Corter Moon: May 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Getting It Free: Before We Start

I've gotten a whole slew of requests about how to snag your own freebies! So I have decided to create a master list of everyplace that I have found and received freebies from! While it has takes a little bit of time to get into the swing of things, signing up for websites and such, you can be receiving your first freebies within the next four to six weeks! But first, I would like to address some concerns that we all have when it comes to getting something for free.

Phone Numbers
Sometimes, but not always, many websites might require you to give out your phone number before they will allow you to request a freebie. I agree with not giving out your personal phone number. Who wants spammy calls at all hours of the night? Not me. Luckily, there is a way around this! While there are many paid options for disposable numbers, such as Burner, Hushed, INumbr, and NotMyNumber, I don't really see the value in paying money in order to get something for free. That, and I don't really have the extra money, but I am letting you know about them, because some of them offer free trials, so it might be worth a try for you!

Another option is Google Voice, which is currently only available in the United States, is a good option if you own an Android powered phone. The application allows you to mask your mobile phone number with your Google Voice number instead. Honestly, I haven't gotten nearly any phone calls when it comes to freebies. I use my cell phone number. The other option is, if you're skeptical about a number, just don't answer it, or you can block the number from your carrier's website in a few simple clicks. 


I'm pretty protective of my e-mail address, though. Beings I use my e-mail mostly for my job correspondence for much of my freelance writing, I absolutely cannot stand to see the thing fill up with spam all the time. It just miffs me. Fortunately, there are plenty of free options out there to give you a quick and easy disposable e-mail address which you can use when requesting freebies and samples, and you won't ever see a lick of that spam. Mmm. Spam.... I'll detail some of my favorite disposable e-mail options below. 

MailDrop This is one of my personal favorites. I use it all the time. I think what probably draws me to MailDrop so much is because I love words. Everything about words. Which I guess is why I'm a writer. But I'm getting off track here. MailDrop combines two extremely random words into an e-mail address that you never have to use again. Awesome thing? If you want to check that inbox, you can! Don't like the random address it gave you? Hit the refresh button for a new e-mail address!

Mailinator is pretty similar to MailDrop, but you get to choose the e-mail address. It doesn't go away, and you can always check it should you ever have the inkling to do so. 

AirMail This is another great option. Plus, you don't have the hassle of signing up or registering. Just navigate to their page, copy the e-mail address, and you're good to go!

The thing that I love most about Guerilla Mail is that it is no muss, no fuss. Just a random and disposable e-mail address made up of randomly generated numbers and letters. Quick and easy, wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Alrighty, now we can get onto the really good to get those amazing freebies you've all been seeing me post about lately! There's really no secret to it, it just takes some time and dedication to tracking down the freebies! So, to begin, I would love to share with you a short list of some of the best stuff that I have gotten for free so far! 

Hug Me Elmo
Last year, I received a Hug Me Elmo for free. My son absolutely loves playing with this cool toy!

I received all FOUR of these tee shirts! Still love wearing them.
There is so much more, but I don't want to take up all the space here with photos. So, now to get onto the really good stuff. Click the respective links below to be taken to the master list of where to snag your own freebies!

Freebies & Free Samples

Survey Websites

Rewards Websites

Review Websites

Mobile Apps

Friday, May 23, 2014

Trippin: Liberty Science Center

Earlier this month, my husband and I recently celebrated our fourth anniversary. So we both thought it would be a fun idea to get out of the house for the day. We decided to visit the Liberty Science Center. We figured Syrus would love to see all the amazing science-y stuff. I know that I loved visiting as a kid during school field trips, and my husband hadn't ever been. I believed it would be an experience we wouldn't soon forget. 

....and trust me. It isn't.

So we purchase our tickets online and pile into the car, grab some go-juice from Starbucks and get on the highway. I should have known that it was going to be a rather interesting day when we had to take a detour through Newark because of flooded roads. As we're navigating our way around a town that seems to be only made up of stop lights, we see smoke. Where is it coming from? Why, our car of course! With each stoplight we hit, we turn it off, hoping to cool it down. And, it worked for a little bit. We actually managed to get ourselves to LSC! 

