring a campaign to my readers that I don’t back personally. You will get my personal seal of approval. Integrity matters to me. I have physically seen and held the cards sent out by Treat and the quality is superb!


Love for Grown-Ups! The Garter Brides’ Guide to Marrying for Life When You’ve Already Got a Life by Amy Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Tish Rabe.

The book’s cover grabbed me and the chapters on blended family living drew me in. At first, I thought this wouldn’t be a book for my audience of stepmoms …. we’ve already met the man of our dreams (and his mini royal family). But the advice on blended family living is so concise and so practical I had to share. We can all benefit from reading stories and gaining advice and this book shares wonderful tips, insight and personal stories from the authors as well as countless other women interviewed.

Take this chapter for instance:

Chapter 3: Who Are All These People? (Friends, Family, Exes and Everyone Else)

I won’t give the book away but one of the topics they tackle is this: what to do when your spouse’s family doesn’t embrace you and/or your kids. Important topic and one that unfortunately, many stepmoms face. Agree very much with their advice that grieving the loss of their son’s last marriage may take them much longer than it did their son. Parents often need to understand and come to terms with many questions ranging from why their daughter-in-law left their son?, to why the marriage didn’t last?, or to why their son left his family?, etc….. Often times, there are no easily understandible answers to the questions in a parent’s heart. In addition, parents sometimes take much longer to grieve and become accepting of a new relationship. Remember it’s your role and not you that many parents struggle with in accepting. Sometimes parents put up a protective wall as they don’t’ want to get hurt again, “what if you leave their son?” may float in their mind and heart. I won’t disclose all their helpful tips and stories, you’ve got to read the book to find out more. And there is much, much more to this chapter.

The other chapter I found applicable is:

Chapter 4: “Nice Roast Beef, Honey, but Did I Mention My Daughter’s a Vegetarian?”

Loved the honesty and genuine truths throughout this chapter. The Garter Brides interviewed numerous stepmoms and these women really let down their hair. I was particularly drawn to a story where a stepmom’s wise counsel to her husband helped heal his relationship with his son. The story really touched me because I felt it is one so many of us can relate to. A stepmom saw the disrespect and hurt her stepson was causing his father (her husband) and gently helped her spouse see how enabling this treatment was good for no one. The father enforced “tough love” and in doing so the son cut off contact for a time but came back around after seeing the error of his ways and now the father-son duo have a tight bond. “Instead of losing his son by setting limits, as Sam had feared, now they talk nearly every day,” shared the loving stepmom.

As the Garter Brides write “Even adult kids and their parents sometimes need the path smoothed by a wise stepmom.” We do have so much to offer our stepkids and our spouse.

There is much more in the book. I appreciate the conversational style in which the book is written and the tips scattered throughout the book. I had the chance to interview the ladies on October 5th on my weekly web show, The Stepmom Connection. If you want to catch the interview, please click here…..

While the majority of the book is about finding your true love and getting married when you’ve already got your life, the information on blended families is definitely worth reading and learning from. One of my biggest pushes in our stepmom community is the power of community itself and in the importance of not feeling alone on the journey. The stories and tips in this book help you to feel a sense of connection while living and navigating the role of stepmom. That is not only enlightening but also empowering.

The Garter Brides would like to send one lucky reader a free copy of their book.

To enter:

please leave a comment below (a stepparenting challenge, comment on the review, etc….)

sign up to receive CafeSmom RSS feeds so you don’t miss another post

Follow Garter Brides on Twitter

Like GarterBrides on FaceBook

Like on CafeSmom on FaceBook

Each counts as one entry. Make sure to leave a comment for each entry. Thank you!

I’ll pick one winner randomly and announce Thursday, November 3, 2011. Contest ends at 1AM EST on November 2, 2011.

The book can be purchased at any national retailer and as always through Amazon!

Look forward to receiving your entries and also to hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

Allow me to leave you with this sentence in the book which I think speaks to every co-parent out there “one thing everyone can agree on: battlegrounds aren’t good places to raise kids.”

Stepmoms, you work hard at blending your family and making your home a respite from the stresses that can face the kids as well as you and your husband. You seek ways to ease tensions, connect with your stepchildren and fill your home with harmony and peace. You are committed to inspiring all the kids in your home and helping each child feel like a SuperStar!

Music is a powerful force in creating a relaxed and fun mood in our home, bringing our kids together and strengthening the relationships that I have with each of my six kids.