The time spent at this veritable science haven was actually a really good time for the three of us. Seeing the inquisitiveness in Syrus' eyes is an experience I won't soon forget. Some highlights from our trip include:

Sy really wanted to see a turtle. This was the highlight of this day.

Syrus building a block bridge!

Super cool motion simulator ride.

Jeremy playing with their "Molecule Magic" simulation.

All in all, it was a wonderful few hours we had there. We were able to escape the mundane for a little bit, and learn a lot about science. We even got to crawl through their "touch tunnel," which is an eighty foot pitch black tunnel, where you have to essentially feel your way through the entire thing. Syrus was a bit skeptical at first, but for a three year-old? I think he did amazingly well for being in total darkness! Finally, closing time came around at 3 p.m. We got back into our car, which had cooled down significantly by then. Jeremy replaced some anti-freeze and we were on our way. 

But, the car once again decided to take on a life of it's own, this time stalling out, right in the middle of Route 3 in the town of Clifton. We had to call the local police so they could come set up flares so we wouldn't get hit, on top of that it ended up taking the local AAA three hours to arrive. We hadn't eaten all day long, and all we had were freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches that we had purchased at the science center. We had planned to go out to a nice dinner, but ultimately ended up at Taco Bell. 

We look back on it now, and laugh. But at the time, it certainly wasn't an experience to chuckle about. But needless to say, I don't think we'll be forgetting our anniversary anytime soon!

One can only hope that our trip up to Cape Vincent, New York next month will go a lot smoother!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Why We've Decided To "Unschool" Our Child

Ever since the day I had found out I was pregnant, I knew that eventually a big decision would have to be made about my child's education. But, my husband and I both knew that we wanted something different for him. My husband had attended public school, whereas I was a mix of being home-schooled, attending charter school and public school. As Syrus got older, we both began to think more and more about possibly homeschooling him, until one day Jeremy had stumbled upon an article about un-schooling.

I have to be honest and admit that when I first heard of un-schooling, I was very confused and felt like it was kind of weird. But I fully own up to my ignorance, it was rude to judge something that I knew absolutely nothing about. It took a few years of talking about it with my husband, a lot of research on both of our parts, and many discussions about how we felt. Then, the subject kind of died for a little bit, as Syrus was still too young to even think about it. But, our little guy is going to be four years-old this year. (I'm really starting to believe that whole 'blink and they're in high school' thing.) So of course, the topic came up once more of what we are going to do when it comes time for him to go to school. The decision that we had finally come to was to un-school him. But it wasn't a decision that came lightly for us. We weighed out pros and cons, compared and contrasted homeschooling vs public schools vs un-schooling. When we did that, the choice was clear as day. Here are a few of the many reasons that we decided to choose un-schooling for our son:

  • Flexibility: There is something that I find extremely important, and that is teaching my child that each day is a brand new experience, one to be relished, filled with brand new opportunities. For me, public schools don't offer that for our children these days. The days are filled with mediocrity, sitting at desks for hours on end, with our children merely ingesting information and regurgitating it for a test or a pop quiz. Learning should be fun. Learning should be exciting and a happy experience, not one that a child comes to despise. Information sticks so much better when learning about it in a fun and engaging way.

  • Timing: The wonderful thing about us un-schooling Syrus is that we can work around his schedule, not a school's schedule. Everyone's body and mind work differently, some people being night owls, others being early birds. But that's the awesome thing, Syrus can choose to learn what he wants, when he wants. At this point, obviously, he is still a bit young to regiment himself on a schedule, so we will be doing some educational activities during the day, just to get him acclimated to what it will be like when the time for kindergarten finally arrives. But the wonderful thing is, if he works better during the evening, then he can choose to work on schoolwork then. It all depends on what he wants and how he feels! No eight hour days, and he can take breaks when he needs to.

  • Freedom of Expression: If there is one thing that I absolutely despised during my time in a public school was the fact that I wasn't allowed to keep asking questions. What if I wanted to learn something more about what they were teaching us? Granted there were a handful of teachers who would gladly let me stay after class and ask more questions if I wished, but they were certainly far and few in between. Most of school was about being forced to learn something whether we wanted to or not. I don't want that for Syrus. I want him to come to me or Jeremy and tell us what he wants to learn about, not the other way around. It's not going to just be about force-feeding him information, but rather nurturing his curiosity and natural inquisitiveness. It is so important to me that my child never stops questioning anything. I want him to question everything and learn all that he can.

  • School Became A Chore: I think this is something that every person who had to "go" to school can relate to. School was something that we were forced into, and it became somewhat of a chore. We'd look forward to our "days off" on the weekends, or our Summer and Spring breaks. For my child, I want everything to be a learning experience, from the moment that he gets up, to the time he lays his head down to sleep at night. Everything can truly be a lesson. The key is making it fun for the child to learn, not to simply force them to learn something and have them regurgitate the information onto a piece of paper. Each and every child has a different style and speed of learning, and in my opinion, so many public and private schools don't offer any sort of accommodation for each child. Learning is about so much more than simply ingesting information from a cold hard textbook. It's an exciting experience that will stick with your child for the rest of their life, it's a life-long adventure, exploration and examination of the world around you, it's not about shaping and molding your child to fit into the mold you've chosen for them, but rather them finding their own mold, their own path in life. We're simply here to help them along when they need it. Not to make them go faster or slow them down. Instead of leading our children, we should walk next to them on that path. Explore with them, see what they see, learn what they are learning. See the world through the eyes of your child, and your own perspective just may change as well. 

  • No Bullying: This is more of a bonus thing, but I'm throwing it in here anyway. Since we are choosing to Un-School Syrus, he won't have to worry about being bullied. It's become such a huge problem in schools today, that children are afraid to express themselves in any way at all for fear of being bullied by other children. Other children are acting out and bullying because they too are afraid to be themselves. It's a huge vicious circle that seems to never end.
All in all, my husband and I are very excited to begin our un-schooling adventure with Syrus, who also seems thrilled to be "doing school." It's such a beautiful thing to see the enlightened expression upon my son's face when he learns something new, or we do an at-home science experiment. That child-like innocence is such a beautiful and wonderful thing, and I want him to keep that for as long as possible. I think this "un-schooling" thing is going to be one hell of a wild ride, and I for one am thrilled to be on it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Corter Moon Inaugural Giveaway

We are excited to be hosting our very first giveaway here on Corter Moon! We have quite a few ways that you can enter to win! You can check it all out and find out how to enter below!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Toddlers: The Ultimate Over-Sharers?

Photo via StockVault

I have to admit, I really do enjoy the world of social media. The fact that I can keep up with my friends and family and always have access to contact them is a comforting thought. But when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, our friends lists tend to be comprised of some colorful characters. You know what I'm talking about, the update-my-status-every-five-minuter's, the look-at-my-latest-selfie types, and of course, the obsessive-over-sharer's. We all have them on our friends lists, or have at least come across them at some point over the span of our time using social media websites.

I have often likened my three year old to the latter of the three; the obsessive-over-sharer. But instead of Insta-Gramming his meals or snapping selfies every ten minutes, he chooses to tell complete and total strangers about his latest escapades and random bodily functions. Take for instance our latest visit to our local diner.

With long blonde hair and deep blue eyes just like his daddy's, Syrus grabs the attention of those around him, much like any toddler would when they enter a room. So, after we have been seated in a booth and are going over our menus, our waitress comes over and welcomes us, asking if we would like to start off with a drink. While my husband and I are ordering ours, our son wastes zero time in flirting with the waitress. Seriously, how the hell are children born with the ability to flirt, while it took me years to perfect the art? I swear, my son could teach classes to women on how to bat their eyelashes correctly to get whatever they want. But, I digress.