If your family is like mine, your house smiles a little brighter when there is music playing and/or the kids are singing. I love to see our kids working together to create plays and singing shows and then perform for my husband and I. Those are treasured moments and videos. It’s those times that I reflect on when the things aren’t so easy.

Music has been a blessing to my ten year-old stepdaughter. When she sings, its as if the problems of the day disappear for her. When I encourage her to sing and compliment her voice, she beams. Music has become a way for she and I to connect.

And it was during the David Cook season of American Idol that my oldest daughter and oldest stepdaughter truly bonded. I’d make them popcorn and smoothies and enjoy listening to them laugh, sing along, comment on Paula’s clothes and Simon’s comments and most importantly create shared memories.

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” Berthold Auerbach

Does music play an important role in your family? Do your kids or stepkids dream of becoming a Superstar? Are you looking for something you can do with the kids to strengthen your bond with each of them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Quaker Chewy has an opportunity of a lifetime for you and the Big Voice or Voices in your home.

Yes! I am so excited to tell you about the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars has teamed up with recording artist Nick Jonas and launched an incredible singing competition for kids. The Quaker Chewy Superstar Search is designed to give parents and stepparents of kids ages 8 – 14 a platform to showcase their kids’ BIG vocal talents.

The Quaker Chewy Superstar Search kicked off on June 8th and ends on August 5, 2011. Parents, stepparents or legal guardians of children ages 8-14 can work with their kids to record a performance and upload it to enter at

The Grand Prize winner of the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search will get to record a song produced by Nick Jonas, a contract with Jonas Group Management, an online music video with a clip aired on national television and a $5,000 cash prize. Four finalists will receive a cash prize of $1,000. Now those are Superstar prizes!

You won’t believe how easy Quaker has made it to showcase your child’s talent. The site has an incredible video tutorial. They even provide song selection tips, performance tips and personal style tips. You and your child get to choose from one of four songs to sing and submit. You can download the lyrics for practice and even have the lyrics scrolling on the computer while the instrumental music they provide plays in the background while you record the Big Voice in your home. It’s so easy.  Your family will have a blast checking out the site. Click here to get started!

Quaker has a Mobile Recording Studio and will be in Dallas, Denver and Los Angeles in the next three weeks.

July 18 – 20 - Dallas metro area
July 26 and 28 - Denver metro area
August 2 – 4 - Los Angeles metro area

If you live in these metro areas, click here for details on how your kids can record and submit right on the spot!

Just think your child or stepchild has the opportunity to be the first Quaker Chewy Superstar, record a song produced by Nick Jonas, sign a contract with the Jonas Group Management, make an online music video and receive $5,000 in cash!

I just love the fact that you get to work with your kids to choose the song, record it and upload it for the competition. It’s truly a family experience!

Because I believe in the power of music and the importance of music education, I am impressed that in addition to teaming up with Nick Jonas, Quaker Chewy has joined forces with the non-profit Little Kids Rock. Together, they are ensuring that music education is more accessible in schools across our great nation.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to tell you about this great opportunity and offer you a chance to win an additional prize pack. CafeSmom is giving you the chance to be a Superstar in your home by winning a prize pack that includes a Quaker Chewy Superstar MP3 Player and great tasting Quaker Chewy Granola Bars!


One lucky winner will be receiving a Quaker Chewy Superstar MP3 player and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. Read the requirements below to participate in the giveaway and enter today. Many chances to win!

Giveaway requirements:

There are many ways to enter to win the Quaker Chewy Superstar MP3 & Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Gift Pack! Increase your chances of winning by doing each of the following:

  • Leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: What role does music play in your family?
  • Like CafeSmom and Like Quaker Chewy Granola Bars on Facebook. Leave a comment for each that you Liked.
  • Follow @CafeSmom and @QuakerChewy on Twitter. Leave a comment for each that you followed.

Please note this Giveaway ends on Thursday, July 21st at 11:59PM EST

I know many of your kids have Big Voices! You’ve told me so. Sign up to win the prize pack from Quaker Chewy and get to work on helping the 8 – 14 year olds in your home record their song and enter to become the first Quaker Chewy Superstar!

If any of your children dream of becoming a SuperStar, their dream starts here at

Disclosure: While my family and I do enjoy and consume Quaker Chewy bars on a regular basis and my readers know I only endorse and promote products and/or services that I personally use and recommend, please note that I am being compensated by Quaker for my participation in this campaign.

Here are two of my superstars. After they finished singing,they ate their microphones (aka Quaker Chewy Cocoa Chocolatey Mint Bars)! Quaker helps “Nourish Their Play!”
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