When the waitress brings back our drinks and is writing down our orders, we turn to Syrus and ask him what he would like for lunch. For once, I actually think we are going to get a straight answer out of him, a very rare occurrence indeed. Oh, how wrong I was. All of a sudden he breaks into a full blown conversation, his tiny mouth going a mile a minute telling his new waitress friend about his bad case of diaper rash. Needless to say, we told him that we don't really tell random strangers about things that are going on with our bodies. We all laughed it off and he capped off the day with an ice cream sundae, so all was well in the world for him once more.

But experiences like this always lend credence to the number one lesson of being a mom for me; you've got to roll with the punches when you have children, because you truly never know what they are going to say next! I have learned that over my past three years as a mom.

But you know what? I think that my teacher is really cute!
Friday, May 2, 2014

Five Tips For Taming The Tantrums

When it comes to raising children, there is no doubt that it is most certainly a journey. A journey of learning, loving, and living. It will have it's wonderful ups, and it's terrible downs. We learn to go with the flow. But sometimes, our little ones throw a tantrum if something is taken away from them, or if they want something. And boy, does my little guy know how to throw one. It's not that often when he throws them, but when he does, it's the absolute be-all end-all tantrum, the mother of all meltdowns! When your child throws a tantrum of epic proportions, it's likely to get you in a tizzy as well, what with the tears, screaming and the jumping up and down. I think the most common dilemma as a parent, is how to deal with a tantrum when it happens. Even I still have trouble dealing with them, but over the past few years, I have come across certain techniques that seem to work. I understand that no two children are alike, but maybe if you see a technique here that might help, you can tweak it to your own specific needs. As parents, we need all the help we can get, right?

Keep Cool & Don't Lose Your Head

The biggest mistake that every parent makes when their child is throwing the tantrum of the century is losing their own patience with the child. Granted, it is really hard when you're little one is screaming at ear-shattering volumes, but it is so important to take a deep breath and to stay calm while they ride out their tantrum to the end. If your child is throwing a tantrum at home and someone else is in the house with you, you can even walk away for a few moments to gather yourself, while the other person keeps an eye on your child, to make sure he or she doesn't hurt themselves.

Make Sure They're In A Safe Environment

There is no telling when a tantrum is going to hit, they can happen when and wherever. When kids throw a tantrum they go all out; kicking, screaming, jumping around. So, one important thing to keep in mind when they are throwing their tantrum is to make sure that the environment around them is a safe one. Make sure that there is nothing around them that can fall on and hurt them, nothing sharp or hazardous. If need be, if you are at home, you can bring them to their bedroom to let them ride it out.

Try Striking A Deal With Them

When your child is throwing a fit over something that they can't have, for example, if they want a sugary snack or something that isn't healthy for them, try offering them something nutritious in place of what they want. Make sure that you stock healthy snacks in the house for them. Veggies are great, and fruits are always fun. If you offer them something in place of the unhealthy snack that they want, then you are likely to calm their crying down much quicker! Bargaining isn't the same as giving in to what they want, and that is an important point to remember. Stand your ground, but be willing to talk to them about other options.

Administer Time-Outs In A Neutral Place

When it comes to giving your child a time out, it is recommended that you don't give them a time-out in their bedroom or high chair, but rather a neutral place. Perhaps in the living room in a chair. Otherwise, if you put them in their bedroom or crib, they will begin to associate that room as a bad place to be. So for example, when bedtime rolls around, they will think that they are being punished when it is time to go to bed.

Talk To Your Child At Their Level

This is the most important thing remember when your child is in the middle of a tantrum. Nothing good ever comes of yelling and hollering during the push and pull of a tantrum. Children crave to be included, so it is imperative to treat your child as an equal, rather than looking down at them. When you speak to them, make sure you go down to their level and look them in the eye when you are talking to them. Speak in a calm and level tone, so they understand what you are saying. This will get you much farther.